13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display reportedly seen with 2,560 x 1,600 LCD, dual Thunderbolt ports
We hope you didn’t want Apple’s little event next week to be a complete surprise. After promises of extra details for a prior leak, a WeiPhone forum goer has returned with photos of what’s supposed to be the active screen and ports of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display that might be on stage come October 23rd. If this is what we get alongside the similarly unofficial miniature iPad, we’ll take it. The possible leak shows a 2,560 x 1,600 LCD (four times higher in resolution than the existing MacBook Pro) and, importantly, no sacrifices in expansion versus the 15-inch Retina model — there’s still the dual Thunderbolt ports and HDMI video that shipped with this system’s bigger brother. Vital details like the performance and price are left out, so there’s a few cards left off Apple’s table, but the images hint at what could be a tempting balance between the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s grunt and the MacBook Air’s grace.
Don’t think that Lenovo is keeping the IdeaPad Yoga’s bendy secrets all to itself: its Japanese partner NEC is bringing a variant of the ARM-based Yoga 11 to the land of the rising sun as the LaVie Y. The 11.6-inch blend of laptop and tablet keeps the signature 360-degree display, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as its more internationally-minded counterpart, and confirms that there’s a quad-core Tegra 3 powering either of the Windows RT systems. What differences exist will stem from the software: there’s hints of a custom NEC app on an otherwise vanilla interpretation of Microsoft’s platform. The LaVie Y should precede its IdeaPad sibling by days, arriving in stores around November 22nd, although any local buyers will pay dearly for the privilege with an estimated $1,136 price. We’d suggest that patience ought to be a virtue for everyone else.
Make no mistake, one of the biggest trends you’ll see this fall is PC makers slapping touchscreens on their current machines so as to make them a little more Windows 8-appropriate. And Acer is no exception: the company is introducing touch-enabled versions of its existing Aspire V5 and M5 laptops, both of which will go on sale this month.
Starting with the M5, it’s the touch-enabled version of the M5 Ultrabook we reviewed earlier this year. Though the standard version is available in 14- and 15-inch screen sizes, the touchscreen model (aka the 481PT, pictured above) will only be offered with a 14-inch (1,366 x 768) panel. This, too, has a Core i5 CPU and 6GB of RAM, though its 500GB hard drive is paired with a 20GB SSD for faster boot-ups. Like the non-touch version, it’s rated for eight hours of runtime. Surprisingly, even though it’s classified as an Ultrabook, it manages to make room for an optical drive — impressive, given its 0.81-inch-thick chassis is still relatively slender. Both machines will be sold exclusively at Best Buy in the US, with the regular M5 starting at $700 and that touch-enabled version going for $800.
As for the budget-minded V5 series, the touchscreen will only be offered on the 14-inch version (the V5-471P). Max specs include up to 8GB of RAM and up to 750GB of HDD storage. (Either way, you get a 1,366 x 768 display, a Core i5-3317UB processor and your requisite Intel HD 4000 graphics.) That model starts at $750, though the non-touch models are priced at $500 and up.
Those in a rush to get their hands on a new Windows 8 computer might have thought they struck gold today, with the Home Shopping Network’s online store offering new laptops and all-in-ones from Acer and Gateway with the new operating system. Contrary to initial reports, however, we’ve learned that even though the computers are available for purchase now, they’re on “extended delivery.” HSN tells us buyers won’t actually get their new machines until between the 5th and 8th of November; well after Windows 8’s October 26th release.
As ZDNet points out, all five machines run Windows 8 (not Windows 8 Pro), and three (the Acer notebook and both all-in-ones) include touchscreens. Anticipation is building for devices running Microsoft’s newest operating system like the company’s own line of Surface tablets, but according to a Bloomberg report, Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini believes the Windows 8 software is being released before it’s ready.
CEATEC isn’t exactly the first place you’d expect a new notebook to turn up, but Fujitsu’s booth had a bit of a surprise on the laptop front. The Japanese company had its Lifebook UH75 Ultrabook on display running Windows 8. That OS is the real news here: no other real specs beside the 14-inch screen we already knew about. Fujitsu said this machine will launch alongside its new Arrows Tab sometime in late October or November. Check out our video hands-on below the break.
