By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

Blizzard’s remastered version of StarCraft will go on sale on Monday 14 August, for Windows and Mac machines priced at £13 or $15 over in the US (around AU$20).

The classic RTS is up for pre-order now via Blizzard’s online store, and you get the original game plus the Brood War expansion, all of which has been brought up-to-date for contemporary gaming.

The core gameplay remains the same, but the enhancements include better graphics, support for widescreen monitors and 4K resolution, along with improved music, sound and remastered dialogue to boot.

You also get player profiles that track individual stats, a new matchmaking and leaderboard system, plus there’s now saving to the cloud (not just for your campaign, but also for replays, hotkeys and so forth).

Blizzard has also made it possible to switch between this remastered version and the original StarCraft game by simply clicking a button.

Bonus skins

All in all, it sounds like a compelling recipe with which to revisit the classic sci-fi RTS, and it’s worth bearing in mind that those who pre-order before the launch of StarCraft: Remastered will get a neat little in-game bonus.

Namely three unique building skins: the Char Hive, Korhal Command Center, and Aiur Nexus. As well as that, those who own StarCraft II will get some additional goodies in that game, including three unique portraits and the Alexei Stukov co-op commander.

And all this won’t break the bank, because as mentioned, the asking price is pitched at a palatable level.

The original StarCraft (which was made available as a free download back in April) was launched almost two decades ago, back in 1998, but it’s still played today – and will be seeing a lot more action come August, no doubt.

It was preceded by the original WarCraft RTS, of course, which first came out in 1994. Rumor has it that Blizzard seemingly looked at the possibility of doing WarCraft: Remastered, but decided that revamping this particular golden oldie wouldn’t work as well, or be much fun to play.

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It’s widely accepted that the Raspberry Pi has been quite the achievement in technology – you only have to look at the way that the tiny computer has flown off the shelves – but now the innovative board has been officially recognized with the UK’s most prestigious engineering award.

The device has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert award for 2017, meaning the creators of the Raspberry Pi took home a rather groovy-looking gold medal, along with a £50,000 (around $65,000, AU$85,000) prize, not to mention a wheelbarrow full of tech kudos.

The MacRobert organizers tweeted about the Raspberry Pi’s victory calling it a ‘revolutionary affordable computer’, and noting that all three finalists were ‘fantastic innovators’.

The other finalists included Darktrace, a cybersecurity ‘immune system’ which uses machine learning to figure out what’s normal activity for a network, allowing it to then pick up on any suspicious behavior out of the norm which might be a threat.

And there was also Vision RT, a real-time 3D body surface imaging system which allows radiotherapy to be targeted at tumors with pinpoint accuracy.

Kinect kudos

The MacRobert award has been going since 1969, and last year’s winner was Blatchford, a firm which developed an intelligent prosthetic limb. The Microsoft team that developed the Kinect motion controller has also been a previous winner.

The Raspberry Pi has sold over 14 million units to date, and is the bestselling computer that the UK has ever seen as a result. It’s now on its third iteration, with a plethora of accessories being released for the board, including most recently a kit which adds voice control capabilities via Google Assistant.

There are all manner of clever things you can get up to with the Raspberry Pi, such as turning it into a retro games console. This flexibility, coupled with the board’s affordability, is a major part of why it has been so successful.

It’s also notably been responsible for introducing coding to a fresh generation of kids, the benefits of which we may well reap for a long time yet.

Via: BBC

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An astonishing amount of folks running Windows are planning to switch over to what Microsoft would consider the dark side – namely a Mac computer – according to some new research.

The survey from Verto Analytics, which encompassed 6,000 Windows PC owners in the US, found that no less than 25% of those with Windows desktop computers were planning to migrate to a macOS machine – and to do so within the next six months.

Yes, you read that right: a quarter of all folks who were quizzed by the firm.

And the figure wasn’t much smaller when it came to Windows laptop owners, with 21% saying that they intend to switch to a Mac (again within the next six months).

On the flipside, and in marked contrast, 98% of those who currently own a Mac plan to stay with an Apple computer for their next purchase. So just 2% are intending a switch to Windows.

Money, money, money…

The survey also looked at different income brackets, and unsurprisingly high earners were more likely to be switching over to a Mac. Those in the upper bracket with an income of $150,000+ were the most likely to switch, with 20% planning to migrate to an Apple computer.

This research goes against what Microsoft was claiming at the end of last year, when Surface devices racked up their best sales to consumers ever witnessed, and the company asserted that more people than ever were switching from MacBooks to Surface hybrids.

When you consider that, going by the latest PC shipment figures from Gartner for example, Apple has a global market share of around 7%, that puts some perspective on the results of this poll.

Although of course, Apple’s Mac machines have a much stronger presence in the US than other parts of the world, but we don’t think anyone would have called the percentages as they’ve emerged according to Verto.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the desktop PC space as the rest of the year pans out, that’s for sure.

