Google Pixelbook 2: what we want to see

The Google Pixelbook has been out for more than a year now, but it’s still easily the best Chromebook on the market right now. It’s the perfect instance of what the Chromebook is capable of. We gave it a raving five star review for that reason alone. The Pixelbook stands up to the test of time, even in the face of the Google Pixel Slate, which all but replaces it. And, the Google Pixelbook will continue to dazzle well into the future, especially now that virtual desktops are coming to Chrome OS.

Still, in our minds, the “perfect product” doesn’t exist – there’s always room for improvement. The Google Pixelbook is no exception to that rule. So, after testing the Pixelbook daily for a while, we have put together a wishlist of things we want to see in the follow-up.

Because the original Pixelbook has already been out for a while, we may see the Pixelbook 2 in the very near future. So, keep it locked to TechRadar, and we’ll update this article with any new information or rumors that come our way.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The second Pixelbook, a high-end Chromebook
  • When is it out? Sometime in 2019
  • What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – the current model

Google Pixelbook 2

Google Pixelbook 2 release date

Google has been holding a special annual event for the past few years, pushing new Pixel phones. This event takes place every October, with the phones hitting the shelves a few weeks later.

In 2017, alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel Buds, the company announced the first generation Pixelbook. However, when Google held this event in 2018, the Pixelbook 2 wasn’t in their roster. Instead we got the Google Pixel Slate, a Chrome OS-powered tablet, which Google billed as the successor to the Pixelbook’s legacy. 

Since Google is moving employees away from computer hardware, we might not see the Pixelbook 2 in 2019. That would be a shame, given that the Google Pixel Slate hasn’t been too positively received.

Google Pixelbook 2

Google Pixelbook 2 price

When Google has released a Chromebook of its own, be it the original Chromebook Pixel or more recent Pixelbook, it has priced the laptops at the high end. 

Google has always positioned its devices as inspiration for its partners to strive for when developing Chromebooks of their own. 

It would be amazing to see Google drop its pricing structure a couple hundred dollars, but we don’t see that happening. 

Expect the Pixelbook 2 to start around the $999/£999 mark and go up from there. That is, if it is in the works at all.

Google Pixelbook 2

What we want to see from Pixelbook 2

Design
The Pixelbook’s current combination of glass, metal and silicone is the same approach to design used throughout the rest of the company’s products. Turn the Pixel 2 XL around, as an example, and you’ll find a similar glass top and brushed aluminum back. Google will most likely continue to refine this industrial design, solidifying it across its entire lineup.

With the Pixelbook 2, however, we would love to see more color options. Indeed, the silver and white color scheme of the first generation Pixelbook looks stunning. However, adding more color options – perhaps something as funky as the Really Blue Pixel, complete with orange button highlights like we’ve seen on the Pixel 2 – might boost the sales performance.

Google is a company that’s not afraid to be bold so bucking the trend of boring laptop design is something Google should strive towards.

Overall spec bump
Now that Intel has released its Whiskey Lake mobile processors, we fully expect to see both the latest Core i7 and i5 CPUs in the Google Pixelbook 2. Then again, we could see Google waiting until Intel’s Ice Lake hits the market later this year.

Additionally, even though a webcam may not be the most used part of any laptop, the Google Pixelbook 2 deserves more than a 720p shooter. We aren’t asking for a 4K webcam, but in 2018, it needs at least a Full HD camera.

It’s unclear what kind of impact Linux apps (more on those in a minute) will have on system performance, but it can’t hurt to have more RAM. With the Pixelbook, users are given the option of 8GB and 16GB, depending on configuration. And unfortunately, the 16GB setup is only available in the priciest configuration – a Pixelbook with an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage will cost you a whopping $1,649. 

For the Google Pixelbook 2, we’d love to see 16GB of RAM across more configurations, and not just for anyone with deep pockets.

Display
There’s not a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the Pixelbook’s display. The 12.3-inch screen, with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,600 pixels and 3:2 aspect ratio, is certainly easy on the eyes. 

However, according to Evan Blass, the new Pixelbook will have smaller bezels around the screen. If that is indeed the case, then expanding the size of the display while leaving the overall size of the Pixelbook the same is something we’ll welcome with open arms. 

The 3:2 aspect ratio should stay though. It looks good in landscape and portrait, as well as lends itself to displaying books, magazines and movies in a natural-feeling layout. It also makes for a more sensible experience when using the stylus on the Pixelbook’s display for notes or sketches.

