Connect with us


5 lakh jobs may be lost in Britain’s hospitality sector



The hospitality sector in Britain may lose about five lakh jobs if the government’s financial support ends. It is uncertain as to when the sector will be fully open and functional, given the fact that the new variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the country. Even if the sector reopens soon, there may be acute labour shortage with workers from the European Union — who returned to their hometowns amidst the pandemic — being unable to return due to the amendments in visa rules post Brexit. The travel restrictions are making it difficult for migrant workers to return, and most students have left town.

In addition, there will be competition to employ workers once the sector reopens, because several businesses in the hospitality space were unable to furlough seasonal employees employees, simply because they couldn’t afford to. Now, they will be trying to outdo each other to attract workers. In some regions the demand for quality talent, such as managers and chefs, will certainly lead to inflated salaries. That is not all, post pandemic, commercial landlords are not very keen to rent out to hospitality companies for fear of tightening lockdown rules and restrictions.

Several hospitality firms are incurring losses because of the cost of delivering table service, as is mandated by the government rules. The industry is in debt to landlords, to whom it owes over three billion pounds! Then there is the issue of back taxes to the tune of $132 million, which is going to be a big burden unless reopening happens soon.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa


Best Windows 10 laptop 2021: Top notebooks compared



If you’re looking for a new laptop, Windows is likely to be the first choice of operating system for most people simply because of its dominant market share. Windows accounted for 73.5% of the desktop (and laptop) market in May 2021, according to StatCounter, with MacOS a distant second on 15.9%, and Linux (2.4%) and Chrome OS (2.3%) in the single-figure territory. Windows 10 was the leading Windows version in May at 78.9%, followed by Windows 7 (15.5%), 8.1 (3.4%) and 8 (1.3%). 

Windows dominates the PC operating system market thanks to its long-time availability on a wide range of OEM (and more recently, Microsoft) hardware, which has resulted in a huge variety of software written for the platform. That’s not to say it’s necessarily the ‘best’ operating system, but you’re probably going to need a good reason to overlook it in favour of MacOS, Chrome OS or Linux. 

You might, for example, choose MacOS to run creative software on premium hardware or because your company already embraces Apple’s ecosystem. Linux might get the nod for its free, open-source and increasingly usable nature or because it’s less of a target for cybercriminals than Windows. And Chrome OS-based Chromebooks offer an affordable and increasingly popular platform for web-based productivity apps and virtual desktops.  

The current Windows 10 version is 21H1, which is now rolling out to PCs across the installed base. In addition, Microsoft has an event on 24 June to unveil a ‘new Windows’ variant (possibly called Windows 11), which is expected to be a special consumer-oriented release that may contain elements of the canned-before-release Windows 10X. The next regular Windows 10 release, later this year, will be 21H2, which may be split into consumer and business versions to reflect the changes announced on 24 June. 

So, given that you’re in the market for a Windows 10 laptop, which one should you buy? As ever, that depends on what you want to do with it and how much budget is at your disposal. 

Here are ZDNet’s current picks for a variety of use cases.

Best for knowledge workers


OS  Windows 10 (Home, Pro) | CPU  Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1165G7, Core i7-1185G7 | GPU  Intel UHD Graphics (Core i3), Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage  256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen  13.4in. InfinityEdge, 1920 x 1200 (169ppi, non-touch/touch), 3840 x 2400 (338ppi, touch), 500 nits | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots  2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, MicroSD | Camera  HD (720p) RGB and IR | Audio  2 mics, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack | Battery  52Wh (14h 11m FHD+, 8h 12m 4K+/UHD+) | Dimensions  295.7 x 198.7 x 14.8mm | Weight  1.2kg (non-touch), 1.27kg (touch) | Price  From $1000 (Core i3), $1030 (Core i5), $1250 (Core i7)

Knowledge workers spend a lot of time staring at the screen and pounding the keyboard, mostly running a mix of productivity and collaboration apps. As well as a decent screen and keyboard, knowledge workers need solid all-round performance, a spare connection for an external monitor, if required, and a good webcam/mic/speaker combo for handling video calls (this will be particularly important if the user is also working remotely). Many devices could perform these duties, but the Dell XPS 13 currently leads the field, in our opinion.

Powered by 11th-generation Intel Core i3, 15 or i7 processors with integrated Intel (UHD or Iris Xe) Graphics, the 13.4-inch XPS 13 is compact and lightweight yet durable. The minimal-bezel InfinityEdge display is available in FHD+ (non-touch/touch) or 4K+/UHD+ (touch) resolutions with a 16:10 aspect ratio, while the keyboard is quite responsive and comfortable to type on at speed. All-day battery life should be achievable from the 52Wh battery, depending on the workload mix and screen resolution/brightness setting. It’s not cheap, especially if you add copious options (such as a Thunderbolt Dock), but it will serve you very well.

Dell recently launched a variant of the XPS 13 with an OLED touch display featuring ‘3.5K’ resolution (3456 x 2160 pixels, 304ppi), 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage, DisplayHDR 500 and Dolby Vision certification, and 400 nits maximum brightness. However, this option costs $400 extra compared to the entry-level 500-nit FHD non-touch display.

