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[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]W[/su_dropcap]hile editing a simple photo on your smartphone, have you ever felt the need to enhance it more to an extent that even your phone’s processor cannot handle. A more lucrative example would be a video. Have you ever tried editing a 4K video on your smartphone? I guess you can do it, but not as efficiently as a computer. I mean try rendering a 10-minute 4k video on your iPhone X and you’ll know the difference between a PC and a smartphone.
Computers have played a great part in modern human evolution. All thanks to Charles Babbage. For those who don’t know who he is, most refer to him as the person who invented the computer. Most of the tasks nowadays cannot be accomplished without the help of a computer. It’s not that we humans cannot do such tasks without the help of computers, but it’ll take us a considerate amount of time to do even a simple task. Okay, here’s a little exercise. Can you solve this by yourself?
I know you can. Now, let’s rephrase the question: Can you solve that by yourself in just a second? At this point in time, I’m not even asking. Cause I know the answer is definitely no! Although, our mechanical friends out there, the computers can do it consuming lesser time than a second. Computers are available to us in many forms, out of which the desktop and the laptop are of the most famous sort. Although, the backdrop with desktops is that you cannot just lift them up, put them in a backpack and bump around. Sometimes, you need something more portable. It is definitely not efficient to pick a desktop to a Cafe to work on your blog post. It is possible, in a crazy manner, but not efficient. Anyways, you can always carry something more portable along with you. I’m not speaking of a tablet or an iPad, cause they are not counted as computers (this reminds me of that time when that cringy Apple advert girl denied her knowledge about a computer). Well, you can do some lightweight work on tablets, but handling intensive tasks have always been a PC/Mac thing.
Speaking of laptops, they are also quite diverse depending on the user. If you do lightweight stuff like photo editing, blogging, web programming etc, then you’ve got lots of low budget options. However, if you are a heavyweight user like an app developer, a video editor, a gamer etc, you need a laptop that can succumb to your needs. Although, here’s what I think.
See, I don’t feel like I’m the right kind of person to give you this advice, but just hear me out. No matter you are a lightweight or a processor intensive user, you’ll always have a good time dealing with a high spec laptop. Well, if you have a budget, then buying a low tier PC is good. But, if you have the funds to buy a decent laptop, do not think that if you’re a lightweight user, you won’t need the extra power. For instance, I bought an HP laptop with 2GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and an Intel i3 Core processor. At that time, I was deep into web development and thought I wouldn’t need more from my PC. Well, I was wrong. Later, my interest started to kind of lean towards mobile app development. Having a Windows PC, I was kind of stuck with developing for Android. It was my learning period. But then, I started o lose interest in programming as a whole, as Android Developer Studio would literally take 15 minutes to open up and load my previously written code.
End result: I started blogging and now I am happier than forever.
My point is that always go for the higher alternative while considering a laptop, as you don’t know when you might feel the need for that extra power. Also, extra power makes it easier and less stressful to do daily life stuff. Imagine taking notes in a classroom and your laptop never freezes. Imagine editing a video and your laptop never crashes due to lack of memory. Imagine you being able to play the most graphic intensive games without any hiccups.
It’s all possible with these top 5 laptops that you won’t be able to resist buying. You won’t regret having them either.
5. Dell XPS 13 (2017)
The Dell XPS 13 2017 version is a great laptop with great specs and awesome usability. For starters, it has a solid build quality with an aluminum finish from the outside. However, when you’ll open the flap to actually use it, you’ll notice that it has a carbon fiber finish near the keyboard and the trackpad. The keyboard itself is average and has a key travel of 1.2 millimeters which is pretty decent. The trackpad is a 4.1 x 2.4 inch, a buttonless touchpad which is also very much responsive and tactile. Gestures like the 3-finger swipe are fairly smooth.
The biggest selling point of this laptop is its display. When you open the laptop for the first time, it feels incredibly beautiful with almost no bezels at the top and at the sides. The screen itself is available in two variants- a 1080p normal display which looks good but not as good as the 4K touchscreen variant. Although, most people including me believe that a 1080p display is the best option to opt for. Not only it saves a couple of hundred bucks but also having a touchscreen laptop feels kind of weird. The weirdness kicks in when you actually touch the screen and it wobbles due to its hinges. Although, the 2018 model of the Dell XPS 13 has pretty firm hinges. But, the touchscreen is not a priority. The display provides crisp and clear images with clear viewing angles. Although this laptop is clearly not made for gaming, games will look extremely immersive with the infinity display.
