Black Friday: What notebooks to look out for and how to decode the jargon

The biggest shopping day of the year is coming: Black Friday, shoppers across the country are thinking about whether to upgrade to the latest laptop.

Falling on November 24 this time around, the sales event is the ideal time to splash out on the laptop you’ve been looking at all year.

Last year British shoppers forked out billions of pounds on deals and gifts. To avoid a chaotic rush – and potential poor decision – on the day, it’s best to plan ahead. Here are the models we want to see discounted, as well as some tips on how to make sure you’re making the right choice.

What deals can we expect?

We can expect big discounts on technology and electrical products, especially on some of the best models from last year’s ranges.

Whether you want a simple Chromebook for browsing the web, a budget laptop for work and travel or a high-end gaming beast, there are likely to be laptop deals for all requirements.

While we don’t know what’s on the cards for the sales event yet, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best laptops out at the moment and will be keeping our eyes peeled for offers on them over Black Friday weekend.

The Telegraph recommends…

Macbook Pro

Last year there were deals for almost £200 off the Apple Macbook Pro on Amazon and discounts on the 12-inch Apple Macbook on Currys. If you want to pick up one of Apple’s brilliant laptops for a discount, Black Friday is the time to get involved.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft’s line of tablets are often discounted ahead of the holidays and for big sale events; there were major discounts to the Surface Pro 4 line during Amazon Prime Day this summer.

The 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid provides a powerful computing experience using the Windows operating system with the added flexibility of a tablet. The latest model has added Dell inspiron 1525 laptop battery life, up to 14 hours, and is still one of the most powerful tablets you can buy.

They start at £799 but last year saw 27 per cent off some models, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for similar discounts this year.

Lenovo Ideapad

Lenovo’s laptop range has just been updated for 2017, meaning many of its models from last season will probably see large discounts on Black Friday. Last year there was 30 per cent off Lenovo’s Ideapad range, which bodes well for 2017’s sales event.

Gaming laptops

Black Friday can be a fantastic time to try and grab a gaming laptop, which are normally more expensive than everyday laptops. The Telegraph is hoping to see price cuts on models such as MSI, Dell Inspiron and Asus ROG, which are all fantastic gaming laptops and high on our wishlist.

The Dell Inspiron 5000 Gaming is a great entry level mode, with the latest seventh generation Intel processors and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card.

What does all the jargon mean?

Buying the right laptop for your lifestyle is important – but it can be hard to decipher the terminology. To help you work out what to prioritise we’ve decoded the top terms retailers often use.

Black Friday 2016’s best laptop deals

Last year there were some great discounts on laptops on Black Friday. Some of the best deals we found included the Asus Zenbook Pro with £420 off and Apple’s Macbook Pro with almost £200 off.

Last year some retailers expanded their sales event over longer periods: Currys PC World had 10 days of discounts, giving bargain hunters even more time to search for brilliant laptop deals.

Currys PC World

Last year, Currys PC World had five orders per second at its Black Friday peak, with discounts across laptop brands and huge price cuts on HP products. It had a 60 per cent price drop on HP Stream 11.6″ Laptop, which was originally £249.99, down to£149.99.


Last year eBay started the Black Friday deals early and revealed brand new offers every morning, with deals such as 35 per cent off Acer Aspire laptops.


Amazon is one of the best places to find a deal on Apple Macbooks on Black Friday; last year the online retail giant cut the price of the Macbook Pro down to £1,099.

John Lewis

John Lewis promise to match their competitors on price – even on Black Friday – so keep an eye on their laptop deals this year.

Plus, find out more about all the deals out there by heading to our other Black Fridaypages – where we’ve laid out all the best offers for you – and our Telegraph Promotions Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Laptop buying guide: practical tips to choose the right laptop

Laptops have made work and play as possible as possible. We all need to use laptops, but which laptop should we choose? In this quick notebook purchase guide, let’s take a look at the main considerations when buying a new notebook.

Display size

A laptop’s screen pretty much determines the size of the whole device. And how big of a screen you need is a matter of practicality and personal preference.

For instance, a laptop with an expansive display (over 15 inches) will be great for enjoying your media or indulging in some gameplay. A large keyboard will also make typing easier — but for that you will need to trade in some portability.

A smaller laptop with, say a 13.3 or 7 inch screen, will be significantly lighter and much more carriable.

Display resolution

Screen size is important, but it all comes down to the resolution. With most laptops, you will typically get at least 1,366 x 768 pixels — which is enough for the majority of basic operations.

However, if you work a lot with video editing, game playing, movies watching, etc. — you might want to invest in a laptop offering a higher resolution and smoother image quality: like notebooks with 1920 x 1080 (FHD) displays.

Traditional one piece or convertible 2-in-1 laptop

Most modern laptops still come with the standard clam-type design — you have the screen that snaps down onto the keyboard and touchpad. However, 2-in-1 designs are also gaining popularity recently: these laptops have a detachable touch screen that can be used as tablets on their own.

Convertible laptops offer more portability and flexibility than traditional types, but are often less powerful than their traditional counterparts.


As modern laptops come in various shapes and sizes, the keyboards vary as well. Smaller models typically won’t have enough space for a numeric keyboard. Some designs also have smaller arrow keys or move their backlash keys to the other side of the keyboard.

Smaller sized laptops may also be missing Home, End and Page Up and Page Down keys.

Basically, if you want to have a full-sized keyboard, you will probably need to get a larger laptop. If you can comfortably work on a small keyboard – you can choose from a whole range of sizes.


Now, let’s get into the inner workings of the computer.

