Laptops

Xiaomi has made a low-priced MacBook Air, sort of

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Well, that took us by surprise. Xiaomi, after announcing a Redmi phone with dual cameras, did its own version of Apple’s “one more thing” — it launched a 13.3-inch laptop that looks like a MacBook Air. No, seriously.

Named the Mi Notebook Air, it adopts the clean lines, aluminum body, and backlit, full-sized keyboard of its Apple counterpart. However, it is 13 percent thinner at 14.8mm and 11 percent smaller. And while the MacBook Air costs as high as $1,199, Xiaomi’s first laptop retails at only 4,999 yuan or about $750.

The Mi Notebook Air already comes with an Nvidia GeForce 940MX dedicated graphics card for faster graphics processing and ultimately, overall computer performance, something which the MacBook Air and most other ultraportables can’t claim.

Underneath the hood is an Intel Core i5 processor with an 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 256 PCIe SSD, and an expandable SSD slot for when you want more storage.

Specs of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air's 13.3-inch version

Key specs of the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air’s 13.3-inch version

It runs Windows 10 and ships with Mi Cloud Sync pre-installed, so you can easily sync your phone contacts, photos, and other files. When paired with the company’s Mi Band 2 wearable device, it will automatically unlock when you are near. Cool, yes?

This is classic Xiaomi — throw in high specs and many features into the plate and make the price palatably low. In this case, the SRP can go as low as 3,599 yuan or around $540 if you don’t mind getting the 12.5-inch version with an Intel Core M3 processor with integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SATA SSD.

The upside to that is the smaller model’s 11.5 hours of battery life. The higher-end version can only run 9.5 hours in between charges.

Specs of the Mi Notebook Air's 12.5-inch variant

Key specs of the Mi Notebook Air’s 12.5-inch variant

It remains to be seen whether Xiaomi’s foray into the notebook market pays off, especially since the outlook for the global PC market — including the one in China, where the Mi Notebook Air will be available starting August 2 — is not exactly rosy.

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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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