Windows 8 : Make Your Laptop Life Easier or Confused

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Microsoft released Windows 8 and delivered a completely new lifestyle of laptop life. But Does it make your laptop life easier or you are baffled a lot by the new ways of operation method?

A Mom said it was very difficult to get used to for her 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and they never got used to it. The familiar Windows Desktop is still available through one of the tiles, and most programs will open up in that environment. But since the Start button is gone, users will have to flip back and forth between the desktop and the tile screen. Instead of the Start menu and icons familiar Windows 8 displays applications as a colorful array of tiles, which may be updated information from applications. For example, the “Photos” tile shows an image from the collection of the user, and the “People” tile shows pictures social media contacts of the user. (Microsoft is authorized to use the AP content in applications Windows 8 news.)

Windows 8 runs on computers with processing chips made ​​by Intel Corp. or Advanced Micro Devices Inc. There is a basic version designed for consumers and a Pro version for more tech-savvy users and companies. Borrowing Playbook Apple, Microsoft allows for RT applications only from its online store, and applications must meet the Content Guidelines and others. Once Windows 8 is on, most machines will sell this version of Windows.It is possible to buy Windows 7 machines or upgrade to Windows 7, if you have command line and your choice may be limited to games or commercial machines.Microsoft did not say that the deadline for Windows 7 will, but expect to be able to buy Windows 7 as an upgrade for another year or preinstalled on a new machine for two years.After Windows 7 was released in October 2009,For example, retailers were still allowed to sell boxes versions of its predecessor, Vista, until October 2010. PC manufacturers were able to sell Vista machines until October 2011.Microsoft plans to continue to provide technical support for Windows 7 until 14 January 2020.

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Review: Asus Zenbook UX31

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Review: Asus Zenbook UX31

Overview

The Asus Zenbook UX31 is one of the first laptops to conform to Intel’s Ultrabook specification.

And, right away, we’ll tell you – it stands toe-to-toe with Apple’s MacBook Air in the fight for the title of best luxury ultraportable.

More competition is to come, however, in the form of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300 S, Acer Aspire S3 and, potentially, others from the likes of HP and Dell.

Back to the present though and Asus has done a terrific job with the Zenbook’s design – even if you have to acknowledge that the designer took more than a sneaky glance at Apple’s ultraportable first.

The 13-inch Zenbook is fantastic to look at. When closed, the wedge-shaped laptop measures 17mm at its thickest point and a mere 3mm at its thinnest.

Asus zenbook ux31

The aluminium silver lid boasts a distinctive concentric circle design that catches and reflects the surrounding light. Befitting the name, the Zenbook’s simple, sleek finish gives it a premium look that keeps getting better as soon as you lift the lid.

The design ethic is in evidence earlier than that, though – it’s a lovely experience as you open the box while Asus has also included a mini Display Port to D-Sub adapter and a USB to Ethernet lead as well. Both are housed in their own little pouch. Better still, you even get a bespoke sleeve for your Zenbook in the box.

The same thinking even stretches to the Intel Core and Windows 7 stickers. We wonder who it was that proposed they were silver and black – Intel? Asus? – but whoever did has made a difference.

Specifications

Asus zenbook ux31

The outward elegance of the Zenbook UX31 has certainly been matched by power on the inside. There are currently two different versions available, our test model has the Core i7 2677M Processor while there’s also a Core i5 2467M Processor variant.

Our test version was running Windows 7 Home Premium, though the Asus spec sheet seems to suggest that Professional is also available should that be a requirement for you.

For those looking for a smaller laptop, there’s an 11.6-inch UX21 version that costs £849. We’ll be reviewing that separately as soon as we can get our hands on one.

You’ll get 4GB or RAM with all 13-inch models, as well as a 128 or 256GB solid state drive (SSD). Our review model had a 128GB drive under the hood and, as we were using it a lot, we managed to fill most of that with apps and files in no time. This is a performance machine and you may find yourself wanting the larger capacity.

The isolation-style keyboard is front and centre inside the Zenbook with no additional clutter from the likes of hotkeys, volume controls, numeric keypads or even separate mouse buttons.

As the chassis is so thin, there’s very little depth to each key. It must be said that, at first, this can be of-putting, especially if you’re used to hammering out your emails – but before long typing on the Zenbook becomes second nature.

We did find the directional arrows and the enter key to be a little on the small side, but not enough to interfere with extended typing sessions.

There’s also no backlight to the keyboard – as the MacBook Air and other competitors such as the Samsung 9 Series have this. A shame it’s missing here.