Think about how much RAM you will need — it is recommended to have at least 4GB of RAM. Today, with most laptops (even inexpensive ones), you will probably get a standard 8GB — this is enough for video editing and more advanced gaming. If you will need to do loads of multitasking and need a pro-level powerful computer, consider getting one with 16GB of RAM.

Choosing a processor is trickier. It is generally recommended to go with at least an Intel Core i3 processor — enough for basic office work, web browsing, etc.Core i5 processors are suitable for more intensive tasks: video editing, multitasking, gaming, etc. Laptops with Core i7 chipsets are pricier but offer a much quicker and smoother performance, especially for heftier projects. And there are Intel Celeron and Cherry Trail processor, which are suitable for budget models with low performance.

When it comes to graphics, most laptops will rely on the graphics chipsets integrated with their processors. This will be enough for gaming (even basic 3D games) — but if you are a pro gamer, consider getting a gaming laptop, which will have all the needed feature for a smooth immersive experience.

As for the OS, most of the models are powering on the Windows 10 OS, from a recovered Start Menu to improved multitasking tools, the platform offers you multiple new features.

Battery life

Depending on how often you plan to move around, battery life will either be a primary consideration or a less important decision factor. Surprisingly, smaller and lighter laptops often offer longer HP 593554-001 laptop battery life — mostly because they come with less powerful processors and lower resolution screens. If you often work outside of home, consider getting a smaller, more portable computer with a strong battery — for working long hours without the need for a re-charge.

Which browser has the longest battery life?

Most of the major browser vendors have been marketing campaigns recently, touting their browser’s battery efficiency advantages. Microsoft tested, showing the edge more efficient, and then Google with its own test shows the efficiency of Chrome, Opera also responded with their own assertions. Mozilla had no claim that shot salvo.

We wanted to see for ourselves if any browser stands out when it comes to squeezing the most life out of your notebook’s battery. We ran Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera through three tests to see which offers the best browser battery life.

How we tested

We conducted our tests on two notebooks, the HP Spectre x360 15 and the HP EliteBook x360 G2.

The Spectre x360 15 test machine was a 15.6-inch convertible 2-in-1 with a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution display, equipped with a seventh-generation Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. The EliteBook x360 G2 test machine was a 13.3-inch convertible 2-in-1 with a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution display, equipped with a seventh-generation Core i7-7600U, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD.

These machines were both running the latest version of Windows 10 Creators Update edition, and brightness on both displays was set at 100 lux using a brightness calibration tool. Both machines were rebooted after each test and, as much as possible, background tasks were kept consistent throughout.

We wanted to see if any browser stands out when it comes to squeezing the most life out of your notebook.

The test environment was a home network with internet access serviced by a high-end Asus router, and extraneous network traffic during testing was minimized. Both machines were charged to 100 percent, the tests were run until the machines hibernated when the Hp pavilion dv6 laptop battery charge was exhausted. Care was taken during each test to ensure that no application or system errors interfered with test accuracy.

We tested Chrome 61, the latest version of Edge on Windows 10 Creators Update edition, Firefox 55, and Opera 48. No updates were performed on either the browsers or the machines while the tests were underway, and all browsers were at their default settings without any specific battery-saving features turned on.

Basemark results

Our first test used the battery test configuration of the Basemark browser benchmark. Basemark runs through a series of performance tests measuring a browser’s ability to use today’s complex web-based applications. The Basemark battery test configuration loops the performance benchmark and periodically pings the server to note the elapsed time, with a URL to check for total elapsed time.

On the Spectre x360 15, only 18 minutes separated the top-performing browser, Edge, from the worst-performing browser, Chrome. On the EliteBook x360 13, 25 minutes separated Opera 48, the best performer, from Chrome, again the worst performer.

Given that Basemark is a performance test and so focuses on speed rather than efficiency, we didn’t expect to see much difference in battery life between browsers. These results generally met our expectation, with no browser significantly performing better than the others. Still, Chrome consistently came last in this test, and that may matter if you find yourself trying to use the web on a laptop with a sliver of battery charge left over.

Netflix video streaming results

We used the default Netflix player in each browser to run through the first season of “Lost,” a title that is not available in 4K, and so wouldn’t affect Edge’s performance on the Spectre x360 (Edge can play 4K Netflix video on machines with seventh-generation Intel Core processors). We manually forwarded to the next video at the end of every other episode, to ensure that Netflix did not pause waiting for user input. We used the PassMark BatteryMon app to create a log file with 60-second updates, to indicate when the machine hibernated.

Our results in the Netflix test were consistent across both the Spectre x360 15 and the EliteBook x360 G2. Opera 48 and Edge were the two best performers, coming in within a few minutes of each other. Chrome came in second, and Firefox came in a distant third.

The most significant difference that we saw in our testing was between Edge and Firefox on the Spectre x360 15, where Edge lasted a full 100 minutes longer. On the EliteBook x360 G2, the greatest difference was between Opera and Firefox, with Opera lasting 80 minutes long on this machine.

These results are good news for Edge and Opera. Those browsers performed far better in this test than their competitors, and the difference is large enough that you’d notice it. Choosing Edge or Opera, instead of Firefox, would get you through an entire extra episode of your favorite show.

Web browsing script results

For this test, we used the Jitbit Macro Recorder tool to create a script that opened each browser to a specific web page, let the page load and run for a variable amount of time, closed the browser window with a delay to ensure that the browser was fully shut down, and then opened the browser to the next test page. We used many popular web pages for the test, and let the script repeat until the battery ran out. As with the Netflix test, we used the Batterymon app to note when the machine hibernated.

