Discover How Cortana is More Helpful Than Ever After The Latest Windows 10 Update

The next Windows 10 update will make Cortana more helpful than ever

After a couple of flops in a row, Microsoft seems to have done a much better job with the latest Windows 10 update.  One important improvement noted in this release is with Cortana.

Cortana profiles could transform how the assistant is used

Cortana Improves with latest Windows 10 update

The next major version of Windows 10, known internally as Redstone 4, is likely to ring in major improvements to how Cortana works based on seemingly simple changes.

Brought to bear through the most recent ‘Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17127,’ these changes allow you to create a Cortana profile from which the digital assistant can mine information to provide you updates without even asking. Detailed in a new Windows Insider Blog post, this profile is accessible and editable through the Notebook of Cortana, within the Start menu.

This profile option allows you to set your favorite locations, generally your home(s) and place(s) of work. From there, Cortana will update you regularly regarding the weather and traffic conditions in those locations, generally in reference to your daily commute.

Microsoft promises that this premise will soon expand beyond locations to include your interests, accounts family members and more. Frankly, this might be one of the most exciting developments regarding Cortana yet, allowing it to be helpful without even having to shout ‘Hey, Cortana.’

On top of this, Microsoft has also added miniature training exercises regarding Cortana’s most popular Skills, like News, Sports and Weather – tips for questions you can ask Cortana within a given category.

These changes, among other minor fixes, are available now to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring for either the RS4 (Redstone 4) or RS5 (the late-2018 Redstone 5 release) Windows Insider Preview builds.

As we draw closer to the inevitable release of Windows 10 Redstone 4, otherwise popularly known as the Spring Creators Update, these updates are only going to ramp up in frequency. That said, we shouldn’t be too far off now from an official release.

  • These are the latest details we have on Windows 10 S

While some of its improvements have minor kinks to work out, the Creators Update is the most exciting Windows 10 revision to date with both welcome changes and sweet new tools – and now the Fall Creators Update improves on that further.

  • Start menu improvements
  • Action Center, Cortana are useful
  • Edge continues to improve
  • Windows Hello is simple and secure
  • Ink finally gets momentum

Original Article – click here

How To Speed Up Windows 10 in 2018

After the last few Windows 10 updates, it seems like my computer was getting slower and slower.  In order to help you speed up your Windows 10 installation, I have found some great tips from to share with your guys.  I have personally went through their article and want to share my favorite tips.  To read the full article click here

A Windows 10 computer is much like any other machine running a copy of Windows; sooner or later it will start to slow down.

A Windows system not running as fast as it once did can be a frustrating experience. While you are unlikely to make it run as fast as it did the day you bought it (because in the meantime, you have added applications, files, and other bits and pieces), there are a number of ways of making a Windows 10 PC run better.

We’ve listed our favorite ways to do so below, covering everything from making the boot up process faster and preventing applications from loading when you turn on your machine, to deleting the annoying bloatware that comes pre-installed on so many machines.

It’s also a good idea to remove installed applications on a Windows 10 device that you no longer use. Furthermore, you’d do well to monitor any applications running in the background, as these can take up valuable CPU cycles and network bandwidth that you could be using for other things. Now, let’s get your Windows 10 machine running better…

Make login into Windows 10 quicker

Make Login to Windows 10 Faster

Learn how to speed up your Windows 10 login time.

If you start by entering your password at Windows 10’s login window, you may want to consider not doing so. While it’s not too taxing to write out a memorised password every time you boot your PC, it makes the startup process longer and you probably don’t need to do it if you only use your machine in a secure place, and it’s only connecting to your secure (password-enabled) home Wi-Fi.

Of course, passwords are essential for security, so if you store very confidential information on your PC, or travel with it or use it in coffee shops or even at work, you will probably want to keep your password. But if that’s not the case, you can uncheck the box requiring you to enter a username and password to log in. Click apply, confirm your password, and Windows will never ask you for it again. It is worth noting, though, that even your home may not be the most secure environment – everybody can be burgled.

And disabling your password also means that anybody can fire up your Windows 10 PC and use it. This makes doing so a big no-no for portable laptops, but desktops are a safer bet.

