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There aren’t many noteworthy negatives here, but the few that do exist are natural extensions of a device being this slim. The keyboard is laid out well and above-average on the whole, but the keys don’t have as much travel as you could get elsewhere. While the new USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port helps futureproof the whole thing, you still lose dedicated HDMI and Ethernet ports with devices this thin. (You can buy a Thunderbolt adapter for the former, but that’s a pain.) It’s also worth noting that some user reviews have cited issues with the XPS 13’s trackpad, though we've never had much of any issues.All that said, the XPS 13 is still supremely well-designed, with a good battery, great display, and surprisingly affordable starting price. For us, it remains the best Ultrabook you can buy.If your budget keeps you planted in the midrange, look to the Asus Zenbook UX305CA. This version of the machine gets you 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive for $650-700 (and sometimes less), which is great value.That it’s made from a solid coat of aluminum that’s simultaneously good-looking, slender (about a half-inch thick), and light (just 2.6 pounds) only adds to the value. Throw in a good 9 or so hours of battery life, a trio of USB 3.0 ports, and a crisp, glare-free 1080p panel and the Zenbook furthers itself as very capable for the money.

But there are compromises, as expected. First and foremost is the Core M processor at the heart of the machine. Though its sixth-gen series is an improvement over its predecessor, enough to make the Zenbook perfectly usable for so-called "everyday use," there’s no getting around the dropoff between it and Intel’s higher-level chips. You can do most of what you need to do, but you still don’t want to push things to their limits.On the flip side, the processor is fanless, which means it creates very little noise as it runs along. And if you want, you can grab an updated model with a faster (though not brand new) fifth-gen Core i5 processor for $750.More than a year after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, we still have no answers about what actually caused the crash.But an aviation expert at The Daily Beast has a new theory on what might have happened.Expert Clive Irving points to new warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing that highlight the "immediate and urgent risk" tied to transporting lithium-ion batteries, which are used in cellphones and laptops, on passenger flights.

FAA officials said last week that there's evidence the batteries could cause "explosions and fires capable of destroying a plane," according to the Associated Press. In July, Boeing warned airlines that carrying large shipments of the batteries created "unacceptable fire hazards" and asked carriers to stop accepting the cargo, according to The Wall Street Journal.MH370 had 440 pounds of lithium batteries aboard the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8, 2014, Irving reported last year. Debris from the plane has since washed up on an island off the coast of Madagascar.Irving theorizes that the batteries could have caused a fire in the hold of the Boeing 777 that overwhelmed the plane's fire-suppression system."The cargo hold has a special liner intended to contain a fire until it is extinguished," he explained. "A battery fire might well have been intense enough to breach the liner and, in doing so, allow the airflow to weaken the concentration (and therefore the effectiveness) of the Halon gas used as a fire suppressant."

If the batteries did catch fire and the flames were too intense to be controlled by the plane's systems, the fumes from the fire could have knocked out the people on the plane, Dr. Victor Ettel, an expert on the science and manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, told Irving."The organic electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries decomposes at high temperatures, generating very toxic fumes typically containing compounds of fluorine and even arsenic," Ettel said.Irving also has an answer for how the plane could have gone off its planned course with its communications systems shut down and kept flying for hours before crashing into the ocean.MH370's first turn of its flight path was consistent with the pilots trying to find the nearest airport, according to Irving. He pointed out that nearby Langkawi Island has a modern airport with a 12,500-foot runway that would have suited the Boeing airplane. The second turn toward the Indian Ocean could have been the result of technical failures, he argued.

And the loss of communication could have been caused by the supposed battery fire since the cargo hold was near the plane's "electronics nerve center," Ettel said.It's possible that a fire could have knocked out the communications system without touching the engines that kept the aircraft going."Even if the transponders were located in different parts of the airplane they could have been disabled by a fire in the electronics bay, instead of by a deliberate action by a pilot or a terrorist entering the electronics bay, as has been suggested," Ettel said."It is therefore conceivable that the electronic and navigational systems in the bay could have been disabled [by fire], leaving only the hydraulic systems working."The fire might have then died out before it destroyed the rest of the plane, Irving wrote, noting that "it is possible for fires at cruise altitude and speed to be extinguished when exposed to extremely cold air and a forceful slipstream."An unnamed aviation expert told The Daily Beast that the Boeing 777 "is arguably the best and safest airplane ever built, it is simply one amazing jet in its robustness. I have not a shred of doubt in my mind that it could have continued to fly after the event, even with the incapacitation of the flight crew."