Read the review: Dell XPS 13 9310 review

If a 13.4-inch primary screen is too small, we’ve also listed a couple of larger-screen contenders for knowledge/remote workers: 

$1,000 at Dell

Best for mobile professionals


OS  Windows 10 (Home, Pro) | CPU  Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i5-1145G7 vPro (G2 only); Core i7-1165G7, Core i7-1185G7 vPro (G2 and Max) | GPU  Intel UHD Graphics (Core i3), Iris Xe Graphics | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage  128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen  13.3in. IPS, 1920 x 1080 touch screen, 400 nits; 1920 x 1080 touch screen + HP Sure View, 1000 nits (only option on Max); 3840 x 2160 touch screen, 550 nits | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ax (WiFi 6), 4G LTE (option), 5G (option) | Ports and slots  2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, HDMI 2.0, Nano SIM (for optional WWAN) | Cameras  HD (720p) + IR (G2), 5MP + IR (Max) | Audio  3 mics (G2), 4 mics (Max), 4 stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack | Battery  38Wh, 56Wh | Dimensions  304 x 198 x 16mm | Weight  0.98kg (G2), 1.13 (Max) | Price  G2 from $1,685 (i3-1115G4), $1,783 (i5-1135G7), $1,920 (i5-1145G7), $2,010 (i7-1165G7), $2,200 (i7-1185G7); Max from $2,409 (i7-1165G7), $2,622 (i7-1185G7)

Mobile professionals ask a lot of laptop designers: a usable and performant combination of lightweight, flexible configuration, sturdy build, connectivity, security, battery life and design credibility. Of course, it’s a tall order to shoehorn all of that into one product, but HP gives it an exemplary go with the 13.3-inch Elite Dragonfly. We were extremely impressed with the first-generation Elite Dragonfly, and at CES 2021, HP announced the Elite Dragonfly G2 and Elite Dragonfly Max, based on Intel’s latest 11th-generation processors, which are both now available.

The Elite Dragonfly G2 ticks most of the boxes for mobile pros who don’t mind paying for a premium device: prices for the (just) sub-1kg G2 start at $1,685 for an entry-level Core i3 model but can rise to around $4,000 if you max out on the options. It has an elegant sub-1kg chassis with MIL-STD 801G robustness and a 360-degree FHD (non-touch/touch) or UHD (touch) screen. The spill-resistant, backlit keyboard has a good, firm action and is not too loud, while the glass multi-touch touchpad works smoothly, as do the integrated mouse buttons. Options include mobile broadband (4G LTE or 5G), a Wacom AES 2.0 Pen and integrated Tile tracking, and there’s an electronic privacy slider for the HD (720p) IR webcam. Video calls are well served by the combination of the webcam, 3-mic array and 4-speaker system, and both standard (38Wh) and long-life (56Wh) batteries are available — the latter to serve the power-hungry 4K (UHD) screen.

Read the review: HP Elite Dragonfly review

The Elite Dragonfly Max is only available with Core i7 processors and lacks the 4K screen option. It also has four rather than three mics (2 world-facing, 2 user-facing) and a 5MP IR camera with a manual rather than electronic privacy shutter. The G2 and Max have two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB 3.2 port and an HDMI port.

Even though mobile professionals have been considerably less mobile during the coronavirus pandemic, ultraportables and convertibles remain a growth area in the PC market. There are many devices out there. If the Elite Dragonfly doesn’t do it for you, here are two more highly regarded contenders:

$2,012 at HP

Best for power users and creators


OS  Windows 10 Home or Pro | CPU  Intel Core i5-10400H, Core i7-10750H, Core i7-10850H, Core i9-10885H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q (4GB) | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB | Storage  256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB (2 SSDs supported) | Screen  FHD (IPS, 300 nits, 500 nits), 4K/UHD (IPS, HDR400, 600 nits) 4K/UHD (OLED, HDR500, 400 nits, touch) | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), mobile broadband option (Fibocom L850-GL 4G LTE CAT9) | Ports and slots  2x USB 3.2, 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, RJ-45 Ethernet (via USB-C adapter), 4-in-1 SD card reader | Camera  HD (720p), HD & IR option, ThinkShutter privacy cover | Audio  Dolby Atmos Speaker System (3 speakers), 3.5 headphone/mic combo jack | Battery  4-cell 80Wh (12-15h) | Dimensions  361.8mm x 245.7mm x 18.4mm (18.7mm with touchscreen)| Weight  from 1.7kg (1.81kg with touchscreen) | Price  from $1,658 (Core i5) – $2,494 (Core i9)

Laptops designed for power users and creators are always going to command premium prices because they need high-end features such as serious processing power, powerful discrete graphics, copious memory and storage, a high-quality screen and robust industrial design.

Lenovo’s top-of-the-range 15.6-inch ThinkPad X1 Extreme weighs in at a reasonably portable 1.7kg while offering professional-level features and performance. Displays range from a non-touch IPS panel with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution up to a 4K/UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED touchscreen. There’s a 4K IPS screen option, too, with higher brightness (600 vs 400 nits) than the OLED screen, but only the latter supports 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, which is important in the video editing market.

The Gen 3 model is available in several prebuilt configurations, and there are plenty of customisation options. Most entry-level variants only offer FHD resolution, though, so if you want a 4K display, you’ll need to step up to a starting price of $2,423. That price also includes a 6-core Core i7-10750H processor running at 2.6GHz, along with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics. The top-end 4K OLED touchscreen model, with 2.4GHz Core i9-10885H, 64GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, costs $2,494.

Although there’s a wide range of customisation options, these don’t include the GPU, which is restricted to the mid-range GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. This makes the ThinkPad X1 Extreme more suitable for 2D graphics and design rather than 3D graphics and high-end video editing. For that, you’ll need to step up to the workstation-class system.

Read the review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme.

