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Acer C720 Chromebook

Acer C720 Chromebook with Haswell battery boosting goodness

Review You know, sometimes you’ve got to wonder what enables a design to go into production. I’m looking at the Acer C720 Chromebook and appreciating its dinkiness, the non-reflective 11.6in TFT screen and the fact that it was more than happy to take a bog-standard USB Ethernet adapter and run with it. Acer C720 Chromebook Acer's C720 …
Bob Dormon, 1 Jan 2014
Dell Inspiron 15-7537

Our Vulture strokes Dell's ROBUST 15 INCHER: Inspiron 15 Core i7

Review The appeal of replacing your desktop is not exactly hard to appreciate. For me, a big screen, decent sized keyboard and a measure of portability, all add up to deliver one thing: convenience. So here I am with Dell’s latest Inspiron 15 7000 series laptop and, curiously enough, it is on my lap, all 2.6kg of it. Dell Inspiron 15- …
Bob Dormon, 6 Dec 2013
WD Black2 Dual Drive

Bigger on the inside: WD’s Tardis-like Black² Dual Drive laptop disk

Review The phone call from Western Digital's people promised me “a completely new category of hard drive”. Naturally I was sceptical. After all, what could possibly be new in the world of rotating magnetic media – and don’t we all just want fast SSDs anyway? In fact, there’s no denying that WD has indeed delivered something new and, …
Leo Waldock, 6 Dec 2013
Apple MacBook Pro 13in late 2013

Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Review It’s been quite some time since I looked at a new MacBook Pro. However, I spend a lot of my time looking at an old one. I’ve a first generation Unibody model. What a great idea that was. Just unscrew the back for easy access to the RAM and the drive. The battery wasn’t easily swappable, but hey, you could whip the HDD out with a …
Bob Dormon, 19 Nov 2013
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2013

EYE-GASMIC: Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display

Review It’s true, as Rik Myslewski pointed out recently, that the two new MacBook Pro with Retina Display models aren’t drastically different from their predecessors. However, the eye-gasmic, 2880 x 1800 hi-res screen of the original 15-inch model helped it to win El Reg’s Laptop of the Year for 2012, so you could argue that it ain’t …
Stephen Dean, 6 Nov 2013
Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite: 13.3-inch slimline notebook with a secret

Review It seems an odd paradox that the more a company tries to hide something, the more publicity it attracts. Apple certainly uses this notion to good effect, knowing that it can't keep those secrets indefinitely, but also knowing that when it eventually lifts its kimono, what's new in the garden customarily causes a commotion among …
Bob Dormon, 9 Oct 2013
Asus N550JV-CM067H quad-core Core i7 notebook

Asus NV550JV 15.6in full HD notebook - the one we didn't have to send back

Review When Asus sent the N550 to Vulture Central, I sent it back: the wrong model had been dispatched. Having seen so many tiresome comments following El Reg laptop reviews along the lines of “when I saw it was only 1366 x 768 I stopped reading”, I wasn’t going to proceed with this spec - and with more than these moans as …
Bob Dormon, 26 Sep 2013
Google Nexus 7 2013

Google Nexus 7 2013: Fondledroids, THE 7-inch slab has arrived

Review When Google launched the Asus-built Nexus 7 Android tablet back in August 2012, it dropped a big mean city-raised alleycat among the budget tablet pigeons. Starting at only £160 for the 8GB version, the Nexus 7 offered performance, style and build quality (kind of) at a price that previously had only bought you shoddy no-name …
Alun Taylor, 9 Sep 2013
Apple MacBook Air 11-inch 2013

Apple MacBook Air 11-inch 2013: Netbook with next-gen tech

Review “Can’t innovate any more, my ass,” said Apple veep Phil Schiller as he unveiled the redesigned Mac Pro at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. The smooth, black cylindrical design of the Mac Pro and the visual revamp of the forthcoming iOS 7 were clearly intended as a riposte to the critics who had argued that …
Stephen Dean, 17 Jul 2013
Apple MacBook Air 13in 2013

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013: Windows struggles in Boot Camp

Review Part Two For years now, Apple’s MacBook Air has held its own as the ultimate in portability, inspiring the PC market to follow suit with the Ultrabook marque. While not all Ultrabooks attempt to ape the Air’s slimline form factor, they draw from the same line of Intel CPUs and often beat the iconic Apple on cost. Yet Apple has one trick …
Bob Dormon, 15 Jul 2013
Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013

