I've upgraded 7 machines to Windows 10. How many have you?


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+warwagon

Where's the poll?

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+warwagon

My parents laptop and their iMac 27 inch I gave them

My Computers I've upgraded

1) Nobilis i7 laptop

2) Samsung i5 Laptop

3) Theater PC in living room

4) Couch computer 2 monitor workstation

5) All in one computer on kitchen table

6) W500 Tablet

7) Stream 8 tablet

8) Macbook Pro i7

9) Basement 4 monitor Workstation

Computer i've upgrade just to cash in on the free upgrade but they aren't being used

1) Dell Core 2 Mini PC

2) Dell Inspiron 531S

Computers I don't have it running on.

1) Intel NUC Celeron viewer machine for Secure Cam feed over TV in living room

2) Intel NUC Celeron machine (Spare not being used)

3) Server

4) lenovo Laptop Core 2

5) Quickbooks machine

6) PC in theater

7) Computer on repair bench because it's used for cloning PC's and repairing fixing bad sectors on hard drives and retrieving data off drives.

8) 2nd Computer on repair bench because it's used for cloning PC's and repairing fixing bad sectors on hard drives and retrieving data off drives.

9) 7 Core 2 duo desktop PC's because they are all spare PC's I got from a dentist office and they all have Vista Business stickers :(

Edited by warwagon
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JustGeorge

My parents laptop and their iMac 27 inch I gave them

My Computers I've upgraded

1) Nobilis i7 laptop

2) Samsung i5 Laptop

3) Theater PC in living room

4) Couch computer

5) A in one computer on kitchen table

6) W500 Tablet

7) Stream 8 tablet

8) Macbook Pro i7

9) Basement Workstation

Computers I don't have it running on.

1) VNC viewer machine

2) PC in theater

3) Server

4) lenovo Laptop Core 2

5) Quickbooks machine

You have a lot of ######, Mr. Wagon.

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DirtyLarry

Zero point Zero.

Never got the notification I could upgrade. I know I can force it to upgrade but really am in no rush. My only Windows PC runs like a well oiled machine and I want to keep it that way.

So I might not even take the plunge whenever I do get the notification it is ready. Really all depends on what type of mood I am in.

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freak180

Btw WIndows 7 pro Mak keys can upgrade to 10

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oldtimefighter
 

People are hung up on your first question, and its why they are answering because from the question it appears you don't understand why others are not doing a clean install.

 

I did question why every single person on Neowin seemed to be doing a update (and half of them bitching it wasn't working) and nobody was doing a new install which is a valid question.

People were being rude (starting with you) in their replies saying I must not know about the reset option even after I said was building another PC so wanted to still be able to use my original Windows 7 license. Once again, just because one can get the update free that doesn't make it the best option in every case.

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adrynalyne

I did question why every single person on Neowin seemed to be doing a update (and half of them bitching it wasn't working) and nobody was doing a new install which is a valid question.

People were being rude (starting with you) in their replies saying I must not know about the reset option even after I said was building another PC so wanted to still be able to use my original Windows 7 license. Once again, just because one can get the update free that doesn't make it the best option in every case.

 

How people react to you probably has a lot to do with how you have treated them in the past.

Now that the question as to why people are upgrading has been answered, we can all move on :)

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oldtimefighter

How people react to you probably has a lot to do with how you have treated them in the past.

Pot calling the kettle black...

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adrynalyne

Pot calling the kettle black...

I'm not the one acting innocent and wondering why people are rude.

 

Knowing full well you threatened me with physical violence in the past; I'll probably never warm up to you.  Don't ask me to prove it, it was deleted by a moderator.

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PGHammer

Doesn't anyone do clean installs anymore? What ever happened to that when a new Windows version came out it was time to start fresh, backup your data, format, and reinstall your apps? My desktop machine had ran Windows 7 (which I bought) so I qualified for the free upgrade but I bought the full version of Windows Home for it anyway on launch day. A problem free new install and will have no issues transferring it over to the new PC I will be building at the end of the year. I will still have my old product key so this box will go back to Windows 7.

All the stories of people struggling with upgrading their computers is painful to watch. Free is nice but $119 is a small price to pay for convenience with no questions about one's licensing status. It helps I never bothered with Windows 8 so it's been like 6 years since had to pay for Windows.  

Because installing (or reinstalling) old software is a real PITA, especially when it's gigabytes of 7-era or older software.  I went through it once when I upgraded the refurb (that Mom's AIO replaced) from 7 HP x32 to 7 HP x64 (crossgrade - not upgrade), and, given that OS upgrades are far less fraught than they were with XP and earlier, doing an in-place upgrade is far easier; in fact, with Windows 10, for the first time really ever, upgrades - not clean installs - are the default.If you are running 7 or later, unless your hardware is extremely out of date, or the OS itself is horribly configured, upgrades - even from 7 - make WAY too much sense.

