Hello, ‘Windows Hello’!

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I bought my Dell laptop back in May this year, and for a while I had been contemplating returning it, saving up a bit more money and getting something a little more high-end, like the new Dell XPS 13 with that lovely almost-bezel-less display. But I honestly thought that my laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-4167SLV Signature Edition would be ok for what I use a computer for. Heck, with 1TB of storage and a whopping 12GB of RAM I was pretty happy with the thing really; it is fast and rather quite nice.

It’s not all splendid stuff. The keyboard is nice to type on, but the whole keyboard ‘shelf’ feels springy, and if you type quite firmly, you’ll actually see the plastic moving up and down. It can be ‘rattley’ and noisy when typing too, like something inside is loose and rattles around with every key tap. Another thing is when I’m in a dead-quiet room, it’s easy to hear the hard-drive wake up and doze again, whirring to life quickly and audibly and slowing down again when the demanding task has been completed. Certainly not deal-breakers, but things to consider. I also only paid $600 for it after some online discounts, so again, I think these things can be overlooked for the price I paid.

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The plus points, though, are great, and I’m happy I kept it. The battery lasts for a very reasonable amount of time, around four to five hours of steady work with Word, Publisher, Firefox browser and some Groove Music. So, for me, that’s great. Obviously being fairly new, it installed Windows 10 without a hitch, and I really do mean, without one problem. My printer (connected over a wireless connection and my AirPort Express) still works just as before, as does my wifi, Bluetooth connections, wireless mouse and my FitBit tracker. I wish I could’ve said that in 2007 when I upgraded to Vista…

 

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The real bonus on this particular laptop is the fact that this is one of a few laptops (at the moment) that houses a special kind of webcam. The Intel RealSense 3D camera is built-in. This comprises a few imaging gizmos such as infrared and 3D scanning that allow the new Windows Hello feature to be used without having to buy any additional hardware. Some laptops have a built-in fingerprint scanner which works with Windows Hello as well. Mine doesn’t have one of those, but Windows Hello works so well I don’t think I’m going to be looking for such a scanner in the future; I can’t see a need for the 3D camera and a fingerprint scanner.

 

Intel's announcement at CES 2014
Intel’s announcement at CES 2014

 

Available also as an external peripheral
Available also as an external peripheral

Below is a link to a video that shows you just how wonderful Windows Hello is. It isn’t 100% perfect, and I’m hoping tweaks to improve it continue to come with future Windows 10 updates. As of now, the feature works excellently on booting up from fresh, but can take a while to recognise me after waking from Sleep mode. It does still work, but not all of the time, and I’ve had to begrudgingly opt for the PIN access instead. (In the video I incorrectly refer to the camera as “IntelliSense” instead of “RealSense”).

Watch my demo of Windows Hello:  YouTube

But, on the whole, Windows Hello is a real step in the right direction that I think helps Windows 10 to be seen as more exciting and fun than previous versions of Windows.

 

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