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By Rich Woods
Microsoft announces five laptops for education that support 4G LTE
by Rich Woods
Acer TravelMate Spin B3 Today, Microsoft announced five new laptops from Acer, ASUS, and JP-IK. Touted as the most affordable 4G LTE PCs ever, they start at $185. Of course, you won't actually get 4G LTE at that price, because four out of these five PCs use an Intel processor, meaning that cellular connectivity is an option, and will come at a premium.
The most inexpensive options are made by JP-IK, and they include the Leap Connect T304 and the Leap T304, the former of which includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor with integrated cellular connectivity for $229. The Leap T304 costs $185 and comes with an Intel Celeron with 4GB of RAM.
From Acer, we have the TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3. Starting at $239 and $329, respectively. They come with Intel's new 10nm 'Jasper Lake' Pentium Silver processors, USB Type-C, and more. Finally, ASUS has its new ExpertBook BR1100 for $279, which is meant to be rugged and has an anti-bacteria C cover, adding protection for if the device needs to be shared.
One other thing that Microsoft is announcing, and that's the new Classroom Pen 2. Microsoft only said that it has a longer enclosure, but it also costs just $19.99. Finally, there's Reflect integration in Teams, which lets teachers check in on students and just sort of see how they're doing. That's available in Teams now.
Purported ROG Phone 5 photos show a customizable display on the back
by João Carrasqueira
Image credit: Mukul Sharma (Twitter) ASUS was quick to jump on the gaming smartphone bandwagon when those devices started to show up a few years ago, and the ROG Phone has actually been a fairly impressive family since it first showed up. It's not unexpected that the company would work on a successor to last year's ROG Phone 3, and now, leaked images appear to show what the device will look like. The images were posted on Twitter by Mukul Sharma (via TechRadar).
Some images had first leaked earlier in the week, but the most recent leak shows a notable change - the addition of a display on the back of the phone. The display looks like a small strip, and based on the screenshots, you can customize what's displayed on it, but it doesn't seem to have much of a surface area to have any kind of user input on the display itself.
The display is where you'd usually find the backlit ROG logo, and for users that like customizing the look of their phone with different colors, having a full-blown screen does offer some additional options. nubia allowed for something similar with its nubia Z20 back in 2019, though the rear display was also meant to be used as a typical smartphone screen. As for ASUS, we've seen similar customization in laptops such as the Zephyrus G14, which had a series of programmable LED lights on the lid that could show different images created by the user.
Another notable change with this device is that there doesn't appear to be a vent anywhere on the backplate, which ASUS has typically used to help exhaust hot air. Whether that means the vent is now on the metal frame (similar to the RedMagic 5G) or gone entirely is not yet known.
Based on the writing on the phone's backplate, it's expected to be called the ROG Phone 5, and as we've seen with other companies with a strong presence in China, this is likely because the number 4 has a negative connotation in the country. Other brands such as RedMagic and even OnePlus back in the day have followed similar strategies. Typically, ROG Phone models have arrived in the summer and leaks don't show up this early in the year, so we may be looking at an earlier launch this time around.
By Abhay V
ASUS refreshes its ZenBook Duo family with pen support, tilting secondary displays, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
ASUS had a bunch of announcements as part of its CES 2021 lineup, and the list of updates includes refreshes to almost the entire laptop lineup. The devices as part of the announcement include the ZenBook Duo family – the laptops that sport dual displays. The updates to these unique offerings not only include spec bumps but also bring a few new features.
The refreshed ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED houses identical display sizes and resolutions as that of its predecessors. However, the 14-inch secondary display – called the ScreenPad Plus – now features an auto-tilt function that raises the display to 9.5 degrees. The firm says that the angle allows for fewer reflections and improved readability. It also aids in cooling the devices better. The device adds support for a stylus that ships alongside the laptop and features 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. As for custom software, the firm is touting improved multitasking capabilities with its ScreenXpert 2 upgrade.
ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED The internals of the device are being updated to Intel’s 10th-gen Core i9 Comet Lake H-series processors, Nvidia’s latest RTX 3070 GPU, and the option to max out RAM and storage configurations to 32GB and a 1TB SSD, respectively. The laptop now features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port – specifications of which were not mentioned –, and supports Wi-Fi 6 for connectivity. The main 4K OLED panel is PANTONE Validated and VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certified.
The smaller of the two, the ZenBook Duo 14, is now an Intel Evo verified laptop and is also receiving a bunch of updates. The secondary display on this device too features the auto-tilt function that raises the display, but just to 7 degrees. The internals have been bumped to Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake offerings with Iris Xe graphics. It also comes with a dedicated Nvidia MX450 GPU. The laptop offers two Thunderbolt 4 ports and supports Wi-Fi 6 for improved connectivity.