There are plenty of other Windows laptops that can handle video editing and other creative workloads. Here are a couple of leading 15-inch contenders:

Read more: Best laptop for graphic design in 2021

$1,685 at Lenovo

Best for workstation users


OS  Windows 10 (Home, Pro), Linux Fedora 33 | CPU  Intel Core i7-10750H, Core i7-10850H vPro, Core i7-10875H vPro, Core i9-10885H vPro, Xeon W-10855M vPro | GPU  Nvidia Quadro T1000 with Max-Q (4GB), Quadro T2000 with Max-Q (4GB) | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB | Storage  128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB; RAID 0, 1 optional | Screen  IPS FHD (1920 x 1080), 300, 500, 600 nits; OLED 4K (3840 x 2160), 400 nits, touch screen | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots  2x USB-A 3.2, 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, SD Card Reader | Cameras  720p camera with ThinkShutter; hybrid IR and 720p HD camera with ThinkShutter (option) | Audio  2x far-field mics, 2x 2W stereo speakers (Dolby Atmos-certified), 3.5mm combo audio jack | Battery  80Wh (15.9-17.1h), Rapid Charge (80% in 1h) | Dimensions  18.4mm x 361.8mm x 245.7mm | Weight  1.7kg | Price  from $1,705 (Core i7-10750H), $1,884 (Core i7-10850H), $1,960 (Core i7-10875H), $2,024 (Core i9-10885H), $2,656 (Xeon W-10855M)

Many people require more computing, graphics, memory, and storage than a power user/creator laptop provides. These demanding professionals include 3D designers, architects, engineers, scientists, video editors, VR developers and more, and what they need is a full-blown mobile workstation.

As well as Core i7/i9/Xeon or Ryzen 9 CPUs, Nvidia Quadro or Radeon Pro GPUs, at least 16GB of RAM (32GB or more preferable) and multiple terabytes of storage, workstation-class laptops need high-quality IPS or OLED screens with high resolution (4K preferable) and good colour space support (sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3). They also need certifications from ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) such as Adobe, Autodesk, Avid and others, to signify those specific configurations are optimised for mission-critical apps.

The leading mobile workstation vendors are Dell, HP and Lenovo, but your search for a suitable solution may also encompass recent entrants from the gaming market such as Gigabyte, MSI and Razer. We’ve chosen a top-end model from a tier-1 vendor, in the shape of Lenovo’s “ultra-premium and luxury in a workstation” ThinkPad P1 Gen 3.

This 15.6-inch clamshell device is a typically black-clad, robust (MIL-STD 810G) ThinkPad with the usual excellent keyboard and signature red TrackPoint. In the US, an entry-level ‘Build Your Own‘ model with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, an FHD (1920 x 1080, 141.2ppi) 300 nits IPS screen and Nvidia Quadro T1000 graphics costs $1,702. That won’t cut the mission-critical mustard, though, and customisation options go all the way up to a Xeon W-10855M processor (+$1,100), 64GB of EEC RAM (+$1,165), a pair of 2TB PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 or 1 configuration, a 4K (3840 x 2160, 282.4ppi) 400 nits OLED touch screen (+ $660) and Nvidia Quadro T2000 graphics (+ $210). That little lot currently adds up to $4,404.52.

Read the review: Lenovo ThinkPad P1.

There’s also a ‘Build with Linux‘ option running Linux Fedora 33, which starts at $1,594.42. And those all-important ISV certifications? These are available for ArcGIS, AutoCAD, CATIA, Creo, Inventor, Microstation, NX, PDMS, Revit, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and Vectorworks.

If a 15.6-inch screen isn’t large enough for you, here’s a couple of 17.3-inch mobile workstations to consider:

$1,705 at Lenovo

Best for budget-limited users


OS  Windows 10 (Home) | CPU  AMD Ryzen 5 4500U, Ryzen 7 4700U | GPU  AMD Radeon Graphics (integrated) | RAM  8GB, 16GB | Storage  256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Screen  14in. IPS, 1920 x 1080 (157ppi) | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots  USB-C, USB 3.2, USB 2.0, HDMI | Camera  HD (720p) | Audio  1 mic, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic combo | Battery  48Wh (11h) | Dimensions  323 x 218 x 18mm | Weight  1.2kg | Price  from $619 (Ryzen 5 4500U), $800 (Ryzen 7 4700U)

Not everyone can afford the laptop they might like to have (students and employees of small businesses spring to mind), but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a substandard device. The top-tier manufacturers all have ‘affordable’ ranges, and there’s any number of unashamedly budget brands, many of which offer excellent-value devices. Our choice, Acer’s AMD-powered Swift 3, is from a top-tier vendor and gets the nod thanks to its excellent combination of sub-$1,000 price and solid performance without making too many trade-offs on features, build quality or support options. (Note: Chromebooks, another rich seam of budget laptops, are covered elsewhere in this article).

Key to the Swift 3’s value proposition is AMD’s Ryzen 4000 mobile processor series, which delivers excellent price/performance compared to Intel’s equivalent chips. (Note: at CES 2021, AMD announced the latest Ryzen 5000 mobile processors with significant claimed improvements in performance and power consumption.) Not only is the CPU, 8GB or 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage well up to scratch, but wireless connectivity — Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) wi-fi — is bang up to date, which is impressive in this price band. The 14-inch FHD screen is perfectly adequate, although some may find that its matte finish and moderate brightness make it somewhat lacklustre. The Swift 3’s build quality is good, there’s a good selection of ports, the keyboard is backlit, and you can expect to get a full day’s (not too demanding) work done on battery power (Acer claims 11 hours). It’s not too heavy either, at 1.2kg. Starting at $619 (with a Ryzen 5 4500U processor), the Swift 3 is excellent value.

Read the review: Acer Swift 3 review CNET.

