Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Oh sure, you love gadgets -- but do you have the chops to write about them? We'd love to know if you think you do, because we're looking to actually pay people to do this stuff. Professional writing experience, particularly in our industry, is greatly preferred. That said, what we really care about is that you can write skillfully about gadgets with wit, concision, authority and blinding speed, even if you haven't cut your teeth in the tech sector just yet. Oh, and being obsessed with Engadget is good, too. We're looking for a freelance editor in the San Francisco area.Want to apply? Read on!
Here's what you need to send to apply:
WritingFor those with professional writing experience in any sector, simply send links or a portfolio of your work, as well as any aspirations you'd like us to know about, to jobsATengadgetDOTcom with SF Editor in the subject line. Small attachments are fine. (If you're wavering, just send it -- this is an awesome place to work.)For those without professional experience, send us three sample posts written in the Engadget style. "The Engadget style" doesn't mean a generic-sounding blog voice -- think about how your own writing style and voice can shine through while still fitting Engadget.These sample posts can be about whatever you want, but they should seem like they could have been written by one of our writers.We won't be using these on the site, we just want to get a sense of how well you can do this stuff.Your favorite related gadgets (and why) of all time.Give us a few words about how you think Engadget differs from other technology pubs out there.
About YouA few words about yourself. (Please note, due to legalities we can't hire minors.)Your contact info and city of residence.How much time per week you can commit to blogging. If it's less than 40 to 50 hours then you probably shouldn't bother, and keep in mind we're looking for folks to be on as much as humanly possible. But be realistic, okay?Any foreign languages you speak. Those fluent in Spanish, German, Japanese, Korean and / or Chinese will be looked fondly upon.Any experience you have with CSS / HTML / PHP coding, or otherwise monkeying with code in a content management system. (Don't freak out if you have none of this).Any other questions you may have about the gig.
Other tidbitsYou must live either in San Francisco or a short (very short) drive / train away. When we need writers in other places, we'll put out another call!This role is for a general editor, which covers a bit of everything that we do -- covering briefings, investigative reporting, writing, the works. It's a dynamic role. You will not get bored.You need to be awesome, and you need to be ready to work incredibly hard at what's likely the world's greatest job.
Note that we will only review fully complete applications, and remember to put the name of the position -- [SF Editor] -- in the title of your email.
We also apologize, but the sheer volume of applications makes it difficult to respond to everyone. If we're interested we'll get in touch, and thanks in advance!
To apply to Engadget, please send us an email at jobsATengadgetDOTcom with SF Editor in the subject line.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
The past week was saturated with models, designers, editors, and much-beloved photographers celebrating all things fashion at benefits, dinners, museums, and premieres. Anna Wintour looked garden party ready in a prim dress at the MoMA; Solange sang and danced onstage at Intermix's twentieth anniversary party held at the New Museum; Kate Moss gave off her signature pout at dinner hosted by Georg Jensen and Dior; and Coco Rocha struck a pose at Steven Sebring's "Revolution" event. Designers also showed off their fabulous mugs at events — from Marc Jacobs at the NYC Launch of Martone Cycling Co. to Prabal Gurung at a Parsons fashion benefit. Bill Cunningham was also spotted at the same event, snapping away with his cheery grin and looking dapper in a suit and tie. But our favorite partier had to be Barbara Walters, who clutched onto a giant Chanel goodie bag and sported sassy red spectacles at the New York Presbyterian Spring Luncheon.
Umeox isn't exactly a household name in the smartphone market, but the company's apparently getting ready to introduce the world to its most recent creation: a handset with an extremely slim profile. And while other details about the Umeox X5 remain light, word on the interwebs peg this 5.6mm-thick device as one that's running a pretty fresh version of Android -- Jelly Bean, to be precise. Unfortunately, things like screen size and more info on the X5 internals are still unknown, but, if all plays out as GizChina reports, we'll find out all there is to know on that front when Umeox officially launches it "sometime in July." For now, you'll have to make due with the extra pics at the source below -- and, if you have some time, perhaps you could even compare it with other slabs looking to take home the "world's slimmest" title.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
If you've been waiting for Samsung to refresh last year's Series 9 Ultrabook, don't hold your breath; apart from a recent upgrade to 1080p resolution, it's basically stayed the same. That doesn't mean Samsung is taking a break from ultraportables, though: the company recently started shipping the Series 7 Ultra (now called the ATIV Book 7), which debuted at CES. Regardless of the name, the idea was always for it to be part of Samsung's performance line, ranking right below the flagship Series 9 family. To that end, it ships for $1,060 with all the specs you'd expect to find in a mid- to high-end Ultrabook: a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, a 13.3-inch, 1080p display and a stronger set of speakers than on the Series 9. Obviously, the fact that it's launching with Ivy Bridge is one knock against it, but how does it stack up otherwise? Might it be a good deal if it ever gets a CPU refresh?Samsung ATIV Book 7 review See all photos 24 Photoswhen.eng("eng.galleries.init") Look and feel
The ATIV Book 7 was announced at the same time as the Series 7 Chronos (now called the ATIV Book 8) and so, it shares much of the same design language, from the aluminum chassis to the metal keys and brushed texture. As with the higher-end Series 9, Samsung went easy on the gaudy touches: all you'll find here in the way of adornment is a flush power button above the keyboard, a small orange JBL logo and a thin band of chrome ringing the trackpad. The difference, of course, is that the ATIV Book 7 doesn't feel quite as high-end -- not that it was ever intended to be. Don't get us wrong: it's still a pretty machine, with clean lines and a modern feel. But with a lid that flexes slightly and a chassis that widens to a relatively thick 0.74 inch, it's not as sexy as its big brother -- nor as well-made, for that matter.
