Laptops

Apple’s MacBook refresh comes with faster CPU, rose-gold finish

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Apple just announced a refresh for its 12-inch MacBook weeks before its developer conference in June, where it is expected to show off the latest operating system updates for all its devices. As expected, the second-generation model doesn’t bring any design overhauls, though it addresses two major issues many users raised with the original ultra-thin laptop: computing power and battery life.

To that end, the new MacBook steps up to an Intel Skylake processor that delivers improved graphics performance, in addition to featuring faster flash storage. According to Apple, the changes under the hood should translate to a 20 percent overall improvement in computing and battery consumption (10 hours of Web browsing compared to nine hours on the previous iteration).

Of course, there are holdovers from last year’s Macbook, including an 8GB RAM module and a single USB Type-C port that takes care of everything from charging to data transfers to external display support. Which can be a bummer because it forces you to buy accessories you otherwise wouldn’t get for other MacBook models or Windows-based machines.

2016 MacBook rose gold keyboard

Perhaps more importantly, the latest MacBook comes in Apple’s now-signature rose-gold finish (a.k.a. pink) besides gold, silver, and space gray. That alone could drive throngs of women to Apple’s retail locations. Not to mention it could spawn countless rose-gold notebooks running Windows 10.

Pricing for the MacBook remains the same as last year, with the 2016 model starting at $1,299 (P60,000) and going all the way to $1,599 (P74,000) for the version with a slightly faster processor. Apple will begin selling it in select markets this week.

Laptops

Honor’s new laptop promises 12 hours of uptime

Why does it look familiar, though?

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A laptop’s biggest weakness is its battery life. As far as portable devices go, smartphones still win out in endurance contests. Huawei-owned brand Honor hopes to cut the problem with their first laptop inspired by the flexibility of smartphones.

Recently launched in China, Honor’s new laptop — the Honor MagicBook — promises up to 12 hours of uptime with one full charge. Despite its focus on battery life, the laptop still lives up to modern standards on performance and versatility.

The MagicBook’s 14-inch frame shares its sleekness with the MacBook Air. It is only 15.8mm thick and 1.47kg light. The laptop’s IPS screen churns out a max resolution of 1080p.

Under the hood, the MagicBook ships with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor. It has 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. For graphics, it’s powered by a NVIDIA MX150 2GB GDDR5 graphics chip.

For lighter users, the laptop comes in a lower variant with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor. The lower variant packs in 4GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It will carry the same NVIDIA card as the top variant.

Additionally, the laptop’s hinge opens up to 180 degrees, allowing for a completely flat interface. The keyboard comes with a flurry of custom options including personalized shortcuts, Wi-Fi switches, and a Fn lock.

The MagicBook is powered by a large 57.4Wh battery. As mentioned above, it promises up to 12 hours of uptime, regardless of usage. The laptop’s charging method is through a USB-C port. Further, the laptop also offers connectivity options for USB-A 3.0, USB-A 2.0, HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio port.

The larger i7 variant retails for CNY 5,700 (US$ 905). Meanwhile, the lower i5 variant retails for CNY 5,000 (US$ 795). At this time, Honor will launch the laptop exclusively in China, starting April 23. We’re still hoping that it comes out in other territories.

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India

Acer launches ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ edition notebooks in India

Includes Captain America, Thanos, and Iron Man editions

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Acer has tied up with Marvel Studios for the launch of three special-edition laptops in India, which are inspired by characters from the upcoming movie, Avengers: Infinity War. Acer’s special lineup includes the Aspire 6 (Captain America Edition), Nitro 5 (Thanos Edition) and Swift 3 (Iron Man Edition). The notebooks will be in India from April 20.

The Aspire 6 featuring Captain America’s iconic pentagram (as shown above) is powered by an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics chipset, with 8GB of DDR4 memory and 1TB of SATA HDD storage. You get a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display and physical connectivity like USB Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1), standard USB 3.0 port, and two USB 2.0 ports. The laptop is priced at INR 63,999 (US$ 974).

Acer Nitro 5

The Nitro 5 Thanos Edition is powered by a 7th-generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics with 4GB of RAM which is further upgradable up to 32GB. You also get a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display and dual exhaust fans with Acer’s Coolboost technology. The laptop costs INR 80,999 (US$ 1,233) for the configuration with a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD.

Acer Swift 3

The lightweight Swift 3 features an aluminum top with Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, which also glows when the laptop is switched on. It has an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 256GB SSD, and 8GB of RAM.  You also get a 14-inch Full HD IPS display, Type-C port, and up to 10 hours of battery life for INR 79,999 (US$ 1,217).

Commenting on the launch, Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head of Acer India said, “We’re excited to work again with Disney Consumer Products and Marvel to bring technology even closer to consumers through their favorite characters. The Pixar 30th Anniversary Toy Story special edition of the Acer Aspire V13 we launched in 2017 was a huge success. With the new series of notebooks, we hope to engage fans of the Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe; as well as users who are looking for a versatile notebook for work, for entertainment, and for exceptional gaming experience.”

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Gaming

Samsung outs a gaming laptop with a hexa-core processor

Back to gaming for Samsung

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Just days after they announced a spirited return to the laptop biz, Samsung ups the stakes with a gaming laptop of their own. Taking off from last year’s Odyssey line, the Samsung Odyssey Z promises exemplary performance and worry-free cooling.

From the get-go, the Odyssey Z’s design philosophy screams gaming. As with other gaming notebooks today, Samsung pushed the keyboard way down in the laptop’s panel. In their case, it’s to make way for what it calls the Dynamic Spread Vapor Chamber.

The Chamber is Samsung’s variant of the vapor chamber cooling system. The Z AeroFlow Cooling Design aids this system by pushing cold air onto the processor and GPU. Further, it has Z Blade Blowers that expel the excessively hot air away from the laptop.

Under the hood, the 15-inch Odyssey Z’s silver chassis houses an eighth-generation, hexa-core Intel Core i7 Coffee Lake processor. It also rocks the first NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-P GPU. It carries up to 16GB DDR4 for RAM, and up to 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD for internal storage.

The keyboard sports a trackpad where the number pad should be. Above this pad, you’ll find recording keys, perfect for recording gameplay.

The Odyssey Z reboots the previous Odyssey 15 laptop launched last year. The old powerhouse received only lukewarm reception at best. The new notebook hopes to push through a segment where every major laptop maker already has its hands on.

At this time, price and availability are still pending. However, the notebook is expected to go on sale in China and Korea next month with a more global release sometime in Q3 2018.

SEE ALSO: Samsung unveils super-thin soundbars built for gamers

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