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Hier — 22 octobre 2021Microsoft

The Razer deals you need to know about this Black Friday

If you're into PC gaming then you know Razer. One of the most well-known brands in the space, Razer has been making outstanding hardware for gamers longer than most and has perfected the art of giving them what they need. Any chance, then, to score Razer hardware at a discount is one not to be ignored. This year, Black Friday isn't waiting for, well, Black Friday, this year, and a bunch of Razer's hottest hardware is already discounted.

Razer Blade 15 Base | $549 off at Amazon

$1,251 at Amazon

The entry model of the best gaming laptop you can buy is available at a stunning price, with an Intel Core i7, GTX 1660 Ti, 144Hz display and 16GB of RAM.

Best Black Friday Razer deals:

Today's best Razer Deals

Best Black Friday Razer headset deals

You could use some cheap speakers or your monitor's built-in tweeters, but that won't do any game you plan on playing any justice. This is why we always recommend a good pair of headphones or a headset. Razer makes some of the best gaming headsets around and you'll find some of them on steep discount for Black Friday.

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition | $34 off at Amazon

The Razer Kraken isn't the most premium headset from Razer, but it does offer some impressive sounds with THX Spatial Audio certification. This headset has large 50mm drivers for punchy in-game sounds. Supporting both USB and 3.5mm jacks, you'll be up and running in no time at all.

$66 at Amazon

Razer Kraken Ultimate | $70 off at Best Buy

The Kraken Ultimate delivers comfort, huge sound from the 50mm drivers and integrated THX spatial audio, a solid microphone and a long cable to suit any setup. It even glows, because you know you love things that light up! Best Buy also has this headset as part of its Black Friday prices guaranteed program to make sure you get the best deal.

$60 at Best Buy

Best Black Friday Razer mouse and keyboard deals

A mouse and keyboard are argued by many PC gamers to be the best way to enjoy most titles on the platform. There are plenty on sale right now from Razer's camp.

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition | $50 off at Amazon

Razer's Huntsman is a great keyboard and the Tournament Edition takes it up a notch by removing the number pad, which you likely don't use already. It has lightning-fast linear switches, support for the company's software to customize it, and has a detachable USB-C cable which makes it perfect for carrying around in your gear bag.

$80 at Amazon

Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed | $25 off at Amazon

HyperSpeed Razer tech supports super low latency connections and interference reduction so you get wireless performance as good as wired. Bluetooth makes power consumption efficient so you get 450-hour battery life, but all the while you're getting comfortable, accurate gaming.

$35 at Amazon

Razer Viper Ultimate | $39 off at Amazon

Take the great ambidextrous design of the Viper, stuff it with Razer's latest sensor tech and optical switches, chop off the cable, add wireless charging and you end up with the Viper Ultimate. This is a wireless gaming mouse so good it's hard to tell it apart from a wired one, possibly the highest praise you can give.

$111 at Amazon

À partir d’avant-hierMicrosoft

NVIDIA GeForce Now is getting 1440p and 120 FPS streaming

What you need to know

  • NVIDIA has unveiled a new tier of GeForce Now that will give its subscribers RTX 3080 levels of performance.
  • The new tier will launch first in the U.S. and provides up to 1440p gaming at up to 120FPS from a 35mbps connection.
  • The new tier will cost $100 per six months access and will be available to the first subscribers in November.

NVIDIA is best known among gamers for its graphics cards but this latest upgrade to GeForce Now is arguably its most important product in years. GeForce Now is moving one step closer to being able to completely replace any gaming PC with its new tier, aptly called "RTX 3080."

The upgrade is courtesy of the new SuperPods, built to supply subscribers with RTX 3080 quality gaming from the cloud, with up to 1440p resolution and 120 FPS now on the table. It's the first time that the GeForce Now hardware will be based on NVIDIA's Ampere GPU architecture, and each SuperPod boasts double the CPU cores and triple the GPU specs of the current servers.

Each user connected to the SuperPod will get a virtual gaming machine the equivalent of an 8-core, 16-thread CPU, paired with a PCIe 4.0 SSD and the GPU power of an RTX 3080 (though the SuperPods don't actually use consumer RTX 3080 GPUs.) Latency has also been brought right down to 56ms, which is set to be a class leader, and this is the first time a cloud gaming service has been able to offer such high frame rate gaming.

It isn't limited to PC or Mac, either, with Samsung's phones with high refresh rate displays already having been tested by NVIDIA for compatibility with the new tier. Shield TV owners will get an added boost, with a 4K60HDR option becoming available with a 40mbps connection. Other devices may be enabled for this tier in the future, but with h.265 being used for the encoding, the Shield TV was the obvious, and easier choice for NVIDIA to start with.

120 FPS gaming will be limited to desktop or mobile clients for the time being, which means no web app access to it on desktop or iOS. NVIDIA is also going to be pushing an update to allow players to save in-game settings to be restored when they come back, and Microsoft Edge users will be pleased to know the browser is officially supported from October 21.

