Category: Electronic Product Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Windows 10 hybrid has LTE, runs for two work days – CNET

Samsung Galaxy Book2

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Samsung continues its push into the the always-on, always-connected future with the Galaxy Book2. 

The $1,000 Windows 10 two-in-one tablet PC is one of the first to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 platform designed specifically for Windows computers.

The chipset, which was announced at Computex 2018 in June, promises better performance than first-gen models running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 platform while delivering longer battery life and Gigabit LTE connectivity. For the Galaxy Book2, Samsung said it will run for up to 20 hours, which essentially adds up to more than two work days.

Samsung has been out in front this year when it comes to adding LTE connectivity to its devices, too. In August, it released an LTE version of its Galaxy Tab S4, an Android tablet with a desktop interface for increased productivity and on Oct. 12 Samsung announced its Chromebook Plus V2 will be available with LTE support

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Having built-in LTE means you’ll be able to connect anywhere you have cell service without worrying about sketchy Wi-Fi networks or tethering to a phone or mobile hotspot. But it does also mean you’ll also have to add the Book2 to your data plan. Samsung says the Book2 will be available from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon

Top SpecsQualcomm Snapdragon 850 (quad 2.96GHz + Quad 1.7GHz)
Qualcomm X20 Gigabit LTE, 802.11ac 4GB of memory128GB of storageUSB Type-C (2), microSD, 3.5mm headphone jack
8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front camerasWindows 10S

The Galaxy Book2 is one of the first PCs to use the Snapdragon 850 along with Lenovo’s Yoga C630 WOS, a 13.3-inch two-in-one expected to be available in November. The Book2 is built around a 12-inch super AMOLED 2160×1440-pixel resolution touch display. It will be bundled with its keyboard cover and S Pen for writing and drawing on the screen.   

The Samsung Galaxy Book2 will be available online at ATT.com, Microsoft.com and Samsung.com for $1,000 (approximately £765, AU$1,400) starting Nov. 2. It will be available in Verizon, AT&T and Sprint stores later in the month. 

2019 GMC Sierra review: Don't sweat the truck stuff – Roadshow

The 2019 GMC Sierra, like every other pickup truck on the market, needs to be two vehicles in one. With prices creeping ever skyward, it’s important to pick a truck that can handle both work and play with aplomb, and the new Sierra does just that. All the traditional truck stuff — towing, hauling, etc. — gets handled with complete competency, with some extra credit for a unique trick in the bed. In its secondary job as a family vehicle, it succeeds thanks to GM’s tech-forward feature lineup. No matter which job it’s time for, the Sierra is ready to clock in.

Design avoids the ugly stick, new tailgate impresses

Both the GMC Sierra and its Chevrolet Silverado sibling get major updates for the 2019 model year. While the Silverado’s scrunched front end isn’t for everyone, the Sierra wears a design that’s a bit more traditional. Sure, the grille makes up 90 percent of the front end, but it blends well with the rest of the truck’s blocky good looks, casting an imposing shadow over most other cars on the road.

The rear end keeps GM’s clever inset bumper step, and while I think it’s sort of ugly, its practicality can’t be beat. However, it might not be necessary if your Sierra packs the same MultiPro tailgate that my SLT-trim tester does. It’s a tailgate within a tailgate that can act as a laptop stand, a big ol’ step or a temporary bed extender. It’s some truly clever stuff that should help the Sierra stand out with buyers.

The interior keeps it pretty simple. There’s no major redo here — instead, GMC goes for the familiarity play with a layout that’s largely the same as before. My crew-cab tester has two very spacious rows of seats wrapped in comfortable leather, and the front row seats are separated with a center console capable of holding every tchotchke accumulated across a lifetime, including enough space under the armrest for an entire purse.

My favorite feature in the Sierra is the electronic parking brake, which is a single button that can only be pushed one way. I don’t have to fumble to remember whether engaging the brake requires a pull or a push — if it’s on, the button turns it off, and if it’s off, the button turns it on. It’s the little things, you know?