Via: 9 to 5 Mac

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So, you’re looking for a new laptop, right? And, let us guess, you’d rather not waste a lot of time figuring out which is the best laptop for you? Lucky for you, then, that it’s our job and our passion to publish the most well-rounded and real laptop reviews in the world.

It’s a process and a product that we’re constantly looking to improve, and a brand new approach to our immensely popular list of the best laptops comes part and parcel. What you’ll find below are the newest, highest-rated laptops in several key categories or classifications of laptop you might be looking for, from Ultrabooks for travel to gaming laptops and hybrids in between.

Best laptops

The Dell XPS 13 reigns supreme as the best laptop you can buy today. Thin and light with a battery life that exceeds 7 hours, Dell’s flagship laptop is the posterchild for what an Ultrabook is supposed to be. Squeezing a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 is outfitted with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors and USB-C without skimping on legacy ports, such as the withering SD card slot and traditional USB. Couple that with the option of a gorgeous Rose Gold finish, and it should come as no surprise that the Dell XPS 13 is number one.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

Check out the rest of the best Ultrabooks

Best laptops

Ever so deserving of our Editor’s Choice award, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is every bit as competent as the 15-inch MacBook Pro and for a substantially lower cost. Though it’s limited to only one configuration, albeit across two different sizes, the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is as powerful as it is pragmatic. If this wasn’t evidenced by its 360-degree hinge and vivid screen with brightness up to 450 nits, then maybe its onboard S-Pen stylus or lengthy battery life will convince you.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Check out the rest of the best 2-in-1 laptops

Originally marketed as a “premium” Chromebook to compete with the likes of the Chromebook Pixel, it’s not hard to see why we were skeptical of the first Asus Chromebook Flip we reviewed. High-end Chromebooks had been done before, but always at an inordinately high cost. But as Asus has successfully exhibited with the Chromebook Flip C302, you can cut that price in half and still make a Chrome OS-powered laptop that feels like it belongs in the upper echelon. Stacked with a gorgeous design, a keyboard that feels rich to the touch and even a 2-in-1 form factor, the Asus Chromebook Flip proves that Chromebooks can be high-end without going overboard.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

Check out the rest of the best Chromebooks

For many gamers, Ultrabook is a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be. The first time you get your hands on a Razer Blade, you’ll be looking at a battery life of 4 hours and 8 minutes during everyday productivity tasks (or 7 hours and 29 minutes of non-stop video). While you could argue it does skimp as far as graphics are concerned, with the help of a Razer Core external GPU enclosure, you can strap an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti to this thing down the road if you want. Plus, with the newly added 4K screen option, you may actually need it.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Check out the rest of the best gaming laptops

The only laptop to be featured twice in our recommendations, there’s more to the Dell XPS 13 than its status as a tightly kept Ultrabook. Now featuring new processors and better integrated graphics, clearly there’s an advantage to the Dell XPS 13 besides the fact that it comes in Rose Gold. The 13-inch display, crammed into an 11-inch body, is a worthy rival to a certain other aluminum laptop line. What’s more, the Dell XPS 13’s utility is extensive, spanning everything from writing to video editing and everything in between.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

See the rest of the best laptops for students

Best laptops

Despite the subdued naming convention, this is actually the fifth iteration of the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the winning Surface Pro 4, it would have been every bit deserving of a number attached to it, too. That’s because the latest Surface Pro sees not only the battery life improve by as much as 32%, but the accessories have been revamped as well. Although it’s now sold separately, the Surface Pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. What’s more, the Alcantara Type Cover is markedly comfier than previous Surface Pro keyboards and, of course, the processor has been updated to Kaby Lake.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro

Check out the rest of the best Windows tablets

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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Welcome to the home of the best MacBook Pro deals. Here at TechRadar, we check around for the best MacBook Pro prices everyday at the top retailers on the net. So you’re certainly in the right place to save money on your new Apple laptop. Better yet, we’ve just updated our guide with the latest 2017 models. We’ve still included the earlier models, as some of them are a lot cheaper.

The MacBook Pro has become the go to laptop range for professionals and enthusiasts alike, absolutely powering through tasks regular laptops fear. Apple’s staggering lineup of Retina screens lead the way for crisp visuals and the increasingly excellent physical design of the laptops themselves has seen the latest Macbook Pro usurp the svelte form of the MacBook Air. You want the best there is, but there’s no reason to pay more than you should for it. If you want to save some money you could keep your fingers crossed for a Black Friday deal, or maybe check out the other MacBook deals or maybe even a cheap laptop deal.

2016 was crying out for a refresh of the MacBook Pro and Apple once again come up with something rather special. In addition to the internal spec getting a long awaited upgrade and that gorgeous Retina display (available in 13-inch and 15-inch flavours), Apple has introduced their long-rumoured Touch Bar technology. This mini-LED display replaces the Function keys and comes up with different touch display controls for an increasing number of programs. Uses so far include Safari bookmarks, predictive text, search field, emojis, photo galleries or even more intensive actions like photo editing or mixing records. Simple, yet innovative. Expect rival firms to start copying it soon.