Cloud gaming isn't yet viable for everyone, but with these changes to GeForce Now we're already entering a time when it could start to replace full-fat gaming PCs. You can't buy an RTX 3080 right now without a gigantic effort, but do you need one if you can rent one from the cloud whenever you play your games? This is a truly impressive, and exciting update to GeForce Now and pre-reservations for subscriptions will begin today. Prices for the new tier are $100 for 6 months access and initially it will only be available in the U.S.

GeForce Now

Free at NVIDIA

NVIDIA's cloud game streaming service is one of the best available today, delivering lag-free gaming at 1080p/60fps. The fact that you can access NVIDIA's servers for free makes it an easy sell, and the $9.99 plan makes it an immediately enticing option for seasoned gamers.

The external hard drive deals you need this Black Friday

You can never have too much storage. Whether it's for a desktop PC or a laptop or even a games console, it's getting easier and easier to fill up whatever internal storage you have. Fortunately, Black Friday is rolling towards us like a freight train and it's one of the best times of the year to grab some additional hard drives. There are discounts already starting to appear, so if you need an external hard drive, these are the deals to grab.

Seagate Game Drive 2TB | $23 off at Amazon

This Xbox-certified drive is perfect to expand your console or PC storage, and even adds a little style to the mix with an LED strip along the front.

$70 at Amazon

Today's best Black Friday external hard drive deals

Best Black Friday external hard drive deals

WD Easystore 5TB | $90 off

If you need masses of storage you can take anywhere this USB 3.0 drive from Western Digital has a whopping 5TB of it. It also comes with some handy software to manage auto backups of your important files, and is part of Best Buy's Black Friday prices guarantee so you can buy early and still get the savings.

$90 at Best Buy

LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB | $10 off

This is one tough external hard drive, with a chunky case that helps protect against drops and crushing so you can truly take it anywhere. It uses USB-C and USB 3.1 for quick and convenient data transfers, and is part of Best Buy's Black Friday prices guarantee so you can buy early and still get the savings.

$100 at Best Buy

Seagate PlayStation Game Drive 2TB | $23 off

If you like your console hard drives with a Sony flavor, then there's a PlayStation-branded version of Seagate's Game Drive. This 2TB model is no different on the inside to the Xbox version, and will work with an Xbox Series X or a PC just as well as on a PlayStation.

$70 at Best Buy

Eaget 500GB USB 3.0 | $7 off

If you just need a little storage and want to keep the budget as low as possible, this USB 3.0 hard drive is just the ticket. It's incredibly affordable, slim, and portable, and still has enough space to seriously expand your file storage.

$30 at Amazon

Up your PC gaming, uh, game with one of these keyboards

Having the right tools at your disposal when PC gaming is critical, and the heart of your performance is having the best gaming keyboard. It's your primary input for a large portion of your games, so getting it right is crucial. If you want the absolute best keyboard for gaming right now, you want the SteelSeries Apex Pro.

Best overall: SteelSeries Apex Pro

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is simply unlike any other gaming keyboard you can buy right now. Some go the mechanical route. Others have started building optical switches based on breaking light beams. SteelSeries has gone for a magnetic actuation that you, the gamer, can change on a key-by-key basis to truly customize your experience to how you like to play games.

The Apex Pro makes it possible to adjust the actuation point between 0.4mm and 3.6mm using the onboard control wheel and OLED display or SteelSeries Engine. The software interacts with the magnetic Omni point switches to adjust how each key performs, and you can set keys to different values to save to profiles.

This means you can have different profiles for different games and a mix of instant actuation and, as an example, a heavier actuation on something like a special ability or a grenade to prevent accidental misfires. It's quite pricey, but there's absolutely nothing else on the market like it right now.

Pros

  • Changeable actuation points
  • Onboard storage
  • Useful OLED display
  • Included wrist rest

Cons

  • Quite expensive

Best overall

SteelSeries Apex Pro

$164 at Amazon $163 at Walmart

You've never seen a keyboard like this before

Changeable actuation on a key-by-key basis makes the Apex Pro the first genuinely customizable gaming keyboard.

Runner-up: Razer Huntsman V2 Analog

If you're shopping on a tight budget, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is not going to be your choice. It's expensive. But it's one of the most technologically advanced keyboards on the market today, so there's no brand tax being applied. In fact, there's so much going on with the Huntsman V2 Analog it's hard to know where to begin. This is a keyboard unapologetically targeted at gamers.

The heart of this keyboard is Razer's newest switch. It's an optical, as on the previous generation Huntsman, but that's where the similarities end. The Analog Optical switch is linear, so it's smooth and has no bump action, and has adjustable actuation. Each key can be altered to a value between 1.5mm and 3.6mm.

The other big deal with the switches is the scaling input. For gaming, this is designed to offer an analog feel that you might normally associate with a gamepad. Again, it's customizable on a key-by-key basis, and since you can lock profiles into the onboard memory, you can use them on any PC, too. It only really loses out to the SteelSeries Apex Pro overall on price, as it's a good chunk more expensive, but you get a truly mesmerizing keyboard for it.

