Hands-on review: Lenovo Y50 review

Everyone knows Lenovo for its leading business and hybrid laptops (and sometimes both with the ThinkPad Yoga). But did you know that the Chinese vendor also makes gaming laptops? Amid the Alienwares and Origins of the world, it's easy to forget, but not for long.

This is the Lenovo Y50, the successor to the company's Y510p gaming notebook and a first for Lenovo in several ways. Lenovo recognized that, even in the gaming clamshells, thin is most certainly in. But the vendor also hopped on another growing trend: 4K.

Lenovo Y50It wouldn't be a Lenovo without that keyboard

Yes, the Y50 is Lenovo's first 4K gaming laptop – that's Ultra HD, or 3840 x 2160 – though it doesn't come standard (1920 x 1080 does, however). Lenovo didn't have all the details in time for my visit to its flashy CES 2014 installation. What I know so far is that the Y50 will pack up to an Intel Core i7-4702HQ CPU, the latest Nvidia GTX graphics chip and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The Nvidia GPU is not standard, but at least the Y50's fresh and fit new design is.

This gaming laptop loses the room for dual graphics chips, an optical drive Lenovo's interchangeable Ultrabay, but it also lopped off some considerable poundage and inches. Where the Y510p weighed 5.95 pounds and measured 1.41 inches thick, the Y50 comes in at just 4.7 pounds (5.7 pounds with optional touchscreen) and 0.94 inches. I'd say it was worth it.

Lenovo Y50Though, 4K won't do you much good elsewhere

While it doesn't come standard, Lenovo has beat many gaming laptop makers to the punch in announcing a 4K mobile rig. (Not to mention that it puts the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro's 2880 x 1800 pixels to shame.) The Y50 might need the best Nvidia GTX chip to run games at 4K resolution, but the sheer fact that it's even possible in such a thin laptop is nothing to sneeze at.

Marquee PC game releases like Battlefield 4 already support that many pixels, while the Xbox One and PS4 have yet to show off games in 4K. (Granted, even the cheapest 4K TVs require Daddy Warbucks-level cash reserves.) More UHD PC games are likely to come in 2014, so good on Lenovo for jumping ahead on that one.

Lenovo Y50An illuminated power button – classy

That said, it's not clear whether a single GTX graphics chip could run games at 4K resolution and decent settings. (The most recent demos have shown Battlefield 4 in 4K running on four Nvidia GTX Titan GPUs.) For now, all we have is hope and the fact that Lenovo can say "first!" to its competitors in a comment thread somewhere.

Apple will say that hardware design is as important as what components you can cram inside a machine, and Lenovo seems to agree. For one, Lenovo has gave the Y50 the same iconic, crimson keyboard lighting as its Y510p. It's a bummer that this, too, does not come standard.

Another dig on Lenovo's trademark AccuType keyboard: It was extremely squishy this time around and showed too much flex. I'm told that the models on show during CES 2014 were prototypes, so hopefully this changes for the better in the final product. The matte plastic touchpad, however, was as smooth and snappy as ever.

Lenovo Y50Will that drive bay truly be missed?

Regardless, the Y50 will look good doing your bidding, with a slim, angular all-black silhouette. Lenovo claims that it achieved this thinness through better thermal engineering, but losing a few component options along the way undoubtedly helped. This rig will feel great, too, with a cross-hatch aluminum finish on its lid and a matte, metallic surface on the keyboard deck.

Lenovo made good use of every last inch of the Y50's frame, slapping a subwoofer on the bottom of the device to support its JBL speakers up top under stark red grilles. That comes through in the connectivity on offer as well, from USB 3.0, HDMI-out and a media card reader to Bluetooth 4.0, optional 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 720p webcam.

The Y50 is said to last up to 4 hours all things considered, though I doubt you'll get that much playing games at 4K resolution. At any rate, the Lenovo Y50 is a sight for sore eyes – literally. However, the keyboard needs some work and some sacrifices were made to get under an inch of thinness. Not to mention that many of its key features don't come standard.

