Computers

Windows 11 is official with major UI and performance changes

There’s a lot of new changes here!

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This is it: Windows 11 is now official. Weeks after an early build leaked to the public, Microsoft took to the stage to announce the next Windows six years after the last major version. Windows 11 is a major departure from its predecessor, featuring big UI and performance changes.

The new Start menu, taskbar, and Teams integration

Booting up Windows 11, users will notice a new and refreshed experience. By default, the taskbar is now centrally aligned. The system tray (systray) icon also sees some major change while invoking a sense of familiarity.

The Start menu is still there, yet gone are the live tiles that defined Windows 10. Simplicity is the norm here, as the Start menu surfaces app icons and recommendations by default. By the way, the recommendations are now tightly integrated with Microsoft 365 and cloud experiences.

The new Start menu. Image Source: Microsoft

However, live tiles aren’t completely gone. Windows 11 introduces Windows Widgets, which is a separate place for AI-powered widgets. It looks like familiar to the one on iOS right now, and frankly, this is where Windows 10’s News & Interests widgets now reside. Still, it is a welcome addition to Windows, considering that Windows 7 also has an almost-similar functionality in the form of  Sidebars.

Windows Widgets. Image Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Teams are also getting a much tighter integration on Windows 11. Users can now access the Chat from Microsoft Teams right from the taskbar. In a way, it replaces the People section on the taskbar which is gone from Windows 11.

Tighter Microsoft Teams integration. Image Source: Microsoft

Improved window snapping experience and desktops

Microsoft states that Windows 11 “cuts through complexity and brings simplicity.” One way they did that with the new Windows is by bringing an improved window snapping experience.

With the improved snapping experience, users can take advantage of bigger screens and snap up to three windows. A new fly-out appears when snapping with different layouts for the windows. Snapped windows show as groups in the taskbar too, so users can easily switch on a whim.

Improved snapping experience. Image Source: Microsoft

Desktops — a feature introduced by Windows 10 — is also getting some nifty improvements. Windows 11 will now remember the desktops for each screen. For example, users can use a desktop for work and project it to their second monitor. Upon reconnecting to that second monitor, Windows 11 will automatically surface that desktop for work.

Focus on gaming, Microsoft Store gets an overhaul

Windows 11 will also bring improvements to gaming. Microsoft name three big additions to improve the gaming experience: Direct X 12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR. It is worth noting though, that Auto HDR is not totally new since Windows 10 users are also getting that feature.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Store is getting a major overhaul for Windows 11. This is welcome news for many Windows users, as Microsoft Store has been traditionally ridden with problems. Big changes include major UI overhaul, as well as changes to the commerce model.  Microsoft will now allow app developers to publish their own apps and keep all the revenues to themselves.

The new Microsoft Store. Image Source: Microsoft

Android apps are coming along with new app designs

Microsoft also teased major UI redesigns for some of its in-built apps during a separate session for developers. That includes redesigned Settings, File Explorer, refreshed Microsoft Paint and Notepad, and more. The session also teased a new Microsoft Office design. All in all, these designs feature the Fluent Design that Microsoft has been pushing across all its apps and services for the past few years.

A redesigned Settings app. Image Source: Microsoft

Finally, one of the biggest highlights of the Windows 11 is the capability to run Android apps. Microsoft partnered with Amazon to bring a selection of Android apps to the Microsoft Store. Sure, there are limitations on what Android apps can run in Windows 11. However, this is still a big addition to Windows, since users may now run supported Android apps natively without resorting to any third-party solutions.

By the way, the capability to run Android apps is all thanks to Intel Bridge, a new technology resulting from collaboration between Microsoft and Intel.

Android apps on the Microsoft Store. Image Source: Microsoft

Availability

Microsoft didn’t announce any concrete dates for the launch of Windows 11. Rather, the company announced a general availability during the later part of 2021. The new Windows will be offered as a free update for eligible Windows 10 PCs. Users may check if their PCs are eligible through this website.

Computers

HP launches new laptops and AIO PCs for your home office

Bolster your home office

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More than a year into the pandemic, the need for a powerful home office keeps intensifying. Companies are discovering the benefits (or the demand) for a more permanent work-from-home system. Adding more options for workers, HP has launched a flurry of new products for professionals and creatives.

HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 Laptop PC

Even in a home setting, a hybrid device can make all the difference. Taking your work device into several rooms keeps the productivity flow going.

Touted as the world’s first 16-inch laptop with an integrated 5-megapixel camera, the HP Spectre X360 makes it easy to take your laptop wherever you go. The laptop sports the 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD of internal storage, and Windows 11. Its 16-inch frame houses a UHD+ OLED display with VESA True Black HDR and a 16:10 ratio. The battery can last up to 17 hours on a single charge.

The laptop also comes packed with features to make video calls and working much more of a breeze. HP GlamCam automatically touches you up for calls, adjusts lighting. It can also lock your device automatically if you walk away and can blur your screen when someone is peeking in behind you.

The HP Spectre x360 ships in October starting at US$ 1,639.

HP Envy AIO PC

For a more robust office experience, the HP Envy delivers an all-in-one experience like no other. The device is reportedly the world’s first 34-inch AIO PC with a 5K display. It sports an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 octa-core processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, 32GB of RAM, 512GB SSD of internal storage, and Windows 11.

Further, it comes with a detachable, magnetic 16-megapixel camera. HP’s Enhanced Lighting can also improve how you look behind the camera.

The HP Envy ships in October and starts at US$ 1,999.