Asus zenbook

Alongside the keyboard, Asus has included a large, central touchpad. We had doubts about the inbuilt buttons and lack of a textured surface at first, but these were soon laid to rest.

The response is swift and because of the larger size, it is possible to use your thumb on the touchpad without moving your hands from the typing position. Occasionally you might brush the touchpad when typing but this is a rare occurrence.

However, we really don’t like the mouse buttons. The touch isn’t very definite, while it can be quite hard to do selections or multiple presses. Things could be a lot better here.

Another noteworthy feature of the Zenbook is the external speaker running across the base of the 13.3-inch, 1,600 x 900 16:9 Super-TFT screen. Developed by Bang & Olufsen and called ICEpower, the speaker is monitored by in-built Asus techcalled SonicMaster to keepthe balance even.

The Zenbook will hit a reassuringly loud volume without disintegrating into either a tinny treble or a fuzzy bass. It sounded impressive both in our expansive office and at home in a fully furnished room.

For the record, there’s also a 0.3 megapixel webcam for video conferencing or Skype.

The Zenbook weighs in at 1.4kg, exactly the same as the 13.1-inch Macbook Air. It’s hardly noticeable when carried around for the day and, because of the svelte design; it won’t take up too much space in your bag.

Thankfully Asus hasn’t filled the Zenbook with too much add-on software, but there is an annoying Live Update engine that keeps on popping up messages from the taskbar, while there’s also a battery life gadget (actually useful but it remains in your taskbar), as well as backup tools and a webcam app.

We’re sure there are some people that think it’s nice to have this kind of stuff, but we’re not among them. Moreover, much of the software is simply unnecessary.

And then there’s the graphics that appear when you turn the volume up, change the brightness or switch the power mode. To be honest, they’re horribly ugly and we’re simply not impressed.

It’s a shame the same attention that was paid to the external design wasn’t paid to the add-ons within the OS.

Performance

Asus zenbook ux31

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 8726
3D Mark ’06: 3623
Battery Eater ’05: 253 mins

Both processors in the 13-inch are from Intel’s second-generation Sandy Bridge family and mean the Zenbook can easily handle multi-tasking, varioius demanding apps and multiple displays using the Sandy Bridge chips’ in-built HD 3000 graphics capabilities.

However. the lack of non-dedicated graphics from AMD or Nvidia does hit the Zenbook in the performance pocket – hence our relatively modest 3D Mark score.

We felt the display wasn’t the best – dark colours and especially blacks seem a little washed out – but definition is good. We also found the viewing angle wasn’t great for watching video and working alongside others.

Speed, clearly, is the focus of the ultrabook range and the Zenbook is no slouch. The instant-on feature means you can be up and running in just two seconds from sleep mode and standby time will hit two weeks on a single charge.

The Core i7 unit featured here performs brilliantly and it was able to handle multiple browsers, Outlook and Word 2010, Spotify, FileZilla and image editing apps all concurrently. You really find you can do what you want, when you want.

There were a couple of times when we found this wasn’t the case – several times when switching power states suddenly (like unplugging the charger) meant that the whole system seemed to struggle to adapt – browsing became slow and we had to let the system calm completely down. Also we found that using more intensive apps could make things hang – handling a load of images inside Microsoft Publisher, for example.

Even with heavy use during our testing, the Zenbook’s battery lasted for an impressive 253 minutes. And when the battery does dip below 5 per cent, the Zenbook will automatically save any files in progress to avoid you losing all your work when the machine shuts down.

The battery can seem like it’s draining reasonably quickly when doing any tasks on high performance but on power saving mode this thing is positively frugal, going for around six hours if you’re careful. Asus quotes seven, but you’ll have to barely use it to get that. So we’re not at the all-day battery life scenario yet, but we’re getting closer.

The slim design means physical connectivity isn’t as abundant as regular laptops, but there’s still enough here to satisfy most users.

Asus zenbook ux31

Asus has included two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0 as well as an SD card slot plus a mini HDMI and mini DislayPort for connecting the ultrabok to an external TV or monitor. The Zenbook also has 802.11n Wi-Fi and cutting edge Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.

Asus zenbook ux31

Good value?

Although the 13.3-inch Zenbook will set you back from £999, that;s still £100 less than the cheapest 13.3-inch Macbook Air.

Similarly, Asus has matched Apple with pricing for the 11.6-inch model which, like the smaller Macbook Air comes in at £849. Considering the technology and the form factor, a starting price point of under a thousand pounds is good value for money – especially when you consider other such ultraportables have cost as much as £1,500 in the past.