As noted earlier, there’s any number of affordable laptops out there, and you can easily find usable Windows 10 devices for under $250 if that’s your budget limit. However, if you’ve got a bit more to spend, here’s two more good-value laptops from top vendors:

Read more: Best budget laptop for under $350: Top expert picks.

$680 at Amazon $790 at Walmart $976 at eBay

Best for field workers


OS  Windows 10 (Pro), Linux (Ubuntu 18.04) | CPU  Core i3-7130U, Core i5-8350U | GPU  Intel HD 620 Graphics | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage  128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen  14in. WVA, 1920 x 1080 (non-touch, non-touch/outdoor-readable, touch/outdoor-readable) | Wireless  Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), 4G LTE (option) | Ports and slots  3x USB 3.0, USB-C, RS-232 serial, RJ-45 Ethernet, HDMI, SD card slot, SIM slot, SmartCard reader (option) | Cameras  FHD web or IR camera with privacy shutter (option) | Audio  2 mics, speaker, 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack | Battery  51Wh, optional 2nd 51Wh hot-swap battery | Dimensions  347 x 244 x 32.8mm (ex. bumpers and handle) | Weight  from 2.22kg (1 battery, no handle) | Price  from $1399 (Core i3), $1879 (Core i5)

Laptops must often brave the elements, including bright sunshine, rain, a dust storm, baking heat, serious vibration, and drops from various heights onto different surfaces. No wonder that ‘rugged’ laptops come in many shades — ‘extreme’ or ‘fully’ rugged, ‘semi’ or ‘business’ rugged, for example. Two main classifications are used to assess the ruggedness of laptops and other equipment: the US military’s MIL-STD 810 series (commonly 810G, or the latest 810H); and the IP or Ingress Protection code. There are numerous MIL-STD 810 tests, and most laptops will only undergo a subset, so check the specs carefully to see which they are. The IP code reports two numbers, the first concerning resistance to solids (5 denotes ‘dust protected’, for example, while 6 means a device is ‘dust tight’) and the second to liquids (1 = ‘dripping water’, 9K = ‘powerful high-temperature water jets’).

Our choice in this tough-laptop category, Dell’s 14-inch Latitude 5420 Rugged Business Laptop, isn’t the most bulletproof portable computer on the market by any means, but it offers a good mix of price, performance, features and robustness for business users. Like all rugged laptops, the Latitude 5420 is bulkier and heavier than mainstream devices, thanks to extra protection for the screen and keyboard sections. Still, it weighs a reasonable (for its class) 2.22kg with one battery and no (optional) handle. You can specify a second hot-swappable 51Wh battery to ensure greater longevity in the field. The 14-inch FHD screen comes in touch, non-touch and outdoor-readable versions, and there’s plenty of configurable wired and wireless connectivity, including Ethernet and (optional) 4G LTE broadband. If you need a portable computer that can take a few knocks, this is an excellent choice — especially as you can specify Linux (Ubuntu 18.04) as well as Windows 10 Pro.

Read the review: Dell Latitude 5240 Rugged review

Dell has the widest range of rugged laptops among the top-tier laptop-makers, but there are a number of specialist vendors, including Getac, Xplore, DT Research and Panasonic. The latter’s Toughbooks are probably the best-known specialist brand. Here’s a couple of notable examples:

Read more: Best rugged laptop in 2021

$2,091 at Amazon $2,000 at Walmart

Best for early adopters


OS  Windows 10 (Pro) | CPU  Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform | GPU  Qualcomm Adreno GPU | RAM  up to 16GB | Storage  up to 512GB | Screen  13.5in. 1920 x 1280 Edge-to-Edge Glass, 10-point multi-touch | Wireless  Bluetooth LE 5.0, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), 4G LTE and 5G mobile broadband | Ports and slots  2x USB-C 3.2, Nano SIM | Camera  HD IR + hybrid Y2.2mm HD webcam | Audio  2x front-facing mics, 4x stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack | Battery  up to 24.5h of local video playback | Dimensions  299 x 230 x 15.9mm | Weight  1.3kg | Price  from $1,786.88

A subset of the laptop-buying population will always be hankering after the latest form factors and platforms, and CES is the place to get a first look at what’s in store for the coming year. Despite being online-only due to the coronavirus pandemic, CES 2021 didn’t disappoint, offering up a healthy crop of cutting-edge industrial designs and configurations.

We’ve picked out HP’s Elite Folio, a 13.5-inch 2-in-1 device, because it shows how Windows laptops are developing in response to Apple’s Arm-based M1 MacBooks. The Elite Folio is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 platform, which includes both 4G LTE and 5G modems, along with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). The message is that this ultraportable (1.3kg) 2-in-1 is ‘always on, always connected’, with claimed battery life of up to 24.5 hours of ‘local video playback’. With optional Sure View privacy for the touchscreen, an Elite Slim Active Pen (with on-device storage and charging), a well-specified audio-video subsystem and fanless operation, this will be a sought-after laptop for the well-heeled mobile professional. 

The Elite Folio’s Arm-based processor certainly delivers on battery life, but there is a trade-off in its use of Windows 10 on Arm (WoA), which can currently only run 32-bit Windows apps. Intel x64 emulation is coming to WoA, however, and is available now via the Windows Insider Program. ARM64-native apps are appearing too, and include Microsoft’s Teams and Edge, and Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom.

