Category: Electronic Product Reviews

Razer's Sila gaming router packs all the perks in its trademark black box – CNET

All the antennas are on the inside.

Razer

For its first router, Razer’s Sila goes all out with the latest technologies: tri-band (2x5GHz, 1×2.4GHz), dynamic dynamic channel hopping for the best throughput and into the DFS range (those empty channels you wonder why you can’t get to), multiuser MIMO, support for meshing with a another Sila and customizable network prioritization. All with nine antennas snuggled up inside the lifestyle gaming company’s trademark matte-black box. It’s available now for $250 (£280, AU$440).

It includes a mobile app for setup and management, which is a real convenience.

Only one of the two USB ports supports USB 3, kind of a bummer if you want to attach multiple storage devices. 

Razer

Razer partnered with Ignition Design Labs for the Sila; many manufacturers partner with companies with strengths in delivering fast networking, usually for software and optimizations in gaming routers. For instance, Netgear has NetDuma, Linksys has Killer and Asus works with WTFast

The router’s also mesh-ready. Put it together with more Silas and it creates a mesh network with a range of up to 6,000 square feet (about 557 square meters).

Other specs include:

IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Rated AC3000: up to 400Mbps on 2.4GHz, up to 1,734Mbps on 5GHz-1, up to 866Mbps on 5GHz-2
WPA / WPA2-PSK encryption
4 Gigabit Ethernet (1x WAN, 3x LAN)
1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 portSupports MUMIMO and Beamforming, guest network 

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 starts at $899 with 8th-gen Intel CPU, available Oct. 16 – CNET

Surface Pro 6

Microsoft

At Microsoft’s fall event in New York City on Tuesday, it announced an updated version of its Surface Pro.

The tech giant’s flagship detachable two-in-one, the new Surface Pro 6 brings eighth-gen Intel processors to the line. Though Microsoft added an LTE Advanced wireless version earlier this year, the Pro hasn’t received a full hardware update since May 2017

The Surface Pro 6, which comes in a new matte-black and platinum colors, promises up to 13.5 hours of battery life while being up to 67 percent more powerful than last year’s model. 

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The tablet is built around a new 12.3-inch display with a higher contrast ratio. A redesigned thermal system allowed Microsoft to use a quad-core Intel processor — a first for the Surface Pro line. It can also be configured with up 1TB of SSD storage. It now has an 8-megapixel autofocus camera as well. 

Specs8th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with integrated UHD graphics 6208GB or 16GB of memory128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD
12.3-inch 2,736×1,824-resolution display

As usual, what you don’t get are the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover or the Surface Pen, which are $160 and $100, respectively, so be sure to factor those into your budget. The Surface Pro 6 can be preordered today starting at $899 and will ship on Oct. 16. 

Read about everything Microsoft announced at its fall event

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 starts at $999, 8th-gen Intel CPUs, arrives Oct. 16 – CNET

At Microsoft’s fall event in New York City on Tuesday, it announced an updated version of its Surface Laptop. 

The Surface Laptop 2 will include eighth-generation Intel processors making it 85 percent faster than the first Surface Laptop from last year. Microsoft said it’s been reengineered from the inside out and has a new display– the thinnest touchscreen LCD on a laptop — with a best-in-class contrast ratio. 

This is a developing story. Read about everything Microsoft announced at its fall event

Microsoft Surface Headphones: Hands-on with Microsoft's new Bose-buster noise-canceling headphones – CNET

The Microsoft Surface Headphones cost $350 and ship this holiday season.

David Carnoy/CNET

Sure, Microsoft has new Surface PCs. But what the company unveiled alongside those products on Tuesday is a total surprise. It’s not a new keyboard or mouse — but an entry into a totally new product category for the company: a set of premium noise-canceling headphones simply called Surface Headphones, arriving in stores this fall for $350, with a limited release in the US only.

Microsoft doing headphones? It didn’t seem as odd as it sounds, because, well, everybody seems to be doing headphones these days. But how good could they be? Or rather: Could they compete with top noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony, which also happen to cost around $350?

Last week, I headed out to Redmond, Washington to have a look — and listen.

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The first thing that became clear, and that Microsoft wanted to make clear to me, was that this wasn’t some hastily organized project where Microsoft slapped its brand on headphones it dug up from some partner in China.

The Surface Headphones were designed in-house over three years by a large team of designers and engineers. And in case I wasn’t already aware, Microsoft has a world-class industrial design facility and a bunch of labs to test products as it builds and refines them. Some of those facilities you can see in the video we shot (above), others I was able to tour but we weren’t allowed to film.

The Microsoft Surface Headphones are what you’d hope for in a premium noise-canceling headphone. For starters, they’re very comfortable to wear. The ear pads are plush and the headband is nicely tapered to your head without putting too much pressure on it. They weigh in at 290 grams (10.2 ounces), which doesn’t make them as light as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (234 grams) or the Sony WH-1000XM3 (254 grams), but they didn’t feel heavy on my head and seemed sturdily built.

One of the Headphones’ key features is an integrated dial in each ear cup. You turn the ring on the right ear cup to adjust volume and the one on the left to adjust the amount of noise canceling you want. The dial turns very smoothly — a lot of design work went into it — and there are technically 13 levels or “points” of noise canceling. (Microsoft has some previous experience with dials, having created the Surface Dial for the Surface Studio PC a couple of years ago.)

