All posts in “Laptops”

Razer’s new MacBook Pro slayer has no gimmicky Touch Bar

Razer, the company behind that crazy triple-screen laptop concept, will not stop until all other PC makers are its dust.

At this year’s E3 gaming expo, Razer refreshed its littlest laptop, the Blade Stealth, with the latest specs, and announced a new, toned down version with a larger screen (but the same dimensions) that ditches the brand’s neon green.

Is Razer finally growing up and shedding its gamer badge? Heck no. But at least you’ll be able to take your Stealth Blade to class or a meeting without looking like a total douchebag.

The Blade Stealth wowed us immediately with its stealthy compact aluminum design, 12-inch 4K-resolution IGZO touchscreen, solid Chroma-glowing keyboard and trackpad, and myriad ports.

It wasn’t much of a gaming laptop, but if you bolted on the Razer Core external GPU enclosure, you could definitely get desktop-class gaming performance out of it.

The new Blade Stealth has all of the things that made the original great, but now it’s got the latest seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processors, better Intel HD Graphics 620, 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of PCie SSD storage, and up to nine hours of battery life. All these specs will also hit your wallet kinda hard; a 512GB machine costs $1,599 and a 1TB $1,999.

If the 12.5-inch Blade Stealth screen’s a little too cramped for your liking, you might want to consider the more affordable 13.3-inch Blade Stealth, which starts at $1,399. It’s got a larger screen, but the body’s the exact same size as the 12.5-inch model, thanks to its slimmer bezels.

No glowing green logo on the gunmetal 13.3-inch Blade Stealth.

No glowing green logo on the gunmetal 13.3-inch Blade Stealth.

Image: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE

The 13.3-inch Blade Stealth has the same processor, RAM, and graphics as its smaller-sized brother, but it comes with one big difference: screen resolution. Whereas the 12.5-inch has a 3,840 x 2,160 (4K) touchscreen, the 13.3-inch only has a 3,200 x 1,800 (QHD+) touchscreen. Will you see much of a difference? Not at all.

It's also a touchscreen.

It’s also a touchscreen.

Image: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE

The larger-screened laptop also comes in two colors: black and gunmetal. 

Black comes with your standard Chroma-lit keyboard capable of glowing in 16.8 million colors per key, glowing green triple-headed snake logo, and green-colored USB ports. 

One Thunderbolt 3 port (USB-C), USB 3.0 port, and headphone jack.

One Thunderbolt 3 port (USB-C), USB 3.0 port, and headphone jack.

Image: Lili Sams/mashable

USB 3.0 port and full-sized HDMI port.

USB 3.0 port and full-sized HDMI port.

Image: lili sams/mashable

Gunmetal, however, is boardroom and classroom-ready. The backlit keyboard only lights up in white, the Razer logo on the lid is a more subtle polished gray, and the USB ports are standard silver. 

Some might find the gunmetal version dull (if you’re buying a Razer laptop, you’re not afraid to shout from rooftops you drink the green glow), but I personally prefer it over the standard black and green version. It’s too bad about the keyboard, though. I really wish it still had the Chroma keyboard.

Image: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE 

I’ve only had a few days to poke around with a pre-production gunmetal version, and so far it’s been pretty speedy. 

You just don’t realize how convenient it is to have full-sized USB and HDMI ports on your laptop until you’ve used laptops, like the new MacBook Pro, that don’t have them. That said, it’s also great to see a Thunderbolt USB-C port on the Blade Stealth, so you still get the best of both worlds.

Based on first impressions, I’d say the new 13.3-inch Blade Stealth is a better buy than the 12.5-inch version. The larger screen, despite its lower resolution, is roomier than the 12.5 despite having the same dimensions, and you get the same performance. Plus, no gimmicky Touch Bars.

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Asus unveils the world’s thinnest convertible laptop yet

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The world of convertible laptops just got its thinnest yet.

Asus unveiled the Zenbook Flip S on Monday in a large scale launch event, a day ahead of the larger Computex technology show in Taipei. 

The Zenbook Flip S is 10.9mm thin. In comparison, competitors like the HP Spectre x360 come in at 13.8mm, and the Apple MacBook Air measures 17mm. 

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The Taiwanese maker’s 13.3″ laptop features a 360 degree hinge, and weighs just 1.1kg — again, lighter than the HP and Apple competition.

It’ll be priced at $1,099.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

The Flip S also boasts a fingerprint security sensor, 4K display, and fully supports Windows Ink in Windows 10 — the OS’s support for onscreen pen input.

