The Best Lenovo Laptops of IFA 2018

With discrete Nvidia graphics and 8th Gen Intel H-series CPUs, the new 15-inch ThinkPad X1 Extreme is Lenovo’s answer to the immensely popular Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro. The premium laptop features a 4K HDR display, up to 64GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, making it an intriguing option for creators and gamers alike. Lenovo claims the X1 Extreme gets 13 hours of battery life; if that holds true, it would be one of the longest-lasting 15-inch laptops on the market.

 

The carbon fiber-clad X1 Extreme is remarkably lightweight for its size, weighing in at just 3.75 pounds. The laptop’s bezel-less display minimizes its footprint down to 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches. Despite such a slim chassis, the X1 Extreme offers a solid selection of ports, including two USB 3.1 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an SD card slot and an HDMI.

 

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme starts at $1,899, and will be released in September.

The Yoga S730 Is the $999 Ultrabook Apple Won’t Make

Thin is in. Lenovo just unveiled the Yoga S730, a slim-and-lightweight ultrabook with a stylish design and powerful internals.  The Lenovo Yoga S730 will launch in November for $999, and will be available in Platinum and Iron Grey color options.  

Given the Yoga branding, we wouldn’t blame you for expecting this laptop to be a 2-in-1, but be warned, the Yoga S730 has a traditional clamshell design.

The Yoga S730 makes up for its lack of flexibility with a gorgeous design. The laptop’s understated, Macbook-like chassis looks sophisticated, and we appreciate its premium aluminum build.

The Yoga S730 is, in many ways, the sort of laptop we’ve been hoping Apple would release with its long-overdue update to the MacBook Air. The Yoga S730’s razor-thin bezels border a 13.3-inch, 1080p display that can supposedly reach 300 nits of brightness. The generous screen-to-body ratio allowed Lenovo to shrink the overall size of the 2.6-pound laptop down to 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches.

The Yoga S730 is thinner than even the 12-inch MacBook, but it should be significantly more powered thanks to its U-series processors. Oh, and these aren’t just any U-series processors; they’re the recently released Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs, which promise performance and efficiency gains compared to last year’s Kaby Lake variants.

The available Core i5-8265U or i7-8565U CPUs are matched with integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, which should offer enough oomph for casual gaming. If you need more power, the Yoga S730 offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports for connecting to external monitors and eGPUs. There is also a USB 3.1 Type-C port. Other interesting extras include a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader.

You can configure the Yoga S730 with up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Lenovo rates the Yoga S730’s battery life at 10 hours, but we’ll need to wait for a review unit to see how long it lasts with real-world use.

The Best External GPUs for Your Laptop, Tested and Ranked

When you first see the Gaming Box’s $589.99 price, it looks like it’s the most expensive eGPU in the line-up. However, since it comes pre-installed with a GPU, you don’t have to worry about shelling out even more money for a graphics card. That makes it the cheapest option in the long run. But since you lose the ability to swap out GPUs, you might find yourself purchasing another Gaming Box in a few years when the GTX 1070 can’t cut the mustard.

Design: The Aorus GTX 1070 Gaming Box is hands-down the most adorable eGPU. Measuring 6.4 x 8.4 x 3.8 inches and weighing 5.2 pounds, it’s the smallest box we tested. It’s the perfect size for those with little space to spare.

Similar to Aorus laptops like the X7 v6, the Gaming Box is swathed in matte black aluminum. The silver chrome avian logo gleams on the top front of the device. A pair of large grates sit along both sides of the system allowing for airflow and a nice view of the GTX 1070 Mini GPU inside. And if you want to game on the go, the Aorus also comes with a little carrying case for stow-and-go convenience.

Ports: Despite its diminutive size, the Gaming Box comes with plenty of ports. There are three USB 3.0 ports, an orange quick-charge USB 3.0 port, an HDMI, a DisplayPort, a pair of DVI-2 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 and the power jack.

Accessibility: Unlike other eGPUs, the Gaming Box comes with the GTX 1070 Mini GPU installed. The box is sealed, so you don’t have the luxury of switching out the graphics card at a later date.

