The latest in laptops
The buzz is about power and selection
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes to more than three dozen
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IF IT’S BEEN a while since you’ve upgraded your
laptop, wow, are you going to be impressed with
the versatility, speed, power and battery life
of your next device. Whether you rely on your
device for work or play, there’s something for all
tastes and budgets. Let’s take a look at some key
trends to consider.
Greater power, performance
Robert Noyce, who co-founded Intel in ;;;;,
famously said, “Innovation is everything. When
you’re on the forefront, you can see what the next
innovation needs to be.”
The latest from Intel is its ;th Generation
Intel Core family, unveiled in August. This new
processor offers a productivity boost of up to ;;
percent compared with ;th Generation Intel
Core processors, and double the computer power
of a five-year-old machine.
These new processors allo w much faster performance, smoother multitasking, thinner and
lighter models (some are mere millimeters
thick), support for ;K video, more reliable wireless connectivity and greater battery life.
According to Intel, more than ;;; mobile
designs, covering a wide array of shapes and
sizes, are powered by an ;th Generation Intel
Core processor. That’s a lot of choices.
New form factors
Another thing you’ll notice when you’re
shopping for a new laptop is how different each
machine looks. Some people want a straightfor-
ward clamshell laptop, but if, say, portability is
your top priority you can choose a super slender
and light machine or you can go with a beefier
desktop replacement, perhaps for online gam-
ing, with a larger screen to catch the action.
Or, you might opt for a multipurpose “;-in-;”
device that is both a laptop and a touch-screen
tablet. That is, you can use the keyboard and
touchpad as you would with your existing laptop,
but you can also use your fingertips on the screen
to tap, pinch and swipe through photos, games,
e-books or videos.
In fact, you can pick what kind of ;-in-; you’d
like: Some offer a convertible style, with a screen
that bends back ;;; degrees on a durable hinge
(which then disables the keyboard underneath),
while other models have a detachable form factor,
allowing you to remove the screen altogether and
take it with you to, say, a coffee shop, like a tablet.
Today’s devices also offer new ways to inter-
act with your technology. Along with a keyboard,
touchpad and touch screen, many Windows ;;
devices also allow for voice interaction (via
Cortana, an integrated personal assistant) and
stylus pen support (through Windows Ink).
With the Windows Hello feature, a device can
scan your face and securely log you in so you don’t
need to type in a password each and every time.
Yet another option is the Chromebook, from
Google. In case you’re not familiar with Chromebook, it’s a more affordable kind of convenient
Chromebook runs the free Chrome OS
(operating system), and once you log in with
your Google account, you’ll have access to all your
online stuff, such as documents in Google Docs,
email (through Gmail), maps (Google Maps),
Google Photos, Google Play Music and more. In
fact, because Chromebooks stay synced with
your Android phones and tablets, you can always
pick up where you last left off.
Updates are handled by Google, so you don’t
have to remember to do them yourself. Most
Chromebooks offer built-in virus protection,
voice search and a long-lasting battery. Because
you’re mostly accessing files online (in the
cloud), be aware you will need a Wi-Fi connection for most tasks, plus the Chromebook
doesn’t have a lot of local storage (which helps
keep costs down).
Don’t expect the same kind of power and
compatibility with software and hardware
(accessories) that Windows boasts, but if you’re
on a tight budget and love Google apps, a
Chromebook might be for you.
A variety of brands offer many different
Chromebook computers to choose from. C