Make shutting down Windows 10 faster

Make Windows 10 Shut down Faster.

Learn how to improve the shut down speed for Windows 10.

If you like to shut down your computer after a hard day’s work, then you will realise that the process still requires three clicks. To speed this up you can use a shortcut. Simply right-click anywhere on a free part of the desktop then click New > Shortcut. In the Location field, type in the following.

%windir%\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0

Click on the Next to finish. Now each time you click on that shortcut, your PC will immediately shut down. Be careful though!

Disable Startup programs in Windows 10

Virtually every version of Windows allows you to disable startup items, and Windows 10 is no exception. Stopping some programs from starting up will speed up the OS.

To find this option, right-click the taskbar and choose Task Manager, and then click on the Startup tab. Here you can disable the programs you don’t want to start up.

Remove bloatware in Windows 10

No one likes bloatware (except PC manufacturers) but it does mean your system is slightly cheaper as a result. But you can ditch this crapware. For the most part, these are programs such as disc burning software, backup tools from the manufacturer or other utilities that you don’t necessarily need.

Why programs such as PC Decrapifier and CCleaner do a sterling job of getting rid of bloatware, if you have a brand new (but bloatware laden) computer, then a clean install of Windows 10 could be the best way of clearing out unnecessary software clogging up your system.

Make the Windows 10 Start menu and other Windows zippier

Improve the speed of the Windows 10 Start Menu

Improve the speed of the Windows 10 Start Menu

The brand new Windows 10 Start menu can be slower to pop up on older machines. This is because making this appear in a whiz-bang fashion consumes compute power. To turn off this animated feature, bring up Systems Properties (type in the search field sysdm.cpl and press Enter.)

Click on the Advanced tab, then click on the Settings button in Performance. Untick the box for Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing, then click Apply.

This should speed up not only the Start menu but also all other windows that appear on your desktop.

If you really wanted to, you can disable all visual effects to really speed Windows 10 up. Just click on the radio button next to Adjust for best performance.

Turn on Windows 10 Fast Startup

Windows 10 Fast Start Up

With Windows 10 there is a new “hybrid” startup mode that should cut down on bootup times. It does this by putting the PC into hibernation instead of fully shutting down.

To enable this, click on the Start button and type in “Control Panel” and press enter. In the control panel click on Hardware and Sound. A new page should appear, here click on Change what the power buttons do. Then click on Change settings that are currently unavailable. Finally, tick the box marked Turn on fast startup.

Disable services on Windows 10

As with all versions of Windows, working in the background are services. While some of them are vital to the smooth running, quite a few aren’t for day-to-day use. If you disable these services, you can speed up Windows 10.

To turn off services in windows, type: “services.msc” into the search field. Then double-click on the services you want to stop or disable.

There are many services that can be turned off but which ones depend on what you use Windows 10 for and whether or not you work in an office or from home. A great guide to the services that can be switch off can be found here.

Remember, though, stopping or disabling services can have unforeseen consequences. Many components or applications may stop working properly, so proceed with caution.

Clean up your Windows 10 disk

Thankfully, Windows 10 has a built-in Disk Cleanup tool which is extremely useful when you want to get rid of unnecessary files. To launch the tool, click on the Start button and then select the File Explorer link. Right-click Local Disk C: and choose Properties. Navigate to the General tab and then find the Disk Cleanup button. Once there, click “unnecessary files (temporary internet files, etc.)” then hit OK.

For advanced users, you can select the “Clean up system files” button to get rid of even more files. Following this, you can then…

Original article found at:

Asrock DeskMini Z370 GTX 1060 Review

For such a small Computer, the DeskMini PC by Asrock looks to pack a lot of power in its punch.  Based on the 8th Generation Intel processor, you can expect fast speed and reliability.  This currently comes installed with Windows 10.  I am excited about getting my hands on this one to check it out.  It is one nice desktop computer.

Asrock DeskMini Z370 GTX 1060 Review

Today we’re checking out Asrock’s latest DeskMini PC, a name that may ring a bell if you’ve read our previous coverage on the original entry to this compact computer. The latest version that we have on hand today looks exactly the same as the last DeskMini and has the same name as the previous two DeskMinis.