Macbook Pro with Touch Bar (2017) deals

2017 update: The 2017 lineup has recently been released too. The newer models aren’t a massive upgrade over the 2016 lineup. Actually the -admittedly still excellent- retina display and overall size are the same. If you’re looking for increased performance, you’re in luck as the new models have been upgraded to include the 7th-gen Kaby Lake processor chips for enhanced 4K streaming and media editing.

The new 2017 MacBook Pros will eventually phase out the older models, which means you’ll more than likely be able to snag a cheap MacBook Pro deal on the older laptops.

This new 13-inch MacBook Pro is the cheapest way to get your hands on one of Apple’s latest laptops, released in late 2016. This is the lightest MacBook Pro ever made, but still packs an incredible punch with 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor options. You don’t get the new Touch Bar on this version, but you do get a Retina display and the new larger trackpad. Prices start around $1,499/£1,449/AU$2,199. Stay updated on the latest prices in the comparison chart below.

MacBook Pro 13-inch – no Touch Bar (2017)

2017 update: Just like the aforementioned Touch Bar models, the screen and shape are unchanged since the 2016 models. You are getting the new Kaby Lake 7th-gen processor though. 

2016’s lineup was very expensive, which is why we’re delighted to see that Apple has released an even cheaper 13-inch model for an entry-level, but still very modern, MacBook Pro experience. This does come at the cost of a smaller storage capacity though, with the cheapest options including a 128GB SSD instead of 256GB.

These new 2017 models will start to phase out some of the older ones, so keep an eye on our comparison charts as we expect to see some tasty discounts on the 2016 crew as retailers make way for the new breed.

The 2015 MacBook Pro didn’t undergo a dramatic reimagining, but then there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it in the first place. Improvements to its performance mean it’s better value than before, and the noticeably improved battery life makes it even more of a mobile workhorse. As ever the cost of adding memory and storage soon sends the price tag into orbit, but even the stock MacBook Pro is an incredibly versatile computer and arguably Apple’s best ever laptop. Newer MacBooks may be more portable, but the Pro has all the power. 

If you’re looking for the larger-sized laptop experience in the MacBook range, you’ll be wanting to take a look at the seriously impressive specs of the 2015 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The Intel Core i7 2.5 Ghz processor combined with 16GB of RAM will make light work of anything you can throw at it. 512GB of super fast flash storage, a new Force Touch trackpad and that incredible four million pixel-packing display make this one of the best laptops in the business.

There’s plenty to like on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display: from the still-impressive display to its excellent build quality, great keyboard and good (but not excellent) battery life. It may not be as portable as the MacBook Air, but it’s far from cumbersome and its top notch build quality means you won’t be worried about its welfare when carrying it around. 

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Not everyone wants the low profile of today’s island-style keyboards. Some of us, instead, prefer the satisfying clicks and clacks of a mechanical gaming keyboard, complete with fancy lighting effects, comfy wrist rests and a few spare macro keys that can be customized to any action.

Not only are they more reliable than your run-of-the-mill office keyboard, with Cherry MX-wielding keyboards, like the upcoming MSI Vigor GK80, having been rated for a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes, but they’re also more satisfying to the touch. After all, there’s nothing like the feel of a tactile “bump” halfway down the key press. 

The truth is, every gamer needs a top gaming keyboard to boost their killstreaks. Even if you think you’re MLG material, you could always do better given the right tools. For that reason, we’ve scouted out the best gaming keyboards across all walks of life. No matter how much you’re willing to spend, our recommendations will get you there.

In recent years, Logitech has been seemingly going out of its way to make only the most high-end, cutting-edge peripherals without taking value into consideration. That’s all changed with the G413 Carbon, a mechanical keyboard that sacrifices RGB backlighting and customizable macro keys in favor of an affordable price tag. Its low-profile appearances might make it look barebones in comparison to competing keyboards in its range, but the Logitech G413 Carbon is all the better for its magnesium-alloy skeleton exposure. Though the Romer-G switches might be a turnoff for Cherry MX enthusiasts, they’re virtually silent, fairly responsive and rated for 70 million actuations.

Read the full review: Logitech G413 Carbon 

Best gaming keyboards

Because it ships with a detachable wrist rest, snugness is by no means optional in the case of the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. That’s not where the amenities end, however, as Razer has tacked on five macro keys that can be assigned to virtually any in-game action. Also unlike the BlackWidow X Chroma before it, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 gives you the option between Razer Green, Razer Orange and Razer Yellow key switches, which Razer claims to range from “tactile and clicky” to “linear and silent.” This is all made better by a catalog of 16.8 million colors to choose from for the backlighting, which can be assigned per-key or in an animated pattern of your choosing.

Read the full review: Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Corsair K70

The Realforce RGB from Japanese company Topre brings so many innovations that it’s difficult to know where to start. This is a multi-talented keyboard that feels incredible to type on thanks to its capacitive Topre keyswitches, which offer superior tactile feedback compared to Cherry MX variants (they’re closest to MX Whites in feeling.) You can type for an entire day and experience minimal finger fatigure on the Realforce RGB, though you should pick up a decent wrist rest to go with it.

