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All posts tagged "laptop"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spotlight Turns to Notebooks Part 1: The New MacBooks

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:27 PM

"To build something truly different, you need to work in a truly different way. Apple designers and engineers work together through every stage of product development. It’s a partnership that makes innovation possible. And it’s exactly how the new MacBook was created. With its breakthrough unibody enclosure, industry-first features, and environmentally sound design, it’s a revolution in the way notebooks are made."

Apple made the first refresh of its consumer-level laptop line in over 2 years today with the launch of the new MacBook. It still has a 13.3" glossy display at 1280 x 800, BlueTooth, 802.11n wireless, and all the other features you've come to know and love, but they've done some interesting new stuff. Gone are the plastic enclosure (the mid-tier and high-tier MacBooks now rock an aluminum shell Apple is calling "Unibody"), the MiniDVI port (replaced with the new Mini Displayport connector) and Firewire 400. Making their debut are a new mobile chipset from NVIDIA which Apple claims is up to five times faster than the current Intel integrated graphics, and a very fast 1066MHz frontside bus. The new MacBooks will start at $1299 for a 2.0 Ghz Model with a 160GB HD and $1599 for a 2.4 Ghz model with a 250GB HD. The top tier model also includes a backlit keyboard for all your night-typing needs.

Worthy of note is that along with the new aluminum-bodied MacBooks, the 13.3" white model will stick around at $999 for those looking to do an Apple laptop on a budget.

Friday, October 10, 2008

12.1-inch Dell E Slim Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"It's hard to say what we've come across here, but if our retinas aren't deceiving us too badly, this looks to be an in the wild shot (sans blur, amazingly) of Dell's forthcoming E Slim. If you'll recall, we caught a glimpse of said device way back in June, and the two look at least marginally similar using the oh-so-scientific eyeball test. But look, even if this thing isn't the E Slim (though we're guessing it is until proven otherwise), we've been told on numerous occasions that Dell is mulling the idea of pumping out a netbook with a 10- to 12-inch display. An accompanying screenshot of the unit's internals was also provided, and while the model may say Optiplex1210, we're guessing that's just there for prototyping purposes; besides, the listed CPU matches up quite nicely with the aforementioned E Slim specs that slipped out this summer."

I'm not convinced this is a new Dell netbook. Why? Because the System Properties screenshot over on Engadget shows a CPU speed of 1.33 Ghz - I can't imagine Dell using anything other than the Intel Atom at 1.6 Ghz, or perhaps the dual-core version (which is also at 1.6 Ghz). And that's Windows Vista, which isn't netbook friendly - especially with only a 1.33 GHz CPU. Instead I think this is a Macbook Air compeditor - which is great, I'm all for thin and light long as they don't compromise too much on battery life.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

HP Finally Gets on the 13.3" Train

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"If 12 is too small and 14 too big, HP now has a laptop to sell you. With the Pavilion dv3500t, the company has slotted a 13-inch model into its already crowded laptop lineup. The dv3500t features a choice of four Intel Core 2 Duo processors (up to the T9400), up to 8GB of RAM, a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics card, and up to a 400GB hard drive. The 13.3-inch display features a 1280x800 resolution, and an LED-backlit display is offered for an added $100, which HP indicates will shave nearly a half pound off the system's 4.1-pound weight. Unlike most of HP's laptops, the Pavilion dv3500 does not offer a parallel AMD version (a dv3500z, say, to the Intel-based dv3500t)."

I'm a big fan of small laptops, and a 13.3" screen is a great size for a laptop - it's small enough to be easily portable, but large enough that you don't feel like you're compromising your work style. What amazes me is that it took HP this long to get on board with this size of laptop - they've got to be the last company making notebooks to get here, but at least they finally arrived. I would have preferred to see the optical drive be removable and space for a secondary battery, because I suspect the 6-cell battery humps out the back in a big, ugly way. Also, 1280 x 800 is what I got on my Dell XPS M1330 over a year ago - 1440 x 900 would have been a nice advancement. Still, it's nice to see them releasing a laptop at this size, because their 12" tx2500 Tablet PC isn't going to be for everyone - the tx2500 is surprisingly bulky for a 12 inch laptop.

