Asus delivers VivoBook Flip 14 TM420IA 2-in-1 laptop with AMD Ryzen 4000 processors, $600 starting price tag

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Asus VivoBook Flip 14

Earlier this year, ZDNet’s Sandra Vogel took a look at the Asus VivoBook S14, which she described as “a solidly built 14-inch Windows 10 laptop.” Asus must have agreed, because it just launched a 2-in-1 laptop that appears to share a number of design features with the S14.

There are a couple of key differences between the S14 and the VivoBook Flip 14 TM420, however, such as the Flip’s 360-degree hinged design and use of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series mobile processors instead of the S14’s 10th-generation Intel Core CPU options. Nonetheless, many other aspects of the Flip 14 seem borrowed directly from the S14, such as the Enter key wrapped in bright yellow and a calculator embedded in the touchpad. The weight (3.08 pounds) is the same and the dimensions are very similar (the Flip 14 being a touch bigger, thanks no doubt to the hinged design), with both portables squeezing a 14-inch full HD display into the equivalent of a 13-inch chassis.

As befits its hybrid status, the Flip 14 comes with touchscreen functionality to support input from the included Asus Pen digital stylus. Like the S14, it ships with a pair of USB 3.2 ports (one of which is the charging variety), HDMI output, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, though the Flip 14 includes two additional USB 2.0 ports whereas the S14 includes just a single one. While the S14 offers four color choices, the Flip is only available in basic black.

Like its clamshell sibling, the Flip 14 has two basic configuration options (in the U.S., at least): The less expensive Flip 14 is powered by a Ryzen 5 4500U processor, and ships with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive, while the pricier model has a beefier Ryzen 7 4700U processor and doubles the SSD capacity. Notably, Asus does not disclose battery life for the Flip 14, though it does point out a quick charge mode that will juice the battery to 60 percent in 49 minutes. Starting at $599.99 for the Ryzen 5 4500U edition and $100 more for the Ryzen 7 4700U version, the VivoBook Flip 14 TM420IA appears to be a moderately priced and powered laptop choice for those looking hybrid capabilities without breaking the bank.

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Laptops with the best battery life: Top choices for remote workers and students

With many schools choosing to offer remote learning this fall, either full or part time, 2020’s back-to-school shopping season is very different than in years past. As ubiquitous as laptops seemed in classrooms and on campuses before, they will become even more pervasive in students’ lives as they rely on them for virtual learning. Students who don’t wish to be chained to their desks throughout the school day will need to consider the value of solid battery life as one of the critical factors in choosing a laptop, as it will give them the ability to move from room to room without needing to hunt for a power outlet.

A laptop with good battery life used to be mean a skinny, under-powered notebook that sacrificed performance to squeeze every extra minute out of a charge. Obviously the more powerful a system is, the more power it draws, and the less time a battery can handle supplying that power. 

But research into extending battery life — not to mention work from processor manufacturers — has yielded huge dividends over recent years, and while the super-svelte portables and the laptops designed for basic productivity tasks (think Chromebooks) still provide the most time between charges, there are far more systems that boast solid battery life without sacrificing nearly as much performance as they once did.

Because impressive battery life can be found in pretty much every category of laptops these days, we’re here to help you figure out which ones actually provide the best battery life for different laptop types. After all, students choose from a wide variety of notebooks, everything from Chromebooks to 2-in-1 hybrids to gaming laptops. Check out a dozen of our picks for laptops with the longest battery life below.      

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A business convertible laptop with a number of features — and a price tag to match — the Latitude 7400’s most impressive spec has to be its battery life. While laptop review sites have varying methods of battery testing, top reviewers are getting at least 13 hours of juice from the system.

Though its eighth-generation Core processors options aren’t Intel’s latest, they’re still powerful Core i5 and i7 options. Step up from the base configuration, and you get 8GB or 16GB of RAM, 256GB or 512GB solid-state storage, a full 1,920×1,080 14-inch display, and a larger 60Whr battery that can maximizes battery life. Regardless of configuration, once you do reach the end of your charge, Dell claims the ExpressCharge feature provides an 80% recharge in a just an hour.