On the Spectre x360 15, Edge stood out as the top performer, lasting for 54 minutes longer than the worst performer, Firefox. Chrome and Opera were within a few minutes of each other. On the EliteBook x360 G2, however, Opera was the standout, lasting for 40 minutes longer than Firefox, with Edge coming in at only five minutes less than Opera.

Firefox was again the only consistently poor performer in this test, while Edge and Opera were again the best performers. However, most browsers came relatively close to each other. Firefox was again the biggest loser coming in 30 to 50 minutes behind the leaders.

The differences are real, though often not dramatic

Given the noise being made by browser developers over Hp pavilion dv6700 battery life advantages, we expected to see a more striking difference between the best and worst browsers. Our testing was admittedly non-scientific, but it was real-world enough that we expected to see significant differences if they existed. Our results weren’t dramatic. In general, most browsers were close to each other, and we’re not sure the differences would be noticeable outside of benchmarks.

Yet we do think there’s a winner – Edge. It won three of the six tests, and came in a very close second in two of the three tests it didn’t win. It also never came in last. Opera also won three of six tests, but it is noticeably behind Edge in two tests, while blowing out Microsoft’s browser just once. That, we think, puts it in second place.

Chrome did not perform poorly, but it didn’t do well, either. It didn’t win any of our tests, and it came in last twice. Our tests suggest you’re not giving up too much endurance by using Chrome, but also show that you can expect Google’s browser to kill your charge faster than most competitors.

Which brings us to Firefox. Our tests suggest Mozilla decided not to throw stones because it lives in a glass house. Its browser was last in four of six tests, and only came close to winning once. The Netflix tests were particularly significant. If you plan to marathon your favorite show, pick another browser.

These results put an interesting perspective on debates about the best web browsers. Chrome often gets the nod, and Firefox is also a fan favorite. We like to use both browsers at Digital Trends, and recommend Chrome as a first choice. If you need to squeeze every last minute of battery from your laptop, though, you should consider the alternatives.

What You Should Do to Find Out About Dell Notebook Batteries Before You’re Left Behind

The battery may eventually need to be replaced. Laptop batteries are not particularly cheap, and the industry has done a lot to protect their location. Well positioned laptop batteries are incredibly difficult today. For these reasons, they must be relatively small, but they also consume a lot of energy and last for a long time. At any time, you decide to sell laptop batteries there may be the potential for long – term production of superb contracts. Laptop batteries are usually in warranty for a few years. Well positioned laptop batteries can be very challenging today.

If You Read Nothing Else Today, Read This Report on Dell Laptop Batteries

Laptops being cellular computers feed on lots of power and until one of the foremost reasons for creating a laptop is to supply prolonged use on the street, then battery life dwindles in one hour or two. Ensuring your laptop is prepared to run at all times and in any location is essential for mobile office professionals. Not merely the laptops, but its batteries also have drawn popularity.

Most individuals do nothing more than plug their laptop in once the batter is all about to die, but it’s also wise to check your battery on a normal basis. Without a superior battery, laptops can endure for only a couple of hours without being plugged in. As they obtain a whole lot more complicated, they start to use a whole lot more power. There are a couple things you ought to do starting when you first buy your laptop. Most men and women want laptops to desktop PCs because of the mobility component. They want small, lightweight laptops that they can use for long periods.

Basically the computer doesn’t work unless it is linked to a power cord. In the 80s and 90s, computers changed very drastically every couple of years and people who wanted to stay informed about technology were forced to get a totally new computer every year or two. Mac computers can last ten years without problems, but it’s very probable that their owners probably will need to purchase a new laptop battery many times in that ten year period. Unless someone plans on replacing their computer every couple of years, the computer is certain to out live that battery it starts out with. People, who buy premium quality computers and intend to use them for many decades, should expect to need replacement laptop batteries sooner or later.

Life After Dell Laptop Batteries

Batteries are famous for dying on laptop computers, so many people would require a replacement sooner or later. Attempting to replace these batteries is a little job. The battery charging system employed in a wide variety of DELL laptops has caused a significant bit of frustration among it’s customers. For keeping the world in an eco preserved state it is wise to use an environmentally friendly charger like a windup charger.

You’d better spend the battery from the laptop if you make the power supply connected. There isn’t any real method to tell just how long a single battery will last as even two batteries on both identical systems may be used at various rates based on the settings and applications that are being run. In order to make the most of the quantity of battery just like you escape from your Dell battery, you can do a couple of things to optimize your laptop. In order to make the most of the quantity of battery just like you escape from your Dell laptop battery, you can do a couple of things to optimize your laptop.Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop Battery gives you a very long life.

The Most Popular Dell Laptop Batteries

The brand and kind of battery plays a part in the length of time it lasts. Lithium-ion battery for Dell notebooks that you pick ought to be sourced from a trusted and dependable brand. You may be asking yourself now how you’re able to decide on the very best brand of rechargeable battery which best fits your requirements.

If you don’t fully charge the battery on a normal basis, it may shed the capability to hold a charge. It will get worse as soon as the batteries are sold with a retailer because the cost goes up one other notch. Rechargeable batteries are somewhat more costly than the standard batteries in price, but they’re more reliable in the very long run. They will wear down quickly, when they are only charged for a short period of time. More powerful high capacity batteries are made for laptops of unique brands.

Dell Laptop Batteries

You may want to learn more precisely how batteries function. These batteries are simple to find, just search the net for absolutely any online store that caters replacement batteries. Warming the battery by means of your hand is enough to detect a little shift in resistor value when searching for the right terminal on the battery. It is worth it to be meticulous ever since your battery is some kind of long-term item investment. On these days, batteries are created of lithium ion and have an ordinary power of around 4 hours. The very first step you will notice whenever you’re trying to repair a typical battery is it isn’t designed to be readily fixed by replacing the internal battery cells. No doubt which everyone will prefer the super long-lasting battery.

