The 8 best 13-inch laptops of 2017

Update: In accordance with our laptop ranking methodology, we’ve added the (now 4K display-equipped) 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360 at number 3 on our list. Read on to find out why this 2-in-1 notebook is one of the all-around best 13-inch laptops money can buy!

Thirteen inches. Arguably, it’s the perfect size for a laptop screen. Not too big nor too small, the best 13-inch laptop will sidestep the flimsiness and squint-inducing terror of a smaller notebook, absent the need to intimidate with a gargantuan form factor.

They’re not all Windows laptops either; Apple fans will rejoice at the fact that the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air continue to stun in 13-inch flavors. Whatever the case, you ought to find a notebook that – at the very least – incites interest. Whether it’s a 2-in-1 or a traditional clamshell you’re after, we’ve encapsulated the spice of life in our list of the very best 13-inch laptops.

For a broader view, take a gander at the best laptops in the world today, and if it’s thin and light you’re after, you can also find the best Ultrabook from TechRadar. But, whatever you do, be sure to read on to find our favorite 13-inch picks of the past few months in no particular order.

Best 13-inch laptop

Now graced with 7th-generation Intel Core i processors, Dell has struck (rose) gold with the XPS 13. The lush design, lengthy battery life and even the SD card slot are still intact, only now it’s souped up with improved internal specs and sleeker appearances reminiscent of the MacBook and HP Spectre lineups. What’s more, the full-size processor and 13.3-inch display are crammed into an 11-inch frame made possible by Dell’s own nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display technology. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 

Best 13-inch laptop

The ZenBook UX305 is a well-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and attractive. Now available with Intel's full-fat Core i-series processors in addition to the usual Core M chips, the UX305's astonishing value makes it hard to ignore. Updated with a gorgeous QHD+ display, it stands out as a shining example of a computer that offers power and portability in a small package that doesn't break the bank.

Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305

The HP Spectre x360 is the one you introduce to your parents. It’s strikingly well-crafted, boasting a silvery design that makes it every bit as cutting-edge on the outside as it is within. Given the choice between a 7th-generation i5 or i7 Ultrabook-class processor and a 1080p or 4K screen, HP has gives plenty of room for customization. It’s not underpowered, nor does its battery life suffer from overcompensation. In fact, in our own movie test, the HP Spectre x360 lasted a whole 8 hours and 45 minutes. The only real catch is that, like a lot of its competitors, the Spectre x360 also lacks an SD card slot, opting instead for a pair of USB Type-C ports.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360

Best 13-inch laptop

Though it's failed to make a dent in the laptop space with much more than its Tab Pro S convertible, Samsung's follow-up to the 2012 Series 9 notebook boasts not only capable specs, but a competitive price as well. Marketed as an Ultrabook, it's certainly disheartening to know the battery life lasts only five hours, but given its sleek and sexy design, it almost doesn't matter. What's more, with the Samsung Notebook 9, you won't have to deal with bloatware made infamous by many of the other Microsoft OEMs.

Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9

That’s not a typo you just read on the specs sheet – the Acer Aspire S 13 truly is a beast. Replete with a Skylake Core series processors shoved inside a tiny, 13.3-inch body, the Aspire S 13 can handle practically anything you throw at it productivity-wise. Unfortunately, the catch is that with all this power comes a distinct shortage on battery life. It may be an Ultrabook, but the Aspire S 13 only managed 3 hours and 12 minutes in our PCMark 8 battery test. Luckily, the Acer Aspire S 13 also comes with the benefit of USB 3.1, all but a boon in this awkward early age of USB-C.

 Read the full review: Acer Aspire S 13 

The Lenovo Yoga 910 is all about second chances. It throws away many of the signature design traits of the previous model, the Yoga 900, in favor of a more pristine outward appearance and a heavy duty Intel Core i7 processor as well as the option of a 4K display. Lenovo also managed to squeeze a larger, nearly 14-inch screen into the same 13-inch chassis of the Yoga 900 without compromise. Not to mention, even with the implementation of USB-C ports, the Lenovo Yoga 910 doesn’t completely neglect USB Type-A, dragging the precious connection standard of the past along with it.

Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 910

Best 13-inch laptop

In a market densely populated with slim-line laptops from a massive range of manufacturers, Apple's MacBook Air fights on admirably – though it started showing its age on the outside a long time ago. It has Intel's fifth-generation Core-series processors rather than the newest Skylake variants, but it's still a capable machine; even more so since Apple made 8GB of RAM standard across the line. If you don't like the look of its lowly 1,440 x 900 pixel-resolution display, there's always the 12-inch MacBook – and new MacBook Air models are expected to launch this summer.

Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air

best 13-inch laptop

Though it may not have the 12-inch MacBook's slick design, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina features Apple's Force Touch track pad that uses different levels of sensitivity instead of mechanical buttons to make clicks. Even without the fancy Touch Bar, the MacBook Pro exceeds expectations with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, quieter fans, louder speakers and even a battery life exceeding 7 hours in our anecdotal testing. Despite a controversial keyboard mechanism, the MacBook Pro is thinner, lighter and ready to travel.

Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

Star Wars: Episode VIII release date, trailers and rumors

Update: The first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been unveiled during Star Wars Celebration 2017. Check it out below!

Original article follows…

If you're new to the page then read on for everything we know so far about Star Wars Episode VIII, but if you're familiar with the latest news then scroll down for some recently released set photos which we've just updated the page with.

We might be a few excruciating months away from the release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, but as The Force Awakens taught us, that time can fly past very quickly.

Here's the good news: Production wrapped on the eighth episode back in July, which means the film is definitely on track for its December 15 release date. 

Despite being less than a year away, however, there hasn't been too much said about what the sequel to one of 2015's highest grossing films has in store.

That said, we've done a bit of digging and found some information of our own.

So, what do we expect to see from Episode VIII? If you haven't yet seen The Force Awakens, a) what is wrong with you? and b) spoilers will lie ahead. Big ones. We're talking massive, planet-destroying spoilers. Got it? Good.

Let's continue.

Episode VIII title and release date

Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi will hit cinemas on December 15 2017, after being pushed back from its initial release date of May 26 the same year. It means waiting an extra seven months, but we did think that the original timeframe was a bit ambitious for a film of this scale.

The title is obviously a cryptic one. The Last Jedi could mean any number of things but chances are good that it's a reference to Luke's new padawan, Rey. 

Considering that both Luke and Leia are Jedi, there are obviously more than one of the galactic space wizards left in the galaxy but Rey, as we know from Episode VII The Force Awakens, might be the last person to carry the title Jedi. 

Scary as it might seem, it could also be a reference to the possible deaths of Luke and Leia in the franchise, making the title very literal. 

Of course, this is all just conjecture at this point as Rey, Luke and Leia are all seen in the latest trailer alive and well.

Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi poster

Episode VIII casting

JJ Abrams will be hopping off the director's chair and handing over the reins to Rian Johnson, best known for writing and directing Brick and Looper (and a few episodes of Breaking Bad). Abrams will stay as executive producer, however.

It's been confirmed that all of the original cast members (barring Harrison Ford) will be making a return. Joining them this time is Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

So who, exactly, are these new cast members going to play in Episode 8? 

Well, again, there's no confirmation here, but Del Toro was recently listed on a site called Wikiwand as Sir Vicrum Fett, a clear homage and perhaps descendent of Jango Fett and perhaps a brother to Boba Fett, the feared and very easily killed bounty hunter from the original trilogy.

As for Laura Dern, according to our sister site GamesRadar+, she's most likely going to play Admiral Holdo, a stylish New Order commander who's as smart as Leia but with a vicious twist.

Finally, newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, we actually have some good information on how she'll fit into The Last Jedi. She'll be playing the role of Rose, a member of The Resistance forces a.k.a. what became of the Rebel Alliance after the establishment of the New Republic at the end of Episode VI. 