The Realforce RGB, which comes with high-quality (and thick) PBT keycaps, is equally primed for gaming thanks to Topre’s clever software which allows you to change the actuation (or distance you have to press keys before they register) depth from 1.5mm (for gamers with fast reflexes) to 2.2mm and 3mm (for improved typing accuracy). The result is a hugely versatile keyboard that suits whatever task you’re doing at the time. And, like Cooler Master’s Novatouch, the Realforce RGB has keyswitch stems that are compatible with both Topre and Cherry MX keycaps, allowing you to chop and change your keycaps at will.

Like the Corsair K70 Rapidfire before it, the K95 RGB Platinum is a gaming-first mechanical keyboard with plenty of versatility to get the job done, whatever that job may be. The simple arrangement of a single row of six macro keys keeps this QWERTY neat and organized without a whole lot of unnecessary reaching involved. The software may be sloppy, but if all you’re doing is assigning macros, you may not even need it. Because the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum packs in 8MB of memory dedicated to storing profiles, you don’t have to worry about using the same computer through to the end of its career. This keyboard is not only backlit by up to 16.8 million colors, but it’s the perfect travel buddy too, made better by its military-grade aluminum finish, including the wrist rest.

Razer Ornata

For too long there’s been a divide between mechanical and membrane keys but now Razer has finally brought the two together with its ‘Mecha-Membrane’ Ornata keyboard. These new switches pull from everything Razer has learned over the years. The result is a grand typing experience with shorter keys, the tactile feel of the green switches from the Blackwidow X Chroma and a loud audible click. Just like its other products, the Ornata features a fully customizable, per-key backlight and it comes with a plush pleather wrist rest too.

Cherry MX 6.0

Cherry’s flagship MX Board 6.0 features a lower profile than other gaming keyboards like the Razer BlackWidow X Chroma, making it perfect if you prefer to type and game using a wrist rest. Cherry’s MX Red switches under the keys lend the MX Board 6.0 fast response times, but because the keys are positioned fairly close together they’re excellent for typing too. Housed in an eye-catching aluminum chassis, the MX Board 6.0 certainly doesn’t feel cheap and its blood-red key lighting is deliciously ominous. It’s a mechanical keyboard that’s also suited for the office.

Logitech G810

Logitech has followed up its Orion Spark G910 mechanical keyboard with the G810, which arrives with a refreshingly grown-up feel. Sporting Logitech’s own Romer G switches, which aren’t quite as squishy as Cherry’s various switches, the G810 possesses a snappier feel than other gaming keyboards whether typing or gaming. Featuring smart media keys that work equally well on both Windows and OS X, Logitech’s latest keyboard is a solid all-round offering. If you’re fed up of the weird markings, LCD screens and strange parts that come with competing “gamer-focused” keyboards, the G810 might be for you.

M500

Many mechanical keyboards are gaudy and unwieldy, aimed at gamers on the, err, ostentatious side. That’s not the case with the SteelSeries Apex M500. Like the Logitech G810, the Apex M500 eschews unnecessary bells and whistles in favor of clean design and bare essentials. While it’s lacking media keys, macros and other such extras, it benefits from a compact design that wastes no space. Tailored towards e-Sports, its minimal leanings are refreshing and it looks great sat on a desk, accompanied by the right monitor and mouse of course.

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There’s some great news for Grand Theft Auto V addicts, with the revelation that the OpenIV modding tool has been given a reprieve, with a blanket ban on the utility being lifted so that it can once again be used for single player mods.

Earlier this month, OpenIV, which is designed to be used to customize the game extensively – creating what are known as mods (modifications) – was hit by a cease-and-desist letter from GTA V publisher Take-Two’s lawyers in Russia, which meant the tool was completely shut down.

The reason? Some folks were abusing the toolkit to cheat at GTA V online, and the publisher is engaged in a major crackdown on such cheats.

And that in itself is not a bad thing, but punishing those building or using single player mods for their own entertainment hardly seemed fair, and led to a major outcry from the GTA fan base, including a barrage of negative reviews of the game on Steam (not to mention online petitions).

Toxic overload

Hence developer Rockstar stepped in, called meetings with Take-Two, and diffused what was becoming a seriously toxic accumulation of negative PR, promising to allow single player non-commercial mods.

Rockstar’s statement read: “After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties.”

Although the statement then goes on to say that this doesn’t apply to multiplayer or online services, or tools that could manipulate the online game.

According to Kotaku, Rockstar has been in touch and confirmed that OpenIV is indeed now back up and running (with a new updated build). Although the reputational damage done here is likely to linger, and indeed negative reviews are still going up on Steam today.

Part of the reason for this is that modding is seen as such a crucially major plus point for PC gaming, which operates a far more open environment than the ecosystem of consoles (although mods do also exist for the likes of the PS4 and Xbox One).