And like everyone else, Asus is also jumping on the USB-C bandwagon, with two ports for data and charging.

Image: asus/supplied

But how durable is the laptop?

Asus claims it’s able to handle 20,000 open and close cycles, so it should last its lifetime in the average user’s hands.

With a blue and gold finish, the ASUS Flip S is also stunning to look at — though its shiny surface also meant that every smudge and fingerprint could be seen. 

Image: yvette tan/mashable

Asus also unveiled four other laptops at the press conference: the ZenBook 3 Deluxe, the ZenBook Pro, the VivoBook S and the VivoBook Pro.

The VivoBook S comes in at the lowest price point — at just $499.

Image: yvette tan/mashable

At the launch event, Asus Chairman, Jonney Shih, talked up the new laptops’ thin profiles, saying: “Our brand-new ZenBook and VivoBook line-up…[provides] everyone with a new definition of thin, beautiful and powerful laptops.”

Stay tuned for more news from the Computex 2017 in Taipei, as we cover it from the showfloor.

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This hot MacBook replacement is from a company you’ve never heard of

Laptops are hot fire once again.

Microsoft announced its first laptop, the Surface Laptop, earlier this month, and now Huawei, the world’s third-largest phone manufacturer, is getting into Windows 10 laptops, too.

Though Huawei is known mostly for its budget and midrange phones (more recently with its Honor sub-brand) in the U.S., the Chinese tech giant has made more concerted efforts to be seen as a premium device maker.

The company’s flagship P10 phone sits with the best Android phones. Hell, Huawei’s even hired former “Get a Mac” actor Justin Long to push its products.

Last year, Huawei dipped its toes into the PC world with its MateBook 2-in-1 Surface Pro competitor. It was a decent device, but like all first tries it had its shortcomings such as poor battery life.

Huawei’s new MateBook X — the company’s first clamshell laptop — is aimed squarely at Apple’s entire MacBook lineup. 

Thinner than MacBook

Image: huawei

More ports than MacBook

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

The MateBook X has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

Image: huawei

Like its flagship phones, the MateBook X has a unibody aluminum design and is built for thinness and lightness. The 13-inch laptop measures just 0.49 inches at its thickest point — thinner than the MacBook (0.52 inches) and MacBook Pro (0.59 inches). It only weighs 2.31 pounds compared to the MacBook Pro’s 3.02 pounds.

Thin as the laptop is, it’s still plenty powerful inside. The 13-inch non-touchscreen IPS display is made of Corning Gorilla Glass and boasts a 2,160 x 1,440 resolution. And, yes, the keyboard’s backlit.

Image: huawei

Under the hood, it’s packing a fanless 7th-generation “Kaby Lake” Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 620, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. Huawei also claims up to 10 hours of battery life for watching 1080p-resolution video. There’s also Dolby Atmos Sound inside.

For ports, the MateBook X has two USB-C ports, a power button that doubles as fingerprint sensor (fancy!), and a headphone jack. In the U.S., Huawei’s including the MateDock 2, which includes a full-sized USB port, USB-C, VGA, and HDMI port. Also bundled is a USB to USB-C dongle.

I haven’t seen the laptop in person so I can’t say how the device feels. But if the old MateBook tablet and Huawei’s excellent industrial design for its phones are any indication, the MateBook X could be the laptop to keep any eye on when it launches this summer. Plus, it comes in rose gold. Hopefully the price is lower than a MacBook, too.

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Huawei MateBook D

Huawei MateBook D

Image: huawei

The MateBook X isn’t Huawei’s only laptop. Alongside the 13-incher is a the MateBook D, a 15.6-inch Windows 10 laptop.

While not quite as premium as the MateBook X, the MateBook D is still a decent machine with an all-aluminum body, a full HD resolution display, a discrete graphics card, and a full range of ports.

No dongles needed on this laptop!

No dongles needed on this laptop!

Image: huawei

Specs for the MateBook D include seventh-gen Kaby Lake Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage with several configurations split combining a traditional hard drive and SSD, and discrete graphics (up to Nvidia 940MX). Battery life is pegged at around 8.5 hours of local video playback.

The MateBook D has two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and an HDMI port.

The MateBook D ships this summer. Pricing is also TBD.

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The MateBook E.

The MateBook E.

Image: huawei

In addition to the new laptops, Huawei’s also updated its 2-in-1 to the MateBook E. 

The new 2-in-1 has the same 12-inch screen as the old one, but this time around the 1080p screen’s been upgraded to 2K (2,160 x 1,440) resolution. 