It’s a lot of grille, but somehow, it works.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow Capable without being uncomfortably rugged

Not everyone will buy a 2019 Sierra for truck stuff, but people who regularly tow or haul won’t be lacking for capability. Spec the Sierra with a crew cab, the optional 6.2-liter V8 and an $850 trailering package for its improved cooling, a beefier suspension and a different rear axle ratio, and this truck will tow 12,100 pounds. If payload is more important, ditch the 6.2-liter V8 (but keep the crew cab and trailering package) and the Sierra will haul 2,140 pounds of whatever.

My tester is optioned out for max trailering, so it has all

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 review: A faster Surface Laptop 2 is back, now in black – CNET

Last year’s Surface Laptop from Microsoft broke the mold for Surface devices. Microsoft had spent a good part of the past half-decade pushing the idea of Windows-powered slates and two-in-one hybrids, eventually becoming the standard bearer for the category with the best-in-class Surface Pro line. But the Surface Laptop was something different. It was a slim, premium laptop designed to compete with the Dell XPS, HP Spectre and Apple MacBook Air laptops of the world.

The Surface Laptop borrowed more than it invented, but it did an excellent job of synthesizing a greatest-hits high-end laptop, with a slim, modern design, great 12.3-inch touchscreen, good keyboard and touchpad combo and even a decent set of ports. It wasn’t necessarily better than those other laptops, but it was at least in the running, and provided a real alternative to the same familiar shapes seen in every coffee shop and classroom. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The Surface Laptop’s one big innovation was a fabric-covered interior, using an artificial material called alcontera, perhaps best known for its role in the boat upholstery industry. The fabric surfaces ended up being much sturdier and more stain-resistant than I expected, and I’ve become a fan.

You can read a deeper dive into the use of fabric in the Surface Laptop design in our review of the 2017 version

Surface Laptop 2 Price as reviewed $1,299 Display size/resolution 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 touch display CPU 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U Memory 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866MHz Graphics 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620 Storage 256GB SSD Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

In the year-plus since the original Surface Laptop, it’s remained near the top of my premium slim laptop list, in part because the official Microsoft Store and other retailers often had steep discounts on the base model.

Now that there’s a new version, unimaginatively named Surface Laptop 2 ($999 at Microsoft Store), and that means the starting price is bouncing back to $999. As I liked the Surface Laptop, it should come as no surprise that I like the Surface Laptop 2, but that’s because they’re nearly identical. The outer form is unchanged, with the exception of a new matte black color option. There’s still a USB-A port and mini-DisplayPort, but no USB-C or HDMI. 

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review: Racing ahead of last year's model – CNET

The Surface Pro has proven to be a tough act to follow. Microsoft has been the two-in-one standard bearer for the past several years, as successive generations of Surface Pro became the default idea of what a Windows tablet/laptop hybrid should be. But it’s also been a hard idea to move away from, and the changes in the last few versions of the Surface Pro have been almost imperceptible, in both design and performance.

As if to remind us that this is indeed a new model, Microsoft has ditched the last couple of years of just calling this device Surface Pro and gone back to numbered versions, naming this the Surface Pro 6 (I had honestly lost count by this point). 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

That’s a good thing, because at least from the outside, it would appear that not much else at all has changed about the Surface Pro aside from its low-key new matte black color option. The Surface Pro 6 still has a screen bezel that’s on this thick side, unlike many modern laptops, tablets and hybrids that are shaving screen borders down. It still sits awkwardly on the knee (or lap), and it still includes only minimal ports, without even the increasingly popular USB-C.

Still the best little touches 

At the same time, it also still has the best-engineered kickstand I’ve found in a tablet, capable of nearly (but not quite) 180 degrees of stable articulation. It still has a 3:2 aspect ratio on its 12.3-inch high-res display, which is great for reading and working on documents, thanks to more vertical headroom than the average laptop. 

It also still supports the best clip-on keyboard in the (short) history of clip-on Windows tablet keyboards. But yes, before you ask, the keyboard still doesn’t come included in the box, and it’s still a major extra expense. The Pro covers are $159 for the blue, gray or burgundy versions, but fortunately only $129 (£124/AU$199) for the black version that matches the new black color option. 