It has a USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader, and a Noble lock slot. A Thunderbolt 3 port, another USB 3.0 port, a barrel charging port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack can be found existing on the left side. Although, the thing with the Thunderbolt 3 port is that it only has 2 PCI Express lanes where usually other laptops have four.
The Dell XPS 13 lasted a big time of 16 hours and 5 minutes on the laptop battery mag test in which the laptop was made to browse the internet over WiFi. Its speakers are located on the sides, which is not an ideal position. Nevertheless, they sound great and usually fill the room with its noise.
This laptop has Intel’s awesome 8th Gen Kaby Lake processors which make tasks like video editing to regular web surfing a breeze. It’s four cores instead of the two cores in the last generation have proved to be handling graphics-intensive tasks easily with the perfect balance of clock speed to maintain the system temperature which leads to optimum battery life. For the record, it has the new i7-8550U CPU. 8GB of RAM along with a 256GB PCIe solid-state hard drive makes switching between tabs on browsers easy. I haven’t had any problems having a video render while I was browsing the web. The overall interaction was just as fast.
The only thing that is extremely annoying with this laptop is that it has the webcam placed at the bottom left of the screen due to the limitation of bezels on the top. This webcam captures at chin level which means that the mucus in your nose will be clearly visible if you ever attend a video call while you suffer from cold. Don’t do that! Apart from that, pretty much everything has been nailed by Dell.
It comes with Windows 10 pre-installed along with some Dell bloatware. The Dell XPS 13 9360 costs $1,174 in the US and Rs. 1,34,381 in India.
Buy: [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076V8M6VZ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B076V8M6VZ&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-20&linkId=df1b717c22210cbf8dd72bd127df3009″ target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]United States[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B076V8M6VZ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=B076V8M6VZ&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-21&linkId=3dff7d92919bfc0bfa9230501116ec3a” target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]India[/su_button]
4. Razer Blade Stealth
It has a smooth matte black finish on the outside which is why this laptop contains the word ‘stealth’ in its name. Although the black surface has its own disadvantage- even a normal scratch can make the laptop’s exterior look abnormal. So, putting a skin on it is definitely recommended.
This laptop has a limited number of ports including two USB-A ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port which doubles as a charging port, and a single HDMI port. It doesn’t have an SD card reader, which means you’ll have a hard time managing video and photo content that you capture using your camera. Inside, this laptop has 16 GB of RAM and a removable SSD. The relatively slower PM951 drives provide slower write speeds.
The battery size is 53.6 watt-hours, which in my case lasted for a long 6 hours of which two hours were spent on browsing and rest were spent on video editing and blogging. Spaking of displays, there are two sizes available- one is the older 12.5-inch panel and the other is the newer 13.3-inch panel. Razer has done a very good job by reducing the bezels on the 13.3-inch screen model, which allows you to be more immersed in whatever you plan to do.
Although it has a glossy screen which is kind of a problem when you decide to work in a sunny park. It’s extremely glary. This is why screens with a matte finish are so popular. Although, you cannot get the kind of HD quality that you would expect in glared screens in matte-finished screens. The Razer Blade Stealth has a touchscreen by default. But the touchscreen is somewhat annoying to use because of shaky hinges.
The trackpad on this thing has got a glass texture just like a MacBook and has the best responsiveness I’ve ever felt in a laptop. It’s not as clicky as the previous model but has a good feeling to it. The keyboard and the Razer logo on the back have RGB color lighting that gets extremely bright and beautiful when you use it in darker environments. Although, the Razer logo looks even better than the glowing Apple logo on a MacBook.
The Razer Blade Stealth has an Intel i7 Kaby Lake processor which can blissfully handle any kind of task that you assign to it. But, despite being from Razer, this one cannot be considered as a gaming laptop. This is because you cannot play most of the graphics intensive games at their full resolution. It also has an HD 620 integrated graphics chip from Intel. But it is not sufficient enough. I mean, you can play light games on it like Overwatch, but you won’t be able to enjoy it in full resolution. But, thanks to its Thunderbird 3 port which allows you to connect an external GPU. Again, an external GPU means you’ve got the freedom to play whatever games you want.
The speakers present sound right at your face as they are located beside the keyboard on both sides, unlike the Dell XPS 13’s side-facing speakers. Although, the sound quality is not that good, but can be handled by your ears.
The 13.3-inch variant is priced in the US at $1499 and Rs. 1,20,319 in India. No doubt its too expensive. But the quality it offers is unparalleled in its own way.