 

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PGHammer

Btw WIndows 7 pro Mak keys can upgrade to 10

Why couldn't they?  Other than licensing METHOD, there is exactly zero difference between MAK SKUs and their retail counterparts, and, except for Enterprise (which didn't go retail until 8), they are identical otherwise.

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PGHammer

My parents laptop and their iMac 27 inch I gave them

My Computers I've upgraded

1) Nobilis i7 laptop

2) Samsung i5 Laptop

3) Theater PC in living room

4) Couch computer 2 monitor workstation

5) All in one computer on kitchen table

6) W500 Tablet

7) Stream 8 tablet

8) Macbook Pro i7

9) Basement 4 monitor Workstation

Computer i've upgrade just to cash in on the free upgrade but they aren't being used

1) Dell Core 2 Mini PC

2) Dell Inspiron 531S

Computers I don't have it running on.

1) Intel NUC Celeron viewer machine for Secure Cam feed over TV in living room

2) Intel NUC Celeron machine (Spare not being used)

3) Server

4) lenovo Laptop Core 2

5) Quickbooks machine

6) PC in theater

7) Computer on repair bench because it's used for cloning PC's and repairing fixing bad sectors on hard drives and retrieving data off drives.

8) 2nd Computer on repair bench because it's used for cloning PC's and repairing fixing bad sectors on hard drives and retrieving data off drives.

9) 7 Core 2 duo desktop PC's because they are all spare PC's I got from a dentist office and they all have Vista Business stickers :(

4.  Unless this laptop is running Vista or earlier (and, depending on the GPU, possibly even then), you may want to upgrade if it is currently running 7 - I actually have one Vista-era notebook running 10 Pro with a far-older GPU (it's using the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter driver - the GPU in it is THAT old).

9.  The OS is the ONLY flaw on those (quite possibly literally); Windows 10 runs quite fine on Core 2-era PCs (even those with the AMD equivalents, in terms of age).  Rememberi the two notebooks I have are from the Core 2 era, and the Dead Hardware Express desktop is a dead-stock Q6600; therefore, the CPU is not the issue.  You will have (other than the OS) at worst three possible problems; GPU age, HDD age/size, and RAM capacity.  Fortunately, they are desktops - you won't have the issues you would have with portables of the same age..

GPU - as long as they aren't built-in or AGP-bus, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade.  PCI Express-bus GPUs aren't that hard to find, while suitable PCI-bus upgrades aren't that much harder.

HDD - the choice is platter or SSD; which depends on your budget.  Regardless of which way you go, it will almost certainly firewall your SATA port; therefore budget - not size - is the choice-determinant.

RAM capacity - THE issue in hardware of this age.  DDR2 (not DDR3) is the typical RAM type in desktops of this age; worse, you are mostly limited to two RAM sticks in corporate-stable desktops (Intel's G3x and G4x are the stars of corporate-stable;G3x typically has four RAM slots; however, G41 typically has but two).  Use 2GB of DDR2-800 per RAM slot (regardless of whether two slots or four), PNY is a safe choice here (not pricey, either), and 4 GB is a sensible loadout for any Windows 10 mainstream PC - it's the loadout of the development notebook AND the DHE.

 

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freak180

Why couldn't they?  Other than licensing METHOD, there is exactly zero difference between MAK SKUs and their retail counterparts, and, except for Enterprise (which didn't go retail until 8), they are identical otherwise.

Just a lot of people saying it wasnt possible so I had to try it out for myself

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Noir Angel

Doesn't anyone do clean installs anymore? What ever happened to that when a new Windows version came out it was time to start fresh, backup your data, format, and reinstall your apps? My desktop machine had ran Windows 7 (which I bought) so I qualified for the free upgrade but I bought the full version of Windows Home for it anyway on launch day. A problem free new install and will have no issues transferring it over to the new PC I will be building at the end of the year. I will still have my old product key so this box will go back to Windows 7.

All the stories of people struggling with upgrading their computers is painful to watch. Free is nice but $119 is a small price to pay for convenience with no questions about one's licensing status. It helps I never bothered with Windows 8 so it's been like 6 years since had to pay for Windows.  

I upgraded mine first to take advantage of the free activation, but I have since carried out a clean install.

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JonathanVP

I did an upgrade to Windows 10 RTM to all the computer in my house: 4 desktops and 2 laptops ranging from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 without any problems.

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DConnell

I'm sort of my families IT person and in the last couple days I've done

3 Desktop towers

2 All=in-ones

2 tablets

 

What have you done?

I've got my test laptop running the Insider Preview still. No other machines yet, as I'm not thrilled with the changes.

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oldtimefighter

I'm not the one acting innocent and wondering why people are rude.

 

Knowing full well you threatened me with physical violence in the past; I'll probably never warm up to you.  Don't ask me to prove it, it was deleted by a moderator.