Episode VIII: what we know of the story so far

Little is known about what VIII's story will hold, but we do know that it will pick up straight after The Force Awakens, with Rey having discovered Luke Skywalker's whereabouts, as confirmed by the teaser trailer.

The Force Awakens left many questions unanswered. Who is Rey really? Is Finn Force sensitive? What's with C-3PO's red arm? Why is R2-D2, the bearer of all knowledge who refuses to tell anyone anything, such a dick?

Colin Trevorrow, who will be directing Episode IX, has already promised us a "profoundly satisfying" answer to the mystery surrounding Rey's parents.

"Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of The Force Awakens, but in the entire galaxy," he said. "She deserves it. We'll make sure that that answer is something that feels like it was something that happened a long time ago, far away, and we're just telling you what happened."

One theory is that Luke is Rey's father, but… surely it's got to be something more interesting than that, right?

The Force Awakens ended with a wounded Kylo Ren being taken to Supreme Leader Snoke to complete his training – but what does that mean? And more importantly, who is Snoke? One theory that has been floating about, courtesy of this tweet, is that Snoke is actually Vader, who didn't really die. We don't buy it for a second, but the scar is admittedly convincing.

We expect some of the film will show Luke training Rey, harking back to his own training from Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. It will also be interesting to see how Kylo Ren's character develops. He just murdered his own father, but he's still conflicted between the dark side and the light – or was Han's death the final part of his transition to Sith?

Either way, it's a script that's been well received by Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver. Speaking to Collider, he's compared the next entry to the hallowed Empire Strikes Back.

Episode VIII set photos

On April 28 director Rian Johnson celebrated hitting the halfway point in the Episode 8’s filming schedule by releasing a couple of set photos.

Episode 8 Set Photo

The photos don’t shed much new light on the film, but it’s nice to see confirmation that Episode 8 will indeed contain the ships and shiny helmets that the series is known for.

Episode 8 Set Photo

Bonus: A Tribute to Carrie Fisher

One of the cinema world's most tragic losses last year was that of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia). Her death came as a bitter shock and one that no one could have predicted. While many in the community mourn her loss, we feel there needs to be a heartfelt thank you given to the woman who helped inspire thousands of women to be leaders, actresses and good-hearted people. 

A fantastic tribute debuted at Star Wars Celebration 2017 which we feel has perfectly summarized the life of the actress and her contributions to the series.

Want more on Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi? Keep checking back here as we approach the film's December 15, 2017 release date. 

Joe Osborne and Nick Pino have also contributed to this report

Here are four paid iOS apps free for a limited time only

How would you like to get a steal at the App Store? Today, we have four paid iOS apps that are now free for a limited time only. And when we say a limited time only, we mean that your best bet is to scoop up the apps that you want now before it is too late. To browse through this short list, all you need to do is click on the slideshow below, and you’ll see a link to the App Store listing, a brief description of the app, and images for you to peruse.

Originally, there were eight paid apps that were free. However, when we double checked them, half of the eight were no longer priced at zero. That shows you how fast you have to move once you see an app that you really like.

Among the freebies that remain available at no cost is a time management app that uses a proven technique for getting things done. And the lone game is like a version of Asteroids but in neon colors. There aren’t that many choices to go through this time, but perhaps you can use one or more of these apps.

source: BGR

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 pre-order deals in Australia

UPDATED: Plans and prices have now been updated and nowadays there are direct links giving every single of the discounts. Keep reading to find out more!

So that the Samsung Galaxy S8 has finally been announced by Samsung, so when anticipated the prices are costly. Incredibly costly. The Samsung Galaxy S8 will have cost of $1,199 if you would like purchase it outright.

Having said that, the cost seems significantly justified for just what might be a stunning phone – with an amazing brand new display and also the Bixby smart assistant, it seems like a real step forward from last year’s Samsung Galaxy S7.