The first DeskMini — the DeskMini 110 — was released in 2016 and sported a tiny 1.92L case that housed an H110-based Micro-STX motherboard with support for 6th and then 7th generation Core processors. However, the DeskMini 110 was so small it couldn’t actually handle a discrete graphics card, so it was basically an office PC.


That situation changed last year as the series was updated with the DeskMini GTX/RX which features support for an MXM discrete mobile GPU that can be installed thanks to a beefier B250 or Z270-based Micro-STX motherboard, which increased the case capacity to 2.7L but still made for a very compact unit.


Now we have another new DeskMini GTX/RX, this time based on Intel’s 8th generation Core series. To get around this confusion, retailers have been putting the chipset in the product title to make it easier for shoppers to work out which system they’re actually buying.


The latest DeskMini Z370 comes with either an GTX 1060 or GTX 1080 in the MXM form-factor pre-installed. Alternatively, you can buy Asrock’s system without a discrete graphics card but be aware that securing a new MXM GPUs after the fact will be nearly impossible as they are not sold at retail as you can generally only get them from salvaged laptops.


Currently there doesn’t appear to be any DeskMini Z370 models on sale but Asrock says the MSRP for the GTX 1060 model is $850. The previous generation B250 DeskMinis are on sale and the GTX 1060 version costs a cool $800 with the GTX 1080 model priced at $1,500 , so while the new Z370 models aren’t that much more expensive, $850 is getting toward the pricier side of things for this little PC and we’re keen to see what more it offers over the previous versions.


Included in the package is the tiny 2.7L case and a 220w external power brick that is quite a large volume itself at 0.7L, or 26% of the DeskMini’s total size. Along with the case and power supply you also get a custom Z370M-STX MXM motherboard that’s 2″ longer than your typical Micro-STX motherboard and this extra real-estate has been used to squeeze in an MXM slot supporting up to Type B+ cards at 113mm long.


Because we have the GTX 1060 DeskMini, ours naturally came with a GTX 1060 MXM graphics card pre-installed. To get up and running you’ll need to bring your own Coffee Lake CPU as well as some DDR4 SO-DIMM memory and storage. Assuming you went with a Core i5-8400 ( $180 ), 16GB of DDR4-2400 ( $170 ) and a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro ( $300 ) for example then you’d be pitching in an extra $650 on top of the $850 for the DeskMini, bringing the total bill for the GTX 1060 model to at least $1,450.


That’s probably not too bad when you can expect to pay around $400 alone for a GTX 1060, but we’ll discuss pricing more at the end of the review. For now let’s take a look around the unit before checking out the hardware inside. Externally, the all-black case features a brushed aluminium front with clean lines. The circular power button blends in nicely as does the front I/O which […]

Recently Acer Switch 7 Benchmark Testing Received Rave Reviews

Its strange how much things have changed in 10 years.  I remember when Acer was known as a cheap low quality brand.  But these days, they are one of the best on the market at a reasonable price.  My favorite computer at home is my Acer touchscreen all in one PC.  I have been very please with it.  Check us out for all of your computer hardware reviews and the latest computer tips.

The Acer Switch 7 looks like a very nice tablet .  Check out the following infographics and then read all about the Acer Switch below.Acer Switch 7 Review



Acer’s brand new and very interesting Switch 7 is a high-

end tablet with a kickstand and detachable keyboard, complete with Black Edition branding. What makes the Switch 7 unique is that it’s a fanless 13.5-inch tablet, yet despite what should be obvious thermal constraints, Acer has crammed in both an Intel Core i7-8550U processor along with discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics.

Acer Switch 7 Review

Discrete GPUs are usually restricted to 15-inch laptops, with the occasional 14-inch unit seen in the wild. So it’s a feat in itself that the Switch 7, a much smaller device, contains a discrete GPU. But on top of that, you get an Intel quad-core CPU without any fans, instead using what Acer calls a “dual LiquidLoop” cooling solution to send heat away from these components and distribute it around the chassis.

