Chromebook represents a philosophical change -- a quiet revolution -- in personal computing, where relevance moves from hardware and software to electrical service-like cloud utility. In this brave new world, Chromebook is an appliance meeting most desktop needs, and pricing is closer to microwave ovens than to traditional PCs.
Nowhere is there more receptiveness to adaptation, or willingness to lead technological revolution, than the education market. There is historical precedent and fortunate timing: Chromebook fits neatly. Cost is low, utility is high, and familiarity is great. What is more natural to Millennial students than the web browser? They are accustomed to breathing the cloud's rarefied air and enjoying the benefits of anytime, anywhere computing -- freedom to float. Dell Chromebook 11 is primed for educational use while, unlike Lenovo's model, being easily purchased by anyone. This review addresses the computer's suitability for students, teachers, or you.
If Goldilocks visited the bears' home and tried tablets instead of porridge and beds, Google Nexus 7 would be too small. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.1 would be too big. But Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 would be just right. This tweener tab is optimal size, packs bright breathtaking display, and is easily used for many hours with minimal eye, hand, or arm strain. While screen size and design concepts are little changed from the previous model, the HDX is thinner, lighter, higher-resolution, and well-matched to a bizarre-looking but beneficial case cover.
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is a nearly perfect Android tablet -- that is for anyone buying into the Amazon lifestyle. If I were asked to recommend any tab, the HDX would be one, and iPad Air the other. Both share similar usability benefits and tightly-integrated content and commerce stores, supporting services, and appealing apps. In late November, I put both tablets on my list of favorite products for 2013.
I struggle to aptly describe my feelings about Acer's affordable touchscreen Chromebook. The C720P is the lover you keep in the dark, for the benefits, but which you wouldn't be seen with in the daylight. Performance and battery life are wow-worthy. But the plastic exterior looks and feels cheap, and the touchscreen is too dim -- well, for my tastes.
More than two months now using the C720P, I like the computer least of all the Chromebooks to pass my way. I really want to love the laptop, and maybe you will. Perhaps experience using other Chromebooks soils my perception, and I am too quick to compare. That's why I sought, and got, reaction from C720P owners, many of which are more forgiving about appearances for performance benefits. Their responses are essential to this review.
Many new smartphone shoppers will compare the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5, which are about the same size, offer similar high-end features, run Android (with customized user interfaces), and arrived in U.S. retail stores within days of one another. But since I move from iPhone 5s to what henceforth will be referred to as The One, the two devices are uniquely attractive, and both pack bleeding-edge cameras, my comparison is more Apple to oranges. If iPhone 5s is high up your shopping list don't buy without first considering The One. It's my choice, although granted it might not be best for you.
I moved from the original One, the M7, to the 5s a few months ago. You might laugh at the reason. I find that my daughter, who shuns Androids for Apples, is more likely to text message when we both use iPhones. She is away at college. But the 5s, like iPhone 5, immediately disappointed for phone calling. Reception tends to breakup in my neighborhood on both devices, using AT&T or T-Mobile. Calling is superior and adequate on either One, and even better on the Moto X. The One illuminates the Apple's inadequacies, which simply are unacceptable coming from the company that popularized touchscreen smartphones.
Smartphones are very personal -- one device cannot fit all. Some people love the phablet craze, declaring enormous devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as the best. However, others will say it is too big. Even more will decry the fact that it runs Android and not their favorite mobile OS of choice, iOS or Windows Phone.
So, in reality, if a reviewer says something is the best, or perfect, it is the best or perfect for them. For you, maybe it would be a poor choice. But, if you do prefer Android, the nice thing is, those devices come in many shapes and sizes, so you can make your own choice. With all of that said, for me, the HTC One (M8) is the best Android phone available and it is damn-near perfect, save for a few minor gripes.
For many, small tablets are synonymous with low cost. This is thanks to Android tablets like the Nexus 7, which is great. While there is nothing wrong with being inexpensive, many of those Android tablets are also of poor quality -- the market is flooded with no-name variants. This has given small tablets a bad name. Small Windows tablets have been hit or miss. There have been duds such as the Acer Iconia W3 and good ones such as the Lenovo Miix 2 8. What has eluded the market thus far, is a great one.
The ThinkPad name is synonymous with business-class quality and durability. The laptops under this branding are known to be rugged, but elegant too. Leonovo only designates this moniker to computers that meet a certain high standard. So when given the opportunity to review an 8.3 inch ThinkPad tablet, I was excited for a quality product. Is it the great tablet we have been waiting for?
When it comes to technology, many things are personal. Some prefer an iPad, while others opt for an Android or Windows tablet. The best thing is choice, and there is no shortage of that on the market -- in fact, the amount of new products amounts to sensory overload.
Oddly enough, few things are more personal than a mouse. That seems an odd item, but it rings true -- there are ones that are travel-size, while others are designed for the PC gamer and offer a dizzying amount of buttons. There is the standard model, the wireless USB and the Bluetooth. The options are almost overwhelming, though the average computer user likely just opts for a standard size, wired USB model -- probably the one that came with the computer.
For jotting down digital notes, I prefer Evernote over any other app, including Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote. The main thing I like about it is the superb platform availability that allows me to use the service on every laptop, smartphone and tablet that I own. The sharing feature is also great; my girlfriend and I can seamlessly share and edit each other's notes and notebooks.
While Google Keep is not yet a strong contender for me, OneNote can be as good as Evernote. Some would argue it is even better. Because both my girlfriend and I use Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Microsoft's app would appear to be a natural choice. But, the lack of support for OS X means OneNote is a no-go, as I cannot use it on my MacBook Air. Until now.