Samsung went easy on the gaudy touches.
Also, the ATIV Book 7 is heavier -- much heavier. At 3.64 pounds, it's about a third of a pound heavier than other touchscreen 13-inch models, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. Particularly after testing Toshiba's 2.9-pound Kirabook, the ATIV Book 7 feels unnecessarily heavy. We can't see a reason for this to be on the bad side of three and a half pounds: there's no optical drive on board, and no discrete GPU. This has basically the same specs as other 13-inch Ultrabooks, and yet there's something about the design that weighs it down. (Spoiler alert: it ain't a heavy-duty battery, that's for sure.)
At least it makes room for a lot of ports. On board, you'll find an Ethernet jack crammed in, with a drop-down panel at the bottom to create more space when you actually need to wedge a cable in there. There are also three USB ports (one 3.0, two 2.0), along with an HDMI socket, a headphone jack, a Kensington lock slot and an SD card reader. There's also a proprietary port you can use to connect an optional VGA dongle, so feel free to ignore it if you don't end up buying the add-on.Keyboard and trackpad
We're not sure how Samsung did it, but it managed to produce an Ultrabook keyboard where barely any of the keys had to be cut down in size. Everything from the Shift to the Backspace to the Enter button is amply sized, and easy to hit without looking. Even the arrow keys are pretty big, and that's usually the first area to be compromised when companies are looking to save space. What's funny, too, is that there's still plenty of unused space on either side of the keyboard, which creates the illusion that Samsung actually had room to spare.
The trackpad here is the best we've tested in recent memory.
If anything, we wish the keys had a bit more travel -- which they totally could have, seeing as how Samsung's priority clearly wasn't to build the thinnest-ever laptop. It's not a dealbreaker, by any means -- most Ultrabooks have flat keyboards -- but there were a few instances where I had to re-enter a letter after my press failed to register. I also felt myself hitting the keys with a little more pressure than I normally would, probably because I didn't trust that my presses would go through.
As befits a high-end machine, the ATIV Book 7 has backlighting on the keyboard, which you can control by hitting Fn-F10. In fact, you'll need to hit the Function key to do other things, too, like adjusting the screen brightness or changing the volume levels.
Hands down, the ATIV Book's Samsung-made trackpad is the best we've tested in recent memory. Everything works as it should: two-finger scrolls, pinch-to-zoom and, best of all, single-finger tracking. It's that last part that's most impressive to us, really -- plenty of Ultrabooks can zoom in smoothly, offering you lots of control as you re-scale the page. But few do a good job with simple one-finger navigation, for some reason. Here, though, the cursor goes where you want it to, with no stopping or stuttering -- a good thing when you're poking around the desktop in 1080p. What's more, the button itself is easy to press and it never (ever!) mistakes a left click for a right one. Why can't all Windows touchpads be like this?Display and sound
No, it's not the 3,200 x 1,800 laptop display Samsung just showed off at SID, but the 13.3-inch, 1080p panel here is still crisp, with no obvious pixelation or jagged edges. We were especially fond of the potent colors, which stay vibrant even as you dip the screen forward or watch from the side. At times, the glossy finish can interfere with the viewing angles, but adjusting the brightness along its 350-nit range seems to mitigate that.