$1,579 at Dell

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In a world of snazzy luxe notebooks and dirt-cheap laptops, it’s hard for a solid mainstream laptop to stand out. But that shouldn’t stop you from looking past Acer’s Aspire family, which offers all-around quality at a reasonable price While the Aspire 5 won’t stand out in most areas, long battery life is its calling card. In its review of the Aspire 5, our sister site CNET got over 8.5 hours of juice from its battery. 

That finding is close to the 9 hours Acer claims for the Aspire 5, and is noticeably higher than most sub-$500 laptops provide. You also get decent performance from Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors, and Acer even throws in a full HD 15.6-inch screen to boot.

$313 at Amazon

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Need a little more battery life and don’t mind a bit less performance than the Aspire 5? Acer has you covered with the Swift 1, a 2020 version of what we used to think of as the type of laptop that would sport good battery life: It’s pretty cheap and small, and won’t be confused with a $2,000 gaming laptop in the performance realm.  

Nonetheless, the Swift 1 is more than competent for basic tasks, which you can perform all day thanks to its battery life. CNET’s testing found that the laptop provided more than 9 hours of life between charges, close to the 10 hours that Acer claims for the Swift 1. It manages to hit that figure by using lower performance, but more efficient Intel Pentium and Celeron processors, though Acer does throw in a full HD 14-inch display even on the base configuration. 

$379 at Best Buy

16-inch MacBook Pro

Just from its name along, the MacBook Air should have the best battery life of Apple’s laptops, right? Not anymore, as the latest MacBook Pro models have surpassed the svelte Air. One advantage of the MacBook Pro’s bigger size is that Apple can squeeze a bigger battery within it, and in the case of the 16-inch version, it’s much bigger: 100Whr compared to the 58Whr of the 13-inch edition. 

While you’re supposed to get an extra hour of battery life from the bigger MacBook Pro, it also has more room for top-notch components that can quickly erase that advantage. If you want a more consistent 10 hours of battery life, the smaller MacBook Pro might be the ticket if you’re set on an Apple laptop with the top battery life. 

$1,149 at Amazon

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Asus isn’t the first name when you think of business laptops, but that might change with the ExpertBook B9450, which weights a mere 1.9 pounds and promises up to an astounding 24 hours of battery when it launches in the coming weeks.

To go up against the likes of the Lenovo ThinkPads of the world, a full day’s battery life definitely helps, as does its meeting of MIL-STD 810G durability standards. Other cool features include a LED number pad that’s built into the trackpad area of the keyboard and, like the Dell Latitiude 7400, a quick-charging mode that recharges the battery up to 60 percent in just 40 minutes. Designed around the principles of Intel’s Project Athena initiative, the ExpertBook B9450’s combination of top battery life and design savvy could make it a business laptop worth considering compared to the more traditional players in the market.

$1,700 at Amazon

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Google rolled out the Chromebook concept years ago around a cheap laptop with minimal specs that could offer excellent battery life using the efficient Chrome OS and cloud-based apps. While it’s succeeded wildly with that concept, its own forays into Chromebook systems has taken a different tact, emphasizing higher specs and a higher price tag.

Its Pixelbook Go costs more than many mainstream Windows laptops, thanks to specs like Intel Core processors, superior keyboard and a full HD 13.3-inch touchscreen display. It’s also one of the increasing number of Chromebooks that offers Google Play store integration for access to Android apps. In terms of battery hours, Google claims 12 hours between charges, but ZDNet’s own Matthew Miller says he’s been getting closer to 10 hours. He’s also been using it as his daily laptop, which should say something about the effectiveness of Google’s approach.

$648 at Amazon

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HP really stepped it up with the latest version of its ultraportable business 2-in-1, which gets a processor boost, receives some significant cosmetic surgery, and still retains superior battery life.

