Dell XPS 13 2015 Review

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The Dell XPS 13 (2015) is the second model in Dell’s XPS 13 line, and the ultrabook is one of their biggest releases in 2015. With a revamped and smart new borderless design, Dell has clearly set out to produce one of the sleekest and classiest laptops on the market. Aesthetically they have delivered, but does the laptop itself live up to its big billing and lofty price tag, or is this model all design and no substance? This Dell XPS 13 (2015) review will clear up any doubts you may have.

In terms of performance, there is plenty to like about the XPS 13. With an Intel Broadwell 2.2GHz Core i5-5200U processor and 8GB of RAM, the ultrabook is speedy and easily able to run multiple operations at once. The Broadwell is part of the new range of Intel processors, and testing has shown that it outperforms its predecessors, if only marginally, making the upgrade worth it. The laptop also comes with 230GB of storage.

The integrated Intel graphics card on the XPS 13 is a slight let down, but seasoned gamers would likely look elsewhere for a laptop – in fact, they probably wouldn’t go in search of an ultrabook at all – as Intel have always fallen short of their rivals in this area. For the typical user, the graphics card is more than capable for day-to-day use, and should be able to handle older games comfortably enough. The battery life is also impressive, and the XPS 13 outperforms many ultrabooks of its ilk in this department. Neatly, the percentage of battery life remaining can be displayed with five LED lights on the side of the device.

One of the biggest selling points of the XPS 13 its screen. Dell have gone for a borderless look which pays off. The screen really accentuates colors which makes it great for playing videos and games. Two types of screen are available for purchase: the 1920x1080p resolution is the standard screen but this can be upgraded to a 3200x1800p screen which also comes with touchscreen capability. For a laptop of its size, the upgraded screen on the XPS 13 really impresses and trumps many of its competitors.

Frustratingly, the XPS 13 does not come with a HDMI port, and therefore cannot directly be plugged into a monitor. Therefore, you will need to purchase a converter if you wish to do this. There isn’t an Ethernet port either, although considering the availability of Wi-Fi nowadays this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Again, like with the HDMI situation, you can buy a converter if you need access to Ethernet. The XPS 13 does, however, have two USB 3.0 ports and a slot for SD cards.

As with all laptops nowadays, the XPS 13 comes with a webcam, although the fact it is off-center (the webcam is located near the bottom left of the bezel) is not beneficial, and if you plan on using it regularly, this may quickly become a nuisance. Ultimately, it depends on whether you are bothered about the angle – you will be seen by others on an upward angle, as opposed to a more traditional downwards angle.

The touchpad has also come in for criticism with some suggesting that the cursor has a tendency to go awry due to its extreme sensitivity. However, thanks to the touchpad settings on the computer, the effects of this can be reduced easily. Meanwhile, the audio on the XPS 13 is average – the speakers are not amazing but at the same time they aren’t a deal breaker.

The appeal of ultrabooks is that they are easy to take out and about and the XPS 13 is no different. With a height of just 0.6 inches, and a width and length of 11.98 and 7.88 inches respectively, this laptop can fit into pretty much any bag comfortably. In addition, the XPS 13 is incredibly light and weighs just 2.6 pounds.

The XPS 13 (2015) stands out amongst the crowd, and this ultrabook is one of Dell’s best products of the year. The screen excels and the performance is great. The downsides (lack of HDMI and Ethernet ports, off-center webcam, average graphics card) are not huge issues. The XPS 13 may not grab the headlines like a MacBook might, but you are unlikely to be disappointed if you choose to purchase it.

Asus EeeBook X205TA Review

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When it comes to budget laptops, compromising performance for price can be risky and ultimately a costly decision in the long run. The Asus EeeBook X205TA is so cheap that it brings those concerns. But is it so cheap that it’s worth avoiding, or do Asus buck the trend and produce a model that gives customers great performance as well as good value for money. This Asus EeeBook X205TA review will address the questions you may have, and point out the pros and cons of this model.

The Asus EeeBook X205TA is a netbook which runs on the Windows 8.1 operating system and it looks to deliver the best possible Windows experience its specifications will allow. For its price – the EeeBook retails below $200 – the performance of the laptop is admirable. Equipped with a 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor and 2GB of RAM, the netbook can cope with running multiple small-scale operations. These types of products are tailored for students or those looking for a work computer and therefore while a 32GB hard drive may seem tiny, it is still easily big enough to hold tens of thousands of files. In addition, the sort of operations that would most regularly be carried out on a netbook (word processing, internet browsing) do not require masses of power, hence, the processor is not as inferior as it may appear at first glance.

Perhaps the X205TA’s biggest selling point is its tremendous battery life. Testing indicated that the device could last for up to 12 hours of continuous use – far longer than any of its competitors, and four hours longer than the netbook average. The speakers have a high maximum volume for a netbook too. A further workout indicated that the Asus EeeBook X205TA doesn’t overheat either, and could play videos for an extended period of time without rising much above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/asus-eeebook-x205ta).

Asus haven’t tried to do too much with the design, and that isn’t such a bad thing. The minimalist look works well, and the dark blue color helps to produce a professional look. However, one major criticism is that the Asus EeeBook X205TA can quickly begin to look dirty because of the fingerprint marks that it leaves. The webcam can also appear grainy too and only offers a 420p resolution, which is below par and possibly undesirable if you want to use the netbook for business calls.