Pros:

  • Adjustable actuation points on a per-key basis
  • Analog optical switches are light and quiet
  • USB-C connection
  • Much improved wrist rest included
  • Controller-like function for keys
  • USB 3.0 pass-through

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Quite chunky and heavy

Runner-up

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog

Razer's most ambitious keyboard to date is also its best by a clear margin. From the switches to the build quality and everything in between, this is a simply staggering keyboard.

$250 at Razer

Best budget mechanical: Havit KB-395L

Havit has released a solid, low-profile keyboard with excellent Kailh mechanical keys. That's a feat in itself, but to have it combined with such a sound typing experience is the icing on the cake. The Havit KB-395L is one of our favorite low-profile mechanical keyboards.

The switches are still perfectly suitable for gaming, but this is a keyboard that comes into its own for anyone who wants to combine their gaming with a ton of typing for work. It's almost crazy how good this keyboard is for its low asking price; it's so comfortable to type on for long periods.

But it's still got RGB, a detachable cable, superb build quality, and durability, and some useful companion software that allows you to create macros, lockout the Windows key, customize the lighting profiles, and a dedicated "game mode."

Pros

  • Good value
  • Excellent typing experience
  • Detachable cable
  • Low-profile mechanical keys

Cons

  • Prone to flex in the middle
  • No media keys

Best budget mechanical

Havit KB-395L

$67 at Amazon

For when you type and game

This low-profile keyboard is as good for typing as it is for gaming and has a ton of customizable options, all at a great price.

Best membrane: Razer Cynosa V2

Not everyone enjoys the added noise you get from mechanical switches while still wanting something reliable for gaming. The Razer Cynosa V2 is one of the best membrane keyboards around with a quiet sound and a soft cushioned keypress.

Naturally, this Razer keyboard comes with Chroma lighting and supports a 10-key rollover with anti-ghosting. Thanks to the Synapse 3 companion app, you have additional features like locking out the Windows key when gaming, and you can add other functions or macros to any key using Razer Hypershift.

Perhaps the icing on the cake, though, is that the Cynosa Chroma is spill-resistant, which makes it a good companion for the office, too, since you'll never have to worry about that inevitable coffee spill!

Pros

  • Quiet membrane keys
  • 10-key rollover and anti-ghosting
  • Macros and customizable key functions
  • Spill-resistant

Cons

  • No detachable cable
  • Membrane is not as responsive as mechanical

Best membrane

Razer Cynosa V2

$50 at Amazon

A quiet gaming experience

Quiet, cushioned key presses, gamer-centric features, and protections against spills are a keyboard perfect for work and play.

Best wireless: Logitech G613

There was a time when a wireless gaming keyboard would be unthinkable. Not only is it now an option, but thanks to the Logitech G613, it's a great option with mechanical switches.

Thanks to the company's Lightspeed technology, you get a 1ms report rate while being able to clack away on Logitech's Romer-G switches. That's important because latency without a cable is a thing, but Logitech has worked black magic on keeping it as low as possible.

The wrist rest is permanently attached, and incredibly, Logitech claims it's possible to get a full year's battery life from the G613 through general use. For a pretty affordable price, you get all that, macro keys, and, most importantly, no wires, which certainly helps keep your desk a little tidier!

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Romer-G mechanical switches
  • Macros and customizable key functions
  • Great battery life
  • Bluetooth support
  • Attractive price

Cons

  • Quite large
  • No backlight
  • Average wrist rest

Best wireless

Logitech G613

$71 at Amazon $70.52 at Walmart

The wireless quality you get from Logitech

Wireless is now a real possibility for gaming, and the response time of the G613 is proof that the future is cable-free.

Best compact: Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini

In our review of the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini, we gave this mechanical keyboard our full five-star rating, as well as a must-buy recommendation. Razer as a brand has been around for decades and has an almost fanatical following, but you really do get what you pay for. The BlackWidow V3 Mini is a 65% keyboard, so it's super compact, and while gamers are the first thought, in certain configurations this is also the perfect mechanical keyboard for the office.

Razer uses its own Green or Yellow switches in the BlackWidow V3 Mini, depending on whether you prefer tactile feedback or silent actuation. Lots of mechanical switches claim to be silent, but few deliver on the level that the Razer Yellow switches do. The soft, cushioned action and lack of sound make it a dream to spend a day typing on. The keycaps are all of the highest quality, too, and the lack of wobble in any, including the space bar, is reassuring of its quality.

The BlackWidow V3 Mini is mostly plastic, but it's durable feeling with a little weight to it, and certainly doesn't feel cheap or like it might break in any way. It hooks up over USB-C for charging (yes, it's wireless!), and like all good gaming keyboards, has full RGB lighting throughout.

Pros:

  • Choice of Razer Green or Yellow switches
  • Compact and clean design
  • Razer Chroma integration
  • Excellent build quality
  • HyperSpeed wireless

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • RGB lighting decimates battery life

Best compact

Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini

Razer just made the best compact gaming keyboard with HyperSpeed wireless, a choice of switches, 65% percent design, and excellent ergonomics.

$150 at Amazon

Choosing the best gaming keyboard

There are a lot of great gaming keyboards out there right now, and PC gamers are spoiled. If the price doesn't put you off, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is the one to get right now. It brings something genuinely new and innovative to the table with its use of magnets to allow customizable actuation points on a key-by-key basis.