Specifically, the newest Spectre x360 leaps from 8th-generation to 10th-gen Intel Core CPU options, significantly improving its performance. It also loses a lot of unnecessary bezel space, making it 13 percent smaller than it previously was. Even with those changes, the Spectre x360 still provided 10.5 hours of battery life in CNET’s testing, part of the reason it earned our sister site’s Editors’ Choice award.

$900 at HP

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Students are always among the early adopters of new technology, and the roll-out of 5G promises to enhance the quality of their streaming-centric lives. Those who want to be on the bleeding edge of laptop connectivity (and with deep pockets) will no doubt be intrigued by Lenovo’s Flex 5G (or Yoga 5G in some markets), the first to feature the service via Verizon’s 5G network.

Beyond 5G’s promise of greatly enhanced Internet speeds, the Flex 5G is being buzzed about because of its top-drawer battery life. Lenovo claims a full day (that is, 24 hours) between charges, thanks to the use of Qualcomm’s super-efficient Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform Arm-based processor. The downside is that compatibility with Windows apps is a bit hit-or-miss, but if you are obsessed with always being connected — and unplugged — the Flex 5G is set to usher in a new era of on-the-go computing.

$1,399 at Verizon

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As with gaming laptops, desktop replacement notebooks with large displays are notoriously power hogs, making “battery life” seem like a bit of an oxymoron. But that was before the likes of the 17-inch version of the LG Gram hit the scene.

It might be built around a 17-inch 2,560×1600 display, yet this Gram manages to weigh less than 3 pounds. That svelteness, along with eschewing the discrete graphics that many desktop replacements offer, helps allow it to eek out some phenomenal battery life — over 12 hours in CNET’s testing. And that was before LG updated the Gram lineup for 2020 and increased the size of the battery in its largest laptop from 72Whr to 80Whr.

$1,850 at Amazon

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If anyone knows how to claw the most battery life out of Windows, it should be Microsoft, so it should come as no surprise that two of its Surface devices appear in our roundup. While the world waits for a possible Surface Book 3, it still has the Surface Book 2 to handle productivity duties.

Despite being bigger than the original Surface Book (sporting a 15-inch screen compared to the original’s 13.5-inch display), the sequel manages to provide well over 10 hours of battery life. That’s even when equipped with a Core i7 CPU and GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics, as ZDNet’s own Ed Bott found when testing out the Surface Book 2. It owes its fantastic battery life to a jumbo-sized 102 Whr battery, which can also quickly recharge the laptop in relatively little time.

$1,499 at Amazon

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Whereas the Surface Book 2 looks to serve as a desktop replacement, the Surface Pro X looks to serve as a very portable traveling companion. Microsoft’s thinnest, lightest Surface device, the Pro X is also one of the few Windows systems using an ARM processor rather than one from AMD or Intel.

You should expect about a dozen hours of battery life from the Pro X, even with a very high-res 2,880×1,920 13-inch display. In our review, the ARM chip managed better performance than you might expect from technology best known for powering smartphones, but the newest Qualcomm SQ1 processor trounced the previous Snapdragon chip that HP used in its Envy x2. There are a couple of disadvantages to the Surface Pro X — namely, full ARM compatibility with Windows apps is still developing, and the starting price does not include a digital pen or keyboard to turn this into a full convertible device. But battery life definitely isn’t one of them. 

$991 at Amazon

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In 2020, there can even be a winner for best battery life for a gaming laptop, as component makers have squeezed more power out of tinier processors and graphics cards. The current holder of the title is the MSI GS65 Stealth, which comes in at a little over 4 pounds despite packing a six-core Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070 discrete graphics card.

While being just 0.7 inches thick, the GS65 Stealth manages to smush in an 80 Whr battery, which provides several hours of power away from an outlet. Although 6 or 7 hours can’t compare to the other models in this roundup, that’s much better than the 2 or 3 hours many gaming laptops offer. As a result, an otherwise very good midrange gaming notebook becomes a great choice compared to more power-hungry rivals.