Regardless, I'm excited to see what this gaming laptop can do, especially in the UHD gaming department. The Lenovo Y50 and its 14-inch Y40 counterpart will be available this April or May starting at around $999 (about £607, AU$1,112).


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Hands-on review: CES 2014: Garmin Vivofit review

Garmin Vivofit is rerouting the incredible short battery life of wearable gadgets by launching an always-on fitness tracker that lasts more than a year on a single charge.

We were able to wear the Vivofit fitness band without wearing down the battery at CES 2014 and quickly discovered that its secret is eschewing a backlight on its curved LCD screen and using some low-power efficiency tricks.

That's pretty amazing given the fact that leading fitness trackers, like the Fitbit Force and Nike FuelBand SE, require recharging every seven days if you're lucky. They also require pushing a tiny button in order to read the time, daily step count, distance and calories. Vivofit displays all of this information without the need to press anything at all. Its single button is just used to cycle through the data.

Even better, the Garmin Vivofit specs indicate that the battery is actually two user-replaceable CR1632 coin cells. Going down to the drugstore to buy these new batteries once a year would be an easier routine than constantly having to charge the device.

Of course, the obvious downside to having an always-on display with no backlight is that it's impossible to read the time and fitness metrics in the dark. So while it's convenient to see the time and steps you've taken in a day just by simply looking down at your wrist, that's only possible in lit environments.

Garmin Vivofit bandThe bottom clasp is like a wristwatch

The waterproof Vivofit calculates steps, goal countdown, distance traveled, calories burned and sleep quality and it displays the time of day. It's also compatible with Garmin's heart rate monitor to determine your heart rate and heart rate zone. The company plans on bundling the two for quantified self enthusiasts who want the full metrics package.

Just as unique as its long-lasting battery life, the Vivofit includes an on-screen inactivity bar. That kicks in after you've been still for an hour. The red inactivity bar grows from left to right at the top of the LCD screen, giving you an always-on visual cue to get up and move your lazy bones.

"Sitting is the smoking of this generation," a Garmin spokesperson espoused during our demo with the fitness band. "And you don't even realize that you're doing it. The inactivity bar is a visual cue that keeps you accountable." Moving around and walking for two or three minutes will quell the red danger-colored bar.

Garmin Vivofit bandGarmin Vivofit vs Nike FuelBand vs Fitbit Force

More motivation may come from the Garmin Connect and leaderboard software. This Android and iOS compatible fitness tracker uploads data through a smartphone or the tiny USB ANT nub that comes with the Vivofit. Like other fitness bands out there, this device requires holding its single button to sync steps, calories, goals, etc, to the app's customizable widgets.

Its leaderboards can always drive you to walk further because they're initially public. This means that you're pitted in weekly trials against other fitness-enthusiasts in the same time zone and who are speaking the same language.

Garmin's leaderboard widget solves an issue that plagues the Fitbit Force and Nike FuelBand - you want to engage in "healthy competition," but not enough of your friends have the same activity tracker. This stacks the leaders, even if you don't know them. It's also easy to opt out in case this doesn't interest you.

Band interchangeableThe bands are interchangeable

The Vivofit comes in five colors: black, purple, teal, blue and slate. There are no red, yellow or true green colors as part of the lineup. However, each order does come with two sized bands; small measures 4.7 in to 6.9 in and large fits anywhere from 6.0 in to 8.3 in.

Since the actual Vivofit hardware inside the band is interchangeable, you can order additional colors and switch it out if you're fashion conscious and always need to match. The band is a soft rubber, much like the Fitbit Force and Fitbit Flex, which is contrary to the stiffer rubber material found in the Nike FuelBand SE and forthcoming Razer Nabu.

Vivofit is waterproof up to 50 meters, so yes, you can use the Garmin Vivofit while swimming in a pool, the ocean or just showering. Just don't expected to get many steps with these activities.

Garmin Vivofit ConnectVivofit syncs with Garmin Connect apps and site

Garmin Vivofit is on sale right now as a pre-order on the map company's website for $129 (£99, about AU$145) and with the heart rate monitor included, it's $169 (£139, about AU$190).