No other gaming keyboard does this right now, and it's one of those features you didn't know you wanted until you try. SteelSeries has top-notch build quality, too, and a decent companion application that really will help you get the most from your keyboard. Whether you're typing or gaming, you're in excellent hands with the Apex Pro.

If you don't fancy such functionality and want the best gaming keyboard for competitive play to help you score big online, look no further than the Razer Huntsman. It's compact, amazing to type and game on, and is a little more affordable. There are some excellent choices out there for gaming keyboards and this guide is a solid place to start.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

Let's hope nobody copies Apple's ridiculous MacBook notch

Go home, Apple, you're drunk.

It had been rumored, but did anyone really think even Apple would do it? Oh, they did it all right. The all-new MacBook Pro has a freaking notch.

I'm still laughing. This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on a laptop since, well, Apple launched the Touch Bar. I've been critical of Apple's design for its laptop and desktops for a while because it felt like the company had gone from truly innovating to just treading water. Enticing its fans with fluff while the rest of the world's PC makers were collectively making real steps forward.

And that still seems to be the case. The Touch Bar was one thing, but the notch is something else. But there's a bigger question, concern, even. And that's the inevitable copying of Apple design by at least some hardware makers that might use Windows. Not only is it ridiculous, but what possible purpose does it even serve?

Especially when Apple itself is hiding it in most of the promo renders on its own webpage.

Notch what we want to see

Apple's hiding the notch in a lot of its promo images on its own website. Not embarrassed, surely?

The MacBook Pro doesn't even have Face ID. That's the biggest joke here. Eventually, you'd assume it will and the notch is a pre-emptive decision before making that a reality. But in its first incarnation, it's literally a home for a webcam. And since macOS is all menu bar all the time across the top of the display, you're really making the most of that extra few vertical pixels' worth of space.

Apple analysts would no doubt disagree, but I'm adamant that Apple has made a conscious decision to make the notch a feature. I mean, we're all talking about it so I guess it worked? While it is/was excusable on a smartphone, what possible quality of life increase will it provide?

Does it exist purely to tell other people you have the latest MacBook Pro?

Aside from letting the other MacBook users in Starbucks know you're using the latest model, of course.

The sad part is that the silliness with the notch distracts from some of the actual, serious work Apple has done under the hood with its M1 chips. If you ignore the fact that there are going to be Macs powered by an M1 Max. An M1 Max Mac? Yeesh. The MacBook Pro otherwise just looks like another Apple laptop, and in days past, Windows OEMs would try their best to mimic the MacBook style.

For the love of God, don't.

Windows laptops can do both skinny bezels and facial recognition

I'm not breaking out the calipers, or even looking too long at spec sheets, because Apple's bezels might well be the skinniest. But we're talking about the smallest of margins that it really doesn't matter.

What should matter to anyone buying a Windows laptop or a new MacBook Pro is that it's just not necessary. If you're going to hide the notch with a dark mode theme anyway, why go through the trouble?

The fact Apple didn't even do Face ID is a pretty big letdown.

The lack of any kind of Face ID is a bit of a letdown though. Obviously, we're used to Windows Hello and being able to log into our machines before we even put the cup of coffee down. But we're not exactly lugging around great lumps of metal and glass with bezels you could land a plane on, are we?

I'm sat typing this on a Razer Book with delightfully thin bezels, a compact form factor, and Windows Hello facial recognition. I could do the same on a similarly designed and equipped Dell XPS 13 or XPS 15. How about the new Surface Pro 8?

The reasons for buying a Mac or a Windows laptop haven't changed with any of today's announcements. The people who really benefit are the existing Mac buyers, and they're probably going to have a blast. But this stupid notch is one trend we really, really don't need anyone copying. We've already got a good thing going on.

The HP Envy 32 is the ultimate all-in-one PC — here's why

Having a desktop PC doesn't have to mean having a separate box, monitor, and the endless cables that run between the two. Whether you're tight on space or just looking for something simpler and more elegant, the all-in-one PC could be the right choice for you. And fortunately, there are some great all-in-one Windows PCs, like the HP Envy 32.

Best Overall: HP Envy 32

Sometimes with an all-in-one PC, you have to compromise, but with the HP Envy 32, you genuinely do not. Its size helps a little, but you can have pretty much everything you could ever want from a PC all in this single unit.

That includes a full-fat 65W Intel Core i7 CPU, not the slimmed-down versions you often find inside an all-in-one or a laptop, and its paired with either NVIDIA GTX or RTX dedicated graphics. You might not be buying one of these as a gaming rig, but you bet it can tear up the latest titles.

The Envy 32 also boasts a massive 32-inch display, with both 4K resolution and HDR and a neat anti-reflective finish, which makes it so much nicer to sit in front of for long periods.

Pros:

  • 32-inch 4K anti-reflective HDR display.
  • GTX or RTX graphics.
  • 65-watt Core i7 CPU.
  • Pop-up Windows Hello 5MP camera.
  • Display input/output.

