Tag Archives: tablets

The best laptop you can buy right now (2017)

We live in a world where smartphones are ubiquitous, tablets are commonplace, and even smartwatches are a thing that people talk about on the regular. But throughout all of these advances, the humble laptop has persevered, and for good reason. When it comes time to actually get something done, whether that’s editing photos, writing a lot of emails, composing documents, or staying in touch with colleagues and family, the laptop is often the ideal device for the job.

That isn’t to say there haven’t been advancements in the world of laptops or notebook computers. We don’t have to deal with inch-plus-thick clunkers that weighed upwards of seven pounds and lasted less than two hours away from an outlet. The modern laptop is lightweight, sleek, efficient, easily portable, and powerful enough to get most any computing task done.

It’s getting harder to buy a truly bad laptop, but what separates a good laptop from a great one is how it balances power, efficiency, portability, and comfort. It should have a fantastic keyboard and trackpad — after all, those are the two biggest reasons you’d choose a laptop over a smartphone or tablet. Its display should be easy on the eyes, bright, and sharp enough that you aren’t distracted by jagged edges and visible pixels. It should be powerful enough for almost anything short of intensive video editing and advanced gaming. It should be easy to carry around from place to place, and it should be able to last all day without needing to be plugged in.

Naming “the best laptop” is a little different than naming the best phone or tablet. People’s needs for their laptop can vary widely. Some people need to do intense video editing and should pony up for a pro machine. Others just need a reliable keyboard and a few windows, so something less powerful will do. Some might want a super light laptop that can sometimes double as a tablet. Here, we’re talking about the best all-around product: a traditional laptop that will work well at most things for most people, and even stretch to handle more intensive tasks on occasion.

There are a lot of laptops that have some of those qualities, but if you’re looking for a laptop that hits enough of those marks, the obvious choice turns out to be the right one.

This article will be continually updated as new laptops are released and reviewed, so be sure to check back if you’re not in the market right now.

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop is the best laptop for most people because it blends power, portability, and battery life better than any other computer. It has a great keyboard and trackpad; a beautiful, high-resolution touchscreen; and comes in four different colors. It uses Intel’s latest processors and can be specced out with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The Surface Laptop isn’t cheap — the model most people should get runs for $1,299 — but it feels like a premium computer should, and if you spend most of your day working on a computer, you should spend a little more to get a good one.

The one big drawback to the Surface Laptop is it comes with Windows 10S, Microsoft’s limited version of Windows that only allows apps from the Windows Store to be installed. You can easily upgrade the Surface Laptop to Windows 10 Pro, however, and then you can run any Windows app you can find. That upgrade is free through at least the end of the year. Microsoft says it will charge $50 for it at some point in the future, but has not specified exactly when.


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If you don’t like the Surface Laptop’s fun colors or the fact that it runs Windows, the best laptop for you is Apple’s MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro has a compact and light design, premium build quality, and the largest trackpad we’ve ever seen on a laptop.

The MacBook Pro comes in a variety of flavors, but most people should go with the 13-inch model that starts at $1,299. It has a standard keyboard and lacks the controversial Touch Bar found on the more expensive versions, but we don’t think that’s a big loss, as the Touch Bar hasn’t yet proven its worth. The one thing that the higher-end MacBook Pros offer is more USB ports. The entry-level version only comes with two USB Type-C ports, which means plugging in accessories will likely require an adapter or two, so be prepared to spend money on at least one dongle.


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If you don’t like Microsoft’s Surface Laptop or the new MacBook Pro, there are a lot of other laptops to choose from. Some might be better options if you’re a gamer or an artist who wants something to draw on, while others are even more light and portable than our top picks.


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Good Stuff

  • Thin, light design
  • Premium materials
  • Great battery life

Bad Stuff

  • No SD card slot
  • Uneven keyboard backlighting
  • Screen wobbles when you touch it


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Good Stuff

  • Incredibly thin/light
  • Beautiful Retina display
  • Improved performance

Bad Stuff

  • Still not as powerful as other MacBooks
  • Shallow, edge-to-edge keyboard
  • Single USB Type-C port


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Good Stuff

  • Great gaming performance
  • Restrained and portable design
  • Works with VR

Bad Stuff

  • Screen is still bad, at least on the 1080p model
  • Trackpad is iffy
  • Fans are extremely loud


Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Solid build quality
  • Great keyboard
  • Smooth trackpad
  • Bright, sharp display

Bad Stuff

  • Terrible power button
  • Unpredictable sleep behavior
  • Difficult to open
  • Awkward as a tablet
  • Limited port options


Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Impressively reduced size
  • Ridiculously large trackpad
  • Touch ID makes security convenient

Bad Stuff

  • Touch Bar needs time to grow
  • Still struggles with large 4K files
  • #donglelife


Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Fast processor
  • Sturdy, good-looking design
  • 4K screen doesn’t obliterate the battery

Bad Stuff

  • Fans seem to run constantly
  • Annoying keyboard layout
  • Inconsistent USB-C ports


Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Lots of power
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
  • Flexible form-factor

Bad Stuff

  • Thick and heavy
  • Only average battery life
  • Old processor and graphics card

Celebrating women in tech, new Windows 10 devices and Microsoft’s giving effort — Weekend Reading, Oct. 16 edition

From the world’s largest gathering of women in tech to a huge Microsoft effort to help countless people in need, there was no shortage of inspiring news this week. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

More than 800 Microsoft employees headed to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, which began Wednesday in Houston. Marie Margishvili and Moriah Baxevane-Connell were excited to return after landing their jobs at Microsoft through previous Grace Hopper conferences; software engineers Joan Chao and Lauren Bissett, who work on Microsoft HoloLens, were looking forward to attending for their first time.

Margishvili went for the first time in 2014 and says it was “just amazing to see so many confident and talented women who were so full of initiative and willing to go out of their way to find new opportunities … The conference is very empowering. It sounds very cliché, but I realized there that I could do anything I wanted.”

WR_Grace Hopper

It’s been just over a week since Microsoft unveiled a new era of Windows 10 devices, including Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, new Lumia phones and more. This past week brought announcements about even more great options. On Sunday, Acer showcased a range of new Windows 10 devices in Taipei. On Monday, we got our first look at Toshiba’s dynaPad tablet as it was unveiled in Japan. On Tuesday, LG Electronics unveiled some innovative Windows 10 devices in Seoul.

Learn more about the wide variety of new Windows 10 devices on Windows blogs.WR_LG

A British startup has turned a relic of a difficult time into new hope for sustainable farming, an experiment its founders hope can be replicated in places around the world where food is desperately needed. Growing Underground is using abandoned World War II air raid tunnel in London as a subterranean farm.

“It’s incredible to take a place that was built for a time of destruction, and turn it into a place of creation,” said co-founder Richard Ballard. The startup’s story offered an inspiring possibility just in time for World Food Day.

WR_Growing Underground

A team of seven Microsoft employees are leading a company-wide effort to raise money for thousands of nonprofits — and they’ve found plenty of inspiration along the way. These “loaned professionals” served dinner to more than 150 hospitalized kids and their families, sorted medical supplies to be shipped overseas, spent time at a youth shelter and visited many other nonprofits that are helping people who need it.

“These ‘loaned professionals’ from across the company bring a special set of expertise and skills that helps us enhance and scale Microsoft’s Employee Giving Campaign,” says Lori Forte Harnick, Microsoft’s general manager of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “Our goal is to encourage employees to get involved and actively support the causes they care about, and there’s no better way to do that than by gathering insights and spreading the word through their friends and colleagues.”

Microsoft’s “loaned professionals” work to sort medical supplies that will be shipped to overseas hospitals and clinics that need them. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Microsoft’s “loaned professionals” work to sort medical supplies that will be shipped to overseas hospitals and clinics that need them. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Whether you love math or hate it, being good at it can definitely help you go places. Just ask Zuzana Kukelova, once the math whiz of her grade school, who’s just received the 2015 Cor Baayen Award. The honor is given to a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.

Kukelova is a post-doc researcher specializing in computer vision at Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge, U.K. The Cor Baayen announcement specifically cited her ability to bridge the gap “between highly abstract mathematical results, such as algebraic geometry, and engineering applications.”

WR_ kukelova

Among the cool ideas that flow regularly from the Microsoft Garage comes Twist, a fun app that lets you and your friends engage in conversations with photos. It’s named for the unexpected juxtapositions that can happen when you use a split screen for these ongoing chats. You start a photo conversation with an image that fills half the screen and wait in anticipation to see how your friends will complete the other half. It becomes a storytelling device that keeps the conversation going instead of just capturing fleeting moments.

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in apps, we’ve got plenty to choose from. Music lovers may appreciate knowing they can hear all their favorite streaming music and live digital radio stations through iHeartRadio, now available within the Groove music app on Windows 10. Good news for racing fans, too : The official NASCAR app is now available for Windows 10.

Another app you might find useful shows you who’s at your door — even when you’re not home. The Ring Video Doorbell app is available in the Windows Store.

We’ve also rounded up some gaming fun, including the retro brick-breaking adventure of “Briquid Mini,” the Vegas-style action of “Slots Pro,” a throwback version of a popular game in “Doodle God: 8-bit Mania” and the mind-bending challenge of five different puzzle games in “Pic Star.”


This week on the Microsoft Instagram account, we met Christian Fazio along what’s known as The Loneliest Road in America in northern Nevada. He helped carry the American flag as part of Team Red, White and Blue’s Old Glory Relay in support of U.S. veterans. Follow along as the flag makes its way from San Francisco to Washington D.C.


And that wraps up our look back at the week’s highlights from around Microsoft and beyond. See you here next week for our next edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

KAZAM announces 3 new Windows tablets & 2 new Windows Phones

European mobile brand KAZAM has announced 3 new Windows tablets and 2 new Windows Phones today building up to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain next week.

KAZAM L7 Front Left with screen


The new KAZAM L7 (7-inch), L8 (8-inch), and L10 (10.1-inch) tablets come with Windows 8.1 offering a familiar Windows experience. These new KAZAM Windows tablets feature a lightweight, robust and sleek design with 1280×800 IPS LCD displays and powered by Intel Atom quad-core processors. They also come with 2-megapixel front and rear cameras which are great for taking photos or making video calls with Skype. The KAZAM L7 comes with 16GB of onboard storage, while the KAZAM L8 comes with either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, and the KAZAM L10 comes with 32GB of onboard storage. All 3 KAZAM Windows tablets support expandable storage up to 32GB with a SD memory card.

kazam_9215_4thgen_3qtrFrontRight_0031_Thnd450w_Lime kazam_9215_4thgen_3qtrFrontRight_0036_Thnd_450wl_silver


The KAZAM Thunder 450W and 450WL are KAZAM’s two new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones. They both have a 5-inch IPS LCD display (720×1280), 8-megapixel front-facing cameras, and expandable storage up to 32GB with an SD memory card.

All of KAZAM’s Windows devices being announced today come with Microsoft services like OneNote and OneDrive so you can sync all your files across your devices.

For more information on KAZAM’s new Windows tablets by clicking here and their new Windows Phones by clicking here.

NYC students get Office 365 for free, Microsoft welcomes Sunrise, soldiers schooled in civilian skills – Weekend Reading: Feb. 13th Edition

It was a week of honors, awards and an acquisition. It was a week in which one more group of soldiers completed training that will help them transition from military life to the world of civilian IT. And it was a week where students in the nation’s largest city learned they’re getting free access to productivity software that will help them prepare for college and the workplace.

New York City public schools announced Office 365 is being made available, for free, to its 1.1 million students, as well as to teachers. New York City’s Department of Education, in collaboration with the City Council, is providing the Office 365 ProPlus benefit, which gives students and teachers up to five downloads of the latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher, along with anywhere, anytime access. “With free at-home access to the same tools students use at school, classroom assignments will no longer be confined to the classroom,” says Anthony Salcito, Microsoft vice president, Worldwide Public Sector Education.

Microsoft acquired Sunrise, provider of popular next-generation calendar app for iOS and Android. The acquisition, in addition to Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Acompli and the new touch-optimized universal Office apps for Windows 10, “all exemplify Microsoft’s ambition to rethink the productivity category,” says Rajesh Jha, Outlook and Office 365 corporate vice president. “Our goal is to create more meaningful, beautiful experiences in mobile email and calendaring across all platforms.”

A fourth group of soldiers graduated from the Fort Hood Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA). The academy is a 16-week course that prepares service members to transition to civilian life. In addition to being offered at the Texas base, MSSA is available at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and at Camp Pendleton in California. For Sgt. Cole McBride, one of this week’s grads, it was the death of a close friend in the military that drew him to serve his country in the first place. And during his service, he developed a deep interest in the field of computer science.

MSSA, military, education

Sgt. Cole McBride credits his wife as his biggest supporter as he readied himself and his family for his civilian transition. He is one of the new graduates of the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy at Fort Hood in Texas.

On another continent, we learned about a young man whose life was heading in a bad direction before he turned it around. Wanderson Skrock grew up in a slum outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a young teen, he sold drugs, and he was imprisoned twice. During his second sentence, he took a course offered through a Microsoft partner, Center for Digital Inclusion. It changed his life, and the lives of others, for the good. After he got out of prison, he became a computer instructor for the center, and now teaches children and teens from backgrounds similar to his. Microsoft recently named Skrock one of its global YouthSpark Youth Advisors, who will help the company create programs, partnerships and resources that meet the needs of youth around the world.

When Vinny Pasceri’s friend and fellow Microsoft employee went missing last fall, Pasceri was driven to try to do more than post search information online. He wanted to come up with a way help others in the same situation, especially those with special needs children, and with the assistance of his fellow coworkers, created a new kind of tracking system. The result is Lighthouse, which tracks proximity to a caregiver through Bluetooth Low Energy. With Lighthouse, a student wears a beacon in a wristband or other small device. The beacon is linked to an app on the phone of every teacher and specialist on the student’s schedule. The app registers when the student is within range of each caregiver. It sends a missing alert if the student is out of range. Lighthouse won a first-place award in the 2014 Global Startup Battle, considered the largest startup tournament in the world, with 25,000 international participants last year.

app, children, safety

The Lighthouse team includes, from left, Jeff Davis, Tanya Dastyar, Vinny Pasceri and John Griffin. Not pictured: Liang Frank Chen and Louisa Fan. Photo by Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures.

Microsoft is among the companies that will be honored by the American Foundation for the Blind with a 2015 Access Award in April. Microsoft is receiving props for its “huge efforts to advance accessibility in computing by increasing access to the popular Window-Eyes screen reader and by supporting the needs of customers with disabilities through a dedicated technical support service,” the foundation says. Meanwhile, Microsoft researcher and Distinguished Scientist Richard Szeliski has received one of the highest honors accorded to an engineer — election to the National Academy of Engineering — “for contributions to computer visioncomputer graphics and interactive image and video rendering.”

Early happy Valentine’s Day! No matter whether the source of your affection is Fido, feline, friends or family (or all of them), there are plenty of apps to help you celebrate. The Happy Valentine’s Day collection in the Windows Phone Store has gathered 30 apps for one-stop installing, such as the free Tom’s Love Letters (also available in the Windows Store), which provides Talking Tom and Talking Angela – the cutest-virtual-kitties-ever – as your personal Cupids. It’s got 19 romantic digital cards and four catchy love songs from which to choose. Valentine turns your phone into fantasy of hearts and roses, with more than 40 wallpapers, and lots of ideas for romance and gift suggestions. You can also find good anytime entertainment with “Wheel of Fortune” for Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. Catch up on NPR news with the free NPR One app, available on Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. And be sure to check out the revamped Weather Channel app – with better search, a new user interface and upgraded video player – for Windows PCs and tablets.

apps, Valentine's Day

From left, Tom’s Love Letters, Valentine’s Texter and Love.

This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Julia Streets, who worked in the London PR world for years, but took a break to pursue her passion for comedy. Now she does both.

Instagram, #DoMore

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. We’ll see you next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

WinHEC registration has started!

In September, I announced the return of the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) Summit in Shenzhen, March 18th and 19th. I am happy to announce today that registration for WinHEC has now started. If you are interested in attending, please request an invitation here.

The WinHEC Summit represents an important milestone for Microsoft as we continue to engage and partner throughout our Windows ecosystem. The last WinHEC occurred in 2008 and we’re honored that we’re able to start the series off again in Shenzhen. Microsoft looks forward to connecting with and learning from various OEMs, ODMs and other partners in Taiwan, Shenzhen, and the greater China community as we all work together to make Windows devices great.

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, is slated to keynote on the 18th. WinHEC Shenzhen is designed for executives, engineering managers, engineers and technical product managers at OEMs, ODMs, IHVs and IDHs who work with, or want to work with, Windows technologies. The agenda will consist of deep technical training sessions and hands-on labs across the spectrum of Windows based hardware, ranging from 2-1 PCs to Smartphones and IoT devices, as well as enabling hardware components and peripheral devices. In addition to the technical training tracks, there will also be opportunities to have two-way discussions with Microsoft executives and engineering experts. Specific details on the summit agenda will be disclosed closer to the event. To learn more, please visit http://www.winhec.com/, or to request an invitation, click here.

More to come!

Black Friday deals for Xbox One, PCs and tablets; and meet the energy sleuths — It’s (early) Weekend Reading: Nov. 26th Edition

Before you get too comfy in your chair on Thanksgiving, you’ll want to check out all the great Black Friday deals for Xbox One, PCs, tablets and more, as well as meet a passionate trio from Carnegie Mellon University who are using technology to reduce energy consumption in buildings. It’s the early edition of Weekend Reading; let’s go!

If you’ve been waiting to get an Xbox One, there’s no better time than now. Xbox One consoles, including special edition bundles Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle and Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle, will be available starting at $329 in the U.S., while supplies last, Nov. 27-29, and on Cyber Monday, online only, on Dec. 1. The $329 price is $70 off the original console price. There are also a number of Xbox Live and digital game and video deals, including 40 percent off “Forza Motorsport 5” and “Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition,” through the Xbox Store,” starting now.

games, Xbox One, bundles

Looking to give a new PC or tablet to a special someone (even if that special someone is you)? Check out Black Friday deals that include an 8-inch Windows tablet for $99, the new 13-inch Lenovo YOGA Tablet 2, on sale for $599 ($100 off); and the 15.6-inch Acer Aspire E5, for $399 (a $200 savings) at the Microsoft Store Nov. 27 through Dec. 2. Don’t miss other deals that are available on the Surface Pro 3, Lumia 635 phones and more, online at MicrosoftStore.com and select retailer websites.

OEM, tablet, Lenovo, YOGA Tablet 2

The 13-inch Lenovo YOGA Tablet 2.

A trio of energy sleuths at Carnegie Mellon University is working to find ways to make buildings more energy-efficient using advances in technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics and services such as Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning. Solving this issue is vitally important: In the United States, nearly 70 percent of all electricity is used for building operations — heating and cooling systems, lighting, ventilation and plug loads. Now this ardent team is slowing cracking the code, one building at a time, and in ways previously unthinkable.

Microsoft Azure Machine Learning, Carnegie Mellon University

The energy sleuths at Carnegie Mellon University.

If you’re still scrambling to find the perfect recipe for the holiday, Bing’s new recipe features let you look for recipes in one place as you click through a carousel with large images that help you explore dishes collected from favorite sites. Once you choose one, the recipe card shows how many people the dish will feed, and how much time it takes to make. The tabs on each card provide more information, such as ingredients, directions and reviews. Thinking about what to do with those turkey leftovers? Bing has links to some very creative recipes.

Bing recipes

You’ll be thankful, too, for these free and useful travel and holiday apps for Windows Phone, including weather app Blue Skies, which displays its information in an attractive Live Tile on your Start screen; Skyscanner, which can help you snag the best holiday airline prices, as it scans thousands of airfares from hundreds of airlines, and then makes it easy to complete purchases; and Pin.it, an easy-to-use Pinterest client that can help you scour the Web for holiday-themed recipes and decor to pin to your own, personalized ideas board. You can also save your favorite boards to your phone’s Start screen for easy access.

apps, WIndows Phone, travel, Blue Skies

The Blue Skies app for Windows Phone.

Chill out (while staying warm) with free games and music, whether you’re at home or at the airport waiting. In “Tentacles: Enter the Mind,” for Windows Phone, you go inside Dr. Phluff’s extraordinary brain. The latest update brings a new game mode, Survival, additional levels and an expanded shop. In “Chicken Invaders 4,” for Windows, you’re on the front lines of a battle against intergalactic hens and roosters that are up against a new super-weapon. Ready for some fresh tunes, and lots of free ones? The Holiday Freebies collection from Microsoft’s Music Deals app, for Windows and Windows Phone, gives you 100 albums, including Jessie J’s “Sweet Talker,” Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” for free. Yes, free. And, you’ll want to make sure you have the newly updated Viber app for Windows Phone, with more than 400 million worldwide users who use it to text, call, and send photo and video messages. It’s got a new design, better photo display in chats and improved performance.

apps, Windows Phone, Viber

Updated Viber app for Windows Phone.

This week on the Microsoft Instagram page, we spiced things up with an entrepreneur who found a way to #DoMore with sea salt.

Instagram, #DoMore, Ben Jacobsen

No matter where you spend this Thanksgiving, safe travels. And a big thanks to all of you who read Weekend Reading every week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Awesome Black Friday deals on Windows PCs and Tablets

This Friday is “Black Friday” – the biggest shopping day of the year. This is when people begin their holiday shopping. Retailers offer deep sale prices on lots of stuff including Windows PCs and tablets. I thought I would do a quick round-up of some of the best Black Friday deals as you might be looking at picking up a new device for someone in your family (or yourself – that’s cool too). If you find a really awesome deal on a Windows device that’s not covered here – feel free to leave a comment to let others who are reading this post know!

Here are some deals on tablets, which would make great stocking stuffers this year:


As I blogged about earlier this month, E FUN’s 8-inch Nextbook will be on sale in Walmart retail stores for just $99 on Black Friday.

YOGA Tablet 2 13 with Windows

The 13-inch Lenovo YOGA Tablet 2 will be on sale for $599 (you save $100) at Lenovo.com. This brand new tablet was just announced last month and you can read my blog post about the YOGA Tablet 2 here.

If you think a convertible PC might be a better fit, here is a deal on a 2-in-1 to check out:


The 15.6-inch Toshiba Radius 2-in-1 will be available at Best Buy for $699 (regular price is $899) starting Nov. 27th through Nov. 29th. The Toshiba Radius 2-in-1 comes with a touch screen and has a brushed-aluminum finish in satin gold. It comes powered by a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor too so it has quite a bit of power and quite a bit of storage with a 1TB hard drive.

A laptop is always a great choice and they are made even more affordable with these Black Friday deals:


The ASUS EeeBook X205TA will be available at Staples for $99 ($150 savings) – in Staple retail stores only – Nov. 27th  through Nov. 29th. It also comes with 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage for 2 years – on top of the 15GB of free OneDrive cloud storage you get automatically.


The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series will be available at Office Depot for $279 ($250 savings) starting 6pm on Nov. 27th. The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series has a 10-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen!


The Acer Aspire E5 will be available for just $399 ($200 savings) at the Microsoft Store Nov. 27th through Dec. 2nd. The Aspire E5 has a 15.6-inch HD display with CineCrystal glossy screen technology, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, and up to 7 hours of battery life.

The HP Pavilion Notebook 15.6-inch will be $476 and the 17.3-inch will be $511 from QVC airing on Saturday, Nov. 29th. It’ll be available in a variety of colors including pink, purple, blue, red, white, black and silver and have Beats Audio and dual speakers for rich sounding audio.

If you are looking for something a little bit bigger at an affordable price, here are some deals on All-in-One and desktop PCs:

HP Pavilion 23

The HP Pavilion 23″ Touchscreen All-in-One will be available at Costco for $799 ($100 savings) Dec. 1st  through Dec. 4th. Perfect for the entire family to share with it 1TB of hard drive space. It also has a 7-in1 memory card reader so you can easily save your holiday photos off your camera.


The Lenovo Erazer X series X315 will be available at Lenovo.com for $649 ($350 savings) starting Nov. 27th through Nov. 29th. You can also use the eCoupon BFRIDAYX3 to get this price right now! This powerful desktop would be a perfect gift for a gamer in the family. It has a futuristic, cutting edge design with AMD Radeon R9 graphics and 7.1 channel surround sound with Dolby Advanced Audio technology.

Here are some deals on 3D printing awesomeness:


Starting 12:00am on Nov. 28th and running through until 11:59pm on Dec. 1st, the 5th generation MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer will be available at the Microsoft Store for $2,699 (was $2,899).


The MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer will also be available at the Microsoft Store for $1,275 (was $1,375).

For more Black Friday deals, head on over and read this blog post from the Fire Hose Blog.

Project Spark ignites gamers’ minds, and Surface Pro 3 is a good fit for enterprise — Weekend Reading: Oct. 10th Edition

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Project Spark, the Surface Pro 3’s role in the workplace and Adobe Creative Cloud now optimized for Surface Pro 3.

Project Spark made its official world debut in stores this week, and its creators and early devotees hope the game for Windows 8.1 and Xbox One will spread far beyond its million beta users and help break the glass between players and their adventures, “not unlike how YouTube helped transform a world of video watchers into an army of camera-wielding, homespun videographers,” wrote Microsoft News Center’s Jennifer Warnick in her own “choose-your-story adventure” inspired by Project Spark. Brandon LeBlanc, of Blogging Windows said Project Spark, “aims to democratize game making by giving everyone easy-to-use tools to create, play and share their own creations with others.”

Microsoft takes Surface Pro 3’s commitment to business to the next level. More and more businesses are interested in using Surface Pro 3, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that Surface Pro 3 is an “enterprise-class device that can deliver great end user productivity. Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program as one of a number of great hardware choices for businesses large and small.” Microsoft has also launched a new support offering called Microsoft Complete for Business that includes a three-year extended warranty, accidental damage, faster exchange service and Surface setup support for customers.

Surface Pro 3, enterprise

Adobe Creative Cloud optimized for Surface Pro 3. At Adobe MAX this week, which featured Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage, attendees saw a productivity solution built to handle the challenge of mobile creativity that includes the latest version of Illustrator CC. In partnership with Adobe, the new workspace has been designed to work best with Surface Pro 3. “Go install the latest version of Illustrator CC (there is a free 30-day trial) on your Surface Pro 3 today and see what happens when you pull off the keyboard,” Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface, wrote in a blog post. “There is a transformational new experience here, and we think you are going to love it.”

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 became available worldwide, with new features to help small- and mid-sized organizations, including apps optimized for tablets and other touch devices, personalized home pages and new capabilities for electronic payments and automated account reconciliation.

Our heads go round, right round, with RoomAlive. At the 27th Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, the leading forum for innovations in the software and technology of human-computer interaction (HCI), Microsoft researchers revealed their advances with tablets, styluses and augmented reality. That included RoomAlive, which uses a unified, scalable, multiprojector system that adapts gaming content to its room and explores additional methods for physical interaction in the room, resulting in an immersive gaming experience.

Microsoft’s annual Employee Giving Campaign is held in October, and with it, many employees literally race to the finish line (if that’s how they raise money), generously donating their company-matched volunteer time and money to worthy causes. Microsoft’s employees give throughout the year, and in 2013 they raised a record-breaking $113 million for local and global nonprofits.

Microsoft employees, giving campaign

There were lots of apps, including the VH1 app for Xbox One, and for Windows Phone and for Windows. Plex for Xbox One, lets Xbox Live members enjoy movies, TV shows and other videos from their personal library on the big screen, no matter where the files are stored. (Plex will also be available on Xbox 360 soon.) The NHL on Xbox One provides live, out-of-market regular season games and replays with a subscription to NHL GameCenter LIVE. Financial management app MoBu, for Windows Phone and for Windows, goes beyond just tracking your personal income and expenses – you can also set budgets and fully analyze your financial health, without having to register an account online. Travel in time back to the 1980s with “PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX” for Windows Phone and for Windows. And a very cool new and free app, Xim, lets people share photos across multiple Windows Phone and Android devices without having to pass your phone around for everyone to see.

apps, VH1, Xbox One

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we gave acronyms a whole new meaning. How do you own your #5to9?

