Epson WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One PrinterEarlier this month (June 2014), Epson released eight new printers based on its new PrecisionCore technology. Two of them, the $169.99-list WorkForce WF-3620 All-in-One and the $199.99-list WorkForce WF-3640 All-in-One (the subject of this review), are small- and home-based office multifunction office printers. The primary difference between them, what you get for the additional $30, is that the more-expensive WF-3640 has two paper drawers.

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Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Review and RatingsSince the emergence of ultrabooks a few years ago, designers have been making laptops slimmer and trimmer, while new CPUs and speedy solid-state drives continue to make them faster and faster. From that perspective, Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 bucks several trends: It’s a little bigger and bulkier than today’s average 15.6-inch notebook, and its 5,400-rpm hybrid hard drive—a 1TB mechanical drive with 8GB of flash cache—makes it a bit slower to boot or wake up than a true SSD. But its fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a generous complement of RAM make it a more than adequate performer.

The number 7000 indicates that our test model is at the top of the Inspiron line, between the middle-of-the-mainstream Inspiron 15 5000 and the ritzy XPS 15. As with most Dell laptops, you can buy the Inspiron 15 7000 in several different configurations, starting with a $649 model equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000Our top-of-the-line review unit, priced at $1,149, flaunts a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of memory, the 1TB hybrid drive, and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics instead of Intel’s integrated graphics. It also comes with an impressive 1,920×1,080 touch screen instead of the minimal 1,366×768 display of the $649 system.

While this Inspiron is a good-looking, well-performing machine with an excellent display and a better-than-average sound system, it reminds us in some ways—mostly its weight and thickness—of portables we looked at three or four years ago. But again, it’s still a fine laptop.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

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WHAT IS AMD’S PROJECT SKYBRIDGE, AND WHAT WILL IT DO FOR COMPUTING?Up until recently, the line between low-power ARM processors and x86 CPUs has been distinct: ARM-powered devices consisted primarily of tablets, 2-in-1 hybrids, and convertibles, while x86-powered machines were mostly laptops.

It wasn’t until the advent of Windows 8 and Windows RT in 2012 that we saw a lot of crossover, with Intel Core CPUs appearing in several tablets and convertibles, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro, as well as a handful of ARM-based PCs, such as HP’s 21-inch Slate 21 k100 All-in-One Desktop PC, which is powered by Android.

Read the full article at Digital Trends.

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Epson WorkForce WF-7610 All-in-One reviewEarlier this month (June 2014), printer giant Epson replaced its entire line of WorkForce multifunction (print/scan/copy/fax) inkjet business printers with machines based on the company’s newPrecisionCore fixed printhead technology. Much like PageWide, HP’s fixed printhead equivalent, which debuted in that company’s Officejet X multifunction inkjets in mid-2013, PrecisionCore printers are not only faster and cheaper to use than not only Epson’s previous WorkForce models, but also several entry-level laser-class printers. (For a description of fixed printhead printers and why they’re superior to standard inkjets and their laser counterparts, check out this About.com “Fixed Printhead Inkjet Printers” article.)

Read entire review at About.com.

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HP Officejet Pro X551dw Color Printer reviewSometimes, all you need is a quality color printer that sits there month after month churning out great-looking business documents, presentations, and drawings—quickly and efficiently. Historically, when speed and quality were important, small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) have relied on laser-class (LED or true laser) machines. However, recent developments in inkjet technology—the fixed printhead—have allowed printer makers, such as HP and Epson, to create inkjet printers that rival (and often exceed) entry-level and midrange laser-class machines, in terms of speed, quality, and per-page cost of operation, or cost per page.

Read the entire review at About.com.

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Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Review and RatingsWe’ve had our thumbs (not to mention our other eight swiping fingers) on the pulse of Sony’s tablet-making endeavors for a few years now. While the company’s slates—all Android-based ones—haven’t been runaway sellers, the Japanese electronics giant’s efforts have been impressive, all the way back to the original Tablet S in the summer of 2011.

That first Sony tablet had a unique design and a build quality deserving of our Editors’ Choice nod. The buying public may not quite have shared our enthusiasm, but we stand by the Tablet S as one of the best early efforts in full-size Android tablets. (We classify slates from 7 to 9 inches as “compact” slates, while 10- to 12-inch tablets are “full-size.”)

