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On Gizmodo: The Best Cheap Laptop Under $250

Best $250 laptopBuying a cheap laptop can feel like a gamble. You might get lucky and find a machine with a good keyboard that isn’t slower than a tortoise-snail crossbreed… or you might get saddled with a cheap piece of crap that cries when you load a browser or try to open WordPerfect because Word is just too much. Yes, you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for crap if your budget is small.

There are laptops in the sub-$250 price range that offer good value for your money and do well for users with basic needs. But which ones?


On Gizmodo: Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 Review: Just Ignore The Word “Pro”

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501You want a laptop that looks nice. Asus understands that. That’s why the company has tried so hard to build a better MacBook. The ZenBook line has given birth to many beautiful, powerful, desirable machines that offer PC people a chance to preen—even when they’re surrounded by MacBooks at their local cafe.

The newest addition to the family, the ZenBook Pro UX501, is a competitor for the 15-inch MacBook Pro in looks and performance. At least, it wants to be.


On xoJane: Tech and Fashion Gadgets Finally Look Less Hideous, and We’re All Grateful

Misfit ShineLast year I came back from the annual Consumer Electronics Show super tired of condescending tech “For the Ladies” and tech/fashion accessories that looked like they were better suited to the trash heap than the runway. This year, I came away from Vegas with less despair. I was pleasantly surprised to find that gadgets designed for the fashionista set actually looked like stuff a real person would want to wear. Some are downright gorgeous. Shocking, I know.


On ChipChick: Motorola Droid Turbo Review: Verizon Welcomes Back an Old Friend

Motorola Droid TurboVerizon Wireless will never let us forget that, way back in the day, the first Droid is the smartphone that really captured the world’s attention and made Android the powerhouse it is today. Since then the carrier and Motorola have tried to keep that level of excitement with each new Droid release, even though the phones aren’t so different from the Moto brand all the other carriers get.templates

The newest entry into this vaunted and celebrated line is the Droid Turbo ($199 for 32GB, $249 for 64GB), a smartphone that isn’t particularly groundbreaking but does offer a nice upgrade from previous generations. The Turbo has four big things going for it: a rugged design, natural intelligence, super long battery life, and a high megapixel camera.


On Techlicious: Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 & Note Edge [Video]

Galaxy Note 4Today Samsung unveiled two new Galaxy Note phones, one that’s a by-the-book upgrade to last year’s Note 3, and one that that does something innovative and has the potential to shake up the way you use Android for the better. There’s no official price announcement yet, but both phones will be out in October. Want to check them out sooner than that? Later this week the public in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, LA, and San Francisco will get a chance to at least play with demo models at select carriers. If you don’t live in any of those cities, check out our hands-on below.


On Liliputing: Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook [Video]

Galaxy Tab NookI don’t think many people expected to see Samsung hardware and the same Nook version of Android used on older tablets like the B&N NOOK HD (which is sad, really, because it was a slick interface). But I had hoped that the experience would be different from what you get when you install the Nook app on any Android. And in some respects, it is. Just not so much that you mistake this tablet for anything other than a Samsung product. It is running TouchWiz, after all.

If that doesn’t scare you away completely, read on for my first impressions.


On Techlicious: Review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40You don’t need a big camera in order to take crisp, detailed and balanced pictures. Premium compact cameras aim to be the best of both worlds: small like a point-and-shoot; powerful and programmable like a DSLR. That’s the space the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 fits in.

At $449 retail, the ZS40 is expensive for a compact camera. Its price though, can be justified by its impressive set of features—a 30x zoom, 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 lens, 18MP sensor, electronic viewfinder, optical image stabilization, WiFi, GPS, RAW capture, and a host of manual controls—great image quality and easy pocketability. The ZS40 is only 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches and weighs just 8.5 ounces.


On Techlicious: The Best Way to Take Notes

Galaxy Note 10.1Taking notes is one of the most important activities for a high school or college student, be it in class during lectures or at the library or home doing research. Using a laptop to take notes has become common, but recent research shows that laptop note-taking is far less effective than taking notes by hand. And even when students don’t use their laptops to multitask during class (surfing the web and chatting on social networks), they don’t process and retain information as well as students who take their class notes by hand.

This effect doesn’t mean you have to give up the convenience of digital notes. With new digital pen tools and note apps, it’s possible to transform handwritten notes into text or make scribbled notes indexable and searchable.


On ChipChick: Siri vs. Cortana – Which Can Tell Me Chris Evans is Sexy?

Cortana loves Chris EvansOne of the most hyped features of Windows Phone 8.1 is Cortana, a digital personal assistant that’s Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. And Microsoft wants you to know that they can build it better, stronger, faster. Well, better at least. Cortana’s feature set is supposedly guided by what real flesh and blood personal assistants say they do for clients. It’s not just a digital voice that can search the web and interact with apps; Cortana really gets to know you.

I spent a week with Cortana and Siri testing the strengths of each to see how well Microsoft did out of the gate. It might not seem like a fair comparison since Siri is almost three years old now, but Cortana already does most of the things Siri can and a few she’s not capable of just yet.


On ChipChick: ASUS Padfone X is a Productivity Road Warrior: Review

ASUS padfone XThe ASUS Padfone X, available now on AT&T for $199 (with contract), is a smartphone that transforms into a tablet that sort of transforms into an Android laptop. It’s an intriguing concept, especially if you want or need a tablet with productivity chops and you don’t want to pay extra for mobile hotspot service. That use case only covers a specific type of user. If you mostly use a tablet at home, the Padfone X may not be the device you need.