Asus zenbook ux31

Verdict

Asus zenbook ux31

Overall we were very impressed with the Asus Zenbook. Neither power nor portability has been sacrificed in pursuit of the other and features that traditionally suffer, such as audio quality and battery life, have not been neglected.

Battery life, especially, isn’t the worry it usually is with the Zenbook, but you need to make sure it’s in the right power state – running on high performance means that the system flies – but it comes at a cost. For most purposes, running in power saving mode is more than enough.

We liked

There’s so much to like about this laptop. It’s a real PC ultraportable – the design is fantastic and it goes like stink.

Beautiful design can only come into its own when there’s performance to match.And it’s all here in spades.

The instant sleep and resume is exactly what you want in a laptop like this, and you’ll find yourself quickly adapting to never shutting down. Unless, that is. Windows wants to install updates!

We disliked

There’s surprisingly little we disliked about the Zenbook, but it must be said that the trackpad buttons grate especially. They are truly awful and mean that a mouse is recommended for serious work.

The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to and isn’t as good as many – however, you quickly get to know it and it’s not too much of an issue. The lack of a backlight is also a problem.

Graphics performance could be better but we realise that’s slightly unrealistic for a machine of this type – we also weren’t huge fans of the display.

Finally, you could say the design – though fantastic – is rather derivative. Still, unless you’re a real design freak, you’ll almost certainly find that you’re not that fussed.

Verdict

While price may preclude some from purchasing the Zenbook, we have no problem in recommending it as one of the best ultraportables we’ve seen.

It’s certainly a match for the impressive MacBook Air – and a real tonic to those who have wanted a performanceWindowsultraportable at a price point that doesn’t require a remortgage. Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s so worth it.

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Windows 7 Officially Launched

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Windows 7

Microsoft announced today the worldwide availability of Windows 7, its new operating system for PCs.

Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate Edition upgrade licenses are priced at $119.99, $199.99, and $219.99, respectively. There’s also Windows 7 Starter Edition, which can be found on new netbooks. The first Windows 7 laptops mostly come with Home Premium Edition.

Microsoft’s Press Release:

Today Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of its new Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 delivers on a simple premise: make it easier for people to do the things they want on a PC. The new operating system offers a streamlined user interface and significant new features that make everyday tasks easier and allow people to get the most out of computers of all styles and sizes.

“With Windows 7, there’s never been a better time to be a PC,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together with our partners, we’re bringing more choice, flexibility and value to the market than ever before. With Windows 7, you’re sure to find a PC that fits your life.”

Building Windows 7 has been a collaborative process from the beginning, with Microsoft’s engineers and designers working with customers and partners to build an operating system that delivers on the vision of the PC, simplified. In a speech in New York, Ballmer thanked the millions of volunteers who helped improve the product by testing early versions.

“A project with the global customer reach of Windows can only be done as a team,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, speaking at a launch event in Tokyo. “We are grateful for the valuable contributions from customers, partners and developers around the world that helped make Windows 7 such a collaborative project.”

On Sale Worldwide Today

The global availability of Windows 7 is joined by an unprecedented array of new PCs and software programs. With more PC options available for customers today at a wide range of price points starting under $300, customers can choose the PC that fits their personality, style and needs, from netbooks, ultrathin notebooks and highly interactive multitouch laptops to all-in-one desktops and high-end, water-cooled gaming machines.

A newly launched section of Windows.com called PC Scout will guide users through selecting and purchasing the right PC. Customers can purchase PCs with Windows 7 or software upgrades online or in-store from technology retailers or at the new Microsoft Store, launching today in its first retail location in Scottsdale, Ariz., and expanded online. Retailers and technology partners are also featuring a series of limited-time offers for customers looking for great deals on Windows 7-based PCs, devices and software. Information on these offers can be found at http://www.windows.com.

To show how Windows 7 simplifies the PC, today Microsoft is launching the next wave of its global “I’m a PC” campaign. The global enthusiasm of Windows users is also contributing to the way many people around the world will experience Windows 7 for the first time. Tens of thousands of customers have volunteered to host launch parties or meet-ups beginning today, showing off Windows 7 to friends and family members.