Easy fixes for six common notebook problems

We live and work in a cold, cruel world, and our laptop can take a lot of abuse. No matter how soft we may be, our notebooks are likely to be discarded and, if not later, worse or worse.

But if you think that all notebook damage can be repaired only by the manufacturer or a computer shop, think again. Many problems can be inexpensively and easily fixed with common tools, spare parts, and a little effort. Some repairs are no harder than high school art projects. That said, there are modern laptops that are very difficult to open and repair. If you can’t see any screws, you’re in for a tough time.

Using a couple of old, beat-up mainstream notebooks, we’ll show you how to fix everything from a broken case and frayed charger cord to a bad fan and scratched screen. Each restoration project has time and cost estimates, as well as what materials you’ll need to do the trick. Just follow the basic directions we’ve outlined for each repair.

Fair warning: Your system might be a little different, require special parts, or need a slightly different approach. YouTube is your friend.

One additional note: While we generally applaud improvisation and recycling old parts (especially AC adapters), there’s nothing like having the precisely correct part to do the repair. In fact, while fans and notebook keyboards may look similar, they can be very different. Each repair features links to where you can get the right parts, but they are just a sample of what’s available. If all else fails, try eBay, Newegg, Amazon, or CDW to get what you need.

Problem: Frayed AC adapter cord

Cost: $5 to $15
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Materials: Silicone sealant, painter’s tape (which is less sticky than regular masking tape), protective gloves (optional)

Because a notebook that travels needs to be plugged in and unplugged several times a day, the cord and connector can take a beating, leading to a frayed or otherwise damaged power cord. If this happens, it’s important to get a new cord or fix it right away, because it not only can damage the system’s Dell vostro 1520 laptop battery through intermittent charging, but it can also be a fire hazard.

Fortunately, many laptop power adapters have removable AC power cords, which cost a few dollars and are available online or at electronics stores. On the other hand, if the connector that plugs into the computer is the problem, it can cost $50 to $75 to replace if you opt for the exact Dell Vostro 1520 AC Adapter for your laptop from your notebook manufacturer, Amazon, or eBay (search for your make and model name followed by “AC adapter”).

Or you can just fix it yourself.

The quick-and-dirty repair for a frayed cord is to wrap electrical or duct tape over the damage. This prevents further damage, but over time will come loose—not to mention leaving that sticky gunk all over the cable when it does.

A better way is to make a more permanent repair with silicone sealant, available at any hardware store and many supermarkets, which will insulate and protect it. It’s best to use black to match the cord’s color, but clear sealant works just as well.

To protect the surface you’re working on, lay down a wide strip of painter’s tape, sticky side down, and place the frayed area of the cord on top of it. The sealant won’t stick to the back of the painter’s tape the way it might to other barriers made out of paper or plastic, and the painter’s tape should peel right off the table when you’re done. (Note, however, that you shouldn’t be doing any kind of computer repairs on your good furniture.)

Next, squeeze out a gob of sealant onto the area that needs fixing. Work the gooey sealant into place, covering the damage with a liberal coating. If you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to wear thin protective gloves for this part.

Let the sealant cure for an hour or two until it is firm. Gently remove the cord from the tape (and the tape from the table), and you have the equivalent of a new power cord that’s flexible and ready for years of road work.

Problem: Cracked laptop case

Cost: $15
Time: 2 to 3 hours (20 minutes to set up the repair, 5 minutes to place and shape the putty, an hour or two to let it cure, 10 minutes to sand it, 30 minutes to paint it and let it dry)
Materials: Epoxy putty, sandpaper, razor blade, Sharpie marker or paint, gloves (optional)

When notebooks get dropped, more often than not they land on the corner, one of the weakest parts of the case. Unless you have a ruggedized notebook, there’s a good chance that after an encounter with gravity, the corner will be cracked or—as was the case with my laptop—broken through completely.

It happened in an airport holding pen some time ago, when I sneezed while typing an email. The system went flying and smacked into the floor. Before I got home, I put a bandage over the damaged area to keep the elements out. Now it’s time to fix it for real.

The secret is to use epoxy putty to fill in the broken part of the case. Epoxy putty is available online or at any hardware store for around $4 to $6 a tube, so you can even do this repair on the road. The brand of putty you choose doesn’t matter, but avoid the quick-setting variety because it might harden before you’re done.

First, make sure the damaged area is clean and free of dirt and loose pieces.

Then it’s time to prepare the putty. It comes as a cylinder with two components wrapped around each other. Just cut a section off and twist the parts together.

The key to a smooth case repair is to mix the two components together thoroughly in your hands. Because the putty hardens as the result of a chemical reaction between the two parts, it’s important that they are completely blended together. You might want to use gloves for this part, because some people are sensitive to the chemicals in the putty.

Try rolling the putty into a long cylinder and then folding it over itself several times. After a few minutes, the putty becomes a uniform white or gray, and you’re ready.

You’ll feel like a kid working with Play-Doh, and in fact, the putty should be the consistency of Play-Doh, which is perfect for working it into the damaged area. Press it firmly into the hole in the case and use your finger or a razor blade to shape it to follow the contour of the case. When it covers the area, take the flat side of a razor blade or back of a ruler and compress the outer surface to flatten it. Any excess putty can be wiped off the case with paper towel before it dries.

When you like the way it looks, go do something else for an hour or two until the epoxy is cured. When it has hardened, the epoxy patch is just as strong as the plastic case.

