This week's recap: Surface Book and iPad Pro reviews, CodinGames, Project Spectrum, and a big oopsie! over at Apple

A review of the new Microsoft Surface Book

The sure sign that Christmas is coming: techies are writing up reviews of the new gadgets that will surely feature on the wish list of many. Let's start with the new Surface Book, the first laptop/tablet hybrid launched by Microsoft. The verdict on this "ultimate laptop" : finishes are really top notch, but the peculiar hinge, on top of being much discussed for its design, does not help with balance and transportation. The top, detachable part is called a "clipboard" rather than "tablet" by MS, simply because the device is in fact designed to be used as a laptop most of the time. A good call: spliting the GPU and the CPU between the parts, which creates two distinct thermal zones (i.e. thus solving a common problem among laptops). Performance is excellent, battery life is impressive. A few expected problems when it comes to hardware, and especially software. In short, the Surface Book is not bad at all, but it probably won't oust the MacBook Pro anytime soon, among other things because of its price (up to $3,500 US).


…And a review of the iPad Pro

The iPad Pro, the latest, giant iPad with a 12.9 inch screen, was finally launched this week. First impressions: the display is great, and the iOS 9 multitasking features are very useful and fast. The Smart Keyboard, which can be purchased separately for $169, garnered mixed reviews from analysts. Some liked its "feel" and its spill-proof coating, while others thought it was awkward to balance on one's lap, because it's so light. The Apple Pencil, the infamous stylus that Steve Jobs would have most probably vetoed, surprinsingly wowed everyone: its precision and agility are apparently unrivalled.

The spin behind the device was that the iPad Pro could downright replace a workstation (portable or not). So... is it really the case? Mayyybe, the analysts carefully attempt. But probably not for everyone. One thing is for sure though: artists and anyone in the visual industry will be smitten.


Learning how to code is fun and games!

CodingGame, a French (!) startup, just raised $1.6 million in crowdfunding to launch its code learning platform. What else is new? It's done through games, purely and simply. Each task enables users to choose from one of 23 programming languages, including Python, Ruby and Java. Even if the game mainly targets people with basic proficiency, there are challenges for every user level. <personalopinion>What a great way to get familiar with this ultimate geek frontier!</personalopinion>


Project Spectrum from Oppo

Have you every heard of Oppo, a Chinese smartphone maker? In order to please their Asian user base, their Android devices are usually heavily customized. But here we go, Oppo now wishes to entend their market and also entice Western (highly sollicited) consumers. The result: Project Spectrum: a beta firmware much closer to original Android, specifically, to the Lollipop experience. There are still a few signature features, such as a distinct camera app, as well as screen-off gestures. Project Spectrum is currently only available for the Find 7 phone, but Oppo plans to add more devices and upgrade to Marshmallow soon.


A big Apple oopsie!

A lot of users got very frustrated at Apple this week, when a security certificate the company used to prevent piracy on its apps, suddenly and inexplicably expired. The company reacted pretty quickly, by issuing a new certificate (valid until 2035), but it was still a bit late. Problems experienced by users on November 18 included having no apps working for a while, and lots of fumbling from users who, for instance, could not connect to the Internet or had forgotten their passwords and could not reconnect... Some people even had to delete and reinstall every single app they ever purchased. Oops.