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi 6.
  • Display limited to 60 Hz.
  • SSD is just OK.

Best overall

HP ENVY 32 All-in-One

From $1,530 at HP

Real CPU, powerful GPU, and 4K

HP's ENVY 32 AIO sets the bar for AIO PCs in 2020. It blows away the Apple iMac 27, and it can act as your TV, computer for work, and a gaming rig.

Runner-up: Lenovo Yoga A940

Microsoft's Surface category usually sets a trend that the Windows OEM partners will try to emulate, iterate or just plain make better, and Lenovo's Yoga A940 all-in-one is undoubtedly one which fits that mantra.

It has an articulating hinge reminiscent of the Surface, which means for the creative folks out there, grab the pen and get to some comfortable drawing on a massive sketch pad. It's not just creators and designers who will enjoy it, though.

The big, beautiful 4K display is attached to some pretty exciting hardware, including a full desktop-class Intel Core i7, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an AMD RX 560 GPU. It's also got Thunderbolt 3, an essential desire in modern high-end computers. Perhaps most amazing, though, is that you can upgrade some components on this machine, meaning you can keep it up to scratch for much longer.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable pricing.
  • Plenty of ports, including Thunderbolt 3.
  • 4K touch display with excellent color.
  • Robust hardware options.
  • Loud, full, front-firing audio.

Cons

  • More powerful GPU options would be welcome.
  • Fan is quite loud.
  • Build quality lacking compared to other premium AIOs.

Runner-up

Lenogo Yoga A940

From $1,760 at Lenovo

A more affordable Surface Studio-alike

Upgrade hardware, enjoy the included accessories, and create to your heart's content with this multipurpose all-in-one PC.

Best for creators: Microsoft Surface Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 isn't just an all-in-one PC. It's perhaps the most innovative computer in recent memory. Not only do you get a full, powerful Windows 10 PC in the same box as a display, but you also get a stunning, sleek, slim form factor. Oh, and it also folds down flat like the biggest, most glorious sketchpad you've ever seen.

The Surface Studio 2 is an amazing PC, but it comes alive when you're a creator. That massive display is all-touch with pen support, so it's an incredible digital canvas. Throw on the Surface Dial, and you've got a killer toolset at your fingertips. It isn't cheap, but at the upper levels, you can get fairly capable dedicated graphics from NVIDIA that will even be OK for some modest gaming.

The real draw to the Studio 2 is the articulating display, though. It's still largely unmatched, and the biggest drawback to it right now is that the Surface Studio 2 remains very expensive and, at this point, is probably due for a refresh. But the experience it delivers is still absolutely superb.

Pros:

  • Unique drawing and touch experience.
  • Gorgeous display.
  • Decent graphics horsepower.
  • Fast SSD storage.

Cons:

  • Hardware starting to get outdated.
  • Very expensive.
  • No Thunderbolt 3.

Best for Creators

Microsoft Surface Studio 2

From $2,849 at Amazon

A unique and brilliant PC

It's incredibly expensive, but with one of the best displays on any PC and a unique articulating hinge, this is a game-changing all-in-one.

Best Budget: Dell Inspiron 24 5000

Dell's new 24-inch all-in-one is a perfect addition to your family setup, thanks in no small part to its thoughtful design. The bezels are virtually non-existent, making for a compact body, and even the stand has been designed to be as space-efficient as possible.

It's not lacking on hardware, either. Inside, you'll find a range of Intel 10th Gen processors, up to 16GB of RAM, options for speedy NVMe SSD storage, and even a front-facing soundbar to make your music and movies sound great. There's also a pop-up webcam for those important calls to relatives. Or work colleagues.

There are options to suit all budgets, including a very affordable entry-level model, but you'll have to make do with sluggish HDD storage at this level as a compromise. All spec levels come with a 1080p display, though, making for a well-equipped, stylish family computer.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous design with almost no bezels.
  • Space efficient stand.
  • 10th Gen Intel processors.
  • Options to suit all budgets.
  • Pop up webcam.

Cons:

  • Entry model fairly slow.
  • No dedicated graphics.
  • No Thunderbolt 3.

Best Budget

Dell Inspiron 24 5000

From $530 at Dell

Something to offer the whole family

With a space-efficient design, a great screen, a pop-up webcam, and a host of spec options, the Inspiron 24 5000 has something to offer the whole family.

The bottom line

Choosing an all-in-one PC can be difficult, not least because they're not the most popular type of machine, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of hot hardware to choose from. HP's Envy 32 is the cream of the crop, and for many good reasons.

It ticks just about every box you could think of. You get a big, beautiful display, high-end hardware inside that includes actual gaming-class graphics from NVIDIA, stunning design, and some thoughtful features.

Not only does it include a webcam, but it pops out of sight when you don't need it, and it supports Windows Hello when you do. It's also one of the only all-in-one PCs that can accept a display input as well, so you can also use it as a monitor for your laptop when you need to. It can't be beaten right now.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. F5ollow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.