There are touch controls on the earcups — the touch area is about the size of a quarter — that allow you to pause and play your music, answer and end calls with a tap, and skip tracks forward (two taps) and back (three taps). It’s also

HP's leather-clad Spectre Folio is one classy notebook – CNET

Cor, look at that leather.

Katie Collins/CNET

Laptops are often referred to as notebooks, but HP’s Spectre Folio is perhaps the first laptop that could pass for one in the most classic sense of the word.

Wrapped in genuine leather with aluminum touches and delicate stitching, the latest convertible PC from HP is designed to turn heads. When it folds, the leather edge has been shaped to mimic the spine of book, making it the perfect to device to write your novel on in a library while smoking a cigar — or you could just impress your colleagues at a business meeting.

The Folio has three modes: laptop, media mode and tablet mode. It moves smoothly between the three thanks to a series of hidden magnets and hinges.

Laptop mode allows you to take full advantage of the keyboard. It also exposes the speakers, which have been engineered in collaboration with high-end audio brand Bang & Olufsen. Swing the screen forward and it’s in media mode, with the keyboard hidden, but the trackpad still on display. It then folds down into a tablet, which doesn’t sit quite flush with a flat surface, but instead remains on a slight angle.

The focus is firmly on the design of the laptop, but don’t think that means it’s all style and no substance. Inside is HP’s smallest-ever motherboard, capitalizing on Intel’s eighth-gen core i5 and core i7 processors. This is complemented by up to 16 GB of memory and up to 2 TB of SSD storage. Inside is a battery that promises to keep the Folio alive for up to 18 hours allowing you to move between modes, tasks and locations easily throughout the course of the day.

Laptop or notebook?

Katie Collins/CNET

Connectivity is a key element of the Folio, with support for gigabit-class LTE and dual-eSIM. There’s an optional nano SIM slot under the  display and an optional embedded digital eSIM to easily and quickly connect to cell networks.

The Folio also comes with HP’s stylus, the Tilt Pen, which attaches to the device with an optional leather loop. With the stylus you can mark up the Folio’s 13-inch display to your heart’s content.

There are various versions of the Folio, which will be available at different times, so pay attention carefully to release dates to make sure you get the variation that’s right for you. Firstly, it will come in two colours: a brown cognac, and a burgundy bordeaux, with the latter of the two coming later this year. A 4K version will also be available in December 2018.

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Key specs8th Generation Intel Core i7-8500Y or Core i5-8200Y
Intel UHD Graphics 615 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD 
13.3-inch diagonal FHD (1,920×1,080) display, with 4K version coming later this year 
Front-facing camera above display 
Three USB-C ports, headphone jack

Facebook Admits To New Security Breach, 50 Million People At Risk

Sept 28 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc has discovered a security issue affecting about 50 million user accounts, the company said on Friday.

Facebook said attackers stole Facebook access tokens through its “view as” feature, which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. “View as” is a feature that allows users to see what their own profile looks like to someone else.

“Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed,” the company said in a blog post.

Facebook shares fell 3 percent to $163.78 in afternoon trading. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

Acer Predator Helios 500 review: A jam-packed gaming laptop with a giant screen – CNET

Anyone looking for a slim, upscale-looking gaming laptop that can do double duty as a portable work machine has been having a pretty good year. The 14-inch Razer Blade, the Asus Zephyrus and other high-design laptops have used new GPU and CPU technology to put more gaming power than ever into slim, light metal bodies with a minimum of over-the-top “gamer” aesthetics.

And then there’s the Acer Predator Helios 500. It’s pretty much the exact opposite of all of those things. This is a huge 17-inch gaming laptop, with a chromed, horned logo, all sorts of multicolored internal lighting and the kind of desktop footprint rarely seen these days. It’s 8.3 pounds (3.8 kg), without the massive power brick, and nearly 2 inches thick at the rear.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Why all the extra mass? Because it takes a much different approach to laptop gaming than those slimmer models. The Helios 500 skips the small, less-powerful Max-Q versions of Nvidia graphics cards found in many new gaming laptops, instead including a full-size GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. It’s also the first gaming laptop (but the third laptop overall) we’ve tested with Intel’s new Core i9 processor, which is pitched as a step up from the traditional high-end Core i7. This configuration is $2,499 in the US, while slightly different configurations can be found in the UK for £2,499 or AU$2,848 in Australia. 

Gamers will also appreciate the 144Hz screen and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, both of which will help you get smoother on-screen gaming. Other than that, however, the nontouch 1,920×1,080-pixel display is a snooze, with dull colors and a thick throwback bezel. 

Acer Predator Helios 500 Price as reviewed $2,499 Display size/resolution 17.3-inch, 1,920×1,080 pixels CPU 2.9GHz intel Core i9-8950HK Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Storage 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Big-bodied

At least the massive body makes room for almost any port or connection a gamer could possibly need. There are three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, an Ethernet jack and full-size HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs. Massive rear vents, and smaller side vents, help keep the Core i9 and GTX 1070 cool, and unlike many other gaming laptops, I didn’t find the Helios getting too hot while gaming.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The big keyboard and number pad are chunky enough for keyboard-based gaming, and both the arrow keys and all-important WASD keys are outlined in blue to make them easier to see. The backlit keyboard is zone-based, not per-key, so it’s not as flexible as some other ones we’ve seen. The default color for the lighting is blue, which is a welcome change of pace from every other gaming brand’s obsession with fire/laser/lava red.