Yeah, after you were making personal attacks toward me. All I said is you wouldn't ever say that to my face cause you know what would happen to you. Don't twist it around...

Please get your last words in as I am done.

 

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oldtimefighter

Because installing (or reinstalling) old software is a real PITA, especially when it's gigabytes of 7-era or older software.  I went through it once when I upgraded the refurb (that Mom's AIO replaced) from 7 HP x32 to 7 HP x64 (crossgrade - not upgrade), and, given that OS upgrades are far less fraught than they were with XP and earlier, doing an in-place upgrade is far easier; in fact, with Windows 10, for the first time really ever, upgrades - not clean installs - are the default.If you are running 7 or later, unless your hardware is extremely out of date, or the OS itself is horribly configured, upgrades - even from 7 - make WAY too much sense.

 

Installing Windows 10 was a good time to take an inventory of my applications and install fresh the ones I wanted to keep and were compatibility. Sorry, a fresh OS install is always going to be better then a upgrade (but may be fine for a regular user). Upgrades are far less fraught now? Did you just get back from vacation or something? There has been literally 100's of comments on Neowin alone with upgrade issues. Once again, I did say it had been six years since my last OS install on that machine so doing a new install is no problem.

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BoondockSaint

I've done my Surface Pro 3 and my Intel NUC based media center PC, both are working great.

I am holding off on doing the upgrade on my desktop as I have far too many work tools installed to risk running into an issue right now - too many projects open for clients. I also do gaming on this machine, so I would rather wait until nVidia drivers have a few more releases under their belt and game devs push patches through Steam for any issues.

I would like to have 8 on the desktop, but not willing to risk losing time if something doesn't work correctly while I am in the middle of work for clients.

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+warwagon
HDD - the choice is platter or SSD; which depends on your budget.  Regardless of which way you go, it will almost certainly firewall your SATA port; therefore budget - not size - is the choice-determinant.

Every single machine listed in that list has an SSD in it. In fact I only recently did an upgrade on a spinning drive and it was for a customer.

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JustGeorge

Btw WIndows 7 pro Mak keys can upgrade to 10

As can Win7 Refurbished keys

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techbeck

So, just upgraded a DEll e6410 laptop.  Only a few drivers were not found.  Had to use Windows update to find the NVIDIA drivers as the generic drivers were installed.  USH Drivers were not installed but the Windows 7 driver worked.  Same for the STMicroelectonics free fall sensor.  Kind of surprised the Win7 drivers worked so something to think about if anyone else has any driver related issues.

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PGHammer

Every single machine listed in that list has an SSD in it. In fact I only recently did an upgrade on a spinning drive and it was for a customer.

The Insider PCS (one desktop and two notebooks) and Mom's AIO - which is all the PCs in the house that are eligible.  Not one problem with any of them; not even the oldest notebook.

Followup - I'll be either upgrading or clean-installing any eligible PC that the owner gives consent to due ENTIRELY to the success with my own PCs and Mom's AIO - none of my PCs has an SSD; Mom's AIO has Intel RST (but also has a platter drive).  HP's Windows 10 Upgrade Checklist - yes; there is one - specifically pointed to a required upgrade to RST prior to upgrading.

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PGHammer

So, just upgraded a DEll e6410 laptop.  Only a few drivers were not found.  Had to use Windows update to find the NVIDIA drivers as the generic drivers were installed.  USH Drivers were not installed but the Windows 7 driver worked.  Same for the STMicroelectonics free fall sensor.  Kind of surprised the Win7 drivers worked so something to think about if anyone else has any driver related issues.

7 and later divers are fine; it's Vista-era drivers and older that are problematical - far too many are based on XP drivers.  Driver hacks are also a problem (my oldest notebook requires a hack to use the display's proper resolution due to the GPU's age).

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DavidM

Zero, One got "upgraded" but was quickly restored to it's original 7 and all the other machines got their updates cancelled.

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      Game updates
      This week was all about game updates on the Microsoft side.



      On one hand, World Update IV dropped for Flight Simulator, featuring enhancements to the scenery in Western Europe. Included in the update are enhancements to regions in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, covering cities, airports, landmarks, and much more.

      Sea of Thieves players were also greeted by the start of Season Two, adding Trade Routes, the ability to purchase resources directly from outposts, the addition of 100 more unlockable items to the free battle pass, and so much more.

      For folks eagerly awaiting the Caves & Cliffs update that’s coming to Minecraft, there’s some interesting news. Mojang Studios has decided to split the update in two, with the mobs, items, and blocks arriving in the summer (the original target of the bigger update), and the world generation upgrades landing during the holiday season.

      Those who enjoyed InXile’s latest release, Wasteland 3, will be happy to hear that the game is in fact getting its first expansion, The Battle of Steeltown. Adding a new location, new mechanics, more enemies, weapons, armor, combat and gear scaling and more, the expansion drops June 3 across Steam, GOG, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and (now) current-gen consoles for $13.99. Game Pass subscribers get at 10% discount when purchasing the expansion.