Many DIYers stop here, and use the obvious repair as a road warrior’s badge of honor or conversation starter on road trips. I prefer a little more finishing, so I smooth the epoxy with 150- and then 220-grit sandpaper. Then I give it a final sanding with 2,000-grit paper that is slightly wet to remove any surface scratches.

Naturally, the color doesn’t match. If it’s a small repair, try using a Sharpie marker to cover it up. For this repair, I used model airplane enamel paint, which costs about $5 for a small bottle (a full set of colors with brushes is $10). When it’s dry, the repair is done and visible only if you look closely.

Problem: Bad laptop fan

Cost: $15 to $25
Time: 1 hour
Materials: Screwdriver, compressed air, vacuum, replacement fan

A noisy or non-functional cooling fan is not only annoying but doesn’t bring enough cooling air into the case, potentially causing the notebook to overheat and damage the electronics inside. It’s not a hard repair to do, though, and if you’re lucky you may not need to replace the fan at all.

My laptop has a single cooling fan, although many systems, particularly larger gaming and entertainment systems, have two or more fans to circulate air over the processor, graphics hardware and hard drive. More often than not, the fans get clogged with dust, debris and dirt, which can make them noisy and lower their efficiency. If your system is making a whirring or grinding noise or is overheating, this repair is for you.

Before you do anything else, find the place(s) where fresh air comes in and hot air escapes—usually one or more slotted grilles on the side or bottom of the system. There could be two or three vents, so search thoroughly. Insert the plastic straw from a can of compressed air into each vent and blow out all the dust that you can. You might want to put on a dust mask or have a vacuum cleaner running, because there can be a disgusting amount of dust. Optionally, or additionally, you can try sucking things out with a canister vacuum cleaner.

If this doesn’t fix things, it’s time to dig deep and open the case. There are generally about a dozen screws on the bottom of the case that you’ll need to remove to open the case, but it varies widely depending on the notebook. For instance, some models require you to remove the keyboard to get inside. If it’s not immediately obvious, check your user’s guide or do some online research (again, YouTube is great for this stuff) to find out how your case opens.

After carefully opening the case, find the fan and blow away any additional dust or detritus.

While you’re there, take a good look for anything stuck in the fan’s blades that might be impeding it. Twirl the blade with your finger. If it makes noise or doesn’t spin freely—as was the case with my laptop—it needs to be replaced.

Before going further, write down the model number of the fan and go online to find a replacement fan. Use your favorite search engine and type in the model number and “cooling fan.” Chances are that even for a five- or six-year-old computer, there will be fans available from eBay or the odd vendor. The replacement should cost anywhere from $5 to $20.

Once you have the new fan in hand (and are sure it’s the right one), you can take out the old fan. First, unplug the fan’s power connector. Each system is different, but you’ll probably need to unscrew a frame that holds the fan in place, and then undo some screws holding the fan to the frame. Again, the user’s guide or online videos are a great help.

Now you can gently remove the fan. It might take a little finesse to work the fan loose, because it’s generally a tight fit in there. Many notebook fans are connected to the heat pipe, a thin silver- or copper-colored tube that draws heat off of the processor or graphics chip. The heat pipe usually snaps or screws into the fan assembly. Try not to bend the heat pipe when you’re removing the fan, because that will reduce its efficiency at cooling the processor.

If for some reason, you go too far and can see the bare top of the CPU, make sure there’s adequate thermal paste. This is required to transfer heat from the CPU to the heat sink, and the lack of paste can also cause overheating issues. A tube costs a couple of bucks.

With the new fan ready to go, slip it in and carefully screw everything back in place. Before you screw the bottom of the case back on, plug in the power connector and fire up the machine. Don’t worry if the fan doesn’t start right away, because it may turn on only after the system heats up. Once you’ve verified that it’s working, close up the machine and get to work.

The effect of SSD on battery life

One advantage of solid state storage is that power consumption is lower because there is no motor or drive head; it rotates 4200 times per minute and consumes more power than a solid solution. SSD’s debate with mechanical drives is usually a clear one, but we’re here with one of the lowest power hard drives on the market.

The power savings are dramatic; idle power is reduced by nearly a factor of 10, standby power is cut in half and read/write power is at worst a third of the mechanical drive. The 10x idle power reduction is important since that’s where your drive should be spending most of its time, and if the average power savings is somewhere in the 0.25 – 0.5W range you’re looking at improving battery life on the order of tens of minutes.

To find out the impact on battery life we ran through three different scenarios:

I scripted together three tests: wireless web browsing, DVD playback and a multitasking workload.

The wireless web browsing test uses the 802.11n connection to browse a series of 20 web pages varying in size, spending 20 seconds on each page (I timed how long it takes me to read a page on Digg and came up with 36 seconds; I standardized on 20 seconds for the test to make things a little more stressful). The test continues to loop all while playing MP3s in iTunes. This test is designed to simulate the intended usage of the MacBook Air: something you can carry around with you to class, work, on the train, etc… to comfortably and quickly browse the web, take notes and generally be productive all while listening to music. It’s like a big iPhone…without the phone part.

Despite the lack of an internal optical drive (I’ve never been so tempted to use the f-bomb in a review before), the MacBook Air will play DVDs. You just kind of need to have them on your hard drive and I’ll just assume you have the original disc safe at home. This test is simple: I play Blood Diamond in a loop until the battery runs out.

