The new Microsoft Surface 3 is an interesting tablet, and you could call it Surface Pro 3 Lite. It runs full Windows 8.1 and it has a strikingly good 10.8" high resolution display that supports both touch and the optional N-Trig pen. It too has a Type Cover keyboard with backlighting that will set you back $130 and it has the same port selection as the Pro model. But inside we have the lower power Intel Atom X7 1.6 GHz CPU, 2 or 4 gigs of RAM and eMMC solid state storage. As you might guess, it's smaller, lighter and quieter than the Pro 3, but it's also slower and less powerful. But not everyone needs max horsepower in their tablet-sorta laptop hybrid, so the Surface 3 has its place among classy Windows 8.1 tablets (a market that's more marked by a race to the bottom than going for high end design).
An inexpensive unlocked phone doesn't have to feel like a handful of compromises. Take the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, a stylish and extremely slim $249 Android 5.0 Lollipop phone with a 5.5" full HD IPS display, a respectable though not class-leading Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, good battery life and even more rare--4G LTE for US carriers. If you use a GSM carrier like AT&T and T-Mobile, then the Idol 3 will work, with no need for a contract or renewals. You can also use it overseas for travel. The OneTouch Idol 3 runs on the octa-core, 64 bit Snapdragon 615, a midrange CPU. It has 2 gigs of RAM, 16 gigs of storage and a microSD card slot. It has dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, NFC and a GPS.
The LG G4 is the company's best high end smartphone yet. With an evolution of the LG G3 design that makes a 5.5" phone seem manageable, a comfortable curve and new leather backs that simply look stunning, it's hard not to like the looks. The LG G4 has a QHD IPS quantum 5.5" display, a truly impressive 16MP camera with a fast f/1.8 lens and OIS, a sharp 8 megapixel front camera and a removable 3,000 mAh battery. The phone runs Android Lollipop 5.1 with LG UI on the 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 808 CPU with 3 gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage. The LG G4 will be available on most carriers in June.
The Lenovo ThinkPad T450s is the quintessential modern ThinkPad: a matte black rectangle that's tough enough to go anywhere with all day battery life and a dreamy keyboard. It's modernized--no 2" thick hunk here, even if it's not as slim as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The T450s ("s" is Lenovo's slim line designation) weighs 3.5 lbs., which isn't heavy in the least for a 14" business Ultrabook. You still get the expected ThinkPad spill-resistant keyboard with drain holes, magnesium alloy, carbon fiber and a strong inner roll cage, despite the relatively light weight and bigger than average screen (most Ultrabooks are 13.3"). As you might guess, the ThinkPad T450s replaces last year's ThinkPad T440s and refreshes the line with Intel 5th generation CPUs.
Apple's newest portable is as controversial as it is sexy. The 2 pound MacBook isn't cheap but it's wildly good looking, quite capable of handling everyday productivity tasks and it has one of the finest displays you'll find on a laptop. The novel keyboard feels a bit odd but it's actually just fine for extended periods of typing, and the Force Touch trackpad is top notch. If you're looking for one of the most portable laptops on the planet, the 2015 MacBook with Retina display is worth a look, as long as you're OK with the Intel Core M CPU and $1,299 starting price tag.
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.
Is this the perfect smartwatch? Nope. Is there a perfect smartwatch and will there ever be one? Probably not. But the Apple Watch is one of the most comfortable and fun to date. It's also fairly useful for those who want messages and informational feeds at the flick of a wrist and would rather not pull a phone out of pocket a hundred times per day. The Sport Watch starts at $350 with a comfortable and hypoallergenic fluoroelastomer band that's available in 5 colors. Then there's the stainless steel "Watch" that starts at $550 (price varies by band) and the $10,000 and up Watch Edition with an 18k gold casing. We look at the Sport model in this review.
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 HTC One M9 is finally available in stores now, and it's every bit as gorgeous as the One M8. In fact it has a little more polish, literally and figuratively, and I'd say it's the best looking One yet, though some might have trouble telling the M8 and M9 apart at first glance. This is very much a slow evolution of HTC's flagship One series. The HTC One M9 runs Android 5 Lollipop with HTC Sense software on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU clocked at 2 GHZ. It has 3 gigs of RAM, 32 gigs of storage and a microSD card slot. HTC stuck with the same 5" 1920 x 1080 LCD 3 display as the M8.
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.
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.
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