The recent introduction of Windows 10 Technical Preview has made many pundits wonder about the future of Microsoft’s Windows RT, an inexpensive, low-power version of Windows 8 designed to run on the ARM processors often used to power tablets and smartphones. Much of the speculation is that Windows RT is dead. Then again, was it ever really alive?
Nobody was ever enthusiastic about Windows RT. Microsoft promised, negotiated, bribed, and cajoled, but still the response to RT was poor, at best. The financial loses, especially Microsoft’s, were immense (and still climbing). Within a year or so of its 2012 release a list of PC manufactures including Asus, Dell, Samsung, and Lenovo gave up trying to sell RT devices.
Read the entire article at Digital Trends.
Like everybody else, we expected great things from Windows once it became more touchable, and, no matter how disappointing Windows 8 has turned out, it has (for the most part) accomplished that much. Despite the flaws (yes, some were serious) and the circuitous route it took to get there, today we enjoy relatively easy-to-use, high-quality, and affordable touch-screen Windows tablets and convertibles—as demonstrated by Asus’ Editors’ Choice recipient, the $329.99 VivoTab Note 8 we reviewed back in April 2014.
One of that slate’s most notable features was its built-in, pressure-sensitive stylus, which, considering how small many of the menu entries, buttons, and icons were (especially in desktop mode), came in quite handy not only for taking notes and drawing, but for navigating Windows in general. And at the time, its price was remarkably low.
Now Asus has introduced another 8-inch Windows tablet, the $199.99 VivoTab 8 (only $149 at the Microsoft Store as we wrote this). For the most part, this is the same tablet as last year’s VivoTab Note 8, but without the stylus and with a few other minor differences we’ll get to over the course of this review.
For example, the Note version contains a slot on one edge for housing the stylus, which in turn makes for wider bezels, and display hardware for supporting the stylus. This means that the VivoTab 8 is a much leaner tablet—both smaller and lighter than the VivoTab Note 8.
That said, many users won’t mind the extra girth. For them, giving up the stylus for navigating this small screen is no small sacrifice. On the other hand, if you can live without the pen, this VivoTab is, in terms of screen quality and performance, a winner in its own right.
Granted, the display resolution of 1,200×800 pixels isn’t particularly high, but it’s plenty high enough for this petite screen. The Web sites, photos, games, and videos we looked at were…well, not necessarily spectacular, but certainly sharp enough to deliver great-looking images and graphics.
And that’s just it—if you don’t mind the concept of Windows 8 on an 8-inch screen, which will inevitably present you with buttons, icons, and menu entries small enough to sometimes require multiple attempts at manipulating them, you will probably like this tablet. We did.
Read the entire review at Computer Shopper
Several $400 multifunction inkjet printers, such as Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-5690 Multifunction Color Printer, have hit the streets over the past couple years, and most of them are pretty darn good high-volume business printers capable of print speeds and per-page operational costs far surpassing laser (or laser-class, LED) machines. Here’s one, though, that has been around for about a year-and-a-half now: HP’s Officejet Pro 276dw Multifunction Printer.
The good news is that as a result, many of last year’s machines (even though they do often support most of the most modern features) are deeply discounted—in this case (when I wrote this in mid-January 2015), by about 25%, or $100.
Read entire review at About.com.
Year after year brings reports of increased malware attacks, and predictions that the future is destined to see more than ever. Such forecasts aren’t just doom and gloom, but instead based in reality. Over the past two years security experts have witnessed an unprecedented spikes in attacks.
According to AV-Test, an independent security software review group, more than 143 million malware detections were reported in 2014. That’s 72 percent more, according to a recent report, than 2013. Worse, more malware was detected during 2013-2014 than in the previous 10 years altogether. Will this storm of cyber-attacks ever cease?
Read the entire article at Digital Trends.
Surely you’ve seen, either in movies or educational shows, those artificial intelligence (AI) computers that you interact with through various cables, or input leads, connected to your fingers, your hands, your head, and your feet. Depending on the sophistication of the devices and the software, nearly all parts of your body create input for the AI computer. Now, imagine interacting with, even controlling, your computer via hand and head movements, even facial expressions, without the input leads and cables.
Or maybe you want to control your computer with voice commands, like iPads and Android devices? Enter RealSense and VoiceAssist, two new interactivity enhancement features slated for the next generation of Intel CPUs.
If it all works the way Intel claims, you’ll soon be interacting with your computer via voice commands, hand, and head gestures, rather than actual physical pointing devices and keyboards. Here’s a real sense of how Intel’s new RealSense and VoiceAssist technologies work.
Read entire article at Digital Trends.
You’d think that as long as digital cameras and, more importantly, photo scanners, have been around, nearly all the photos in the World should already be digitized. Alas, apparently, we’re still not even close, or maybe new hard copy prints get generated everyday—perhaps both. In any case, the point is that, just as the need for photo printers continues, so does the need for photo scanners. However, not all photo scanners are the same, and it really depends on what you plan to scan, the required scan quality, and how often you plan to scan photographs, to determine how sophisticated a machine you need.