We can’t say that there’s a huge cross-section of buyers who want a gaming laptop but refuse to touch Intel components. Whatever the size, MSI likely has that group sewn up with the official unveiling of the GX60 following a stealth appearance at Computex. The 15.6-inch portable is built as showcase for AMD’s latest mobile technology: it revolves around a 2.3GHz, quad-core A10-4600M processor using the Piledriver architecture as well as a Radeon HD 7970M to feed its 1080p screen at full speed. Thankfully, the PC is more than just a marketing vehicle and carries some of the gamer-tuned parts that we’ve seen in other MSI rigs, such as dual SSDs in a RAID stripe, a low-lag Killer networking chipset and a heavy-duty SteelSeries keyboard. Buying a GX60 may prove to be the real obstacle — in keeping with most MSI introductions, there’s no mention of a price or ship date, and none of the usual suspects have it in stock as of this writing.
Aw, wouldn’t you look at the cute little… wait. Right, there’s a Chrome OS update. At its heart, the upgrade to Google’s cloud-based platform introduces a streamlined app list that both occupies less space and carries an internet-wide search box. It’s also possible to save files directly to Google Drive, and audio can now play through either HDMI or USB. Don’t lie to yourself, however: the real reason you’ll rush to update your Chromebook today is newly added support for custom wallpapers, which guarantees all-day, everyday viewing of your most favorite dog in the whole wide world. Or at least, a nice change of pace from Google’s run-of-the-mill backdrops. Isn’t it so sweet?
MSI introduced the GT60 and GT70 notebooks in March, and the latter has already received an upgrade to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 675M GPU. Now both laptops are taking another step up, this time to the GeForce GTX 680M, NVIDIA’s latest GPU, with 4GB of dedicated memory. The refreshed 16-inch GT60 and 17-inch GT70 are available in the US today for $1,899 and $2,599, respectively. Specs remain the same aside from the revved-up GPU; both models come standard with an Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, a 1,920 x 1,080 display, HDMI output, a Killer E2200 LAN card and three USB 3.0 ports. For more info, head to the press release below the break.
Good things come in pairs, right? Earlier this year Samsung revamped its high-end Series 9 line with two new Ultrabooks: an impressively thin 15-inch model, along with a more portable 13-inch machine. So far this year, we’ve gotten a chance to review the larger version which remains one of our favorite ultraportables ever, thanks to its minimal design, fast performance, lovely display and long battery life.
“So what?” you’re thinking. “Why bother revisiting the miniature version?” For one, friends, Samsung only recently refreshed the Series 9 with third-generation Intel Core processors, and we were eager to make note of any performance gains. More importantly, though, the 13-inch Series 9 faces stiffer competition than its big brother. There truly isn’t another big-screen notebook quite as thin or as light as the 15-inch Series 9; if those are the attributes that matter most, that’s the laptop you’re best off getting. But the smaller Series 9 finds itself fighting for space on retail shelves amidst high-end ultraportables like the MacBook Air, ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A, the HP Envy Spectre XT and, well, you get the idea. So how does this $1,300 system fare against such worthy opponents? Read on to find out.
Vizio details its first laptops: two thin-and-lights and a mainstream 15-incher, on pre-order for $898 and up (Video)
Back at CES, Vizio taught us a valuable lesson: you don’t need to be a seasoned PC maker to build a beautiful laptop. The outfit, best known for its value-priced TVs, didn’t dip its toes into the personal computer market so much as plunge in, head first: it teased three notebooks (along with two all-in-ones), each bearing a clean, surprisingly tasteful design. Now, right on schedule, they’re finally going on sale. The company just announced that its first laptops, the 14-inch Thin + Light, the 15-inch Thin + Light and the 15-inch Notebook, are available for pre-order, each starting at $898.
Funnily enough, as much as we’ve written about these laptops, we didn’t know their names (much less specs) until now. So listen up: it’s time for a quick (and long-overdue) run-down. First up, there are two “Thin + Lights” (Vizio isn’t using the word Ultrabook). These come in two sizes: a 14-inch version with a 1600 x 900 display and a 15-incher with a 1080p panel. Aside from the resolution, the two models offer similar specs: Ivy Bridge processors, Intel HD 4000 graphics, SRS Premium Sound HD audio and battery life rated at seven hours. There’s also a mainstream laptop, appropriately dubbed the 15.6-inch Notebook, which offers similar innards, except it has an unspecified Kepler GPU from NVIDIA. It, too, is rated for seven hours of runtime.
