Even if you would never see yourself buying a gaming laptop, you should take the time to read Monica Chin’s review of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. There are a lot — I mean a LOT — of remarkable things about this laptop.
First and foremost, it is running on the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS chip, which runs at 35W with 8 cores at 3.0 GHz that can boost up to 4.4 GHz. In context, what that actually means is that it outclasses anything Intel has put into a laptop to date. I’ve been anticipating this release ever since Nilay Patel interviewed AMD CEO Lisa Su earlier this year. She talked big game then, and by all accounts her company has delivered.
What’s most remarkable about this laptop is that by gaming laptop standards it is absolutely thin and light. You can get a build with a 120Hz display (at 1080p) and Monica say she’s getting nearly nine hours of battery life in regular day-to-day use. That’s unheard of.
Unfortunately, if like me you were thinking “Well I wanted to get into PC gaming so I’ll make this my main laptop,” you should know that it doesn’t come with a webcam. Which is a curious choice.
Intel still has new 10th Gen chips due later this year that may compete, but as Monica wrote, “Asus and AMD have successfully put Intel on notice.” This isn’t the only difficult news Intel is facing this week. Acer is joining Asus in making laptops with AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile processors, too.
And then there’s ongoing rumors of the Mac switching to ARM. The latest report from Ming-chi Kuo says that there will be “several” next year. If “several” means “at least three,” then that’s two more ARM-based Macs than I figured Apple would release to start. If it’s true, it’s a very aggressive transition plan coming just one year after a bunch of people will have purchased new MacBooks because they were holding out for better keyboards. Something to watch for!
It’s not all bummer news for Intel, though. After flirting with ARM for years, it seems like all the decent Chromebooks run Intel now. And Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook hits shelves April 6th. This laptop is the latest test to see if there’s demand for a high-end Chromebook — the first since the Pixelbook. In fact, I think it’s fair to say Google chose not to rev the Pixelbook and instead put that effort into helping Samsung out with this.
As for whether it will be a successful test, well, first we have to review it and see if it’s any good. My main concern during the hands-on was screen wobble when typing. I am rooting for it if only because I love the color so much — fewer gray laptops more intense colors like this red please.
News from The Verge
┏ Microsoft aims to win back consumers with new Microsoft 365 subscriptions. You could make the case that this was the most important thing that happened in tech yesterday and I wouldn’t necessarily argue. Microsoft’s smart to get this subscription out of the headspace of Office and into the general consumer headspace.
When it comes to value for money, Microsoft’s subscription that gets you a bunch of OneDrive storage, access to Office apps, and a few spiffy add-ons is better than what Google and Apple have on offer. I’ll be very curious to see if there’s consumer uptake on Microsoft Teams, too. I tend to doubt it — but the coronavirus has more people than ever using enterprise tools like Zoom for non-business use.
┏ Google cancels its infamous April Fools’ jokes this year. I know some people will call me a buzzkill but truly: don’t bring it back.
┏ Amazon warehouse workers walk out in rising tide of COVID-19 protests. Josh Dzieza reports:
Amazon has a strong infrastructure for keeping its warehouse employees informed. For example, when the company announces mandatory overtime, Palmer points out, the company sends out texts and emails to every worker. “With this incident, they have not sent out one text — nothing at all,” Palmer says.
┏ A new COVID-19 test can return results in 5 minutes. Good news, and the new test could increase US testing capacity by 50 percent. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we are testing enough yet.
Commercial and state labs are now running upwards of 100,000 tests per day, but the US is still running fewer tests per capita than many other countries.
One example of how the anonymized data was reportedly used: Researchers discovered large numbers of people were gathering in a New York City park, and notified local authorities.
The streaming slowdown
┏ OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It has 74 satellites in orbit. Gonna need to deal with that.