Tag Archives: Laptop

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 with InfinityEdge Screen

In the never-ending battle of the tech giants, 2018 has most certainly been the year of the bevel or indeed lack of bevel. TV’s have become almost bevel-less, transforming from boring black rectangles that have been slowly consuming our living rooms to ambient wall furniture which can now disguise itself as the wall-covering it once blighted like some kind of digital chameleon.

In our hands, the swift removal of bevels from around our curved smart phone screens has introduced us to the ‘notch’ as manufacturers desperately seek new ways to hide fingerprint readers and front facing cameras. Along with these gadgets, we now see the same happening with computer screens, laptops and of course the 2-in-1 or convertible touchscreen notebook / tablet devices.

Three Dell XPS 13 (Model 9365) Touch 13-inch notebook computers, codename Aventador.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is just one of those devices, a beautifully sleek device with the almost bevel-less screen in the form of Dell’s own ‘InfinityEdge’ display and a power packed Intel Core i7 processer and SSD drive.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a convertible laptop which with the help of Windows 10 converts into a 13” tablet by simply folding away the keyboard and transforming into a lovely device to please artists or note-takers alike.

The 2-in-1 comes in a nicely branded black soft-touch box. Inside you find the laptop with its lid and base polished aluminium with embossed Dell logo in the centre. Opening the lid to expose the keyboard and screen isn’t quite as graceful as other laptops due to the lack of weight, but this is a small issue as once revealed, it provides a very pleasant view for owners.

The keyboard is nicely recessed, typing is very tactile and feels high quality with a good sized touch pad below. Surrounding the keyboard and touchpad is what looks a feels like carbon fibre, this this looks really nice and gives good grip when ‘manipulating’ the device, but is also a bit of a fingerprint magnet. There is also a fingerprint reader for use with Microsoft Hello.

Now down to the display itself, which I have to admit is absolutely stunning! Dell have gone for a gloss glass screen which makes colours rich and vibrant, blacks are… well black as they should be with no obvious backlight ruining your viewing experience. My unit was a 1920 x 1080 FHD screen, but there is also a 3200 x 1800 model giving even greater clarity. The screen is also multi-touch (10 touch points) capable and for artists the Dell Active Pen can also be used which is sold separately.

Powering the device is the 7th generation Intel Core i7 running at 1.60Ghz along with 8Gb of memory and a 240Gb Solid State Drive (SSD), as expected the machine runs very quickly indeed with almost instantaneous boot up and excellent performance. Running Adobe Photoshop was a breeze and I can imagine with the Dell Active Pen would provide an excellent environment for artists.

As the machine runs on Windows 10 Home Edition, the majority of owners will be familiar with finding their way around the system and with a device designed to work directly with this software, the journey is relatively painless.

If you are looking to plug in your peripherals, you will find that the XPS 13 2-in-1 has now joined the USB Type C charging club and thus has no traditional USB ports other than using an adapter. Thus, you have 2 USB-C ports for connectivity or charging the device, a Micro SD port for transferring data, a display port connector, a Thunderbolt™ 3.0 connector and headset jack port. The frustration of losing the standard ports we have all grown used to can be easily remedied by after-market adapters.

Dell have yet again produced a high quality machine which sits right up there with other manufacturers hardware. It would be very useful for business people who need to work from remote locations or whilst commuting and I’m pretty sure that a few lucky students would also benefit from using it.

Starting at around £1150, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is by no way an entry level device, but if you are look for a very nicely designed notebook or tablet, then buying a 2-in-1 may well be your solution.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme – The perfect laptop for any road trip #gadgetroadtrip

Before departing on our electric road trip in the Tesla Model S in October, we were kindly lent lots of kit to make the journey easier and more tech-packed.

Of all the tech we used and tested on our trip, one of the most useful was the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme, a gadget perfectly suited for the journey to Scotland and back.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme at Leicester Services.

As the name suggests, this is a Rugged laptop specifically designed to withstand some pretty extreme conditions. It is aimed at people who need to be working out in the field in all kinds of weather conditions. Perfectly suited for the west of Scotland then!

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
The Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme comes with Resistive Touch Screen and Stylus fir ease of use in wet conditions.

The Latitude 14 Rugged was to be the central hub of our video and blogging management, allowing us to edit video whenever the chance presented itself and manage blogs and social media in a full screen environment. Video was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and uploaded over EE’s 4g network.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme Designed for ‘in the field’ use.

As laptops go, this is a seriously luggable device, it’s bulky and heavy to the point that it has an integrated carry handle. The bulk and weight are due to it’s armour added to protect it from fairly substantial drops and providing it will water resistance.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
All I/O ports are rubber sealed.

Each of the myriad of i/o ports are rubber-sealed to protect them and it’s touch screen is resistive rather than the market standard ‘capacitive’ touch in order for it be used in wet conditions and dell have even provided an inbuilt stylus to aid use of it in cold conditions where you wouldn’t want to expose your fingers to the elements.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
Integrated finger print reader is included.

The model we tested was packed with hardware features including a Intel Core i5-6300U Processor (Dual Core, 3M Cache, 2.40 GHz), 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 Memory, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel Integrated HD Graphics 520, Intel Dual Band Wireless 8260 (802.11ac) with Bluetooth, Dell Wireless Qualcomm Gobi 4G LTE (DW5809E for Win8/Win10), 35.6cm (14.0″) HD (1366×768) Touch Display with Microphone Camera with Privacy Shutter all powered from E5 90W AC Adapter.

The Dell Latitude 14 Rugged
The Dell provided excellent battery performance during our trip and we ensured we topped up overnight where possible.