Product categories come and go, grow and wither, revolutionize the world and then slowly fade into a state of cold, quiet, everlasting obsolescence. It happens all the time, sometimes over the course of just a year or two (see: netbooks) and, while companies have made billions by establishing truly new categories, rarely has anybody rocked the world by splitting the difference between two very closely aligned ones.
That’s exactly what Apple is trying to do here. The company’s MacBook Pro line is one of the most respected in the industry for those who need an ostensibly professional laptop. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air is among the best (if not conclusively the best) thin-and-light laptops on the market. Now, a new player enters the fray: the MacBook Pro with Retina display. It cleanly slides in between these two top-shelf products, while trying to be simultaneously serious and fast, yet slim and light. Is this, then, a laptop that’s all things to all people, the “best Mac ever” as it was called repeatedly in the keynote? Or, is it more of a compromised, misguided attempt at demanding too much from one product? Let’s find out.
No, we didn’t get the Retina Macbook Air many of us may have been hoping for, but the Apple ultra-portable did get a significant Ivy Bridge boost, including a pair of USB 3.0 ports. There’s also an option to double the flash storage capacity with a 512GB SSD, along with adding up to 8 gigs of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM and Apple’s new MagSafe 2 connector on the 13-inch Air. Base model pricing remains the same for the 11-incher, at $999 for the bare-bones configuration, while the larger Air will be available starting at $1199 — a $100 drop over its predecessor. All of the new Airs will ship beginning today, but that doesn’t mean it’s upgrade time for you. Click on past the break for our side-by-side comparison and a closer look at what’s new.
Last month, Dell announced that its Alienware gaming laptops would be outfitted with Qualcomm Atheros’ Killer Wireless-N 1202 WiFi cards. Aside from sporting low-latency capabilities, the add-on also sports some Bluetooth connectivity. Here at E3, we were able to spend some time with the tech to see just how the component and its accompanying software prioritizes your bandwidth and keeps your Call of Duty multi-player sessions in the #1 slot. The Killer application allows you to set different priority levels for anything that would claim a chunk of your internet connection. For example, if you keep your title of choice in the top spot, the tech will only download files or access websites whenever Skyrim isn’t trying to send hi-pri info across the interwebs. By default the rankings are as follows from high to low: games, real-time chat (Skype), buffer-tolerant programs (Netflix and iTunes) and file transfer or low-level systems utilities. Until the end of June, you’ll only be able to snag the tech in Dell’s gaming laptops. We laid our peepers on the interface at the Alienware booth, so hit up the gallery below to take a look at what you can expect with the UI.
HP has been very eager to take the Envy line in an Ultrabook direction, leaving performance hounds a bit wanting. Much to their (and our) relief, the full-fat Envy 15, Envy 17, and Envy 17 3D have all made the leap to Intel’s latest round of Ivy Bridge processors. Along with the 2.3GHz to 2.7GHz quad Core i7 chips we all know and love, the Envy 15 and regular 17 can get a dual 2.5GHz Core i5 to keep the price slightly closer to Earth. All of them ship with an equally upgraded AMD Radeon HD 7850M to give games that extra jolt of energy, and you won’t find one with less than 6GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. Should you like the Envy’s current formula and just wish it had that much more oomph, you can pay a post-discount $1,100, $1,250 or $1,530 to bring one to your door.
Sony is using its latest product announcement to trim the fat off of its line-up, and one of the casualties will be its multimedia-centric VAIO F Series. Of course, the company won’t be ditching entertainment laptops altogether — it’s just consolidating the VAIO F line into the VAIO S Series, specifically the VAIO S 15. To further confuse the switch-up, the VAIO SE (that’s E for entertainment) is also being folded into the new S 15. Identity confusion aside, what you get here is a 15.5-inch, 1080p IPS display, NVIDIA graphics with up to 2GB of VRAM and various Ivy Bridge processor options (up to a quad-core Core i7 CPU). The 15-inch S Series will start at $1,000 and will be available in black and silver. Sony says it’s good for light gaming, and especially media streaming and programs like AutoCAD. Like the other new VAIO systems, the S 15 will be available this month. Check out the gallery and press info below.