Would you rather your laptop's sound quality be shrill and tinny or quietly rich? That's the choice we've been forced to make with all sorts of Ultrabooks lately, first with the Toshiba Kirabook and ASUS Transformer Book and now with the ATIV Book 7. If you're like us, you'll take the balanced sound, even if it means you can't rock out at quite the volume Justin Timberlake requires. And that's what the ATIV Book 7 has to offer, really. I enjoyed listening to everything from jazz to punk rock to top 40 pop, but the maximum volume setting usually wasn't enough -- even traffic rumbling by an open window was enough to drown out the audio somewhat, which means creaky air conditioners are likely to be a problem too. The hitch, though, is that the sound gets more distorted the higher up the scale you go. All of which is to say, you should be fine if you're hanging out alone in a quiet space, but you might want to whip out a louder external speaker set once AC season gets underway.Performance and battery life
PCMark73DMark063DMark11ATTO (top disk speeds)Samsung ATIV Book 7 (1.8GHz Core i5-3337U, Intel HD 4000)4,4184,045
E1081 / P600626 MB/s (reads); 137 MB/s (writes)ASUS Transformer Book (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD 4000)4,4143,840
E924 / P512 / X177482 MB/s (reads); 317 MB/s (writes)Toshiba Kirabook (2.0GHz Core i7-3537U, Intel HD 4000)5,2755,272
N/A553 MB/s (reads); 500 MB/s (writes)Acer Aspire S7 (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD 4000)5,0114,918E1035 / P620 / X208934 MB/s (reads); 686 MB/s (writes)MSI Slidebook S20 (1.8GHz Core i5-3337U, Intel HD 4000)4,0433,944
E1,053 / P578484 MB/s (reads); 286 MB/s (writes)ASUS TAICHI 21 (1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, Intel HD 4000)4,9984,818E1,137 / P610 / X201516 MB/s (reads); 431 MB/s (writes)Microsoft Surface Pro (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,6733,811E1,019 / P552526 MB/s (reads); 201 MB/s (writes)Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,4224,415
E917 / P572278 MB/s (reads); 263 MB/s (writes)Dell XPS 12 (1.7GHz Core i5-3317U, Intel HD 4000)4,6734,520N/A516 MB/s (reads); 263 MB/s (writes)
The ATIV Book 7 has 4GB of RAM, a Samsung-made 128GB SSD, integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and an Ivy Bridge Core i5-3337U processor clocked at 1.8GHz. The solid-state drive notwithstanding, those are the same exact specs you'll find in various recent Ultrabooks, including the MSI Slidebook S20. It should be no surprise, then, that it delivers nearly identical benchmark scores in everything from PCMark 7 to graphics tests like 3DMark. Its eight-second startup time is typical too.
Really, the one thing that surprised us was disk performance. For starters, the SSD's write speeds are on the slow side, with an average of 137 MB/s in ATTO. At the same time, its read speeds were all over the place -- but always higher than average. Even at the lowest, we observed transfer rates around 545 MB/s, which is still better than what you'll get from most Ultrabooks. When it was good, though, it was really good -- as high as 742 MB/s, to be exact. After running the same test many times, we ended up with an average of 626 MB/s, which is still excellent indeed.
Anecdotally, apps launched quickly and we had no problem juggling Netflix with music streaming and some schizophrenic tab-jumping in IE10. After about an hour of playing music through the browser, the keyboard still felt cool, though the bottom side felt warm near the fan. It never got hot, however, so you shouldn't feel shy about putting this in your lap, as it was intended to be used. The fan noise is also minimal, especially compared to rivals like the Kirabook.
Battery lifeSamsung ATIV Book 75:02 Acer Iconia W7007:13Samsung Series 9 (13-inch, 2012)7:02MacBook Air (13-inch, 2012)6:34 (OS X) / 4:28 (Windows)Dell XPS 146:18Sony VAIO T135:39Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 135:32Dell XPS 125:30Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch5:23ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Touch5:15ASUS Zenbook Prime UX51Vz5:15Toshiba Satellite U845W5:13Toshiba Kirabook5:12Toshiba Satellite U8455:12Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M35:11Toshiba Satellite U925t5:10Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon5:07Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M55:05ASUS Transformer Book5:01 (tablet only)Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch5:00Sony VAIO Duo 114:47Acer Aspire S54:35MSI Slidebook S204:34ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A4:19Acer Aspire S7 (13-inch)4:18Acer Aspire S34:11Lenovo ThinkPad Twist4:09HP Spectre XT TouchSmart4:00Vizio Thin + Light (14-inch, 2012)3:57ASUS TAICHI 213:54Microsoft Surface Pro3:46
Samsung rates the ATIV Book's 57Wh battery for 6.7 hours. We suppose you could approach that kind of runtime in real life -- if you're doing something low-intensive, like web surfing, and with the display brightness set to a low level. In our test, which involves looping a video off the local drive with WiFi on and the brightness fixed at 65 percent, the battery lasted five hours and two minutes. As we always say in these Ultrabook reviews, that's not bad, per se, at least relatively speaking; touchscreen laptops with Ivy Bridge don't last more than five and a half hours on a charge anyway. In this case, though, we were rather hoping that the ATIV Book 7 would justify its extra weight with out-of-this-world battery life. Fortunately, at least, Haswell should help in that department, assuming Samsung eventually orders a CPU refresh.Software and warranty
It's never a good sign when you need to take not one, but two screenshots to illustrate how much software comes pre-installed on a computer. Samsung definitely went to town here, throwing in a mix of its own programs as well as some third-party ones. On tap, we've got Netflix, Evernote Touch, Kindle, Merriam-Webster, S Camera, S Player, S Gallery, Samsung Signature Store, Samsung SW Update, the Intel AppUp store, Music Maker Jam, StumpleUpon, Bitcasa, Jamie Oliver's Recipes, rara.com, 7digital, Slacker, Pandora, ChatOn, Photo Editor, Skitch, Fresh Paint, The Treasures of Montezuma, WeatherBug, AccuWeather.com, Samsung's Music Hub, Box.com, Nook and TuneIn. Samsung also included a few Xbox Live games (Pinball FX, Adera, Shark Dash, Microsoft Mahjong, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Wordament, Cut the Rope and Minesweeper), along with a tile for Plants vs. Zombies that's actually just a link to buy it.