The Vivofit release date is five to eight weeks out, according to the US shipping dates on the pre-order website. Officially, Garmin will only say that it'll start launching worldwide in the first quarter of this year in the US and UK, while the Australian release date is set for the second quarter.

Garmin Vivofit vs Fitbit Force vs Nike FuelBandVivofit (teal) has a clasp like the Fitbit Force

Garmin is a GPS navigation company taking a new direction in the wearable fitness market. Sure, it peddled cycling monitors and running watches for over a decade now, but Vivofit represents its first attempt at a more mainstream device.

CES 2014 has made it evident that the wearable market is becoming saturated. Vivofit stands out with its year-long battery life and always-on display. Always-on is really convenient if you're running and want to keep a constant watch of your steps without pressing a tiny button every 100 paces. It's just not backlit as a result.


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Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Build 13C53 to Developers [Mac Blog]

Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Build 13C53 to Developers - Mac Rumors window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '263507923666566', status : true, // check login status cookie : true, // enable cookies to allow the server to access the session xfbml : true // parse XFBML }); }; (function() { var e = document.createElement('script'); e.src = document.location.protocol + '//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js'; e.async = true; document.getElementById('fb-root').appendChild(e); }()); Mac Rumors Front Page Mac Blog iOS BlogRoundups AirPortApple TViMaciOS 7iPad AiriPad miniiPhone 5ciPhone 5siPhone 6iPod classiciPod nanoiPod shuffleiPod touchiWatchMac miniMac ProMacBook AirMacBook ProOS X MavericksThunderbolt Display Buyer's Guide ForumsGot a tip for us? Share it... Push RSS a. Send us an emailb. Anonymous formclose (x)Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Build 13C53 to DevelopersThursday February 6, 2014 3:58 pm PST by Juli Clovermavericks.pngApple today seeded build 13C53 of OS X 10.9.2 to developers, marking the fifth beta iteration of 10.9.2. The release comes a week after the fourth OS X 10.9.2 beta, build 13C48, and over a month after the first OS X 10.9.2 beta.

The update is available to registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.

Apple continues to ask developers to focus on mail, messages, graphics drivers, VoiceOver, VPN, and SMB2. Earlier betas of OS X 10.9.2 began allowing Mac users to block people on iMessage and FaceTime, as can be done in iOS 7, and also introduced FaceTime Audio.

Related roundup: OS X Mavericks [ 10 comments ] Share on Google+ Top Rated Comments(View all)

AvatarZOZO551 minutes ago at 04:01 pmI just want FaceTime Audio, for the various hours of the day where I'm not presentable. :)Rating: 1 PositivesAvatarbbfc35 minutes ago at 04:17 pmUsually it appears in the MAS quite quickly. :confused:Rating: 1 Positives
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Apple to Open First Retail Store in Brazil on February 15

Apple has confirmed on its website that it will be opening its first retail store in Brazil on Saturday, February 15. The store will be located in Rio de Janeiro's famous Barra da Tijuca borough, located at the VillageMall luxury shopping center.

applestore_brazil_invite
The news follows a report from last October stating that Apple was planning to open its first store in the South American country between February and March 2014, giving the location a few months to be up and running before the start of the FIFA World Cup being held in Rio during the months of June and July.

The prior report also stated that Apple would be seeking some of its U.S. Apple retail employees to temporarily relocate to Brazil to educate local employees about Apple retail procedures and act as in-store workers. However, it is unclear as to whether Apple actually followed through on the initiative or not. Apple's difficulty in recruiting employees for its Brazilian store was reportedly one of the reasons as to why the company could not open the store in July as originally intended.

Apple began hiring for its first Brazilian retail stores in November 2012, and has been working with Foxconn to move some iPhone and iPad production to the country to avoid hefty import taxes and allow Apple to expand its market share. Last October, a regulatory agency also granted Apple the authorization needed to sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in Brazil, as both phones launched in the country shortly thereafter. It was also reported earlier this week that the company will restart iPhone 4 production in order to sell the device in Brazil, India, and Indonesia.

Thanks, Cássio!