The processor, memory and solid state drive all helped to run Windows 10 Professional with ease. I was able to happily edit 4K video footage in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and upload these files with a EE 4G data Sim card. Everything was taken care of without having to mess around with secondary devices to connect to the internet. In retrospect, we could have employed the Latitude as a virtual studio for our video broadcasting, but time constraints simply didn’t give us the time to set this up.

All in all this was a seriously impressive device, although this is in no way a practical machine for use in an office,  but when used for it’s intended purpose in extreme weather conditions and less that welcoming environments, it simply excels with a feature packed all in one solution with water resistance and extreme durability.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these features come at a premium, the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is priced around the £2900 mark.

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

 

 

Dell Latitude 7480 – A Smooth Portable Windows 10 Experience

Dell Latitude 7480 – A Smooth Portable Windows Experience

As a ‘Mac’ user for the last few years, I was interested to see whether a Windows Laptop could come close to my experience using a Macbook Pro, so when I received the Dell Latitude 7480 for review, I was eager to see if it could meet my expectations.

At first glance the Dell looked and felt very high quality, the aluminium of my existing laptop was replaced by a soft touch matt black finish. with e matt screen. I was pleased to see the keyboard was back lit which makes operation in dark areas much easier and it seems crammed with every kind of pointing device option I have ever seen!

The Dell was installed with Windows 10 and this ran up very quickly, ably assisted  by a 256GB SSD Drive which practically removes loading times, 8gb of memory and an incredibly fast Intel i7 processor. The colour production of the 14 inch screen was extremely impressive and the 1920 x 1080 resolution seemed plenty for the screen area.

The setup process was really simple, something I assume most Windows 10 PC’s now benefit from. The super fast drive and processor obviously help with this and I was up and running in a couple of minutes.

The laptop was very happy running on battery alone for significant amounts of time and even with fairly heavy use, lasted well. The charging connector is also lit in blue to make finding it in the dark very easy.

Connectivity wise, the Dell 7480 is packed with different sockets on each side of the device, with power socket, USB-C,  Thunderbolt 3, Full Sized HDMI, 3 x USB-3 , smart card reader, headphone jack, Simcard slot, Micro SD reader and Ethernet connector, plenty in fact to please any business person.

Along with the standard sized backlit keyboard, the laptop also had a mouse ‘stick’ in the centre of the keyboard, a touch pad and two sets of mouse buttons, 2 below the touch pad and 3 above just below the space bar. I found it quite surprising to find almost every iteration of navigation hardware on one laptop, but it was nice to have the options to choose from.

I spent quite a lot of time running fairly heavy duty software on the Dell Latitude 7480,  from Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe After Effects CC to Adobe Premiere CC and a couple of other video editors. Video editing is really processor and memory intensive, it requires the ability to copy and edit very large files. The Dell seemed to handle this will ease, I was able to plug in an external monitor via the HDMI port and edit large 4K video files without any noticeable lag.

The Latitude 7480 is aimed squarely at the business market and appeared to cope amiably with pretty much any task I threw at it.

As with Dell products, you can customise your order when purchasing from them. Prices start at £999, the model I tested out was in the region of £1360.

If you are looking for a very high performance laptop with excellent battery life and screen, you shouldn’t go far wrong with the 7480.

Matt Porter, The Gadget Man

The ASUS Transformer Mini T102H Review – Is it a Laptop or a Tablet?

For the last few weeks, I have been testing the ASUS Transformer Mini, a device which can be a laptop and tablet depending on your mood.

ASUS Transformer Mini T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

The idea of a tablets with keyboards is not a new one, these were generally add-on keyboards for iPads or Android tablets which worked well, but seemed out of place on a device that was designed to be operated without one. There have also been laptops with detachable keyboards which in turn felt out of place running software which was designed for one.

The key change is the introduction of Windows 10 which can seamlessly transform itself from a keyboard and mouse centric operating system into a touch and swipe based tablet and back again, simply by detaching and reattaching a keyboard,

ASUS Transformer Mini T102
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

ASUS have been in the ‘transforming’ tablet market for some time and the Transformer Mini T102H brings a very useful addition to the table with a 10.1″ LED backlit HD screen which uses ASUS’s ‘Splendid’ and ‘Wideview’ Technology to give great viewing angles.

ASUS Transformer T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

Powered by the Intel® Atom™ x5 Processor and 4 GB of RAM. The hard disk is in fact Solid State memory and gives your 64GB of silent running. Everything on board is low power and there didn’t appear to be any internal fans to cool the device.

The graphics are fast and snappy helped by the integrated Intel HD Graphics processor and there’s also an inbuilt 2 megapixel webcam for Skype or other video chat applications.

The great thing about Windows tablets is the number of connectors, the Transformer has a 3.5 mm combo audio jack, USB 3.0 and Micro USB ports, a micro HDMI socket, Fingerprint reader for login, volume controls and micro SD card slot.

ASUS Transformer Mini T102
ASUS Transformer Mini T102

The detachable keyboard was really easy to use and attaches using a powerful magnet and always seemed to line up properly and was responsive to use with the inbuilt trackpad. My Transformer also came with a stylus which is battery powered and looks and feels like a real pen, it was great for drawing and painting using the bundled apps and can also be used to write on-screen sticky note.

 

ASUS Transformer T102H
ASUS Transformer Mini T102H

I really enjoyed using the Transformer and it makes a great device for people who are comfortable with tablets, but also need a real keyboard for their work, possibly an idea for students? At £449 it is reasonably price too.