Stories by Jason Cross

  • What we do (and don't) know about the new Xbox

    On May 21 at 10am Pacific time, Microsoft will unveil its next-generation Xbox console. And if this article were titled "What we know for sure about the next Xbox," we could end it here. Microsoft has been very tight-lipped about the successor to the Xbox 360, but that's about to change.

  • Dell XPS 13: One of the best Ultrabooks yet

    Dell has a lot of faith in the XPS 13, its first entry into the emerging Ultrabook class of superthin laptops. Compared to what we're used to seeing from Dell, it's a design marvel: thin, light, sleek, and well built with high-quality materials. It looks good, feels good, and performs well. If not for its disappointing display quality and a few minor trackpad issues, the XPS 13 would qualify as the best Ultrabook yet. Even with those drawbacks, it's one of the best Ultraportables around, but I can't recommend it unreservedly.

  • Laptops become thinner, lighter, and more luxurious

    The trend in laptops at CES 2012 is clear: It’s all about thinner and lighter laptops made with premium materials and slick design. Intel’s attempt to brand exceptionally thin and light laptops as Ultrabooks has been very successful, with nearly every laptop vendor jumping on board. Even laptops that don’t meet the requirements of Ultrabook branding, such as those using Intel Atom or AMD CPUs like the Asus Eee PC Flare, are slimmer, lighter, and better-looking than the comparable systems of the last few years.

  • Hands-on preview: Samsung Series 9 (2012 model)

    Last spring, Samsung impressed me by kicking off its high-end luxury Series 9 brand with an incredibly thin and light laptop. It was a fantastic competitor to the Macbook Air that came months before every laptop maker started cranking out Ultrabooks. In some ways, you could even call it the "proto-Ultrabook". So if you're Samsung, and everybody else has a similarly slim laptop on the way, what do you do for an encore?

  • Laptops of 2012: What to expect

    Tablets and smartphones are in, but don't count laptops out. Impressive new laptops planned for 2012 promise to be thinner, lighter, and faster, as well as to carry longer-lasting batteries.

  • Toshiba Portege Z835: Incredibly light, but not Incredibly fast

    At just 2.4 pounds, the Toshiba Portege Z835 is the lightest of the first wave of Ultrabooks. Most, like the <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/243923/lenovo_ideapad_u300s_light_luxurious.html">Lenovo IdeaPad U300s</a> and <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/243936/asus_zenbook_ux31e_supersleek_ultrabook_with_a_crummy_touchpad.html">Asus Zenbook UX31E</a>, weigh around 3 pounds. You can immediately feel the difference when you pick up this light-as-a-feather laptop. Unfortunately, this Best Buy exclusive configuration makes a few obvious concessions to reach its attractive $799 price.

  • Windows 8 also has tools for power users

    Microsoft has spent so much time at the BUILD conference this week talking about how Windows 8 will operate like a tablet OS that you might feel left out if you plan to continue working on a desktop or laptop. But whether you're an IT manager, PC enthusiast, or professional just trying to get some work done, Windows 8 will have enough new features to make it worth your interest.

  • IN DEPTH: A detailed look at Windows 8

    The buzzword is "reimagine" here at Microsoft BUILD conference where Windows 8 is being shown for the first time in detail to developers and the media. Reimagine refers to the operating system's radical new look, new support for tablets, revamped Start Screen, and integration of a new class of "metro-style" applications. --

  • Windows 8: What we hope to learn

    We already know a lot about Windows 8. We know it’ll have a new, touch-focused interface and application framework for tablets and touchscreen PCs. We know it will still have a traditional desktop, with enhancements to Explorer (among other features). It will have versions that run natively on ARM-based CPUs in addition to the x86 architectures we’re used to. It will integrate USB 3.0 support and cloud services.

  • Stop the Cloud, I want to get off!

    Remember when the "cloud" was just called the "Internet?" This absurd fascination with naming online services after suspended atmospheric condensation is kind of driving me nuts. For around 14 years, millions of people have used Hotmail, but they didn't use a "cloud email solution." When we were all ripping our CDs a decade ago and looking up track information on the CDDB, we weren't using a "cloud music information service." Look, it's just the Internet, people. We don't need a new word to say that data is stored on a central server. I can't wait for the day when "cloud" joins the dustbin of overused and meaningless technology marketing words, along with push, virtual reality, and multimedia.

  • Samsung Series 9 laptop reviewed

    Samsung's Series 9 laptop isn't the first Windows-bearing PC to try to steal Apple's <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/product/710261/apple_macbook_air_family.html">MacBook Air</a> limelight. Remember the troubled <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/163835/dell_adamo.html">Adamo</a> from Dell, set to compete with the first-generation Air? At less than three pounds and 0.7 inch thick, the Series 9 is trying again where Dell slipped up the first time. While the Adamo offered inferior hardware at a dramatically higher price than Apple, Samsung at least gets the hardware part right, and narrows the price gap a little. The Series 9 is costlier than the competing 13-inch MacBook Air with a starting price of $1649 (compared with Apple's $1299), but it offers mostly superior hardware and is eminently usable.