Engadget: Voodoo Envy 133 Unboxing and Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 09:00 AM

"HP's Voodoo Envy 133, first announced in June, has struggled a bit off the blocks, with manufacturing problems keeping it out of buyers hands until last month. Of course, HP has a good excuse: carbon fiber. The notoriously difficult material wasn't used sparingly on the Envy 133, and if you've been looking for a laptop dripping with the synthetic material, HP's got your number. We mention this to remind ourselves that, like the MacBook Air before it, this laptop is about looks first, function second, and the Envy 133 succeeds in that regard wildly. There's always room for taste in these things, but HP makes quite a statement here no matter what your persuasion."

The Voodoo Envy 133 looks like one tasty laptop - I'm considering it for my next laptop purchase when I eventually replace my XPS M1330, but the high-gloss surface gives me pause. High-gloss, fingerprint-prone surfaces drive me nuts on phones, so on the much bigger surface area of a laptop, I might have a nervous breakdown. The specs on the laptop look great, although having an X3100 GPU is somewhat limiting as I learned with my Dell Studio Hybrid - I'm surprised HP didn't go with an ATI solution instead. Perhaps for the second generation model? Regardless of my quibbles, this is one unique laptop in the Windows space and it looks like there are great things ahead for HP and Voodoo.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are Dell Inspiron Mini 9's Delayed? Or Just Mine?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:20 PM

I ordered my Dell Inspiron Mini 9 the morning of the first day it was available in Canada, which was 48 hours after it was launched in the US (September 4th). Originally I was given a delivery date of September 22nd, but a few days ago that was bumped to October 6th. What's equally strange is that Dell's order status page is reporting that I placed this order on the 18th of September rather than the 6th. I'm seeing unboxing videos on YouTube, and reviews popping up online, so it seems that at least some people are getting their units. It's also probable that because Canada, Australia, and a few other countries came after the USA/UK/Germany in the launch, those countries are soaking up all the early inventory. Any Digital Home Thoughts readers ordered one of these and received it yet?

Monday, September 15, 2008

HP Launches New HDX Laptops, New TouchSmart PCs, and Lots More

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:22 PM

I was just about to crawl into bed, but HP's PR people sent me a press release with gobs of new products, and so I forsake sleep to deliver the news to you, the good readers of Digital Home Thoughts. :-) I just love it when these companies release products late at night...and my wife really appreciates it as well. Hah!

That sexy looking beast above is the HP HDX18: a brand new Centrino 2-based notebook that has some seriously sweet features. It boasts a 16:9 aspect ratio 18.4 inch screen at 1920 x 1080 resolution, driven by an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT with 512 MB of RAM. There's 4 GB of DDR2 system RAM, two 250 GB 5400 RPM hard drives (really? not 7200 RPM?) for a total of 500 GB of storage, a LightScribe super-multi DVD burner, Bluetooth 2.0, and Intel 802.11 a/g/n WiFi. It also has an HDMI port, a "triple bass sub-woofer", an eSATA port, gigabit Ethernet, a 5 in 1 media card reader, an ExpressCard 54 slot, a 4-pin Firewire connection, and at the heart of it all is an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU running at 2.26 Ghz with 3 MB of cache, and 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium SP1. It weighs in at a hefty 8.9 pounds, and has an 8-cell battery. The full specs are in this PDF file.

The smaller brother of the HDX18, above we have the HDX16. It's very similar in overall design to its big brother, but smaller: it has a 16" screen, also in 16:9 aspect ratio, and the resolution is 1366 x 768. The same NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT drives the screen, so if you're into gaming, you'll get better frame rates from this lower-resolution screen. The HDX16 has a single hard drive, 320 GB in size, but still boasts 4 GB of RAM, the same CPU, same wireless features, same DVD drive, etc. It has a smaller 6-cell battery instead of the 8-cell battery in the HDX18. The full specs are in this PDF file.