The Elite Folio is available to buy on HP’s US website but is still listed as ‘Coming soon’ in the UK. In the US, you can get a preconfigured model with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD for $1,889; there’s also a customisable model that starts at $1,786.88 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

Also: CES 2021: HP updates home office line-up

The Elite Folio wasn’t the only eye-catching laptop at CES 2021, of course. Here’s a couple of other leading contenders for the early adopter:

Read more: Best CES 2021 laptops: Top notebooks, 2-in-1s, and ultraportables

$1,786 at HP Inc

Best for Surface users


OS  Windows 10 (Home, Pro) | CPU  Intel Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1185G7, AMD Ryzen 5 4680U (13.5in.) • Core i7-1185G7, AMD Ryzen 7 4980U | GPU  Intel Iris Xe Graphics, AMD Radeon Graphics | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage  256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Screen  13.5in. PixelSense, 2256 x 1504 (201ppi) • 15in. PixelSense, 2496 x 1664 (201ppi), 10pt multi-touch | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) | Ports and slots: USB-C, USB-A, Surface Connect | Cameras  Windows Hello, 720p HD f2.0 | Audio  2 far-field Studio Mics, Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio, 3.5mm headphone jack | Battery  47.4Wh (19h AMD, 17h Intel, 13.5-inch • 17.5h AMD, 16.5h Intel, 15-inch) | Dimensions  308 x 223 x 14.5mm (13.5in.), 339.5 x 244 x 14.7mm (15in.) | Weight  13.5-inch: 1.26kg (Alcantara), 1.29kg (metal) • 15-inch: 1.54kg | Price  from $999.99 (13.5-inch) • from $1,299.99 (15-inch)

Microsoft’s Surface devices made their debut in 2012 with a 10.6-inch tablet sporting an optional attachable keyboard, running the ill-fated Windows RT on an ARM-based Nvidia Tegra SoC. Since then, the brand has established itself as a design and technology showcase for the Windows platform, evolving into a profitable business for Microsoft and picking up a hardcore of devotees. Today the Surface range boasts eight laptops of various descriptions: Surface Laptop Go (12.4in. laptop), Surface Pro X (13in. tablet/laptop), Surface Book 3 (13.5in. and 15in. laptop/tablets), Surface Go 2 (10.2in. tablet/laptop), Surface Laptop 4 (13.5in. and 15in. laptops) and Surface Pro 7/7+ (12.3in. tablet/laptops).

Laptop users seeking a Surface device for mainstream productivity tasks are probably best directed to the new Surface Laptop 4, which comes in 13.5-inch or 15-inch sizes, powered by either 11th-generation Intel Core processors with Iris Xe graphics or AMD Ryzen 4000-series processors with Radeon graphics. With an elegant aluminium chassis and available in a range of colours and finishes, both Surface Laptop 4 models have 201ppi PixelSense touch screens with 3:2 aspect ratios.

The main disappointment for ZDNet’s reviewers with the Surface Laptop 3 was battery life: Microsoft claimed up to 11.5 hours of ‘typical usage’, but our tests came in at more like 6 hours. Microsoft has clearly aimed to address this with the new Surface Laptop 4, claiming up to 19h and 17h respectively for the 13.5-inch AMD- and Intel-based models; for the 15-inch model, Microsoft claims up to 17.5h (AMD) and 16.5h (Intel). In ZDNet’s review of the 13.5-inch AMD-powered Surface Laptop 4, we saw nearly 14 hours of battery life when running a mix of mainstream productivity workloads.

Prices for the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 4 start at $999.99 with an AMD Ryzen 5 4680U processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, rising to $2,299.99 with an Intel Core i7-1185G7, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The 15-inch model starts at $1,299.99 with a Ryzen 7 4980U, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, rising to $2,399.99 with a Core i7-1185G7, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.

Read the review: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch, AMD)

As well as these traditional laptops, the Surface range offers two convertible form factors — tablet with an attachable keyboard (Surface Pro, Pro X, Go) and laptop with a detachable screen section (Surface Book):

Read more: The best Surface? See which Microsoft Surface PC is right for you.

$999 at Microsoft

Best for tablet/laptop users


OS  Windows 10 Pro | CPU  Intel Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1165G7 | GPU  Intel UHD Graphics (Core i3), Iris Xe Graphics (Core i5, i7) | RAM  8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage  128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Screen  12.3in. PixelSense, 2736 x 1824 (267ppi), 10pt multi-touch | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), mobile broadband (LTE) | Ports and slots  USB-C, USB-A, Surface Connect, Surface Type Cover port, MicroSD card reader, Nano SIM | Cameras  5MP Windows Hello (front), 8MP (rear) | Audio 2 far-field Studio Mics, 1.6W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, 3.5mm headphone jack | Battery  50.4Wh (15h Wi-Fi, 13.5h Wi-Fi + LTE) | Dimensions  292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm | Weight  770g (i3 & i5, Wi-Fi), 796g (i5, Wi-Fi + LTE), 784g (i7, Wi-Fi); tablet only | Price  from $849.99 (i3), $999.99 (i5), $1,449.99 (i7); Type Cover for Business $97.47, $119.99 (Signature model); Surface Pen $99.99

The Surface Pro is a tablet with an attachable Type Cover keyboard (not included in the base price) that transforms it into a laptop of sorts. It’s not a laptop you can use comfortably — or at all — on your lap, thanks to the kickstand that keeps the screen section upright, but it’s light and flexible and an excellent choice if you do a lot of touchscreen tasks — sketching, handwritten note-taking and annotation, for example — as well as mainstream knowledge work. Note that, as with the Type Cover, the Surface Pen is another extra-cost option.

There are two variants of the flagship 12.3-inch Surface Pro: the consumer-focused Surface Pro 7, which is based on 10th-generation Intel Core processors, and the business-oriented Surface Pro 7+, which runs on the latest 11th-generation Core CPUs and also offers LTE mobile broadband. We’re looking at the latter here.