The stylus, which Microsoft calls the Surface Pen, is unchanged, although also available in black, and it’s among the best drawing and sketching tools for PC users outside of a full pro-level Wacom setup (and maybe even better in some cases). That’s an extra $99/£99/AU$139, but it’ll work on any product in the Surface line. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Surface Pro 6 configurations run from $899 to $2,299, depending on RAM, storage and processor options. Starting prices are £879 in the UK and AU$1,349 in Australia. But even the most expensive one arrives with only a naked slate in the box, no keyboard or pen (despite the fact that almost all of the marketing around Surface Pro involves seeing it matched with the keyboard and often the $99 add-on stylus). Likewise, the new black color is only available on a step-up $1,199 configuration with 256GB of internal storage (£1,149 or AU$1,849). That’s an extra $300 for an additional 128GB of SSD space, which feels steep. 

Surface

Uber And Lyft Plan To Offer Free And Discounted Rides On Election Day

With less than a month until the 2018 midterms, ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft have announced plans to offer free and discounted rides to the polls. 

In partnership with #VoteTogether and Democracy Works, Uber will provide free rides to those who need transportation on Nov. 6. Customers will also be able to use the ‘Get to the polls’ button in their app to find their closest polling location.

“Decisions get made by those who show up,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “On November 6, I hope everyone does one thing: vote!”  

Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to the polls on Election Day pic.twitter.com/gWD8krzclE

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 15, 2018

As previously reported by HuffPost, Lyft will also offer free and discounted rides on Election Day. Voters nationwide are eligible for a half-off coupon code through voter registration groups, including Vote.org, Nonprofit Vote and TurboVote.

Nonpartisan groups, such as Voto Latino, Urban League and the National Federation for the Blind, also intend to help voters catch free Lyft rides to the polls in communities where they provide services.

In separate media releases, both companies have clarified that their offers are “not intended to induce, nor it is conditioned on, the act of voting, refraining from voting or voting for or against any particular candidate, political party or measure.”

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Pixel Slate hands-on: The keyboard's my favorite part – CNET

Google makes lots of Chromebooks. The Pixel ($379 at Amazon) Slate is an attempt to make a tablet that’s also a Chromebook, something like Microsoft’s Surface. Google wants you to think about the Pixel Slate in terms of its beautiful display, its full Chrome browser, its more tablet-like Chrome OS.

I just think about its keyboard.

I got to spend some time with the 12-inch tablet at Google’s New York event, where new Pixel 3 phones and the Google Home Hub also debuted. The Slate is clearly designed to go up against the Microsoft Surface and its workplace-meets-tablet design, but the Slate also seems to come within striking distance of the iPad Pro, especially in terms of price.

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Last year’s Pixelbook was an excellent but seriously expensive Chromebook. The Pixel Slate follows that familiar pattern, aiming for premium in a tablet-meets-Chromebook design.

The Pixel Slate starts at $599, but that’s only for the tablet, no keyboard or pen stylus included. The keyboard’s an extra $199; the pen, an extra $99. And, the Slate starts with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage (non-upgradable). You can pay more for extra storage and faster processors, all the way up to a crazy $1,599 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB storage.

The browser is its best software feature

The Slate seems to shine most when Chrome is open. The Chrome browser, as with any Chromebook, is like a PC, and extremely versatile. New split-screen options open up multiple panes or apps at once, like the iPad ($345 at Amazon Marketplace) or Surface.

The Slate looks pretty, but it’s big for a tablet; with a 12.3-inch screen, this is more like a laptop. The display does look crisp, but the general UI, which aims for a Pixel Android feel, didn’t move all that smoothly at the event’s demo devices. The interface flow just wasn’t as fluid as I expected. Or, just, not iPad-level buttery-smooth. That’s a bit concerning, especially for this price. At a polished product demo event experience, I’d expect the Pixel Slate to be on its best footing. 

Yes, as mentioned above, the Chrome can now do split screen, showing two panes at once. Sometimes it seems helpful. The new Slate pen is pressure sensitive and feels like the Surface Pen, but it sometimes seemed to make digital ink spots on the display when the pen hadn’t even made contact yet.

Sarah Tew/CNET And the keyboard’s the best hardware feature

The keyboard — a separate $200 purchase — feels great, though. The snap-on accessory has solid circular backlit keys with generous spacing, a large clickable trackpad and a rear magnetic stand that can be angled to almost any necessary tilt. The case can fold up while staying attached and double as a folio case. This is pretty ingenious.