Compatibility: Though we tried using the box with the MacBook Pro 13 and the Blade Stealth, the ThinkPad T470 was the only system that recognized the Aorus.

Value: When you first see the Gaming Box’s $589.99 price, it looks like it’s the most expensive eGPU out there. However, since it comes pre-installed with a GPU, you don’t have to worry about shelling out even more money for a graphics card. That makes it the cheapest option in the long run. But since you lose the ability to swap out GPUs, you might find yourself purchasing another Gaming Box in a few years when the GTX 1070 can’t cut the mustard.

Lenovo’s Wild Yoga Book C930 Adds E Ink Keyboard

The second time might be the charm. Lenovo is releasing the second version of the Yoga Book, the C930, starting at $999 in October.

When the first Yoga Book launched back in 2016, it was both innovative and polarizing and it looks like the latest iteration of the Windows 10 convertible is bringing more of the same.

At a passing glance, the C930 looks pretty similar to the first Yoga Book, and it’s still remarkably light and thin at 1.7 pounds and 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches. But look closer and you’ll see that Lenovo replaced the original Yoga Book’s static Wacom digitizer with a legitimate E Ink screen that can transform depending on the mode.

When using the C930 in laptop mode, the E Ink display acts as a keyboard complete with haptic feedback. In the interest of space, you can minimize the touchpad, allowing room for the Space Bar. As a touch typist, it’s still a bit awkward to type on, but I can definitely see myself shooting off an email or two with the hunt-and-peck method.

03 Lenovo Yoga C930

The E Ink display also has a sketch mode, handy for artists or note takers like myself. Using the Bluetooth Wacom Active Pen to draw a picture of a flower was seamless. I didn’t notice any lag as I sketched, and the 4,096 pressure level adjusted accordingly, creating thick or thin pen strokes depending on how hard I pressed.

MORE: Best 2-in-1s

The panel can also be used as an e reader for the bookworms out there. Oh, and if you were wondering where the pen goes when you’re not using it, you can just stick it on the front of the C930 and its magnetic cover will hold it firmly in place.

01-Lenovo-Yoga-C930-

Those interested in the C930 will have a couple of configs to choose from. The base model will feature the low-power 7th gen Core m3-7Y30 processor. But if you want more oomph, you can get the convertible with a 7th gen Core i5-7Y54 CPU.

No matter what processor you choose, the system will have 4GB of RAM with up to a 256GB PCIe SSD of storage and an Intel HD Graphics 615 GPU. As far as battery life, Lenovo is estimating that the C930 will last up to 8.6 hours. That’s shorter than the original Yoga Book, which lasted 9 hours and 35 minutes on our battery test.

Lenovo outfitted the C930’s primary display with a 10.8-inch, 2560 x 1600 LCD, which looked equal parts bright and vivid during my demo. It’s a step up from the previous model’s 1920 x 1200 panel that we felt was on a bit on the dark side. However, we’re going to have to wait until we get the C930 in the lab to get accurate measurements.

When the original Lenovo Yoga Book debuted, I was smitten with the idea of it. The ability to transfer all my fevered scribblings from a notepad to a 10-inch screen was heady stuff. Plus, the haptic keyboard was a first, and I’m a sucker for innovation. But when I actually began to use the Yoga Book, it wasn’t the versatile productivity machine that I imagined, mainly because of the typing aspect.

That’s not to say the Yoga Book isn’t useful, I saw a few people using it in the wild, I’m just saying the last iteration wasn’t for me. We’ll have to see whether this sequel is a significant step forward.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Official: What to Expect

BERLIN — Microsoft just announced that the next update to Windows is coming in October, packed with new features for more than 700 million Windows users.

The company revealed the name (Windows 10 October 2018 Update) and launch month on-stage at IFA, but didn’t specify the exact day users would be able to install the software update.

Microsoft Vice President Erin Chapple said Windows Insider program members will be able to test drive the new features soon.