During the month of November, the advertisements for Black Friday sales start coming fast and furious. It is easy to miss the truly good deals among the noise. However, one such sale caught my eye -- a 27-inch LED LCD monitor by AOC for $179. When I worked at CompUSA, I sold many AOC monitors and really liked them. Not only were they inexpensive, but they proved to be reliable.
According to the monitor manufacturer, "the limited time promotion on the e2752she is available Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 at Office Depot, OfficeMax, Best Buy, Newegg, Staples and Amazon, among other retailers". In anticipation of the sale, I obtained this model to see if it is worth your money on Black Friday.
Whenever I buy anything, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is always with me. Whether it is a computer, a car or deli cold cuts, I am willing to spend more for quality. However, I do not just throw money around -- I prefer quality and value. Shoes are something I wear every day, so I am willing to spend a lot for comfort. In other words, I know where not to be cheap. Much like shoes, I use a mouse every day too. Sure, I can buy an inexpensive mouse, and it will be functional, but since I use it so much, don't I deserve the best? I think so.
I've been using a high-end mouse for a few weeks, the Feenix Nascita 2014. This is a peripheral from a relative newcomer to the industry -- Feenix Gaming LLC. Please read on, to learn of my thoughts and impressions.
While I love Android, I am open-minded. Despite the fact that I collect Android figures, I am no "fan-boy" of Google's mobile operating system. My choice to use the OS is because I like it. Over the years, I have tried Palm OS, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone -- all of these smartphone-focused operating systems are good in their own ways. However, I fell in love with the counter-culture aspect of Android -- hacking, rooting, flashing roms; it was fun.
The holy grail of this sub-culture of Android is the Nexus smartphone. You see, these phones are easy to tinker with because you can easily unlock the bootloader, plus they have a pure Android experience. The newest such smartphone, the Nexus 5, has the Android community giddy with excitement. The phone sold out almost immediately and it is currently on backorder for weeks. If you check eBay, you will find the device selling for more than MSRP. You must be thinking that this phone is amazing right? I am sorry to say it's not. It's just OK. It's also one of the best Android phones you can buy. Confused? Read on.
Another busy week with more news than you could shake a stick at. Following the release of KitKat, Google was riding high as figures revealed that Jelly Bean is now installed on more than half of Android devices. It’s a similar story for Microsoft. Its previous operating system, Windows 7, is still the most popular while growth for Windows 8 and 8.1 remains slow. It was better news for Windows Phone which is making serious inroads into Android and iOS's share of the mobile market in Europe, and even managed to overtake Apple in Italy.
It seems that more people want to be able to use the latest and greatest version of Android, and following the announcement that the Galaxy Nexus would not receive a KitKat update, a petition was quickly launched to try to change Google's mind. Showing that the march of progress will always leave casualties, Google announced that Internet Explorer 9 will no longer be supported by Google Apps, and Windows 7 users gained Internet Explorer 11. To push the launch, Microsoft unveiled a new Anime ad campaign focusing on the browser's improved security.
In late-July 2012, Microsoft launched Outlook.com, a new consumer-oriented email service set to replace the cluttered and dated Hotmail. Its long-term mission would be to take on Google's prevalent Gmail and establish itself as a product with widespread appeal. By grandfathering-in those who used Hotmail, Microsoft announced, in early-May 2013, Outlook.com had reached 400 million users.
I delivered my review of Outlook.com two days after its launch. My impressions were positive for a product that, at the time, was still undergoing testing (the official public launch happened in late-February 2013). Still, I concluded that the service was not up to par with Gmail, because it was missing key functionality. But lots of things have changed in the meantime, which is why I decided to write this long-term review of Outlook.com, outlining the most important changes and detailing the positives and negatives of the service, now that it has reached maturity.
The Android operating system and school of thought are undergoing a major change; a sea change brought on by the Motorola Moto X and its voice interaction. After using it, I remarked that specifications and benchmarks melted away and I was enveloped in the experience. However, not everyone wants to interact with their smartphone using voice. Some people, myself sometimes included, just want to touch a big beautiful display and have the best specs and most bragging rights... and that's OK. People are different as is their usage.
The LG G2 represents Android's old-school, previous school of thought. It is fast and flashy and will trounce the Moto X in speed. However, the phone infamously has a new trick up its sleeve by assigning the buttons to the rear. This feature stole the focus from the device in the media and rightfully so. After all, it is an out-of-the-box approach that people just haven't seen before. I have been using this smartphone for a couple of weeks now and I finally feel ready to share what it is and what is isn't. At the end of this article, you will find out whether I can recommend it or not.
Many people reading this review tangle up in features. They have a spec-sheet mindset that obscures seeing some products' benefits. Google gets the difference, and you should too. The paper holder that wraps around a Starbucks coffee cup is a feature. Protecting your hand from burning is a benefit. While related, the two are distinct. Any evaluation of Chromebook -- or any other thing to be purchased -- should focus on benefits first. Specs are a distraction.
In offering my first impressions about HP Chromebook 11, I step back from features and focus on benefits and who gets the most from them. Based on the out-of-the-box experience, for most people reading this review, I would not recommend the computer, which Google co-designed, over Intel Haswell-based Chromebooks. However, keeping with suspicions expressed yesterday, the tiny Chromebook would be right for students. Design, size, portability, functionality and value for price offer the right mix of benefits for preschool-to-grade 12 students. HP Chromebook 11 is what white MacBook was to kids last decade.