If you’d like to read more concerning the brand new device itself, you should check away our hands-on summary of the phone the following. Within story, we’re planning to check your very best alternatives for buying the Samsung Galaxy S8 in Australia either outright or for a contract.

Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S8 are formally open – below you’ll see the greatest S8 deals thus far – we have included a table that will automatically upgrade using the cheapest discounts as they feed right through to us from the different sites and networks, but we’ve also included an overview of every provider’s current plan offerings. 

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will officially be released in Australia on Friday, April 28 and comes in three colours: Midnight Black, Maple Gold and Orchid Grey.

Telstra deals

Although Telstra’s plans are more costly versus competition, frequently offering less data per month, the S8 plans from Australia’s biggest telco are in fact quite competitive. Additionally it is difficult to argue with the quality associated with the Telstra’s service plus the substantial protection it gives both in rural and metro areas. 

The entry level plan at Telstra will net that you Samsung Galaxy S8 for $90 monthly (in the $55 Go Cellphone Plus plan with $35 device repayments) with a measly 1GB of monthly data on a 24-month contract. That’s a total cost of $2,160 over two years. 

For just $25 more per month regarding $95 Go mobile phone Plus plan (plus ten dollars month-to-month handset repayments, bringing the full total to $105 each month), you will get a handset with 12GB of monthly data. Total expense is $2,520 over couple of years.

If that still isn’t enough month-to-month information to satiate your download requirements, the $135 Go mobile phone Plus plan (plus $5 month-to-month device repayments, bringing the sum total to $140 per month) are certain to get you 25GB for $135 per month, for a total cost of $3,360 over 24 months.

Optus discounts

Interestingly, Optus has revealed Samsung Galaxy S8 plans being slightly more expensive than Telstra’s plans, usually with comparable and/or less included data. 

Optus’ entry-level plan is $82 monthly (the $40 My Arrange Plus with $42 device payment) with 1GB of data for a 24-month contract. Total cost is $1,968.

For $94 per month over a couple of years (one the $85 My Arrange Plus agreement with $9 device repayments), you can get a device with 7GB of month-to-month information. In contrast, Telstra provides 12GB of information for $1 more per month. 

Within high-end of Optus’ plans, you will get a truly staggering 100GB of month-to-month information regarding the $160 My Arrange Plus plan over two years. Total price is $3,840.

Virgin Mobile deals

Providing a few of the cheapest Samsung Galaxy S8 plans around, Virgin mobile phone’s entry level plan will bag that you handset and 500MB for $70 monthly (with $40 handset repayments on the $30 mobile Plan) for a 24-month agreement. Total cost is $1,680 over two years. 

For $77 monthly (regarding $50 Phone Plan), you may get the hands on Samsung’s latest flagship with 4GB of monthly data for a 24-month contract. Total price is $1,848 over 2 yrs.

In the event that you really want affordability though, you’ll want to glance at Virgin mobile phone’s top tier $100 mobile Plan, that offers a huge 20GB of monthly information for $105 each month over 24-months. Total expense there’s $2,640.  

Vodafone discounts

Vodafone has announced its plans for the Samsung Galaxy S8, and even though they are competitively priced, there are cheaper solutions offering more information. Still, if you’re interested in Qantas Frequent Flyer points and international moments, Vodafone is a great option. 

Its entry level plan provides the phone for $37 a month for a $40 Red Arrange ($77 total per month) with 1GB of information. Total cost is $1,848 over 24 months.

You’ll probably require a extra information than that, therefore we recommend the $60 plan with $28 mobile repayments ($88 total per month) with 6GB of data. Total pricing is $2,112 over 24 months.

Finally, Vodafone’s top tier plan will net you 22GB of information monthly regarding the $120 plan with $5 device repayments ($125 total monthly). Total cost over a couple of years is $3,000.

Woolworths discounts

Supermarket giant Woolworths has jumped foot first into the world of flagship smart phones with some surprisingly good deals being offered. 

