Tag: multimedia laptop

Dell jumps on the prosumer bandwagon with the XPS Creator Edition computers


Dell XPS 17 laptop press picture courtesy of Dell Australia

Dell is offering variants of the latest XPS 17 desktop-replacement laptop that will be pitched at prosumers and content creators

What is Dell’s XPS 17 ‘Creator Edition?’ | Windows Central

Dell Reveals Redesigned XPS 15 and Powerful New XPS 17 Aimed at Creators | Petapixel

Dell’s new XPS Desktop looks to be a premium powerhouse PC | PC World Australia

From the horse’s mouth


XPS 17 Series (USA product page with Creator Edition packages)

XPS Desktop series (USA product page with Creator Edition packages)


RTX Studio program (Product Page)

My Comments

As I have previously reported, computer-equipment manufacturers are waking up to the realisation that prosumers and content creators are a market segment to address. This group of users was heavily courted by Apple with the MacOS platform but Windows-based computer vendors are answering this need as a significant amount of advanced content-creation and content-presentation software is being written for or ported to Windows 10.

Here, the vendors are shoehorning computer specifications for some of their performance-focused computers towards the kind of independent content creator or content presenter who seeks their own work and manages their own IT. This can range from hobbyists to those of us who create online content to supplement other activities towards small-time professionals who get work “by the job”. It can also appeal to small-time organisations who create or present content but don’t necessarily have their own IT departments or have the same kind of IT department that big corporations have.

Lenovo answered this market with a range of prosumer computers in the form of the Creator Series which encompassed two laptops and a traditional tower-style desktop. Now Dell is coming up to the plate with their Creator Edition computer packages. Here, this approach is to have computers that are specifiied for content creation or content presentation but aren’t workstation-class machines identified with a distinct “Creator Edition” logo.

The first of these are the Creator Edition variants of the latest Dell XPS 17 desktop-replacement laptop. These have, for their horsepower, an Intel Core i7-10875H CPU and a discrete GPU in the form of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX-2060 with 6Gb display memory, based on the NVIDIA Max-Q mobile graphics approach. This will run RTX Studio graphics drivers that are tuned for content-professional use and will be part of the RTX Studio program that NVIDIA runs for content professionals.

The display used in these packages is a 17” 4K UHD touch display that is rated for 100% Adobe RGB colour accuracy. The storage capacity on these computers is 1 Terabyte in the form of a solid-state disk. The only difference between the two packages is that the cheaper variant will run with 16Gb system RAM and the premium variant having 32Gb system RAM.

Dell is also offering a Creator Edition variant of its XPS-branded desktop computer products. This will be in the form of a traditional tower-style desktop computer but is equipped with the latest Intel Core i9 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics card and able to be specced with RAM up to 64Gb and storage of up to 2Tb. It has all the expandability of a traditional form-factor desktop computer, something that would come in handy for project studios where special audio and video interface cards come in to play.

What is being shown up here is that computer manufacturers are recognising the content-creator and prosumer market segment who wants affordable but decent hardware that can do the job. It will be interesting to see who else of the large computer manufacturers will come up to the plate and have a product range courting the content creators and prosumers.

The prosumer is now being considered as a distinct personal-IT user class

Articles – From the horse’s mouth

Lenovo IdeaPad Creator 5 15" clamshell laptop press picture courtesy of Lenovo USA

Lenovo IdeaPad Creator 5 15″ clamshell prosumer / content-creator laptop


Lenovo’s Five Must-Have Devices for the Digital Creator (Press Release)

My Comments

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2020, Lenovo launched their Creator series of desktop and laptop computers focused towards the “prosumer” user class. But what is this user class?

What is a prosumer?

The word “prosumer” is a portmanteau of the words “producer” and “consumer” in which the user produces something as well as consuming other things. For example, the person may end up taking a lot of photos not just for their personal family album but to create things like exhibitions or slide shows or illustrate books.

In the context of product positioning, it is a portmanteau of “professional” and “consumer” where products of that class stand between professional-class products pitched to business users who use it as part of their trade; and consumer-class products pitched to ordinary householders. Those products were effectively pitched at “serious users” who wanted what professional users were benefiting from without the huge price tag associated with that product class.

Here, the prosumer is a technology user who primarily create content but aren’t doing it as part of a regular day job. Typically they would do this as a personal hobby or as an effort to support a non-profit organisation. In some ways, it may also augment another hobby or other effort like making music or building a social-media presence.

They could also be making money creating content but on a “job-by-job” basis for various end-users but not have the volume of valuable work to be considered a professional content creator. An example of this may be photographers, videographers or entertainers who gain most of their work during particular seasons or a budding film producer who is building up their work until they gain a reputation.

The last few decades of the 20th century saw companies involved in the consumer photography and AV industries research technology and create affordable products that satisfy the needs of this kind of user. Here, it is about turning out high-quality work that can be presented to people, especially paying customers.

