Laptops

Microsoft announces Surface Book 3, Go 2, Headphones 2, and Earbuds

They are available for pre-order now

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Microsoft recently launched new products within its popular Surface line-up. Both the Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2 have updated specs and minor design changes to cater to students and professionals. Meanwhile, the Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds are Mircosoft’s bet to create a solid portfolio of audio accessories.

Surface Book 3

Starting with the Surface Book 3, the 2-in-1 powerhouse tablet packs the latest Intel chipset for greater performance. It now has Intel’s 10th-gen chipset whereas its predecessor comes with the 8th-gen chipsets. The cheapest configuration of this device comes with an Intel Core i5 with Iris Plus graphics. Users who wanted more power can get the top-of-the-line Core i7 with other configurations.

The Surface Book 3 comes in two sizes: a 13.5-inch version and a 15-inch version. Both devices come with 8GB to 32GB of LPDDR4x memory 256GB to 32TB of SSD storage.

Microsoft has also updated the discrete graphics on this device. Users can either expect a GTX 1650 Max-Q or a GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q on this device. However, the cheapest configuration doesn’t have any discrete graphics. Also, the GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q is only available for the 15-inch version.

The 13.5-inch version retains its screen resolution of 3000 x 2000 while the 15-inch version still has a resolution of 3240 x 2160. The aspect ratio remains at 3:2.

The 13.5-inch can get up to 15.5 hours of battery life while the 15-inch version gets up to 17.5 hours. Both also have 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, 2 x Surface Connect port, a full-sized SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Beyond the specs, Surface Book 3 retains the familiar design that defined the product line. It is almost identical to Surface Book 2 and retains the platinum finish, which is the sole color configuration for the new device.

Surface Go 2

While the design of Surface Book 3 remains almost unchanged, the Surface Go 2 now has a slimmer bezel compared to the original. As such, the display is also bigger on the Surface Go 2. It now has a 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280 display compared to the 10-inch from the original Surface Go. However, the newer device still has the same 3:2 aspect ratio.

The chipset also got a minor upgrade. Intel’s Pentium is still the preferred processor for the Surface Go 2. This time, Microsoft fitted the Surface Go 2 with Pentium Gold 4425Y. What’s new this year is the option for an Intel Core-Y processor. The highest configuration for this device comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core m3 processor for faster performance.

The device can be configured with 4GB or 8GB of memory. Storage options come at 64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD. Microsoft promises up to 10 hours of battery life with this device. Users can opt for LTE connectivity with the Surface Go 2.

In terms of ports, there’s enough to expect with the Surface Go 2. It has a single USB-C, a Surface Connect port, a MicroSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Like the Surface Book 3, it also comes in a sole platinum finish.

Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds

Microsoft also released a successor to its on-ear headphones, the Surface Headphones. The new headphones feature improved sound quality and battery life. Surface Headphones 2 boasts 20 hours of listening time and 13 levels of ambient noise control. It also has an updated ear cup design that can rotate up to 180 degrees. For the first time, it will be available in a black finish.

 

 

For those wanting true wireless earbuds, the Surface Earbuds is finally on sale after its announcement last October. The earbuds feature a unique, circular design with touch controls. It has integrations with Spotify and Microsoft 365 apps. The sound quality is improved by Microsoft’s own OmniSound technology, though it remains to be seen if it can compete with Google’s Pixel Buds and Apple’s Airpods.

See also: Microsoft launches the Surface Earbuds

Pricing and availability

Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 1.3-5 inch starts at US$ 1,599 for the Core i5 variant and goes up to US$ 2,699 for the Core i7 with 32GB + 1TB configuration. Meanwhile, the 15-inch version starts at US$ 2,299 for the Core i7 with 16GB + 256GB and goes up to US$ 3,399 for the Core i7 with 32GB + 2TB variant.

Surface Go 2 starts at US$ 399 for the Pentium with 4GB + 64GB variant. The highest configuration, which is a Core m3 with 8GB + 128GB and LTE variant, will set back customers by US$ 729.