      And while we’re on the subject of Game Pass and deals, you are now able to download Game Pass games using Amazon Alexa, while the ever-present Deals with Gold are yet again out in full force with The Division, ABZU, Apex Legends, Battlefield 1, and more receiving respectable discounts.

      Last, but most certainly not least, if you’re an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, Uprising and Truck Racing Championship are now free to claim, with Vikings: Wolves of Midgard still being available to grab as well, at least until April 30.

      Dev channel
      Edge is set to get a new Workspaces feature, now available in the Canary channel. Additionally, Edge Dev build 91.0.852.0 is now out, adding Password Monitor for everybody, while the stable channel has gotten version 90, and the Canary variant on Android has received an update too. Chat bubble support is planned for Teams, as is support for electronically-signed approvals. All major Microsoft services will exclusively use SHA-2 starting next month. PowerToys pre-release v0.36 is now out, with a video conference mute tool. The Remote Desktop app has been updated with support for Apple Silicon devices. Logging off
      We end the column with some Exchange, acquisition, and podcast news.



      We’ll begin with Exchange, as Microsoft has released yet another set of security updates for the ever-unfolding Exchange Server vulnerabilities. This latest round of patches comes as a result of an NSA report and, for those not aware, is meant to further protect against the state-sponsored group attacks on on-prem Exchange Server instances, which started surfacing last month.

      Moving on to acquisition news, Microsoft was rumored to be in talks with Nuance Communications, the company behind the underlying technology for Apple’s Siri digital assistant for a buyout. The firm's speech recognition system, Dragon, is used in a number of fields including healthcare, legal, law enforcement, and financial services.

      While the initial rumor pinned the sum of the buyout at $16 billion, the Redmond giant came out not long after to confirm that it was indeed acquiring Nuance, but for $19.7 billion. This is because it’s also taking on the firm’s debt.

      Last but not least, feel free to check out the latest episode of the Neowin Podcast, in which Rich and Joao discuss the shuttering of LG’s phone business, what’s next for Windows 10, and indeed what’s next for Rich Woods, as he will be leaving Neowin. You can check out the podcast at this link.

      Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.



      If you’d like to get a daily digest of news from Neowin, we now have a Newsletter you can sign up to either via the ‘Get our newsletter’ widget in the sidebar, or this link.

    • By Rich Woods
      Lenovo ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 review: A solid mainstream business laptop with AMD Ryzen
      by Rich Woods

      Lenovo's ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 is here, and what you need to know is this: it starts at around $630. While it comes with a choice of Intel or AMD Ryzen 4000 processors, we're focusing on the AMD model here. The configuration that Lenovo sent me is the base model, with a Ryzen 5 4500U, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage.

      And it's pretty awesome given the price. Sure, it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles like a premium laptop does, but it gets the job done. ThinkBook is a brand that's aimed at small to medium size businesses (SMBs), and this is something that fits in perfectly for an SMB use case. It's inexpensive and checks the right boxes, and it doesn't stand out too much.

      Specs
      CPU AMD Ryzen 5 4500U GPU Radeon Graphics Body 323x218x17.9mm (12.72x8.58x.7”), 1.4kg (3.09lbs) Display 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits Storage 256GB PCIe SSD Memory 8GB DDR4 3200MHz (soldered) Ports (1) USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
      (1) USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (always on)
      (2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (data transfer, power delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)
      (1) HDMI 1.4b
      (1) 4-in-1 Card Reader
      (1) RJ-45 Ethernet
      (1) Headphone/microphone combo jack Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 11ax, 2x2 + BT5.1 Webcam 720p with ThinkShutter Input 6-row, Spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight, Buttonless Mylar surface multi-touch touchpad, supports Precision TouchPad Audio 2x2W Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio, Dual Array Microphones Security Power-on password, hard disk password, supervisor password, TPM 2.0 integrated in chipset Battery 45Wh battery, supports Rapid Charge Pro (up to 50% in 30 min) Material Aluminum Color Mineral Grey Price $629.85
      As always, it's worth noting that Lenovo's business laptop prices on its websites fluctuates, so this reflects the price at the time that this review was written.

      Day one
      Design
      If you checked out, say, my ThinkBook 15p review, then you already know what the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 looks like. The current generation of ThinkBooks has a very clear and consistent design language. For example, the lid has that same two-tone design with a Mineral Grey color, using two shades of gray. The ThinkBook logo sits in that bottom half, and it's a clean look without any flash.



      This machine feels solid and well-built. It's free of bells and whistles, but it doesn't feel like it's free of quality. It comes in at 3.09 pounds, an average weight for an aluminum laptop of this size. It doesn't go out of its way to be thin or light, as this is really the type of PC that's aimiung to check boxes.