This class of relatively-affordable “prosumer” equipment led to an easier entry path for people wishing to make money out of this kind of work like the photographers or videographers who you hire to photograph or film that special event; or project studios who prepare demo tapes for various live acts.

As well, it opened up a path for small businesses and community organisations to turn out high-quality creative material that can further their efforts with such things as a church having sermons available for the faithful to hear at a later date or a small business creating their own long-form advertising videos.

How is the computing world answering the prosumer user class?

But the computing market caught up slowly with this user class’s needs initially through the Apple Macintosh and laser printers facilitating desktop publishing in the late 1980s. Apple then took this further with optimising the Macintosh platform for multimedia production and acquired a reputation in this field across the prosumer and professional space.

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop

But prosumer users found that companies who manufactured Windows-based computers didn’t really cater to their needs. The initial effort was to create multimedia-grade computers with advanced graphics and sound subsystems. I have reviewed a few examples of this computer class with the Toshiba Satellite P750 being one of them. But this product class ended up being focused towards high-stakes gaming where the goal is towards responsiveness especially in a first-person-shooter game.

A few manufacturers like Sony made “flash-in-the-pan” efforts with computers that offered features and specifications that appealed to prosumer-class users, such as implementing OLED displays with very-high colour gamut. But these models didn’t stay on the market for a long time.

Nowadays, the prosumer would end up using a gaming-grade computer that may be seen as underpowered and unreliable for content-creation, audio-production or similar software. This is if they wanted the kind of performance necessary to edit or “finish” their creative work. If the gaming rig in question is a traditional desktop unit that can have its graphics card replaced, the user may substitute the gaming-optimised display card with a workstation-class or content-creation-class display card. Similarly, if the gaming rig is a laptop, all-in-one or low-profile desktop unit with a Thunderbolt 3 connection, they would use a “card-cage” external graphics module equipped with a workstation-class display card for this purpose.

Or, if they are in the market for a traditional three-piece desktop computer based around a system unit of a standard form-factor, they would go to an independent computer retailer. Here, they would specify a custom-built store-brand computer that works with this software in an optimum manner.

On the other hand, they would be suggested to use a “certified workstation” computer that was proven by the software vendors to work with this kind of software but these would be considered very expensive and have too many features like managed-IT functionality that they wouldn’t need. In some cases, it would lead towards buying an entry-level model in a manufacturer’s workstation-class product range.

Lenovo Yoga Creator 7 15" prosumer convertible laptop press picture courtesy of Lenovo USA

Lenovo’s entry in to the prosumer content-creator class of convertible laptops in the form of the Yoga Creator 7 15″ 2-in-1.

Lenovo’s initial Creator range of prosumer-class computing products ticks the necessary boxes. Here, they are based on the manufacturer’s consumer-class product range but have the necessary configuration that is proven by the software vendors to work with their modestly-priced content-creation software. They are offering two portable computers (IdeaPad Creator 5 clamshell and Yoga Creator 7) and a traditional-style desktop tower computer (IdeaCentre Creator 5) that is optimised for this kind of work.

This could lead on to other computer manufacturers who provide “certified-workstation-class” performance computers and peripherals pitched towards these “prosumer” users. Here, they would be based on the manufacturer’s consumer or small-business product lines but have the necessary hardware specification to work with the affordable content-creation software.

One of the key factors in the design of these computers is that the graphics infrastructure would be optimised to work at standard refresh rates rather than the high refresh rates associated with gaming and not be suited to the kind of image-painting associated with fast-paced games. In a lot of cases, the graphics processor will be roped in as an auxiliary processor to facilitate rendering or transcoding.

Could the “prosumer-class” computer appeal to all users?

I would see these computers appeal to people who frequently create content on their computers and they use or intend to use highly-capable image, video or audio editing software for this purpose. They can also earn their keep with people and organisations who use advanced audio and video playback setups such as computer-based DJ/karaoke setups with advanced playback effects or multiple video channels.

The computers can offer high-end gaming performance which can please those users who are wanting to play a video game for their rest and relaxation. But I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to satisfy an expectation of esports-class gaming.

I could also see these computers appeal to students who are studying multimedia production, architecture / engineering, statistics and the like and want a low-risk entry point when it comes to technology. It would work alongside the fact that the software vendors are offering reduced pricing on the software associated with these studies for students who are currently studying these courses. This is to cater for the fact that the student may be very fickle about their course and wouldn’t justify a full-bore workstation-class computer if they don’t see themselves completing the course and following that career path.

So it is becoming a situation where other user classes are being discovered when it comes to marketing personal and small-business information technology solutions. This time it is the creative types who create content on an ad-hoc basis rather than as a regular day job and they would want to have something that offers “certified-workstation” performance standards for the cost of a gaming rig.

