Archive for the ‘dell’ Category
The updated Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 with its new 16:10 display. [credit: Valentina Palladino ]
Dell is revamping the look and feel of most of its high-end laptops and convertibles this year, and the latest to get a fresh coat of paint is the XPS 13 2-in-1. At Computex 2019, the company showed off the redesigned convertible that has more external changes than its updated XPS 13 laptop—the hinge is different, the keyboard is different, and yes, it now has a webcam that sits atop its display panel.
The XPS 13 2-in-1's chassis remains a mixture of metal, carbon fiber, and, on the white model, glass fiber in its palm rests. Dell updated the hinges on the device so that the new ones let you transition between laptop and other modes more swiftly. The new sequential hinge also lifts the device slightly when in laptop mode, and the rubber feet beneath the hinge should prevent slipping. Like other XPS laptops, it's a variable-torque hinge that slowly lowers the lid when closing the machine and should make opening it easier as well.
I first noticed the new MagLev keyboard on the XPS 13 convertible: the keys are larger, sit closer to the bottom of the chassis, and have just 0.7mm of travel. Overall, the keyboard and trackpad area have a slick, streamlined look that resembles Apple's MacBook Pro—since I regularly use a butterfly keyboard, the newfound shallowness of the XPS 13 convertible's keys didn't bother me. However, it won't be the most comfortable for users who detest shallow keyboards. A new rectangular power button and fingerprint module sits at the top-right corner of the keyboard, giving users one form of Windows Hello biometric authenticity.
AMD wants in on the Chromebook craze. A few OEMs, including HP, Acer, and Lenovo, announced AMD-powered Chromebooks at CES this year, and those devices are just starting to become available. Intel processors power most Chromebooks available today, but now individual customers and businesses will be able to choose from a small, but growing, pool of AMD-powered devices.
Unsurprisingly, HP's Chromebook 14 with AMD processors and integrated Radeon graphics appeals to the largest group in the Chromebook market—those who want a low-powered Chrome OS device for home or school use. Starting at $269, this Chromebook is not meant to compete with Google's Pixelbook or the fancier Chromebooks toward which professionals gravitate. Since the new Chromebook 14 borrows a lot from previous models, we tested it out to see the gains (if any) an AMD-powered Chromebook provides over Intel-powered devices.
Look and feel
Manufacturers have been elevating the look and feel of their Chrome OS devices for the past couple of years as the stripped-down operating system gained popularity outside of the education system. However, HP's Chromebook 14 is one of the most traditionally "Chromebook-y" Chromebooks I've ever used. It's a not-too-big, not-too-small plastic hunk that will fit into most family living rooms well enough. At about 3.5 pounds, it's not the lightest Chromebook ever, but it feels similar to other low-cost Chromebooks in thickness and weight. I do appreciate that HP made this machine fanless, allowing it to remain quiet even when running our most challenging benchmark tests.
Buyers looking for premium Windows laptops today have plenty of choices; every few months sees some splashy launch of a new high-end PC. Ultrabooks have become the standard design for most premium Windows laptops, and they represent the best of what companies like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft have to offer in terms of design, power, and innovation.
If you're looking for a thin-and-light laptop that's still powerful enough to handle work and play with ease—and doesn't run macOS—a Windows ultrabook is what you want. But not all ultrabooks are created equal. That's why Ars has tested some of the most popular Windows laptops to see which are worthy for consideration as your next high-end notebook.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
Dell is no stranger to Chromebooks. In fact, the Dell Chromebook 11 is our current favorite Chromebook for students with its simple, durable black frame and attractive price tag. Most of Dell's Chrome OS notebooks share those useful traits, so when the company stepped out of the box and debuted its $599 Inspiron Chromebook 14 at the end of last year, my interested was piqued.
This device isn't the penny-pinching plastic laptop that so many think of when they hear "Chromebook." Instead, it follows the new trend of high-end Chrome OS devices designed to offer alternatives to Google's own $999 Pixelbook. Since Dell already makes numerous Chromebooks that are generally solid, I was curious to see how the company would fare making a premium Chromebook. These are niche devices that have to tick certain boxes to even come within the same range as Google's own Chrome OS devices, so I spent one day with the Inspiron Chromebook 14 to see just how premium the convertible actually is and if it's worth the extra money.
The heft of the Inspiron Chromebook 14 surprised me when I first heaved it out of the box. It weighs just about four pounds, making it noticeably heavy when compared to other Chromebooks. Even our current favorite premium Chromebook, the Acer Chromebook Spin 13, doesn't weigh that much. Chrome OS is a "light" operating system that's designed to run nimbly on scant hardware, so I question why any Chromebook would be so heavy.
Dell gave its XPS laptop an overhaul last year, but 2019 is all about refinement. Announced at CES, this year's XPS 13 laptop looks largely the same as the 2018 model, but it has a few new and improved features that attempt to right some of the wrongs of the previous generation.
The "wrong" that we've harped on the most since the XPS line arrived was its up-nose webcam. That strange webcam placement became a mainstay on the XPS 13 for years—even when other Dell laptops didn't have it. Finally, Dell has done away with that and managed to stick a custom-made, minuscule webcam inside the top, thread-thin bezel of the XPS 13's display.
Those who don't use laptop webcams may roll their eyes at this change, but it's an important one to call out especially when discussing Dell's newest edition of its flagship laptop. With that change and others, Dell is hoping it has created a near-perfect Ultrabook. But how close has the company actually gotten to achieving that goal?
Chromebooks dominated the affordable laptop scene in 2018. The same wasn't true just a few years ago, when most were unclear what to do with Google's browser-based operating system. But now, after Chromebooks have successfully infiltrated the education market, users both young and old are familiar with Chrome OS.
Chrome OS runs exclusively on Chromebooks, the name for the laptops, two-in-ones, and now tablets that run Google's operating system. If you've used the Chrome Web browser before, you know how to use Chrome OS—the browser is the portal to nearly everything you can do on Chrome OS. Google created an operating system that's simple to use, efficient, and low maintenance in the sense that it doesn't take a ton of power to run a Chromebook well.
All of those factors, plus the recent introduction of Android apps into the ecosystem, have made Chromebooks popular with younger users, teachers, and anyone who works and plays primarily within the confines of the Chrome Web browser.
No, your eyes do not deceive you. Dell unveiled the newest version of its XPS 13 laptop at CES today, and it fixes arguably the most frustrating problem with the Ultrabook: that pesky up-nose webcam. Dell removed it and instead put its smallest camera yet on top of the device's display, in addition to other new improvements that update the laptop for 2019.
The new webcam measures just 2.25mm, allowing Dell to embed it in the Infinity Edge bezel on top of the touchscreen. For years, the lower-bezel placement of the webcam marred the XPS 13. While some may not use the webcam on their laptop often, others need it for conferencing and video chats. The old webcam placement made doing those things difficult, as users were always shown at an unflattering angle.
CES 2019 is officially underway, which means the time has come for every gaming PC maker under the sun to introduce new hardware. Dell and its Alienware subsidiary are no exception, and on Tuesday, the latter announced a new flagship gaming laptop called the Area-51m.
The 17-inch notebook will be available on January 29 starting at $2,549. That's expensive, but the Area-51m appears to pack the kind of high-end power you'd expect for that price. Alienware says it will include Intel's 9th-generation desktop CPUs and what the company says are the "full-fat" versions of Nvidia's GeForce RTX GPUs. The entry-level model comes with a six-core Core i7-8700 chip and RTX 2060 with 6GB GDDR6 video memory, but those can be upgraded up to an eight-core i9-9900K and RTX 2080 with 8GB GDDR6 if desired.