Saturday, January 25, 2014

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review

The new Microsoft Surface Pro 2, sold at amazon for $1060: Microsoft - Surface Pro 2 with 128GB - Dark Titanium, is a big upgrade over it's previous generation Surface Pro.

 The new Pro is almost identical to the first-generation Surface Pro. I’ve had the original model for many months, and have to look every time to see which I’ve grabbed. On the Surface Pro 2, the Windows logo on the back has been replaced with the word “Surface”, but that is all that has changed.

 The new Pro weighs in at 2 pounds. It would have been nice if it were thinner and lighter, but it is an acceptable size and weight, just not as slender as the competition.

 There is the same mini-DisplayPort connection, the same microSD card slot, the same amount of USB ports, and volume controls in the same spots as last generation.. The connector for power is the same too. The A/C adapter has the same USB charging port in it so you can charge your phone while you charge your tablet. This is a very nice feature and it makes the Surface Pro 2 feel just like its predecessor whilst holding it.
Now lets get into the specs.

 Let’s begin with its processor. The new Pro  uses the a fourth generation Core i5 processor, codenamed Haswell. What that means in real world performance is much-improved battery life (Microsoft claims up to 75% higher battery life). This showed to be true even while playing videos the whole time; we had 6 hours of battery life while playing videos.

While websurfing and playing games though, the battery last a few 1.5 hours longer, for 7.5 hours. The 10.6-inch screen is the same as the screen on the Surface Pro – full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels), and bright. The front and rear cameras are 5 megapixels each and record at 720p.

 For connectivity, we have 802.11 a/b/g/n wifi and Bluetooth 4.0. That is the same as in the original model. There’s still no way to connect to a cellular network. If you buy the $200 docking station , you do get a wired Ethernet connection. Microsoft Docking Station for Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2

 There are four models of the Surface Pro 2. The models have four GB memory and either a 64 or 128 GB SSD, or eight GB memory and a 256 or 512 GB SSD. They vary in price from $899 to $1799. Each comes with 200 GB of SkyDrive storage and one year of unlimited Skype voice calling to land lines in 60 countries. 

To get best use out of the new Pro, you do need a keyboard. You can plug in a USB keyboard, or you can use a Bluetooth keyboard; for maximum convenience pick up one of the two Surface keyboards that connects magnetically to the Surface Pro and also acts as a cover for the screen. Microsoft - Type Cover 2 - Black

 Overall, the Surface Pro 2 is a great upgrade over its predecessor.

How to install and replace a battery in a laptop

First, shut down your laptop and remove the charging cable from it. Then find where the battery is stored, (usually on the side or bottom) and take off the plate covering it. Carefully remove the battery, taking note of how the battery is in the slot. Get out your new battery and slowly put it in the same orientation the other battery was and slide it into the battery slot. Screw back on the plates and you have now installed a new battery in your laptop!

 If you need to purchase laptop batteries, buy them at Amazon: Replacement HP Compaq 484170-001 Laptop Battery

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Toshiba Chromebook Review

The Chromebook is a $280 laptop running ChromeOS manufactured by Toshiba for Google (sold by amazon here for $279): Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 PLM01U-002005 13.3-Inch Cloud Computer It's specs are decent with a Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and a 16GB SSD. While using it, it did feel a tad laggy though while running more than 10 tabs in Chrome. It does have great battery time though; Toshiba claims 9.1 hours which was about true in our testing. It comes with a plethora of connectivity ports including an HDMI port, USB port, SD card slot, audio jack and Bluetooth 4.0. The Chromebook felt very sturdy while holding and is fairly light at only 3.3 pounds. The display, while not providing Full HD, looks very good and crisp. Overall, for the very inexpensive price, the Toshiba Chromebook is a great buy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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How to prevent a laptop from being stolen

First, always have your laptop near you. Do not leave it by itself as there will be a good chance someone will steal it. To deter someone from stealing it, install a portable combination lock on it: Kensington K64670US Portable Combination Laptop Lock

Install software on the laptop which will tell you the laptop's location so if it is stolen you can track it. Whenever the laptop is sitting in your house, store it in a pillowcase or something really stupid as thieves will probably never check to see if it is in a pillowcase. Really though, if you always keep it near you and do not set it down anywhere, your laptop will probably never be stolen.

Top laptops to buy at each price point

There are many different consumers buying laptops at different prices so I made this guide to help choose the best laptop at your pricepoint.

Cheap- $500-$700

Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch: Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 15.6-Inch Laptop (Dark Chocolate)

The Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch is only $600 yet it still has surprisingly good specs, especially it's GTX 740M.

 Midrange- $800-$1100

Dell XPS 15: Dell XPS XPS15-11047sLV 15.6-Inch Laptop

 Probably one of the best deals around at only $1100, the Dell XPS has serious power with a 2.2 GHZ Core i7 3632QM processor, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

High End- $1200-$2000

 MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display: Apple MacBook Pro ME293LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (NEWEST VERSION)

Great lightweight laptop which has great specs and an amazing display. It is a steal at only $1600.

