Tested: The $1500 Dell XPS 15 vs. the $1500 MacBook Pro 13

The fans have spoken. It wasn’t enough last year for me to compare Microsoft’s Surface Book to Apple’s MacBook Pro 13. Silly me, I figured a dual-core 13-inch laptop should go up against a dual-core 13-inch laptop. But nooooo, fans cried: For this to be a “fair fight,” I should have pitted the Surface Book against a MacBook Pro 15. 

Normally, comparing the 4.5-pound, 15-inch, quad-core MacBook Pro 15 to the 3.3-pound, 13-inch, dual-core Surface Book would be just the sort of Apple-to-orange mismatch I’d never consider. But the fans argued the price was the thing—comparing a loaded-up, $2,699 Surface Book to a top-of-the-line, $2,700 MacBook Pro 15 was “truly fair.”

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Tested: The $1500 Dell XPS 15 vs. the $1500 MacBook Pro 13

The fans have spoken. It wasn’t enough last year for me to compare Microsoft’s Surface Book to Apple’s MacBook Pro 13. Silly me, I figured a dual-core 13-inch laptop should go up against a dual-core 13-inch laptop. But nooooo, fans cried: For this to be a “fair fight,” I should have pitted the Surface Book against a MacBook Pro 15. 

Normally, comparing the 4.5-pound, 15-inch, quad-core MacBook Pro 15 to the 3.3-pound, 13-inch, dual-core Surface Book would be just the sort of Apple-to-orange mismatch I’d never consider. But the fans argued the price was the thing—comparing a loaded-up, $2,699 Surface Book to a top-of-the-line, $2,700 MacBook Pro 15 was “truly fair.”

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Tested: The $1500 Dell XPS 15 vs. the $1500 MacBook Pro 13

The fans have spoken. It wasn’t enough last year for me to compare Microsoft’s Surface Book to Apple’s MacBook Pro 13. Silly me, I figured a dual-core 13-inch laptop should go up against a dual-core 13-inch laptop. But nooooo, fans cried: For this to be a “fair fight,” I should have pitted the Surface Book against a MacBook Pro 15. 

Normally, comparing the 4.5-pound, 15-inch, quad-core MacBook Pro 15 to the 3.3-pound, 13-inch, dual-core Surface Book would be just the sort of Apple-to-orange mismatch I’d never consider. But the fans argued the price was the thing—comparing a loaded-up, $2,699 Surface Book to a top-of-the-line, $2,700 MacBook Pro 15 was “truly fair.”

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Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: This feature-packed 15-inch laptop makes a few compromises

You buy a big and heavy 15.6-inch laptop so you can get real work done faster—that means a burly quad-core CPU and discrete graphics.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro packs those in, then adds an excellent 4K Ultra HD touchscreen and a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type C port to the mix. At $1,500 MSRP (available at Best Buy), it’s priced the same as competing laptops that have fewer high-tech features. That’s a hell of a deal.

Room to work

The Notebook 9 Pro has the classic look of a Samsung laptop, with a black, anodized-aluminum chassis and brushed-aluminum accents. At 4.5 pounds, this 15.6-inch notebook feels solid but is a little slippery, too—you’ll need to keep a good grip on it. Our review unit also had an overly stiff hinge that I had to crank on in order to reach its maximum 140-degree viewing angle, which made opening it while walking extra dangerous.

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Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: This feature-packed 15-inch laptop makes a few compromises

You buy a big and heavy 15.6-inch laptop so you can get real work done faster—that means a burly quad-core CPU and discrete graphics.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro packs those in, then adds an excellent 4K Ultra HD touchscreen and a 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type C port to the mix. At $1,500 MSRP (available at Best Buy), it’s priced the same as competing laptops that have fewer high-tech features. That’s a hell of a deal.

Room to work

The Notebook 9 Pro has the classic look of a Samsung laptop, with a black, anodized-aluminum chassis and brushed-aluminum accents. At 4.5 pounds, this 15.6-inch notebook feels solid but is a little slippery, too—you’ll need to keep a good grip on it. Our review unit also had an overly stiff hinge that I had to crank on in order to reach its maximum 140-degree viewing angle, which made opening it while walking extra dangerous.

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Origin PC Chronos review: Fast things come in small, loud packages

If you still think a gaming rig is a PC that’s so big, you have to throw a party to get help lifting it out of the box, we’ve got news: Performance PCs don’t have to be gigantic anymore.

Nothing illustrates that fact more than Origin PC’s redesigned Chronos micro-tower, which packs state-of-the-art hardware into a machine not much bigger than last-generation gaming consoles. Sure, you’ll choke at the price—$4,865 as configured—but the performance you get from such a compact machine is impressive.

origin pc chronos xbox360 ps4 Gordon Mah Ung

The Chronos isn’t much larger than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Origin PC Chronos review: Fast things come in small, loud packages

If you still think a gaming rig is a PC that’s so big, you have to throw a party to get help lifting it out of the box, we’ve got news: Performance PCs don’t have to be gigantic anymore.

Nothing illustrates that fact more than Origin PC’s redesigned Chronos micro-tower, which packs state-of-the-art hardware into a machine not much bigger than last-generation gaming consoles. Sure, you’ll choke at the price—$4,865 as configured—but the performance you get from such a compact machine is impressive.

origin pc chronos xbox360 ps4 Gordon Mah Ung

The Chronos isn’t much larger than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Continue reading »

Origin PC Chronos review: Fast things come in small, loud packages

If you still think a gaming rig is a PC that’s so big, you have to throw a party to get help lifting it out of the box, we’ve got news: Performance PCs don’t have to be gigantic anymore.

Nothing illustrates that fact more than Origin PC’s redesigned Chronos micro-tower, which packs state-of-the-art hardware into a machine not much bigger than last-generation gaming consoles. Sure, you’ll choke at the price—$4,865 as configured—but the performance you get from such a compact machine is impressive.

origin pc chronos xbox360 ps4 Gordon Mah Ung

The Chronos isn’t much larger than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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USB Type C speed test: Here’s how slow your laptop’s port could be

USB Type C is the intriguing new port that began appearing in laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices well over a year ago, but we had no real way test its throughput performance until now. Thanks to Sandisk’s Extreme 900, we’re finally able to push that tiny reversible port to its limits. To do that I gathered up no fewer than eight laptops equipped with USB Type C ports, and threw in a desktop PCIe card for good measure too.

What your USB-C port isn't telling you

USB Type C is supposed to be a universal standard, but it’s just universally confusing. A USB Type C port can run at either 5Gbps or 10Gbps and still be labeled USB 3.1 by the laptop maker. USB Type C even technically supports USB 2.0 speeds at a pathetic 480Mbps. So when you see a USB Type C port, the only assumption you can make is that its transfer speeds can vary from as low as 480Mbps to as high as 10Gbps.

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