$1,930 at Amazon

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Unlike the Pixelbook Go, Samsung’s latest Chromebook is based on the original concept: Low power, low cost. The 11.6-inch Chromebook 4 starts well under $300, in large part due to components like Intel’s Celeron N4000 processor, just 32GB of onboard storage, and a run-of-the-mill 1,366×768 screen.

While that might not be cause for much excitement, its battery life should be — Samsung claims 12.5 hours, and though Laptop Mag only got about 10.5 hours in its review, that still was an hour longer than the average Chromebook it’s tested. Samsung has also upped the design quality compared to similarly priced Chromebooks, with an aluminum top and durability features that allow it to pass a number of MIL-STD 810G tests. Better still, you move up to a Chromebook 4+ with a 15.6-inch display (albeit with less battery life) and still only pay around $300.

$243 at Amazon

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Cyber Monday 2019: Top Best Buy deals

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(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Best Buy’s Black Friday ad is always one of the most anticipated of the holiday shopping season, and one pleasant surprise with its release this year is that many of the deals are already available, a sign that online shopping continues to erode the “magic” of Black Fridays past when people trampled each other to get to doorbuster specials before they ran out. We’ve covered Best Buy’s Black Friday Apple deals elsewhere, but below are several other sales that caught our eye.

Best Cyber Monday 2019 Best Buy deals

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page.

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HP 14-DB0023DX Chromebook Laptop for $119 ($130 off)

Best Buy sold a Samsung Chromebook for $90 on Black Friday, but this pricier Cyber Monday special might be a better deal. It has a bigger 14-inch display, uses a better processor (AMD A4), and offers more RAM (4GB) and storage (32GB) for just $30 more.

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Lenovo IdeaPad S145 Laptop for $179 ($100 off)

Best Buy has a fewer sub-$200 Windows laptop Cyber Monday deals, but this one gives you much more storage and a bigger display for just a smidge more money. Specifically, you get a 500GB hard drive instead of a 64GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch screen instead of a 14-inch or 11.6-inch one. This IdeaPad S145 also features an AMD A6 processor and 4 gigs of RAM.  

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Microsoft Surface Go for $299 ($100 off)

If you really want to get a Surface device, this is about the cheapest way to get a new one. Granted, the Go is the least powerful Microsoft tablet, and this deal doesn’t include any accessories that could aid productivity. Nonetheless, you still get a 10-inch 1,800×1,200 touchscreen, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of built-in storage, and an Intel Pentium Gold 4415 Y processor for under $300.

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Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Laptop for $1,099 ($300 off)

If you’d rather save money than get a gift card, Best Buy’s a better place to grab this base MacBook Pro than an Apple Store. You’ll get the latest version — Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, 13-inch Retina display with Touch Bar — for nearly $200 less than purchasing it directly through Apple.

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CyberPowerPC Gamer Master Gaming Desktop for $479

A gaming PC for under $500? It might not be the most powerful — the AMD Ryzen 3 2300X processor may be minimally viable — but you also get Radeon RX graphics, 8GB of RAM, and both a terabyte hard drive and 240GB SSD. AMD even throws in three free months of Xbox Game Pass for PC to seal the deal.

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Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop for $549 ($180 off)

This Cyber Monday deal has everything a gamer on a budget is looking for. It features an Intel i5-9300H quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, a speedy 256GB solid-state drive, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics. A full HD 15.6-inch display rounds things out on a system that still manages to weigh under 5 pounds.

More Office Depot and OfficeMax Black Friday 2019 deals

As always, Dell has plenty of other deals as part of its Black Friday promotion in addition to the ones highlighted above. Here are several other specials.

