Tag Archives | laptop

Flexibility is Key in the Yoga Book

Image by Lenovo

Image by Lenovo

When you hear the word “yoga”, you probably think of flexibility, comfort, and relaxation. What you probably don’t think about is technology. However, Lenovo has fused the two and attempted to embody these feelings with their new tablet, the Yoga Book.

Their goal was to shake up the tablet category with innovative features that would combat the issues users were finding with other existing tablets. The biggest issue they chose to tackle was notebook-style writing. It just wasn’t feeling natural with other tablets. This one (which has some laptop-like features such as hinging and folding) boasts a flat, touch keyboard, on which you can type or write with its dual-purpose stylus. Speaking of the stylus – it works as a real pen with refillable ink as well.

What we love the most about this tablet is the “note-taking” feature (which can also be used for sketching out a quick idea for someone). Lenovo worked hard to get the screen brightness and anti-glare exactly right so it looks as close as possible to writing on a real notebook. They include a magnetic pad of paper that you can attach to the screen and write on with the stylus (pen version). Write on this pad and it shows up on the other screen, making it easy to see what you’re working on and instantly providing a digital copy of your work.

With a click of a button on your stylus, you can switch from handwriting mode to typing mode. Writing with the Wacom stylus is seamless and feels more like a real pen than others we’ve tried – and it really was an engineering feat to figure out the ink/digital combo.

This seems like a great option for students to bring to class, take notes on, and study with.

The Details

  • Laptop/tablet hybrid
  • Flat, touch screen with backlit keyboard
  • Magnetic notepad included
  • Wacom Real Pen stylus included
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro
  • Dimensions: 10.1″ x 0.38″ x 6.72″
  • Weight: Starting at 1.52 lbs
  • Colour: Black
  • Front and rear cameras (2MP and 8MP, respectively)
  • 360 degree hinge so it can fold in half both ways
  • Price: starting at $499US

Learn more at lenovo.com

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Stand Out with the Asus ZenBook 3

Ooh, shiny.

Yes, I got distracted by the look of the new Asus ZenBook 3. It’s a shiny metal – something I’m not used to at all with other laptops – and it has gold trim around the edges. Definitely different, definitely bold. And I definitely like it.

The ZenBook 3 is boasted as being the more powerful, thinner, lighter laptop as compared to Apple’s MacBook. Asus is taking on Apple in a big way. Although the feel of the laptop is a plus, I’m a little hesitant about the use itself. Can Asus compete? The specs sure sound strong, however, until I’m actually able to put a full day’s work into it, I’m going to hold off on a solid response. Asus claims the battery can last 9 hours – I’ve never experienced this in the past, so forgive me if I’m a bit reluctant to believe it. The MacBook also claims 9 hours, but many days I’m lucky to get 5.

I’m also not a fan of the one USB-C port. I like having the flexibility to plug in more than one thing to my laptop. However, if you ask me how many times I actually have more than one thing plugged in, the answer would be very rarely. So this can be solved with a simple dongle attachment. Not worth a check in the “con” colummn!

For a more powerful, thinner, lighter laptop, you can’t complain about the price. It starts at $300 less than the comparable MacBook, $999 for 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5 processor.

So the question is – will you give the underdog a chance?

The Details:

  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 16:9 screen ratio
  • 12.5 inch display
  • 11.9mm thin
  • 910g
  • One USB-C (Thunderbolt) port
  • 1 headphone jack
  • 4 speakers
  • 9 hour battery life
  • Material: aluminum alloy (supposed to be 40% stronger than other laptops)
  • Price: $999 USD
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WHOOSH! Away that Dirt

whoosh

We had the opportunity to test out WHOOSH! Screen Shine this week, and it really is impressive. Let’s back up a second and think about just how dirty our phones are. From food-covered fingerprints to oily faces, who knows how much bacteria is actually on there? And if you’re like me, the most cleaning you’ll do for your phone is a quick wipe with your shirt sleeve.

And then there’s WHOOSH! It wipes off bacteria, makes your screen shine, and, what I personally like the most, resists fingerprints. It’s guaranteed to be safe for all screens and is 100% non-toxic. WHOOSH pitched on Dragon’s Den (aired on March 4, 2015), and after seeing where they sprayed it (hint: it really shows how non-toxic the product is), I had to give it a try.