Buy: [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077C2VN4D/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B077C2VN4D&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-20&linkId=89113cef9083e2f8575bfc00afc85ab7″ target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]United States[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B072HNLQTH/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=B072HNLQTH&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-21&linkId=f3daecaa4236a92254975b14c0eccede” target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]India[/su_button]
3. Microsoft Surface Book 2
You cannot say that the soul of this laptop is solely vested in maintaining its image as a PC, cause it’s a duo of a PC and a tablet. No other company has applied such a beautiful solution to its product ever. When the first edition of this laptop was launched, it amazed people by its uniqueness. Now, when the second iteration of the same is here, many still consider the uniqueness it brings along with itself as the main reason for them to buy this laptop.
The Surface Book 2 has its CPU behind the display, so you can just detach the screen and use it as a tablet. But, when you are in need of those extra graphics, you can re-attach the screen to the keyboard which houses the GPU. The display is supported on a hinge that is kind of springy. Though it does not actually act as a hinge, it sure does look like one. I’ve noticed that dust easily gets collected into the fissions in the hinge, making it look nasty with day-to-day usage. For the record, it has an Intel i7 Core processor along with 16 GB of RAM.
The screen has a 3 by 2 aspect ratio with tremendous color accuracy. There’s not much to praise about the display as it has a pretty regular full HD display that almost every laptop on this list has. The keyboard particularly is well-built that has a decent key travel. It is backlit with normal LEDs and without any RGB support like the Razer Blade Stealth. It also has an option of including a stylus in the box but you’ll have to pay an extra 100 bucks. The trackpad itself is quite comfortable to use, thanks to the Windows Precision drivers pre-installed. It has a soothing click to it whose experience is unparalleled.
Speaking of raw power, this PC has a quad-core Coffee lake processor. It has a 15-watt U CPU. Additionally, it’s extremely important to note that the 13-inch version that we’re listing here does not have a fan in its tablet component. Although, the 15-inch version has one. The lack of a fan makes maintaining your workload clock speed at a fixed value almost impossible.
The speakers, as compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, are not good enough. But they are decent if you aren’t a big speaker fan. The Surface Book 2 has the best webcam in the market. No laptop ever has been able to compare with the webcam quality of this one. The microphone quality is just as good. Speaking of the battery life, this laptop gives around 10 hours of mediocre usage. Well, I haven’t tried it by myself and I am not much of a heavy user. So, the battery life all boils down to the kind of usage.
The fan inside this laptop is a little bit loud. Although, these are just random bits and you shouldn’t be paying a considerate amount of attention to such stuff. This laptop has the flagship Thunderbolt 3 port. Well, the proprietary charging connector that comes with the box is also kind of unique which also allows you to charge the keyboard and the tablet components separately.
It is available for $2,287.99 in the US and for Rs. 4,59,999 in India.
Buy:[su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076J91H91/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B076J91H91&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-20&linkId=7103fe3b03b9544aae5ca594e342557c” target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]United States[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B076J8H9PF/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=B076J8H9PF&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-21&linkId=25711dc6e8cc547b2ad56b1866544755″ target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]India[/su_button]
2. HP Spectre 2016
HP is marketing this one as the thinnest laptop in the world having its thinness set at 10.4 millimeters. Despite it being too thin, no compromises have been made in the performance sector. Moreover, it has a unique design that is catchy to the eyes the moment you look at it. The HP Spectre 2016 has got a gold accent along with a pretty minimalistic HP logo. The top surface has an aluminum finish while the bottom is made up of carbon fiber. The hinge is supported by a piston to reduce shake and to provide a smooth experience. It has gold plated metal bars at the back and at the bottom that gives it a premium feel. Although, the metal bars I’m talking about are huge fingerprint magnets.
It has 3 USB-C ports at the back, out of which two of them are Thunderbolt 3 ports. Additionally, there’s also a headphone jack present at the back, which is kind of an unusual place to place one. The keyboard on this laptop is very good with 1.3 millimeters of travel, awesome backlighting and a very nice response to taps. The glass trackpad is unusually small and also is somewhat a bit laggy in terms of performance. The speakers are mediocre and don’t sound so good.
The display is 1080p and ha Gorilla glass covering. It sets in at a brightness of 310 nits and has vibrant colors along with excellent viewing angles. The 720p webcam is kind o an ‘okay-deal,’ but is comparable to most of the laptops that made this list.
HP has also done something unique with the cooling system in this laptop. They installed a Hyperbaric cooling system. And because of that, the CPU is being throttled at intense usage. Its battery lasts for 5 hours of mediocre usage.
