Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
By Dylan HaasMashable Deals2019-07-01 17:35:04 UTC
Fourth of July is this week, which means a long weekend is headed our way (thank goodness). In our minds, long weekends are the best time to treat yourself — what good is your hard-earned cash if you’re never going to spend it? Sometimes, it’s okay to splurge a little bit.
What we’re eyeing up this week, though, are deals on laptop and tablet devices — and, not to toot our own horn, we found some good stuff. Deals on Lenovo IdeaPads, MacBooks, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and much more are heavily discounted this week, so take advantage while you can.
Check out our full list of laptop and tablet deals to get ready for the long weekend.
Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
By Dylan HaasMashable Deals2019-06-17 20:01:54 UTC
Maybe you haven’t heard, but today is National Apple Strudel Day, which means you should definitely go out and enjoy one (or a few) of the delicious treats with your work buddies on this slow Monday afternoon.
What’s better than an apple strudel, though? How about an Apple laptop.
If you’re full of strudel and still have some cash to blow, we think you should check out these awesome deals on laptops and tablets that we pulled together for this week. Included on our list are savings on MacBooks, Lenovo IdeaPads, Dell laptops, and much, much more.
Check out all the best deals on laptops and tablets we found for this week, and pick up one of these devices on sale while you can:
Responsive Google Assistant • USB port for charging separate device • Visible display with good viewing angles
Limited use of display • Weak sound quality • Doesn’t work as digital photo frame
For just a few more dollars, Lenovo’s Smart Clock improves on the Google Home Mini with an always-on display for showing the time.
⚡ Mashable Score 3.25
Smart displays are the new smart speakers. It seems like just about every company, from Amazon to Google to Facebook, is releasing their own.
Most smart displays, like Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub (formerly called Home Hub), use their screens to show lots of extra information, including photos, maps, and videos. But Lenovo’s $80 Smart Clock is far less ambitious.
The Smart Clock is essentially a Google Home Mini with a 4-inch screen for displaying the time. There’s no camera for video calling, the screen can’t play YouTube videos, and the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.
At a time in which it feels like gadgets are doing too many things and becoming too invasive with the data they collect, the Smart Clock is a refreshing lesson in restraint. Lenovo intentionally limited the abilities of the Smart Clock, and I kind of appreciate that for a connected device that’s going to live on my bedside table.
At $80, the Smart Clock is reasonably priced, just $30 more than a Google Home Mini. That extra money basically gets you a small touchscreen. The Smart Clock is also cheaper than the $130 Echo Spot, which has a smaller, 2.5-inch round touchscreen.
Compare it to Google’s Nest Hub and Amazon’s new Echo Show 5, and the Smart Clock is less of a value. Though the Nest Hub retails for $130, it’s frequently sold for $100 from Google, and we’ve seen it for less at big-box retailers. Similarly, the $90 Echo Show 5 only costs $10 more than the Smart Clock and comes with a larger, 5.5-inch touchscreen and more smart display features.
Smart displays and “cute” almost never go hand in hand, but the Smart Clock is an adorable little bedside or desk gadget.
The wedge-shaped device resembles an Echo Show (second-gen), but it’s way tinier — barely larger than a Google Home Mini and roughly the size of a bedside alarm clock you can find at IKEA or Target.
Since it’s a device designed for the bedroom, Lenovo wisely covered the outside with a fabric material to help it blend better at home. Two rubber strips underneath the Smart Clock help keep it firmly planted on a surface. Other than a stitched tag with Lenovo’s logo, the Smart Clock is a clean-looking device.
The minimalism extends beyond its looks. On top, there are only two buttons: plus and minus to adjust volume. Around back, there’s a plug for power, a microphone mute switch, and a full-size (USB-A) port that can be used to charge up another device like a phone or smartwatch.
Setting up the Smart Clock is a breeze. You download the Google Home app (if you don’t already have it), follow the on-screen prompts to pair the Smart Clock to your phone and connect to the internet, and you’re done.
Same Google Home Mini smarts
Everything you can do with the Google Assistant on the Home Mini works exactly the same on the Smart Clock.
I had no issues saying “Hey Google” to bring up the Assistant to tell me the weather, play music, turn on my smart lights, and so forth.
From what I could tell, the Google Assistant was as responsive on the Smart Clock as it was on my Home Mini; the two microphones located on the front of the device picked up my voice easily, even when I was 15 feet away.
The microphones are even sensitive enough to detect whispers. As somebody who’s grown used to awkwardly yelling at my Echo in the morning to silence the alarm and get it to tell me the weather, it was nice being able to speak softly to the Smart Clock.
But is it a good alarm clock?
Great, so the Smart Clock is comparable to the Google Home Mini. That’s not a high bar to clear. But is it a good enough alarm clock to justify spending another $30 over the Mini? I think so.
The 4-inch resolution display sounds small on paper, but there are more than enough pixels (800 x 480) to show the time without you having to squint to see it. There are 10 different clock faces to choose from; they’re all fine and visible on the screen, but the clock face that also includes the weather will probably be everyone’s favorite.
Alarms are easy to create. You can ask the Assistant to set one for you, or swipe left from the clock face to get to the alarm screen.
After creating an alarm, the Smart Clock also gives two options you can switch on. The first is called “Sunrise alarm,” which gradually brightens the screen 30 minutes before your alarm goes off. The second is “Good morning routine,” which activates the Assistant after the alarm goes off to read you the weather, your schedule, commute information, and news. Both are pretty handy — I recommend turning them on.
Turning off alarms can be controlled via voice or tap. You can tell the Assistant “stop” (no “Hey Google” phrase required) or touch the top of the Smart Clock, just like you would a physical button on a regular alarm clock.
Now, here’s where some people might find the Smart Clock disappointing: While I’m okay with the six alarm clock tunes included, some of my friends and colleagues expressed frustration at not being able to wake up to music from services like Spotify.
Another letdown for some people might be the limited display features. Besides the weather, alarms, and your schedule, there’s not much else you can use the Smart Clock’s display for. With the exception of being able to view live video from a connected Nest Cam, the screen can’t be used for watching, say, YouTube videos, or showing photos, or maps, or recipes, or pretty much anything a Google Nest Hub can.
One thing you should not expect from the Smart Clock is sound that’ll knock your socks off. Like a Google Home Mini, the Smart Clock’s got a built-in speaker and it can play music, no problem. It’s just not a great speaker. The 1.5-inch, 3-watt speaker can get loud and fill a small room, but your ears will be begging you to turn the volume down if you do so.
At any volume above 50 percent, music sounds tinny and distorted. The puny speaker’s also incapable of producing any bass.
Don’t get me wrong: The Smart Clock’s fine for light background music. Just don’t expect it to produce sound that’ll move you at all.
Do you need to see the time?
I kept returning to the same burning question during my time testing the Lenovo Smart Clock: Is the clock really necessary?
I haven’t had an alarm clock on my bedside table in over a decade. I just use my phone. And since buying an Echo some four years ago, I’ve just asked Alexa to tell me the time and set alarms for me.
I’ll admit that’s it’s convenient to have the time and weather visible without having to use voice controls, but does anybody really need what’s essentially a Google Home Mini mashed together with a small touchscreen? Just like nobody needs Alexa in a microwave, I’m gonna say a small screen that’s mainly for displaying the time isn’t essential.
That said, I can see the appeal. Sometimes simpler is better.
June 14, 2019 / Comments Off on Lenovo Smart Clock review: Better than a Google Home Mini, but just barely
Even before Computex officially launched today, AMD and Qualcomm threw down the gauntlet at Intel with a new chip and a 5G PC, respectively. Today Intel responded in kind during its keynote presentation in Taipei, introducing new processors and laptops, in addition to unveiling Ice Lake, its 10th generation Intel Core chips.
Now shipping to OEMs, the 10-nm processors will increase speeds for AI computing tasks and graphics and boost wireless speeds up to three times, Intel says. Built on Intel’s Sunny Cove architecture and Gen11 graphics engine, the series includes chips with up to 4 cores and 8 threads, up to 4.1 max turbo frequency and up to 1.1GHz graphics frequency. Gen11 will enable faster graphics in laptops, 4K HDR in a billion colors and games with up to two times faster frames per second, Intel claims. With Thunderbolt 3 and Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) inside, the company says the chips will also enable up to three times faster wireless speeds. Devices powered by Ice Lake are expected to be available for purchase by the holidays.
The company also unveiled Intel’s new class of laptops, Project Athena. Laptops built to Athena 1.0 specifications wake from sleep in less than a second, claim battery life of 9 or more hours under real-life conditions based on Intel’s testing conditions (with default settings, display brightness set to 250nits and continuous Internet connection with apps like Office 365 and Google Chrome running in the background) or 16 or more hours in local video playback mode. They are built with Thunderbolt 3, Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and OpenVINO and scheduled to be available in time for this holiday season.
Lenovo’s senior vice president of consumer devices Johnson Jia, who helped launch Qualcomm’s first Snapdragon-powered 5G laptop yesterday, returned to the stage with Intel to showcase the the ultra-lightweight (1.2kg) Yoga S940 laptop, built on Project Athena, scheduled to go on sale in time for (you guessed it) the holidays.
Yesterday, AMD revealed the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X, retailing for just half of Intel Core i9 9920X’s $1,100 starting price. Intel recaptured some thunder with its Intel Core i9-9900KS processor. Part of its 9th-generation chip series, the eight-core Core i9-9900KS is aimed at gamers who want to play and livestream at the same time. Like Intel’s other 9th-generation chips, it features mobile 5Ghz, and can run all eight cores at 5GHz all the time. Pricing has not been disclosed, but Intel announced that it will also be available by the holidays.
For gamers, Intel showed off its 9th-generation Intel Core-powered laptops Alienware M15 and M17, which boost mobile Ghz, a 8-core, 16-thread processor and faster frame rates and reaction times. The two laptops are expected to begin selling on June 11 at a starting price of $1,500.
Intel also announced that the Intel Performance Maximizer will be available for free download next month. The software makes overclocking more accessible by testing every core in a 9th-generation desktop processors and bringing it to maximum frequency.
May 28, 2019 / Comments Off on Devices built with Intel’s Ice Lake and Project Athena specifications will be available in time for the holidays
Qualcomm announced during its Computex press conference today that it will launch the first Snapdragon-powered 5G PC with Lenovo. The two companies describe the PC, called Project Limitless, as “the world’s first 7nm platform purpose-built for PCs that offers 5G connectivity.”
Qualcomm and Lenovo unveil the first Snapdragon-powered 5G PC at Computex in Taipei
The laptop runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform, which is designed to support both 5G and 4G connections, combines the Qualcomm Adreno 680 GPU with the Qualcomm Kryo 495 CPU and has a battery that Qualcomm claims can last for several days per charge. The platform uses the Snapdragon X55 5G modem, which has download speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps.
Project Limitless’ release date and pricing haven’t been revealed yet.
May 27, 2019 / Comments Off on Qualcomm and Lenovo reveal the first Snapdragon-powered 5G PC