Its most useful deal are certain to get that you Samsung Galaxy S8 with 4GB of month-to-month information for only $80 per month (on its moderate $50 cell phone Arrange). That’s a total cost of $1,920 over a couple of years. 

Though it originally offered only 8GB of information each month, Woolworth’s $92 monthly plan (on its big $70 cellular phone Arrange) has gotten an update, now offering 12GB of month-to-month data – that’s $3 cheaper than Telstra’s 12GB plan.  

Samsung Galaxy S8 pre-order discounts: freebies

If you want some additional sweetening on these Samsung Galaxy S8 deals, right here its: all pre-orders made before Thursday, April 27 through either Samsung or among its operator or retail lovers comes because of the new Samsung Gear VR headset at no extra expense. 

Not just that, clients will also be given a $50 voucher to be used within the Oculus Store. 

These are the greatest plans now available for the Samsung Galaxy S8 in Australia. Make sure you check straight back here on the coming days to see if more discounts be available. 

Google updates Daydream app with battery indicator, more

The Daydream application in the Google Play Store has just received a new update that adds a couple of useful features and improvements. If you own the Google’s Daydream VR, then you probably know that there’s no way to know how much battery your phone has while using the headset.

Well, not anymore, as the latest update brings a controller battery indicator, which allows you to see the level of your battery when you’re in Daydream Home, Quick Settings or Play Store in VR.

Furthermore, Google added a new option for those who want to stay up to date with the latest news, offers and more. You can now sign up for the “Daydream Newsletter” from the Settings menu to receive important news.

Also, there’s a new feature that allows users to choose whether to show notifications in VR by toggling the option in Quick Settings, so you’ll benefit from full immersion. Lastly, Google claims the latest update to the Daydream app should improve performance and reliability.

In the same piece of news, the Daydream Keyboard app has been updated as well, and now includes four additional languages: Korean, French, Spanish and Italian. A new Korean language word autosuggest bar is available too.

source: Google Play (1, 2)

Google’s Android platform distribution for April 2017 shows Nougat is nearly at 5%

Android Nougat doesn’t seem to be able to become Google’s dominant mobile platform almost six months after its official launch. But that’s no wonder considering Android Lollipop still has the largest market share on the market.

According to the data collected during a 7-day period ending on April 3, Android Nougat accounts for 4.9% market share. The smaller market share listed by Google, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich have as low as 0.9% market share each.

Even Jelly Bean, an Android version launched five years ago is used more often than Nougat, as the OS sits at 10.1%. Android KitKat and Marshmallow come next with 20% and 31.2% market share, respectively.

As mentioned earlier, Android Lollipop is still in the lead with 32% of active devices. Although Nougat market share continues to increase each month, it gains seem to be lower than expected. For example, the number of devices running Android Nougat rose 2.1 % from last month.

Hopefully, things will improve significantly in the coming months, especially that Google had already released a preview version of Android O.

BlackBerry is the first non-Google OEM to push April security patch

While companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei or Motorola are pushing March security updates to its Android smartphones, BlackBerry has already started to roll out April security patch.

Considering the update has just been made available by Google for its Nexus and Pixel devices, alongside Android 7.1.2 Nougat, it looks like a great achievement on BlackBerry’s part.

However, it’s not the first time that it happens because BlackBerry has much fewer Android smartphones that must receive security updates on a monthly basis.

Besides starting to push the update to its smartphones, BlackBerry published the Android Security Bulletin that contains all the vulnerabilities fixed in this update. Apparently, there are quite a lot of security issues that have been addressed in this patch.

Keep in mind that the update is rolled out OTA, so if you own the BlackBerry PRIV, DTEK50 or DTEK60 smartphones, then you should be notified when April security patch becomes available for download.

There’s a Samsung Galaxy S8 with 6GB of RAM – but no you can’t have it

Although guts inside Samsung’s finally unveiled Galaxy S8 are nothing to sniff at, people eager for an even more powerful version of the handset could be in luck…if they book an airplane ticket first.