Apple MacBook Air 13-inch 2013: All’s well that Haswell

Review Part One El Reg’s review of the latest 13-inch MacBook Air comes in two parts: here, I take a look at one of the build-to-order configurations offered by Apple, which upgrades the standard 1.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of 1066MHZ mobile DDR3 RAM, 128GB solid-state drive specification to a 1.7GHz Core i7 machine with 8GB of RAM and …
Tony Smith, 15 Jul 2013
Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

When it comes to handing out Windows 8 laptops to the UK reviewers, Samsung has been surprisingly glacial. Whether this is another Apple emulation strategy to become more elusive or a sign of hesitancy to have the brand tarnished by Windows 8’s underwhelming reception, is unclear. The hardware was paraded at CES 2013 five months …
Bob Dormon, 29 May 2013
HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook

Review: HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook

If you read my comparison of the Asus C7 and Samsung Series 3 Chromebooks, you may well have come away thinking: "All well and good, but can I have something with a bigger screen for the same sort of money?" Now, thanks to HP, the answer to that question is yes. The latest entry into the Chromebook steeplechase is powered by …
Alun Taylor, 15 May 2013
Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Review: Toshiba Satellite U920T Ultrabook

Whatever you might think about Windows 8, when it comes to taking the top down on the new ranges of convertible laptops, it’s certainly not boring. Every single one I’ve encountered so far has a different take on how to make the laptop-tablet duo dance work and Toshiba’s Satellite U920T Ultrabook offers yet another approach. …
Bob Dormon, 5 Mar 2013

Review: Livin' in the cloud with Google's new Chromebook Pixel

It has been well over two years years since Google released its first Chromebook, the CR-48, and set off on a quest to convince the world of the benefits of living in the browser. Last week, the company unveiled its latest attempt to seduce the public – the luxury touchscreen Chromebook Pixel – and gave The Reg a $1,449 LTE- …
Iain Thomson, 2 Mar 2013
Sony Vaio Duo 11

Review: Sony Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook

The other day, a friend sent me a Picasa link to photos he'd taken at a recent vintage motorcycle show. It was a wide ranging display of classic engineering imagination put to work to power a rider on two wheels. Similarly, it’s those variations on a theme that Windows 8 has spurred among mainstream computer makers, as they all …
Bob Dormon, 26 Feb 2013
Chromebooks: Acer vs Samsung

Review: The ultimate Chromebook challenge

Too slow, too expensive, too limited. That was the verdict of most hacks and punters on the early Google Chromebook laptops. Google has kept its shoulder to the wheel, though, and recently announced that 2000 schools are now using Chromebooks. Lenovo and HP have both recently jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon too, joining …
Alun Taylor, 19 Feb 2013
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15-4000ea Ultrabook

Review: HP Spectre XT TouchSmart

El Reg looked at HP's 13in Spectre XT Ultrabook in October last year and liked it a lot. What you're looking at here, then, is a meatier version with a bigger display, touchscreen support, more ports and the inevitable Windows 8. I like it a lot. HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15-4000ea Ultrabook It looks absolutely nothing like an …
Alistair Dabbs, 11 Feb 2013
Dell XPS 10

Review: Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet and dock

Windows RT: unholy fondleslab abomination or clever integration of a grown-up desktop and touch-friendly tablet UI? Opinions veer wildly and violently between one and the other extreme. The newest and first non-Nvidia Tegra 3 receptacle for Microsoft’s alleged problem child is Dell’s Asus Transformer-esque XPS 10. On paper, and …
Alun Taylor, 6 Feb 2013
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 convertible Ultrabook

To be fair to Lenovo, reviewing the IdeaPad Yoga shouldn't really be all about Windows 8. After all, this touchscreen Ultrabook – that bends over backwards to become a fully fledged tablet – is a well crafted piece of hardware with engineering merits of its own. So what, if it runs Windows 8? So do a lot of PCs these days. The …
Bob Dormon, 11 Jan 2013
HP Envy x2 Windows 8 convertible

Review: HP ENVY x2 Windows 8 convertible

The flourishing market for tablet computers has left people wanting more. Those using tablets at work invariably end up buying a keyboard and regularly curse the limitations of a mobile operating system. Those using a Windows laptop at work often wish they could occasionally dispense with the keyboard for convenient touchscreen …
Alistair Dabbs, 10 Jan 2013
Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C