Better battery life
Google advertises the Pixelbook as having a battery life that lasts all day, but that’s a subjective measurement. Our tests have shown the battery to not quite hit that mark, which isn’t all that uncommon. 

So, we’d like to see both better power efficiency and more battery juice out of its successor. Perhaps software improvements could improve power efficiency, like Microsoft has done with its Battery Saver feature in Windows 10.

Linux goes official
Project Crostini for Chrome OS is bringing official support for Linux apps. Currently, the project is only available to users who are brave enough to run Chrome OS in developer mode. 

Google is constantly updating the project as it gets closer to official public release. We can’t think of a better time to officially launch a major feature such as this than along with brand new hardware.

Google Pixelbook 2

Fingerprint sensor
Smart Lock is a handy feature, utilizing a paired Android phone’s fingerprint sensor to unlock a Chrome OS device when the two devices are close to each other. But, picking up the phone to unlock a computer is still a lengthier process than using a fingerprint reader on the computer itself. 

If the current design remains relatively unchanged, Google could place the reader near the power button on the left side. This provides access to the scanner, regardless of orientation, which has already been done on countless 2-in-1 laptops.

Smart Display Mode
The Pixelbook was the first Chrome OS device to ship with a dedicated Google Assistant key. Eventually the Pixelbook was updated with the option to respond to hands-free commands, but only while unlocked and the screen turned on. 

With the second Pixelbook, Google should take Assistant one step further by adding an always-listening feature, regardless of unlock status, and replicate a similar experience to that found on the Lenovo Smart Display.

Pen included
Though the Pixelbook works with a stylus, it’ll still cost you an additional $99/£99 just to write or draw on your screen. 

Arguably, jotting notes on the lock screen is very handy, but with the Pixelbook already sitting atop the pricing scale, including a pen at no extra cost isn’t too much to ask for … is it?

Ditch the palm rests
Have you seen what the white palm rests just below the keyboard look like only after a few months of use? It’s disgusting. The amount of dirt that shows is embarrassing, even after you’ve cleaned them. 

Hopefully, if Google insists on utilizing a similar material, they use something that is either not white or has some level of dirt and grime resistance. 

Regardless, come back to this page every now and then ahead of the possible launch for the latest Pixelbook 2 rumors and leaks.

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The best student laptops: all the best options for school

School can get expensive really fast: books, tuition and accommodation – not to mention student laptops – add up quickly. However, the silver lining is that there are many incredible student laptops out there that could save you hundreds of dollars. In fact, the best laptops for students are budget-friendly devices that exude style and power that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

When you’re spending all your money on textbooks and ramen, saving up for a new laptop can be hard. Therefore, the prime candidates for a student laptop will put value above having the top-of-the-line processors and graphics cards. You won’t have to limit yourself to Windows 10, either as the best Chromebooks can go head-to-head with some of the best laptops, which means you can get all your work done without spending a fortune.

Going to school can be a stressful time, we know, but that’s why you should ensure that you have an excellent laptop. You don’t need to add the pressure of running around campus with a dying laptop to your plate. That’s why we went ahead and sought out the best student laptops you can afford with your budget: no one should be limited to an ancient relic just to get some work done, but you shouldn’t have to sell a kidney, either.

best student laptops

Here at TechRadar, we love it when a laptop can expertly blend price and performance without any compromises, and the Huawei MateBook 13 comes closer to hitting that perfect balance than anything in 2019 so far. Thin, light, quick and affordable, this beautiful 13-inch Ultrabook will let you get all your work done in style, without breaking the bank. The battery life is underwhelming, but that’s a pain-free sacrifice to make with a simple fix – just carry the charger around with you.

Read the full review: Huawei MateBook 13 

best laptops for students

Dell’s flagship laptop has always ranked among the best laptops – for college students and professionals as well as casual, everyday users. But, the Dell XPS 13 2019 brings back the entry-level model, making it more inexpensive for college students again. Plus, Dell managed to fix our biggest issue with the XPS lineup – the webcam. The manufacturer has moved the webcam up to the top of the display, where it belongs, so your friends and colleagues don’t have to stare up your nose when you’re in a video call. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 

best student laptops

The Surface Laptop was already one of the best laptops for students, but it was held back by below average performance and a lack of ports. Plus, it was equipped with Windows 10 in S Mode. The Surface Laptop 2 greatly improves on the predecessor, however – except for the port situation. It’s now packed with 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh processors, full-fat Windows 10 Home and a black color option. We wish it had even a single USB-C port, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll be able to get all your tasks done in style with this laptop.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