Acer Switch 7 Review

That’s entirely passive cooling for a 15W CPU and around a 25W GPU, all in a 13-inch tablet form factor. Other base hardware includes 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, along with a 2256×1504 (3:2 aspect ratio) IPS LCD, but just a 35.1 Wh battery.


Cramming a discrete GPU into this device has taken its toll in at least one area, and that appears to be the battery capacity. For now I want to talk about the build quality of the Switch 7. This is a premium priced product at $1700, so I was a tad disappointed with the final build, both tablet and the included keyboard cover.


The materials used are good – smooth glass on the front, metal on the sides and rear – but there are a lot of seams in the construction, particularly around the I/O and around the display, which doesn’t make it look or feel as high-end as the best tablet or laptop designs out there.


The Microsoft Surface Pro , for example, features a more refined metal design in keeping with its price tag. The are also a few alignment and symmetry issues with the Switch 7 that you wouldn’t get with a better designed product. The webcam, for example, is offset to the right by a large distance for seemingly no good reason.


Even worse is the display position and bezels: the right-side bezel is about 2mm larger than the left-side bezel, leaving the display slightly off center. As soon as I saw the unit I thought something wasn’t quite right about the bezels, and after about 10 measurements just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, I indeed confirmed one bezel is larger than the other. Certainly a bizarre design choice.


The hinged kickstand assembly is a neat concept, in that it automatically pops out the kickstand when the bottom edge of the tablet contacts your desk. There are two buttons located along this bottom edge that release the spring-loaded hinge mechanism, and from there you can adjust the exact angle to your liking.


It’s a convenient system, as all you have to do is place the tablet on your desk and it’s already propped up and ready to use, whether you have the keyboard attached or not. However the system does have a few significant flaws. The stand itself doesn’t look great, at least in my opinion, and the groove it leaves in the rear of the tablet is a dust magnet.


After just a few days, dust and dirt had already accumulated in the hinge cavity that’s hard to remove or clean without compressed air. You don’t get this issue with the flat-kickstand of the Surface Pro. While you can set an angle for the kickstand, and it can go fairly flat like the Surface […]

Helpful Asus ROG Strix GL503VD Gaming Laptop Review


Even if you’re something of a PC gamer, you don’t necessarily need a powerful gaming laptop. Some customers are simply looking for a laptop with great build quality and features, plus a graphics chip just powerful enough to run some of their favorite games. Alas, many laptop vendors implement only low-end graphics hardware into non-gaming models, providing casual gamers an inferior experience.


An ideal chassis for casual gaming would be something like the Asus ROG Strix GL502 , which we reviewed in the middle of 2017. As it turns out, Asus has updated the ROG Strix with the GL503VD, a brand-new model with an updated chassis. Specifications Packaging Asus’ packaging is stylized with black ink and ROG and Asus logos, nearly identical with the previously reviewed GL502’s wrappings


. The top of the box has a plastic carrying handle, which makes transporting the laptop easy. The box interior is slightly updated. Gone is the plain brown cardboard, which is replaced by black cardboard with a holographic ROG logo on the inside cover. You’ll find the Strix on the very top, wrapped in cloth. Beneath the laptop are additional compartments housing the AC power cord, the 240V power brick, an information booklet, and a warranty card. The packaging is very straightforward. The Strix is well-protected, and the addition of black cardboard makes the presentation feel slightly more upscale. The rest of the presentation is the same, as nothing needed to be changed in the first place. Exterior Our first impression when we unboxed the Asus ROG Strix GL503VD was,

“ike the Asus Zephyrus.” The brushed-metal finish is a spitting image of the latter, with everything from the same finish to the chrome logo. Some key differences are the direction in which the brushed finish runs; the Zephyrus finish has a 45° brushed texture on the top half of the laptop and a 90° texture running vertically. The Strix is also split down the middle by a diagonal accent, ‘


but the brushed metal bias runs at 45° on both portions. Our only gripe with the finish is that fingerprints and smudges easily appear after normal use. This is a symptom all metal finishes present, and the Strix is no exception.