The final test is the multitasking workload, and this test isn’t really that intensive for a normal system but thanks to the terribly slow iPod hard drive in the Air – it’s quite stressful. For this benchmark I’m downloading 10GB worth of files from the net (constant writes to the drive), browsing the web (same test as the first one) and watching the first two episodes of Firefly encoded in a 480p XviD format (Quicktime is set to loop the content until the system dies). There’s nothing too extreme about this workload, I could definitely come up with worse – but this would be light to moderate usage on a MacBook or a MacBook Pro, and it’ll show how the Air stacks up.

The system was set to never shut off the display and never go to sleep, although the hard drive was allowed to spin down when possible. The display brightness was set at 9 blocks (just over 50%), which I felt was comfortable for both day and night viewing.

The DVD playback test got the next largest boost of 31 minutes or 15.1%, followed by the multitasking scenario that saw a more meager 16 minute increase in battery life.As expected, the impact on battery life isn’t huge but it’s definitely noticeable. With the 64GB SSD installed we’re actually able to hit Apple’s 5 hour Apple a1322 laptop battery life claim with the MacBook Air. Our wireless browsing test actually saw the biggest improvement in battery life, increasing a full 43 minutes from a simple drive swap.

With an average increase in battery life of 30 minutes, you’re paying an extra $33 per minute of battery life based on present day SSD upgrade pricing from Apple. If you look at it that way, the improvements stop being as exciting – but the takeaway point is that the technology is useful and down the road, when SSD prices drop, you can look forward to an upgrade that does improve the overall experience.

Toshiba shows prototype laptop battery for fast-charging

Toshiba demonstrated its prototype of fast charging SCiB batteries designed for laptops on Tuesday, but said technology is still a way to do it the way into computers.

SCiB, or Super Charge Ion Batteries, are designed to recharge to 90 percent capacity within 10 minutes, and will last longer and endure more recharge cycles than current lithium-ion batteries.

SCiB are also safer and will not explode when crushed, as lithium batteries may, Toshiba said. This is because SCiB batteries use a material with a higher level of thermal stability and are designed with safeguards against short circuits or overheating.

SCiB batteries can endure 5,000 to 6,000 recharge cycles, compared to around 500 cycles for standard lithium-ion batteries, according to a Toshiba executive manning the company’s booth at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan.

At the show, Toshiba showed a prototype SCiB battery installed in a Dynabook laptop. The laptop was matched against a similar machine with a lithium-ion Toshiba pa3534u-1bas laptop battery in a demonstration of the SCiB’s rapid charging capability.

SCiB batteries were introduced last year, with the first versions designed for industrial applications. The batteries will also find their way into a Cannondale electric bicycle, the Schwinn Tailwind, that will go on sale in the U.S. and Europe next year.

Toshiba did not say when SCiB laptop batteries will hit the market.

Best All-in-One Computers of 2017

Save Some Space

So the 15-inch display on your laptop is starting to feel cramped, and you work mainly in one location. Yes, you could attach an additional screen to your notebook, or opt for a desktop tower with a separate monitor, but another option is an all-in-one (AIO) desktop. For about the same amount you would spend on a midrange-to-high-end laptop with a 17-inch screen (or more likely less), you can get an AIO desktop PC with a 23-inch-or-larger screen. Here’s what to consider when shopping for an all-in-one PC.

Focus on the Screen

The first thing to look at (no pun intended) is the screen. While less expensive AIO PCs will come with 20-inch screens, those are better suited to cramped spaces like classroom labs or dorm rooms. What you really want is a display at least 23 inches on the diagonal—and larger is better if you can do it. (The biggest all-in-ones we’ve seen to date have had curved 34-inch screens.) You’re almost guaranteed a 1,920-by-1,080-resolution (full HD) screen at this size, and larger screens will go even higher (up to 4K in many cases, or 3,440 by 1,440 on an ultra-wide display). That gives you the ability to view multiple windows side by side, or view a three- to four-page-wide spreadsheet; and if you’re a multitasker, the more screen room the better.

Though it’s not a concern to those with 20/10 or better vision, a larger screen and higher resolution will let you increase the font size on your Word documents or Excel spreadsheets while still keeping a lot of information on the screen. Desktop screens are brighter than laptop displays in general, as well. Look for In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology for the best screen quality. IPS screens are inherently better at off-axis viewing, which means you won’t have to be sitting perfectly centered to see accurate colors and all the detail in your images.

To touch screen or not to touch screen—that is the question. The tiled Start interface in Windows 10 was designed with touch screens in mind, and makes interacting with your various applications as easy as it’s ever been. But although these can be fun and functional for families, a touch screen isn’t 100 percent necessary yet, especially if you plan to use the all-in-one like a traditional computer, in which case you’re better off using a keyboard and mouse. There are some touch gestures in macOS as well that could take advantage of a touch screen, but for Macs it’s (also) not yet a necessity. Scrolling with a mouse or a touchpad will still be as quick or quicker than on a touch screen. Selecting text for copy and paste is easier with a mouse. If you fill out forms online and switch between text-entry boxes, pull-down menus, and check boxes, then it’s likely that you’ll be able to enter data quicker with a keyboard and mouse or touchpad.

If you’re planning on using the touch screen at least 50 percent of the time, look for systems with screens that can recline down to horizontal (90 degrees) or almost horizontal. This lets you use the system like a large tablet, so you don’t have to hold your arm out constantly to use the touch screen. Think about using an ATM: The vertical screen is fine for a 90-second transaction, but will become tiring after 10 minutes or more. It’s the same reason why piano keyboards are still horizontal after hundreds of years, even though piano makers could easily situate the keys vertically. It’s simple ergonomics.