About a year ago (June 2013, to be exact), Sony supplanted the Tablet S with an all-new, highly elegant design, the Xperia Tablet Z. Like the subject of this review (which is, as you’ll guess by the name, its successor), the Tablet Z was sleek and premium in every way. It was very thin and very light, with an excellent-looking screen and behind it a top-of-the-line Qualcomm 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. Plus, it was equipped with most every performance and convenience feature we could think of in a contemporary tablet.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z2So, now enter the Xperia Z2 Tablet—an even thinner, lighter, and more elegant refinement of the Tablet Z. Not only does this slate come with one of the fastest tablet CPUs available (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801), but the 10.1-inch screen is flat-out gorgeous, and the processor is paired with 3GB of system RAM for increased app-crunching oomph. Combined, these components make for one of the fastest, most attractive full-size Android tablets we’ve tested to date.

You can purchase the Xperia Z2 Tablet with 16GB of onboard storage for $499.99, direct from Sony (as well as from the usual e-tailers), or in a 32GB version for $100 more. In addition, it comes in either black or white…

Sony Xperia Tablet Z2 (Backs)

Like the Xperia Tablet Z before it, the Xperia Z2 Tablet is waterproof and dustproof (at least, so long as you’ve battened down the hatches over the ports and slots), and the display has a very respectable full-HD native resolution of 1,920×1,200. (That’s not quite the field-leading 2,560×1,600 of a few full-size Samsungs, but it’s enough, to our eyes.) It’s extremely well-built and attractive, and, as mentioned, all of the internal components are top-notch. And, like Apple has done with its ever-popular iPad Air line, Sony has baked up a bunch of attractive complementary accessories, such as docking stations, keyboard covers, and noise-cancelling headphones. (We’ll look more closely at some of these in the Design & Accessories section on the next page.)

When you consider all of the compelling, matching Sony gear that you can supplement this tablet with, it makes the buying proposition more attractive, versus a tablet that requires you to make do with generic or third-party add-ons. That’s a key difference, because nowadays, we balk big-time at paying $500 for a full-size Android slate. There are just too many high-quality $300 and $400 models, such as the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10, available, and pre-Air iPads can be had in that price range nowadays, too. But now and then we run into one deserving of its premium price…and this Sony slate is among them.

Read the entire article at Computer Shopper.

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PageWide and PrecisionCore technologies match laser printer speeds and CPPFor years, a major difference between inkjet printers and laser-class (both actual laser-based devices and LED-based machines) has been print speeds. Due primarily to the manner in which each type of technology applies consumables (ink or toner) to paper, midrange and higher-end laser-class printers often perform as much as twice as fast, or faster, than their inkjet counterparts. However, a relatively new approach—fixed printhead inkjets, such as HP’s PageWide devices and Epson’s PrecissionCore machines, have changed all that, bringing us inkjet printers that are just as fast (and in many cases faster) than their laser-class competitors.

Read the entire review at About.com

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HOW MUCH FASTER WILL PCS WITH INTEL X99 8-CORE CPUS AND DDR4 RAM BE?At Computex 2014, companies like MSIEVGA, and ASRock showcased motherboards based on Intel’s x99 chipset, which supports a host of new features including faster Haswell-E (Enthusiast) processors, faster DDR4 memory, and faster SATA Express storage technology. These, and a wealth of extended connectivity and expansion options, make the next-generation, soon-to-be-released x99-based PCs the fastest we’ve seen so far.

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NVIDIA’S VOLTA GPU: NEARLY THREE TIMES THE BANDWIDTH, AND A NEW NAME TOOAt Nvidia’s March 2013 GPU Technology Conference, the company announced a breakthrough graphics processing unit (GPU) codenamed “Volta,” with nearly four times the bandwidth than its current top-of-the-line Kepler graphics cards. However, at the 2014 GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia changed things around a bit, by placing Volta out more than two years, or well after the 2016 release of its Volta-like “Pascal” GPUs. Essentially, Pascal will have mostly the same speed and bandwidth characteristics promised for Volta, with a new twist—Nvidia’s own homegrown bus.

Read the full article at Digital Trends.

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Digital TrendsCamarillo, CA – March 3, 2015: Communications Technology Watch is happy to announce that William Harrel, technology journalist and online course developer/instructor, has agreed with the popular online digital technology magazine, Digital Trends to write weekly news features. Harrel’s beat covers all aspects of upcoming computer-related news. For example, his first few articles included information about DDR4 memory, USB 3.1, Sata Express, and Nvidia G-Sync.

You can get a complete list of Harrel’s articles on Digital Trends here.

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