The Google Pixel XL is the larger of two Pixel phones released in the fall of 2016. The Pixel line replaces the Nexus line of Android smartphones that come direct from Google with the latest Android build and no carrier or manufacturer bloatware. This time, Google is going with flagship pricing and high end specs. The Pixel XL runs Android 7.1 Nougat with the new Google Assistant (voice activated) on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU with 4 gigs of RAM and 32 or 128 gigs of storage (no microSD card slot). The Pixel XL has a 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4 (the smaller Pixel is 1920 x 1080). It has an 8MP front camera and a 12.3MP rear camera with f/2.0 lens and 4K video recording.
The Yoga Book is a futuristic tablet/convertible laptop that's available running Windows 10 or Android 6 Marshmallow. It's a 10.1", 1.5 lb. ultraportable that you can take anywhere, and its build and design are impeccable. Open it up and you'll see a 1920 x 1200 IPS touch screen with basic pen support and a flat surface where the keyboard should be. That's the Create Pad, and it's both a capacitive keyboard and a Wacom EMR digitizer that you can write and draw on (even through paper) with the included pen. The Yoga Book has specs that are better suited to Android: Intel Atom CPU, 4 gigs of RAM and 64 gigs of storage, but it can handle basic Windows tasks decently. It's relatively affordable at $500 to $550.
The changes for Apple's flagship 4.7" and 5.5" smartphones are mostly inside this year. On the outside we have new antenna lines, a solid state home button and two new colors: black and jet black. Inside there's the class-leading Apple A10 Fusion quad core CPU, more storage, improved front and rear cameras, IP67 water resistance. The iPhone 7 Plus gets two 12MP rear cameras, one with standard wide view and one telephoto. Both run iOS 10.
This is the year to get a new gaming laptop since NVIDIA's new Pascal generation graphics cards are 40% or more faster than the old-- even for laptops where they come within 10% of their desktop counterparts for graphics performance. Hence our review of the 15.6" MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, a 15.6" thin and light gaming laptop with a quad core CPU, 1080p or 4K IPS display and NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics. The GS63VR is the successor to the wildly portable and powerful MSI Ghost Pro. It has a brushed aluminum casing, RGB SteelSeries backlit keyboard, Thunderbolt 3, and it weighs just 4 pounds.
The Origin EON17-X is a gaming laptop with a desktop Core i7 CPU and NVIDIA 10 Series GTX 1080 Pascal graphics inside— it's ready for 4K gaming. The laptop is also available with GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 cards. This a a 17.3" desktop replacement size notebook that weighs 8.6 lbs. and is 1.6" thick. It can play today's most demanding games at 4K resolution with good frame rates, and it's ready for VR and pro video editing. Our unit has a wide gamut 4K matte IPS non-touch display with G-Sync, and it's also available with a 1080p G-Sync IPS display.
This is the latest refresh of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 Windows covertible laptop, released in the summer of 2016. The 7000 series is the top of the Inspiron line, but the price for a well-equipped machine is relatively reasonable at $749. The laptop is available with Intel Skylake 6th generation Core i5-6200U and Core i7-6500U dual core, 15 watt CPUs with Intel HD 520 graphics. It has two DDR4 RAM slots and starts with 8 gigs of RAM. An M.2 256 gig SSD is standard and you can order it with a 512 gig SSD. It has a backlit keyboard and an infrared camera that works with Windows Hello facial recognition for login.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is the higher end series in Apple's 2016 smartwatch lineup. It's available in sport aluminum, stainless steel and ceramic. Pricing starts at $369, and there's a Series 1 for $269. The Watch runs WatchOS 3.0 with Siri, Apple Pay, phone call capabilities and native apps available for download. Series 1 and 2 have a new, faster dual core CPU, but only Series 2 has a GPS and 50 meters water resistance.
Finally, modular phones done right, at least if you're hankering to slap on nifty accessories. The Moto Z and Z Force aren't the kind of modular that requires you to assemble core parts from building blocks, rather they work with magnetic Moto Mods like the JBL stereo speaker back, a projector and extended batteries. They're the first phones to break from Moto's attractive, but well-worn look and feel. Gone are the complexly curved sides, thick middle body and unibody construction. Instead we have a modern and somewhat angular design that's actually very slim, unlike the old Moto design that got chubby toward the middle. Inside it's all flagship power with the 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820, 4 gigs of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, NFC and your choice of a good 13MP camera on the Moto Z and an excellent 21MP camera on the Moto Z Force. We look at the Droid Edition of these phones, which means they're on Verizon Wireless.
The 15.6" Asus ROG Strix GL502 is a thin and light gaming laptop with the new NVIDIA Pascal generation GeForce GTX 1070 8GB DDR5 dedicated graphics. This is one of the more powerful 15.6" laptops on the market, which is particularly impressive since it weighs 4.93 lbs. and is 1.2" thick. The notebook has an Intel Skylake 6th gen Core i7-6700HQ quad core CPU, 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM (32 gigs max) and a 256 gig PCIe NVMe SSD + 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD. It has a bright 1920 x 1080 matte IPS display with NVIDIA G-Sync for smooth visuals when gaming. It's a perfect match for work on the go and AAA gaming titles as well as VR.
The Moto Z Play is available as the Droid edition on Verizon Wireless in the US and as a GSM unlocked phone direct from Motorola's website. This is the most affordable Moto Z model at $408, but its looks, materials and full compatibility with Moto Mods make it feel like a higher end Android smartphone. The Moto Z Play runs Android 6 Marshmallow on the 2 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 CPU with Adreno 506 graphics. It has a 5.5" 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED display and expandable storage. The 16MP rear camera is no slouch with 4K video recording and fast focusing. It has long battery life and a high capacity 3,500 mAh battery that supports fast charging.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X260 is a 12.5" business Ultrabook with plenty of ports, Lenovo's Power Bridge Battery system and 6th generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs options. The 2.9 lb. laptop may not be the skinniest, but it offers creature comforts that super-thin laptops lack— a very comfortable keyboard with good travel, removable batteries and a strong selection of ports including 3 USB 3.0, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, SD card and a WWAN LTE 4G SIM card slot.
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