best laptops for students

When you’re looking for a laptop for school, you should aim for a beautiful balance between price and performance – and a dollop of style can’t hurt. The Microsoft Surface Go, then, isn’t just one of the best Windows tablets, but it may just be one of the most ideal laptops for students, especially from a value perspective. Don’t be fooled by the low-power components, either – Microsoft has engineered this tablet to keep up with all your general schoolwork without breaking a sweat.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go 

best student laptops

The Dell XPS 15 has consistently made it to our list of best laptops for college students for a few years now, and Dell has taken that old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach here. Not much has changed since the 2017 model, but that’s not a bad thing. What you’re getting here is an Ultrabook that isn’t just reliable; it also has enough power to get you through pretty much any workload. The best part? The Dell XPS 15 doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. While the entry level should be just fine for most users, you can configure this thing with up to an Intel Core i9 processor and 32GB of RAM, upgrading the Dell XPS 15 into an extremely powerful workstation. We just wish Dell would move that webcam.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 

best laptops for students

When you’re looking for a laptop for school, you don’t need some bougie affair from Apple that looks like something out of a designer catalog. You need a laptop that’s going to get the job done. And, the Acer Swift 5 should be near the top of your list. This affordable Ultrabook is packed with the latest 8th-generation Intel processors as well as enough RAM and SSD storage to get you through pretty much any assignment. It’s not the most good-looking laptop in the world, but it’s hard to argue with that price.

Read the full review: Acer Swift 5

best student laptops

The Microsoft Surface lineup has made a reputation for itself for being among the best Windows devices out there – stunning touch screens, impressive performance and long-lasting battery life. The Surface Pro 6 carries on this tradition, even if it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. What you’re getting here is a speedy Windows tablet that can effortlessly turn into a laptop through the Surface Type Cover. You can get your work done and then effortlessly transition into break time.

Read the full review: Surface Pro 6

best student laptops

If you’re a student that’s on the market for a laptop that will let you do all your research and type up papers, and nothing else, the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1 is going to be right up your alley. Most schoolwork that’s not specialized (i.e. engineering) can be done on a Chromebook while saving hundreds of dollars. The Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1 won’t be able to do much heavy lifting, but at under $300, it doesn’t need to. This is the best laptop for students that need to save a few bucks.

Read the full review: Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1

best student laptops

We were left waiting for Apple to renew the MacBook Air for years, as it declined in quality with a 5th-generation Intel Core processor and an out of date, low-resolution display. Thankfully, those days are over. Apple has ushered the MacBook Air into the modern age, with 8th-generation fanless processors, a thinner and lighter design, and perhaps most importantly – a Retina display. No more will you be forced to compromise on modern features if you want an “affordable Mac,” which makes the MacBook Air one of the best laptops for college students.

Read the full review: MacBook Air 

best laptops for students

If you have the means to splurge, and you’re a macOS addict (we get it), the 2018 MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook that’s ever existed. With its formidable hexa-core processors and up to a whopping 32GB of memory, this Cupertino powerhouse will get you through whatever you throw at it. It also includes an overhauled third generation Butterfly keyboard that will not only be less distracting to the students around you, but will be less prone to failure if some dust comes within 10 feet.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018) 

  • Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptop 2019
  • Images Credit: TechRadar

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article.

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Sharks vs Blues NHL live stream: how to watch the 2019 Western Conference Finals online

So who's it going to be: the San Jose Sharks or the St. Louis Blues that go to the 2019 Stanley Cup? The Western Conference Finals side of the NHL Playoffs has been super tight so far and you can follow our guide to getting a Sharks vs Blues NHL live stream regardless of where on Earth you may be.

The Western Conference Finals are already well underway and it's still on a knife-edge as to which way this series will go. The two franchises have been wining games back and forth, with plenty of controversy (that blatant hand pass by Timo Meier, for example) and some goal-frenzy games.

Will the Blues be able to finish the job or will the Sharks bounce back once again as both teams try to earn their spot in the Stanley Cup Final.

Whether you’re a St. Louis Blues fan, a San Jose Sharks fan or just want to watch the Western Conference Final to see which team will compete against the Boston Bruins in this year’s Stanley Cup Final, we’ll show you how to watch the NHL Playoffs online from anywhere in the world.

How to watch the the 2019 NHL Western Conference finals online from outside your country

If you live in the US, Canada or UK and want to know how to catch a 2019 NHL Western Conference Finals live stream, then keep scrolling and we’ll tell you your best viewing options.