Speaking of vertical orientation, some AIO stands let you pivot the screen into a portrait orientation. Portrait mode lets you view content like webpages and some pictures without wasted space to the sides of the screen. It’s a boon for Web developers and layout artists still working on print publications. If Portrait mode is something you’d be interested in, make sure the system features auto-rotate; without it, you’ll need to switch display settings every time you pivot the display.

Power and Connections

While you can get a dual-core processor in a base configuration, look for a true quad-core processor on a large-screen AIO PC. It will help with editing photos or videos, or playing music in the background while you work on several tasks in the foreground. About 6GB to 8GB should be the minimum system memory you should accept. Although 4GB will work fine for basic users, you’re going to feel the limits of such a system quicker. That said, 8GB or 16GB will let you keep dozens of tabs open on your browser and still have room left over for Photoshop.

As far as storage, look for a hard drive of at least 1TB capacity if you’re going to store any video on your PC. Videos tend to clog up hard drives faster than just about any other type of file. If you’re a heavy download fan, then by all means grab a 2TB drive. The only issue is that a traditional spinning hard drive is relatively slow booting and loading apps. If you’d rather have a system that’s more a speed demon than a file storage unit, look for an AIO that uses a solid-state drive (SSD) as the boot drive. If you keep all your files on a central network-attached storage (NAS) device or stored on in the cloud, just about any SSD or hard drive larger than 128GB will be sufficient for most users. That’s enough for the operating system and a handful of frequently used programs. You can have the best of both worlds with an all-in-one PC that boots from a SSD but has an additional spinning hard drive for storage. Look for a 128GB boot drive and at least 1TB of hard drive storage if you’re a power user. You’ll need more storage (2TB to 4TB) if you plan on keeping your entire video, music, and photo collection on your AIO.

Adding an extra 1TB or so is also easy with an external drive. SSDs cost more per gigabyte than regular spinning hard drives, but SSDs boot up and wake from sleep so much faster than regular drives. Adding a 32GB cache SSD can speed up some tasks like loading apps, but for true speed, get a “real” SSD as your primary (C:) drive. Unfortunately, some of the new AIO PCs are harder to upgrade after checkout, so make sure you get what you need at the start.

Because an all-in-one is, at its heart, a computer, it should have all the ports you expect to need during your day-to-day activities, particularly USB (in easy-to-access places, if at all possible). You may also want an Ethernet port, though most all-in-ones today come with Wi-Fi support built in, so you can easily hook it up to the wireless network you already have in your home. Also handy is an HDMI input port, which gives you the flexibility to use the all-in-one as a display for a separate PC or other device.

You’ll want a system with a wireless keyboard and mouse or touchpad. Although you could theoretically use the on-screen equivalents on a touch screen, using a touch screen for everything can get tiring, especially when you’re typing for more than a minute or two. A few dozen words are easy to type on a touch screen, while 3,000 words in a single session will be a challenge. It’s also arguably easier to use a mouse or touchpad than a touch screen when selecting large blocks of text for cut/paste operations.

A couple of new subcategories of AIOs have appeared within the last couple of years. The first is the battery-equipped, portable all-in-one desktop. It uses mobile components, including ultraportable-class processors, low-power storage devices like SSDs, and touch screens to give users a tablet-like experience. These PCs run full versions of Windows and Windows-compatible software, so they’re more capable than the mobile device you probably carry in your pocket. A built-in battery pack will give you a few hours of unplugged computing, but their 18- to 27-inch screens are way too large to use on an airline tray table. Think of them as portable PCs that you can move from room to room easily.

The other newcomer on the scene moves in the opposite direction. These much larger machines use desktop-caliber parts (such as processors and graphics cards) to offer you just as much power as you’d get in a full-size tower PC. In many cases, you might even be able to upgrade this type of all-in-one yourself, which would help future-proof it against improvements in technology over the years you own it.

The Pros of AIOs

Even if you can afford a 20-inch or larger laptop, you wouldn’t be able to carry it around much without looking ridiculous. You’ll also need strong arms to move a 17-inch-or-larger laptop, and be a blood relation to a WWE wrestler to have a lap that will accommodate one. Since AIO desktops are plugged in, you can rest assured that you won’t ever run out of Apple a1322 battery power, even when you leave your system in sleep mode for months. Some AIO systems with SSDs can update while sleeping, like newer ultraportable laptops. Since they use more powerful processors, all-in-one PCs will take care of your tasks quicker. Some 3D games are also smoother, thanks to discrete graphics cards in some AIO PCs.

You can share the PC among the members of a family, and use it to store centrally accessible photos, music, and videos. A large widescreen AIO PC makes for a fine video conferencing system. Rather than having the family crowd around your 7-inch tablet or 11-inch laptop, seat them in front of a 27- or 34-inch AIO desktop so you’re not subconsciously squeezing together to “fit on the screen.” Plus, a large screen is good for watching a movie from 10 feet away, so a few people can use it as a HDTV in your den equipped with a small sofa or loveseat. If you place the system in a central location, such as your kitchen counter, you can monitor your children when they’re online.

But these PCs aren’t just good for play. Apple has brought the AIO further into workstation territory with the iMac Pro, which will be available in December. The starting price for this monster machine is high at $5,000, but it packs a jaw-dropping amount of muscle: It has a 27-inch 5K screen and is configurable with up to 18-core processors, 128GB of memory, and 4TB of SSD storage. Apple also announced refreshes to its base-model 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs with significantly more power under the hood than the previous generation. We’ll put the new family of iMacs though their paces in our labs soon.

The Cons

Since they have bigger screens, AIO PCs are physically larger than laptops. Of course, you give up the ability to easily move them from room to room, but AIOs are still more portable than tower PCs. All-in-one PCs don’t have the expandability that you’re going to find in most towers, but towers lack the sleekness factor. That said, towers are still better than all-in-one PCs when you need to do intensive work like CAD/CAM or scientific exploration, and most of them are expandable in ways well beyond even the most generous AIO on the market.