These are all the best AMD Ryzen-powered laptops

When you're buying a new laptop, the majority of the selection in front of you will be powered by Intel processors or a combination of Intel processors and NVIDIA dedicated graphics. AMD's Ryzen APUs are starting to be used more, though, and not just in the traditional budget space. Overall, an AMD-powered laptop represents an excellent value package, especially on laptops without dedicated graphics. If it's one of the best Windows laptops with AMD Ryzen you seek, you've come to the right place.

Top pick

HP Pavilion Aero 13 laptop

Staff pick

Weighing around 2 pounds, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 is the best sub-$1,000 laptop you can buy right now. With an excellent display, keyboard, audio, and AMD Ryzen performance, it's a premium laptop that is super affordable. You get the latest Ryzen 5000-series processors, and a laptop that at this price was once impossible. Additionally there's a choice of colors, and styling borrowed from HP's more expensive laptops to give you a truly impressive package.

From $670 at HP

Best gaming

Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop

The Razer Blade 14, the company's first-ever AMD Ryzen laptop is an absolute monster. It follows the traditional Blade design, but size-wise slots between the Blade Stealth and Blade 15. You get a 14-inch 165Hz 1440p display, a Ryzen 9 5900HX, and either an NVIDIA RTX 3070 or 3080. Razer's traditional features such as Chroma are here, too, as is plenty of connectivity and an innovative cooling solution. The Blade 14 is one of the most powerful gaming laptops available today.

From $1,800 at Razer

Budget choice

Lenovo Flex 5 14

If you ignore the average-quality display, what you have with the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 is a potent yet affordable convertible laptop. With up to 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 4000-series APUs on tap, you get good CPU and GPU performance, and this is paired with a great keyboard and all-day battery life. It's well built, has 16GB of RAM, fast storage, and even comes with an active pen included for some digital inking action.

From $708 at Amazon

Budget performance

Acer Swift 3 laptop

The Acer Swift 3 is another laptop with an average-quality display, but that more than makes up for it elsewhere. In this case, you'll find a Ryzen 7 4700U inside with eight cores and a powerful integrated GPU that can better the performance of some of NVIDIA's entry-level dedicated chips. The design and build are solid, the price is attractive, and it even gets decent battery life.

From $687 at Amazon

Budget gaming

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop

HP's Pavilion Gaming Laptop keeps the price way down but doesn't skimp on the hardware. Inside you'll find an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor paired with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU, which is a solid pairing for 1080p gaming. It comes with a small but upgradeable SSD, 8GB of RAM, and a nice, subtle design with a strong keyboard for when you need to stop gaming and start working.

$723 at Amazon

Ultrabook in design

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (AMD)

Microsoft's latest Surface Laptop 4 features powerful "Surface Edition" AMD Ryzen 4000-series chips, which include up to an 8-core APU and AMD Radeon graphics, all in a slim and light Ultrabook chassis originally designed for an Intel chip. It's available in either 13.5-inch or 15-inch display sizes, and features all-day battery life and super-fast Windows Hello, not to mention a great keyboard and trackpad.

From $900 at Microsoft

16-inch gaming

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop

A more affordable, but still mightily powerful AMD-powered gaming laptop, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gets a Ryzen 7 5800H paired with NVIDIA's RTX 3070 for frame-shredding performance. You also get a high refresh rate display with QHD resolution, a fantastic keyboard, and all the ports you could possibly need to hook up your external devices. The styling is also quite subtle, making it a laptop you could also take to work without being embarrassed in the meeting room.

From $1,300 at Lenovo

If we had to choose ...

Ryzen-powered laptops often slip under the radar, but the truth is there are some fantastic laptops out there powered by AMD. Currently, we'd happily recommend the HP Pavilion Aero to anyone specifically looking for a Ryzen laptop, and, frankly, anyone who isn't that bothered with what's inside. It looks great; it's beautifully made, powerful, and quite affordable given the package it presents.

Gamers are well represented, in particular by HP. At the budget end of the scale you really can't go wrong with the excellent spec sheet on the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop, while for the more demanding gamer the Razer Blade 14 is the one to beat.

Budget buyers aren't left out either, with excellent laptops like the Lenovo Flex 5 delivering style and performance similar to much more expensive laptops, but at a price more agreeable to budget buyers, perhaps even for education or general home use with the kids.

Windows 11 vs. Chrome OS: Which is better for you?

How does Microsoft's newest version of Windows stack up against Google's constantly evolving Chrome OS?

Microsoft's Windows and Google's Chrome OS are the two most popular desktop operating systems in the world. Both run on similar laptops nowadays, with the days of only super-cheap Chromebooks behind us. You could very well see an almost identical laptop side by side, one with Windows 11 and one with Chrome OS.

That makes it worth considering the merits of each since it's more likely than ever that an average laptop buyer might well be choosing between the two platforms and trying to decide which is best for them.

Even though Chrome OS has come a long way, it's still a different beast to Windows 11. For some, it might be everything they need, for others, still lacking.

Windows 11 vs. Chrome OS: Hardware support

One clear difference between the two operating systems is the hardware support. Even though Windows 11 has some fairly stringent requirements, like the much-discussed TPM 2.0 support, with Windows and a Windows laptop or desktop there is an added freedom you don't get with Chrome OS.

