Microsoft ‘new’ Edge review: Microsoft’s Chromium-based browser gets the job done

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Microsoft’s new Edge browser is coming, ready or not. Starting Wednesday, Microsoft will begin pushing it out to Windows 10 PCs, a complete revamp built on the Chromium technology of Google Chrome. This review, based on a late beta version available via the Windows Insider program, is a solid, mainstream browser with a few tempting features. But it’s facing a real uphill battle.

By any estimate, Microsoft’s Edge—new or old—won’t make a splash. That’s because, at least where market share is concerned, it’s Google Chrome’s world, and we’re just living in it. As of December, Chrome commanded over 67 percent of the browser market, as measured by NetMarketShare. Firefox, currently the second most popular browser, captured just 9 percent.

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Dell’s G5 15 SE, a Ryzen 4000 showcase, will ship this April

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Longtime Intel partner Dell is breaking from tradition and will ship a gaming laptop showcasing AMD’s technology this April: the 15-inch Dell G5 15 Special Edition.

The G5 15 SE was first announced on Monday during AMD’s keynote at CES in Las Vegas, where the company announced the Ryzen 4000 processor. It’s designed to show off not only the new Ryzen 4000 H-series chips, but also the complementary Radeon RX 5000M mobile GPUs. AMD’s SmartShift technology will debut in the laptop as well, dynamically overclocking the CPU and GPU—and then dialing back again, if necessary—to juggle the thermal load between both components.

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 benchmarked: Performance soars, but not much

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We learned quite a bit about Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon 865 last week, except for one thing: how fast it is. Now we know—it’s potentially the fastest around. Well, around Android, anyway.

While our CPU and PC coverage leans heavily on benchmarking, we tend to focus more on the holistic experience of using phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10+, rather than just the performance. But benchmarks still matter, of course, so we jumped at the chance to test Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 last week, in a demonstration suite at the company’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii.

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Hands on with the Snapdragon 8c and 7c, Qualcomm’s value-PC play

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Let’s be honest: We’re a bit skeptical of the new Snapdragon 7c and 8c story, Qualcomm’s latest expansion of its Snapdragon Compute lineup into cheaper markets. But we had a chance to play around with them, and they’re…fine?

At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii, the company offered reporters a chance to try out a pair of 7c and 8c demo machines. Both of the units we saw were reference designs, with pre-production hardware.

Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management for compute products, supplied us with a few more details about each chip. The 7c includes a pair of ARM Cortex-A76 “performance” cores, with six Cortex-A55 cores serving as the low-power “efficiency” cores. There’s an X15 LTE modem, too.

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c and 8c aim for low-end and midrange PCs

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Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 7c and 8c at its Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii. The chips, two derivatives of the Snapdragon 8cx, will provide opportunities for cheaper PCs to take advantage of the Snapdragon 8cx’s advantages: fanless platforms, long battery life and constant connectivity.

It’s a gutsy move. Qualcomm’s premium Snapdragon 8cx PC processor has arguably struggled to compete with Intel’s Core and AMD’s Ryzen, at least from a performance standpoint.. Nevertheless, the company’s decided that cheaper, presumably less powerful Snapdragon chips for PCs are the way forward.

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform takes aim at true mixed reality

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Qualcomm will use its newly announced Snapdragon chips to take another swing at the mixed reality market, adding 5G to the mix with the Snapdragon XR2 platform.

Announced at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm said it believes that the on-device horsepower of the recent Snapdragon chips, combined with the “edge cloud” capabilities of the 5G connection, should be enough for true mixed reality: augmented reality in one context, and virtual reality in another. 

Niantic, the developer behind the popular Pokemon Go game, even announced a multi-year partnership to develop AR glasses based on the platform.

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865: Four of its best new features

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Qualcomm described the Snapdragon 865 in detail on Wednesday, with a long list of new features that included 5G, PC-like gaming features, high-resolution camera imagery, and much more.

At the Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm set up a demo room where we could go hands-on with some of the features. We took the opportunity to shoot some short videos to go with our descriptions, and you can see them all below.

Single-camera video bokeh

We’ve all probably used “portrait mode” on a smartphone camera—that’s the feature that blurs the background to create the “bokeh” effect of a traditional lensed camera. It’s a nifty way to make the eye zero in on the subject of the image. Smartphone cameras use AI to distinguish the subject from the background, which usually works pretty well.

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Inside the Snapdragon 865: Qualcomm reveals the features you’ll find in 2020’s best Android phones

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Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 865 smartphone chip will support 5G, certainly. But more practical features will probably affect phone users in more immediate ways, such as 200 megapixel still photos, 4K HDR/8K video capture with optional portrait mode and Dolby Vision support, dynamic lighting options for mobile gaming, and real-time audio translation. 

Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 855 a year ago, and unveiled its successors—the Snapdragon 865, the Snapdragon 765, and the Snapdragon 765G—on Tuesday at the company’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii. On Wednesday, Qualcomm dove deep into what phone makers and end users can expect from its new processors. Improvements to each of its cores—the new Kryo 585 CPU, the Adreno 650 GPU, the Spectra 480 image signal processor, the Sensing Hub, and the X55 5G modem—will all add new capabilities to phones.

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Project Athena notebooks perform better on battery, and Intel has the numbers to prove it

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Intel’s redesign of the thin-and-light notebook, known as Project Athena, may have struggled to be more than a name to most consumers. But Intel claims that its design partnership with PC makers has paid off in a way you might not think about: battery-powered performance.

“Performance” is usually synonymous with plugging a laptop in. Unplugging a laptop usually translates to long battery life at the expense of a slower clock speed. But Intel unveiled battery-powered performance numbers alongside the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Conference to bolster its design chops.

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The 5G phones you really want are coming in early 2020

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Lost amid the 5G phone hype, analysts say, is a little-known fact: None of the high-priced 5G phones currently being sold in carrier stores can access both 5G mmWave and sub-6GHz networks. It’s one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t jump on the 5G hype train too early. But that will change during the first quarter of 2020, Qualcomm senior executives said during the company’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui, Hawaii.

As it stands now, 5G is basically an either-or proposition. The OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren Edition that T-Mobile announced as it “turns on” its 5G network on December 6 is a “lowband” phone, capable of accessing T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G network. But it won’t be able to access the short-range, high-bandwidth, and extremely fast mmWave spectrum that Verizon is rolling out, and that T-Mobile has deployed in a handful of cities. On the other hand, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G for Verizon are optimized for high-speed mmWave communication, which yield the sort of eye-popping gigabit downloads that dominate headlines, but can’t access sub-6GHz frequencies.

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