  • Acer CB3-532-108H Chromebook (Intel Atom x5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, 15.6-inch screen) for $159 off)
  • Dell i3583 Inspiron Laptop (Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, 15.6-inch display) for $299.99
  • Lenovo 510A-15ICB Desktop (Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive) for $369.99
  • Acer Spin 11 2-in-1 Laptop (Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, 11.6-inch touchscreen display) for $219
  • Dell Inspiron All-in-One Desktop (AMD A9 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, 23.8-inch touchscreen display) for $499.99
  • HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop (Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics, 15.6-inch full HD display) for $499.99

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Cyber Monday 2019: Best Office Depot and OfficeMax deals

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(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Cyber Monday ad for these merged office superstore chains doesn’t offer as many deals on laptops and desktops as their Black Friday ad, which is not entirely surprising given their continued (if shrinking) brick-and-mortar presence. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of specials available from Office Depot and OfficeMax if you didn’t buy a PC over the Black Friday weekend, including these highlights:

Best Cyber Monday 2019 Office Depot and OfficeMax deals

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page.

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HP Chromebook 14-db0070nr Touchscreen Laptop for $229 ($50 off)

No $100 Chromebook deal like Office Depot and OfficeMax promoted on Black Friday, this Cyber Monday special is for buyers who need something bigger than an 11.6-inch screen that the cheapest Chromebooks offer. This HP includes not only a 14-inch display but also one with touchscreen capabilities. An AMD A4 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of built-in storage round out this Chromebook’s specs.

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Lenovo IdeaPad 130 Laptop for $249 ($100 off)

If you prefer a Windows 10 system instead of a Chromebook, this Lenovo deal is only $20 more than the HP one above, but you get a faster processor (AMD A6), more storage (500GB hard drive), and a bigger screen (15.6 inches). You do lose the touchscreen, however, though it may not be as much of a selling point on these conventional clamshell-design notebooks.  

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Dell Inspiron 3475 All-In-One PC for $449 ($180 off)

Along with the white color scheme, the main selling point for this all-in-one desktop is a large 23.8-inch full HD display. Inside it, you’ll find an AMD A9 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive.  

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Lenovo Flex 15 2-in-1 Laptop for $549 ($430 off)

If you want a convertible laptop with some power at a decent price, this Lenovo Flex deal features an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch full HD touchscreen. Those concerned about security will also appreciate the built-in fingerprint reader and the shutter to close the notebook’s webcam.

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HP Pavilion TP01-0066 Desktop for $549 ($150 off)

While a little short on storage (just a 256GB SSD), this HP desktop makes up for it with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and Radeon RX 550 graphics. The tower form factor means there’s room to add more storage if you need it, but it may be harder to replace the processing and graphics power for the price.

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Asus TUF Gaming Laptop for $799 ($100 off)

This gaming notebook checks all of the boxes for gamers on a budget. This online-only deal comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8 gigs of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, and a 15.6-inch full HD display. Capping things off is a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card to power your gaming on the go.

More Office Depot and OfficeMax Cyber Monday 2019 deals

Didn’t see what you wanted? Here are several more deals on laptops and desktops that might be right for you.

  • HP 14-cf1051od Laptop (Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch screen) for $429.99
  • Lenovo IdeaCentre A340 All-in-One Desktop (Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, 23.8-inch full HD display) for $549.99
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S340 Laptop (AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, 15.6-inch full HD display) for $449.99
  • HP M01-F0016 Desktop (AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD) for $399.99
  • Lenovo IdeaPad L340 Laptop (AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display) for $349.99
  • iBuyPower Gaming Desktop (Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics) for $719.99 (online only)

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CES 2020: MSI announces latest Creator 17 laptop will be world’s first with mini-LED display

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MSI Creator 17 laptop

While not as radical an improvement as MicroLED technology, mini-LED is a definite step up from the current LED implementation, as tinier LEDs can be crammed into the display backlighting to improve viewing brightness and contrast. As you might guess, mini-LEDs are making their first mark into the HDTV world, with TCL recently releasing the first sets using the technology. But the mobile computing market isn’t far behind, based on the latest announcement from manufacturer MSI.