ZenBook Duo 14 The ZenBook Duo 14 offers dual FullHD LCDs, with the main display bearing the “NanoEdge” moniker. The panel is PANTONE Validated and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. While the company does not mention anything in the way of battery figures for the larger of the two devices, it boasts of an impressive 17 hours of battery life for the 14-inch variant.
The company’s press release does not mention the prices or availability of both devices.
By Rich Woods
ASUS's dual-screen ZenBook Pro Duo is $400 off today
by Rich Woods
It's Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday where there are tons of deals to be had. One such deal is for the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, which is available for $400 off on Amazon, so you can grab it for $1,899.99.
The interesting thing about the ZenBook Pro Duo is that is has a secondary touchscreen that sits above the keyboard. It's meant to help with multitasking. Both the 15.6-inch main screen and the 14-inch secondary screen are 4K, although only the secondary one supports touch. For example, when playing a game, you might use the second screen to watch a tutorial.
It's also a powerful laptop. This one has an Intel Core i7-9750H, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD, along with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. There are other configurations, including some with 10th-generation processors, but they're not being discounted today.
This configuration of the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo normally costs $2,299.99, but it's $1,899.99 for today only. You can check it out on Amazon here.
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2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Gaming Laptops
by Anmol Mehrotra
The year 2020 has been tough for everyone as they had to adjust to a new normal of working from home. This has prompted people to go out and buy laptops, furniture and other accessories that will help them improve their work from home experience.
This holiday season if you are looking to gift someone a laptop that can double as a gaming machine, then we have got you covered. While gaming laptops usually are not value for money when compared to their PC counterparts, but they have come a long way in the last couple of years. We have curated a list of gaming laptops that can be a perfect gift for someone you love.
Asus TUF A15
Asus TUF A15 is a budget-friendly gaming laptop that packs a punch. The laptop features the new AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors that are paired with Nvidia GTX 1660Ti GPU. The laptop has a sleek design as well as a full RGB keyboard.
Unfortunately, Asus has cut some corners to bring the price of the laptop down. For starters, the cooling is not adequate and the display has poor colour calibration. The colour calibration will not matter much while playing games but if you have a media-oriented workflow then the Asus TUF A15 won’t cut it. You can check out our detailed review here to learn more about the laptop.
Overall, the laptop, while lacking in some aspects, is a great gift for someone who occasionally games and wants a decent gaming laptop.
Buy Asus TUF A15 ($899) (Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB RAM, GTX 1650) Buy Asus TUF A15 ($986.99) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 16GB RAM, GTX 1660 Ti) Buy Asus TUF A15 ($999) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 8GB RAM, RTX 2060) Dell G5 15 SE (2020)
The Dell G5 15 SE is another very capable gaming laptop. It is powered by AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 mobile processors and Radeon RX 5600M GPU. The laptop has an excellent display and a good build quality. However, like the Asus TUF, Dell has also cut some corners to bring the cost down. The build quality is subpar at best and the heat management is just 'okay'.
However, for work from home professionals on a budget, the Dell G5 would be a great entry level gaming laptop, provided you can add an external cooling fan.
Buy Dell G5 15 SE (2020) ($939) (Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB RAM, Radeon RX 5600M) Buy Dell G5 15 SE (2020) ($1,048.38) (Ryzen 7 4800H, 8GB RAM, Radeon RX 5600M) Acer Nitro 5 (2020)
Acer Nitro 5 is another laptop that is powered by an AMD Ryzen 4600H processor paired with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. The laptop borrows its design from the 2018 Nitro 5 and comes with a red keyboard with no RGB support.
However, Acer dropped the ball when it comes to gaming performance as the GTX 1650 cannot compete against laptops with a GTX 1660Ti. To add insult to injury, the laptop has just 256GB of NVMe storage which is not enough to install recent AAA titles. That being said, the Nitro 5 has an extra M.2 slot as well as a 2.5-inch drive bay.
Overall, the Nitro 5 is a decent laptop and is recommended for someone who likes to game occasionally and does not want to drop thousands of dollars on a high-end gaming laptop.
Buy Acer Nitro 5 ($858.54) (Ryzen 5 4600H, GTX 1650, 16GB RAM) Buy Acer Nitro 5 ($958.43) (Ryzen 5 4600H, GTX 1650 Ti, 8GB RAM) Acer Predator Helios 300 (2020)
Predator is Acer’s premium range of gaming laptops and it has its own perks. The 2019 Predator Helios 300 was praised by almost everyone in the industry. Acer has taken the same design and refreshed the specs making the Predator Helios 300 one the best laptops you can pick right now.