So what new features will Windows users see in October? A Shared Clipboard feature will let you share files across devices and an overhauled Notepad are on the docket, but Microsoft says it will share more about upcoming features in the weeks to come.

Image Credit: Microsoft

 

Best USB-C Accessories 2018 – Cables, Docks, Adapters, Drives, Hubs

USB Type-C is the new standard connector for both charging and data on laptops, phones and tablets. While not every device has this powerful port yet, a number of prominent notebooks, including the Apple MacBook Pro, Dell XPS 13, Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe, HP Elitebook x360 and a slew of other laptops employ it. With Type-C on board, you can copy files at USB 3.1 speeds, deliver enough power to charge a laptop or use Alt Mode to send other types of data using DisplayPort or Thunderbolt 3 connections.

Looking forward, you can expect USB 3.2 to come soon, which is another version of USB Type-C. It doubles regular USB Type-C speeds at 20MBps, but is half of Thunderbolt 3 speeds. The best part, though, is that when you upgrade to a laptop that supports it, it will work on all of your existing cables, so no need to wait on buying them.

Microsoft finally adopted USB Type-C on the Surface Book 2, so now every major vendor is supports the new standard in some way.

All Thunderbolt 3 ports use the Type-C connector and are compatible with both the faster Thunderbolt 3 standard and regular Type-C devices. Because Thunderbolt 3 has four times the bandwidth (40 MBps) of standard USB Type-C 3.1, you can connect to external GPUs which let you play games on your thin and light notebook. Some docks also take advantage of the faster speeds.

MORE: USB Type-C FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

Below you’ll find a list of USB Type-C accessories that will help you continue to use your older USB-A peripherals, charge your devices, provide extra ports and take advantage of USB Type-C’s ability to output 4K video. It’s everything you’ll need to make the most out of the new connector, especially as it ends up on a growing list of devices.

WGGE USB-C to USB-C Cable

WGGE produces this tangle-free, nylon braided, 10-foot USB-C to USB-C cable for only $10.99. You can use it to charge USB-C devices as well as connect external hard drives and docking stations. And if you don’t want the joy of a really long, inexpensive wire, you can get the 6.6-foot version for an even cheaper $8.99. WGGE also includes a two-year warranty with it.

Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock

The Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) is the best pick for early adopters who need a dock. It works with the newest standards, like USB Type-C for charging and external displays and supports 4K monitors. We didn’t like that it’s locked into vertical orientation, but you can’t argue for great performance and support for three displays at the same time.

Aukey USB-C to USB 3.0 Adapter

If you don’t want to buy a whole bunch of new cables, you can grab a tiny adapter. Aukey’s USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter is small and will work with any of your legacy peripherals. It also doesn’t hurt that you get a two-pack for just $10, so you can just multiple USB Type-A accessories with your new computer at once.

Samsung Portable SSD T5

The Samsung Portable SSD T5 takes the spot of its predecssor, the T3, on this list, with even faster speeds and a better design. It comes with both a USB Type-C cable and a USB-C to USB 3.0 cable, so you can use it with any laptop and many newer Android phones. It has blazing fast transfer speeds of up to 540MBps, and backed up my computer extremely quickly. I love the new blue color for the 250GB ($127.99) and 500GB models ($196) , while the 1TB ($397.99) and 2TB ($797.99)  options come in black. The thing is tiny — smaller than a credit card — and includes a three-year warranty.

 

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive

If you’re transferring data between USB Type-A and USB  Type-C devices, SanDisk’s two-sided Ultra Dual flash drive is the perfect storage solution. Starting at  16GB, this flash drive uses a slider to switch between a USB 3.0 Type-A connector on one side and a USB Type-C connector on the other, so you will see blazing speeds on both ends of the transfer. You can also get it in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB sizes.

Apple USB-C Power Adapter

No doubt your USB Type-C device came with a charger. But extras never hurt, and the 30W Apple USB Type-C Power Adapter is a compact and sleek-looking choice. Just remember that you need to bring your own USB Type-C to USB Type-C charging cable.