Also: More CES coverage at CNET

In advance of CES 2020, the company is introducing a new version of its Creator 17 laptop that will be the first to use mini-LED technology for its screen. MSI claims that the display will feature a brightness of 1,000 nits, far superior to even the brightest consumer laptops if its claims come to fruition. It will also provide 240 zones of local dimming, which allows for better contrast with whiter white and darker black levels.

As a result, MSI says the new Creator 17 is the only notebook that can meet the DisplayHDR 1000 tier of VESA’s DisplayHDR spec, another factor that will aid the digital content creators who are the market for this laptop. Not surprisingly, the Creator 17’s mini-LED display also features 4K resolution and support for 100% DCI-P3 color gamut as well as the Display P3 color space.

In terms of other specs, MSI won’t divulge many details, saying instead that it will offer “the latest in CPU and GPU processing power.” The new Creator 17 will include a USB Type-C port that’s capable of outputting 8K video to an external display, along with a Thunderbolt port powerful enough to handle mobile charging duties. It also comes with what MSI says is the world’s fastest UHS-III SD card reader. As for the rest, including pricing and availability info, we’ll have to wait for CES next month to learn more.

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CES 2020: Avita readies new colorful Admiror, Pura laptop lines

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Avita Admiror

Avita is the consumer laptop brand of Hong Kong-based Nexstgo, which decided to enter the U.S. laptop market this year with cheap, colorful models like the Clarus and Liber, the latter of which ZDNet’s Eileen Brown favorably reviewed a couple of months ago. With its two newest families, it launches itself into a higher echelon of performance while maintaining its rainbow of chassis choices.

Also: More CES coverage at CNET

Avita plans to introduce the Admiror and Pura lines to the larger world during next month’s CES, though the notebooks are already for sale in the company’s home market. In its press release, Avita emphasizes the design bonafides of the new systems, while providing little information about the specs. Luckily, the Hong Kong version of the brand’s website fills in some of those details for us.

While the Clarus was a low-price, low-performance machine, the Liber was a step up. The Pura family continues that midrange approach, offering Intel Core i3-8145U or Core i5–8265U processor options, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB SSDs. The 14-inch display features 1,920×1,080 full HD resolution, and the Pura is available in hue’s hue of color choices, including two different shades of pink. One downside is that it loads Windows 10 S mode by default, forcing those looking for the full Windows 10 experience to workarounds (or to look at another laptop). 

With the Admiror, Avita takes on more luxurious laptops, starting with an all-metal chassis that the company claims — apparently not with tongue in cheek — to take inspiration from both high fashion and Gothic architecture. In addition to its admittedly good looks, the Admiror line offers either a Core i5 or Core i7 CPU running the full version of Windows 10, though it offers similar memory and storage options as the Pura line. It will come in either 14-inch or 15.6-inch sizes, with 4K and touchscreen options promised in the future. One thing the Admiror offers less of than its siblings is in the color department, providing “only” five choices, although none is black, white, or gray.

Though Avita hasn’t mentioned pricing or availability yet, the current starting price for the Admiror line in Hong Kong is close to the equivalent of $900. As with their predecessors, the Pura and Admiror laptops will be available via Amazon.com as well as Avita’s American website.

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CES 2020: Lenovo debuting Yoga Creator 7, IdeaPad Creator 5 laptops, IdeaCentre Creator 5 desktop

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Lenovo Yoga Creator 7

In addition to announcing a new personal business communications device and a pair of 27-inch LCD monitors, Lenovo is using CES 2020 to introduce additions to its Creator line of PCs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the two new laptops will see limited availability, and the new desktop won’t be released into well into this year.

