The best of Computex

The best of Computex

For PC industry watchers, the annual Computex Taipei tradeshow, the largest in Asia, offers a glimpse of upcoming products.

Last week's was no different, with major PC brands Acer, Asus and Dell showing off their latest wares. But the biggest announcement came from Intel, which said that its latest Thunderbolt 3 interface would adopt the new USB Type-C connector.

The new version can go up to 40Gbps compared with USB's 10Gbps. The increased bandwidth will let users hook up multiple 4K or even 5K displays to a PC with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. Thunderbolt 3 also has an optional power transmission feature that could be used to power or charge devices.

A universal cable connector is good news. But there was more to come. Intel also announced that two competing wireless charging consortiums, Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Alliance Matters, have officially merged.

The new entity supports the Rezence magnetic resonance wireless charging technology. Big names, such as Samsung, Starbucks, AT&T and Proctor & Gamble, are all part of this consortium.

It has a single rival left (the Wireless Power Consortium and its Qi standard), reducing the odds that we will soon get a single wireless charging standard.

On the PC front, Intel has not revealed any details about its highly anticipated Skylake processor, which will be released later this year. It did offer a teaser - hinting at Skylake-powered reference designs such as an ultra-thin 2-in-1 hybrid and an all-in-one PC with a 4K display.


Highlights from the show

Asus ZenFone Selfie

For those who cannot stop taking selfies, Asus offers the ZenFone Selfie. It is essentially the current ZenFone 2 with 13-megapixel front and rear cameras to capture the best possible selfies. The rear shooter also has a large f/2.0 aperture and a laser autofocus feature.

Asus has created a selfie accessory for this phone. Dubbed the Selfie Swing, it is a swinging arm that attaches to the back of the ZenFone Selfie. Besides extending the phone for a better selfie, the accessory can also function as a stand.

Pricing and availability are currently unknown.


Aorus X5

Gaming laptop vendor Aorus won a Computex Best Choice award for the slim but powerful X5. Weighing under 2.5kg, this 15.6-inch laptop packs two Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics chips and a high-end Intel Core i7 processor.

The X5 supports Nvidia G-Sync technology for smooth, stutter-free gaming. It is one of the first laptops to support this technology, which was previously seen only on monitors.

It will be available here at the end of this month for $4,299.


Asus ZenWatch 2

Though the first Asus ZenWatch is not widely available, Asus has already announced a second version. The ZenWatch 2 now has a digital crown at the side, like the Apple Watch, and is also available in two sizes. There is a choice of 18 straps, including a leather band studded with Swarovski crystals.

Powered by a Qualcomm chip, the watch is water-resistant (IP67). It runs Android Wear and comes with a new Wellness app. Battery life is said to be doubled from two to four days.

Asus did not provide pricing or release dates.


Acer Predator 8

Acer is betting big on gaming. In April, it revealed new refreshed models in its Predator gaming line, including monitors and computers. At Computex, there was more of the same. The highlight was probably the Predator 8 tablet.

An Android slate with an angular design, the Predator 8 packs four speakers, one at each corner, for an immersive gaming experience. It uses the same Intel Atom X7 chip as the Microsoft Surface 3.

Acer did not reveal the price or availability, though it is rumoured that it will be launched in September.

Dell Inspiron laptops and desktops

Dell added a whole bunch of laptops with 14-inch and 15-inch screens to its Inspiron line-up. These mainstream laptops are sleek models with optional Nvidia graphics chips.

They can be configured with full high-definition touch displays, though the models now on Dell's website appear to have only 1,366 x 768-pixel screens. Available now, the laptops start at $799.

Dell also introduced a range of Inspiron desktops featuring a glossy black design with red and silver trim. These slim desktop PCs will be available in September.


SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD

Flash storage vendor SanDisk has a 2TB portable solid-state drive to sell you, if you have US$1,000 (S$1,300).

The Extreme 900 has both USB Type-C and Type-A connectors, so it works with both older laptops and newer models that use the USB Type-C interface.

SanDisk says the aluminium-clad Extreme 900 is nine times faster than a portable hard drive with sequential read and write speeds of 850MBps.


This article was first published on June 10, 2015.
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