The full press release is after the break, along with more images I've interwoven into the release. It's a bit late for me to summerize all the new products, but the most noteworthy beyond these two laptops is probably the HP TouchSmart IQ816 (pictured above). It has a massive 25.5 inch screen running at 1920 x 1200 resolution, powered by an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GS HD CPU with 512 MB RAM. The CPU is an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 running at 2.10 Ghz, and there's 4 GB of RAM and a 750 GB 7200 RPM hard drive to round out the offering. The usual gigabit Ethernet, 802.1 b/g/n WiFi, webcam, NTSC tuner (with OTA HD), and built-in microphone are included. The full specs are in this PDF file. Read more...

Friday, September 5, 2008

MSI Wind Unboxing & First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:38 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the MSI Wind, a small 2.3 pound netbook with a 10" screen at 1024 x 600 resolution. It features an Intel Atom 1.6 Ghz CPU, 1 GB of RAM (upgradeable to 2 GB), 802.11 b/g, three USB ports, VGA out, and an 80 GB hard drive. I paid $554 CAD + tax for it.

The version I ordered was supposed to be a black MSI Wind with a 6-cell battery, but instead it's a white MSI Wind with a 3-cell battery. Join me for the fun of an unboxing of the wrong product! I ended up returning this to the computer store I bought it from because it was the wrong version, but I plan on re-ordering an MSI Wind when they release the version with the 6-cell battery. I was extremely impressed with the build quality, the screen quality, and the performance. At 50% brightness the screen was as bright as many laptops in a normally lit room, and the performance of the Intel Atom chip shocked me - I wasn't expecting to be able to play 720p WMV files without a hitch (it choked on 720p h.264 files though).

[click through to YouTube to see it in higher quality]

If you have a YouTube account, please rate the video, comment, and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dell Releases New 13" Inspiron Laptop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:04 PM

Ok, I admit it, I'm a sucker for any laptop that's small-ish (under 15.4" screen) and colourful. Maybe it's from too many years of having nothing but black and silver laptops, but I'm always happy to see the big laptop companies giving us more choices regarding size and colour. This new Inspiron 13 is a fairly low-end laptop, designed for the cost-conscious consumer. The $699 USD model still packs some decent features: Intel Pentium Dual Core T2390 (1.86GHz/533Mhz FSB/1MB cache), Vista Home Premium SP1, 13.3" LCD screen (1280 x 800), 8x slot-loading DVD burner, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB 5400 RPM hard drive, Intel X3100 GPU, 802.11g WiFi, a 37 watt hour 4 cell battery, and that swanky blue colour they're calling "Pacific Blue". The only problem I see with those specs? 1 GB of RAM. Vista is happy with 2 GB of RAM, and Dell should know better than to sell it with 1 GB of RAM. $50 more gets you the bump to 2 GB. If you're looking for a budget laptop that's still quite portable, this one might fit the bill.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Win a Voodoo Envy 133, or One of Three Lenovo IdeaPad S10s

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 03:00 PM

"We're giving away one Voodoo Envy 133 and three IdeaPad S10s in a drawing that kicks off today. Here's you chance to win the world's an Envy 133, which is the world's thinnest notebook. The IdeaPad S10 is Lenovo's entry into the ‘netbook' and one of my favorite affordable notebooks. Earlier this year we gave away an HP HDX worth over $5,000 and it's really exciting to be giving away some more hot notebooks."