      And since it's not going out of its way to be thin, that means we have a solid port selection to choose from. On the left side, you'll find two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, meaning that they're good for 10Gbps speeds. They also support Power Delivery and DisplayPort, so you can use either one to charge the laptop, or you can use them to connect a monitor. Being a mainstream AMD-powered laptop, there's obviously no Thunderbolt.

      You'll also find an HDMI 1.4b port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, and a 3.5mm audio jack.



      On the right side, there's a full Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port. Indeed, it's pretty cool that this machine has four USB ports. I feel like most OEMs are using three at best, two of which are usually USB Type-C. With the ThinkBook 14, you get two of each.

      I do enjoy the ThinkBook 14 design, at least as it applies to small businesses. The whole theme seems to be solid, yet subtle.

      Display and audio
      The ThinkBook 14 comes with a screen that's, you guessed it, 14 inches. And it comes in any resolution you want as long as it's 1920x1080, also meaning that it's still 16:9. That doesn't mean that there aren't different variations of the screen though, because there are.



      Like I said, Lenovo sent me the base model, which has a 250-nit screen without touch. There are also 300-nit touch and non-touch options, and you should definitely get one of them. To be clear, 250 nits is a very dim display. In fact, even 300 nits isn't very impressive, but at 250 nits, you'll probably have to use it at full brightness all of the time.



      Other than that, the display is pretty good for what it is. It's a matte anti-glare display, which compensates for the lack of brightness a bit. Lenovo isn't pushing Dolby Vision HDR or anything like that with this one. It's just your basic 1080p 250-nit display, made for productivity.

      The bezels are pretty slim on all sides, with the top bezel being a bit larger to make room for the webcam. There's also a privacy guard that can cover the webcam, so you don't have to worry about putting a piece of tape over it or anything like that. There's no IR camera, which is fine to me since there's a fingerprint sensor in the power button.



      Also, it's worth noting that privacy guards and Windows Hello don't play nice with each other. If you're the type to keep the webcam covered but also want facial recognition to work, you'd have to remember to open it every time you want it to recognize you, which is a pain. A fingerprint sensor works out better.



      The ThinkBook 14 has dual 2W speakers on the bottom that support Dolby Audio, and they're decent. They're not particularly loud or amazing, but they work great for calls and meetings. If you're playing music at your desk, you might want some proper speakers. But for meetings, you won't find them lacking in any way.

      Keyboard and touchpad
      One of the things that I really like about ThinkBooks is that while they're business PCs, they're sort of the anti-ThinkPads. They maintain the same quality that you'll get on a ThinkPad keyboard, quality that it's known for. But it sheds the legacy components. You won't find a TrackPoint here, nor will you find any physical buttons above the touchpad.



      It also doesn't feel as deep as the keyboard on a ThinkPad keyboard. It still feels accurate and it feels comfortable, but all of it feels a bit more modern.

      This is actually an important bit, because this is a premium keyboard. Indeed, ThinkPads are renowned for their keyboards, so when you put that kind of quality into a PC that costs six hundred dollars and change, it's something that's worth noting. If you're looking for a great typing experience in a package that doesn't cost too much, look no further.



      And then there's the touchpad, which uses Microsoft Precision drivers. It's just a regular clickable touchpad though, so it's actually bigger than what you'd fine on a ThinkPad. ThinikPads have physical buttons above the touchpad, which are necessary for use with the TrackPoint. Since there's no TrackPoint, those buttons aren't necessary and Lenovo is able to produce a larger touchpad that works the same way as it would on any other PC.



      Finally, I do want to draw attention to the power button in the top-right corner of the keyboard deck, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. As is always the case with ThinkBooks, it scans your fingerprint when you first press it, so you don't have to touch it again after the PC boots up. That makes it just as natural of an interaction as facial recognition, since you don't have to perform any additional steps.

      Performance and battery life
      The model that Lenovo sent me has an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor under the hood. The 15W chip has six cores, and it does not have simultaneous multithreading (SMT), so it has six threads as well. Along with that, it comes with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It's a pretty basic model.

      On Lenovo.com, you can have it configured with the octa-core Ryzen 7 4700U, which is also lacking SMT. However, Lenovo says that it's available with the Ryzen 5 4600U and Ryzen 7 4800U as well, and those are the same chips but with SMT. Honestly, it all depends on your work load to know if you'd benefit from SMT, and frankly, for a productivity machine like this, six cores and six threads is probably fine.



      While it's a productivity machine, you can definitely do more than that, such as comfortable edit photos and even edit FHD videos. AMD's Ryzen 4000 processors were its first to be built on its 7nm process, and combined with the integrated Radeon graphics, there's a lot that they can do.

      Battery life was pretty great as well, coming in at around eight hours with the lower slider at one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 50% brightness. Honestly though, I did increase the brightness at some point because this screen is so dim that it was hard on my eyes. I do credit that dim display with the excellent battery life that I'm getting.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench, and Cinebench.