So when those ideals of PC gaming freedom are messed with – and as in this case, the proverbial sledgehammer is used to crack a nut – people get mad, and they get mad quick.

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There’s been plenty of buzz about Apple’s supercharged iMac Pro since it was revealed earlier this month, and now the grapevine claims that this pricey all-in-one will run with Intel’s latest server-grade processors (as opposed to consumer-targeted CPUs) coupled with an ARM coprocessor.

Pike’s Universum uncovered this interesting info when digging around in the firmware files for the iMac Pro (in the latest beta of macOS), where there are references to the machine being powered by Intel’s Xeon server-class processors from the Purley platform.

In other words, the iMac will be driven by Skylake-EX and Skylake-EP processors sitting in Intel’s LGA3647 socket, as opposed to desktop CPUs nestled in a LGA2066 socket.

Of course, that’s a major switch in philosophy for the iMac range, but then this is a totally different kind of all-in-one for Apple, with the price tag indicating that it’s truly a machine aimed at the professional and creative market. Yes, in case you somehow missed it, the iMac Pro starts at $4,999 (around £3,930, AU$6,600).

The all-in-one will also have powerful AMD Radeon Vega graphics, boasting 11 teraflops of single precision compute performance, with up to 128GB ECC memory and 4TB SSD storage. So you can start to see where that price tag is coming from…

Slick security

Pike’s Universum also spotted that the iMac Pro will sport a Security Enclave Processor (SEP), the aforementioned ARM coprocessor as seen on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, tightening security and supporting a feature called Apple SecureBoot.

The blog also speculates that the iMac Pro could eventually support a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar (or Touch ID fingerprint sensor), but that really is pure speculation.

Indeed, regarding all of these revelations, it’s a good idea to get the salt shaker out and indulge in a liberal sprinkling of the white stuff. However, it shouldn’t be long before we hear more concrete details on the iMac Pro, as the computer is expected to launch in December, which is only six months away now.

Via: 9 to 5 Mac

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Although pundits were bickering just a few years ago that laptops were on their way out along with the rest of PCs, there’s no denying the permanence of the best laptops. In fact, with the powerful yet affordable Asus ZenBook Pro coming soon to a table near you, it’s clear at this point that laptops are gradually nearing their golden age.

Despite tablets being all the rage for a split second, there’s still an unbridled need for the best laptops. After all, nothing says comfort quite like a built-in keyboard and trackpad, and nothing screams portability like a folding display. And sometimes, as is the case with the forthcoming Asus ZenBook Flip S, that fold comes at a 360-degree angle.

  • Find out what’s next for laptops in our Computex 2017 coverage

Whether you crave the autonomy of playing your favorite PC games on the go or simply prefer the efficacy of drafting up documents using a full-size physical keyboard, the top laptops have it all. A laptop is the one device to rule them all in both productivity and leisure. After all, there’s nothing like curling up in bed with the bright, vivid screen of the HP Spectre x360.

With hybrids, Ultrabooks, traditional clamshells and more portable than ever gaming laptops in tow, these are the best laptops you can buy. To get straight to the reviews, check the links below:

Best laptops

The Dell XPS 13 reigns supreme as the best laptop you can buy today. Thin and light with a battery life that exceeds 7 hours, Dell’s flagship laptop is the posterchild for what an Ultrabook is supposed to be. Squeezing a 13.3-inch screen into an 11-inch frame, the Dell XPS 13 is outfitted with Intel’s latest Kaby Lake processors and USB-C without skimping on legacy ports, such as the withering SD card slot and traditional USB. Couple that with the option of a gorgeous Rose Gold finish, and it should come as no surprise that the Dell XPS 13 is number one.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

Originally marketed as a “premium” Chromebook to compete with the likes of the Chromebook Pixel, it’s not hard to see why we were skeptical of the first Asus Chromebook Flip we reviewed. High-end Chromebooks had been done before, but always at an inordinately high cost. But as Asus has successfully exhibited with the Chromebook Flip C302, you can cut that price in half and still make a Chrome OS-powered laptop that feels like it belongs in the upper echelon. Stacked with a gorgeous design, a keyboard that feels rich to the touch and even a 2-in-1 form factor, the Asus Chromebook Flip proves that Chromebooks can be high-end without going overboard.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip

The 13.3-inch version of the HP Spectre x360 may not boast the SD card slot of its 15.6-inch sibling, but what it does pack are the same hardy internal components in a more portable physique. Then there’s the keyboard which, with 1.3mm of travel, feels like a significant improvement. What’s more, despite having a lengthy battery life of 8 hours and 45 minutes, the HP Spectre x360 still manages to weigh no more than a mere 2.85 pounds. Just when we thought there wasn’t a laptop that’s cutting-edge in every category, the HP Spectre x360 proves us wrong.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

The latest iteration of the flagship Razer Blade may not have a lot of customizable features, but it thrives in just about every other regard. Its slim form factor is joined by not only powerful, discrete graphics capable of running all the latest games at the highest settings, but the Razer Blade puts most laptops to shame when it comes to battery life. Even if you don’t know a GTX 1060 from a 940MX, you can at least appreciate that the Razer Blade lasted nearly 7 hours and 30 minutes in our movie test. Plus, even though you won’t be able to take advantage of this feature in games to great effect, there’s a 4K screen, convenient for lazy Sundays spent watching movies.

