PC gamers used to turn their noses up at laptops, as they weren't capable of playing top-tier games. While most gamers still prefer desktops -- which are more powerful -- there are notebooks that are capable of running modern PC games. Thanks to Thunderbolt 3, laptop owners can even expand their machines with high-end devices, such as PCIe-based storage and even graphics cards.
Today, Seagate unveils two new products that laptop gamers will want to keep an eye on -- the FireCuda Thunderbolt 3 Gaming Dock and FireCuda 520 PCIe 4.0 SSD. What is a gaming dock? Well, it is your typical TB3 docking station, but also, it houses a 4TB HDD for storing your games. It even features adjustable RGB lighting -- something many gamers love. As an added bonus, it also has a PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD expansion slot, but it is only Gen3.
Portable solid state drives are great, as they are fast and very reliable since they have no moving parts. They are particularly useful for content creators, as they often have a ton of media that they need to access quickly. Currently, the best option for those wanting fast external storage is an NVMe drive connected with Thunderbolt 3. If you own a computer with TB3 from manufacturers such as Apple, Dynabook, or Dell, you should absolutely try and get an external SSD that can maximally utilize it.
Today, Plugable is launching such a drive, and it is quite incredible. The drive comes in two capacities -- 1TB and 2TB -- and offers insane read and write speeds. How fast is it? It is rated as being able to exceed 2800 MB/s read and 1800 MB/s write. I've been testing the 2TB variant of the drive lately, and I can confirm that it is fast as heck -- but that's not all.
The Nintendo 64 is one of the greatest game consoles of all time. I remember getting one at launch as a kid after trying (and being blown away by) Super Mario 64 at Toys R Us. Believe it or not, despite ultimately becoming a successful game system, it launched with just two games in the USA. No, that is not a typo -- it literally had a pair of games at launch. There was the aforementioned Mario game, plus Pilotwings 64. Over time, there were many classic games released for the N64, but the sparse launch library was rather shocking.
That's why today's announcement by Google that its Stadia streaming game service will "only" have a dozen games at launch (less than previously promised) doesn't disappoint me. Quite frankly, 12 launch titles is actually quite respectable. Not to mention, these are high-quality games too -- there is seemingly no filler to pad the list. With that said, three of the titles are from the Tomb Raider franchise.
Apple Watch is extremely popular with iPhone users, so you might think that they all also own Apple TV for their streaming needs. Well, while I am sure many do, not all iPhone users are heavily invested in Apple's ecosystem -- it can be quite the expensive affair. For instance, Mac computers are much more expensive than Windows machines with similar specifications. Also, the Apple TV media box is much costlier than Amazon Fire TV or Roku. In other words, there are iPhone users that also own Apple Watch, but use non-Apple devices in their lives too.
If you are an Apple Watch user that also owns a Roku device, I have great news. Starting today, you can control your media box using the wearable on your wrist. Yes, the Apple Watch can effectively be turned into a remote control for interacting with Roku.
Every once in a while, a computer component is released that turns the PC industry on its head. Today, we experienced such an event with the official unveiling of AMD's latest and greatest desktop processors -- the 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper chips. The godlike multi-core processors are designed to give extreme processing power to enthusiasts and professionals. There are two model from which to choose-- the 24-core Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and the insane 32-core 3970X. And yes, they are wildly expensive -- as they should be.
Of course, a new chip generation often means a new platform too, and today, AMD is also unveiling TRX40. There are already Socket sTRX4 motherboards planned from companies like ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI. These boards will all be offering PCIe 4.0, meaning you can take advantage of the latest blazing fast solid state drives. You can even equip your Threadripper 3 build with Quad-Channel DDR4 memory! This is what dreams are made of, folks...
Apple's iPads are all wonderful devices. Whether you buy an iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, or iPad Pro, you are guaranteed a top-notch tablet experience. Believe it or not, they can even serve as decent makeshift laptops too -- when you add a keyboard case. This is particularly true nowadays as Apple has forked iOS into iPadOS for its tablets. The operating system is now better focused for both the tablet and laptop experiences. iPadOS 13 even added rudimentary mouse support, but it really isn't a fully matured option -- yet.
If you need a keyboard case for your iPad, you can always go with Apple's own option, but in-the-know consumers will likely turn to another company -- Logitech. Yes, that company's keyboard case offerings, including the Slim Folio, have historically been very well received. Today, Logitech launches that popular product for the 3rd generation of iPad Air.
If you are a computer enthusiast, you likely have a solid state drive in your computer, but if it a SATA variant, you are truly missing out. PCI Express-based NVMe SSDs are far faster, and if your PC can accommodate such a storage drive, it is well worth the upgrade. Prices on these drives have dropped significantly, making them a "no-brainer" for those that crave speed and top performance.
Today, ADATA launches its latest such drive. The unimaginatively named "IM2P33E8," as it is called, is mostly designed for harsh industrial applications, but it can, of course, be used in consumer laptops and desktops as well. Since it is a PCIe Gen3 x4 drive, it is insanely fast.
The United States is undoubtedly the best country in the world, but how did it get that way? Our military. Look, these brave men and women put their lives on the line so civilians can enjoy their many freedoms. After all, the Constitution of the United States is merely pieces of paper if we don't have soldiers willing to fight to defend it. And so, every year, we celebrate Veterans Day to show our love and support for their sacrifices.
