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All posts tagged "laptops"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Protecting the Nearly Priceless: The SkoobaWrap

Posted by Jeff Deneen in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

Every once in a while I slap my forehead and say, "I wish I had thought of that." Such is the case with the SkoobaWrap, a simple, useful product. Skooba Design provided me with a sample to review. You can read the review, but until you get to play with it, you can't really appreciate its usefulness. It's a simple square of material, bright green and soft with Velcro fabric hooks on the corners inside, and basic black outside with loop fabric for the hooks to attach. That is the real genius in its design. By simply folding it to conform to the object being carried and pressing down the Velcro hooks in the corner, you can protect your gadget from the incidental jolts of travel. Read more...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Viliv S10 Blade Convertible Review On UMPCPortal

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Viliv are slowly making quite a name for themselves in the mobile computing market. We've seen 3 releases and 3 excellent products from them in the S5, X70 and S7 (information). Next on the list is the Viliv S10 Blade, a very small and lightweight netbook with a convertible multitouch screen, a claimed 10hr battery life and, in the device we're testing here, a fast, solid state disk and Windows Home Premium. The specifications look good but will Viliv be able to compete against a huge number of successful netbooks and similar ‘netvertible' competitors? In our full review we dig deep into the device to find out."

Viliv are a Korean company who are making a good name for themselve having released a number of popular touch screen Mobile Internet Devices such as the S5 and the X70, which I own and use regularly. They have now released their first convertible netbook the S10 and UMPCPortal have put up a very indepth review of it. Given Viliv's success so far in the MID touchscreen market I would expect this to be a great device based on their experience. Take a read of the review and see how it performed. Would this be something you would be interested in?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seagate's BlackArmor PS 110 Portable USB 3.0 Drive

Posted by Jeff Deneen in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Product Category: Portable Storage Device
Manufacturer: Seagate
Where to Buy: Seagate; newegg.
Price: $179.99
System Requirements: ExpressCard/34 USB 3.0 card; Power Dongle; USB Cable


  • Form Factor;
  • Back-up software included;
  • USB 3.0 Speed;
  • Capacity.


  • Until you have USB 3.0 in your laptop, you have to use an ExpressCard/34 card.

Summary: This is one of the first USB 3.0 Portable Drives to hit the market. Having half a terabyte in your hands is great, especially if you are a road warrior. The Seagate BlackArmor drive delivers speed, capacity, and portability in a solid, user friendly, package that provides for a complete system recovery in the palm of your hand or enough video for a weeks' worth of trade show video demos. It is a valuable addition to any traveler.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Super-slim X360 from MSI

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"The X360, the latest step in the evolution of MSI's beautiful X-Slim series of notebooks, comes with the Intel Arrandale ULV processor to provide outstanding performance with a longer-lasting, more environmentally friendly battery. The X360 comes with the Intel Core i5 processor with Intel Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading technology. The Intel HM55 chipset gives the X360 high-quality audio/video performance and 9 hours of ultra-long battery life."

Pretty nice looking. The slim profile is partially due to the lack of an optical drive, which honestly, the rise of the netbook has helped a lot of users realize they don't need anyway. So if you've looked at netbooks, but found the screen size and horsepower just a little lacking, this looks like a nice middle of the road for you. Price and availability date still TBD.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vivienne Tam Digital Clutch is Refreshed

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The new HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam Edition, also known as the “Butterfly Lovers” Digital Clutch, will be available for sale on March 19th starting at $599 and if you can’t wait you can call and reserve yours today. In addition to looking good the new HP Mini 210 include s2GB of Ram, an Instant On OS, HP Quicksync to keep important files synced up between your netbook and main computer as well as HP MediaStream for streaming files on the go. Oh yes, and the ability to use the webcam as a “compact mirror” that’s just one click away."

Another pretty stylish laptop for the ladies. When these came out, I had no idea who Vivienne Tam was, but I asked my wife and she did, which I guess is the point. I'd like to see them develop something similar for the male aesthetic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Engadget Reviews the HP Mini 210 HD

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"But what about the $425 HD model? As we concluded with the Dell Mini 10, spending the extra money for the Broadcom is pretty hit or miss at the moment. Yes, Flash 10.1 Beta 3 allows for better Flash and Flash HD playback, but right now it's flaky at best. Whether that's worth the extra cash is up to you, but if you're looking for a netbook that can undoubtedly stream HD Flash content out of the box you're best looking at an NVIDIA Ion-powered system like the HP Mini 311, or better yet waiting for an Ion 2 system that uses NVIDIA's new Optimus technology and promises better battery life than the first generation."