The Surface Pro 7+ starts at $849.99 for a Wi-Fi-only version with a Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. A Core i5 configuration with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, Wi-Fi and LTE will cost you $1,449.99, while the top-end model with a Core i7, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD costs a hefty $1,779.99. The Surface Pro 7+ has a slightly bigger battery than its consumer stablemate, resulting in claimed battery life of 15 hours with Wi-Fi only and 13.5h with Wi-Fi and LTE. Another key differentiator is security and manageability: the Pro 7+ has a removable SSD, Windows Autopilot support and comes with key security features turned on by default.

Read more: Surface Pro 7+ for Business: Here’s what makes it different.

The original raison d’etre of the Surface brand was for Microsoft to showcase new form factors and technologies that its OEM partners could use as inspiration for their designs. That has certainly worked with the Surface Pro-style ‘tablet-first’ 2-in-1, and you’ll find plenty of variations on the theme from the likes of Lenovo, HP, Dell and others.

Read more: The best Surface? See which Microsoft Surface PC is right for you.

$850 at Microsoft

Best for large-screen users


OS  Windows 10 Home | CPU  Intel Core i5-1035G7, Core i7-1165G7 | GPU   Intel Iris Plus Graphics (10th-gen i5), Iris Xe Graphics (11th-gen i7), Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti (4GB, 1 i7 model) | RAM  8GB, 16GB | Storage  256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen  17-inch IPS 2560 x 1600 (177.6ppi) | Wireless  Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) | Ports and slots  2x USB-C Thunderbolt (3 or 4), 2x USB-A, HDMI, MicroSD card slot  | Camera  HD webcam | Audio  2W or 1.5W stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio jack | Battery  2-cell 80Wh (up to 19.5h) | Dimensions  381mm x 274mm x 19.8mm | Weight  1.35kg (1.95kg with dGPU) | Price  from $1,499.99 to $1,899.99

Many laptop users would like a large screen — for more expansive knowledge work (multiple document windows, large spreadsheets), video viewing or gaming, for example — but are wary of the weight of a typical 17-inch device. If you fall into that category, the LG Gram 17 may be the laptop for you, as it weighs an astonishing 1.35kg (although the model with discrete Nvidia graphics comes in at 1.95kg). Moreover, despite its slim, lightweight magnesium alloy chassis, the LG Gram 17 is robust to MIL-STD 810G standard.

The screen is a 17-inch IPS panel with a 16:10 resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels (177.6ppi). Variants are available with support for 99% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut or, for less demanding use cases, 96% of sRGB. The large-footprint chassis provides plenty of room for the backlit keyboard, a separate number pad and a large 16:10 touchpad.

On LG’s US website, all available models bar one run on Intel’s 11th-generation Core i7-1165G7, starting at $1,499 for a configuration with discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics with 4GB of dedicated video memory, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of M.2 SSD storage. The top-end $1,899.99 configuration has 16GB of RAM and 2TB (2x 1TB) of SSD storage.

Read the review: LG Gram 17 (2021)

$1,499 at LG

Why should you buy a laptop and not a desktop or a tablet?

These days, a ‘computer’, for most people, is a laptop of some kind. The desktop form factor — particularly in the shape of all-in-one (AIO) devices — is by no means finished, but laptops span the range from thin, light and ultraportable to bulky, powerful and deskbound, and cover a lot of use cases (as seen above). If screen real estate with smaller laptops is a problem, you can always attach an external monitor, and there are plenty of hybrid 2-in-1 devices that straddle the divide between laptop and tablet.

Which operating system should you choose: Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS, or Linux?

Every computing platform has its committed supporters, but most people end up using a particular operating system because key applications run on it, or because it’s chosen for them by their employer, or because of budgetary issues — Windows spans the range from budget to premium, but Chrome OS is largely confined to the affordable end of the market, while Apple’s macOS laptops are mostly premium devices.

Laptop vendors: Should you stick to the ‘usual suspects’ or seek out lesser-known brands?

Generally speaking, the leading PC vendors have the broadest range of offerings and the best-documented track records in terms of product development and customer relations. So in the absence of a specialised use case or budgetary constraint, you’re usually going to be looking at the likes of Lenovo, HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer — which currently lead the PC market in terms of shipments — plus a handful of other well-known brands, including Microsoft.

How did we choose these Windows 10 laptops?

Our selection process

I have been writing, commissioning and editing reviews of laptops (and many other types of tech product) since the 1990s. The selection process for this ‘Best’ list is based on a combination of personal usage and experience, involvement in the ZDNet reviews process, and analysis of other reviews and roundups.

Which Windows 10 laptop is right for you?

The key question when buying a laptop — as with any product — is: ‘What do you want to do with it?’ Once you’ve established the use case, you’ll have a focus for your research and should quickly get a feel for the key features to look out for. For example, if you’re a mobile knowledge worker, you’ll want a usable and performant combination of lightweight, flexible configuration, sturdy build, connectivity, security, battery life, and design credibility. But if you’re a largely deskbound graphic designer or creator who occasionally needs to visit a client with a laptop in tow, your priorities will be different.

Once you have a long list of potential candidates, your budget will likely trim it down at the top end, while your cautionary instincts should kick in at the bottom end (if something appears too good to be true, it probably is). However, armed with a well-researched shortlist, you should have a good chance of ending up with a laptop that will satisfy your requirements.

ZDNet Recommends

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

Continue Reading


This free coding school has no teachers or classes. Can it help solve the tech skills crisis?




Kood/Jõhvi opens its doors to students this autumn, offering a radical new approach to learning to code.