Most people will be looking to do a lot of typing with their netbook so having a well laid out keyboard is important. The EeeBook performs well in this department and allows for quick typing once one gets used to the tight layout. But the touchpad has drawn complaints (http://www.computershopper.com/laptops/reviews/asus-eeebook-x205ta) with some suggesting that the fingerprint scrolling system doesn’t often work well.

The Asus EeeBook X205TA has an 11.6 inch screen which has a 1366 x 768 resolution. It has an Intel HD graphics card which handles videos easily and manages to run games better than some netbooks, although as expected it comes up short with games which demand high specifications. Attached is a headphone jack, a micro HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports and a slot for a microSD card, which is ideal if you are looking to increase the storage. This netbook excels with its dimensions and weight. It is a nifty netbook which is perfect for taking around with you. The computer has a 0.6 inches high, 11.2 inches wide and 7.6 inches long. Combined with a weight of just 2.16 pounds, you won’t even know that it’s in your bag. It’s also noticeably lighter than some of the other netbooks around.

Companies are focussing a lot on the budget netbook market nowadays and as a result there is a lot of choice in the market. The Asus EeeBook X205TA compares well to those it is up against, and does not disappoint for its price. While not the fastest netbook, it isn’t slow either and the model trumps all of its rival with the massive battery life. This product isn’t going to be on your radar if you’re looking for a traditional powerful laptop, but it’s an ideal device for those who need a device to carry out work. Asus have fulfilled that objective well and have come up with one of the better netbooks of 2015.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch 2015 Review

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How do you make something damn near perfect even better? Try adding a groundbreaking Force Touch trackpad, increased battery life and the newest Intel processors. This is what Apple has done to their 2015 version of the Macbook Pro 13 inch laptop. As Trusted Reviews noted “it combines uncompromised processing power, great battery life and a top-drawer screen in a body that’s genuinely portable. It makes the MacBook Air look kind of pointless and sets a very high bar for rivals to match. Even after three years the Macbook Pro design still manages to give off an aura of minimalist futurism. Using full power processors instead of low-voltage ones, this newest laptop is not a slim as other current generation laptop, but what it loses in overall portability it more than makes up for in performance.

Use the Force Touch

A feature exclusive to this 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 12-inch MacBook, the new Force Touch trackpad is the main improvement of Apple’s laptop workhorse. . Replacing standard click triggers with multiple force sensors in conjunction with an electromagnet, Force Touch pad detects how intensely you push down, revealing more menu options as a result. Apple refers to this as a “Force Click”. This works on all parts of the new trackpad, not just the center. Any time of click strength from light, medium to heavy is registered and adds more precision to this graphical user interface. The harder you press, the faster it seeks from 6x to 20x. Force Clicking on a word also brings up a dictionary definition, and Force click on a link can bring up a preview of it or even cause a map to pop up in response. Though these features are not groundbreaking, they do help the Macbook Pro distinguish itself from other laptop models trying to innovate in this arena.

Display Improvements

There’s a reason Apple includes the words “with Retina Display” in the names of their products. Even though Windows has drastically improved the display capabilities of its operating systems, Apple still handles the 2,560 x 1,600 resolution better than anyone else. Contrast is excellent, the darker hues project deeply and the screen shows the richest, most accurate images possible on any laptop. Even with a non-matte screen reflections are not an issue from any viewing angle. This is true even when the screen isn’t at its brightest.
Even though there is really only a 5% bump in processing power in comparison to last year’s version of this laptop, it’s processing power is buttressed with up to 2x faster flash storage. Apple claims the sequential read and write speeds have been improved to 1.6GB/s and 1.5GB/s, even though these are mainly theoretical projections. This is especially useful for those who do a lot of video and photo editing and work with multiple related apps at one time. For hardcore gamers, this processing power is adequate when not set at the highest visual and frame-rate settings (which is true more most laptop gaming).

Battery Life

Apple’s new MacBook now claims 10 hours of constant web browsing along with 12 hours of non-stop iTunes video playback,9 hours more than last year’s model. These figures depend highly on the type of web browsers and streaming services used and how high you set the brightness levels, but they are more or less accurate. Your battery life may vary if using Netflix or other video services or use it for extended period of gaming time. It should provide up to 10 hours of constant web browsing, this is with only one tab opened and with few sites contain rich content or other added extensions. Otherwise, the 7-10 hour range is more common. So even though it’s not quite an all-day use device with battery life to match, it can tackle most 7-8 workdays with needing an additional charge if the user doesn’t go crazy with multiple apps, multiple web browser tabs and too many extensions being used simultaneously.
The Macbook Pro now has improved connectivity, with AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 coming standard on all Apple laptops. You also get two Thunderbolt 2 4K ports with the 2015 Macbook Pro, two additional USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and a SDXC port. This makes this model infinitely more flexible and easier work work in conjunction with older generation Apple devices as well as different video and photo platforms and devices.
In conclusion, the only barriers to buying the best all around laptop available should be price and necessity. If you don’t need a laptop as powerful and capable as the 2015 Macbook Pro, there are plenty of other manufacturers that can provide adequate performance at an affordable price. They just won’t be as good as this one.