Performance gets a boost across the board with seventh-gen Intel Core m3 or Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage. The company advertises up to 9 hours of video playback.

Huawei says it’s also improved the 2-in-1’s less noticeable features; the magnetic connector for the keyboard is stronger thanks to a reduction in pins from seven to three, and the included folio case is adjustable from 10 degrees to 160 degrees, compared to the original folio case’s three angles.

The MateBook E also ships this summer with pricing TBD.

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Why don’t we have waterproof laptops already?

Image: Bob al-greene/mashable

I still don’t know how it happened.

One minute I was sitting down at my desk, glass of water in hand. Seconds later I was watching helplessly as the contents of the glass seeped into my MacBook Air. My screen went black almost immediately.

As I walk-of-shamed my soggy laptop down to IT, I started going through a mental checklist of what was backed up and what wasn’t. Just how screwed would I be if the thing ended up being totally unsalvageable?

Luckily for me, almost everything was backed up somewhere. Luckier still, IT was able to successfully dry out the laptop and return it to me within a couple days (thanks Norman!) with no sign of the incident. 

Still, the whole thing was more than just a reminder to be more careful (or, at the very least, to use cups with lids). The whole thing got me thinking about why, of all the waterproof gadgets we have, laptops — arguably one of the most important pieces of our digital lives — so rarely have any water resistance at all. 

Think about it. Water resistance is becoming the norm for flagship smartphones, including the iPhone 7. Want a waterproof camera? Take your pick. Even smartwatches, which have long been slightly water resistant, are becoming waterproof. 

But look for a waterproof laptop and your options are depressingly limited. You’re pretty much stuck with a handful of “rugged” notebooks designed for regular outdoor use. These thick bulky bricks are not only offensive to look at, they aren’t at all practical for anyone not working in the middle of a forest. Just look at this 10-pound beast from Panasonic: it could probably survive the apocalypse but I wouldn’t be caught dead with a laptop that looked like that.

Panasonic's Toughbook is fully waterproof and 100% hideous.

Panasonic’s Toughbook is fully waterproof and 100% hideous.

Image: amazon

Now, I get that making a laptop capable of withstanding a lot of water is no small engineering feat. But it seems like there should be some middle ground. It’s 2017, after all, at the very least I should be able to spill few drops of coffee on my laptop without panicking over whether it’s going to destroy my digital life. 

Surely, this is a solvable engineering challenge. I would even be willing to sacrifice a bit of thinness if it meant I could take my laptop into a crowded coffee shop without anxiety. 

So, OEMs (especially you, Apple), please take note: add just a little waterproofing, okay?

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When did laptops become such a danger on planes?

First shoes, then liquids, and now laptops.

With reports suggesting the airplane cabin laptop ban may soon expand from flights originating in eight Middle Eastern and African countries to parts of Europe, it’s clear that our computers have now joined the list of things we have to worry about when flying. 

However, some big questions remain: Why now, and why are laptops considered OK in a plane’s cargo hold but not in its cabin?

Laptops have been a key feature of international travel for years, with passengers in both business and economy classes tapping away on long flights to get work done or pass the time. As the administration of Donald Trump considers forcing certain travelers to check laptops into cargo holds, thus risking cracked screens and possible fires, it is reasonable to ask what’s changed — and if this is anything more than security theater

Unfortunately, the answer is light on specifics. 

CNN reported in March that an unspecified al Qaeda affiliate was in fact working to disguise explosives as laptop components. As such, we know that the initial laptop ban wasn’t totally out of the blue. 

Mashable has since learned that the standard screening process that passengers and carry-on luggage go through may not always be sufficient to detect certain explosives. 

What are you doing with your laptop?

What are you doing with your laptop?

Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Checked baggage, however, passes through a different screening process that is able to pick up the explosives. So, the logic is that it’s not about separating a would-be attacker from his or her computer as much as it’s applying an extra level of scrutiny to devices brought onto planes. 

But why now? Well, that one is tricky. We’ve learned that, apparently, a more thorough assessment of the current terrorist threat landscape led officials to believe that such an attack could emanate out of Europe.

So there you have it. Explosives can be hidden in laptops, and people might be doing that (or planning to do that) in Europe with the intent to bring the devices onto airplanes heading to the U.S.

As to whether or not the extension of the laptop ban to certain Europe airports will actually go through? That’s still up in the air, but Reuters calls the expansion “likely.” 

So, you know, maybe consider investing in hardened laptop travel cases — if there are still any left

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