It has i7 Core Sky lake chips by Intel and a GPU of Intel HD Graphics 520. 8 Gigs of LPDDR3 RAM will get you going to do heavy tasks such as video editing but your laptop will have a had time cooling itself down after that. It also has 256 GB of SSD which is of course replaceable.
Speaking of the premium sector, it doesn’t live up to its expectations. It costs $844.99 in the US and Rs. 1,15,500 in India.
Buy: [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M3PP48R/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01M3PP48R&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-20&linkId=fb0d6eafdf616e1591537c8288ec3912″ target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]United States[/su_button] [su_button url=”https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B01LZPBAX6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=3638&creative=24630&creativeASIN=B01LZPBAX6&linkCode=as2&tag=tahasmarty01-21&linkId=6019e60d83f0058f8da0ade662ba0873″ target=”blank” style=”ghost” background=”#ef2d30″ color=”#0a0d0b” radius=”0″]India[/su_button]
Well, hop on to the next page for the best laptop ever! You won’t regret it.
Amazon’s Jen Salke hints at a probable new phone from the company
It turns out, Amazon is trying hard to provide its audience a better user interface for prime video.
When asked by a reporter on the fourth day of the Television Critics Association’s press tour in LA about if the company is planning for a new phone with a better UI for Prime users, Jen Salke, head of Amazon Studios said, “I haven’t felt an urgency to put a deadline on it.” Stating the reason, she said, “I went up there and met with them and they had a prototype phone that showed me the interface that they’re working on that’s about to be — that’s in the middle of being developed and coming soon.”
Jennifer says, “they actually created and sent me a prototype phone that’s in my office.” Well, she requested for the prototype so she could have a better understanding of what’s in the works so as to fend herself off of people who often criticize her for Amazon’s bad decisions regarding its flopped Fire Phone.
“I said, ‘I have to have that phone in Los Angeles Because I run into a lot of people like you … and myself at some point, you know? I was on the side of criticizing some of that as well. So it’s like where, you know, how can you answer the question of, ‘how is this going to improve?’ And they actually created and sent me a prototype phone that’s in my office, ”Salke says.
Adding to that, she said that the new interface is much more intuitive.
Jen Salke’s statement hinting at a new phone could be supported by a recent finding: in a record-breaking earnings report that Amazon released recently, the company quoted that it wants its “customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are.” And this incited some analysts, who suggested that a new phone could be in the works.
Currently, Alexa is only available on Amazon’s smart home speakers, and as a third party virtual assistant on some phones. But, it seems that the leading digital assistant company is visualizing the generalization of Alexa in the tech space. Amazon’s trying to create a monopoly with Alexa here.
This could be a step ahead for Amazon in achieving its goals in the streaming market.
“The new interface is much more intuitive.”
It’s good to see the retail giant compete in the streaming market to actually stand out this time.
Update: Jen Salke’s quotes were about a new software-based service. All hardware related instances are removed from this post.
Facebook hires chief of chip development at Google for its own chip-making ventures
While many technology giants have initiated producing their own chips, Facebook is little late in the game. But, better late than never. The social media company has hired Chief of chip development at Google for its chip-making ventures, Shahriar Rabii, according to Bloomberg.
Facebook has been out of the chip-making game for a long time, and hiring an engineer for its chipmaking ventures indicates that the company doesn’t want to wait longer. It has hired Shahriar Rabii to be the VP and head of Silicon, while previously, Rabii worked for Google in a team in-charge of creating chips for Google products, which includes the visual core chip embedded in Pixel devices.
The new hire will work under Facebook’s head of Virtual and Augmented Reality, Andrew Bosworth. This indicates that the social media giant could be working on creating chips for improvement of its virtual and augmented reality systems. Other use could be to improve processing in its vast data centers.
Apple, Google, Amazon, and several other companies have already invested their time, capital, and workforce in producing chips in-house. Apple has been producing mainstream chips for iPads and iPhones since 2010, while also creating chips that control Bluetooth, take pictures and conduct machine learning tasks. Although, now, seemingly, it’s Facebook’s time to hop into the chipmaking business.
Facebook’s venture into chipmaking could also be taken advantage of in instances involving handling serious social issues using virtual reality and machine learning. For those who don’t know, Facebook has been struggling with a lot of issues lately. The string of issues initiated, with Facebook being largely involved in the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, haunting people with privacy perversion. A lot of bugs endangering data privacy also followed. But, seems to be stabile now.