The Voodoo Envy 133 is one sexy-looking notebook - when I look to replace my Dell XPS M1330 (probably in late 2009), I'll be looking at the Voodoo Envy line. Xavier from has a great contest going on where filling out a survey is all you need to do to be eligible for the random drawing. Unfortunately it's limited to residents of the United States only. If one of you win this, just send it up to me, ok? Thanks. ;-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

HP's dv6885se Special Edition Copper "Thrive" Notebook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

This gorgeous laptop from HP is a special edition product that's sold exclusively at Best Buy locations. It features an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 CPU at 2.1 Ghz, Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN WiFi, 3 GB DDR2 RAM, a 15.4" WXGA screen, a 250GB Serial ATA hard drive (5400 rpm), a 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS GPU, and all the usual ports (USB, Ethernet, Firewire, HDMI, VGA-out, etc.). Full specifications can be found at HP's Web site. At the time I shot this video, it was selling for $1149 USD directly from Best Buy (today it's $1149), but I've seen it as low as $999. With the Centrino 2 platform now shipping, one would hope HP would update the hardware on this laptop. Check out the video, and my testing notes, after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

September Launch for Intel's Dual Core Atom

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:34 AM

"Regardless of what internal opinion of the Atom processor is at Intel, the roadmap for the processor is moving forward and the next stop is the dual core Atom 330 desktop processor. Like its Atom 230 sibling, the Atom 330 is based on Intel's 45nm fab process and will incorporate HyperThreading technology -- in the case of the Atom 330, the processor will appear to have four cores within the operating system. According to Register Hardware, the dual core Atom 330 processors will be soldered onto Intel's upcoming 945GX-based D945GCLF2 motherboard which supports up to 2GB of DDR2 memory."

Normally I'd be excited about this, but just last week I placed a pre-order for the MSI Wind with a 6-cell battery...and now this new dual-core CPU looks like it would be pretty sweet. Although it's hard to say what would happen to the power consumption and pricing of the MSI Wind if it came with one of these CPUs. My personal circumstances aside, it's great to see more performance coming in these ultra-low power processors.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dell Releases Mike Ming Custom Studio Laptops

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:14 PM

Taking a play right out of HP's handbook, Dell is now offering a variety of Mike Ming customized notebooks. I'd never heard of Mike Ming before today, but he has some great looking designs. Price wise, it looks like a Studio 15 Mike Ming starts at $819 USD, and the pricing goes north of $1000 when you get into the Studio 17 Extreme edition. Check out the Dell Web site for all the designs - which is your favourite? Video after the break. Read more...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Squealing Dell XPS M1330 Notebook "Working as Designed" According to Dell Technician

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 02:28 PM

Last August, almost a year ago, I purchased a Dell XPS M1330 notebook. I was really excited when I got it, which was good because I paid $2736 for it and expected it to last me for at least two years. I sprung for the extended warranty, and got every option there was on the laptop. For the most part, I've been quite happy with it over the past year - there have been a few glitches here and there, but no really serious problems. I sent it back for cosmetic repair last month - the top part of the screen bezel (the black bar where the webcam is) rubs on the bottom part (near the trackpad) and as a result it gets scratched. This is just bad design by Dell, and after talking to a tech I convinced him it should be repaired. They repaired it, but it's starting to scratch again - I need to get some small and thin rubber "feet" (those little nubs) to put on the top part of the screen to stop it from happening again. Read more...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

HP's 2133 Mini Note: Great Design, But Compromises Abound

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:34 AM

Nearly two months ago I did my unboxing and first impressions video of the HP 2133 Mini Note, and now here's my full video review. As a recap, the version I look at in this video retails for $599 USD and can be purchased directly from HP. It has a VIA 1.2 Ghz CPU, an 8.9" LCD screen (1280 x 768 resolution), 1 GB of RAM, a 120 GB 5400 RPM hard drive, 802.11 a/b/g WiFi, a 3 cell battery, and runs Windows Vista Basic. Check out the video after the break. Read more...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Unboxing & First Impressions of the HP 2133 Mini Note

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:37 PM

Do you believe in love at first sight? Normally I don't, but I have to say, one look at the HP 2133 Mini Note and I felt my heart flutter - it's damn fine looking! The HP 2133 Mini Note is HP's answer to the Asus EEE. Ranging in price from $499 for a Linux-based, 4 GB SSD version to over $750 for a Windows Vista Business based version with a 160 GB hard drive. The version I look at in this video retails for $599 USD. It has a VIA 1.2 Ghz CPU, an 8.9" LCD screen (1280 x 768 resolution), 1 GB of RAM, a 120 GB 5400 RPM hard drive, 802.11 a/b/g WiFi, a 3 cell battery, and runs Windows Vista Basic.