Dell premieres the XPS 15 2-in-1 that ticks the boxes


Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 convertible press picture courtesy of Dell

The first laptop with the CPU/GPU combo chipset from Intell

CES 2018: Dell brings updated 2018 XPS 15 2-in-1 with Radeon Graphics | WinCentral

Dell’s new XPS 15 2-in-1 has a ‘maglev’ keyboard | The Verge

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 hands-on: A sleek showcase of firsts | Engadget

From the horse’s mouth


Press Release highlighting what was shown at CES 2018

My Comments

Dell used the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 to premiere a 15” ultraportable 2-in-1 convertible laptop that underscores what Intel’s new G-series CPU / GPU combination chips are about.

Intel Corporation is introducing the 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics in January 2018. It is packed with features and performance crafted for gamers, content creators and fans of virtual and mixed reality. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)

This is what drives the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

This laptop, which is the smallest thinnest 15” portable, comes in with a thickness of 16mm when either closed or folded over as a tablet. This is brought about due to the implementation of the single-die chip which has the Intel 8th Generation Core CPU and an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics processor with 4Gb of display memory to “paint” with. The computer press see this setup being equivalent to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 dedicated GPU.

It is allowing Dell to pitch the XPS 15 2-in-1 as an “enthusiast-grade” lightweight 2-in-1 laptop with the kind of performance that would please people who are into multimedia and animation work or want to play most of the newer games.

Another influence is the use of a “maglev” keyboard which uses magnets to provide the tactile equivalent of a keyboard with a deeper throw. But this allows also for a slim computer design.

The new Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 computer can be configured with an Intel Core i5 as the baseline option or an Intel Core i7 as the performance option. The touchscreen can be a Full HD display as a baseline option or a 4K UltraHD display with the 100% Adobe colour gamut for the premium option.

The RAM available ex-factory can range between 8Gb to 16Gb while the storage capacity that is available ex-factory ranges from 128Gb to 1Tb on a solid-state drive. Personally, I would like to see the minimum storage capacity available being 256Gb. The only removable storage option integrated in this computer is a microSD card slot, which may require you to use a microSD card and SD card adaptor in your camera or carry a USB-C SD card reader for your digital camera’s SD memory card.

The connectivity options for this computer come in the form of 2 Thunderbolt 3 and 2 standard USB-C sockets. These all support USB Power Delivery which means that they serve as a power input from the laptop’s charger, along with PowerShare “sleep and charge” and DisplayPort alt mode. The fact that this laptop has Thunderbolt 3 connectivity means that it could be connected to better-performing graphics processors installed in external graphics modules and can even lead towards “workstation-grade” graphics once teamed with a “card-cage” graphics module that is kitted out with an NVIDIA Quadro workstation graphics card.

The baseline price for this model intended to be available in the USA in April is expected to be US$1299. Personally I would see the Intel CPU/GPU chipset preparing the path for a slow return of the “multimedia laptop” but in a lightweight manner and with a larger battery.

Product Review–Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop computer (Part No: PSAY3A-05F001)


I am reviewing the Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop which is Toshiba’s effort at a work-entertainment multimedia centre that would suit current needs. It is a 15” equivalent of the Satellite P770 which is on a par with the Dell XPS L702x multimedia laptop. It is also infact the first Sandy-Bridge-driven laptop of this mainstream size to have the full “multimedia” works to become available for review on this site.

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop

– this configuration
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge i7-2630M Cheaper options – all Intel Sandy Bridge
cheaper options:
4Gb or 6Gb
shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 750Gb hard disk Blu-Ray burner, SD card reader.
cheaper option – DVD burner
Display Subsystem NVIDIA GeForce GT540M with 3D Vision (1Gb display RAM) Alternate option:
NVIDIA GeForce GT540M with Optimus dual-chipset (2Gb display memory)
Screen 17” 3D widescreen (1366×768)
cheaper option
17” widescreen (1366×768)
LED-backlit LCD
Network Wi-Fi
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Connectors USB 3 x USB 2.0
Video External display
Audio External audio
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Edition
Windows Experience Index
– this configuration
Overall: 5.9 Graphics: 6.6
Advanced Graphics: 6.6

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Toshiba Satellite P750 is finished in what Toshiba describes as a “metallic urban” finish. This is a dark charcoal black finish with a finished-metal texture on a plastic case. It is the same across the lid and the palmrest.

The build quality is very good for its class I would expect a lot of time of use out of this series of machines.

User interface

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop keyboard detail

Keyboard and trackpad detail

The Toshiba is equipped with an illuminated chiclet keyboard with numeric keypad. Unlike a lot of illuminated keyboards, this only lights up when you actually use the keyboard, the same practice as observed with a lot of mobile phones. Like for most recent-issue 15” and 17” laptops, there is a proper numeric keypad. The keyboard is still roomy to use and allows you to touch-type accurately for longer periods, although it feels very slippery.

