Laptops

Microsoft Surface Pro isn’t just an incremental update

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Microsoft’s new Surface Pro (now without a generational number) is the Google Pixel of convertibles. That’s a good thing.

As the successor to the well-loved Surface Pro 4 launched way back in October 2015, the 2017 model looks a lot like the previous versions, but Microsoft assures us there’s a lot to appreciate under the hood.

The most prominent upgrade is the adoption of Intel’s newest seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors. Versions using the Core m3 and i5 chips are fan-less as a result, which means quieter operation and longer battery life — two things everyone wants.

There’s still a faster Intel Core i7 model available, although that requires a fan to run smoothly. More interesting, however, is the introduction of an LTE-enabled model accepting both micro-SIM and e-SIM cards. Mobile data without the need for Wi-Fi or a hotspot would make its tablet mode actually feel like you’re using a smart device.

Accessories are the other highlight. That cool Surface Dial we saw with the Surface Studio last year works on the Surface Pro, and there’s an improved Surface Pen with tilt detection this time. The catch? Neither are bundled in every package, and the stylus costs $99.

This all leads to a convertible with up to 13.5 hours of endurance on a single charge and better comfort thanks to a hinge that allows the 12.3-inch Surface Pro to lie nearly flat on a surface… Ohh, that makes sense!

But really, we just want new color options, and Microsoft hasn’t disappointed us:

I must say it looks fantastic, just like the Surface Laptop revealed a couple of weeks ago. Again the Type Cover keyboard ships separately, and it’s valued at $129.

How much do you have to spend for such a convertible? Not much. A starting price of $799 makes this more affordable than you’d think, but that’s for the lowest-end variant. It includes a Core m3 processor, 4GB of memory, and only 128GB of SSD storage.

Dishing out $2,699 gives you the Core i7 model with 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. That’s a huge jump from the introductory price, but it’s unavoidable if you want the very best.

If I were to buy one, I’d go for the $1,299 Core i5 version, which features 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. It strikes the best balance between optimal performance and a price worth paying for.

Worldwide rollout begins on June 15.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces ‘most balanced’ Surface Laptop

Hands-On

Huawei MateBook X Pro hands-on

The most unusual camera placement

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Huawei’s newest release isn’t a smartphone and yet, this new device is also making news.

Released in Barcelona at MWC 2018, the Huawei MateBook X Pro is a powerhouse wrapped in one handsome package.

This machine looks sleek and feels premium. It’s very compact and it has a good weight to it — manageable for a laptop, but not too light for it to feel cheap.

It’s about the same size as a MacBook Pro and about the same thickness. Side by side with the Apple laptop, you see the glaring similarity in size.

At its thinnest point, it folds to 14.6mm. It houses two USB-C ports (yay!), a USB-A port (the option not to live a dongle life!), and audio input (double yay!). The premium metal unibody comes in two colors: space gray or mystic silver.

The Huawei MateBook X Pro has a beautiful 13.9-inch screen, bright and vivid at 450 nits. Look at those almost non-existent bezels! This laptop’s screen-to-body ratio is a whopping 91 percent.

And as if that wasn’t enough laptop screen goodness, the MateBook X Pro has 10-point touchscreen capabilities!

Now seeing all that screen, you may be wondering: Where is the webcam?

Because the laptop’s screen bezels are so small, there obviously isn’t any space for the camera. Huawei has a very interesting camera placement solution.

They put the laptop cam on the keyboard! Yes, you heard that right. This button on the keyboard turns into a camera!

Though pretty ingenious, the camera placement still makes for awkward photo angles. (But really, what laptop cameras can take photos that look good, right?) What’s great about this “recessed camera,” however, is the fact that its placement promises ensured privacy when the camera’s not in use — you’re not going to need tape on that webcam anymore!

The device also has a pretty wide trackpad on it — the better to work on!

What really impressed me was how loud this thing’s quad-speaker setup is. At MWC, I accidentally played a video as we were shooting this, and trust me, the whole room heard it. Even better, the whole room heard it in Dolby Atmos, which this device is capable of.

It also has a quad-mic system which means the laptop can hear and record you perfectly from all 360 degrees.

This machine is powered by an Intel Core i7 or i5 processor with memory of either 8GB or 16GB and storage options of 256GB or 512GB. It’s also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card. That means you should be good for tasks like video editing, or even light to casual gaming. It has a battery capacity of 57.4Wh which totals 12 hours of video playback — that’s a lot of show episodes, people!

Of course, this device is capable of Huawei Share which is an easy transfer solution powered by Bluetooth from any Huawei device to the MateBook X Pro. If you’re on a Huawei phone, this creates a great fuss-free ecosystem between gadgets.

SEE ALSO: 24 hours in San Diego with the Huawei Mate 10

SEE ALSO: Follow our MWC 2018 coverage!

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Laptops

Huawei MateBook X Pro has FullView Display and NVIDIA graphics

As gorgeous as it is powerful

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At Mobile World Congress 2018, the spotlight is on Android smartphones and tablets, but that doesn’t mean Windows laptops — being the mobile devices that they are — can’t share a part of the stage.

Huawei is leading the Windows charge with the MateBook Pro X, which is their first notebook to own a FullView Display. The 13.9-inch 3K (3000 x 2000 pixels) touchscreen is absolutely gorgeous, and is part of a body that’s only 14.6mm thin and 1.33kg light.

To keep the display free of bezels and maintain the 91 percent screen-to-body ratio, the webcam sits discreetly on the keyboard and pops up when a button is pressed. Even more convenient is the fact that the MateBook Pro X charges through USB-C, meaning your smartphone can use the same charger.

Under the hood is all the horsepower you need. The MateBook Pro X comes with an 8th-generation Core i7 or i5 processor, discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, up to 16GB of memory, and up to 512GB of fast SSD storage. For energy on the go, there’s a 57.4Wh battery that can last up to 14 hours of typical work usage.

The MateBook Pro X is a multimedia powerhouse, too. In addition to the breathtaking display, there’s a Dolby Atmos Sound System on board with custom quad speakers. And if you’d rather use your own headphones or external speakers, you’ll be happy to know a 3.5mm audio port is available on the side.

We have two colors to choose from: space gray and mystic silver.

Pricing and availability per region will follow as soon as the information is available.

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Computers

Samsung’s latest 2.5-inch SSD has record 30TB of storage

Yet another world record by Samsung

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We were already impressed by the 512GB microSD card and 2TB flash drive, so you can imagine our collective jaws dropping when we found out Samsung released a 30TB solid state drive (SSD).

Yes, this an SSD and not the slower mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) that normally reaches this storage level.

Labeled as the PM1643, it’s the most spacious 2.5-inch SSD in the world. The previous record holder happened to be Samsung as well when the company launched a 15.36TB SSD back in 2016.

The exact amount is 30.72TB coming from 32 units of 1TB NAND flash. Its 2,100MB/s sequential read and 1,700MB/s write speeds outdo most consumer SSDs thanks to 40GB of built-in RAM.

As you can obviously tell, this is meant for enterprise users and will cost a sum as crazy as the storage itself — exactly how much is not yet known.

And because it uses the newer Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, don’t expect this to connect to your desktop PC or notebook.

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