If you must have HD on your netbook, looks like you will have to wait a bit longer. The Broadcom chip brings some improvements, but it is still not the user experience those that are demanding HD are expecting. I'm curious how many users are demanding HD though? I mean sure, it is nice to have, but a netbook is not my primary entertainment device.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Public Schools are Watching You. They See Your Every Move.

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"The lawsuit claims that the school district used a webcam shot as evidence of mysterious "improper behavior" at home on the part of the student. The high school's vice president confirmed to the parents that the school district can remotely activate webcams to spy on students."

Issues about privacy on the Internet have been making the rounds again. There is the site, which scrapes Twitter posts to find out who is not at home, and now there is news of how some school provided laptops have spyware installed, allowing officials to see what their students are doing through the laptop's webcam. At the moment, I think these are just accusations and there is no conclusive proof outside of an ambiguous statement by the school president. While I know that the technology exists for schools to do this, there are a wealth of reasons why doing so could open them up to a lot bucket truck load googolplex of litigation. Especially if they caught one of their students changing; Remember, these are minors. There is the flip side, being to what extent should publicly subsidized equipment be monitored? Do schools have the right to make sure their hardware is being treated properly and not used to surf questionable content? Would we be seeing the same brouhaha if all they monitored was Internet traffic? Is that any different than a parent monitoring their children through web tracking software?

HP's Android Powered Netbook

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"Yesterday at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, HP announced a new Android-powered netbook computer, the Compaq Airlife 100. The Airlife 100 runs the Android 1.6 operating system and sports a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, which allows it to run both quickly and efficiently for a full day of always-on operation."

Not sure if we will see this stateside, but I'm not sure that I care if we did. I guess these would have some market it if they were in the $100 to $200 range, but too much more than that and you can get a full OS.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

GScreen Increase The Spacebook to 17" From 15"

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

"Last time we saw the GScreen dualscreen Spacebook laptop it was sporting two 15.4-inch screens and promising to be ready by the end of 2009. Obviously the small Alaska-based company missed that cut off, but we're told there's a reason -- and it's an interesting one at that. Apparently the two 15-inch displays didn't provide enough screen real estate, and the company has now opted to use two 17.3-inch screens."

While the idea of the dual screen laptop is great in theory, I really don't think it looks good in practice. To start with, this laptop looks huge in the pictures and doesn't really look too portable. I'm not even sure that having two screens in front of you in a straight line would be easy to use and view. I have two monitors at work and I find I have to angle them in slightly to make them easier to see, or have one in front and one angled to the side. Having said that, there is no doubt that two screens definitely improves my productivity. If you were in the market for a laptop, would this be something you would be looking for?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Classmate PC Convertible Touchscreen Netbook

Posted by Chris Sacksteder in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM


Product Category: Netbook/Tablet PC
Manufacturer: Intel
Where to Buy: Amazon Affiliate Store
Price: $449-$507 USD
Specifications: Intel Atom 1.6Ghz processor, 1GB memory, 60GB disk, 8.9" touch screen. Details below.

  • Good price for a touch-screen convertible tablet;
  • Sturdy and well built to take some rough handling by children or adults;
  • Easy to use;
  • Runs Windows 7, though not an option from all resellers as of this writing.


  • Limited support from resellers, none from Intel;
  • Keyboard may be too small for touch-typists;
  • Processor too slow for built-in web cam to be useful;
  • Toy-like appearance may be unacceptable to adults.

Summary: The Classmate Convertible PC is a small touch-screen tablet PC built by Intel (see their cool promo video) and re-branded and sold by a number of different retailers under various names (Schoolmate Convertible, M&A Companion Touch, CTL 2Go Convertible Classmate). Its toy-like appearance is designed to be attractive to children, but its ruggedized construction could make it useful for adults as well. The fairly low powered Atom processor is typical for this size of netbook and adequate for most functions. The touch screen works well for applications a child might use and the pen input with Windows 7 is very usable. Touch typists may find the small keyboard difficult to get used to.


Friday, February 5, 2010

MSI Wind U135 Won't Blow You Away

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The MSI Wind U135 fell short compared to the competition in terms of software support and battery life. Out of the box the U135 was missing any sort of touchpad software--including on the restore partition--greatly reducing the features. We later found the drivers included on the MSI support website, which brought multi-touch options, as well as simple features like scrolling. Another huge downside to this particular netbook is the battery life, having half the battery life of the ASUS Eee PC 1005PE with the same hardware and only a slightly larger battery. This massive difference in battery life comes from the increased power consumption: The U135 draws almost 8 watts at idle and the 1005PE uses less than 5 watts. Overall the MSI Wind U135 lacked a great deal of polish, but with improvements in power consumption and software out of the box, it would be a great little netbook."