High End Gaming- $2500-$3500 Razer Blade: Razer Blade Pro 17 Inch Gaming Laptop 512GB - Windows 8.1

Great laptop for gaming, astoundingly fast and it even has a built in mini-monitor on the keyboard. The keyboard is a tad stiff but other than that it is a perfect laptop for gaming.

How to properly care for your laptop

I notice alot of people do not know how to care for their laptops so I am writing this post. Earlier I made a list of some must have things for your laptop, and they include many of the things needed to care for your laptop. For example, a portable combination lock: Kensington K64560US ComboSaver Portable Notebook Computer Lock or a laptop carrying backpack: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops.

image courtesy of amazon

 These items are crucial as they will protect your laptop from damage and from being stolen. Also, when you put it down, make sure you never throw it. When charging do not shove the cable in as it could break the charging port on the laptop. When having it on your lap, make sure not to cover up the fan openings as this could overheat your laptop. Follow these tips and your laptop will last for years and years.

How to clean a laptop screen

Laptop screens get very dirty very fast. Here's how you can clean them easily. First buy a bottle of distilled water. Amazon sells them for only a few dollars: Sparkletts Distilled Water - 1 Gallon (3.78 L) Put a little on a clean monitor cleaning cloth: 3M 9027 High Performance Cloth and shut off and unplug the monitor. Then you can clean the screen with the wet towel. Your laptop screen should now be clean! Hope I helped!

Dell Inspiron 15R Review

The Dell Inspiron 15R is a cheap but good quality laptop mainly targeted at students. You can purchase it at amazon for only $700: Dell Inspiron 15R i15RM-7537sLV 15.6-Inch Laptop (Moon Silver)  It comes with a respectable i5 processor, 6GB RAM, a 15" screen, and a 750 GB hard drive. It performs well and is great for tasks. All in all it is a great inexpensive laptop you should buy!


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How to select a laptop to purchase

There are many different kinds of laptops all for different uses. If you are looking for a gaming laptop, Alienware would probably be your best bet: Alienware 18 ALW18-3002sLV 18-Inch Gaming Laptop
However, if you need a cheaper gaming laptop I would go with MSI: MSI Computer Corp. GP60 2OD-052US;9S7-16GD33-052 15.6-Inch Laptop

 If you need a laptop because you are going off to school and it needs to be cheap then Dell is the laptop maker for you: Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-8526BLK 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black)

 If you need a laptop for business then a Sony would be great, they have great and affordable business laptop options: Sony VAIO SVF14A16CXS 14-Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Steel Silver)

 Finally, if you just want a cheap laptop for the kids, I would recommend buying an iPad Air instead because it is cheaper and is best for kids: Apple iPad Air MD788LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, White with Silver) NEWEST VERSION

 That about covers all the uses for laptops and how to decide which one to get. If I missed any feel free to tell me.

picture of an Alienware 18, courtesy of

Most reliable brands of laptops

There are many reliable brands, but there are a few that are the best, according to the survey at First is Apple with 19% saying it was the most reliable brand of laptop. Next was Dell at 12%. Asus and HP each came in at 11% respectfully. Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba all had 9%. Samsung has 7% and Sony has 6%. If you need a new laptop, be sure it is one of those as usually the cheaper brands will fail and not offer you a warranty.

2014 Top Laptop For Gaming - Alienware 18

The Alienware 18 is a beast of a laptop and its price says that too, it starts at $2049. The Alienware 18 comes packed with power with an Intel Haswell i7 Processor. It also includes a beastly GTX 770M. The Alienware 18 also includes 16GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. In benchmarks for gaming, the Alienware 18 blows away all other laptops. If you need the best, the Alienware 18 is the route to go!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Must Have Accessories For Laptops 2014

1. A mobile USB Fan. These can be found all over amazon and are great.

2. A laptop carrying backpack. These are great and will not damage your laptop. They also can serve as a great hiking backpack. The Swiss Gear Scansmart is a great backpack I use.

3.  A wireless mouse. The logitech m305 is an awesome and durable wireless mouse.

4.  A portable computer combination lock. This will deter many from trying to steal a laptop.

5. An external hard drive. Storage space is so cheap now and it is great if you need to transfer files or if your main drive ever fails. Try the external drive by western digital.

6. I assume you already have one, but if you don't, buy a flash drive.
7. A USB hub is great; it provides many ports when you need them.

8. A laptop cooling pad. This will make it more comfortable to sit on your lap and will improve the laptop's life span. I recommend the Targus Lap Chill Mat.

9. External speakers.  Most laptop speakers are notorious for their terrible sound quality.Buy some logitech ones for almost nothing.

10. Finally, get a USB light. This will improve the brightness and allow you to see the screen
easier. A good USB light is made by HDE.