Finally, the Strix has “REPUBLIC OF GAMERS” printed in a subtle, almost unnoticeable black on the very bottom of the lid, whereas the Zephyrus has it printed in white. Similarly, the Strix has a reflective chrome ROG logo on the right side of the lid. When the system is powered, red LED lighting will emanate from behind the chrome. The main difference is the pattern, or rather the lack thereof, that shines through the logo. The Strix’s LEDs emit a solid light through the chrome logo, whereas the Zephyrus logo shines with a pindot pattern.


Speaking of LEDs, the Zephyrus’ diagonal accent has a grille from which additional red lighting emits; the Strix’s diagonal accent has no such lighting. The surface surrounding the input devices is constructed out of plastic, much like on the GL502, but the brushed-and-diagonal aesthetic from the lid makes its way here, as well.


The diagonal edge starts from the top left corner and ends at the bottom right corner. Above the diagonal, the plastic surface features a brushed texture, whereas the surface below the diagonal edge is smooth.


As a result, the smudges and fingerprints don’t show up as easily on the top right portion of the plastic surface, but are quite prominent on the bottom left half. Various logos decorate this surface: a Strix to the top left of the keyboard, […]

Radeon RX Vega GPUs are next to impossible to buy: Is AMD hitting pause or simply prioritizing Frontier Edition?

I have been a big fan of AMD products for years. This looks to be a state of the art graphics card at a reasonable price. Find more computer hardware advice and computer tips

We recently noticed some information regarding the poor availability of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega GPUs that we’d like share with you by way of conjecture. Before we get going, as a reminder, AMD released the Vega 56 and Vega 64 graphics cards back in August, some five months ago. At the time they sold out in seconds and since then supply has been unable to meet demand with miners being mostly to blame for this. Despite the poor availability, a good many of you have been asking us to review custom RX Vega graphics cards from one of AMD’s partners. This request likely comes at least in part due to my comments openly bashing AMD’s reference design, claiming that it’s hot, loud and that you simply shouldn’t buy it. Many custom models have been announced, but getting your hands on any one of them is next to impossible — I can’t even get one, despite AMD saying that it’s willing to support me directly. I’ve heard for months that the cards are coming, until last week when two of AMD’s board partners told me that they wouldn’t be coming after all. This had me confused and after making a few more inquiries it was confirmed by one exclusive partner and one massive partner that the custom cards have been effectively canceled as the companies are no longer receiving Vega 56 and 64 GPUs from AMD, and its reference models weren’t being supplied either. No Vega graphics cards were being sold by these partners. That didn’t seem right to me, so I dug a little more. First I went to check Newegg to see who has RX Vega cards in stock and specifically what models/brands, but I found nothing! Newegg did list some custom Gigabyte models at insane prices with no stock along with a single PowerColor model, also out of stock, as well as a reference model sold by XFX which was likewise unavailable. What was in stock was the ‘ Vega Frontier Edition ‘ and I’ll come back to that shortly. Every other US retailer I checked also showed zero stock for the Vega 56 and Vega 64. It’s the same story for Australian retailers. In fact, PC Case Gear now list just a single Vega 56 model, which is of course out of stock. I also tried the AMD shop on their official website and checked all the links they provide to various retailers — none of them had stock for either model. I also decided to have a look at pre-built systems, though there are almost none that feature RX Vega graphics cards. That said I do know of one, a CybertronPC packing an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X with a reference RX Vega 64 graphics card at Best Buy, who has more than two dozen system to choose from yet only with an RX Vega card inside. And guess what? It’s the only PC out of stock. There’s one exception to the Vega’s availability and that’s Apple. AMD obviously wouldn’t want to upset the apple cart, so you can still buy a horrendously overpriced iMac Pro to get a Vega 56 or Vega 64 graphics card. It’s only $8,260 for the Vega 64 version with an eight-core Xeon CPU, 32GB of memory and a 1TB SSD. At this point, I realized two things: there didn’t appear to be a single Vega 56 or 64 card in stock anywhere in the US or Australia. That’s not completely unusual for Vega, but I was intrigued by that detail knowing that AMD’s partners told me the company isn’t currently […]

Best Tips for Keeping Your Email Inbox Clean

One thing that I notice many of my customers struggling with is keeping their inbox clean and manageable.  When I stumbled across this great article on, I knew that I definitely needed to share this to add to my collection of computer tips that you might find useful. We also recommend computer repair Waco for more computer help.

