Laptops

ASUSPRO B9440UA Review: Business-minded laptop

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Don’t let its confusing — and we mean confusing — name turn you off. The ASUSPRO B9440UA means serious business.

As part of ASUS’ more professional segment, this rugged-looking laptop comes with Military-grade durability and a magnesium alloy construction which the company claims is the lightest in its class.

Coupled with stylishly slim bezels around the 14-inch display and a well thought-out hinge design, we’re looking at a recipe for success. So, the question is: Could this be your GadgetMatch?

Let’s start with a full view of the laptop

Total weight is only 1.05kg

Look at how thin the bezels are!

The top and side borders measure only 5.4mm

Its hinge lifts the laptop up when the lid is opened

This gives the keyboard a more comfortable angle to type on

Sadly, there are only two USB-C ports

You can charge the laptop using the left port

This is how far the lid can open up

Useful for writing in all sorts of sitting positions

The keyboard has a nice, tough feel to it with good spacing in between

Comes with spill resistance and backlighting

Heat stays away from your lap with these well-placed vents

Fans can get a little loud under heavy load, though

Both stereo speakers can be found underneath

They provide a surprisingly loud kick!

Placement for the fingerprint sensor is great; not so much for the power button

Expect accidental shutdowns when aiming for the delete button

Trackpad lacks precision and often caused missed clicks

There were times it wouldn’t even respond to my fingers or gestures

Does it perform well?

Behind the rugged exterior is a smoother user experience than you’d expect. With an Intel Core i7-7600U processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage, you shouldn’t hope for anything less.

Minus the lag I experienced while using the inaccurate trackpad, I was never bothered by poor performance or slowdowns when running Chrome and Photoshop at the same time. Adding more applications like Spotify and file transferring didn’t affect the fluidity, either.

Considering its integrated graphics chip, I didn’t bother playing games, but it can surely handle light games and mainstream titles at lowered settings on its native Full HD 1080p resolution.

I also appreciate how cool the unit runs and the way it shoots hot air upwards, away from my face or lap. Combined with the ergonomic keyboard, I barely felt tired after long sessions with this laptop.

Can it last a whole day?

This comes down to each person’s unique usage patterns, but my experience wasn’t so great.

Even with brightness set to 50 percent and charging the notebook to full before leaving the house, I couldn’t get the battery to last more than five hours of continuous usage.

Blame it on the power-hungry Core i7 processor or the slimmed down battery capacity, but the fact remains you can still get a lot of work done during the time this machine is on.

There’s something missing…

If you’ve noticed something lacking, you have sharp eyes. If not, know this: There’s no front-facing camera on this thing.

At first, I figured this was a compromise that needed to be made to cater to business-minded individuals, but then I realized that these people need webcams for conference video calls, as well. Now that’s a strange omission!

And while it isn’t a total exclusion, having only two USB-C ports hurts the productivity of this notebook. ASUS bundles a dongle that provides an extra full-sized USB port and HDMI, but that still doesn’t give you a card reader or DisplayPort.

But don’t worry, there’s a 3.5mm audio port on the left for your headphones.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

On one hand, the B9440UA excels at its specialties, which are the solid build quality and buttery smooth performance; on the other hand, excluding the webcam and limiting the number of ports are potential turnoffs.

For the starting price of US$ 1,000, I would’ve liked to see a touchscreen built in, as well. With the laptop laid down flat on the table, presenting with touch gestures would be a lot more seamless — and give you an alternative to the finicky trackpad.

When it comes down to it, the B9440UA is all business. Pay the premium, and you get a machine built to last. Our particular high-end variant retails for PhP 89,995 in the Philippines.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Review: So thin, so powerful
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Computers

Intel 9th-Gen Core processors feature ‘world’s best gaming processor’

Headlined by the Core i9-9900K

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Intel’s latest lineup of desktop processors, dubbed the 9th generation, were unveiled earlier today in an event in New York. They’re headlined by the Core i9-9900K, which Intel calls the “world’s best gaming processor.”

It’s definitely a powerful chip, owning eight cores and 16 threads with a single-core turbo frequency of 5GHz and base speed of 3.6GHz. It offers all sorts of speed boosts compared to the previous generation, but you’ll need a Z390-based motherboard to reach its full potential.

Included in the lineup are the Core i7-9700K and i5-9600K, which are equipped with eight and six cores, respectively — no extra threads here. All three chips, unfortunately, are still based on the 14nm process introduced years ago, with Intel releasing an updated 10nm process only in 2019.

Pricing is as follows: US$ 488 for the Core i9-9900K, US$ 374 for the Core i7-9700K, and US$ 262 for the Core i5-9600K. Pre-orders begin today with a rollout happening later in October.

In addition, Intel announced seven new Intel Core X-series processors, which include the Core i9-9980XE (US$ 1,979), i9-9960X (US$ 1,684), i9-9940X (US$ 1,387), i9-9920X (US$ 1,189), i9-9900X (US$ 989), i9-9820X (US$ 898), and i7-9800X (US$ 589). All will become available by November.

Built on Intel’s Mesh Architecture, the top-of-the-line model holds 18 cores with 36 threads to handle the most demanding tasks needed by professionals. Even wilder is the upcoming Intel Xeon W-3175X and its 28 core and 56 thread count, but it has no price yet —  only a release date of December 2018.

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Computers

Microsoft announces Windows 10 October 2018 Update

What’s new in Windows 10?

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The sixth major update for Microsoft’s popular operating system is here. During their event, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

The latest version of Windows 10 comes with a bunch of new features that Microsoft has been testing for a while, including a new snipping software, a dark theme for File Explorer, a cloud-enabled clipboard, and a new sign-in option.

Microsoft now focuses on Android phones since Windows 10 Mobile is practically dead. The new built-in Your Phone app lets users seamlessly connect and use Android phones with their PC. Additionally, using the Microsoft Launcher, users can also access their Timeline on mobile. On iOS, Your Phone is able to send the web pages being viewed in Edge on the PC.

The Search tool is also getting an upgrade. Users will now automatically get a preview of all results in search, including documents, emails, and files.

SwiftKey, a Microsoft-owned keyboard app, is finally available in the touch keyboard.

There are improvements coming to Edge too, like an offline dictionary and grammar tools. Windows Mixed Reality and Office get updated features as well.

Windows 10 October 2018 is available for direct download today. The automatic rollout will start next week.

To know more about the new update, you may head over to the Windows Blog.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

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Computers

Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

Incremental updates

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The Microsoft Headphones may have stolen the show during the recent product launch, but the slew of updated Surface devices serve their purpose, as well.

Surface Pro 6

First up is the Surface Pro 6, which continues to be the flagship convertible notebook of Microsoft.

This year’s model is simply a refresh with a bold new color. Now available in matte black, the Surface Pro 6 comes with Intel’s 8th-generation processors for even more power under the hood.

Besides those, it’s mostly the same as the previous model. You still get the signature hinge, 12.3-inch touch display, and colorful selection of detachable keyboards.

It’ll become available by October 16 with a starting price of US$ 899 for the Intel Core i5 variant.

Surface Laptop 2

Next we have the Surface Laptop 2. Like the aforementioned Surface Pro 6, this model is mostly just a refresh.

It’s equipped with Intel’s latest 8th-generation chipset, along with the same matte black finish. Everything else is identical to the original, from the 13.5-inch touchscreen LCD to the Alcantara keyboard and port selection — still no USB-C in sight, however.

Microsoft claims it’s 85 percent faster thanks to the updated specs, and that all-day battery life is still possible.

Like the Surface Pro 6, the Surface Laptop 2 will go for US$ 899 and will begin shipping in mid-October.

Surface Studio 2

Finally, there’s the Surface Studio 2, and it’s the “ultimate creative studio” — for obvious reasons.

This all-in-one PC is equipped with the newest chips from NVIDIA and Intel, making it the fastest Surface device you could possibly buy today.

The 28-inch touchscreen is still around, but it’s brighter and offers more contrast as compared to before, plus it has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity when using the Surface Pen.

All this power and flexibility comes at a price, however. The Surface Studio 2 starts at US$ 3,499 with no exact date of availability.

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