Also: More CES coverage at CNET

Lenovo is launching the Yoga Creator 7 and IdeaPad Creator 5 laptops to tap into the market for on-the-go digital content creation (not to be confused with MSI’s own Creator laptop), but the company has already stated that neither will be coming to North America. For the rest of the world, the new Yoga is built around a 15.6-inch full HD display with optional 100-percent sRGB color gamut support. It will include 10th-generation Intel Core processors, up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of solid-state storage, and the “latest” (and unspecified) Nvidia mobile graphics.

Several ounces heavier (4.8 pounds versus 4.2 pounds), the IdeaPad Creator 5 has a similar-sized screen and screen resolution, though its color gamut option is 100-percent Adobe RGB instead of sRGB. It likewise will offer 10th-gen Core CPUs and new Nvidia graphics, but it’s a little thicker than the Yoga and is equipped with a smaller battery (8 hours versus 13 hours). Both systems have Lenovo Q-Control and Intelligent Cooling technology to boost performance while keeping things cool when needed for the most demanding tasks. They also come with a dark moss chassis that’s different from the black and gray laptops of the world without being too ostentatious.

The IdeaCentre Creator 5 keeps that color scheme for its case, along with a bit of a geometric design to make it stand out from the average desktop tower. More than just flair, Lenovo claims the case design aids in cooling and quieting the PC, which can be equipped with up to the latest Core i9 processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards as well as up to 32GB of RAM and two terabytes of hard drive space and a terabyte of solid-state storage. The IdeaCentre is an Independent Software Vendor certified to ensure content creation software runs optimally, and the PC maker includes its Lenovo Vantage dashboard to complement the Windows 10 experience.

Unlike the new Creator laptops, Lenovo is planning to offer the IdeaCentre Creator 5 in North America, though you’ll have plenty of time to save up for its $1,099.99 starting price. That’s because it’s not expected to go on sale until October.    

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CES 2020: NEC comes back to the U.S. with new LaVie laptops, all-in-one PC

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NEC LaVie Home All-in-One

LaVie Z ultra-lightweight notebookOnce a fixture among the U.S. business laptop market, NEC bailed out of American retail a few years ago, choosing to concentrate on its home Japanese market instead. But as the new decade begins, NEC Personal Computers — a joint venture between NEC Corp. and Lenovo that’s been producing PCs since 2011 — has decided to venture once again into the U.S. marketplace with a trio of new systems.

The last time NEC launched a new PC for American buyers at CES was in 2015, when it rolled out the LaVie Z ultra-lightweight notebook. Flash forward five years, and it’s back with the LaVie brand. This time around, the laptops are called the Pro Mobile and the Vega, both sleekly designed and with premium price tags.

At under 2 pounds and just 0.62 inches thick, the Pro Mobile puts an emphasis on the mobile, thanks to materials like racing-car grade carbon fiber and magnesium lithium alloy. Despite the extreme portability, the Pro Mobile doesn’t compromise performance, squeezing in an Intel Core i7-8565U quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB solid-state drive, and a 13.3-inch full HD display into its Bordeaux colored chassis. At a $1,600 starting price, the Pro Mobile isn’t compromising on price, either.

That’s even more apparent with the Vega, which starts at $500 more than the Pro Mobile and is bigger and heavier (4 pounds) due in part to its larger 15.6-inch display. For the additional cost, you get increased performance from the beefier i7-9750H six-core CPU and the 32GB of Intel Optane memory, along with increased resolution from the 4K OLED screen. Other premium specs include Yamaha stereo speakers, two Thunderbolt ports, and Gorilla Glass back cover.

Keeping with the luxury pricing of the NEC laptops, the LaVie Home all-in-one PC is in the same range of an iMac rather than most Windows all-in-ones. Centered around a 27-inch full HD white screen, the LaVie Home features a Core i7-10510U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 3TB hard drive and 256GB SSD, and even a DVD rewritable drive. One thing it lacks is touchscreen functionality, which you might expect from a system costing $1,800. As with the laptops, the LaVie Home will be available starting in March.

