Top laptop and tablet picks for Cyber Monday

While Black Friday 2013 had its fair share of deals on PCs, Macs, and tablets, the Monday after is feeling a bit thin by comparison. Maybe it's because holiday shoppers have been tuned in since early the previous week and throughout the weekend, or that the whole idea of a separate event called Cyber Monday is simply outdated (who even says "cyber" any more?).

Keeping that in mind, I've scoured the big online retailers and deal sites looking for Monday bargains that are worth a serious look. Unfortunately, most of the laptops I've seen are … Read more

AMD adds new chips for 2014

AMD has announced its next generation of PC CPUs, aimed at systems headed to store shelves in the spring and summer of 2014.

Most of the details of these new chips, and the PC hardware partners building products around them, are being held until CES 2014 in January, but AMD is eager to publicize the new code names and some performance claims early.

The previous low-power and ultra-low-power platforms, code named Kabini and Temash, are being replaced with new versions called Beema and Mullins. Both sets of parts, however, use the familiar consumer-facing A4, A6, A8, etc., branding (the higher … Read more

Portable gaming laptop deathmatch

A funny thing happened while I was lugging our most recent 17-inch PC gaming monster laptop off my desk. My replacement options were no longer limited to big, bulky 17- and 18-inch desktop replacement laptops. Instead, a new breed of 13- and 14-inch laptops with serious gaming cred is making waves, proving that you don't need a massive footprint to fit in the latest CPU and GPU parts.

Each of these semi-portable gaming laptop was reviewed in a configuration that included a quad-core CPU from Intel's fourth-generation Core i7 line, and a graphics card from Nvidia's current … Read more

HP Pavilion X2 coming in two sizes on November 17, starting at $599.99 (hands-on)

HP is doubling down on "detachables," or hybrids, or whatever the buzzword of the week is for touch-screen laptops that convert into tablets. Starting at $599.99, both the 11- and 13-inch version of the company's Pavilion line are set to release on November 17.

The smaller The 11-inch HP Pavilion houses an Intel Bay Trail processor, includes dual batteries -- one in the tablet and another in the keyboard dock -- and features a 1,366x768-pixel-resolution IPS screen that purportedly gets as bright as 400 candelas per square meter; however, I must say that even at … Read more

HP's new Chromebook 14 built from the ground up, costs $299.99 (hands-on)

HP released its first Chromebook Pavilion 14 earlier this year in April and now, just a few months later, there's a new one with nearly the exact same name, starting at $299.99. This one however -- according to HP -- was built from the ground up to be a Chromebook.

The new Chromebook 14 features Haswell-based architecture, and according to HP will deliver 9.5 hours of battery life. The 14-inch screen runs at a not too impressive 1,366x768-pixel resolution and looks pretty awfully pixelated. Also the bezel feels a bit wider than we'd like and … Read more

Don't buy a new PC or Mac before you read this

Editors' note: This article was originally published June 27, 2013, and was updated August 22, 2013, to reflect that many more systems are now available with Intel's latest processors, with still more to come later this year.

Before swiping your credit card on a new ultrabook, all-in-one, or convertible, you're going to want to dive a little deeper into the spec sheets. That's because the latest Intel CPU upgrade, introduced in June and code named Haswell (but officially known as "fourth-generation Core i series") offers significant battery life improvements in the laptops we've tested … Read more

The great $500 laptop challenge

Can you get a good-to-great full-time portable PC for less than an iPad or Xbox One? We occasionally see retail store circulars or online specials promising laptops for $500 or less, but you're usually locked into bottom-of-the-barrell leftovers that are likely to frustrate and send you right back to the store to spend even more money.

To answer this question, a handful of expert CNET editors have been given a virtual budget of $500 and told to buy the best portable PC they can. Of course, it wouldn't be any fun if we didn't have some ground … Read more

Acer intros a new gaming desktop, and updates one of our fave budget laptops

PC maker Acer has a couple of new systems coming just in time for back-to-school shoppers, including an new version of one of our favorite budget laptops, now updated with a just-released Intel Haswell processor.

Acer Predator AG3 series This is a rare entry in the desktop gaming space, and from a brand not normally associated with that category. The new Predator AG3-605 desktop is a traditional tower desktop, built with games and multimedia in mind, and includes Creative Technology's EAX audio, with 5.1 surround sound, and a headset cradle built right into the side of the chassis. … Read more

Windows 8.1 fixes problems, adds new features, but touch screen is still the focus (hands-on)

Today, during the keynote for the Microsoft Build conference in San Francisco, the company announced the preview version for Windows 8.1 (download the preview here). As a point upgrade to Windows 8, there are few sweeping changes to the operating system, but Microsoft has thankfully made some tweaks to the interface, along with upgraded apps and other enhancements that users will appreciate. But it's important to note that if you were hoping for a return to a Windows 7 layout, you're going to be disappointed; Microsoft is sticking to its guns on the Modern UI (the tiled … Read more

Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4

We've still got about five months before the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launch in North America, and already blood has been spilled.

From Microsoft gathering an arguably more impressive stable of exclusive games, to Sony revealing the lack of restrictions on PS4 games and a $100 lower price -- to Microsoft now doing a complete 180 on its DRM policies, this next console launch may be one of the most exciting and brutal yet.

And I can't wait to comfortably watch from the sidelines, praising Thor I'm not in either of their shoes.… Read more