With speedy performance, sharp and colorful screens and comfortable-but-cool designs, tablet manufacturers make you pay for the perfect balance of fashion, function and quality -- literally. Whether you've been saving up all summer for a slate or are just picking up a third to use exclusively to buy rare caviar, these tablet picks are the best high-end buys any buck or bitcoin can cop.Not to be confused with the smartwatch of the same name, the Galaxy Tab S2 comes in two sizes: a compact 8-inch model and a larger 9.7-incher. Both are stylishly slim and lightweight, rivaling the iPads for sleekest design, and amazingly vivid and colorful screens. If you want a tablet that's great for binge-watching on the go, you can't go wrong with either model. You might want to hold off, though. Rumor has it a new model is right around the corner.If you're more interested in making content than consuming it, the iPad Pro might be up your alley. It comes in a large 12.9-inch model, as well as a 9.7-inch model that's similar in size to the iPad Air 2. Apple offers an optional keyboard and stylus -- called the Pencil -- that allows you to treat it like a laptop or notebook. It's not meant for heavy-duty work like a full-size laptop, but if you're an artist, it works as an exceptional digital canvas for making art.
Less of a drawing person and more of a writer? The aluminum-wrapped Google Pixel C has one of the coolest, most compact designs of any tablet with a keyboard. Not only that, the keyboard, which attaches magnetically, doubles as a chic protective cover. Google's known for making great Android tablets, however the company's really outdone itself with the Pixel C's impressive design. I think it's the best-looking tablet since the iPad.Be honest with yourself: Are you just looking for a tablet that can replace your laptop? If so, look no further than the Surface Pro 4. It has a larger screen and skinnier design than previous models, and houses the latest Intel processors. It's slim keyboard cover-case accessory is a big part of what makes it so great, but that's sold separately. Expect to pay top dollar for this laptop-replacement-worthy tablet.The Lenovo Yoga 910 is technically a laptop, but thanks to its touchscreen and 360-degree hinge, you can fold over its screen and use it as a tablet. It has a beautiful design, excellent performance and battery life and a great display. If you want the option of a tablet, but primarily want a kick-ass laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 910 is at the top of its class.
The older my MacBook Pro gets, the more its cooling fan spins, and the less pleasant it is to use. If your MacBook is also prone to running hot, there are seven ways you can keep it cool and quiet.Apple says that "runaway applications can cause the processor to work overtime and affect the heat level of your computer." If the apps I use on my MacBook Pro were in a road race, Chrome would have lapped the field.When your MacBook's CPU works overtime, its cooling fan kicks in to dissipate the heat. To see which apps are using the most CPU resources, open Activity Monitor and click on the CPU tab. In my experience, the usual suspect at or near the top of the list using the highest percentage of the CPU is Google Chrome Helper and Google Chrome. If this also describes your experience, it may be time to switch to Safari or another browser.
Regardless of which browser you use, the more tabs you have open, the more system resources it uses. Close or bookmark tabs you aren't using to reduce your browser's workload.Chrome has a useful tool that shows the CPU and memory resources each tab and extension is using. To open Chrome's Task Manager, click the triple-dot button to the right of Chrome's URL bar, click More Tools and then Task Manager.I find my MacBook Pro struggles when iTunes and Photos are open at the same time. So I use my iPhone to play music and open iTunes only when absolutely and unavoidably necessary. If your Mac struggles to juggle multiple apps, lessen its load by closing apps you aren't using instead of leaving them running in the background.I can no longer plop down on the couch and use my MacBook on my lap or stomach without the fan kicking in almost immediately. When I do want to use it on the couch, I grab a coffee-table book to put it on, to keep my MacBook's vents unobstructed.
MacBooks vent from the back edge, so make sure the back of your MacBook isn't blocked or it will heat up quickly. That means, don't rest it on a pillow or blanket but on a flat surface like a desk, table, counter or book.I also find the cooling fan spins less frequently when my MacBook Pro isn't sitting in direct sunlight. When the sun hits my kitchen table in the morning, it's time to take my coffee and MacBook to my office. Apple recommends keeping your MacBook in a spot that's between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (10-35 degrees Celsius).There is a chance that the reason your MacBook is overheating is there's something wrong with the cooling fan itself. Baked into your Mac is a hardware diagnostic tool. If it was made prior to June 2013, you'll use the Apple Hardware Test. After that date, you'll use Apple Diagnostics.These tools operate in a similar fashion. With your MacBook plugged in and all external peripherals removed, restart it and hold down the D key to start either diagnostic program. Follow the onscreen instructions to start the test. The standard test takes only a few minutes to complete and will report any hardware issues. For a more thorough investigation, you can check a box to run an extended test that will take an hour or more to complete.
Check out this Apple Support page of reference codes that may appear in the Test Results section after the test completes. There are three codes, all starting with "PPF," related to the cooling fan.Holding down the D button on my early-2011 MacBook Pro did not start the Apple Hardware Test, but Option-D did the trick. You might try this key combo should you have trouble starting the test.Sometimes you need to get under the hood. Get yourself a tiny Phillips-head screwdriver and you can remove the bottom panel of your MacBook to clean out any dirt, dust and grime that may have collected over the years. Use a can of compressed air to blow away any debris or use a lint-free cloth to wipe it away. Pay particular attention to the cooling fan itself and its vents, along with the entire back edge of your MacBook. The goal here is clean passageways for maximum airflow.Apple releases new versions of MacOS and apps as free upgrades, so there's no reason not to stay current. New versions of MacOS contain performance enhancements and security improvements to keep your Mac cool, safe and running smooth.