These days, the majority of our most personal and important digital correspondence happens through email, so it’s important to keep it organized. Here are some tips for cleaning up your inbox.
Setup rules, filters, or labels

Today, all e-mail programs and online e-mail services have rules, filters, or a labeling system that allows you to move and otherwise organize incoming e-mail. Use these features to organize your e-mail and get to what is most important first. Below are some suggestions for rules we suggest trying first.

Move important and unimportant e-mails to a folder of their own.
Highlight or set priority to certain addresses. For example, a rule could be created to highlight any user in your address book.
Filter out common spam words that get into your inbox (e.g., Viagra).
In programs that support rules, mark messages that are not important to keep your inbox clean and prevent you from getting overwhelmed when you first open e-mail.
If you are getting lots of spam filter your e-mail through Gmail.

Do not be afraid to delete

After reading e-mail, always take action on that e-mail. Do not save it for later or move it into a folder to deal with later. If you are unable to take action on the e-mail, delegate it to someone else, or postpone it for later that day delete it. Every e-mail does not need a response and there is no reason to save e-mail that is going to be deleted later.
Automatic replies, FAQs, and canned responses

If you find yourself using the same reply over and over again, consider creating a list of your frequent replies that you can copy and paste. Or, try using a tool such as one of the ones listed below to help make replying to these e-mails even faster.

Thunderbird Quicktext – Fantastic Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail add-on.
Lifehacker Texter – Easy to use script tool that can be used in anywhere in Windows including e-mail.
AutoHotkey – Another great tool although much more advanced. However, this tool can be used to automate anything on the computer.
Keep it simple

Many times people over complicate their e-mail by creating dozens of different folders to help organize their e-mails. Keep it simple do not have dozens of different folders to organize your e-mail into.

If there is no way getting around your need for folders in e-mail use the rules to filter your messages into the folders. Folders can save hundreds of hours you may be spending thinking about and organizing each of the e-mails you receive.
Always do quick short replies

When replying to any of your e-mails try to keep the reply as quick as possible and do not spend too much time on an individual e-mail. We suggest spending no more than five minutes on a single e-mail and avoid anything longer than three paragraphs.

You are e-mail is not a calendar or to-do list

Many times a person’s inbox is full because they are treating it as a calendar of things that they need to do. Do not use your e-mail for this. Have a separate program or text document that keeps a list of things you need to do or that keep track of your calendar of events.

Unsubscribe from newsletters and disable notifies

Although you may have had good intentions when subscribing to a newsletter or other e-mail list these are often distracting and often clutter your e-mail. Unsubscribe from any newsletter you have not been reading.

The same is true for notifications from social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter you may be receiving. Disable all notifications about posts made on your wall, new friends, or followers, which clutter your inbox and distract you.
Do not reply to spam

If spam sneaks past your protection or rules never reply to it; just delete the message.

Discover the rest of the top 10 email inbox clean up tips at

Dell XPS 13 Review

Dell XPS 13 ReviewAs I am sure you have heard me rant before. I still do not recommend Dell computer hardware of any kind. For years, I referred all of my customers to Dell. But after too many bad experiences, I just can’t send my customers to experience what I have seen time and time again. I have discussed them in previous computer tips posts.

Today we’re taking a look at the brand new Dell XPS 13 9560 . You won’t be able to tell from the outside, but the latest XPS 13 has received a single important update compared to the model that launched towards the end of 2016: the move to Intel’s 8th-gen Kaby Lake-R processors.


Even though it’s a simple CPU swap, it’s a big upgrade for the XPS 13 considering the performance difference between the dual-core Kaby used previously, and the new quad-core parts. Initial testing we performed a few months ago showed performance gains nearing 50% , but of course, we’ll explore more of that later.


To start with I wanted to discuss the design of the XPS 13, which has changed very little in nearly three years since the first Broadwell model launched. We’ve seen some minor additions, like the fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello and a USB-C port, but the basics with its ultra-slim bezels have remained much the same. Some reviews floating around suggest the design of the XPS 13 is a bit stale and needs to be updated to remain relevant up against other modern ultraportables.