Read the full review: Razer Blade

Best laptops

If you’ve ever wanted a MacBook Pro without the mortgage sacrifice, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin not only delivers the style and glitz of Apple’s professional-level laptops, but it even adds a touchscreen to the mix at an approachable starting price. For a hefty 2-in-1 with a Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM and even a discrete Nvidia GPU, the Samsung Notebook 7 provides top of the line specs considering its value. But, as Samsung probably asked while devising this quintessential hybrid notebook, why stop there? The company even went as far as to implement an HDR screen in the Notebook 7 Spin, and although it’s a feature that isn’t widely supported, the deeper blacks and more vibrant colors are appreciated to say the least.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin

Call it a MacBook Air clone if you want, but don’t quote us when you say that’s a bad thing. The Acer Aspire S 13 is an affordable alternative to Apple’s entry-level laptop that even outdoes it in some ways. It’s not quite as thin and light as many prominently featured Ultrabooks, nor is it particularly expensive looking. However, the Acer Aspire S 13 does pack quite a punch when it comes to performance. USB Type-C and a full HD display put it just over the edge in beating out the 13-inch MacBook Air, and for a much lower cost at that. Despite the efficacy of the CPU, the Acer Aspire S 13 even manages a battery life of 7 hours and 49 minutes.

Read the full review: Acer Aspire S 13

Best laptops

The Samsung Notebook 9 may not be the flashiest product on our list, but bang-for-buck, it’s easily one of the best values. A thin and light Ultrabook with a Core i5 Skylake processor, the Samsung Notebook 9 even has one of the most clever takes on an SD card reader we’ve ever seen. Besides being more powerful than a MacBook Air for a reasonable price, the Samsung Notebook 9 is featherlight without compromise, bearing a full range of ports and even an anti-glare display. On the downside, it’s the battery life takes a hit. It only lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes playing Guardians of the Galaxy on loop. For a longer lasting alternative, see the Asus Zenbook UX305.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9

Best laptops

If the Surface Pro is too small but the Surface Laptop is too traditional, Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first convertible laptop, namely the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and a 13.5-inch screen that’s outside the norm for most laptops, it’s one of the best 2-in-1 notebooks ever created. That goes without mentioning its Clipboard Mode, wherein it’s among the most powerful tablets in the world. Docking the screen into the Surface Book’s keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of a discrete GPU, assuming you opt for the top of the line Surface Book i7. Save for the controversial fulcrum hinge, the Surface Book is a glimpse of the future, even if it’s long due for a sequel.

Read the full review: Surface Book

best laptops

Apple’s most attractive laptop yet still rocks an Intel Skylake Core M processor clocked at 1.1GHz to start, aimed at those who don’t need power as much as portability and pizazz.The stylish, aluminum unibody design and the Retina display are all back, and the only connector port that remains is USB-C – aside from a single 3.5mm audio jack. Though the reversible port has gained more traction since last year’s debut, the 12-inch MacBook still practically requires the willingness to lug around adapters and take a performance hit in the name of stellar design. However, if you don’t mind the sacrifices (or if you just don’t need to use many accessories), the appetizing Rose Gold finish of the MacBook might be just for you.

Read the full review: MacBook

Best laptops

When it comes to crafting an affordable Windows laptop with a premium feel, Asus takes the cake. The Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 in particular combines a mid-range price tag with a convertible form factor, a full-size trackpad and keyboard and an extensive array of ports – like HDMI and USB Type-A – that have been done away with virtually everywhere else. In the pre-2015 MacBook era, these features would be expected, but nowadays, they’re an anomaly given the standards of today’s laptops. Don’t go in expecting the ZenBook Flip UX360 to be old-fashioned, however, because as the name suggests, this is a notebook that prides itself on its ability to shapeshift 360 degrees, “flipping” seamlessly between tablet and laptop at will.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip UX360

Best laptops

For media production, the 15-inch MacBook Pro has been the go-to for many years now. Slight design changes have annually accompanied CPU upgrades, making every new MacBook Pro that comes out a subtle rewrite of its predecessor. The 2016 MacBook Pro, however, saw Apple make changes – for better or worse – that dramatically altered its utility. To Apple outsiders, the decision to omit all the standard USB ports and SD slots in favor of four USB-C connections is baffling. For the fans, however, it’s a strategic means of future-proofing. Regardless of how you feel about the concessions, the MacBook Pro’s most alluring invention is the Touch Bar, which replaces the function keys and, in turn, introduces a layer of functionality only possible with the latest MacBook Pro. 

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2016)

If you value portability and design over performance, the Acer Swift 7 may be the best Windows alternative to the 12-inch MacBook you can buy. Featuring a 13-inch full HD screen, what it lacks in pixels, it more than makes up for in its mobility. And, speaking of which, the Acer Swift 7 is thinner than both the MacBook and the HP Spectre, another one of its closest rivals, though it is notably heavier than both of them. Still, the Swift 7 starting configuration is both faster and cheaper than Apple’s, plus it has – not one but – two USB Type-C ports on board. Just be prepared for somewhat substandard battery life.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 7

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By Kirk / News / 0 Comments

Cyber Monday is the end of the biggest shopping weekend of the year, which starts with the Thanksgiving holiday and then Black Friday: after celebrating with their families, shoppers hit the stores in droves to pick up any bargains they can get their hands on.

The term “Cyber Monday” was coined more than a decade ago to encourage people to do more shopping online – web retailers offered more discounts, shoppers picked up more stuff, and the cycle has continued to get where we are today.

Last year was another record-breaker, according to the stats: the $3.45 billion that users spent online on Cyber Monday 2016 made it the biggest day in US ecommerce history, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

In the UK a quarter of all consumers were planning to pick up a discounted deal on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, and that strong interest shows no signs of abating just yet. Brace yourself for another busy day of online shopping this year.

When is Cyber Monday 2017?

First there’s Thanksgiving on the Thursday, then there’s Black Friday on the Friday, and then there’s Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday 2017 will be on November 27.

Unlike Black Friday, where the focus is traditionally on high street stores as well as online retailers, Cyber Monday is more about shopping on the web. In fact the marketing term was first dreamt up as a way to get people to buy more of their stuff online, at a time when web shopping wasn’t as familiar and as straightforward as it is now.

The weekend as a whole is regarded as the last few days of big discounts before Christmas, and so people are often tempted to splurge the cash on gifts for themselves or their friends and family – total spending was reportedly close to £6 billion last year in the UK over Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

It’s really all about the timing with Cyber Monday. Shoppers are either back at work after the Thanksgiving break or enjoying an extended holiday, and with so many good discounts on offer, that leads to a lot of browsing and clicking.

If you ever need to work out when Cyber Monday falls, Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November in the US. While the holiday isn’t widely celebrated in the UK, the associated shopping days are now usually carried over the Atlantic.

Why Cyber Monday matters

Cyber Monday drives strong sales for retailers, kickstarting the holiday shopping season, and gives consumers access to some very decent bargains – it’s a win-win for both sides, so it’s no surprise that Cyber Monday continues to grow in popularity.

According to Dom Joseph, CEO of ad tech firm Captify: “What works very much in Cyber Monday’s favour is that it is the last significant retail ‘day’ before Christmas, in which people have the opportunity to pick up a heavily discounted bargain.”

It’s hard to ignore the influence of Black Friday as well – without Black Friday there would probably be no Cyber Monday. If you’ve missed out on the weekend sales or not had time to get online, then you’ve got Cyber Monday to fall back on, and to a large extent it’s about shoppers taking up the last opportunity to land a deal before December starts.

As the fame of Cyber Monday has grown and grown, a lot of consumers are waiting for the day (and Black Friday) to come around to spend their cash. That just makes the battle between the retailers even more competitive, which should lead to more attractive deals for anyone with some buying to do.

Shopping on Cyber Monday 2017

All the usual benefits of online shopping apply to shopping on Cyber Monday 2017: you can do it from the comfort of your own home, you can compare dozens of products and prices in seconds, and you can purchase your goods almost instantly.

The only downside is you don’t get your gadgets or other gifts immediately – but with delivery times getting faster and faster and the risk of wasting your time queueing on the high street, many people would consider that trade-off worth it.

While a few Cyber Monday deals have some kind of time restriction on them, a lot are going to be running all day, stats from previous years show. You don’t necessarily have to sneak out of the office to get your order in.

According to the experts, Cyber Monday also sees a broader range of deals across each individual retailer, so it’s less about one-off discounts and more about lower prices across the board. That said, some stores will follow-up Black Friday discounts with further reductions on Cyber Monday if they still need to shift some stock.

The best Cyber Monday deals from last year

For the last few years we’ve been scouring the web on your behalf for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, helping you nab the best tech at the best prices. These were some of the highlights from Cyber Monday 2016.

Sony PS4 Pro

The PS4 Pro had only just arrived on the scene last year but retailers were still happy to knock a serious chunk of change off it – Amazon was knocking $60 off the console in the US, for example, one of several deals around.

Xbox One S

Sony’s console wasn’t the only one that online stores were happy to flog for a discount, because the Xbox One S featured in many a deal too: on Amazon you could pick up an Xbox One S and two games for less than £200.

Dell discounts

Dell was definitely getting into the spirit of Cyber Monday 2016, knocking a significant 12% off all of its laptops and computers (including one of our favorites) with the code SAVE12. Look for more of the same this year.