Samsung is issuing a particular version of the Galaxy S8 that updates the memory from 4GB to 6GB and doubles the space for storage from 64GB to a roomy 128GB, in accordance with a report from ETNews.

The catch? The beefed-up smartphone looks like it’ll be an exclusive, prepared to market just in Asia and Southern Korea.

It also seems the special version Samsung Galaxy S8 is element of a promotional bundle aided by the Samsung Dex — Samsung’s S8-compatible dock for blowing your smartphone onto some type of computer monitor, desktop-style.

Preorders of this 128GB Samsung Galaxy S8 will include a free of charge Dex, allowing owners to make better use of the smartphone-as-a-computer function as a result of all that juicy extra RAM. 

The special version Galaxy S8 utilizing the bundled Samsung Dex reportedly costs 1,155,000 won (about $1,020, £820, AU$1,355). No information on a global release have already been mentioned but we can not imagine individuals beyond Asia scoffing during the additional gigs of memory and storage, so think about our fingers crossed.

Via The Verge

Leaked Apple iMac specs point to up to 64GB RAM, and Thunderbolt 3 at last

Hot off of Apple reminding the planet that yes, it nevertheless makes iMacs and yes, there will be a brand new one this present year, it appears the refreshed all-in-one computer is likely to be getting decidedly more than just a metaphorical new coating of paint.

The 2017 iMac is expected to feature AMD layouts, Intel Xeon E3-1285 v6  processors, and 16GB to 64GB of ECC RAM, based on a post on the weblog Pike’s Universum.

Furthermore, support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connection had been additionally teased, along with a 2TB SSD. 

Intriguingly, the foundation mentions too that the new iMac’s AMD visuals can “help VR and professional apps,” which may be huge if taken as being a sign that Apple is stepping into virtual reality. 

(your blog’s supply additionally teased an 8K display meant to pair using the overhauled Mac Pro, as well as a not-so-miniature Mac mini model in the future.)

iMac is iBack

The report also mentions a brand new keyboard visiting the brand new iMac, which fuels previous reports that Apple could possibly just take the Touch Bar from this past year’s MacBook Pro and augment future keyboards along with it.

Now, even the leaked source adds a disclaimer that light doubt must be utilized when it comes to speculating on Apple rumors, and now we eventually concur – especially given that the report refers to its tipster as “little bird” who is “usually pretty accurate.”

Nevertheless, we do know for sure Apple is arranging a significant modification to its iMac lineup very soon, along with competitors stepping into once-undisputed Apple turf with all-in-ones such as the Microsoft Surface Studio, it’s in iPhone maker’s most readily useful interest to come away moving.

  • Apple fan? They’re the most effective Macs for the buck

Today is your last chance to get unlimited streaming HD video from T-Mobile One for no extra cost

Back in February, Verizon announced its long awaited return to unlimited data. With unlimited video streaming at 720p (HD), Big Red had topped the 480p (DVD quality) resolution that T-Mobile One was streaming unlimited video at. In order to match Verizon, T-Mobile One was upgraded to include T-Mobile One Plus for free. That meant that video on T-Mobile One was now streaming unlimited at 720p (like Verizon), and users could have 10GB of 4G LTE hot spot connectivity.

But T-Mobile’s promotion is coming to an end at the close of business today. Starting April 7th (that’s tomorrow), if you want to view unlimited streaming video at HD resolution with your T-Mobile One plan, and keep the 10GB of 4G LTE tethering, you will have to shell out the extra $5 a month for T-Mobile One Plus. If you can get to a T-Mobile location before closing time tonight (which is 9pm local time), you can still sign up for the updated version of T-Mobile One.
Your best bet right now is to try to sign up to T-Mobile One before the end of business. That will give you the premium features without having to pay extra. And if you agree to auto pay, you can get T-Mobile One with all taxes and fees baked into the price.

source: T-Mobile, BGR