      ThinkBook 14 Gen 2
      Ryzen 5 4500U ThinkBook 14s Yoga
      Core i7-1165G7 Surface Pro 7+
      Core i5-1135G7 Acer Enduro N3
      Core i5-10210U PCMark 8: Home 3,451 3,851 3,521 3,344 PCMark 8: Creative 3,712 4,861

      4,192 3,419 PCMark 8: Work 3,584 4,083 3,403 3,513 PCMark 10 4,177 5,105 3,963 3,655 Geekbench 5 969 / 3,142 1,534 / 4,861

      1,358 / 5,246 Cinebench 1,121 / 5,782 1,455 / 4,820 1,235 / 2,854
      I do think that Intel's 11th-generation processors beat Ryzen 4000, although when Ryzen 4000 came out, it crushed Intel's 10th-gen chips. But in fact, it crushed Intel's 10th-gen processors that were being used in business PCs even more. While Ice Lake had the benefit of Iris Plus Graphics, Comet Lake didn't even have that. In other words, whether you choose AMD or Intel on the ThinkBook 14, you're getting a big boost over the previous generation.

      Conclusion
      Most of what this all adds up to is that it costs just over $600. You get a ton of value for that price, including AMD Ryzen 4000 performance, a solid build quality, and a great keyboard. My biggest issue with it is the display, which simply isn't bright enough to get the job done consistently.



      But most of all, this is just a no frills business laptop. It's a good one, which is actually my experience with ThinkBooks in general. They're fantastic PCs but without the bells and whistles of say, a ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga. But then again, a ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga costs nearly three times as much.

      Overall, the ThinkBook 14 just checks the right boxes. The performance is there, the keyboard is there, and the battery life is there. Indeed, the battery life is pretty great, and that's with the smaller battery installed in this unit. Overall, there's a ton of value here.

      If you want to check out the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 on Lenovo.com, you can find it here.

    • By Rich Woods
      Huawei MateBook X Pro review: A great PC with a WFH deal-breaker
      by Rich Woods

      Huawei's MateBook X Pro has long been one of my favorite consumer PCs. It's thin, it's light, it's powerful, and it's just awesome. It was always the company's top-end PC, taking a swing at Apple's MacBook Pro.

      Now, here we are in 2021 and not much has changed. There's a new color called Emerald Green that I'm absolutely in love with, and it's a nice departure from the previous gray color. And of course, it uses 11th-generation Intel processors, but instead of dedicated graphics this time, it uses Intel's integrated Iris Xe graphics.

      The chassis itself hasn't changed, and there's still no webcam in the display. Indeed, Huawei's solution for a privacy guard was to actually put a pop-up camera in the keyboard.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7 GPU Iris Xe Body 304x217x14.6mm, 1.33kg Display 13.9 inches, 3000x2000, 260ppi, 450 nits, 100% sRGB, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree viewing angle, touch, 91% screen-to-body ratio Memory 16GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz Storage 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD Battery 56WHr Lithium polymer Connectivity IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
      2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
      2 x 2 MIMO
      Support WPA/WPA2/WPA3
      Bluetooth 5.1 Ports (2) Thunderbolt 4
      (1) USB 3.2 Type-A
      (1) 3.5mm audio Input Full-size Backlit Chiclet Keyboard
      Touchpad with Multi-touch and HUAWEI Free Touch
      Huawei Share Built-in Webcam 1MP Recessed Camera (720P HD) Audio Speaker x 4
      Microphone x 2 Material Aluminum Color Emerald Green OS Windows 10 Home Price €1,899.00
      Day one
      Design
      If you go back to my review of the original MateBook X Pro back in 2018, you'll find the specs almost identical to the specs of the 2021 model, down to the millimeter and gram. Nothing has changed in terms of the actual hardware, not that that's a bad thing. It's not like the design itself feels dated.



      It still weighs in at just one and a third kilograms, and it's 14.6mm thin. Plus, there's a new Emerald Green color. It kind of reminds me of Microsoft's Cobalt Blue color from its Surface Laptop lineup, a color that it just killed off with the Surface Laptop 4. I'm a huge fan of bold, beautiful colors like this, and I feel like it's something that few laptop makers take advantage of. Everyone sticks to that boring gunmetal gray color; it's like black on smartphones.

      Microsoft is moving toward more subtle colors in its Surface lineup. I'm really happy to see bolder colors from Huawei, although I'm not surprised that the Shenzhen firm can innovate with colors and design. I visited its design center in Paris a few years back and they work on some cool stuff.

      The lid has the word Huawei stamped in it with silver letters, giving it a bit of extra flash. It's different from the petal logo that was on the original version.



      While this is quite a thin PC, it doesn't sacrifice USB Type-A. Indeed, that's actually one of the "Pro" aspects of it that separates it from the regular MateBook X, which is USB Type-C only. You'll find the lone USB Type-A port on the right side of the PC.