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10 reasons why the Vietnam-made game Flappy Bird is so ridiculously addictive

Games in Asia: "By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of Flappy Bird. It’s the number one app in the iOS App Store in over 100 countries. The game comes from a developer based in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. That’s right. One Vietnamese guy has surprised the world and beat the likes of Supercell and Rovio single-handedly. And the irony is that he hasn’t done it with any lessons from the big guys." (Android, Flappy Bird, iPad, iPhone)


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Hands-on review: CES 2014: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1

The 7-inch Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 is a rugged Windows 8.1 Pro tablet that slots into the ever-increasing Toughpad range alongside the FZ-G1 and under the new Toughpad 4K.

Announced at CES 2014, it also comes in a Windows 7 version should you decide that you don't want to migrate to Microsoft's latest OS.

Aside from the ruggedization, the most interesting thing is that it is features a powerful Core i5-level processor, yet is completely fanless - though, as you'll hear, all this power and protection comes at a cost (a financial one).

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

That's because it uses a new low power variant of the latest generation (Haswell) Core i5 processors, known as the 1.6GHz Core i5-4302Y vPro. It has a power consumption of just 4.5 Watts, removing the need to reduce heat. Another advantage is that it's always quiet.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

Don't expect super thin design with the FZ-M1 – this is a corporate tablet that's designed for use on the move and in difficult conditions. However, it's around the same thickness as many thin and light laptops at 18mm. The weight is cited at 540g - decent considering all the rugged elements incorporated here.

Here you can see just how thick it is - this is the top of the device so you can see the volume and rotation lock controls as well as the power button.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The Toughpad FZ-M1 comes with 4GB RAM (8GB is optional) and 128 SSD (256GB is optional), while there's a 2 megapixel front web camera with stereo mic for video conferencing as well as a 5 megapixel rear camera. We were looking at an 8GB model on the CES floor.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

Another version featuring a Celeron low power processor will be available in the second half of the year. That will be a lower cost device and will feature Windows 8.1 rather than 8.1 Pro.

As standard, the Toughpad FZ-M1 includes a full size USB 3.0, Micro SD slot, headphone jack and microSIM slot; other options include 4G mobile broadband and GPS. Here's the USB slot and headphone jack under its protective flap.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The only negative in terms of productivity is when it comes to battery life, which maxes out at eight hours. Obviously this is a hugely capable tablet, but it pales in comparison to other more lightweight devices on the market. Still, the battery is replaceable, so you can carry more than one.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The Micro SD and micro SIM slots are hidden behind a protective door in the battery compartment.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The idea is that the FZ-M1 can be configured with whatever a business requires – there's a module that can be replaced.

Panasonic calls this the business expansion module and it could include a smartcard reader, RFID or a barcode reader. It can also be connected through a vehicle dock - you can see the connector on the base here.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The WXGA 1,280 x 800 screen doesn't have the highest of resolutions, but then if this tablet is used for what it's intended for, image quality isn't a foremost requirement.

It's bright though, rated at 500cd/m2, and has a strengthened glass with a layer designed to counter reflections. Essentially it's designed to be seen in any light conditions, particularly outside.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

As part of its quest to make the Toughpad as durable as possible, the tablet has been drop tested up to 150cm, while there's a IP65 protection rating – essentially this means the tablet is completely resistant to dust ingress, while it can cope with being sprayed with water. Operating temperatures range between -10 to +50°C.

Obviously, as you'd expect, there's full compatibility with Windows apps and legacy desktop software, while Panasonic has chosen not to go too overboard with superflous software, though there are a few apps provided.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

The Toughpad FZ-M1 release date is February 2014 at As you'd expect, there are numerous optional extras available including a desktop cradle, vehicle dock, battery charger, carry cases and a passive pen.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review

This is a superbly excecuted business tablet that will find its way into many challenging corporate environments. There's only one real problem with the Toughpad - it is expensive with a starting price of GBP £1,183 or USD $2,099 (around AUD $2,358). But, if you need both mobility and toughened design in a small-screen tablet, it's the one to beat.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review


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