You can put Windows 11 on almost any laptop sold within the last few years, and likewise, desktops, whether pre-built or custom. If you're OK doing it "unsupported" you can install it on machines that don't meet the hardware requirements, too.

If you buy a Chromebook that's basically what it is. If you decide you don't like it and want Windows instead, you're basically buying a new PC. There are ways and means of wiping Chrome OS and installing alternative operating systems, but it's a pretty involved process and not something the average user will want to undertake.

If you're buying a new laptop, though, there are really good choices on both sides. Chromebook hardware has really come on in the last couple of years, with even high-end laptops now boasting Chrome OS, using both Intel and AMD chips. There are limitations, of course, like there are no "gaming Chromebooks," and as such if you're a gamer you'll always be going Windows.

Windows 11 vs. Chrome OS: Design and user experience

The two operating systems have their own visual identity, with Windows 11 getting a sizeable overhaul when compared to Windows 10. It's a lot more pleasing to look at, with both smaller and larger details contributing to the overall effect. But Windows is still plagued by a mishmash of old and new, with legacy menus that still look fresh out of the Windows Vista area jarring to stumble upon.

Chrome OS, too, has evolved a lot over the years, and you could say it combines a traditional desktop experience with something you might find on a mobile device. The taskbar, or "Shelf," can be used to pin favorite apps, just the same as Windows, but instead of a Start menu there's an app drawer. This is particularly useful on touch-enabled devices.

Chrome OS has always been good for lighter needs and workflows, and that still continues today. The user interface is extremely streamlined, and there aren't many background processes bogging things down. Android will use up a good chunk of system resources, so it should be disabled if you're not using it, but aside from that, it's a very lightweight and sprightly OS. This is remarkable enough considering Chrome browser's RAM usage on Windows is a bit of a meme.

Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10 but with a more pleasing user interface. But the prettiness does hide some issues, like removal of features from the taskbar and Start menu, and under the hood, there are still a lot of background processes running even when you're doing absolutely nothing. It's easier for a Windows 11 PC to feel a bit bogged down, but then it's also a lot more capable in terms of what you can actually get done.

Windows 11 vs. Chrome OS: Android apps for all

One of Chrome OS's signature features will, at some point, also be a part of Windows 11. Android app support will come to Windows 11 in a different form to Chrome OS, but the end result is the same: Android apps on your laptop or desktop.

For Chrome OS, a version of Android is baked into the operating system and with the Google Play Store, you have at your disposal the largest catalog of Android apps there is. And as it has matured, a number of apps have been updated to be optimized for a Chromebook. It's yet to be seen whether Windows 11 will get similar treatment.

Windows 11 will be using the Amazon App Store, which just isn't as good. It doesn't matter how you look at it, the Play Store is where it's at if you want Android apps. We don't really know for sure yet what else the Windows Subsystem for Android will allow, but if you're desperate to do some Snapchat on your PC, you probably can.

Both operating systems also support use on tablets, with Chrome OS possibly getting the edge in the user-friendliness count. But when it comes to using Android apps, you won't be limited to a mouse and keyboard on either.

Chrome OS is more than just a web browser

If you're thinking that Chrome OS is just a laptop with the Google Chrome browser on it then you're wrong. Granted, the Chrome browser is still a focal point, but Chrome OS is much, much more than that.

Obviously, we've already talked about Android, but Chrome OS also has a full Linux virtual machine within it as well, allowing you to run Linux applications both with graphical interfaces and within a terminal environment. It has its limitations, but Google continues to improve it, and it plugs a gap if Chrome OS doesn't have the software you need.

It's also not necessary to run Chrome OS online, even if you're using an online service like Google Docs. Many services have offline support, and when you are online you're seamlessly integrated into the Google cloud.

Chrome OS is also useful if you're a developer. You don't have everything you might need as you would on Windows 11, but you can run VSCode and other popular coding apps on Chrome OS and build yourself a great workflow. Chrome OS can also run Windows, admittedly in virtual form and in limited capacity right now, but with help from Parallels, Chrome OS is getting close to being an operating system for everyone.

Chrome OS also comes with access to the Google Assistant, the same as you might be using on your smartphone. It's not even a competition when it comes to comparing Google Assistant with Cortana, especially since in most parts of the world the latter is already dead. But it does open up access to all your Google Assistant skills and voice commands from your Chromebook.

Windows 11 runs basically everything

The advantage of Windows 11 is that it runs basically everything. As by far the most used desktop operating system on the planet, if you need a piece of software for something there's a strong chance you'll find it on Windows.

The new Microsoft Store on Windows 11 is becoming a home for all kinds of applications, but of course, you're not limited to what you find there. Services like the Windows Package Manager can make installing software en masse a breeze, and of course, you can download directly from source.

Windows 11 also has added strength in its choice of browser. Microsoft Edge is the "recommended" choice, and the new version shares a lot of its underlying tech with Google Chrome. But while running alternative browsers is possible on Chrome OS, it's far from an ideal experience.