      On the left side, there are dual Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. Oddly, Huawei doesn't actually describe them as Thunderbolt on its spec sheet, but the page is very clear that each port supports dual 4K monitors and 40Gbps data transfer speeds. In other words, they\re Thunderbolt 4 ports.

      I love the look and feel of the Emerald Green MateBook X Pro. I can't go on about the color enough. It really stands out from the pack, and it's bound to catch some eyeballs if you're out and about with it.

      Display and audio
      The screen has not changed since the first generation model. It's that same 13.9-inch 3000x2000 touchscreen, and actually, touch support is another feature that made it "Pro" over the MateBook X back in the day. It's got a 91% screen-to-body ratio, because the bezels are just so tiny on all four sides.



      Indeed, there isn't even a webcam in any of the bezels. Indeed, the bezels are about as small as they can possibly get.

      And the 13.9-inch screen feels like a good size. I don't talk about this a lot, but the more common 13.5-inch size with a 3:2 aspect ratio (Surface Laptop, Surface Book, ThinkPad X1 Titanium, Spectre x360 14) always feels just a bit too small for me. I often use two apps side-by-side, so being that 3:2 makes it taller, the screens tend to not be quite as wide as a 13-inch 16:9 laptop. At 13.9 inches, I feel like there's a bit more room to work, and it makes a difference to me.

      Huawei also just makes good screens. The colors are vibrant, and the brightness is 450 nits, which is a proper brightness level. When working indoors, you can set it to areound 33% brightness and still feel comfortable, and then turn it up if you're in bright sunlight.

      In my opinion, you should never have to set anything to 100% in order for it to be comfortable. That goes for brightness, for volume, and for anything else. If you have to use it at 100% in normal circumstances, you're not giving yourself any room for abnormal circumstances.



      And just like you won't have to use the display at 100% brightness, you won't have to use the four speakers at 100%. The speakers sit on either side of the keyboard, and this time around, I'm not finding any Dolby Atmos branding on this machine. Still, the audio is crystal clear and gets uncomfortable loud, as speakers should do. If you care about audio quality and volume in a laptop, this is something that Huawei has focused on since it started making laptops.

      Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam
      As I've said a few times, nothing has changed in the external hardware, and that includes the keyboard. This is where the big problem comes in. It's not the keyboard itself, which is actually quite good. It feels modern, comfortable, and accurate. The model that Huawei sent me actually has a UK keyboard, which took a bit of getting used to, but it's fine.



      The big problem is the webcam. In most reviews, I talk about the webcam in the "Display" section, because on most laptops, the webcam is in the lid. That's not the case on the MateBook X Pro. The MateBook X Pro has the webcam in the keyboard; it's a pop-up between the F6 anf F7 keys. The pop-up nature of it doubles as a privacy guard.



      When Huawei introduced the pop-up camera in 2018, it was a brilliant idea, the same as when Dell used to put the webcam below the display on its XPS laptops to give us thinner bezels. These companies had data that showed that for most consumers, the webcam simply wasn't important, and if it is, you can buy something else. That changed in 2020 though; a pandemic caused a lot of people to work from home, and now that webcam is a staple to our work flow.



      That's the angle that you're going to get from the webcam if you're on a call. Also, the quality isn't particularly good either, being a 720p webcam instead of 1080p, not that it really matters at that angle.



      Next up is the touchpad, which is nice and big, taking advantage of the available real estate on the deck. Here's the twist: it's actually a haptic touchpad. For the most part, you probably won't notice a difference from a mechanical touchpad. When you click it, it feels like a proper click. It's just kind of wild when you turn the PC off and nothing happens when you press it. Actually, it's also worth noting that if the MateBook X Pro is asleep, you can't use the touchpad to wake it up because of this.

      I feel like for most haptic touchpads, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, like being able to wake the PC from sleep. Another thing that's good on this PC (compared to some others) but not perfect is using two fingers to drag and drop something. With a mechanical touchpad, it's fine; you just press with one finger, drag, then press with a second finger before using that to drag. With some haptic touchpads, it doesn't pick up that second finger properly, making drag and drop operations a pain. Like I said, this one is pretty good and you probably won't notice significant issues.

      Speaking of not being able to wake it with the touchpad, you can of course use the power button, which is located to the top-right of the keyboard. It's got a fingerprint sensor built into it, one of my favorite features of MateBooks in general. It scans your fingerprint when you first press it, so you don't have to touch it again after the PC boots up. It just logs you in. Huawei makes really good fingerprint sensors too, so it's accurate.

      One other thing that's awesome is that if you're in the Huawei ecosystem, this thing is amazing. It has Huawei Share built in, so you can tap your Huawei phone against it and share a bunch of photos and videos. Also with things like Multi-screen Collaboration, the company has really been focusing on tight integration between its products.