Review: Samsung Series 9 super slim notebook

Samsung has taken an expensive legal hit from Apple over copying design elements in the iPhone. Yet with the Series 9, Samsung has created something a bit special. The entire Ultrabook concept took its inspiration from the Apple MacBook Air, of course. But Samsung's Series 9 has developed a confident design language of its own …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Dec 2012
Asus VivoBook S200 11.6in touchscreen Windows 8 notebook

Asus VivoBook S200 11.6in touchscreen notebook review

A few months ago I tried a preview of Windows 8 on my 11.6in HP Pavilion and frankly it made about as much sense as a vegetarian bacon sandwich. Why? Because, without a touch screen the Windows 8 Metro Modern UI lacks a crucial ingredient. Armed with only a keyboard and mouse, facing a wall of tiles just gets in the way. Asus …
Alun Taylor, 22 Nov 2012
Apple MacBook Pro 13in with Retina display

Apple MacBook Pro 13in Retina display review

When I reviewed the latest version of the 13in MacBook Pro just a few months ago, it seemed to me that Apple was getting a bit complacent. The mid-2012 update did gain a new Ivy Bridge processor, but the modest speedbump that this produced no longer justified the MacBook’s starting price of £999 – especially with classy new …
Stephen Dean, 13 Nov 2012
Lenovo IdeaPad U410 Ultrabook

Lenovo IdeaPad U410 14in Ultrabook review

As a MacBook Pro owner, and yet a fan of the ThinkPad range since the early IBM days, it would be easy for me to assume Lenovo's new IdeaPad U410 Ultrabook fills the gap as the ultimate middle ground model. Indeed, it's a ThinkPad descendant that looks like Lenovo desperately wants an Apple lawsuit. Lenovo IdeaPad U410 …
Shaun Dormon, 25 Oct 2012
Asus N56VM 15.6in notebook

Asus N56VM 15.6in notebook review

A good journalist always tries to avoid clichés, but sometimes when I’m writing laptop reviews I do find myself reaching for a few stock phrases, such as: the speakers are crap. Imagine my relief, then, to discover that the speakers on the Asus N56VM don't fall into the crap category, but are actually rather good, no doubt …
Cliff Joseph, 15 Oct 2012
Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook review

It’s only natural that manufacturers want to show off their biggest (or in this case, smallest) and best but Sony has spotted the flaw in this plan. By thrusting their fabulously lean but powerful sexy bits in your face all the time, Ultrabooks have gained a reputation for being the Page 3 girls of computing: naughty, vigorous …
HP Spectre XT 13-2000ea

HP Spectre XT 13in Ivy Bridge Ultrabook review

The Spectre XT is HP’s third shot at an Ultrabook in less than six months. The gleaming Gorilla Glass livery of the original 14-inch Spectre was both eye-catching and rugged, but it was also very expensive and quite a bit heavier than you’d expect from an Ultrabook. That was quickly followed by the Envy 4, which was much more …
Cliff Joseph, 1 Oct 2012
Apple MacBook Air 13in Ivy Bridge

Apple MacBook Air 13in review

Two years ago Apple got really serious about thin and light laptops - and did something really quite important. It replaced its original Air model – that was by then almost three years old – with two new designs. The first Air had been widely perceived to be an expensive novelty, over-priced and under-powered, and it didn’t look …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Sep 2012
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 Ultrabook

Acer Aspire Timeline M3 Ultra review

It seems safe to say that Ultrabooks haven’t given the PC market the shot in the arm that Intel was hoping for. The high prices haven’t helped, of course, and there also seems to be some evidence that many people are turned off by the relatively small 13in screens that dominate the Ultrabook category. Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra …
Cliff Joseph, 13 Aug 2012
HP Envy 4-1010ea Ultrabook

HP Envy 4-1010ea 14in Ultrabook review

HP made quite a fuss when it launched its Spectre Ultrabook back in May, and whilst we praised its gleaming, glass design we also noted that the Spectre was a bit on the porky side for what was meant to be an ‘ultraportable’ laptop. It was also burdened by a £1200 price-tag that might make even Apple blush. HP Envy 4-1010ea …
Cliff Joseph, 27 Jul 2012
Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 notebook