Gaming laptops

Speaking of laptop deals, Cyber Monday shoppers could get a bumper £200 knocked off the cost of the ASUS GL552VW 15.6 inch Gaming Laptop, down from £999.99 to just £799.99 during the course of the day.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Retailers weren’t leaving Apple products out of their Cyber Monday 2017 discounts – certain models were being knocked down on contracts so there was no up front cost to pay, just the monthly contract price.

What to expect from Cyber Monday 2017

With each passing year, online retailers get savvier when it comes to planning their Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, but shoppers are getting more discerning too – as we’ve said, it’s already a win-win deal for both sides, but both sides are still continuing to try and get the best deals possible.

You can expect deals to be in place well before November as retailers and manufacturers get their ducks in a row, but they won’t go live until the actual day of Cyber Monday. That said, some deals will carry over from Black Friday, and some might go live on Sunday, so it’s a question of checking in as often as you can for discounts.

In recent years we’ve seen a pattern of sales and discounts continuing across the whole of December, so you can think of Cyber Monday as a starting gun for the Christmas sales – you don’t necessarily have to panic if you miss out on Cyber Monday itself.

Sales were up 12.1% on Cyber Monday 2016 compared with the year before, IBM analysts say, and we’re expecting another strong day of business in 2017. One trend to look for is more people buying from smartphones than on the desktop, making snapping up the bargains even more convenient.

Predicting the best Cyber Monday deals of 2017

Games consoles

Consoles are always primed for discounts come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 2017 should be no different. We’re expecting to see some deals done on the PS4 Slim, the PS4 Pro, and maybe even Microsoft’s Project Scorpio – if it’s out in time. Whether or not the new Xbox is around for Cyber Monday 2017, the old ones could well be discounted too.

4K HDR OLED TVs

TV tech continues to advance rapidly, with 4K and HDR now becoming the norm – given that pace, and the fact that expensive new models get out of date quickly, Cyber Monday 2017 could be the perfect time for you to pick up some hefty discounts on a brand new flat screen for your living room. A number of stores will probably be running TV deals.

iPhone 8

It sounds like Apple is planning something very special indeed for the iPhone 8, and given that Apple products are always popular on Cyber Monday, we’d expect to see some decent offers for Cyber Monday 2017. Look for network operators reducing the up-front cost of Apple’s new handset, and Apple itself dishing out gift cards and special offers for the day.

Samsung Galaxy S8

If you’re not taken with Apple’s line in smartphone handsets then you can always look out for a deal on the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Again, the simple reasoning is that these are very popular products, and very expensive products, so any knock-down is going to have people rushing for the buy button on Cyber Monday 2017.

DSLR cameras

DSLR cameras are similar to big screen TVs in some ways – expensive bits of kit that people don’t necessarily rush to replace very often. With a slew of new models already out this year and due to arrive before the end of 2017, Cyber Monday could be the perfect opportunity to save a few pounds or a few hundred pounds on that camera you want.

Cyber Monday 2017 FAQ: what it is, when it happens and where to get the best deals

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the first Monday after the Thanksgiving Thursday, marking the end of four straight days of eye-catching deals and the start of the holiday shopping season.

When is Cyber Monday 2017?

Cyber Monday 2017 will be Monday, November 27 this year, so get your credit and debit cards primed for the occasion.

So what’s Black Friday 2017?

Black Friday is the Friday before Cyber Monday, just after Thanksgiving. The two days bookmark the weekend and are often pretty similar in terms of discounts.

Are Cyber Monday deals genuine?

Most of the time, yes, though keep your wits about you and make sure you’re checking a reputable guide (such as this one) for some tips. Many deals have been planned and agreed in advance, though you will sometimes get stores announcing spontaneous discounts in response to market demand.

Where can I find the best Cyber Monday deals?

Here on TechRadar we’ll be doing our very best to pick out the cream of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for you, so you don’t have to refer to any other guide – stick with us and we’ll bring you all the hits and some of the misses from the store sales.

How do I get the best Cyber Monday 2017 deals?

Try not to get too carried away with the thrill of bargain hunting and work out how much you have to spend in advance. Also, do your research online to find out how much goods were selling for before Cyber Monday – sometimes those discounts aren’t quite as huge as they might appear.

There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous, as long as you can afford it, but the more planning you put in the better – then you can tell which sales are worth going for and which aren’t (watch out for outdated tech that the stores are trying to shift. Finally, keep this page bookmarked for the weekend.

Can I get cashback on Cyber Monday deals?

Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases, and sites such as Quidco often offer cashback for new customers of big-name online shops. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Black Friday but for any online shopping.

Am I protected when I buy on Cyber Monday?

Yes, as with any other day. In the UK, purchases made from a company online are covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which cover areas like delivery and returning faulty goods.

How can I stay safe on Cyber Monday?

Wherever there’s a crowd, the scammers gather too, so stay safe out there. Make sure you’re doing your browsing through a modern, updated browser on a modern, updated operating system with your security tools carefully configured, and avoid any sketchy-looking emails (or indeed Facebook posts) promising Cyber Monday deals that are too good to be true or lead to sites you’ve never heard of.

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