Today in Tech News Digest, Microsoft Surface Pro 3 reviews, an update on Apple buying Beats, Google keeps its employees happy, free Amazon Fire TVs, the PlayStation 4 in China, Google+ Stories, and an iPhone ringtones dance track.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Reviews Roundup
Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 3 last week, promising that this is “the tablet that can replace your laptop.” Does this bold claim have any basis in reality? With plenty of publications now having had time to fully test the device, we can offer a brief reviews roundup of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
The Verge describes the Surface Pro 3 as “a full-fledged PC that can work as a large tablet in a pinch” and “the ideal physical form for Windows 8.1.” Therefore, it doesn’t consider the Surface Pro 3 as “being in the same category as the iPad,” instead, it is “very clearly taking aim at the MacBook Air.”
Engadget maintains that with the Surface Pro 3 Microsoft is getting “closer to building a device that can replace both your tablet and laptop.” Unfortunately, “some serious usability flaws” mean that “a touchscreen Ultrabook is still your best bet.”
CNET suggests that while the Surface Pro 3 is a “very substantial generation-over-generation leap,” it’s still just a “Core i-series slate, coupled with a very good keyboard accessory.” Its headline, which states the Surface Pro 3 is “more than a tablet, less than a laptop,” sums it up rather nicely.
Laptop Mag isn’t a big fan of the Surface Pro 3, continually comparing it to both the MacBook Air and iPad Air and suggesting that the Microsoft device comes up short. The conclusion that the Surface Pro 3 “feels more like 1 + 1 = 1.5 than a 2-in-1” answers Microsoft’s claim that this is a machine that offers the best of both worlds.
Penny Arcade offers an interesting review of the Surface Pro 3 from an artist’s perspective. The new kickstand and larger screen both score well, but the new keyboard and lack of processing power means that while it’s “close to being perfect,” Mike Krahulik is ultimately “frustrated with the device.”
Apple Buying Beats Saga Continues
Earlier this month came strong rumors of Apple buying Beats Electronics. That was over a fortnight ago and yet nothing has officially been announced. So, what’s the holdup?
Billboard claims the video (embedded above) is amongst the issues that have led to problems in the negotiations. Apple is notorious for closely guarding its secrets, and it seems Dr Dre, founder of Beats, drunkenly boasting of being a billionaire didn’t go down too well at Cupertino.
Whether this has killed, or just delayed, the deal remains to be seen. In the meantime we’re asking you to name the best brand for headphones. Beats is an option, just not a very popular one at the time of writing.
Google Named Best Employer
— Rolfe Winkler (@RolfeWinkler) May 23, 2014
Google has been named the best employer in terms of pay and benefits from a survey of employees by Glassdoor. Facebook and Adobe also ranked highly, with Costco preventing it being a geeky Top 3. Apple and Amazon failed to make the Top 25 on account of having a high number of retail/warehouse staff.
Amazon Fire TVs Being Handed Out Free
When the Amazon Fire TV was launched in April, it quickly sold out, with demand outweighing supply. The tables now appear to have turned, with Re/code reporting that selected Amazon Prime members are being offered a 30-day free trial of the hardware, with free shipping in both directions.
Unfortunately, there is no way of requesting a free trial of the Amazon Fire TV. Instead, Amazon Prime members are advised to keep an eye on their inboxes just incase their name is picked from the imaginary hat.
Sony Launching PS4 In China
PS4 is coming to China. Thanks Microsoft for forcing this card out of Sony’s hands.
— Qi Chen (@qchenn) May 25, 2014
Just a month after Microsoft announced the Xbox One is headed for China, Sony has announced the PS4 is also headed for China. Interestingly, the local companies that Microsoft and Sony are teaming up with to make this happen both belong to the Shanghai Media Group. It’s now a race to see which next-gen games console will land in China first, and, of course, which will sell better.
Google+ Gets New Features, Less Sucky
Google+ has gained new features that makes the social network just a little less sucky than before. Google+ Stories “automatically stitches your photos, videos and the places you visited into an easily viewable travel slideshow,” while Google+ Movies helps you make “a short highlight clip with the help of photos, videos, and embellished with transitions and effects.” It’s just a shame Google+ is currently seen as the social network for strangers.
Apple iPhone Ringtones Remixed For Clubs
And finally, YouTube musician MetroGnome has created a catchy dance track using iconic sounds emitted by Apple products, including some instantly recognizable iPhone ringtones. As well as the YouTube video showing him creating the track, MetroGnome has made the remix available as a free download.