Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 Laptop With Windows 8.1 Launched

Looking for a high-end laptop? You might want to check out Asus’s ZenBook Pro UX501 which has just been launched in India. The highlight of the Taiwanese company’s flagship laptop is its 4K display, new SSD storage, and top-of-the-line processor and graphics cards. The ZenBook Pro UX501 is available in India through Flipkart and Asus exclusive stores at a price point of Rs. 1,15,999.

As for the specifications, the ZenBook Pro UX501 (UX501JW-FJ221H) comes with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD display (3840×2160 pixels). It is powered by an Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor (4 cores, 8 threads, 6MB cache) clocked at 2.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.6GHz) paired with Nvidia GeForce GTX960M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, and 8GB of RAM. Other features of the laptop include a 512GB SSD with read/ write speeds up to 1400MB/s — which the company claims is 16 times faster than standard SATA 6Gbit/s hard disks.

Other features of the ZenBook Pro UX501 include an HD Web camera, apart from support for 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity options. On the software front, the laptop runs Windows 8.1, surprising considering Windows 10 has been out for more than a month now, however, it is eligible for a free upgrade.

Asus at the IFA 2015 trade show just past launched several new PCs, from gaming laptops and AIOs, to the VivoStick mini-computer USB dongle. The highlight of the gaming laptop launches was the Asus ROG GX700, which is the company’s first water-cooled gaming laptop.

Micromax Canvas Laptab Now Shipping With Windows 10

Micromax on Friday announced its first Windows 2-in-1 device, the Canvas Laptab, will now ship preloaded with Windows 10 – making the laptop-tablet hybrid the company’s first Windows 10 device. The price remains the same as launch, at Rs. 14,999.

First launched back in April this year, the Micromax Canvas Laptab (Review) with Windows 10 features the exact same specifications as the Windows 8.1 model. Users should also note that with Windows 10 as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, current owners of the Canvas Laptab can already upgrade – a fact that Micromax had also noted at launch in April.

The single-SIM supporting Micromax Canvas Laptab features an 10.1-inch IPS display with a WXGA (1280×800 pixels) resolution. It is powered by a 1.33GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F processor (up to 1.83GHz in Burst mode) coupled with 2GB of DDR3L RAM. It sports 32GB of inbuilt storage, which can be further expanded via a microSD card. The buyers would additionally receive 1TB of cloud storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive service.

The Canvas Laptab equips a 2-megapixel rear and front-facing camera and a 7700mAh battery, which is rated to offer a usage time of 10 hours. It measures 210.8×124.2×9.95mm, weighs 1.1kgs and is available in Black colour variant only. Connectivity features of the device feature Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB and 3G. The Micromax Canvas Laptab offers one year of free subscription for Microsoft Office 365 Personal apps. It also houses dual speakers placed either sides on the rear panel.

Save battery life when YouTubing on Chrome with this extension

I tend to use Apple hardware and Google software. I use Chrome for my browsing needs on my MacBook Pro, for example, despite Chrome being a known as a Mac battery hog. The situation is particularly dire, I find, when watching YouTube videos. During such instances, my Mac heats up to the point where the laptop can no longer stay comfortably atop my lap, the cooling fan does its best jet engine impersonation, and my eyes wander from the YouTube video playing to the menu bar in order to watch the spectacle that is the nosediving battery-life-remaining indicator. Though Chrome isn’t the best match for Macs, the YouTube and Chrome combo can also be a drain on PCs.

The reason for this, according to HowToGeek, are the codecs Google uses to play YouTube videos in Chrome after YouTube shifted from Flash to HTML5 video. Other browsers such as Safari and Microsoft Edge use the H.264 codec. This codec supports hardware acceleration, which allows some of the heavy lifting to be offloaded from the CPU to the graphics processing unit (GPU) for more efficient video playback. The H.264 codec is not open source, however, so Google opted instead for an open-source codec called VP8 (and, subsequently, VP9) for Chrome.

The thing is, VP8 and VP9 do not offer hardware acceleration, which puts the burden of video playback on the CPU. This arrangement is not as efficient as offloading video playback to the GPU and can drain your battery and make your laptop hot and loud. And with lower-end CPUs, videos may stutter.

Even though it’s not Google’s preference, Chrome supports the H.264 codec. And with the h264ify extension, you can force Chrome to use H.264 instead of VP8 or VP9. You will notice no difference in video playback after making the switch other than videos perhaps playing more smoothly. And you’ll likely find your laptop is under less stress.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To see which codec you are using, right-click on a YouTube video while it’s playing and select Stats for nerds. The Mime Type line will tell you the codec being used. For VP8 and VP9 videos, it will listvideo/webm. For H.264 videos, it will list video/mp4.

