Brian Nadel

About the Author Brian Nadel


Toshiba Portege X30 review: The clamshell strikes back

Sleek tablets and 2-in-1s get all the attention these days, but they still take a back seat to traditional clamshell laptops for outfitting business employees. Take Toshiba’s flagship Portégé X30 (technically called the X30-D), which combines peak performance with all the amenities that a traveling executive could want in a lightweight fold-open package.

I tested a souped-up X30 that costs $2,109 and includes just about every option available, from the high-performance Core i7 7600U processor that runs between 2.8GHz and 3.9GHz to its 16GB of RAM and 256GB solid state storage system. It also includes a 13.3-in. touchscreen that supports 1920 x 1080 resolution. (Toshiba doesn’t offer an X30 model with a 4K display.)

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How we test Windows system performance

At Computerworld, we give each system that we test a thorough examination that covers all of its major functions and attributes, including working with the computer as a typical business user would. For a laptop, that means assessing how well it travels. After measuring and weighing the device, we set it up on a mock-up of the typical economy-class airplane tray table to see if it will be usable in the air.

We also test the performance of the computer and its battery life as follows:

We use FutureMark’s PCMark 10 benchmarking tool to rate computers’ performance potential. The software measures how long the system takes to complete a variety of work-oriented tasks and provides a repeatable point of comparison. All the results are compiled into a single score that reflects the system’s ability to get the job done at the office and on the road. We pay particular attention to the Productivity subset and individual results for spreadsheets, writing and videoconferencing. We run the test three times and publish the average. (Prior to July 2017 we used the Work series of tests in FutureMark’s PCMark 8 benchmarking tool.)

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Samsung Galaxy Book 12: A top 2-in-1 for the enterprise

Picking up where last year’s Galaxy TabPro S left off, the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 tablet takes the lead in performance and mobile amenities while keeping its thickness and weight down. I lived and worked with the Galaxy Book 2-in-1 device for several days, and it’s now my top choice for executives and other mobile workers who need to travel light.

At 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 in. and 1.6 lb., the Galaxy Book is slightly bigger and heavier than the TabPro S it replaces. Still, it’s thinner and about 3 oz. lighter than Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4. With its detachable keyboard case and tiny AC adapter (which, fortunately, does not require a three-prong outlet), the Galaxy Book hits the road at 2.7 lb., compared to the Surface Pro 4’s travel weight of 2.9 lb.

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Got Alexa? 12 devices that extend its reach

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Acer’s Chromebook 11 N7: Tough and economical

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8 digital turntables give old records a modern spin

Dust off your records
blue record

Image by Moehre1992

Wondering what to do about that pile of records that’s collecting dust in your attic or basement? With one of these turntables, your records — from Shostakovich to Black Sabbath — can live again. This new generation of record players can play 33⅓ rpm (also known as LP), 45 rpm and sometimes even 78 rpm records — and most can also turn your favorite old vinyl into crisp new digital files.

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