All holidays get commercialized, however, and Veterans Day is no different. Companies use it as a way to give shopping discounts -- and sometimes free stuff -- to members of the military. You know what? Even if it is fueled by marketing departments looking for positive press, I still really like it. Soldiers can get free meals and other cool stuff on Veterans Day -- they deserve it. Quite frankly, it is the least corporate America can do. This year, Amazon is getting in on the action with a HUGE discount on Prime. Just how significant is it? A massive $40 off!
As you may know, I am a big proponent of Linux on the desktop. I prefer Fedora to both Windows 10 and macOS, and I use the operating system regularly to get work done. Over the years, I went from being a minority as a desktop Linux user, to... well... OK, fine, we desktop Linux users are still a minority. But hey, we are getting more respect every year, and people are increasingly turning to Chromebooks, which run the Linux-based Chrome OS. More and more developers, including Microsoft, are releasing software for Linux too.
With all of that said, I probably should be excited that Microsoft is bringing its Chromium-based Edge to Linux. After all, it is another indicator that Linux is gaining mainstream support. Not to mention, who can be mad at having just another web browser option? Me, that's who. You see, Microsoft's Edge browser will NEVER be installed on my Linux computer.
Facebook might be a total privacy dumpster fire that the Russians used as a tool to help elect Donald Trump as President of The United States (allegedly), but it is forever a part of pop culture. Its blue color scheme and lowercase "f" are undeniably iconic. And so, despite all of Facebook's privacy failures over the years, hundreds of millions of people continue to use it daily -- even though those users may not trust it. For instance, I despise the social network, but continue to check it daily to keep in touch with family -- I am deeply ashamed of myself.
In an attempt to rejuvenate its tainted image, Facebook is changing its corporate logo -- not the app icons, apparently. Since the company literally has billions of dollars at its disposal, you are probably thinking the new design is a timeless work of art. Sadly, you would be very wrong, as it is one of the laziest and most unimaginative designs in the history of corporate branding. Seriously, folks, it looks like no effort was put into it. It is literally just "FACEBOOK" in all caps.
While 4K monitors are finally affordable these days, it is important to remember that they are not all created equally. There are varying specifications and features, plus different levels of quality. Ultimately, you should buy the 4K display that best meets your needs. If you are simply using it for computing and consuming media, you can probably get by with an inexpensive and basic monitor. Professionals, however, will need to focus on something more high-end.
Today, Dell announces an insane monitor for professionals that should make both photographers and videographers giddy. Called "UP2720Q," this 27-inch UltraSharp 4K display features Dell's 10-bit PremierColor technology and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity -- the latter can charge a laptop (up to 90 watts) over TB3 too.
Well, folks, the rumors were true -- Google will be buying Fitbit. The search giant will be spending more than $2 billion on the acquisition -- a substantial amount of money even for a company as big as Google. The deal should be finalized next year. The question, of course, is why does Google want to buy Fitbit? I mean, look, Fitbit wearables are cool, but they are very basic. For some, the simplicity is a benefit, as more full-featured smartwatches can be too complicated to use. With that said, Google can easily create a basic wearable on its own -- it does not need Fitbit designers for that.
This is purely speculation, but I am guessing Google wanted to keep Fitbit from being acquired by one of its own competitors, such as Microsoft or Apple. There is value in Fitbit's name too, so I can foresee Wear OS devices being touted as "powered by Fitbit" when it comes to the fitness aspect of Google's watch-based OS. There are likely patents owned by Fitbit that Google is happy to add to its portfolio too.
The upcoming version of Linux Mint will be named Tricia. Why is this? Well, the developers always name the releases after women. For major version-number updates, such as going from 18 to 19, they even change the first letter of the woman's name. For instance, version 18 had "S" names, such as Sonya and Sylvia, while 19 has had "T" names, such as Tara, Tessa, and Tina. And now, we have Tricia.
Beyond the name, there is not a ton to know, but the Linux Mint developers have shared a bit. For instance, there will be three available desktop environments -- Cinnamon, Mate, and Xfce. This is not surprising, as that trio of DEs is typical for Mint. What is fairly shocking, however, is that Linux Mint is sticking with 32-bit. As other Linux distributions kick the outdated 32-bit to the curb and go all-in on 64-bit, Mint keeps supporting those obsolete chips.
Google's latest smartphone, the Pixel 4, is an excellent device. As per my review (found here), I absolutely recommend it to Android users.
While the $799 starting price for the Pixel 4 series of smartphones isn’t as high as some other flagships, let’s be honest -- it is still a lot of money. It is for this reason that you should definitely put it in a protective case. Urban Armor Gear has two such rugged options for you -- the Monarch and Plasma. Not only will they keep your Pixel 4 or 4XL safe, but they look very attractive too.
If you need a Windows laptop, there are plenty of great brands from which to choose. Unfortunately, one brand is no longer available -- Toshiba. Thankfully, its notebook computers live on under a new company name -- Dynabook. You know what? As that Shakespeare dude once wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." And yeah, the same can be said about Dynabook. Name aside, these are the same computers that many consumers have loved.
The Tecra line of business-class laptops has long been admired by in-the-know consumers, and now, Dynabook has refreshed one of the models. The new 14-inch (1080p) Tecra A40 is still beautiful and powerful, but now it is even thinner and lighter. It is just 19.9 mm thin, and weighs in at only 3.24 pounds. Despite the svelte chassis, the internal battery can last up to 13 hours -- impressive. While it does have a single USB-C port (plus two USB-A ports), there is no Thunderbolt 3 to be found, sadly.