Simplifying the PC

Over the past 18 months, feedback from more than a billion opt-in customer sessions and 8 million beta testers validated Microsoft’s research on how to simplify everyday tasks. Here are a few of the many ways users will experience a more simplified PC with Windows 7:

Simplifies Everyday Tasks
• Taskbar. The go-to spot for launching programs and switching windows, the taskbar has been completely redesigned to help users work smarter, cut clutter, and get more done, with features such as thumbnail previews of Web pages, documents — even running video.
• HomeGroup. Users can easily share their files and printers with other PCs running Windows 7 in their home.
• Windows 7 Device Stage. This shows the status of all connected devices such as cameras and mobile phones, and makes it easier to synchronize and manage them.
• Photos and videos. Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker (available via download) offer customers great, free options to edit photos and videos and easily share them with loved ones.
• Snap. Users can drag an open window to the screen’s border to automatically re-size it. Snap two different windows to the left and right borders for a perfect comparison.
• Shake. Users can click on a window pane and shake the mouse to minimize all other open windows, then shake the pane again to restore the windows to their original sizes.
• Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft’s fastest, easiest and safest browser ever offers smart new features such as Instant Search, Accelerators and Web Slices to help users get more out of the Web.

Works the Way Users Want
• Faster on, faster off. Every Windows 7 user will benefit from the focus on underlying performance, faster startup, resuming and shut down time, and enhanced power management.
• Mobile made easier. All of a user’s mobile computing settings are in one place with the Windows Mobility Center.
• Protecting the PC. Safeguarding the data on a PC is easier with advanced backup capabilities and the free Microsoft Security Essentials download to help protect users against viruses, spyware and other malicious software.

Makes New Things Possible
• Windows Touch. Users can interact with the PC with a touch-screen monitor, using their fingers and multitouch gestures.
• PlayTo. Users can stream their digital music, videos and photos to other PCs or devices such as an Xbox 360 console connected to the TV.
• Internet TV. New content providers and an improved interface make it even easier to watch TV on the PC.
• Rich gaming and graphics. Windows 7 includes performance enhancements that take power gaming and entertainment to a new level, with 64-bit support and DirectX 11 graphics.
• Location-aware printing. Documents are sent to the right printer whether it’s at home or at the office. And with Offline Files users can work offline and automatically synchronize between a PC and documents on their office network.

Partners Rally Around Windows 7

Along with increased customer involvement, Microsoft’s partners had a closer, more involved role in the product vision and planning process with Windows 7. The collaborative approach to engaging partners to inform development efforts has resulted in improved performance for PCs as well as compatibility with a broad range of software and hardware across the Windows ecosystem. More than 50,000 developers from 17,000 companies are enrolled in the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program to build solutions for Windows 7. Together, these partners are developing hardware, software and services capable of reaching more than a billion PCs around the world.

You can purchase the new Windows at Microsoft, Amazon, and other stores.

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Windows 7 Receive Pre-order

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Windows 7

Microsoft’s Windows 7 is available for pre-order at various retailers who offer instant savings for early orders of the upcoming operating system.

Windows 7, scheduled for release on October 22, is available for pre-order in three editions: Home Premium ($120 $50), Professional ($200 $100), and Ultimate ($220). The discounts are valid while supplies last. The prices are for Upgrade versions, aimed at users that already own a computer with Windows Vista OS. “Full” Home Premium, Pro, and Ultimate are priced at $200, $300, and $320.

According to reports, there’s also a free Windows-Vista-to-Windows-7 upgrade plan.

“Say you buy a computer with Vista Home Premium this weekend; you get a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade on October 22, free. If you buy Vista Business, you’ll get Win 7 Professional, and if you buy Vista Ultimate, you’ll get Win 7 Ultimate” Gizmodo says adding that there’s no upgrade path for Vista Home Basic.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 versions will ship in the same box.

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Google Chrome OS PK Microsoft Windows

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chrome pk windows

Google has introduced the Chrome Operating System, an open source, free of charge, lightweight OS that will initially be targeted at netbook computers.

“Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010,” a post on Google’s official blog says.

09 chrome os

The Chrome OS is based on web applications and a Linux kernel. It runs on x86 and ARM processors and has a minimal user interface. According to Google, the OS is designed to boot up in a few seconds.

The company also explains differences between Chrome OS and their Android operating system:

“Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.”

Google currently cooperates with companies such as Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba, to design and build Chrome-based devices.

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Cooling Pad for Your Laptop

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microsoft-notebook-cooling-base

Microsoft Laptop Cooling Base

Microsoft has introduced the Laptop Cooling Base, the company’s first laptop stand.

“The stylish Notebook Cooling Base provides reliable cooling with a built-in fan and efficient cooling channel to prevent overheating. The base is easy to use with any laptop and is contoured to rest on both desks and users’ laps, providing a comfortable typing angle,” Microsoft says.

microsoft-notebook-cooling-base-1

The stand is USB-powered and includes a cable management clip.

It will be available in July for an estimated retail price of $29.95.

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