The use of it is similar to every other screen cleaner (even window or glass cleaners): spray the microfibre cloth and wipe. WHOOSH! has added in an extra step – use the other side of the cloth to polish your screen afterwards. I wasn’t quite sure which side to use for the spraying/wiping and which to use for the polishing, but it worked out just fine.

The Pocket and On-The-Go sizes are great to bring around with you to class, and I’d recommend keeping the 3.4 fl. oz. version (which you get as part of the Duo+ package) at home or in your dorm room. What I love about the Duo+ is the size combination – you really get the best of both worlds. This image shows you the size difference between the three as compared to an iPhone 4S.

From left to right: Pocket, On-The-Go, and Duo+ 3.4 fl. oz. WHOOSH! bottles

From left to right: Pocket, On-The-Go, and Duo+ 3.4 fl. oz. WHOOSH! bottles

I tried it on my MacBook Air screen first. It took a couple of presses on the spray bottle (as with any new one) to get the liquid flowing, but I did get a generous spray on the cloth, and did with every time after this. There was no elbow grease required; it really just took a few wipes to remove the dirt and fingerprints from the screen.

What I was most curious about was the “resists fingerprints” part – so I’m literally sitting here stroking my post-WHOOSH! screen as if it were a cat. I’m purposefully poking it, and it’s true – I don’t see any fingerprints. Consider my curiosity piqued.

We pride ourselves on giving unbiased reviews, pros and cons included, but there are really no cons I can identify here (I’m trying, I swear!). Even the packaging is easy to open and is resealable.

Check out the WHOOSH! website for more information.

The Highlights

  • Three sizes: Pocket (0.3 fluid ounces); On-The-Go (1 fluid ounce); Duo+ (one 3.4 fluid ounce bottle and one 0.3 fluid ounce bottle)
  • MSRP: Pocket: $4.99; On-The-Go: $9.99; Duo+: $19.99
  • Cloth: 6”x6” anti-microbial screen cleaning microfibre
  • Ingredients: 100% non-toxic (ingredients have been reviewed by NSF International) and made with biodegradable surfactants (no harmful residues to worry about). Does not contain alcohol, acids, ammonia, chlorine, solvents, petroleum distillates, phosphates or VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • ‘Safe for your Screen’ Guarantee: Should a screen get damaged using their product, they will repair the screen or replace the device at no cost

I’d recommend this product – in fact, I will be busy cleaning all the screens I have with it.

Interested in purchasing? Check out the size that’s right for you:

WHOOSH 31008MLSSR Screen Shine Pocket Screen Cleaning Kit

WHOOSH 31030MLSSR Screen Shine Go Screen Cleaning Kit

WHOOSH 31100BMLSSR Screen Shine Duo Cleaning Kit

Help! Do I Buy a Mac or a PC?

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Image by Sean MacEntee, Flickr

Choosing a laptop to use for school may not be the easy decision you think it is. There are many options, but when it comes down to it, you’ll be looking at two versions: a Mac or a PC. My goal is to show you the pros and cons of both to help you make your decision. Remember that even though Mac and PC computers run on different operating systems, they are made up of the same parts, and in most cases, either one will be able to satisfy your education requirements.

The Advantages

The Mac The PC
Battery life
Generally superior and long-lasting

Software
Comes with installed, easy-to-use software for movie and music editing

Operating System
Easy-to-use, configurable operating system

Security
More secure infrastructure when surfing the web

Design
Arguably sleek models

Compatibility
Gigantic marketplace for all kinds of software

Customizability
Customize it to fit your style with the flexible Windows system

Entertainment station
Double as an entertainment station (watch movies, play games) as well as a work station

Cost
Competition between PC manufacturers means more reasonable prices

The Disadvantages

The Mac
The PC
Cost
Least expensive laptop (11-inch MacBook Air) starts at $999

Compatibility
Incompatible with many third party programs, although this is slowly changing

Customizability
Cannot be customized outside of what the operating system allows

Learning
More difficult to learn to use, although slowly changing with the advent of Windows 8.1

Battery life
Varies computer to computer, from frustratingly low to comfortably high

Overheating
Some hardware is prone to overheating because of how they are built and the various manufacturers

Viruses, malware, adware
Ensure safe web surfing with a good anti-virus program

The facts are laid out. Still unsure? Your choice can be made easier by looking at what you need, while making sure you’re getting the things you want.