With most major companies producing their own chips, chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and Intel could face serious dents in their profits. However, there’ll always be secondary companies that could keep funds flowing for chip manufacturers. But, it wouldn’t be the same. Chip manufacturers would have no reason to bring about breakthrough innovations. Recently, trusted sources purported that Apple would create mainstream chips for MacBooks henceforth, canceling out Intel’s chips to be considered for production.
However, in order to get a leg up and gain orders from companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon, chip manufacturers would have to produce chips that would be out of bounds for tech giants like these.
Hopefully, Facebook’s venture into chipmaking will prove healthy for its vast user base.
SpaceX expects to earn more from launching satellites than just launching rockets, and much more.
SpaceX is envisaged to have its income flowing in by launching more and more satellites instead of just launching rockets. And if it works out, a pathway leading to a plethora of further advancements in the travel field can come into existence.
When asked by CNBC’s Morgan Brennan in an interview if the company was profitable, COO Gwynne Shotwell replied, “We are profitable, we’ve had many years, actually, of profitability. The years that are financially rough for us are the years when we have issues.” And by issues, she means the various times SpaceX’s rockets have either failed to launch or land.
The crash on September 1st, 2016, according to Gwynne, kind of propelled SpaceX into a new era of development and gave its engineers more time to work on new, safe and more enthralling projects. Albeit, the FCC’s approval to send a constellation of satellites into space financially set a path for SpaceX to go on with further endeavors. In favor of that, Shotwell stated, “The market size for launches is dramatically less than telecommunications, so that’s a nice way to go and make additional revenue.”
“In addition, it’s very complimentary…. to the work we’re doing right now,” Shotwell said. Considering Tesla’s “on the verge of dying” condition right now, she noted that SpaceX’s broadband capability could also be used to revive Tesla, just as SpaceX uses Tesla’s technology for its launches. The rocket giant’s Falcon 9 and Dragon, for instance, leverage Tesla’s battery technology.
Shotwell articulates, “The companies are not joint, but we do share technologies and capabilities wherever we can.” Even the Boring Company (which is actually a ‘boring’ company that takes on projects for digging into the earth, more like boring the earth) could utilize technologies for both SpaceX as well as Tesla to help house people on Mars.
“We’ve learned from Tesla,” says Shotwell, as Tesla produces way more units than SpaceX produces rocket stages. Tesla produces thousands of units a week, while SpaceX only manages to roughly achieve the production goal of 30 units per week. But, isn’t it obvious that producing space technology should take more time naturally, as compared to cars that don’t even fly?
SpaceX has learned a lot from Tesla
Shotwell also gave out scheduled rocket launch numbers in the interview. This year’s gonna see around 24-28 launches, and there are gonna be a few flights per month. Although, coming back on earth; speaking about the market down here, Gwynne says, “Next year will be a slight slowdown. The market has decreased a little bit, so you won’t see as many launches as you’ll see in 2018 and it will be roughly on the same order as 2017.”
She also had a pretty good explanation of why the market for SpaceX would slow down next year. Basically, there’s a whole process that goes into buying and scheduling satellites for launch. It’s usually supposed to be a two-year gap between the purchase of a satellite and its launch. However, 2017 was a year with fewer satellite orders; skip two years later, and you’ll notice as much satellite launches.
“60% of launches currently are executed by SpaceX”, says Shotwell. “But once we’re flying people, that could actually be realized.” In reference to an older post on The 8-Bit, the company is planning to hamper into the travel space and has promised to transport people from New York to Shanghai in just 50 minutes, and to Mars as well. And that plan of SpaceX could be given birth by 2024. But still, the market plays a major role in all of this.
SpaceX is a powerful company, indeed. And its power is reflected by the ability of its production team to construct one rocket engine per day and two of its workforce Falcon 9 rockets per month, specifically the newest; most powerful version of the Falcon 9 known as Block 5.
In conclusion, the broadband satellites could be a very big part of what SpaceX’s doing as a lot of other companies keep generating interest in broadband technologies and are constantly trying to get into this business. However, according to Shotwell, this broadband admittance could open up a completely new revenue stream for SpaceX that might make going to Mars an easily achievable goal.
Not only that, SpaceX, in Shotwell’s opinion, is the best at adapting and maintaining manufacturing processes that pave the way for cheaper launches. The manufacturing processes improve along with improvements in products, making it possible to reduce production costs. And that alone is the reason SpaceX can afford to launch so frequently, unlike NASA.
You can watch the complete interview here: