July 18th, 2015 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | hardware
There’s no real world usage for this kind of hack, but it’s pretty neat to see nonetheless.
It bears repeating that the neat part about being an Android user is all the tinkering you can do with your phone or tablet.
In this case, XDA Developer forum member ycavan managed to get Windows 7 running on an Asus ZenFone 2. There’s even a video showing how it works, though note that there’s no audio.
Unlike a majority of other Android phones, the Asus ZenFone 2 utilizes an Intel-based Atom processor. ycavan cited the reason for the hack was because he was curious about “running Windows at near native speeds.” It’s definitely not perfect—there is no Direct 3D support, for instance—but it works, even if the ZenFone 2’s 5.5-inch display seems a bit small for a full desktop operating system.
Why this matters: It’s always interesting to see what the enthusiast community can do with Android. I don’t personally think there’s any particular need to have Windows 7 running on such a small screen, but I don’t deny that it’s fun to do.
December 18th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | hardware
How’s your home network these days?
Does it seem slower than usual, or just plain slow? Do you find that you don’t get good coverage in all corners of your house? Do you intermittently lose your connection to your ISP?
Any of these issues may be a sign that it’s time for a new router. I say “may” because there are lots of other reasons you’re getting slow or inconsistent performance.
That said, let’s talk about that router, which is as good a place to start as any. The big question: How old is it?
If your router is more than four or five years old, you should definitely think about replacing it. Three reasons why:
1. Over time, heat can damage the internal components, which may explain symptoms like intermittent outages or slow performance. You might try pointing a small fan at your router, or moving it somewhere there’s good airflow, and seeing if that makes any difference.
2. A router that old may not support 802.11n, the most widespread Wi-Fi technology. Indeed, if your router tops out at 802.11g, you’re definitely not getting the speed and range you could be. But some 802.11n models are out of date as well, especially if they were made prior to 2009.
3. It probably doesn’t offer dual-band wireless. It’s possible that some of your other household products, like cordless phones and even your garage-door opener, operate on the same 2.4GHz wireless band as your router, and interference from them can tank your connectivity.
All this is not to say you should run out and buy a new router — but at the very least you should think about it. You could always buy one that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, try it out, and see if it makes a difference. If not, return it, no harm done.
As fate would have it, PCWorld recently reviewed the latest and greatest 802.11ac routers, a good place to start your search for a new model. Of course, those may be overkill for some home users, as the 802.11ac standard has yet to be finalized. You might be better off with one of last year’s top-rated 802.11n routers, like the Asus RT-N66U.
Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.
January 14th, 2014 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | hardware
LAS VEGAS—Asus is adding another dual-OS convertible to its stable. The all-new Transformer Book Duet TD300 is a laptop/tablet convertible that can instantly switch between the Windows 8.1 and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating systems with the push of a button.
The Duet is not a dual-boot device. When you switch operating systems, the first OS goes into a state of hibernation. When you switch back to it, the OS instantly resumes at whatever state you left it in. The Duet is also not a dual-CPU device. The machine will be powered by up to an Intel Core i7 CPU mounted inside the tablet, along with 4GB of low-power DDR3/1600 memory, up to a 128GB SSD, and Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters.
The tablet’s IPS touchscreen has native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. The tablet has a microSD slot and a headphone jack, but no USB ports. The keyboard/dock has one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 mb LAN, a headset jack, and HDMI 1.4. The device also has up to 1TB of mechanical storage. The tablet and keyboard weigh just over 4 pounds combined.
Two (or is that four?) beats three
Asus’s earlier notebook/tablet hybrid—the Transformer Book Trio—can also run either the Windows or Android operating systems. But that device had an Intel Atom processor in its tablet, and an Intel Core processor in its keyboard dock. The tablet had to be removed from the dock to run Android, and it had to be paired with the dock to run Windows. Or you could connect the dock to an external display and run Windows independently of the tablet.
But Asus muddies its own marketing message by describing the Duet as a “quad mode” laptop and tablet. The concept they’re trying to get across is that the device can operate as either a Windows or Android tablet, and it can also operate as either a Windows or Android notebook.
Hmm. Perhaps they should have called it the Quartet.
In any case, Asus has not yet announced pricing or availability for the Transformer Book Duet TD300.
October 22nd, 2013 | Edited by Zoran Stosic | hardware
Just in time for the Windows 8.1 debut and its hinted-at 4K resolution support, Asus is announcing a professional-grade (read: not cheap) Ultra HD LCD monitor.
The company showed the PQ321 Ultra HD, a 31.5-inch 4K Ultra HD monitor featuring a maximum resolution of 3840 by 2160 at Computex in Taipei. The unit has a 16:9 aspect ratio, 176-degreee wide viewing angle, DisplayPort, dual HDMI inputs, and built-in 2W stereo speakers.
More pixels (per inch)
Asus said it used Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) for the active layer of the PQ321’s LCD panel instead of the standard amorphous silicon for LCD displays. Because IGZO panels can work with smaller transistors, Asus could cram smaller pixels onto the screen. That’s a good thing considering this panel has four times as many pixels as a standard 1080p monitor.
The PQ321’s 140 pixels per inch may not sound great in an era when the iPad and other tablets have 264 ppi or more. But keep in mind a standard 1080p monitor with the same dimensions as the PQ321 would have exactly half the pixels per inch of Asus’ Ultra HD monitor.
Asus did not announce pricing or an official release date for the PQ321, but Hexus and Engadget both report that the monitor will debut in North America at the end of June.
Once you can buy Asus’ snazzy new monitor, however, what puts it to best use? Both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 will support 4K resolutions, and with the PQ321’s built-in speakers, using this monitor as a TV replacement should be a snap.
If you’re looking to do some PC gaming at 4K resolution, you’d better be prepared to shell out some serious dough—Not only for the monitor, but high end specs for your gaming box as well. A good start would be a high-powered graphics card like AMD’s $999 Radeon 7990.
Gaming may be the first, best use for a 4K monitor. The next obvious choice is movies, but since 4K resolution has yet to go mainstream, finding 4K titles could be difficult. In late 2012, Sony released a hard drive containing ten 4K movies to buyers of its $25,000 84-inch 4K UHDTV. The company is also releasing classic movies remastered in 4K such as Glory, Taxi Driver, and Ghostbusters.
Sony calls them “mastered in 4K” and ships the films on standard Blu-ray discs, but they’re not really 4K technology. For starters, current Blu-ray discs max out at 1080p resolutions. So what you’re really getting are movies that were mastered at 4K in the editing suite, but play back at home at 1080p. That said, you may notice a small bump in picture quality such as color, detail, and contrast compared to standard Blu-ray discs. The labeling clarifies that they are “optimized for 4K Ultra HD TVs.”
An Ultra HD monitor sounds great, but there probably isn’t a ton of use for it yet unless you’re a serious gamer or looking to do graphics or video editing. But if Asus pushes the price low enough—which is reeeeeeeeally unlikely right now—you could pick up a PQ321 as an investment in the seemingly inevitable 4K future.