New laptops, desktops, and hybrids for spring 2014
The computers and hardware you'll be looking for as the weather warms up.
Samsung Chromebook 2
This pair of Chromebooks, in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes, has a new look that Samsung describes as "a durable textured lid and elegant stitched design." That basically means they have a faux-leather outer finish, with a soft-touch feel and "stitches" molded into the outer edge. But the biggest upgrade comes with the full 1,920x1,080-pixel display on the 13-inch model.
The just-announced gaming laptop looks very similar to the previous version, but includes a stunning 3,200x1,800-pixel touch screen, along with an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce 870M GPU, all in a slim, lightweight package, finally making good on Razer's promise of a near-perfect gaming laptop.
The 360-degree hinge is very similar to the one found on the popular line of Yoga laptops from Lenovo, as well as me-too models from Dell and others. The difference here is that the x360 is aimed at millennials looking for a single device for work and play, and the $399 price makes it a very affordable convertible.
Upcoming PCs that run Valve's Steam OS are expected by midyear, with models from Dell/Alienware (pictured here), Origin PC, Maingear, and others. Some will run Windows 8 as well as Steam OS, but the real draw will be the unique Steam controller, which feels like the perfect way to play PC-style games on a bigscreen TV.
While not a big name in PC gaming, Lenovo actually makes some of the most interesting laptops around for gamers. The latest version of the Y series is the Y50, a 15-inch laptop with Nvidia's brand-new 800-series GPUs and an optional full 4K 3,840x2,160-pixel screen, making it the highest-res screen we've seen on a consumer laptop.
AMD, a company that makes both CPUs and GPUs, is teasing a new version of the latter via a stealth viral marketing campaign. Over the past several days, some reporters, including this one, have received a mysterious package with a mirror-image photo of the recipient, along with the tag line "Wouldn't you agree that two is better than one?" The online rumor mills says this is a teaser for an upcoming dual-GPU graphics card for desktops, purportedly called the Radeon R9 295 x2.