      Performance and battery life
      The configuration of the MateBook X Pro that Huawei sent me includes an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Indeed, it's the fully specced out model, although the Shenzhen firm really doesn't allow you to make a lot of compromises. You can get it with a Core i5-1135G7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD, but there's no option for 8GB RAM or 256GB of storage. I'm a big fan of not allowing consumers to make bad choices.

      This is actually the first version of the MateBook X Pro that doesn't have dedicated graphics. Historically, it's used something from Nvidia's MX series, which is for thin and light ultrabooks for this. Indeed, the MX series has never been particularly good, but it's always just carried that label of being better than integrated graphics.



      What's changed now is that Intel's integrated graphics are good, really good in fact. It's called Iris Xe, and I assume that Huawei just decided that Iris Xe was good enough to not use something like an MX450 GPU. Indeed, I don't feel like we're missing out on anything.

      Intel's 11th-gen processors are pretty great for anything from productivity to FHD gaming to creative work. In fact, it's worth notiong that with the previous MateBook X Pro, Huawei actually used 10th-gen 'Comet Lake' instead of Ice Lake, so it didn't use Iris Plus Graphics. That means that this year's model is that much more of an upgrade.

      With the power slider on one notch above battery saver and the screen at around 33% brightness, I was able to get seven to eight hours of battery life with regular usage. That actually really impressed me because Huawei's own specs page said that it gets 10 hours of local video playback, so it's not making any bold claims like Windows OEMs typically do. Typically, it's the companies that are promising 18 hours of batter life that are putting out machines that get eight hours of juice. I'm sure that if I left a local video on a loop, it would get at least 10 hours, perhaps even more at the settings that I used.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench, and Cinebench.

      MateBook X Pro
      Core i7-1165G7 MateBook X Pro
      Core i7-8565U, MX250 IdeaPad Slim 7
      Ryzen 7 4800U Spectre x360 14
      Core i7-1165G7 PCMark 8: Home 3,839 3,186 4,566 4,094 PCMark 8: Creative 4,598 3,471 4,861 4,527 PCMark 8: Work 3,541 3,305 3,926 3,896 PCMark 10 4,692 3,774 5,252 4,705 Geekbench 1,518 / 4,929 1,414 / 4,470 Cinebench 1,361 / 4,119
      Conclusion
      There's a lot of good here, and unfortunately, one major deal-breaker. Huawei took what's historically been a winning formula and basically bumped up the specs. It's got a new Emerald Green color and a haptic touchpad, but for the most part, the thing that's new here is the addition of 11th-gen processors and the lack of a dedicated GPU. And being that this has always been a winning formula, it's understandable to see why Huawei didn't think to change it.



      Unfortunately, the webcam is unusable. I'd never show up in any professional setting using a webcam like this, especially when we're well over a year deep into a pandemic. Seriously, we all should have figured out proper webcam set-ups right now where we can at least be close to eye-level.

      If you're buying a PC and for some reason, you have no interest in the webcam, then you're good to go here. I just don't know how common that can possibly be right now. The recent spike in PC sales is due to people needing to work from home, and if you're working from home, then you need a proper webcam.

      It's a shame because the rest of this laptop is just so good. The Emerald Green color is bold and sexy, and Huawei gives us a 13.9-inch display that's just a bit bigger than what you'll find on the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop or Surface Book. It also comes with phenomenal audio quality, better than most laptops on the market. All around, this really is a fantastic machine, just with a terrible webcam.

      If you want to check it out, you can find it here.

    • By Rich Woods
      Acer announces new ENDURO Urban laptop and tablet
      by Rich Woods

      ENDURO Urban T1 Today, Acer is announcing an extension of its ENDURO brand, which is for rugged devices, called ENDURO Urban. It's made for "work and play while on or off the road", and it includes things like IP53 and MIL-STD-810H certifications. With the announcement comes two new devices, the ENDURO Urban T1 and the ENDURO Urban N3.

      First up is the T1, which is a 10-inch Android tablet that comes with Android 10 Go edition, a quad-core processor, and 1920x1200 resolution. It weighs in at 595g or 1.31 pounds, and it's 9.8mm thin, impressive specs for something that's designed to be more rugged than the average tablet. Indeed, it's made from shock-absorbant materials and has reinforced bumpers, along with covers for the ports to keep them waterproof.

      ENDURO Urban N3 Next up is the ENDURO Urban N3, which is a 14-inch laptop that follows that same kind of design strategy with a rugged design and reinforced bumpers while still not turning it into a big and bulky machine. It's 1.85kg (4.08lbs) and 21.95mm thick, and it includes up to an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce MX330 graphics. You can also have it configured with up to a 1TB SSD and 32GB DDR4 memory.

      You can find the ENDURO Urban T1 here and the ENDURO Urban N3 here. The N3 starts at $799, but the T1 doesn't seem to be for sale just yet.