Read the entire article at About.com.
We’ve looked at a bunch of Epson’s Small-in-One inkjet printers over the past couple of years—everything from the budget-model, $99.99-list Epson Expression Home XP-410 Small-in-One Printer to the flagship of the line, the $349.99-list Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One Printer. For the most part, we’ve found them capable machines with good-looking output, not to mention excellent engineering and strong feature sets.
Today’s Small-in-One up for review, the second in line after the XP-950, is another six-ink, photo-optimized model: the $299.99-list Expression Photo XP-860. Like the XP-950, the XP-860 is an excellent photo printer. For the $50 difference, you give up the ability to print on 11×17-inch, tabloid-size paper. (The XP-950 takes a single sheet of that big paper via the override tray.) On the other hand, the XP-860 comes with a 30-page auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for scanning and copying multipage, two-sided documents, while the more-expensive XP-950 does not.
Both models also have the ability to print on appropriately surfaced “printable” CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. Optical discs may be fading in importance these days, but this labelling function comes in handy in a few different scenarios, such as cataloging high-resolution images for long-term storage, or making music CDs.
In addition to its excellent print quality, ADF, and ability to print to discs, this Small-in-One comes with a slew of productivity and convenience features. As you’ll see on the next page, it supports a wide range of mobile connectivity options, as well as printing from several cloud sites and kinds of memory devices, and much, much more.
Like most other all-in-one (AIO) printers in this class, though, this one, while itcan print exceptional-looking documents, has limited document-printing support. As you’ll see in the Setup & Paper Handling section later on, not only does this photo printer have exceptionally small input and output trays, but it’s also expensive, in terms of cost per page (CPP), to use.
The XP-860’s closest competitor, Canon’s six-ink Pixma MG7520 Photo All-in-One, is also a low-volume, expensive-to-maintain printer, but it lists for about $100 less. To be sure, the Epson Small-in-One holds the edge on features, notably the ADF, and a few others. But the real balance has to do with the pricing, and whether you shop around. As we wrote this (in late December 2014), Epson was offering the XP-860 for a $70 discount off list, or $229.99 direct, bringing it well within striking distance of the Pixma MG7520.
Hence, like some of the other Small-in-Ones we’ve reviewed, while the XP-860 can print great-looking documents, the per-page cost of ink, as well as a few other things, limit it as a business document printer. However, if bright, detailed, high-quality photos, with the occasional business document thrown in, are what you’re after, we think you’ll like this printer. (You’ll also get easy, good-looking scans and copies of both photos and multipage, two-sided documents.) It may not be cheap for what it is, but we doubt you’ll have quibbles about any of its output, on paper or digital.
Read entire review at Computer Shopper.
An image’s resolution is determined by the number of individual addressable points making up the photo, whether it is the number of dots that comprise a printed image, or the number of pixels contained in a screen image.
Depending on several factors, typically the more dots that are used to create an image, the more detail the image displays, resulting in sharper, better-looking scans and prints—providing you start with quality images to begin with, of course.
When, for example, you use bitmap graphics, whatever resolution you choose, information for each pixel or printer dot needs to be stored. The higher the resolution, the more information needs to be stored for any image of any size.
The only place this does not apply is when you’re using vector graphics (which isn’t often in most scan-or print situations), as the information about resolution is relevant only when the image is printed, or exported as a bitmap.
Read the entire article at About.com.
Not only are solid state drives, or SSDs, significantly faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), but, since they have no moving parts, SSDs are also more reliable. To find out just how durable the leading SSDs really are, back in August 2013 The Tech Report Web site pitted several leading SSDs, from Intel, Kingston, Samsung, and Corsair, against each other, in a runoff to the death—to see, first, how well they held up to their HDD counterparts, and second, how long they lasted compared to each other.
Now we’re nearing the end of 2014. Most (but not all) of the drives, which include Corsair’s 240GB Neutron Series GTX, Intel’s 240GB 335 Series, a pair of Kingston’s 240GB HyperX 3K drives, Samsung’s 250GB 840 Series, and Samsung’s 256GB 840 Pro, have conked out, but the endurance of these six test SSDs has gone well beyond the presumed life expectancy of any high-volume PC storage.
Before looking at the test itself, though, and the results, let’s talk about why solid state drives fail.
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/solid-state-drives-outlast-pc-hosts/#ixzz3NhAtWfqe
Nowadays, in addition to standard wireless and wired networks, there are several ways to connect your computing devices to your printer, including Wi-Fi Direct (not to be confused with standard Wi-Fi) andBluetooth. Still, actual datanetworks, called LANs, or local area networks, provide the most reliable, and by far the fastest, connections available. Often, when printing (especially when printing a lot of graphics and photos), your PC, tablet, or smartphone sends copious amounts of data to the printer—the faster the connection the better.
Read the entire review at About.com