Stories by Jason Cross

  • 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.

  • AMD CEO Dirk Meyer Resigns

    Dirk Meyer, CEO and president of AMD, has resigned effectively immediately. AMD's Board of Directors has announced that Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert will replace him as interim CEO.

  • Samsung introduces new 9 series thin and light laptop

    What's a Windows user to do if they covet Apple's super-slim new Macbook Air? You could always buy the Apple product, install Boot Camp and your own copy of Windows...or you could wait for Samsung's sleek new 9 Series ultraportable laptop.

  • Acer Announces Laptops With New CPUs from Intel and AMD

    Coinciding with the launch of Intel's new 2nd Generation Core processors, AMD's Fusion processors, and the 2011 CES, Acer is unveiling a string of new laptops aimed at enthusiasts and gamers. The Aspire 5750, 5750G, and 7750G are available with Intel's new Core i7 2630QM mobile quad-core processor and plenty of other advanced options. The Aspire 5253, on the other hand, uses AMD's new dual-core E-350 CPU. It's not nearly as fast as Intel's new processors, but it promises longer battery life, better integrated graphics, and lower cost for the budget conscious.

  • Asus unveils three tablets and a slate

    At CES 2011 today, Asus announced three new Android tablets and a Windows 7 based slate PC. The tablets, all Android-based, go by the moniker "Eee Pad" while the Windows 7 device is called an "Eee Slate." Each one offers some unique features, from stylus input options to sliding keyboards or docking stations. Unfortunately, we don't yet have exact shipping dates or prices for the Android tablets, and the Eee Slate looks to be fairly pricey.