It uses a trackpad is just slightly recessed and is highlighted by an illuminated bar at the top of the trackpad area. This can still be very sensitive and cause the cursor to jump around.

The Satellite P750’s keyboard and trackpad is augmented by a Supplementary touch buttons row above the keyboard. This provides control over wireless, 3D, media play-pause, sound volume and display brightness.

Connectivity and Expandability

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop - right hand side with Blu-Ray burner

Right-hand side with Blu-Ray burner, 2 x USB 2.0 sockets, audio input and output and power socket

The Satellite P750 laptop has three USB sockets, with one being a USB 3.0 connector for hard disks and similar applications. Unlike most other laptops I have reviewed, it doesn’t have an eSATA connection but this won’t matter if the external hard disk has a USB 3.0 connector.

The Toshiba has the same “Sleep and Charge” as the previously-reviewed Portege R830 from the same stable. This is where it can use the USB 3.0 port to supply power to external devices while it is off; and can allow you to leave the mobile phone charger behind yet charge your mobile phone.

There are two 3.5mm jacks for connecting a microphone or line-level audio device; and a pair of headphones or external speakers. This Toshiba laptop can be set to become amplified speakers for a connected external audio player even if it is off through the “Sleep And Music” mode.

External displays can be connected to the Satellite P750 using the HDMI or VGA connectors, with the HDMI connector also supporting control of HDMI-CEC compliant displays and audio setups. For example, this would cause a connected Panasonic Viera plasma TV to light up with the computer’s display image when you turn this laptop on or a home-theatre receiver like the previously-reviewed Sony STR-DA5500ES to select the right input when the laptop comes on.

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop - left-hand-side

Left hand side connections - Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, USB 3.0 with Sleep and Charge, USB 2.0 and TV antenna

The TV antenna connection is the standard Belling-Lee (PAL) connector that is part of the machine’s connection set. This avoids the need to mess with cord adaptors in order to connect regular TV-aerial setups for the TV tuner. Of course, ATSC (USA) variants would use the screw-on F connector.

Audio and Video

The Toshiba Satellite P750 uses a 2.1 speaker system that has been “worked” by Harman-Kardon. The main benefits that I have heard include a very “punchy” sound for all kinds of media playback.

I have tested this Toshiba’s 3D Vision capabilities on the demonstration material that is made available by NVIDIA and it is effective. The NVIDIA 3D glasses worked properly on their own battery and did provide the proper effect. They were able to be used by people who wear prescription or other glasses by just simply wearing them over those glasses. You should really have the laptop connected to AC power if you want to use 3D capabilities because this can drain the battery very fast.

There are variants in the Toshiba Satellite P750 Series which have the Optimus version of the NVIDIA GeForce GT540M. These only support 3D when connected to a 3D-capable display like the newer 3D flat-panel “main-lounge-area” TVs. But they have the the Optimus automatic dual-graphics modes that allow you to conserve battery runtime.

The screen front is very glossy which can be of nuisance value in brightly-lit rooms and can attract fingermarks.

The Satellite P750 is equipped with an integrated digital-TV tuner which would be configured for the market that this laptop is supplied in. Personally, I would prefer that the tuner is software-based so that it can be set by the user to work in any country that the laptop is taken to.

Battery life

The main disadavantage of using only a discrete graphics chipset is that you lose on the battery runtime. I was able to engage in mixed tasks (typing, multimedia) for around three hours before it run down. Even running a DVD would make through two and a half hours. Use of the 3D functionality also places more demand on the battery.

It may be not of concern if you often run the machine from AC power rather than the batteries.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Toshiba Satellite P750’s trackpad could be recessed further so it isn’t easily activated during a bout of touch-typing.

The lock slot could also be repositioned so you can use larger locking devices while the laptop is connected to external power. This may be of concern with some of the combination locks that may have their release button close to the power cable.

I would also like to see the Blu-Ray drive be a direct-insert (slot-load) type rather than the typical drawer-load which becomes a bit too ordinary, especially on a premium-tier multimedia machine.

As I have said before, the TV tuner could be software-based for round-the-world TV reception; and the software-based operation could also support newer standards like DVB-T2 which is being rolled out across Europe.


I would position the Toshiba Sattelite P750 Series laptops as multimedia work-entertainment systems for nomadic users such as those of us who sail or fly for work. The combination of the Blu-Ray player, TV tuner and self-protecting hard disk would be of benefit to university students, nurses and the like who primarily live in on-campus accommodation that has small rooms like the typical college dorm. It also has the graphics ability that would expose it to image or video creation tasks.

Of course, if you were to take the screen size and the self-protecting hard disk out of the equation, this computer would be on a par with the Dell XPS L702x that I previously reviewed.