In addition to all the other new laptops it announced today, Sony refreshed its mid-range S Series with a new look, and consolidated its two 13-inch models, the SA and SB lines, into one model, now called the VAIO S13. (There’s also a more business-oriented version called the S13p, which we’ll tell you about in just a moment). Thanks to a magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, it’s fairly lightweight, at 3.8 pounds. Spec-wise, Sony went with Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors, though this time around, it’s missing switchable graphics — at least on the S13. That machine now has integrated graphics only, though the business-centric S13p will be offered with an NVIDIA GPU with up to 2GB of VRAM. The S13p also sets itself apart with features the IT guy might appreciate, including TPM, a fingerprint reader and a hard drive accelerometer.
Across the board, the S13 should last up to about seven hours on a charge, or 14 if you add an optional sheet battery. Also, the company will sell an external docking station with a built-in 500GB hard drive and built-in battery — a first for Sony. We’re told the dock will cost $189, and that you can use it even with the sheet battery attached to the laptop. The S13 and S13p will go on sale this month, starting at $900 and $1,200, respectively. Though the more consumer-friendly S13 will be available in black, silver white and pink, the buttoned-up S13p comes in a more staid palette: black, gold and “Gun Metal.”
The FCC gave us a clue that Vizio’s first-ever PCs would be shipping soon, and the company is now spilling a few beans more directly. Although the official statement is still short on many of the details we’ve been hoping to know, Vizio is promising that the line will launch before June is up. As a refresher, the normally home theater-focused company is planning to go all-out despite being the new kid on the block, going with a trio of mid-size laptops as well as two sizes of all-in-one desktops that rely on Magic Trackpad-like input to draw attention. Mum’s the word on whether or not the 10-inch tablet will be part of the June arrivals, although there’s unconfirmed talk that Walmart will carry at least some of the lineup and trigger some jealousy in the 2012 Vizio TVs across the aisle.
Yep, it’s party-time in Beijing once again. While the PC industry as a whole reportedly grew by a tight handful of percentage points over the past year, Lenovo has somehow managed to continue its long-running growth spurt, with shipments up 44 percent and operating profits up 46 percent. Sales of both laptop and desktop (including IdeaCentre all-in-ones) grew roughly equally, helped along by blossoming demand in emerging markets, while fledgling smartphones and tablets also proved popular in Lenovo’s homeland. The manufacturer reckons it’s now second in command of the market behind HP, although it conveniently disregards Apple’s iPad from its ranking.
It was only a matter of time before ASUS refreshed its line of Ultrabooks with Intel’s new Ivy Bridge chips, but the truth is, the company needed to improve a little more than just the CPU model number. If you recall, the Zenbook UX31 ushered in a modern metal design and unbeatable speed, but our enthusiasm waned after spending a week with the flat keyboard and temperamental touchpad.
Well, friends, it looks like Chairman Jonney Shih and co. were listening: the outfit is about to bring four of its leaked Zenbook Prime laptops to the US. These include the 11-inch UX21A, which you see up there, along with the 13-inch UX31A, UX32A and the UX32VD — essentially, the UX31A with discrete graphics. Though different configurations are bound to vary, they all bring retooled, backlit keyboards, refined trackpads and, of course, Intel’s third-generation Core processors. And while the lower-end UX32A is stuck with 1366 x 768 resolution, every other model — yes, even the tiny UX21A — will be offered with a 1080p IPS display.
Just in case you thought NEC was done with its PC updates this week, the Japanese PC builder has thrown its hat into the Ultrabook ring with a unique contribution of its own. The LaVie Z has a 13.3-inch screen like your garden variety ultralight, but it weighs just 2.2 pounds through a new lithium-magnesium alloy shell about half the weight of the aluminum that some companies love to use. Unfortunately, that weight and the slim frame are about all we know so far: NEC isn’t providing any internal specifications, possibly because it’s waiting on Ultrabook-ready Ivy Bridge chips. Even so, if you’re hanging around Japan and want the lightest possible laptop you can get at a 13-inch screen size, the wait until the planned summer release will feel like an eternity.