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HP’s 2018 Spectre x360 laptops adopt bold, clever design, stylus in the box

HP has pulled the veil back on a brand new look and feel for its storied Spectre x360 series of 2-in-1 laptops. Both the HP Spectre x360 13 and Spectre x360 15 models come in an all-new design for 2018 – and with stronger silicon to match.The new laptops, still convertible through a duo of 360-degree hinges, come encased in CNC aluminum shells that have been machined to adopt angled expansion ports (i.e. Thunderbolt 3 USB-C). This allows for better cable management than before and makes for a distinct look.Of course, the new laptops come with 8th-generation (Whiskey Lake) Intel Core i7 processors, but from there it’s basically that bigger is better in the case of HP Spectre x360 2-in-1s. That is, unless, you prefer a smaller 2-in-1 laptop.The 13-inch model is powered by integrated Intel graphics, 8GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB of SSD space (to start) – all behind a 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touch display. Meanwhile, the 15-incher gets discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics inside, along with 16GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, behind a 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) touchscreen.If interested, you can boost the 13-inch model’s storage and memory offerings by up to 512GB and 16GB, respectively. Likewise, the 15-inch model can be upgraded to double its storage on offer to 512GB.With that, HP rates the Spectre x360 13 for up to 22 hours of mixed use on a single charge, while the 15-inch model promises more than 16 hours. We’ll be putting both to the test soon enough.

Built for practicality and privacy
These two words that start with the letter ‘P’ seem to be a core ethos behind HP’s new Spectre x360 laptops. For instance, both versions come with a bevy of ports USB-C and otherwise. The 13-inch model holds two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-C 3.1 ports and a single standard USB 3.1 port; the 15-inch variety offers one Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB-C 3.1 port, one standard USB 3.1 port and an HDMI 2.0 port. Finally, both laptops come packing microSD card slots, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5, as well as support for Gigabit LTE (with a data plan to match).Better yet, both devices come with fingerprint readers and IR webcams standard for secure login via Windows Hello – as well as HP’s own Digital Pen stylus in the box.Perhaps the most interesting feature found within both versions of the HP Spectre x360 is an electrical kill switch for the webcam. According to HP, this feature cuts the electrical signal from the rest of the laptop to the camera, which could be even better than some mechanical shutter we’ve seen on other laptops.HP will start selling the Spectre x360 13 and Spectre x360 15 in November on its website starting at $1,149 (about £890, AU$1,620) and $1,389 (about £1,070, AU$1,960), respectively. In the US, both laptops will hit Best Buy stores this December.
These are the best laptops the world over

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Steam Autumn and Winter Sales 2018: here’s when they start

Every year Steam holds several big sales which see the prices of hundreds of games hugely discounted for a limited period of time – and now we know when the next two will be. According to Kotaku, the Steam Autumn Sale will run for on week from November 21 to November 27. Meanwhile, the Steam Winter Sale will run for two weeks, from December 20 to January 3. The Autumn Sale will run throughout and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so make sure to compare the Steam Store game prices with those of large scale retailers before making a purchase.

The Steam Autumn Sale will go live on November 21 at 9:55am BST / 1:55am PST / 4:55 EST / 8:55pm AEDT.The Steam Winter Sale will go live on December 20 at 9:55am BST / 1:55am PST / 4:55 EST / 8:55pm AEDT.
The best free-to-play Steam games 2018

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“Spying” hardware faces tougher checks

Super Micro has said it will upgrade its hardware reviews following accusations it shipped malicious chips in its systems that would transmit data to ChinaDespite disagreeing with accusations that such spy tech exists in their motherboards and chips, Super Micro says will be assessing their hardware to look for any such errors. The company says however that it simply isn’t practical to insert complex, data-transmitting technology into a complex network without it being detected by software, manufacturing and assembly processes.“Despite the lack of any proof that a malicious hardware chip exists, we are undertaking a complicated and time-consuming review,” says Super Micro.
Hardware spying
The Super Micro hardware believed affected is primarily motherboards, which are regularly used by companies including Apple, Amazon and multiple U.S government agencies. It was feared that this could transmit sensitive U.S data to China, with 17 United States intelligence agencies sources claiming that Chinese spies had placed spyware into Super Micro’s hardware, however many ardently dispute the claim.Jake Williams, former NSA analyst and founder of cyber security firm Rendition Infosec, publicly said that while it is possible to insert such chips into motherboards and other computer hardware, each chip added would increase the risk of detection. The more chips added the more likely detection is. Also, there would be no way of knowing which chips would make it into the systems of government and private sector workers with access to data that would be deemed important to China.“This technique would only be used for high value targets that couldn’t be easily compromised via another attack vector,” said Williams.Despite a claim from Bloomberg that Apple and Amazon found such malicious chips in 2015, both companies rebuke the claims and asked for a retraction of the report.Shares of Super Micro rose over 4% amidst the news.
The best antivirus software in 2018

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