The Predator Helios 300 has an excellent chassis, and it sports a 240Hz 1080p display. There is plenty of storage to install all of your games, as the laptop comes with two M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch drive bay. The laptop is powered by Intel’s 10th gen 10750H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. Acer does have different CPU, GPU and storage combinations available so you can choose the one that suits your needs.
Unfortunately, the laptop is not perfect. The laptop gets toasty under load especially if you are using the Turbo mode that overclocks the CPU and GPU for better performance.
Buy Acer Predator Helios 300 ($1,169.71) (i7-10750H, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM) Buy Acer Predator Helios 300 ($2,121.99) (i7-10750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Lenovo Legion 7i/ Lenovo Legion 5i
Lenovo has achieved great success with its Legion branded gaming hardware. The company’s Legion Y740 laptop was touted as one of the best gaming laptops of 2019. Lenovo has continued its streak with the Legion 5i and 7i laptops. Both the laptops borrow design elements from last year’s Legion laptops and have refreshed specs.
Like the Legion Y540 and Y740, Lenovo’s line up for 2020 includes the mid-range 5i and the high-end 7i gaming laptop. Both the laptops are powered by Intel’s 10th generation processors which are paired with GeForce RTX GPUs. Both the laptops come with beautiful displays and a premium chassis.
The laptops are priced differently but personally, I feel like 5i is a sweet spot for someone who plans to game at night and work in the morning. However, the Legion 7i has its perks including the RGB keyboard and the support for Thunderbolt 3. You can check out the review of Lenovo Legion 5i and Legion 7i to learn more about both the laptops.
Buy Lenovo Legion 5i (starting at $889.99) Buy Lenovo Legion 7i (starting at $1,229.99) Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the more balanced offerings from Asus. At 14-inches, it is one of the smallest laptops on the list but it packs quite the punch. The laptop is powered by AMD’s latest Ryzen 4000 series CPUs which are paired with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650.
The laptop has a clean design with a great display but it is capped at 60Hz for the GTX 1650 model. There are other models available with 1660Ti and RTX 2060 Max-Q but the availability of these vary from region to region.
Like others, Zephyrus G14 is not perfect. The laptop lacks a webcam which can be a deal-breaker if you plan to use the laptop for meetings. This can, however, be solved with an external webcam. Another issue that might bug some users are the loud fans. While the laptop is quiet during normal operations, it tends to get a bit noisy during extended gaming sessions.
Overall, the laptop packs a lot of hardware in a relatively compact form factor making it a great choice for those who have to travel with their laptop. The inclusion of a dedicated GPU means this laptop can handle all sorts of games without breaking a sweat.
Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,197.97) (Ryzen 7 4800HS, GTX 1650, 16GB RAM) Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,599) (Ryzen 9 4900HS, RTX 2060 Max-Q, 16 GB RAM) Razer Blade 15 (2020)/Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition (2020)
Razer has always been at the forefront when it comes to gaming and Blade 15 is no exception. The device again borrows design elements from last year’s Blade 15 but comes with new specs. The 2020 Blade 15 is powered by i7-10750H CPU and up to GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU. The laptop has a premium chassis which does a great job of keeping heat away from your palms. Razer has also introduced the Blade 15 Advanced Edition which is an incremental upgrade to the Razer Blade 15. Razer also gives an option between 144Hz FHD or OLED 4K display and 300Hz FHD or OLED 4K touch display.
While both the laptops are great to look at and can handle absolutely any game you throw at them, they are also expensive. You will need some serious cash to grab one of these and if you are on a tight budget then Razer might not be the one for you.
Buy Razer Blade 15 ($1,299.99) (i7-10750H, GTX 1660 Ti, 16GB RAM) Buy Razer Blade 15 ($2,099.99) (i7-10750H, RTX 2070 Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Buy Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition ($3,199.00) ( i7-10875H, RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 16GB RAM) Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15
Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is definitely one of the unique laptops on the list. The laptop features a second screen just above the keyboard and has a mechanism that tilts the display for a better viewing angle.
The laptop is powered by 10th gen Intel processors that are paired with Nvidia GeForce GPUs. Both the displays on the laptop are beautiful to look at and the keyboard is decent but the small size means you will need some time to get used to it. The trackpad is on the right side of the keyboard and it can be converted into a number pad with a press of a button.
One downside of the laptop is the 60Hz screen that does not do any justice to the powerful RTX GPU. Moreover, the unique design means you will be paying a premium for it making this one of the most expensive laptops on the list. Another major issue that professionals might face is the lack of webcam.
Overall, Zephyrus Duo 15 is a great laptop to own as long as you are okay with its high price.
Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 ($2,949.68) (i7-10875H, 32GB RAM, RTX 2070 Super) Buy Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 ($5,999.99) (i9-10980HK, 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 Super) As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.