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CES 2020: Intel launches NUC 9 Extreme, NUC 9 Pro Workstation mini-PC kits

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Intel NUC 9 Extreme 

Among the various forthcoming technologies and new products it presented in its CES keynote, Intel also presented its latest Next Unit of Computing (NUC) kits, which promise the best performance options that the mini-PCs have offered to date. In addition to a version that finally provides desktop-level gaming prowess in a NUC, there’s also a workstation edition available for the first time.

With the skull design on the side of its tiny chassis, the NUC 9 Extreme — also known as the Ghost Canyon NUC — is a successor to Skull Canyon and Hades Canyon NUCs. While those emphasized higher performance than what is typically expected from a small form factor PC, Ghost Canyon does them better in a number of ways. Intel says the NUC 9 Extreme is the first NUC that can accept desktop-sized graphics cards, thanks to a PCIe x16 slot, and comes equipped with a Core i9 processor, including an option for an unlocked version.

As is the case with all NUCs, the Ghost Canyon model includes the processor, but leaves the rest to the user (or third-party vendors building systems from the kit), who needs to supply RAM, storage, and discrete graphics to the unit. That can be made easier with the optional Compute Element, a more convenient, modular way to swap components in and out of the NUC. Other features supplied with the NUC 9 Extreme include a 500-watt power supply, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a pair of Thunderbolt ports and a HDMI 2.0a port. Though it can only accept graphics cards up to 8 inches in length, the Ghost Canyon NUC only takes up a mere 9.4×8.5×3.8 inches.

While clearly not as sexy as the Ghost Canyon edition, the NUC 9 Pro is notable for being the first workstation class NUC kit Intel has produced. It resembles the 9 Extreme NUC in a number of ways (500-watt power supply, support for desktop graphics cards, similar connectivity options), but rather than coming with Core i9 CPUs, the 9 Pro will be available with either a Core i7-9850H vPro or a Xeon E-2286M processor option. Other workstation-level features include support for Intel’s Active Management Technology and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) inclusion.

Intel has provided no specific pricing or availability details yet for the latest NUCs, but given that you’re getting legitimate desktop PC power in a device that can fit in your bag, expect to pay a pretty penny when they are finally released.

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CES 2020: Razer Tomahawk gaming desktop stays small, powerful thanks to Intel’s NUC 9 Extreme

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Razer Tomahawk

We reported the other day on Intel’s new NUC 9 Extreme, the latest Next Unit of Computing kit that allows desktop graphics cards to be used as part of it for the first time. It can work with the modular Compute Element to make swapping components in and out of a small form factor chassis easier. While Intel is prepping its Ghost Canyon NUC complete with a skull-adorned case, other manufacturers are free to build their own mini-desktops around the NUC concept.

Enter Razer, the gaming hardware company that graduated from producing controllers and other peripherals to also offering well-designed full-fledged PC systems. Though it’s had more success with laptops like the Blade family, it’s tackling the desktop realm with the Tomahawk, which will come as both a full PC as well as a standalone chassis. The Tomahawk will make use of the NUC 9 Extreme, but as is typical with Razer, it will deliver its own innovative design touches.

For starters, Razer forges the Tomahawk from aluminum with its sides crafted from tempered glass, allowing you to see the vertically mounted GPU like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080. Cooling is facilitated by a vent at the top of the case, while the rear of the chassis opens up to allow the Compute Module to slide in and out. It still retains a compact footprint, however, sized in the neighborhood of the proverbial breadbox.

In addition to a full-sized graphics card, the Tomahawk can be configured with up to a Core i9 CPU and 64GB of RAM. Connectivity includes a pair of Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI ports and a half-dozen USB 3 ports. Thanks to the modular nature of the Compute Element, many components can be upgraded with ease. If you really want to build a system completely, Razer will be releasing the Tomahawk in a chassis-only version dubbed the Tomahawk N1.

Razer has announced that the Tomahawk Gaming desktop will be available sometime in the first half of 2020, but no pricing details were disclosed. Given Razer’s previous offerings, expect to pay a premium.

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