Dell USB Type-C to HDMI/Ethernet/VGA/USB 3.0 Adapter

This USB Type-C adapter from Dell can do the work of several adapters by allowing you to plug into displays, attach older USB accessories and connect to wired Internet with one compact adapter that’s easy to take with you anywhere. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of USB Type-C attachments.

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB Type-C Power Bank

Laptops, tablets and smartphones keep getting thinner, and most don’t have replaceable batteries. Certain USB Type-C ports, like the ones on the 12-inch MacBook and Google’s Pixel C, support charging, so Anker has introduced a high-capacity external battery that will keep your battery full on the go. This battery also features two USB-A ports to feed hungry tablets, headphones and other rechargeable gadgets.

Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 Connetion

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook has one measly USB Type-C port, but Kingston’s hub can make it much more useful. It boasts two USB Type-A 3.1 ports, two Type-C ports (including one for power, an HDMI output for up to 4K resolution, an SD card slot and a microSD card slot. That’s enough to transfer data, power monitors and use both new and old USB accessories.

AmazonBasics USB-C to USB-A Cable

This 3-foot, $9.99 cable will come in handy wherever you go, especially in situations where you have a USB-C device and are surrounded by USB-A charging stations. And whether you need to transfer files to an older computer via a connected smartphone or hard drive, Amazon has got your back with that 10 Gbps data transfer speed.

Aukey USB-C Car Charger

Going on a road trip? No problem. Aukey makes cross-country tripping easy with this USB Type-C car charger for just $14.99. It also comes with a port for USB 3.0 and is outfitted with Qualcomm 3.0 Quick Charge, which enables compatible devices to charge is 38 percent more efficiently than Qualcomm 2.0. Aukey also built in safety measures to protect against excessive current, overheating and overcharging.

 

Best Tablet Cases – Protective Covers to Kid-Proof a Tablet

Once you’ve given your child a tablet, you ought to also purchase a case to protect this new toy. Sure, you can fill a tablet with a ton of games, tv shows and educational material for hours of fun and enrichment, but these sliver-shaped devices are easily dropped, especially if you’re talking about Apple’s latest iPad. This could lead to accidental damage from repeated drops onto  the ground. While the Amazon Fire tablets slide right into the $24.99 FreeTime Kid-Proof Case, we’ve found plenty of alternatives that protect other models from the chaos a child can create.

And if you pick one of the cuter or cooler cases, to match your kid’s personality, you’ll be less likely to find the case lying on the floor after your child decided it wasn’t necessary.   

If you decided to buy the $50 Fire 7 tablet instead of the Kids Edition model, you can still get a case made just for your new slate. As its name implies, Amazon’s own FreeTime Kid-Proof Case is designed with little hands in mind, made of a durable silicone for protection from bumps and bruises. If you bought your Fire tablet before May 2017, you’ll probably want a case for 6th (2016) or 5th (2015) generation Fire. Amazon also sells a Kid-Proof Case ($29) for its 2017 HD 8 Fire tablet, which is currently only only available in 32GB configuration, for $89 (a $20 discount).

Fintie 9.7-inch iPad Case

One way to make it a little easier for your child to hold on to a tablet is to invest in a case with a handle. The Fintie Case comes with just that — an easy-to-grab handle — and the Fintie can also be used as a stand. This cover is composed of a heavy-duty EVA foam to endure wear and tear over time. It fits Apple’s most recent $329 iPad, as well as the 2017 9.7-inch iPad, the iPad Air 2 and iPad Air. 

TFY Kids Car Headrest Mount Holder

If your kid keeps throwing or dropping their tablet in the car, you’ll probably see this headrest-mounted tablet holder and wonder “where this been all my life?” It’s also useful if you’ve got more than one tyke in the backseat, because now they can’t argue over who gets to use it, and they’ll just have to watch the same show together. Holds most 9.7-inch tablets, including the iPad 2, 3, and 4.