If you have a YouTube account, please rate the video, comment, and subscribe to our channel. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

AMD Unveils Turion X2 Ultra and AMD Turion X2 Mobile Processor Platform

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:12 PM

AMD has officially unveiled their new mobile computing platform, formerly known as the codename Puma, and it looks like an impressive step forward for mobile technology. Unfortunately I missed a conference call earlier this week that had some pertinent details, but I was send a slide deck to glean some facts from. I'll do my best to present the facts about this new platform, but expect to see me linking to someone else that knows more about this than I do (which isn't hard to do) by tomorrow.

To begin with, we know that notebooks are increasingly being used for entertainment - and China leads the way with 97% of users indicating they use their notebooks for that purpose. Europe comes next with 83%, and North Americans trail with 76%. Not surprisingly, you see people living in cultures which higher population density using their computers more for entertainment - the laptop likely replacing the TV in many homes as the primary source of entertainment. AMD has created a platform they believe will serve the needs of this market (oh yeah, and those business/enterprise types as well).

The AMD Turion X2 Ultra processor is at the centre of this platform, featuring independent dynamic core technology, AMD CoolCore technology, Power Optimized HyperTransprt 3.0, and a mobile optimized memory controller. All are technologies optimized for long battery life - that's what the slide tells me at least. The AMD 7-series chipsets (780G and SB700) bring other powerful offerings to the table: DirectX 10 support, PCIe 2nd generation speeds, enhanced ATI Avivo HD Block (MPEG2, H.264, and VC1 playback), ATI Hybrid Graphics, lower power/lower noise levels, HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort support. The ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU, which I assume is at the core of those chipsets (don't quote me on that!) offer 2.9 times the performance of the GPU used by Intel in their Santa Rosa platform. Intel's well-known for their underpowered integrated GPU performance, so I don't find that difference hard to believe. Read more...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

31 Days of the Dragon: Other Contests Now Running

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 11:00 AM

Our contest is still going strong, but remember there are other contests out there that you should be entering if you want to maximize your chances of winning the HP HDX9200 (Dragon). The full list of sites is at the official 31 Days of the Dragon site, but here's a list of the sites that currently have contests running:
That's it for now - I hope everyone has fun with the contests! If anyone's curious, our contest will be closing around 10 PM (GMT -7) on the 17th. I'll be attempting to pick the winner that night - wish me luck. ;-)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dell Offers Sub-$1K Blu-ray Laptop

Posted by Suhit Gupta in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 AM

"Dell, which has more than a little clout in the PC market, on Friday announced that consumers can now spend less than $1,000 to get a Blu-ray-equipped laptop. More specifically, the Round Rock, Texas, company said that it's offering a Blu-ray disc playback option with its Inspiron 1525 laptops starting at $879. There's also an option for a Blu-ray burner drive, but Dell doesn't seem to be ready to disclose that price just yet. The Inspiron 1525 made its debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, where CNET Reviews offered up an early assessment: "Hands on with the Dell Inspiron 1525." The laptop features a 15-inch screen and an HDMI port for connecting to high-resolution displays and HDTVs."

Less than a month after the demise of HD-DVD, Dell makes this move. It would be very interesting to see what the blu-ray burner drive price is too. But watch out - blu-ray technology can really drain the battery life of this laptop.

Tags: laptop, blu-ray

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