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MacBook Pro and MacBook Air 2013 roundup

Editors' note: This post was updated June 12, 2013, with the new 2013 MacBook Airs.

For the first time in 2013, Apple has introduced new MacBooks -- but for now, they're just Airs.

Both the 13- and 11-inch MacBook Air are refreshed with new fourth-generation Intel "Haswell" Core i5 and i7 processors and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The chassis and features of the Airs remain unchanged from the past few generations, but the improvement in battery life is significant -- having tested them, we can now verify Apple's claim of all-day battery life.

However, Apple's … Read more

13-inch MacBook Air vs. 13-inch MacBook Pro: Which should you buy?

MacBook Air. MacBook Pro. Once upon a time, these two products were significantly different from each other, two totally different products. That dividing line's been blurring, especially when it comes to the world of 13-inch MacBooks.

The MacBook Air used to be an underperforming, expensive laptop with stellar design, while the 13-inch Pro was a full-featured, far more robust machine. The truth is, these systems are closer in performance and price than ever before. … Read more

Will cheaper MacBook Airs sap ultrabook momentum?

Apple's cheaper-but-better MacBook Air isn't good news for ultrabooks.

Ultrabooks surfaced last year as a niche product in response to the Air. And now Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, at el are trying to mainstream the skinny laptops.

There's one problem. Apple just cut the price and upped the processor specs on the MacBook Air today.

So, is Apple still standard bearer and ultrabooks just pretenders to the lightweight laptop throne?

Only time and market-share numbers will tell.

Spec check: $1,099 11.6-inch MBA: The high-end model has dropped to $1,099 from $1,199 and packs … Read more

Toshiba Excite tablet reviews: Say hello to the family

Although the Toshiba Excite 10 has already been out since May, the rest of the family is due to be released in just a few days and they're all excited (ha! see what I did there?) to hit the market.

On June 10, the two remaining members of Toshiba's lineup of tablets are due to hit stores. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices all run on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and they're powered by Tegra 3, quad-core processors. Oh, and they're also all kind of expensive.

The smallest-size option is the Excite 7.7. Unlike its big … Read more

Hands-on with Madden 13 at E3: Kinect's killer app

Normally, a new version of EA Sports' Madden Football is an E3 non-event. Not so at E3 2012: in fact, it became a sort of poster-child for future-forward gaming.

Admittedly, the second-screen Madden prototypes on Xbox SmartGlass shown briefly at Microsoft's press conference aren't real (yet), but Madden 13 does feature integrated Kinect features and completely new player physics, dubbed Infinity Engine.

The most interesting part of the Madden's Kinect feature-set is that it doesn't use the camera: instead, it relies on voice commands as a way of controlling pre-snap adjustments on offense and defense. Joe Montana seemed to pull it off well during Microsoft's keynote, but I needed proof. I tried it in a relatively quiet E3 show floor booth, and it not only worked, but it could end up being a feature I actually use. … Read more

E3 2012: Year of the second screen with Xbox Smart Glass and Wii U

Get ready to get your game on. E3 has begun:

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, called E3 for short, has kicked off. It's the big video game conference of the year, and even though the show has just begun, it looks like this is the year of the second screen. Both the Wii U and the Xbox 360 are showing off ways to tie tablet screen interaction with what's on the television, creating a richer game and entertainment experience. You can catch all our continuing coverage of the show at cnet.com/e3.

Nintendo's press conference isn't … Read more

Witness the maturation of Xbox Kinect

LOS ANGELES--If you thought Microsoft's motion-sensing controllerless technology Kinect was going to take a back seat this year, you were wrong. In the minutes leading up to the press conference's start, I first noticed a trio of Kinect sensors slyly facing the stage. It would be a telling premonition of what was in store for the world's fastest-selling electronic gadget.

But while Kinect has garnered more groans than praise in recent months, Microsoft's press conference demonstrated somewhat of a maturation for the motion-control initiative. Whereas Kinect functionality initially seemed forced upon software that didn't necessarily need it, a few interesting implementations may have skeptics turning into believers.… Read more

Madden NFL 13 gets 'better with Kinect,' launches Aug. 28

For the first time ever, Electronic Arts' Madden franchise will include Kinect support.

The company announced the feature at Microsoft's E3 event on Monday, calling it the "biggest investment in gameplay in franchise history." With Kinect's help, users can call plays, call blocks, and snap the ball -- all by providing voice commands through Kinect.

To illustrate how Kinect works, EA brought on stage hall of famer Joe Montana, who called plays and showed off the game's functionality. According to EA, the game will also support Kinect voice commands on the defensive side of the … Read more

Fujitsu, Dell 'Ivy Bridge' ultrabooks point to hybrid HDDs

With Fujitsu today announcing new ultrabooks based on Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processor in Japan and Dell's XPS 14 Ivy Bridge ultrabook imminent in the U.S., it is becoming apparent that spinning hard drives are back in vogue for these slim laptops.

The 0.6-inch thick, 3-pound Fujitsu UH75/H ultrabook comes with a Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) chip, a 14-inch display with resolutions up to 1920x1080, and a 500GB hard disk drive with a solid-state drive cache for the base model.

That last storage specification matches a similarly-configured Dell XPS 14 ultrabook model that is expected … Read more

Ivy Bridge-based Dell XPS 14 ultrabook debuts on Amazon

Amazon appears to have, in effect, preannounced a Dell 14-inch Ivy Bridge-based ultrabook.

The new XPS 14, which Amazon just listed on its site ("temporarily out of stock," it says), looks pretty enticing, including a thickness of only 0.7 inches, 12 hours of claimed battery life, and the latest version of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors: the most power-efficient U series. Let's check out the specs of the two models. … Read more