While I agree the design is a bit stale, I don’t think it needs to be updated. When the XPS 13 launched in early 2015, the design was far ahead of the competition, delivering a massive display in a smaller chassis. A couple of years later and the XPS 13 design isn’t the standout it once was, having competitors lifting their game, but it’s still pretty good and holds its own against other manufacturer’s offerings.


In fact, we’re still not at the point where all other laptops are maximizing screen real estate and minimizing bezels, though we’re slowly getting there. If you haven’t seen an XPS 13 before, the build uses aluminium on the lid and underside, plus soft touch carbon fiber around the keyboard and trackpad.


The two-tone design looks fantastic, and it feels great to hold when shut thanks to the matte metal finish. The keyboard palm rest does accumulate fingerprints rather easily, though it too feels great when typing. Dell isn’t super concerned with making the slimmest or lightest laptop, which is why the XPS 13 sits at up to 15mm thick, and 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) for the touchscreen model.


This is a good choice anyway, as it allows them to cram in a large 60 Wh battery and keep the overall footprint small. The XPS 13 is still one of the smallest 13-inch notebooks you can buy. The slim bezel experience with the XPS 13 is great, though you will have to live with some trade-offs like the less-than-ideal webcam placement.


You’ll also have to choose between the 1080p non-touch and QHD+ touchscreen display options, which are the same as earlier models: the higher-resolution display comes with a battery life hit, though it’s a fair bit sharper. The keyboard and trackpad remain unchanged, both of which offer a decent experience.


Some of the modifier keys are a little smaller than other keyboards, though this doesn’t hurt usability, and the feel to each key is fairly average these days for a laptop. The trackpad is excellent, and you won’t have any problems using it.


The I/O is also unchanged. Two USB 3.0 ports on either side, a Thunderbolt 3 port with just two PCIe lanes, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an SD card slot. Unfortunately the XPS 13 still charges using a proprietary connector rather than USB-C; I’d rather see an additional USB-C port added to the device for charging, which could double as handy […]

Why It Is Better To Buy A Used Laptop Rather Than A New One?

My number one reason to buy a used laptop would be to avoid Windows 10.

Why Buy a Used Laptop Instead of New?

If you’re planning to purchase a laptop or notebook (note that laptops and notebooks are the same thing), consider buying used or refurbished laptop. A refurbished laptop is a used laptop that has been rebuilt by a professional, and made to be like new again.

First, let us take a moment to consider your needs in a laptop. What do you plan to do with your laptop?

Do you your plans include the following:

  • Surfing the internet
  • Checking emails
  • Instant messenger
  • Writing papers
  • Printing Papers
  • Making spreadsheets
  • Slide Presentations
  • Playing Solitaire
  • Downloading MP3’s
  • Listening to MP3’s
  • Burning to CD’s
  • Watching DVD’s
  • Digital camera photo
  • Children’s games
  • Keeping bank figures
  • Small business use
  • The lists goes on…


Most used laptops will easily complete all of the above mentioned tasks for you. What’s really great is that for most current applications on a refurbished laptop, you won’t notice a performance difference compared to a brand new laptop.

How is that possible to not notice a difference between a brand new laptop and a refurbished one?

That’s a good question. The fact is, most current software for your computer is not designed to need the high performance of a brand new laptop. Computer manufactures are moving so fast, that software makers simply do not keep up. Most current software will run on a computer 4 times slower than the fastest laptops made.

Most current software will run flawlessly on a computer 4 times slower than the fastest laptops made.

What does that mean for you? It means that it’s not necessary to spend $1500 or more on a top of the line laptop. Depending on your needs from your laptop, you may be able to buy a laptop for as low as $250. A $250 laptop will perform all the necessary tasks for most people. However, if you are looking for a laptop that will burn CD’s and watch DVD movies, expect to spend $400 – $750.

Dell says I can buy a brand new laptop for $699, why should I buy a used one?