Speck iGuy

Available in red or orange, the Speck iGuy is made of flexible EVA foam that protects your iPad 1, 2, 3 or 4 against drops and other impacts. He stands at attention on his chubby little legs, and his arms make squishy handles. Plus, he’s super cute.

Kawayi Protective Defender iPad Mini Case

Here’s one kitty you’ll never have to clean up after. Fits the iPad Mini 1, 2, 3 and 4 and features an easel-style design that allows it to be propped up, so younger users can sit back to enjoy their favorite programming, and not have to hold the device the entire time. Made of food-grade silicone that’s both squishy and shock-resistant. 

Okstation EVA Drop-Proof iPad Mini Case for Baby

Amazon’s Fire 7 cases are nice, but we like the look of this honeycomb-patterned case from Fintie. It offers a little extra visual flair vs the Amazon case, and is $15 less expensive, at $9.99. Your kid can find one the precise color of their preference, as it’s sold in 12 colors, including two shades of pink, two shades of blue, two yellows, black and green.

Belkin Lego Builder Case for iPad mini

What kid (and what adult, really?) doesn’t love Legos? Made by Belkin, the Lego Builder Case for the iPad mini (1, 2 or 3) protects the tablet from bumps and bruises. Plus, the case has an official blue Lego back plate your child can use to build cool things. Choose from yellow, red or green shells.

Griffin KaZoo Fox Case for iPad mini

For younger kids, animals tend to be a big hit. This Griffin KaZoo case for iPad mini, mini 2 and mini 3 transforms a tablet into an adorable fox. The KaZoo case has wide feet so that it can stand up on its own. This also gives a slight angle when the device is lying down, so it’s easy for your child to draw or interact with on-screen content ergonomically. A matching stylus, sold separately, fits neatly into a hole at the bottom of the feet so your child doesn’t lose the pen while playing.

TopEsct iPad Mini Case for Kids

The iPad Mini tablet becomes both easier to hold and mount in a car with this case. Available in blue, green, blue and pink, it’s got three handles, so it can be held for landscape-mode content viewing and also carried in one hand like a tiny briefcase. 

Logitech Big Bang

Cute cases are great, but you also need protection. The Big Bang case from Logitech maintains a kid-friendly weight and a slim design but still offers impact protection for falls from up to 4.6 feet. That’s thanks to the shock-absorbent material that lines the edges and the screen cover. It’s helpful that the liner, which activates the iPad Air’s sleep/wake function, is wipeable for the inevitable spill.

Henry T. Casey

Henry T. Casey,
Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he’s the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.
Henry T. Casey,
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Best Video Editing Laptops of 2018 (Including Models With 4K Screens)

You may flip for the Yoga 720. This convertible 2-in-1 has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a quad-core Core i7-7700HQ CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU for a starting price of $999 (a 4K screen is extra).

With that kind of power under the hood, you can easily edit and transcode Ultra HD videos. You can even bend the screen back 270 degrees and edit clips in presentation or tent modes. The Yoga 720 lasted almost 9 hours the Laptop Mag Battery Test, so it will get you through a cross-country flight’s worth of media creation. 

Pros: 2-in-1  Design; Long battery life; Vivid display; Strong Performance
Cons: Plain design

Key Specs: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 (or 4K) screen; Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU; 4.55 pounds

Key Windows Tools Vulnerable to Hackers, Researcher Disappears

There’s a serious vulnerability in the Windows Task Scheduler, according to Twitter user SandboxEscaper (via The Register). Specifically, it resides in the Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) interface, a Windows mechanism that helps a client process communicate with a server process.

The vulnerability could allow hackers to gain administrative access on a Windows system.

According to the mysterious researcher, who deleted his or her Twitter account soon after disclosing the vulnerability and declaring “I don’t [expletive] care about life anymore,” the flaw is known as an elevation-of-privilege bug.

This means that if you download and run a malicious piece of software, it can gain access to privileges it shouldn’t have, such as those assigned to system administrators.

CERT Coordination Center analyst Will Dormann confirmed that the vulnerability exists in a fully-patched Windows 10 system. He is “currently unaware of any workarounds.”

