As I noted earlier, there are dozens of traditional Windows laptops on the market, but the ZenBook S plays in a smaller space. You're paying for a combo of small size and decent specs that make it a good all-purpose computer. It's impossible to think about general-use laptops without mentioning Microsoft's new Surface Laptop 2, which starts at $999. The latest model includes Intel's eighth-generation Core i5 or i7 processor, and while it's not as thin as the ZenBook S, it offers a wonderful screen. We're not done testing the Surface Laptop 2 yet, but we can say that last year's model also delivered excellent battery life.Dell's outstanding XPS 13 is another solid alternative. The current model has essentially identical specs to the ZenBook S model I tested, and right now it starts at $999. You're stuck with a terribly placed webcam, but it does basically everything else well.
And if you're interested in macOS, the brand-new MacBook Air ($1,199 and up) is another jack-of-all-trades laptop with a slim body and a more pixel-dense display than the ZenBook S (unless you opt for the 4K screen). That said, the MacBook Air only has a dual-core Intel Core i5 chip inside, as compared with the quad-core processor in the ZenBook S. That means it might last significantly longer on a charge, but the performance might not be up to snuff, depending on your workload.
Of course, ASUS itself has an extremely crowded product lineup of its own, with dozens of laptops at various price points and form factors, including at least a few that are close enough in price, size and specs to be worth considering. The ZenBook S is thinner and lighter than most, but if you don't need the smallest laptop possible, ASUS has plenty of other options to consider.
As much as companies like to hype up tablets, 2-in-1s and convertibles as the future of computing, there will always be customers who want a basic, reliable laptop. The ZenBook S fits the bill -- it's not the best Windows laptop, nor the most well-rounded device out there. The disappointing battery life in particular makes it a tough sell as a take-it-anywhere laptop. But that aside, the ZenBook S is a worthwhile choice if you're looking for a laptop that can handle the most common computing tasks. It's a solid performer, and its small size and light weight make it easy to throw in your bag and forget about. Just make sure you leave room for the charger.
While you could be forgiven for thinking all portable chargers operate in roughly the same way, it’s worth doing some research before you shell out for one. Not all power banks are made equal, and many out there are priced too high for the amount of charge they actually carry. The best way to work out if you’re getting value for money is by checking the mAh, or ‘milliamp-hours’ a power bank has – the higher the number, the more powerful the battery is, meaning you’ll be able to charge up your phone, tablet or laptop multiple times from a single battery charge.
It also helps to know the battery capacity of the device you’ll be charging most often – for example, an iPhone X has a 2,716 mAh battery, so a power bank with a 10,000 mAh capacity is likely to charge it fully around three times. This can vary if you’re charging multiple devices at the same time, and it’s always best to use the highest quality cable you have to hand to avoid damaging your device.
If you like your power banks both powerful and reasonably priced, Anker is the brand you need to know about. Unparalleled in terms of power-for-price, the PowerCore 20,100 contains enough juice to recharge an iPhone X fully around seven times over and sports two USB-A ports to facilitate the charging of two smartphones or tablets simultaneously. An unassuming matte black rectangle, the device features four LED lights to indicate how much battery is available and comes with a handy drawstring carry case to transport it. It recharged an iPhone XS Max at a rate of around 10 per cent battery for every 10 minutes of charging, fully recharging in under two hours. While it’s too heavy to be carried comfortably in a pocket it’d be fine to toss in a bag, and charges using a micro-USB cable. For this price, you won’t get better. Anker PowerCore II 10,000 £25.99, Amazon Best for: Weight and power combination Key specs – Size: Small; Battery capacity: 10,000 mAh; Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.7 x 2.3 cm; Weight: 195g; Charges: Smartphones; Ports: 1 x USB-A port The excellent Powercore II 10000 from Anker may be small, but it is mighty. It contains 10,000 mAh of extra battery power as and when you need it, and is small and light enough to pop in a pocket. It made light work of charging a Sony Xperia ZX3 with its single USB-A port at a rate of 10 per cent per 10 minutes of charging, and sports a miniature dial of eight LED lights to provide visual explanation of how much charge is remaining before it needs to be charged itself (via micro-USB cable). When fully charged, it should provide a minimum of two full charges for the vast majority of modern smartphones, which for £25.99, is an absolute steal.
WHAT'S OLD IS new again, and what's new is old. Apple has just released a new version of the old MacBook Air, a beloved laptop that hasn't received any real love in years. I've been using it for the past four days—traveling with it, typing on it, editing photos, wearing its battery down. Staring at its gorgeous new Retina display, which is not unlike the display on my own personal MacBook Pro.
That's the thing: A lot of the components in the brand new MacBook Air are not actually new. Like the display—I have stared at some version of this Retina display for a long time now. But for true MacBook Air lovers, that won't matter. This is a machine that grew stale and cruised solely on its reputation for a long time. Now, it's ready for reinvention. Well, sort of. It's more accurate to say that it has caught up with the times.
Apple has heard the calls for a newer, better MacBook Air, and it has answered.The new MacBook Air starts at $1,199 for a configuration with 128 gigabytes of SSD storage. It creeps up to $1,399 for a model with 256 GB of storage, which is the Air most people will want to get if they have a moderately full library of local photos, music, or videos. At its base, the new MacBook Air is $200 more than the old MacBook Air, which was the only Apple laptop to sneak into the lineup at just under $1,000. Apple is still selling the old Air for $999, but that one runs on a processor that hasn't seen a speed bump since June of last year.
Plus, when you look at the old MacBook Air versus this new one, there are obvious physical differences. The 2018 model is somehow thinner and lighter than the first MacBook Air, with a slightly shrunken footprint. It's the sushi knife of laptops, honed on one side and impeccably precise. The Air is still made of aluminum, but Apple has made a point to say that this new chassis is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum—most of it culled from the shavings generated during the manufacture of other Apple products. It also now comes in three colors: silver, space gray, and gold.