  • Prioritize your needs
  • If you’re in a media program, you may need to edit movies or music. A Mac might be a better choice for you, since the Operating System comes packaged with professional, easy-to-use software.

  • Be wary of price
  • If you’re going to be using your computer for mainly word processing and web surfing, your best bet would be to go with a PC notebook. Models start as low as $400, and they can give you all the tools necessary to complete your schoolwork.

  • Take into account all uses of the computer
  • Will you be using your computer outside of school-related activities? If you plan to also use it for entertainment at home, look for a computer with higher specifications that meets your needs.

In the end, the choice resides with you and your preference. Both Mac and PC computers have advantages and disadvantages. Study the charts above, list out your priorities, see what’s on sale, and go into a couple of stores to test them out. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one to fit your needs – and you’ll enjoy the hunt!

Check out this article on more things to consider when searching for a laptop.

The Hunt for Deals: Student Laptops

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Congratulations on finding your laptop for school! Now, it’s time for you to buy it. Here are some helpful tips on buying your laptop, without breaking the bank:

  • Take advantage of student pricing and back-to-school deals. Apple offers student discounts and a $100 app store gift card. Microsoft, HP and Dell gave out Xbox 360s with the purchase of a laptop over $699 during back-to-school season last year. Keep an eye on what deals they have this year. Computer stores always have some great deals around July and August.
  • Price match. Look through store websites and flyers for a really cheap price for your laptop. If you can find one, stores like Best Buy and Future Shop will match the price and give you an extra 10% discount.
  • Bargain. It never hurts to ask a salesperson for a better deal. If they can’t change the price, they might be able to throw in some free warranty or accessories instead.
  • Consider refurbished. Refurbished laptops are a great deal, but be careful. See if you can try it out before buying it and know the return policy in case it doesn’t work out.
  • The Internet is your friend. Some people have been very lucky, finding amazing deals on sites like Ebay, Craigslist and Kijiji.

Before you buy, make absolutely sure the laptop is for you. Go to a store and try it out. Pick it up, try typing a few sentences and press all the buttons to get a good feel for the device. And, make sure you like how it looks. This is going to be your ultimate productivity machine for the next few years, so make sure it’s right for you. Good luck!

Finding a Laptop for School

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Laptops have become one of the most important all-in-one tools for students. You can take notes, do research for an essay, listen to music, watch videos and much more. There’s a whole list of things to consider before you buy a laptop, but when looking for the best laptop for school, be particularly aware of these aspects:

  • Price: This is going to be a problem for everyone. In my opinion, get something that will last you throughout university/college. Even though it might be expensive, it’s better than buying something cheap but unreliable. Establish a budget, but be prepared to spend an extra hundred dollars for something really good.
  • Operating system (Mac or PC): Choose whichever OS you’re most comfortable with. However, consider your needs when choosing one. Some very important applications only run on a certain OS. For example, some engineering apps only run on Windows and Final Cut Pro (for film students) only runs on a Mac.
  • Portability: Some people are fine with carrying 10-pound laptops with a huge screen. Others are not. You may have to sacrifice screen size for weight, but shop around and you’ll find something with a perfect balance of the two. When considering portability, also think about how heavy your charger is.
  • Battery life: Power outlets in typical lecture halls and classrooms come few and far between. Unless your room has an outlet for every person, battery life is going to be very important. Try to purchase a laptop with enough battery life for your longest class. If you have back-to-back classes, find a laptop with an exceptionally long battery life.
  • Storage: Finding a place to store all of your essays, notes, applications, music and videos is important. For most students, 250 GB should be enough, but if you have a lot of media, you may want 500 GB or even 1 TB. Take advantage of cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive for free extra space to store files.
  • Other features: Think about what features you want in your device. Do you want touch screen capabilities? A specific type of keyboard? An optical drive? Webcam? Mic? USB ports? SD card slots?
  • Warranty: Sooner or later, something is going to go wrong. A good warranty might set you back a few bucks, but is worth it in the long run when something breaks.

Your “perfect laptop” may not exist, but sitting down and figuring out what you want and need will save you time and money later on. Once you have chosen “the one,” check out this article on finding great deals for your laptop.