Dell Inspiron 17R SE 17in Ivy Bridge notebook review

I’m currently mourning the demise of the 18-inch Dell XPS that I’ve been using as a TV/DVD player in my bedroom for the last five years. Hardly anyone seems to make 18-inch laptops anymore, but Dell has come up with a good alternative in the form of the new Inspiron 17R SE (Special Edition). Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 …
Cliff Joseph, 17 Jul 2012
Apple MacBook Pro 13in mid-2012

Apple MacBook Pro 13in

Review Shock horror – Apple laptop in so-so review scandal. The latest MacBook Pro with Retina Display may be setting a new standard at the top of the range, however, this modest update for the standard 13in MacBook Pro looks rather like it’s resting on its laurels. Apple MacBook Pro 13in mid-2012 Apple's MacBook Pro 13in: available …
Stephen Dean, 12 Jul 2012
Apple MacBook Air 11in 2012

Apple MacBook Air 11in 2012

Review The 11in MacBook Air took top spot in El Reg's recent round-up of the best Ultrabooks – even though, strictly speaking, it isn’t actually an Ultrabook, according to Intel’s proprietary definition of the term. This 2012 model doesn’t tamper with the winning formula, but it does provide a respectable update that should keep it at …
Stephen Dean, 18 Jun 2012
Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Apple 15in MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Review You’ve got to hand it to Apple. Having created the first Ultrabook about three years before Intel even got around to coining the brand, it has now taken another step forward with the new MacBook Pro With Retina Display. The 2880 x 1800 screen is certainly a looker, and you can understand why Apple has chosen to focus on that …
Stephen Dean, 15 Jun 2012
HP Envy Spectre 14in

HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook

Review The test unit I reviewed was forwarded on to me from the Harrods press office. That alone should tell you a lot about the HP Envy 14 Spectre. For you, Harrods may conjure images of oil sheiks browsing bling, affectatious middle classes buying ham and feeble-minded tourists ogling Saint Diana's soiled crockery, but Harrods makes …
Alistair Dabbs, 15 May 2012
Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Review Having been in the hardware reviewing game for more years than I care to mention - cue the violins - I have looked at a huge number of notebooks claiming to be both thin and light. From the days when thin meant something less than half an inch in thickness and light meant something around the 2kg mark if you were lucky, I've sat …
Simon Crisp, 1 May 2012
Lenovo U300s Ultrabook

Lenovo U300s Ultrabook

Review A body made from a single piece of aluminium. Uh-huh. A case held shut with magnets. Righty. A multi-gesture trackpad with a glass surface. Ohhh-kayyy, I think I can see what's happening here. Lenovo U300s Ultrabook Lenovo IdeaPad U300s Ultrabook With the IdeaPad U300s, Lenovo wants to convince you it has created the most …
Alistair Dabbs, 30 Apr 2012
Arcam rPac

Arcam rPac

Accessory of the Week Arcam’s rPac is a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) and headphone amp designed for anyone who listens to music on a computer. Or, more accurately, anyone who does so and cares about audio quality. Arcam rPac Relying on the computer to perform the digital to analogue conversion usually results in noisy tracks and jitter, …
Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A 15in notebook

Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A 15in notebook

Review Samsung’s NP300E5A-A01DX is the Core i3 model in its Series 3 family of notebooks and is priced accordingly, at around £400. Unashamedly aimed at the cost conscious end of market it has plenty of company including Acer’s Aspire 5749 that Reg Hardware reviewed late last year. Samsung Series 3 NP300E5A 15in notebook Samsung …
Simon Crisp, 21 Mar 2012
Panasonic CF-53 Toughbook rugged laptop

Panasonic CF-53 Toughbook 14in rugged laptop

Review Skinny Ultrabooks may be getting all the press at the moment but what it you want a laptop that will withstand the knocks, drops and tribulations of use on the road and in the great outdoors rather than the board-room? Panasonic’s semi-rugged CF-53 Toughbook may be just the ticket. Panasonic CF-53 Toughbook rugged laptop Ready …
Alun Taylor, 13 Mar 2012
Toshiba Portégé Z830-10N Ultrabook

Toshiba Portégé Z830-10N 13.3in Ultrabook

Review The last time I tested a Toshiba laptop, it had a glowing orange screen and the keyboard rattled like a box of Lego. Come to think of it, newspapers at the time were scaring readers about ‘house parties’, so it was quite a while ago. So perhaps you can imagine how utterly charming the pretentiously named Portégé Z830-10N …
Alistair Dabbs, 23 Feb 2012