Image: Kood/Jõhvi / source

Later this year, an international coding school will open its doors to students in Jõhvi, a town of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants in Estonia that is located 50km from the Russian border.

There are no tuition fees, no classes and no teachers, and over the course of two years, students learn the skills they need to enter Estonia’s job market as full-stack developers.

“We have to constantly explain how a school without classes can actually work,” says Karin Künnapas, the 34-year old co-headteacher of the brand-new Kood/Jõhvi computing school. “There is no similar school in Estonia.”

techrepublic cheat sheet

Kood/Jõhvi is an initiative from members of the Estonian Founders Society, an organization set up to invigorate the local startup community and empower new startup founders. Among the eight Estonian entrepreneurs involved in the project are the co-founders of two unicorn-status startups: Bolt’s Martin Villig, and Wise’s (formerly Transferwise) Taavet Hinrikus. In addition to state funding, the school has received €700,000 in private donations.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Python developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Kood/Jõhvi’s curriculum is based on 01 Education System, a peer-learning platform developed by French computer scientist Nicolas Sadirac. There are no classes and teachers, and most of the studies are cooperation-based.

Künnapas likens the curriculum to a computer game, with students tasked with solving increasingly difficult problems that allow them to level-up. “The platform has specific instructions on what the student needs to do, for example, code a forum, build a website,” she says.

“They need to follow the instructions and do what is asked. About 80% of these problems are solved together in a team, so they need to work with other people and figure it out together.” 

Künnapas had been involved in organizing student entrepreneurship at the European Innovation Academy for a number of years alongside colleague Elle-Mari Pappel, when in autumn 2020 they came across a job listing for a headmaster role at a new IT school in Estonia.

The pair applied for the role together, and as of the beginning of 2021, Künnapas and Pappel work alongside each other in joint roles as Kood/Jõhvi’s co-headteachers.

“Kood/Jõhvi is a unique type of school with an innovative methodology, so the school also needed a different kind of management model,” says Künnapas.

“We knew that our cooperation works well, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and like working together, so it just felt like a perfect match to take on this challenge together.”

An industry in decline

The location of the school, which is situated in the industrial county of Ida-Virumaa, was selected with the hope that it would help diversify job opportunities in the region, where the main industry of oil shale mining is expected to decline in the future.

For decades, Estonia has relied heavily on oil shale in electricity production, but in recent years the country has made efforts to turn towards renewable energy sources. 

The state energy firm, Eesti Energia, announced in June that it will stop producing electricity from oil shale by 2030 and there have been steps taken in that direction already.

All of this is expected to bring sweeping changes to the economy and labour market in eastern Estonia – home to the country’s biggest oil shale mines – and a need for new job opportunities for the thousands of people employed in the industry-heavy region.

“Our goal is to support the competitiveness of the region [and] give the local youth and also older people an additional education opportunity either at the start of their journey, or if they want to change their career,” says Künnapas.

SEE: AI and data science jobs are hot. Here’s what employers want

To apply to Kood/Jõhvi, students need to be over 18 years-old and have at least a basic education, which means having graduated from ninth grade. While there are no tuition fees, students are expected to commit to their studies full-time throughout their two-year education.

Kood/Jõhvi is not entirely unique. There are more than 20 schools worldwide that are based on a similar methodology, including Paris’s École 42, which Sadirac developed in cooperation with French telco billionaire, Xavier Niel.

Despite this, word of Kood/Jõhvi is already spreading, with the school attracting interest regionally and internationally. Its first round of applications ended on May 31; of the roughly 3,000 applicants, 25% were from Ida-Virumaa, with other applications coming from Finland, Latvia, and even as far as Brazil.

To apply, applicants must take a two-hour online test that challenges their logical thinking and memory. The 600 highest test scorers will then be selected to continue the application process in a ‘selection sprint’, during which, over the course of three intensive weeks, they will learn the basics of programming and solve challenges individually and as a team. In autumn, the 200 best applicants of these 600 will start their two-year journey at Kood/Jõhvi.

To begin with, students will be housed in the Ida-Viru Vocational Education Center in neighbouring Sillamäe, until a modern, renovated building in Jõhvi is opened in 2022 that will house study space, housing, and event space.

Estonia’s developer shortage 

According to The State of European Tech Survey 2020, Estonia has four to six times as many startups per capita as the European average, meaning that on a population-adjusted basis, it is the European capital of startups. At the same time, there are growing concerns that the future development of the Estonian IT sector could be jeopardized by a lack of skilled technology professionals.

“A good programmer without a job is really hard to find in Estonia,” says Ivo Lasn, the head of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL). “There are more ideas and business plans in the IT field than the people with whom to execute those ideas. We’re talking about a shortage of thousands of people.”

The problem is an old one, and over the years there have been several initiatives by state and private-sector companies aimed at promoting IT education among prospective students. The success of Estonian startups in more recent years has had a positive impact on these efforts, and ICT courses are now among most the popular university subjects in terms of the number of applications universities receive.

Older adults are also being encouraged to explore careers in tech. Two of the biggest universities in Estonia have master’s curriculums for people from other fields wanting to acquire IT-specific skills and knowledge: Tallinn University of Technology (Taltech) offers a ‘Digital Transformation in Business’ degree, meanwhile the University of Tartu offers a ‘Conversion Master in IT’. 

SEE: What is Agile software development? Everything you need to know about delivering better code, faster

Since 2017, more than 500 retrained adults have entered the IT labor market having taken the software development course Choose IT!, which involves six weeks of theory classes and eight weeks of hands-on internship experience at partner companies.