Check in periodically with the Updates tab of the Mac App Store for updates, and don't ignore notifications of updates that are ready to install.Despite the fact that most people have not used one of Apple's new MacBook Pros, there are some creative professionals -- including graphic designers, photographers and video editors -- who are already disappointed by them. For them, it's all about the specs.Apple's new machines don't feature the latest Intel and Nvidia processors, don't offer more than 16GB of memory, and ditch nearly all the traditional ports -- including full-size USB ports and the SD card reader -- in favor of the new Thunderbolt 3 standard.Some pros are even considering a switch to Windows instead. But which PCs are worthy replacements for the MacBook Pro? Here are five Windows laptops alternatives that creative professionals should consider.
The Dell XPS 15 laptop matches up nicely in both price and specs against the new 15-inch MacBook Pro. Its practical design houses a 15-inch 4K display that renders 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color space -- a plus for editing photos or color-correcting videos. Its $1,850 US price tag is another win. Check out our full review of the Dell XPS 15 here.Advantages over the 15-inch MacBook Pro: 4K display, touchscreen, 32GB of RAM and ports including HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 and an SD card reader.Disadvantages: The Nvidia graphics card is not VR-ready. The battery life is just OK. And the 15-inch MacBook Pro's design looks better than the clunky wedge shape of the Dell.If you are looking for pure power in a laptop, meet the new 17-inch Razer Blade Pro. This computer has pretty much every spec you could ask for: a giant 4K touchscreen with a wide color gamut, loads of ports, the best graphics chip you can get in a laptop, 32GB of RAM and even a scroll wheel! Read our in-depth look at the Razer Blade Pro.
Advantages over the 15-inch MacBook Pro: 4K touchscreen, Nvidia GTX 1080 (8GB) graphics, an SD card slot, 32GB RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD (in RAID 0, which means up to twice the read and write speed by combining two drives together).Disadvantages: Weight (it's nearly twice the weight of a 15-inch MacBook Pro), price ($3,699 where the 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 in the US) and it's unable to run Final Cut Pro (which is true of any Windows laptop).Recently, Microsoft announced that it was going to offer a premium version of its Surface Book with an i7 processor. In our review of the Surface Book, we gave "Archie" comic book artist Dan Parent some time with the laptop/tablet hybrid. He viewed the Surface Book as a serious contender to replace his Wacom tablet and stylus.Advantages over the 13-inch MacBook Pro: A top-of-the-line Surface Book comes with better (game-capable) graphics, more ports (including an SD card reader) as well as both a touchscreen and the Microsoft Surface pen stylus.
Disadvantages: A top-of-the-line 13-inch MacBook Pro is cheaper, lighter, smaller and comes with a faster processor and Thunderbolt 3 ports. It can also charge with a standard USB-C power adapter, where the Surface Book still requires a proprietary cable.The new Alienware 13 is basically a 15-inch laptop crammed into a 13-inch body. The quad-core processor, heavy-duty Nvidia graphics chip and particularly the optional OLED display make this an ideal machine for developers previewing HDR game content. You can even buy the optional Alienware Graphics Amp ($199) to boost its performance even further. For more on the new Alienware 13 check out our review.Advantages over the 13-inch MacBook Pro: A plethora of ports (Thunderbolt 3, USB-3, HDMI, Mini Display Port), a quad-core processor, 32GB of RAM, 2TB PCIe SSD and Nvidia 1060 graphics.Disadvantages: A fully loaded new Alienware 13 ($3,425) costs much more than a top-of-the-line 13-inch MacBook Pro ($2,899). It's also nearly 2 pounds heavier and lacks an SD card slot.The 14-inch ThinkPad T460 offers a lot for a relatively low price -- a top-specced machine only costs $2,034 US and comes complete with 32GB of RAM, a touchscreen, and a fingerprint reader. One of the nicest features is the tremendous battery life -- Lenovo claims 18 hours on a charge.
Advantages over the 13-inch MacBook Pro: A comfy keyboard, 32GB of RAM, touchscreen, price, dual batteries (the rear one is swappable) for tremendous battery life, an SD card reader and an HDMI port.Disadvantages: Smaller-capacity slower SSDs, average screen resolution, and no Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports.It is a great time to buy a computer, even if you're a creative professional. If you were pining for a new MacBook Pro but disappointed by the specs, I'd recommend waiting a bit to read our review on the higher end models with Touch Bar. Specs are just one part of the story. Here's our review of the new baseline 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.If your creative workflow allows for a Windows based-machine, these five deserve your consideration. Though, one of the complaints some creative pros had against Apple, was its choice of a sixth-generation Intel processor instead of a seventh-generation version. All five Windows machines in this article also have a sixth-generation Intel processor. So there are some specs, that will take time to make it into our creative machines.