This is a very smart, and very much overlooked, marketing trick. Let me start by saying that I think Dell is the best computer manufacture on the market, and I endorse their products myself. However, try this yourself on any given day with any manufacture :

Today I went to and browsed new inspiron laptops (The Dell line designed for home users). On the home page

was an ad for a laptop “from” $699. This is after a $100 rebate, so make that price $799. I click the ad and attempt to purchase the item. I am offered to “Customize” or choose “Recommended Solutions”. Customizing sounds great. I’m the customer, and I should get what I want.

After choosing “Customize”, without selecting any upgrades at all, suddenly the price of the laptop is $1371. I don’t like that, so I chose all of the lowest possible choices for all available features to achieve the lowest price. The lowest available configuration made the price $907. I don’t want to give up, so I go back and choose “Recommended Solutions” because these configurations are pre-manufactured in quantity, and are therefore cheaper.

Four options were offered at these prices: $949, $1249, $999, and $1319. Each one of these options was offered a $150 rebate (keep in mind this is a mail-in rebate so it doesn’t lower your price at checkout) so respectively, if I were to purchase, then wait for my rebate, I could get a laptop for $799, $1099, $849, or $1169.

Not one option was available to purchase this laptop at the advertised priced price of $699, even after a mail-in rebate! You will find the same scenario anywhere you go, no matter what manufacture.

No option was available to purchase a laptop for $699, even after a mail-in rebate!

They have to get you to buy from them somehow. All of the computer manufactures have been using this marketing technique (as described above) for years. Imagine if everyone knew about this and the money they could save on buying a refurbished laptop, without having to sacrifice any of their goals and needs from the computer. These manufactures would not be the same companies that they are today.

There are more reasons to consider a refurbished laptop.

Another aspect of buying a refurbished computer that should be considered is this: Most refurbished laptops available are not the “low end” home user based laptops. Examples of home user laptops are: Compaq Presario, Dell Inspiron, eMachines, Hewlett Packard Pavilion, Sony Vaio, and Toshiba Satellite. Refurbished laptops are almost always business model laptops that are off-lease from major corporations.

Business laptops have parts available even long after warranty expires.

Business laptops provide a better solution because they are the laptops provided by a company that are proven to work well. Examples of business laptops are: Compaq Armada, Dell Latitude, Hewlett Packard Compaq Mobile/Business Workstation, and Toshiba Tecra.

Home user laptops, believe it or not, are usually testing grounds for new engineering of laptop equipment. Home user laptops are typically given shorter warranty, and are designed to last until that warranty expires. After the laptop’s warranty has expired, the newer “experimental” home user model available uses different parts. Since the older models are no longer under warranty, and they use “out of date” parts, the manufacture no longer stocks the parts.

Therefore, when your home user laptop has an out of warranty problem (which it will), the parts that are available to fix your laptop are very expensive, if they are available at all. This leaves the home user with the attitude to “throw away and buy new”, which is exactly what the manufacture wants you to do.

Since business laptops use technology that is proven to work, their parts seldom change from model to model. Due to this fact as well as the fact that business laptops are leased to corporations, huge stock piles of parts are kept at the manufacture for extended warranties as well as out of warranty purchases. For example, you can still call Dell today to order parts for an out of warranty laptop that was manufactured in 1997 or 1998 for the same cost as laptops manufactured in 2002.

Business laptops are more expensive than home laptops (as much as $3000), buy used and save a ton.

Business laptops, due to their stability, are far more expensive than home user laptops. Using the Dell example, the cheapest Dell business laptop (Latitude), currently available is $2000. Many of the refurbished laptops being sold today for $250-$800 originally sold for $3000 or more. This means you can buy refurbished and save as much as 80% over buying new.

Purchase a refurbished laptop that will suit your needs and last for years, at a great savings.

What all of this means is that if you purchase a refurbished laptop, you can expect the following:

  1. Able to complete all tasks necessary to an everyday user
  2. Half the cost of a brand new home user laptop
  3. Up to 80% less than a brand new business laptop
  4. Proven technology that will last for years
  5. Parts always available if your laptop has a problem
  6. Take control in your life, and put extra money in your pocket for other things that are important to you!

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