But if you can't watch because you're not in your home country and so your coverage is geo-blocked then we can suggest a clever alternative (and no, it doesn’t involve finding some dodgy feed on Reddit). Using a VPN – or Virtual Private Network – you can change the IP address to one in a different state or country which does have the stream so that you can watch the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs from anywhere in the world. The process is very straightforward… 

us flag

Watch the NHL Western Conference finals in the US

All of the games in the Western Conference Finals will be shown on NBC and NBCSN (but the Stanley Cup Finals will be shown on just NBC).

For cable subscribers this shouldn’t be too difficult but if you’d prefer to watch the games online or on your mobile devices, NBCSports will have live streams of the games on its website or on the NBC Sports app. You will need to provide your cable credentials to gain access to these streams but you could always setup a digital antenna to watch NBC over-the-air for free.

If you’d rather not sign up for a premium cable subscription just to watch the Stanley Cup and playoffs, we recommend going with one of the many TV streaming services available as they give you access to the channels you need to watch hockey without the high cost. 

For your convenience, we’ve listed all of the streaming services with the channels you need to watch the NHL playoffs below.

  • Hulu with Live TV $44.99 per month – Hulu with Live TV gives you access to NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA but not the NHL Network. The service supports a wide variety of streaming devices and even includes its own Hulu Originals in case you want a break from watching hockey.
  • Playstation Vue starting at $44.99 per month – Playstation Vue’s Access plan gives you access to NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA but once again not NHL Network. However, there is a 5-day free trial available.
  • DirecTV Now $50 per month – DirecTV Now’s Plus package comes with NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA but doesn’t include the NHL Network. You can stream on up to three screens simultaneously and with the DirecTV Now app you can watch live TV on the go. New customers can take advantage of a 7-day trial but you'll have to purchase one of DirecTV Now's packages first.
  • Sling TV starting at $15 per month – Sling TV's Blue package gives you access to NBC, NBCSN and USA though you’ll have to add the $5 News Extra and $5 Sports Extra packages to your subscription to watch games on CNBC and the NHL Network. 
  • fuboTV $44.99 for the first month – fuboTV gives you access to NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA but not the NHL Network. The service also includes Cloud DVR so you can record games to watch them later and if you forget to record a game, the company's 3-day replay allows you to replay nearly any game, show or movie that aired in the last three days. FuboTV even offers a free 7-day trial so you can test out the service.
  • YouTube TV $49.99 per month – YouTube TV gives you access to NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and USA but not the NHL Network. With YouTube TV you get free unlimited DVR storage space to record games for later and you can stream the service on three devices simultaneously. A free 14-day trial is also available so you can test it out for yourself.

– Discover our pick of all the US's best sports streaming sites

Watch and live stream Sharks vs Blues in Canada

If you live in Canada and want to watch the NHL playoffs on TV, then Sportsnet has you covered. The network’s TV coverage will be available on Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet ONE and CBC. However, if you’d prefer to live stream the games on your computer or mobile devices you can do so by logging in using your cable credentials on the CBCSports website or on the CBC Sports app on Android and iOS.

If you’re not a cable subscriber, we recommend choosing one of the streaming services above if you just want to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs (although some may require US registration details). 

However, if you’re also a big Canadian Hockey League fan, Sportsnet has its own streaming service available called SNNow for just $20 a month that shows over 300 NHL games as well as NHL, NBA, MLB, CHL, WWE and more that might be worth checking out. 

Live stream the NHL playoffs in the UK

Unfortunately for hockey fans in the UK, the little known Premier Sports is the only way to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs on TV. 

To get access to the Premier Sports 1 & 2 you’ll either have to sign up through Sky for £9.99 a month or £99 a year, Virgin Media at £9.99 a month or with the network’s own Premier Player at £9.99 a month. Premier Sports does have an offer where you can get the first month free using the promo code FIRSTMONTHFREE – ideal for the whole remainder of the 2019 NHL season.

On the other hand you could try one of the streaming services listed above. And don't forget that you can connect with a VPN if you want to watch this coverage but find yourself outside the UK when the games are on. 

How to get an NHL live stream in Australia

If you're an ice hockey fan in Australia and want to catch these games (starting at 10-11am AET), there are plenty of options on TV and online.

If you have Fox Sports, then you'll want to turn to channel 509 for the ESPN2 channel.

Watching on a mobile device is really easy, too thanks to ESPN Player. Or you can live stream NHL action via the Kayo Sports streaming service, which features no lock-in contracts and also includes access to over 50 sports, both live and on demand.

Kayo Sports Basic Package costs $25 per month and allows users to stream across two devices simultaneously. Alternatively, the service also offers a Kayo Sports Premium Package, which provides three concurrent streams for $35 per month.

The Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports apps means you can access this from your chosen device wherever you are (although you'll need a VPN if you're taking that abroad).

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Why you should care about the 2019 VW Jetta GLI’s customizable drive modes

In the future, cars will be far more customizable. Think about the endless options on your typical smartphone, including the ringtones, the wallpaper options, the tweaks you can do for app notifications. Because we’re all heading to a driverless car future, the options available for drivers will be almost endless as well, starting with how the car itself drives.

In a recent test of the 2019 VW Jetta GLI, a 228-horsepower racer, I found I could adjust basic settings using the Drive Mode button, located to the right of the driver. With a click, you can select options like normal, comfort, and sport. That’s fairly standard in many VW models and in plenty of other makes and models from Nissan, Mazda, and others. 

What’s far more interesting in the Jetta GLI is the custom mode, which lets you tweak the drive modes in more detail. I was surprised by the setting for the exhaust, which you can adjust in volume. (It’s noticeably louder when you set the exhaust for sport mode, and quite a bit quieter in normal mode.) To tweak settings, you select Custom then use the small pencil icon to make further adjustments. A pop-up for each specific option appears.

For example, you can also adjust the Dynamic Chassis Control or DCC to comfort, normal or sport. DCC adjusts the suspension of each tire as you drive, so in sport mode you can feel the road more intuitively, and in comfort mode you glide over bumps. I tested this multiple times on highways and around curves on country roads, and there is a distinct difference.

Sport, eco or comfort

In the custom drive mode screen, you can also tweak the settings for steering, front differential lock (for traction and handling), drive system (throttle response), the exhaust, and climate control (in eco mode, the car disables air conditioning). I’ve never seen this level of control in a passenger car like this, although the settings are even more varied in a Dodge Challenger and other sporty cars. The idea is that you want to feel the road and maintain control of the car for more spirited driving. Cornering in particular feels more responsive. 

On one drive, I forgot I'd left all of the settings in sport mode, and two passengers started complaining about the bumps on the road and felt a bit nauseous because the corners pulled harder that they wanted. I was able to press the Drive Mode button and quickly select comfort mode, which helped everyone feel less like they were on a track.

I could see someone tweaking the settings to provide a blend of comfort and tighter control, leaving the suspension on comfort but choosing to tightening up the steering, for example.

As usual, my thoughts drifted to how this might change as cars become ever more advanced. When a car drives for us, we will want to do something to feel like we’re in control. It might be settings for whether the autonomous car tech is more aggressive about passing other cars and getting us to a destination faster.

It might have more to do with making all of the suspension settings more comfortable during certain parts of a drive, but then we would take over on country roads when the corners and straightaways are a bit more fun and challenging.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully driverless cars.  

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DDoS attacks soar after long period of decline

Last year it appeared that DDoS attacks were on the decline but new research from Kaspersky Lab has revealed   that the number of attacks actually increased significantly during the first quarter of 2019.

At the time, the cybersecurity firm's experts assumed that cybercriminals had shifted their attention to other attack methods such as cryptomining.

However, statistics for Q1 2019 contradict this trend and show that the number of DDoS attacks blocked by  Kaspersky Lab's DDoS Protection actually grew by a staggering 84 percent when compared to Q4 2018.

The reason the firm believes that DDoS attacks dropped in popularity is that several DDoS marketplaces were taken down. However, once new DDoS-for-Hire websites launched, the number of attacks grew exponentially as a result.

DDoS attacks

According to Kaspersky Lab, the most noticeable area of growth can be found in DDoS attacks that lasted for more than hour. These incidents doubled in quantity and their average length increased by 487 percent.

These statistics confirm its experts' hypothesis that hackers have improved their techniques and can now launch longer attacks which require more effort to organize.

Business development manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team Alexey Kiselev explained how the DDoS attack market has evolved, saying:

“The DDoS attack market is changing. New DDoS services appear to have replaced ones shut down by law enforcement agencies. As organisations implement basic countermeasures, attackers target them with long-lasting attacks. It is difficult to say if the number of attacks will continue to grow, but their complexity is showing no signs of slowing down. We recommend that organisations prepare themselves effectively, in order to withstand sophisticated DDoS attacks.”

To prevent falling victim to a DDoS attack, Kaspersky Lab recommends that organizations ensure their web and IT resources can handle high traffic and that professional solutions are employed to counter these types of attacks.

  • Also check out the best DDoS protection to ensure your organization is prepared to fend off these attacks

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