Samsung Notebook 9 Pen review: Samsung’s note-taking PC can’t quite justify its price

The Notebook 9 Pen aspires to be Samsung’s version of a MacBook, with a pricey, potent mix of components powering some unique app experiences. But its bland, plasticky exterior will probably suggest a Chromebook instead, though with an iconic S-Pen stylus that’s always ready to jot a quick note.

It’s a difficult dichotomy for this 13.3-inch, 360-degree convertible to reconcile, made even more challenging by the Notebook 9 Pen’s MSRP: $1,400. To be fair, we’ve recently seen it for $100 or so less on some sites. Unless you love Samsung’s S-Pen, though, the Notebook 9 Pen is vulnerable to like-priced (or cheaper) competition.

Still, you may consider some of its weaknesses to be strengths. For example, Samsung manufactured the entire chassis out of a special custom magnesium alloy, with the look, weight and feel of plastic. Yet the light 2.14-pound weight (just under 2.5 pounds with the charger) is something your shoulders will appreciate when you carry this laptop in your bag. Likewise, we don’t consider its numerous customizable settings and apps to be truly useful, though they offer a degree of configurability its competition lacks. 

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Google Assistant: 12 awesome features you should be using

Google has had voice search features in Android for years, but when Google Assistant rolled out on the Pixel in October 2016, everything finally came together. You can now get Assistant on all modern Android devices, and Google has already announced new Assistant features at I/O 2018 that will make it even better (okay, and maybe a little too real, in the case of Duplex).

It can be easy to miss the improvements if you don’t obsessively keep an eye on the news, so here they are in one place: the 12 coolest new features in Google Assistant.

Sync connected smart home devices

google assistant sync devices Ryan Whitwam/IDG

Google Assistant supports numerous smart home devices, but you might notice that devices you’ve just added to your account don’t always work right away. That’s because Assistant isn’t constantly scanning for new connections. You can give it a kickstart.

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