The next time you’re online and thinking that you really need a bigger screen than the one on your current laptop or tablet, take a look at an all-in-one desktop. Be sure to also check out our top picks overall for desktops, as well as our favorites for work or play.

The 5 thing I like about my new MacBook, Pro, and 5 things I don’t like

If you work in a high-tech industry, working in the Gulf, the carry on MacBook Air laptop is a real requirement. For years, they have been skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and standard equipment for everyone else in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Armadas of the silvery machines, often individualized with colorful stickers for tech startups and rock bands, festoon co-working spaces and coffee shops from Santa Cruz to Petaluma. They’re light enough that techies typically carry them from meeting to meeting opened, casually dangling from a corner—it’s a wonder hundreds of them aren’t damaged every day.

Until recently, I, too, carried an Air almost everywhere I went—though my device had stickers only on the bottom, which doesn’t seem to be a popular choice. But last month I upgraded my 3-year-old Air for a brand-new MacBook Pro, and I noticed a number of surprising differences I’d like to share.

Now, this is not a formal review—there have been plenty of those since the new MacBook Pro debuted in October 2016. Instead, I want to describe some specific impressions of the changes in user experience between the two similar models. Let’s start with the good stuff:

5 things I like about the MacBook Pro

1. It’s faster. No, I mean really, significantly, noticeably faster. It boots faster, the apps load faster, everything runs faster. That’s the biggest and most welcome difference.

2. The high-resolution screen is awesome. It’s bright, detailed and easy on the eyes, while the narrow black bezel makes the whole package look better. I didn’t know how much I hated the Air’s screen until I got the Pro.

3. The giant new trackpad is (mostly) amazing. It’s very sensitive and makes working without a mouse much easier. Only occasionally does it balk at selecting something, but gestures almost always function flawlessly. Oh, and it’s huuuge!

4. It sounds significantly better. With a bit more room for speakers, the MacBook Pro is actually listenable without headphones or an external speaker. It’s hardly hi-fi, but unlike the Macbook Air, it’s good enough—and loud enough—to do the trick in many circumstances.

5. Siri. I didn’t think Apple’s voice assistant would be useful on a laptop, but I was wrong. Activated by a soft button on the Touch Bar, I actually find myself using Siri to answer questions, search the web and other tasks—at least I do so when I’m working in a private location, not in an open floor plan office where talking to your computer might be considered a bit rude. (Other than the Siri button, though, the TouchBar didn’t really impress me one way or the other.)

Of course, nothing is perfect, there were just as many things that bugged me about the new machine.

5 things I don’t like about the MacBook Pro

1. It’s chunkier. The Macbook Pro weighs just over 3 pounds, while the Macbook Air falls just under that figure. And the Pro has a more squared design instead of the Air’s sharp wedge shape. The differences might sound minor, but I found them surprisingly noticeable, especially when carrying the machine around the office.

2. The keyboard is super noisy. No one talks about this on their own, but when I bring it up, everyone instantly agrees: The Macbook Pro keyboard is loud! It’s gotten so bad that I’ve been accused of “angry typing” in meetings—when I’m just trying to take some notes.

3. It runs hot. For some reason, my Macbook Pro sometimes gets very toasty, particularly when using it on my lap. We’re not talking Galaxy Note 7 explosive, but often uncomfortably warm.

4. The battery life seems shorter. Apple rates the Pro at up to 10 hours of Apple a1278 laptop battery life, as opposed to 12 hours for the Air. Not sure why, and there’s been some controversy over this, but in my experience the rated difference doesn’t begin to describe the situation.

5. Cordpocalypse! This issue has been well documented, but the issue is very real. USB-C may be the connector of the future, but in the present it’s super annoying to use a machine that never seems to be able to connect to anything. My office conference rooms have Mac power connectors, for example, but I can’t use them, which only exacerbates that battery issue. Similarly, connecting external monitors, keyboards, etc. is also iffy, unless I want to lug around a bunch of awkward Apple MacBook Pro A1278 AC Adapters.  I get what Apple is trying to do, but the actual experience, at least in the short term, sucks.

On balance, I’m happy to have “upgraded.” The faster speed and beautiful screen pretty much make up for any of the issues. Now that I’ve finally made the change, though, I’m thinking maybe I need a different machine for personal use. I’m thinking I should at least review something running Windows 10!

The New Dell XPS 13 First Look: Just Plain Prettier

Just as I thought DELL had reached the limit that XPS 13 could reach, the laptop maker proved to me that I was wrong. I found a new model of this preview is a real spoiler. Laptops are thinner, lighter, and just plain beautiful.

Available in mild gray anodized aluminum with a carbon fiber inside or a rose gold end with white woven glass, Dell is enjoying up the premium angle for the XPS 13 with Dell xps m1530 laptop battery. It even is available in its on leather-based sleeve. The pocket book is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, nonetheless Dell will not say simply how a lot till CES 2018.

As far as ports, you get a pair of Thunderbolt-3 ports (one for charging), a secure lock slot, a microSD slot and a mini DisplayPort. The near-bezeless InfinityEdge display is back and available in 1920 x 1080 and 3840 x 2560 options. The bottom-mounted webcam (aka the nose cam) is also there, so plan your video calls accordingly.

Dell is keeping mum on other specs, but it’s safe to assume that this notebook will be outfitted with an Intel 8th-gen processor at launch. All other details will have to wait until CES when Dell will reveal everything about the new machine.