It’s not just software developers and testers that are desperately needed for Estonia’s IT sector, with Lasn pointing out that non-technical roles – such as business analysts, project managers, product owners, service designers, salespeople, and even recruiters and marketeers – are also in demand.

After all, these roles usually constitute around 50% of the people working in IT companies, Lasn says.

Künnapas hopes that Kood/Jõhvi will help draw more people into Estonia’s fledgling tech sector and address the country’s widening skills gap. She also believes more education is needed around the opportunities a career in IT can offer, regardless of a person’s background or whether they’re interested in technical or non-technical roles.

“We need opportunities available both for young people who are finishing high school, but also for people who want to change their career or looking for new opportunities,” she says. 

“Learning to code can seem a bit daunting even if it isn’t, and we need to talk more about what it actually means to work in the IT sector, to help people understand that there are a lot of different roles that need to be covered.”

She adds: “Everyone can find something that’s interesting for them.”


Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

Continue Reading


Luxury Ride to expand its team to over 300 in 3 months



Luxury Ride, the Indian tech-enabled chain of pre-owned luxury cars, is all set to take on 80 skilled professionals. The luxury one-stop destination for purchase, sale, servicing, detailing, insurance and roadside assistance of cars, intends to expand its team strength to over 300 within two to three months. The new hires will be taken on at the entry-, mid- and senior levels in the technology, sales and marketing, as well as operations departments.

The new hiring will help the Company meet the growing demand of its customer base and ensure seamless service to enhance the overall purchase and after-sales services experience.

Luxury Ride has a wide luxury car portfolio, which includes Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini Cooper and others. The Company will soon launch a new pre-owned luxury car showroom at Golf Course Road, Gurgaon, Haryana, which will have a capacity to display 25 cars.

Bharat Khanna, has been appointed business head – sales & marketing, for the Gurgaon showroom. With 13 years of experience in sales and operations he will be responsible for maintaining key customer base, implementing innovative promotional campaigns, monitoring market trends and exploring growth opportunities.

The sale of pre-owned vehicles in India has gone up sharply over the past few years, as the demand for luxury vehicles continues to grow. Luxury Ride was co-founded by Sumit Garg and serial angel investor Dhianu Das in 2015. It has sold 800+ luxury cars and serviced over 10,000 cars since then.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

Continue Reading


Luxury Ride to expand its team to over 300 in 3 months



Luxury Ride, the Indian tech-enabled chain of pre-owned luxury cars, is all set to take on 80 skilled professionals. The luxury one-stop destination for purchase, sale, servicing, detailing, insurance and roadside assistance of cars, intends to expand its team strength to over 300 within two to three months. The new hires will be taken on at the entry-, mid- and senior levels in the technology, sales and marketing, as well as operations departments.

The new hiring will help the Company meet the growing demand of its customer base and ensure seamless service to enhance the overall purchase and after-sales services experience.

Luxury Ride has a wide luxury car portfolio, which includes Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini Cooper and others. The Company will soon launch a new pre-owned luxury car showroom at Golf Course Road, Gurgaon, Haryana, which will have a capacity to display 25 cars.

Bharat Khanna, has been appointed business head – sales & marketing, for the Gurgaon showroom. With 13 years of experience in sales and operations he will be responsible for maintaining key customer base, implementing innovative promotional campaigns, monitoring market trends and exploring growth opportunities.

The sale of pre-owned vehicles in India has gone up sharply over the past few years, as the demand for luxury vehicles continues to grow. Luxury Ride was co-founded by Sumit Garg and serial angel investor Dhianu Das in 2015. It has sold 800+ luxury cars and serviced over 10,000 cars since then.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa

Continue Reading
Aviation2 days ago

Delta Air Lines Flight Diverts To Oklahoma Over Unruly Off-Duty Flight Attendant

Crowdfunding5 days ago

April/May 2021 Top Campaigns

Esports3 days ago

Lost Ark Founders Pack: Everything You Need to Know

Blockchain5 days ago

Crypto Fund Manager Says Bitcoin ETFs to be Approved By 2022

Fintech5 days ago

PayPal launches PayPal Rewards Card in Australia

Aviation2 days ago

Spirit Airlines Just Made The Best Argument For Lifting LaGuardia’s Perimeter Rule

Cyber Security4 days ago

Data Breach that Impacted Both Audi of America and Volkswagen of America

Cleantech4 days ago

Tesla Model S 420 Plaid Is The Best Car In The World (But Not For Me)

Energy4 days ago

Industrial robots market in the automotive industry | $ 3.97 billion growth expected during 2021-2025 | 17000+ Technavio Research Reports

Energy4 days ago

Daiki Axis Co., Ltd. (4245, First Section, Tokyo Stock Exchange) Overview of Operating Performance for the First Three Months Ended March 31, 2021

Fintech5 days ago

Stripe launches Stripe Tax to simplify global tax compliance for Australian businesses

Blockchain4 days ago

Blockchain technology can help to protect sensitive information

AI5 days ago

Ransomware Incidents Surging; Cybersecurity Experts Scramble to Respond   

Blockchain4 days ago

Blockchain technology can help to protect sensitive information

Esports5 days ago

V-Union cards officially revealed for the Pokémon TCG, includes Mewtwo, Zacian, and Greninja

Blockchain4 days ago

DCR Technical Analysis: Look for Support Levels of $130.13 and $126.01

Blockchain4 days ago

State-Chartered Banks in Texas to Provide Crypto Custody

CNBC5 days ago

From green energy to cybersecurity, Citi names ‘unstoppable trends’ that investors can jump on

Esports5 days ago

New product details and art shared for Pokémon TCG set Evolving Skies

Esports5 days ago

LEC Power Rankings: 2021 Summer Split Preseason