HP U32 4K DHR and M34d WQHD Curved Monitor

Rounding out the new releases, HP is launching a duo of monitors to supplement your setup. The HP U32 4K HDR monitor is a 31.5-inch diagonal 4K HDR monitor that can deliver stunning images. Meanwhile, the HP M34d WQHD Curved monitor adds in a curved form factor and integrated speakers to a 34-inch device.

The HP U32 4K HDR ships in October for US$ 499, while the HP M34d WQHD Curved monitor sells for US$ 529.99.

SEE ALSO: HP unveils its new OMEN 15 gaming laptop – GadgetMatch

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Computers

Lenovo’s ThinkVision P27u-20 offers more than just a pretty monitor

It’s a workstation hub for your home

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Working from home is now a norm. Even after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, workforces have embraced a more hybrid schedule. As such, home workstations are now the in thing. To help with that, Lenovo is expanding its ThinkVision line to make hybrid workstations easier.

ThinkVision P27u-20

A workstation hub in itself, the ThinkVision P27u-20 offers dual wide color gamut calibrated for color accuracy. The 27-inch UHD IPS display can provide crystal clear images for photographers, videographers, and content creators.

The monitor also acts a hub for your other connectors. It features multiple USB 3.2 ports and Thunderbolt 4 compatibility which can power your laptop by up to 100W. The USB-C ports can also charge your smartphone up to 27W. Besides USB connectors, the P27u-20 also has an Ethernet port and built-in speakers.

Launching in December, the P27u-20 will retail for US$ 769.

Lenovo G27e-20 and G24e-20

Besides the ThinkVision monitor, Lenovo is also launching a pair of gaming monitors for gamers and young professionals. Both monitors blend image quality and ease of use with low blue light technology.

Both also feature AMD FreeSync Premium technology, which can provide tear-free, low-latency images. They have a 100Hz refresh rate and can overclock up to 120Hz for a smoother watching experience.

While the G24e-20 offers the same experience at 23.8 inches, the G27e-20 puts out images at 27 inches and 300 nits of brightness. Both are set at 1080p resolution. With Lenovo Artery, users can easily adjust features within the UI. And, as mentioned above, Lenovo’s EyeSafe reduces blue light output to protect every gamer’s eyes.

Both will ship out starting in October. The G27e-20 retails for US$ 239.99, and the G24e-20 retails for US$ 209.99.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo Tab P12 Pro headlines new P-Series tablets

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Computers

Huawei MateView monitors now available in Singapore

Different monitors for different niches!

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MateView Singapore

Huawei continues to reach out to other market segments, and they are already making waves in the PC monitor market. Recently, the company has launched new PC monitors in Singapore catering to different niches. Professionals, gamers, or just those looking for a reliable second screen have something to look at with these monitors.

Huawei MateView

Leading the pack of these new monitors is the Huawei MateView. Aimed for professionals, this PC monitor comes with a large 28.2-inch display and a crisp 4K resolution of exactly 3840 x 2560. It also has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is becoming increasingly popular for professionals alike. Truly, this is a monitor for professionals thanks to its 98 percent color reproduction of the DCI-P3 gamut and the near border-less screen. It also has a TÜV Rheinland certification for protection against the harsh blue light.

For connectivity, the MateView has two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, one HDMI port, one Mini DisplayPort, and one 3.5 mm headphone jack. Users who wanted a wire-free setup may can make use of the monitor’s screencasting feature, which boasts low latency while supporting up to 2K resolution.

Of course, the MateView won’t be a premium, professional-grade monitor without its two front-firing speakers that produce load and crisp audio. Speakers, however, are not the only thing present on this monitor. It even has dual far-field microphones with noise-cancellation — perfect for video conferences and meetings. All of this premium features come packed in a sleek, minimalist design that blends almost anywhere.

MateView GT

Meanwhile, the Huawei MateView GT caters to gamers looking for a no-fuss yet premium monitor. It also boasts the biggest screen size among Huawei’s MateView monitors, measuring at 34 inches. The emphasis of this monitor is on immersive gaming experience, and it delivers with its 21:9 aspect ratio and 1500R curvature.  Not only that, it also has a 165 Hz refresh rate designed for action-packed and competitive gaming scenarios.

The display is only one factor though for a truly immersive experience. The MateView GT has dual 5W speakers integrated into the soundbar located at the monitor’s base. Plus, gamers can rely on the dual noise-cancelling microphones for crystal-clear communication during extended gaming sessions.

Huawei Display 23.8

Last but not the least is the Huawei Display 23.8. A perfect addition especially for those working from home, this monitor provides unhampered viewing experience thanks to its 90 percent screen-to-body ratio.  The monitor has an ample screen size at 23.8 inches. The resolution peaks at full HD — exactly 1920 x 1080 — with a wide 178-degree viewing angle. Finally, it also supports AMD FreeSync technology — a boon for gamers looking for a budget PC monitor.

Price and availability

The Huawei MateView comes at SG$ 998, but can be had a reduced price of SG$ 858 when buyers purchase the voucher for SG$ 1 on Shopee during the 9.9 sale. The monitor also comes with a free Huawei FreeBuds Studio worth SG$ 398 during the launch period.

Meanwhile, the Huawei MateView GT is available at a usual price of SG$ 798, but can also be had at a reduced price of SG$ 658 with an SG$ 1 voucher available only from Sept. 1 – 8. Same as above, buyers can snag a free Huawei FreeBuds Studio when they purchase this during the launch period.

Finally, the Huawei Display is available only for SG$ 228. Buyers can even have it less for SG$ 30 less on select experience stores from Sept. 17 — 30.

All of Huawei monitors can be purchased from Huawei experience stores, Lazada, and Shopee official online stores. For more information, visit their website today.

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