This isn't the first time a theory surrounding MH370's lithium batteries has been floated.Popular Mechanics noted in July that "the fire hazards of such bulk shipments of the batteries were already well known to the industry" and that other airlines had already restricted or banned the shipments on passenger flights.We've said it before and we'll say it again: Roku's latest streaming stick is the best value on the media streaming market today. If you need yet another reason to add the Roku stick to your cart, Amazon has it down to $40 today. That’s $10 off its usual going rate, and the first real deal we’ve seen for the device on the site.While many people now own portable chargers for their phones, wireless chargers for laptops aren't so mainstream yet. If you are constantly on the go, though, you should consider picking up up the Anker PowerCore+ 20100. Not only does this pick have several USB ports so users can power up their MacBook, phone, and tablet in one charge, it's small enough to slip into your backpack or briefcase once your gadgets are juiced up.

With Memorial Day weekend quickly approaching, now's as good a time as any to invest in a new grill. This electric one from Char-Broil is a great option if you're unable to use (or simple don't want to fuss with) propane or charcoal. Its TRU-Infrared system will evenly cook your hot dogs and hamburgers, plus its compact size will work nicely with small outdoor spaces.Whether you wear them daily to the office, or only keep them on reserve for special occassions, every guy needs an arsenal of ties in his wardrobe. Give your tie collection an upgrade — and save a few dollars — this week by taking advantage of Touch of Modern's offer: This week, shoppers can take $8 off tons of options from the Tie Bar. Now through June 30, Timex is offering 20% off and free shipping on all orders over $25 when you enter the code DADGRAD20 at checkout. Whether you're looking to pick up another Weekender or shop for a beach-friendly option, this deal has something for everyone. Buying a budget laptop is an exercise in compromise. There’s no one category of tech where the old “You get what you pay for” axiom rings truer — you simply aren’t going to find many affordable notebooks that are close to being "objectively good" buys the way a Macbook Pro or Dell XPS 13 is. On average, their screens are grainy, their builds are flimsy, and their internals aren’t very fast. Mediocrity is the norm.

But they’re cheap. It’s perfectly understandable why legions of plastic $400 notebooks are swiped off of Best Buy and Walmart’s shelves each fall: Even if it’s the safer purchase in the long run, dropping $1,000 on a better-made machine is a schedule-changing investment. And it’s not as if every laptop buyer needs higher-end materials in their stuff.That said, if you’re going to buy cheap, you might as well get the most from your dollar. So instead of writing off the category and demanding you save your money for a better notebook, we dove headfirst into the sea of budget laptops to find the ones that are worth buying.Not surprisingly, the returns were thin. We settled on a rough guideline of laptops under $550, but since this side of the market is filled with such a diverse range of devices, we included our favorites from a selection of full-on notebooks, 2-in-1 convertibles, Chromebooks, and ultra-affordable Windows machines, like the HP Stream.Per usual, we settled on the following laptops after scouring the web for reviews and performing our own hands-on testing. We assigned them a BI Rating, which you can read more about here. And as always, we plan to update this guide over time to reflect the many new notebooks that'll arrive in the coming weeks.

There really aren't many quality options in this price range, so what you’re looking for here are small victories. It's too much to expect a solid state drive, 1080p display, and fast performance in one of these things, but if you can get a few qualities along those lines in a package that isn’t substantially lacking elsewhere, it’s worth considering. You need to to put aside "good," and embrace "good enough." Here are a few notebooks that fit that idea.Update (1/26/16): We've completed our first major refresh of this guide. Our Asus Zenbook UX305 and Toshiba Chromebook 2 entries are now fully updated to reflect their newest models. The HP Pavilion x360 11t Touch Select has been removed. The Acer Aspire E5-571-58CG makes way for the Aspire E5-573G-52G3 as a midrange desktop replacement pick. The Lenovo Ideapad 100s replaces the Asus Eeebook X205TA as our favorite ultra-budget Windows notebook. We'll continue to keep an eye out for promising choices, and will update further as we continue our testing and research.

Actually, let’s hold off a second. Just to hammer home how starved for quality this segment is, we’re quickly breaking the guidelines we set above. If there’s any way you can add a little more to your laptop buying budget, do it, and pick up the Asus Zenbook UX305CA. Value for dollar, it’s nearly unmatched. The difference between it and almost every other general purpose laptop available for slightly cheaper is easily vast enough to justify the higher premium.This is a $900-1000 Ultrabook masquerading at a lower price. It’s less than a half-inch thick, it weighs a hair over 2.5 pounds, and it’s sturdily built from a handsome coat of aluminum. It comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive, both of which are superb for this price point. Its battery lasts a good 9-10 hours, and its matte 1080p IPS display is sharp, glare-free, and fitted with great viewing angles. The Zenbook packs a ton of high-end components, but costs had to be cut somewhere to meet its mid-range price. Its keyboard, for instance, is generally serviceable, but doesn’t have any backlighting. Its Bang & Olufsen-aided speakers are surprisingly thin and under-powered. Its webcam is rough. And that 13-inch screen, while very nice for the money, has some issues accurately reproducing colors when held up to other Ultrabooks.

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