In the How-To Geek article, which I encourage you to read for the technical details and history it provides about the browsers, codecs and companies involved, it mentions that “Firefox may have the same problem” as Chrome and that there is the same h264ify add-on for Firefox. In my experience, however, Firefox plays YouTube videos using the H.264 codec without the extension. If your Firefox experience varies from mine, check out the add-on.

Microsoft Quietly Downloading Windows 10 on Windows 7, 8.1 Computers

Earlier this year, Microsoft began a campaign wherein it allowed Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users could reserve a copy of Windows 10.

Users who signed up for it gave the company permission to download the new desktop operating system on their machine starting a day before the official release date of Windows 10. As it turns out, the company has been downloading mammoth Windows 10 installation files even for those who never signed up for the company’s program.

A user spotted Windows 10 files on his computers despite never opting in for the free reservation,reported The Inquirer. Microsoft confirmed to the publication that it is downloading Windows 10 files. Why? Because it believes that this would make it convenient for users who later decide to upgrade to Windows 10.

“For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade. When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device,” Microsoft told The Inquirer.

The download could be happening for anyone who has automatic updates enabled on a Windows 7 orWindows 8.1 system. This is one of the many questionable moves by Microsoft in recent times surrounding Windows 10, and in this case, it could cost users as much as 6GB of bandwidth data without prior intimation.

It is worth noting that Windows 10 by default also shares a user’s Wi-Fi network password with their friends, and utilises a user’s Internet bandwidth to deliver updates to other users.

OS X El Capitan to Be Available as a Free Download on September 30

Apple at its Wednesday event revealed several new products apart from announcing release dates for iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X El Capitan. While the mobile and watch operating systems will release on September 16, OS X El Capitan will release on September 30. Available via the Mac App Store, it will be a free download for users.

(Also see: What’s New in OS X El Capitan)

The new version of OS X bumps the version up to 10.11 and brings a host of improvements including performance enhancements to new features such as Split View. Apple at WWDC had detailed that the new OS X El Capitan and claimed that apps would switch twice as fast compared to Yosemite and apps launch would about 1.4 times quicker in general. The company also changed the system level font for OS X El Capitan to San Francisco.

One of the most highlighted features of OS X El Capitan was touted to be Split View, which will allow users to fill the screen with two apps of their choice. Another very minor update added a new gesture feature allowing users to shake their finger back and forth on the trackpad or give the mouse a shake to make the cursor bigger thus making it easier to spot it when it gets lost.

Mission Control, which can be accessed on any Mac using four-finger upward swipe on the trackpad, now places all the open windows in the same relative location. Spotlight is now more context sensitive with searches and delivers results for weather, sports, stocks, web video, and transit information.

A plethora of new features have been introduced in built-in apps in the OS X El Capitan. Mail now allows users to manage the calendar and contacts, right from inbox. New swipe gestures have been added which marks the messages as read on swiping right, and swiping left deletes it. The Photos app which was completely overhauled in Yosemite also sees some improvements in the form of new editing extensions. Users can purchase third-party extensions from the App Store. Safari has also received tweaks including option to pin a website to the tab bar. The pinned websites remain active in the background.

Dell to Invest $125 Billion in China Over 5 Years

Computer maker Dell Inc will invest $125 billion (roughly Rs. 8,31,613 crores) in China over the next five years, its chief executive said on Thursday, as the company continues to expand in the world’s second-largest economy.

The world’s third-largest maker of personal computers said the investment would contribute about $175 billion (roughly Rs. 11,64,129 crores) to imports and exports, sustaining more than one million jobs in China.

“The Internet is the new engine for China’s future economic growth and has unlimited potential,” Chief Executive Michael Dell wrote in a statement.

“Dell will embrace the principle of ‘In China, for China’ and closely integrate Dell China strategies with national policies,” Dell said, adding that the company would continue to expand its research and development team in China.

Dell announced in 2010 it planned to spend $250 billion (roughly Rs. 16,63,113 crores) on procurement and other investments over the next 10 years in China, its second largest market outside the United States.

It was unclear if the $125 billion was part of that investment. Dell’s China office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dell has been in China for about two decades and, before it went private in 2013, saw annual sales in the country of roughly $5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,262 crores).

In January, it announced partnerships with state-owned China Electronics Corporation and the municipal government of Guiyang.

Marius Haas, Dell’s president of enterprise solutions, told Reuters in an interview after those tie-ups that partnering was the way to operate in China and the company had become much more aggressive with that strategy.

Dell ranked third in global PC shipments in the second quarter after Lenovo Group Ltd and Hewlett-Packard Co, according to research firm International Data Corp.