Facebook page, Microsoft

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Enjoy – and we’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff


Weekend Reading: Aug. 29th Edition – Surface Pro 3 now in 28 markets and Royal Caribbean provides 40,000 crew members with Windows tablets

This week, we’ve got stories on Surface Pro 3’s increased availability worldwide, Royal Caribbean Cruises going more high-tech by giving its crew Windows 8.1 tablets, and Bing in the Classroom’s lesson plans are back for a second school year.

Surface Pro 3 is now available in 25 additional markets around the world, bringing the total to 28 markets, including the United States, Canada and Japan. The 25 new markets are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is available for pre-order, and will be generally available starting Sept. 12.


Windows 8.1 tablets are headed into the hands of Royal Caribbean’s 40,000 crew members, with those on the line’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, to be the first to get the 8-inch tablets built by HEXA for the cruise line. The tablets will include services such as Bing, Skype, Office 365 and OneDrive, and will provide a vital lifeline for ship staff to stay in touch with family members. Guests aboard the Quantum of the Seas will also be able to play games with friends around the world using Xbox One consoles, available for the first time on Royal Caribbean’s ships through Xbox Live and the ship’s unprecedented connectivity.

Royal Caribbean gives its crew members 40,000 Windows 8.1 tablets

As kids head back to school, Bing in the Classroom will be there, too. Since last fall, the program has published nearly 800 lessons plans that are paired with Bing’s stunning home page photos. When used with Bing in the Classroom’s ad-free search offering, the lesson plans enable students to practice critical thinking and search skills in an ad-free, safer and more private online environment.

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

Just in time for football season, “Madden NFL 15” was released, along with a special bundle for Xbox One. For $399, you can get both the game and the Xbox One console, including wireless controller and a chat headset, with the bundle available at Microsoft retail stores and other select U.S. retailers. You also won’t want to miss the special events at Microsoft retail stores tied to the release of “Madden NFL 15,” as well as to “Destiny,” Bungie’s much-anticipated first-person shooter that will be out Sept. 9. Hands-on gameplay, prizes and free food are all part of the in-store celebrations.

Madden NFL 15, Weekend Reading

The Kinect sensor for Xbox One will become available as a standalone purchase starting Oct. 7. It will cost $149.99, and also come with “Dance Central Spotlight,” from developer Harmonix. The Kinect experience includes voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as “Kinect Sports Rivals,” “Dead Rising 3,” “Project Spark” and more.

Kinect sensor, Xbox One, Weekend Reading

New Azure SQL Database service tiers with reduced pricing were announced for the database-as-a-service that gives customers greater price performance and business continuity for cloud apps.There also will be a new performance level, hourly billing and an enhanced service-level agreement of 99.99 percent availability. As of November, customers will see savings of up to 50 percent on previously published prices for Premium and Standard tiers.

Did you spot Spotify in the Windows Phone Store? The free app lets you choose from millions of music tracks. You can browse, listen and create playlists, and you can save and share music, as well as follow others. The revamped NFL Fantasy Football apps for Windows and Windows Phone is our App of the Week, letting you join and create leagues in just minutes, and track live scoring on the go of your fantasy matchup and favorite players, with in-game video highlights available as soon as they happen on the field. You don’t want to miss the limited-time FREE Disney Games sale for Windows Phones, with six games available, including “Disney Solitaire” and “Toy Story: Smash It!” There’s also the Indie Game Spotlight in the Windows Phone Store for games like “Skelly Rider,” “Manuganu 2,” “Timberman by Digital Melody” and more than 30 others. The Share to Speech app turns articles into speech or MP3 files by sharing a Web page or pasting its link. It can also convert Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents, along with many other text files, into speech. When you install Share to Speech from the Windows Store ($4.99), it also comes with the version for Windows Phone.

Spotify for Windows Phone

Spotify app for Windows Phone.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we offered the ultimate back-to-school prize package. For a chance to win, tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo. Join us on our page to learn more on how to enter.

Microsoft Facbook page, 8-word essay, Weekend Reading

Hope you don’t have to labor too much – or at all – this weekend. Thanks for joining us for this edition of Weekend Reading, and we’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff