Mobile workstations with dedicated graphics, big screens and the power to tackle professional CAD work often aren't light and battery life isn't a strong point. Enter laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s that use ULV Ultrabook CPUs combined with NVIDIA Quadro graphics to lighten your bag and significantly improve battery life. The W550s runs on dual core Intel i7 Broadwell CPUs with up to 16 gigs of RAM and it has NVIDIA's new Quadro K620M workstation graphics card. It weighs 5 lbs. and is available with 15" full HD or 3K IPS displays (touch is optional). Sound intriguing? Read and watch our review to learn more.
What a difference a year makes. Samsung's new mainstream sized flagship phones for 2015 are every bit as attractive and elegant looking as the iPhone 6 and HTC One M9. Clad in glass and aluminum, both the GS6 and S6 Edge are classy and attractive phones whose looks match the excellent features inside. From the scrumptious 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED displays to the fast 2.1 GHz Exynos octa-core CPU these phones are winners. There's a much more reliable fingerprint scanner, a sharp 5MP front camera and an excellent 16MP rear camera with OIS and 4K video capture.
The Spectre x360 is a stand out, from the natural silver aluminum lid and bottom to the jewel cut sides that look like polished, precision cut stainless steel. Happily, the price is a standout too, with the base Core i5 model starting at a reasonable $899. That includes a full HD IPS touch screen with active digitizer for HP's pen, an SSD drive and plenty of ports. The 13.3" HP Spectre x360 runs on Intel Broadwell 5th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs with 4 or 8 gigs of RAM and a 128, 256 or 512 gig SSD. The $999 model has a 2.2 GHz Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD, which we consider the sweet spot in terms of value and future-proofing. For those who prefer higher resolution, there's a 2560 x 1440 option too. If you're in the market for an Ultrabook or convertible with touch and pen support, the Spectre x360 is worth a good look.
Let's face it, the original LG G Flex wasn't a huge sucess-- the specs were lacking and the phone was too big for most. The LG G Flex 2 remedies these issues, and it's actually a fine phone that might charm you with its attractive and comfortable curve. The LG G Flex 2 runs on the new 2 GHz Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU and it has a pleasing curved 5.5" full HD P-OLED display that's color saturated and sharp. The phone has the same very good rear 13MP camera with OIS as the LG G3 along with dual band WiFi 801.11ac, NFC and an AV remote. The smartphone is flexible and the back has a self-healing finish that's somewhat scratch resistant.
We need more machines like the Asus Zenbook UX305: stylish, highly portable, quite capable and priced at just $699. We were already impressed with Asus' $899 Zenbook UX303 that was recently refreshed with Intel Core i5 Broadwell CPUs. The UX305 is the more affordable version of the UX303. But the key point here is that Asus cut very few corners to create the $200 less expensive UX305. You do give up the touch screen, which is the biggest drawback given Windows 8.1's push to use touch, but since it's a pure laptop form factor with no convertible-tablet feature, we'll forgive it. Instead of the Intel Core i5 used in the UX303, the UX305 has the lower power and slower Intel Core M CPU, and the UX305 loses the backlit keyboard. But there's plenty of goodness left: an all metal casing with Asus' signature swirled aluminum lid, plenty of ports, a striking and slim design, and a full HD 1080 matte IPS display (QHD 3800 x 1800 will be available in April 2015 for $999).
The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display continues to be one of the best laptops in the high end portable arena. It competes with Windows Ultrabooks and unlike the MacBook Air, it's design still seems fresh and modern. The early 2015 refresh changes nothing in terms of design and casing, rather it's the internals and trackpad have moved up. We have Intel 5th generation Broadwell CPUs with Iris 6100 graphics, 2x faster SSD storage and the new Force Trackpad in the new model joining forces with the already excellent 2560 x 1600 IPS "Retina" display and all day battery life.
The third time's a charm: The ThinkPad X1 Carbon 3rd generation model is a 14" Ultrabook with an impeccable backlit keyboard, a slim design and the usual ThinkPad durability. It's encased in carbon fiber polymer and has a magnesium alloy roll cage, yet it weighs just 2.9 pounds. The laptop runs on 5th generation Intel Broadwell Core U series CPUs with SSD drives, and it's available with your choice of three display options: 1080p non-touch TN, WQHD 2560 x 1440 IPS non-touch and WQHD 2560 x 1440 touch. Does it give the Dell XPS 13 a run for your money? Read our review to find out.
BlackBerry is back with a flourish. The Passport is certainly a unique phone that's wider than the average supesized smartphone. Though it's a challenge to hold and pocket, the design affords a useful wider display and roomy hardware keyboard that's a joy to use. The specs are thoroughly modern with a quad core Snapdragon CPU, high resolution rear camera and of course 4G LTE. We look at the AT&T version.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a photographer's camera with easy manual control, traditional tactile dials, fantastic ergonomics, an EVF and a dense feel in the hand. Of course, those are nice but image quality is equally important, and the cropped Micro Four Thirds sensor and Leica 24-75mm f/1.7-f/2.8 delivers it in spades. The LX100 is bigger than the Sony RX100 but smaller than the Canon PowerShot G1X II and Sony a6000. It's unobtrusive and portable but you'll need cargo pants or a purse. It can shoot 4K video and like the venerable Panasonic GH4 has the Venus processor and a 16MP MFT sensor. The result? More dSLR like photos with goodies like depth of field and some bokeh that help it earn our Editor's Choice award.
This is Lenovo's classic Windows 8.1 convertible Ultrabook with the 360 degree Yoga hinge and Intel Broadwell 5th generation Core i5 and i7 CPUs. The Yoga 3 14” has a full HD IPS touch screen that works in laptop, tablet, tent and presentation modes. It’s actually a bit more powerful than the Yoga 3 Pro, but it’s thicker at 0.7” and heavier at 3.5 lbs. The laptop is available with 4 or 8 gigs of RAM ,fast 2.5” SSD drives and it has dual band WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Acer Aspire R13 is a 13.3” 2-in-1 Windows 8.1 convertible Ultrabook-tablet. The R13 is one of the few laptop style convertibles that works with a digital pen (Synaptics technology, sold separately). It has Acer’s Ezel hinge that allows for use in many positions, and the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The 3.3 lb. R13 is available in two configurations: $999 with a 1080p IPS display, Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigs RAM and a 256 gig SSD in RAID 0, and the $1,499 Microsoft Signature edition with a 2560 x 1440 IPS display, Intel Core i7 CPU, 8 gigs of RAM and a 512 gig SSD in RAID0.
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