MORE: Best Free Windows Antivirus Software

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Register that the company will “proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible.” The next scheduled Microsoft round of patches comes out on Sept. 11, so we will likely have to wait until  then.

This isn’t the first time researchers have uncovered such a vulnerability in Windows systems. Just a few weeks ago, a group of Israeli security experts at the Black Hat security conference revealed an elevation-of-privilege vulnerability resulting from Cortana’s data retrieval process. Recent updates patched this flaw.

And in June, the company released an update to Windows 365 to patch a similar bug in Microsoft Outlook.

While unpatched vulnerabilities can be scary, remember that no one has actually exploited this flaw yet. But be sure to download the newest patch when it’s released ASAP.

Image credit: Magsi/Shutterstock

Windows 10 Security and Networking

Windows 10 Security and Networking

The Best Technology Trends for SMEs in 2018 And Beyond

Having the right form of technology in a business can be the most important deciding factor for its success. Actually, all big businesses were once SMEs that capitalized on the ongoing advancement in technology. Now a day, these SMEs grew to become big multinationals and they still rely on newer technology trends to spread their wings further. 

It is therefore wise that every small and medium size business owner knows the best technology innovations to adopt for future scalability.  

If you are one such SME owner, here is a list of 5 technology trends to look out for in 2018 and beyond. If you get it right with these, then you are on your way to developing better business for tomorrow. 

Upgrading to Mobile Business 

The 21st century business person knows too well that if he or she wants to reach more customers, then upgrading to mobile business is the way to go. 

Right now, there are more than 8 million mobile apps on Google Play Store, and 2.2 million on the Apple App Store. These apps are being used by entrepreneurs all over the world to drive sales to a higher level. 

SMEs are now operating more on mobile app platforms, with a market of 3.5 billion mobile users up for grabs. 

In order to compete in today’s market, you need to introduce mobile business to your venture. It’s not as expensive as it was some years back, and it’s easy to learn. 

Cloud computing 

Uploading all important business media to the internet where customers can easily access it is one of the opportunities SMEs should tap into. 

Think of a situation where clients can buy or access services and goods without even being there to bargain with them. It provides the freedom needed to pursue further in the business. 

Today, enterprises don’t have to worry so much about security when it comes to exploiting the cloud for better business opportunities. The ever-growing investment in cloud-based business has birthed out a new frontier in encryption for more security. 

Additionally, the vast space available for best technology innovations means that SME owners now pay even less for state of the art cloud solutions. 

IoT (Internet of Things) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) 

Come to think of it. A business where you don’t have to always remember who ordered what and when it will be delivered, or what items you’re running low on. Think of the possibility of having all your important devices connected to the internet and controlling all of them from one place. With Internet of Things, this is no longer a dream. 

You can advance this to your home also and get to run your business from the comfort of your living room. With IoT, you don’t really have to be at the office. 

By incorporating “Bring Your Own Device” at the workplace, a SME owner gives the employees freedom and confidence that they too can be an integral part of the overall growth of the enterprise. 

It also provides opportunity for learning new things and also to preserve only the best technology innovations for the success of the business. 

Big Data Analytics 

By using big data analytic tools, business owners are able to know market trends and customer preferences through the results gathered from social networks, public forums and mobile phones. 

Small and medium enterprises now need to take note of what historical data can do for the business especially in terms of forecasting. 

Chatbots and automated customer experience feedback 

If you have finally made the wise decision to go the internet way, add chatbots to your strategy. 

Garner research predicts that by 2020, 85% of all interactions with customers will be automated. 

Engaging with both established and prospective customers on live chats has a lot of benefits. As a modern SME owner, you will be able to get client feedback that will in turn help to improve the business. This will especially be of help with customers that you never get to meet personally.  

These new innovations are the best technology trends for any small and medium-size businesses to adopt. They are slowly shaping the way businesses are being conducted and paving way for a better future. 

If you are one of those ambitious investors out there, time has finally come for you to act. Go right ahead and do some research so that you can identify the best technology trend to suit your business.