Then you have games. Chrome OS can make use of cloud services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia, as well as Android games, but that's about it. There are no Chrome OS machines with dedicated graphics, so if you want native PC gaming you're still going to need to get Windows right now.

The beauty of Windows 11 when it comes to software compatibility is that you really don't have to think about it. If you need something, it's there. That now includes Linux, too, with GUI apps supported in the latest versions of the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Summary

You could spend hours going into all the little differences between Windows 11 and Chrome OS, but there's really no need. If you're the sort of person who already relies on Windows for the software it gives access to or for gaming, then Chrome OS won't be enough to tempt you away. Likewise, if you're immersed in the Microsoft ecosystem, Windows is naturally a better fit.

Chrome OS comes into its own for lighter use cases still and is arguably a better choice for those looking to buy a budget laptop. With modern Chromebooks, it's possible to get nice hardware at an affordable price, and the OS is flexible enough to grow as your use case might do.

Windows 11 is all around more capable though, but it's a very different beast in the grand scheme of things.

How to farm hidden caches fast in Aliens: Fireteam Elite

Hidden caches are a great way to acquire all kinds of sweet loot, so here's the most efficient way to farm them.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is supposed to be an endlessly replayable third-person shooter and part of that is down to its Challenge Card system. These can be obtained from the armory on Endeavor, or they can be found in hidden caches in the game's missions.

These aren't the only items of sweet loot that you can find in the hidden caches. If you're hunting for attachments and cosmetic items, too, you'll also find them in these chests. Every mission has one hidden cache spawn, but it's never in the same place each time, which makes farming runs a little more tricky.

Fortunately, if you're looking to get as many hidden cache's as you can as quickly as possible, there is one run you can do that is currently the most efficient in the game. Here's what to do.

How to farm hidden caches fast in Aliens: Fireteam Elite

Normally when you think of loot farming you'll be thinking of killing the same boss over and over or running the same piece of a level to get a chest or something to that effect. Unfortunately, there's no guaranteed way of getting a hidden cache quickly every time. Their spawns are down to RNG, but a cache will spawn on every mission. The only way to guarantee you get one every time is to play through the whole mission.

But that isn't very quick. Fortunately, there's a run in the game that can speed up your acquisition of hidden caches.

The mission in question is in Act 2, and it's the third mission called Giants in the Earth: Evacuate. You will have to reach this level first by completing prior missions. You can run this on casual difficulty if you want, and it doesn't really matter which class you use as you're going to be avoiding all enemies and completing the run as quickly as possible. Also, don't apply any challenge cards because you won't be completing the mission.

Here are the exact steps to follow.

  1. Once loaded into the mission run straight towards the objective marker.
  2. Go through the door in the first room and run down the stairs.
  3. Go through the second door and into the room full of Synths.

  4. Keep running dead straight, right through the middle of the room ignoring any enemies, and dodge rolling out of the way if you need to.

  5. At the end of the room there is a staircase that goes down, and if the hidden cache has spawned you'll see it at the bottom.

After you either get the hidden cache or you see it isn't there from the top of the stairs, you need to abandon the mission. Do this in the main menu, head over to the Settings tab, hit Abandon mission. and then the big red button in the middle. You'll then spawn back on the Endeavor.

This whole run takes no more than 30 seconds, and on the Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5 and PC at least, loading times aren't too bad when you're trying to load in and then abandon the mission. On last-gen consoles, you will have a bit longer to wait.

The hidden cache won't be there every time, but as this is such a short run it's the most efficient way to farm for them. It can be quite lucrative, too, with a 10-minute spell doing this run getting me three hidden caches. Equally, you could get none in that time, but so far this hasn't come up empty for me without running it for a particularly long time.

Alternative hidden cache even new players can farm

If you're a brand-new player to the game, there is an alternative hidden cache you can farm for in the very first mission. It isn't as fast, and in my experience hasn't been as lucrative, either, but if you're looking to get an edge early on it might be worth spending a little time on.

Once loaded into the first mission, here's what to do.

  1. Follow the objective marker until you have to download the plans.
  2. Once the plans are downloaded, set off again towards the next objective marker.
  3. When you get to the room where Herrera on comms comments on acid, stop.

  4. Go to the right-hand side of this room where you'll see a blocked walkway.
  5. Look straight ahead and if you can see the orange chest, continue. If not, abandon the mission and reload, then try again.

  6. If you see the hidden cache, carry on towards the objective marker.
  7. When you get there, keep running past the Xenos that spawn and follow the corridor round to the right.
  8. Go right again at the next junction.
  9. You'll now be on the other side of that blocked walkway and can claim the hidden cache.

That's all there is to it. You'll need some luck from the RNG gods for whichever of these methods you employ, but neither take that long nor require you to engage with any enemies. Once you unlock the final mission in Act 2, that's definitely the one to use, but the first mission can net you some tasty rewards, too.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite

Bottom line: Aliens: Fireteam Elite is unquestionably a nostalgic treat for longtime franchise fans, but more importantly, this co-op shooter stands toe-to-toe with many of its bigger-budget contemporaries. File under 'F" for fun as hell.

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox) $40 at Steam (PC)

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