As for the Surface Headphones 2, it retails at US$ 249. Surface Earbuds, on the other hand, retails at USD 199.

Pre-orders for these devices begin today. Customers can head over to Microsoft’s online store to purchase these new additions to the Surface line-up.

Laptops

Report says MacBook Pro 2021 won’t have the Touch Bar

But MagSafe will make a comeback!

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Apple could be planning a major revamp of the MacBook Pro lineup, and it’s expected to go official in the third quarter of 2021. Interestingly, the redesign will include removing the Touch Bar and the return of the MagSafe charging port.

According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo, this will be the first major redesign of the MacBook Pro since 2016. Furthermore, it’ll have square-off sides like the iPhone 12, flatter top and bottom panels, and brighter screens.

It’ll be available in two sizes — 14-inch and 16-inch. And yes, they’ll feature Apple’s in-house processors that leverage Arm architecture. There will not be an Intel option, and Apple’s next-generation chipsets will power it. They’re expected to feature more cores and enhanced graphics.

At the end of November 2020, a MacBook Pro 16-inch with 12-core Apple M1X processor was tipped to be even more powerful than the M1 processor. Earlier that month, a MacBook Pro 14-ich model with Apple’s M1 processor was also tipped.

A report by TechRadar suggested that the 16-inch MacBook Pro model looks a bit slimmer. This could be due to the processor’s efficiency since it doesn’t need aggressive cooling like Intel-powered options.

Most importantly, though, Apple is going old-school and bringing some of the features we’ve always loved. The pill-shaped MagSafe charging connector could make a comeback, and physical function keys could replace the digital Touch Bar. Kuo has also hinted that Apple could provide ports generously to reduce dependence on dongles.

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CES 2021

ASUS unveils its new ZenBook Duo 14

Improved design, powerful internals, and a dynamic ScreenPad Plus

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ASUS continues to push the boundaries of its innovative products. Last year, they introduced the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14, a one-of-a-kind laptop which introduced the ScreenPad Plus. Essentially, you get a laptop with two screens that allow you to multitask and have more creative control. This year, the company is launching its latest iteration of the device, with some changes.

In terms of the overall design, the new ZenBook Duo 14 comes in a magnesium aluminum alloy chassis for a more sophisticated look. As soon as you open the laptop, it will still come with the patented ScreenPad Plus but with a hinge change. This time, the hinges that the ScreenPad Plus rest on are much stronger and incorporate ASUS’s ErgoLift in the process. As a result, this allows more airflow while you run strenous tasks like photo and video editing.

Also, the ScreenPad Plus’ UI gets an upgrade in terms of functionality with ScreenXpert 2.0. With this new Control Center, you can customize the flow of the applications on the second screen with ease. Apart from ASUS utilities and a dedicated Launcher, it also comes with a Control Panel that supports Adobe products like Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Basically, you have more tools and settings to tinker with, to your liking.

All of these comes with powerful hardware to suit the creative mind or the young professional. Inside, the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 sports up to an 11th generation Intel Core i7 CPU and 32GB of RAM. With up to 1TB of SSD storage, you can keep all your work files and projects up and running in no time. Also, you can opt to get the device with a dedicated NVIDIA MX450 GPU.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

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Hands-On

ASUS ZenBook Duo (2021) Unboxing and Hands-on: Double The Fun!

Is it still the laptop of tomorrow?

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ASUS launched their first first dual-screen laptop, the ZenBook Pro Duo last 2019 at Computex Taiwan.

This 2021, the Full HD LCD display might be a drawback from the 4K OLED display. Still, it has a new and improved ErgoLift Hinge that ASUS is proud of. And with power-packed specs, pen support, and dual displays, this laptop might just be for a creative or content creator like you.

More of ASUS’ latest ZenBook Duo in our latest unboxing and hands-on video right here.

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