It's a ridiculously long list that's full of redundancies, as you can see (how many weather and music-streaming apps does one need?). Worse, there's even more: we haven't even gotten to the desktop apps. In addition to everything we've mentioned so far, Samsung also bundled a trial of Norton Internet Security and its own Kies file-transfer software. Wrapping up, you'll find Samsung's first-party apps for phone-screen sharing.
The ATIV Book 7 comes with a one-year warranty, just like most of the other PCs you might be considering.Configuration options
The ATIV Book 7 is available in just one configuration in the US: the $1,060 model we tested, with the Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. Samsung won't comment on whether it plans to upgrade the machine to Haswell or add additional configuration options, like a Core i7 CPU or 256GB solid-state drive. Fortunately, Samsung has a proven history of refreshing its high-end machines as well as introducing additional configurations later on, so all hope is not lost.The competition
The ATIV Book 7 is a good deal, the lack of Haswell notwithstanding.
It's difficult to compare the ATIV Book 7 to the rest of the market, when so many of its more obvious rivals (the Lenovo Yoga 13, Acer Aspire S7, Dell XPS 12) are due for refreshes themselves. In particular, with Intel about to formally introduce its next-gen Haswell processors, we're likely to see some brand-new designs altogether. Unless you're desperate, then, we suggest holding off on buying anything until all of the major players have shown their cards.
Slowly but surely, though, we're starting to get a better idea of what the Ultrabook landscape will look like over the coming months. So far, we've seen the Toshiba Kirabook, which starts at a lofty $1,600 with a Core i5 processor, 256GB of storage and a 2,560 x 1,440 display (non-touch, at least in the entry-level model). It's a crisp screen, to be sure, but the viewing angles are limited and, as we found with the Retina display MacBooks, not enough apps have been optimized to take advantage of that high resolution. Also, as lightweight as the machine is, its fan is one the loudest we've encountered. Then, of course, there's the price, which is insane even when you factor in the two-year warranty and generous software package (full copies of Adobe Photoshop Elements / Premiere Elements and a two-year Norton subscription).
HP, meanwhile, just introduced the Envy TouchSmart 14 Ultrabook, which will go on sale later this summer with a 3,200 x 1,800 display option. Unfortunately, though, we don't know much about the other specs, and it's also unclear how much that screen upgrade will cost. Stay tuned, folks.Wrap-upMore InfoSamsung unveils the Series 7 UltraSamsung Series 7 Ultra hands-onSamsung extends ATIV branding to all Windows PCs
So far, it would seem that $1,060 for a machine with a Core i5 processor, 1080p touchscreen and 128GB SSD is a pretty good deal, the lack of Haswell notwithstanding. And we're not just talking about the spec sheet, though that certainly makes for a good first impression. The ATIV Book 7 has the best touchpad we've used on a Windows laptop in a long, long time. That SSD offers faster read speeds than most competing Ultrabooks. The machine runs cool and quiet. The screen is sharper than the Yoga 13's, even though they're priced about the same, and it offers wide viewing angles, too. So far, so good, its last-gen CPU be damned.
Really, the biggest trade-offs are that it's heavier than other 13-inch Ultrabooks, while offering battery life that's similar, if not slightly shorter. The keyboard is fairly flat, but it's still serviceable. Lastly, there's also an egregious, almost insulting amount of bloatware here. Even so, none of these seem like dealbreakers, at least at this price. Naturally, we still suggest you wait for a Haswell upgrade, and also see what other PC makers come out with in the next few weeks. Tentatively, though, the ATIV Book 7 appears to be a solid choice -- let's just hope Samsung eventually decides to add more configuration options.when.eng("eng.perm.init")