Kind of shocking that the battery performance is so poor compared to a relatively similar machine. Hopefully this is something they can fix rather quickly or else I can't imagine these will sell too well.5

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fujitsu LifeBook UH900 Now Available

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"Unlike its higher priced Japanese counterpart, the LOOX U/G90, the 5.6" multitouch-screened UH900 is available in just a single configuration that includes a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, 2GB of RAM, 62GB SSD, Windows 7 Home Premium, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Carrying an MSRP of $999, the 1.1-pound computer is currently being offered as part of a special that gets buyers $150 off with a coupon code and mail-in rebate, free shipping, and either a 160GB Edge DiskGo portable hard drive or a Lexmark X2670 all-in-one printer."

I like the form factor, but I'd like to see a larger screen in the same device. Also, those USB ports on the front seem like they would get in the way of trying to type. Fix that, and make it convert into a tablet at the same price point, and you'd have a total winner. Otherwise, as cool as it is most consumers will select a slightly larger netbook at less than half the price.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Alienware Offers Budget Gaming?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

"Whoa, Nelly! We learned back at CES that Alienware's pretty-much-a-netbook would launch in the Spring for less than a grand, but now we know precisely what the base price will be: $799. "

I have to say I am shocked by the prices I've been seeing coming out lately. First, it was the iPad starting at $499, and now Alienware will allegedly offer their lilliputian gaming notebook starting at $799. Maybe this is their idea of a stimulus package. Granted, for a 11" notebook, the price is not that phenomenal, but price makes it seem like Alienware is considering trying out the sales volume method of making profits, over charging a premium for their brand. I do have to wonder what the base model will provide, and whether it will be competitive against other quasi-gaming ultra-light laptops like the ASUS UL30VT, but more details should be coming within the next few weeks. I am already saving up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sony VAIO Z Comes To Europe In March

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

"Announced at CES with a "late Spring" availability, we just got word that the Core i7-620M pumpin' VAIO Z series from Sony will be hitting Europe in late March. The Z's biggest claim to fame is its ultra-fast Quad SSD, a rather unique Sony innovation that writes data in parallel to four SSDs (up to 256GB total capacity in RAID 0) at speeds up to 6.2x faster than typical 5400 rpm laptop hard disks."

As well as the unique Quad SSD drive, the new VAIO Z series laptop will have a hybrid graphics solution allowing you to switch between an Nvidia GeForce GT 300M, and a Intel HD graphics chip depending whether you need power for graphic intensive gaming and photoshop work, or just plain web surfing type of usage. It apparently can do this automatically on the fly which will be interesting to see, especially if it helps prolong battery life. However, as with all Sony laptop products, this will probably come at a premium price to match. I look forward to the first reviews of this when it is released in March.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Q4 2009 Windows PC Sales Explode

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

"While Mac sales in the U.S. were up 31 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, Apple was unable to keep pace with exploding sales of cheap Windows PCs, and fell to the No. 5 spot, research firm IDC said Wednesday. Rival analysts at Gartner, meanwhile, pegged Apple's year-over-year growth at 23 percent, and also put it in fifth place, behind Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer and Toshiba. Apple's new position is down one from the same quarter in 2008."

Unit sales for HP were up 45%, and unit sales for Toshiba were up 71%. Driving all the growth? Low-cost netbook and notebooks - a realm where Apple doesn't exist today. A big factor was certainly Windows 7 - many people I knew were waiting for Windows 7 computers to ship because they "heard Vista was bad". True or not, the perception was there, and Windows 7 couldn't come soon enough. Now that it's here, people are snapping up affordable computers.

Tags: hp, dell, laptops, netbooks

Shuttle Wants To Sell You A Notebook, Piecemeal

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

"In fact, if this works," the Shuttle rep continued, "it could spark a revolution in laptop upgradability. You drop $2000 on a high-end laptop, and it doesn't matter, because in a year the new laptop platform comes out, and you take it to a shop to upgrade for a few hundred bucks."

Desktops have always held an advantage over laptops owing to their modular design. Need a better graphics card? No problem! Want more internal storage? Here you go! Laptops, notebooks, netbooks, whatever you want to call them, have largely been computers that you leave as is. Sure, there have been some modest attempts at making them upgradable, like being able to swap the CPU, hard drive, or upgrade the memory, but Shuttle appears to be taking the idea to the extreme. In some ways, I like the idea, as it will let you do incremental upgrades on your laptop, and their design appears to be not too bulky, at least compared to other largish notebooks. But of course, there is a but! Over time, I have found that because of the infrastructure change that seems to happen every couple of years, I tend to buy new computers, instead of upgrade my existing one. For example, switching from a Core 2 Duo system to a Core i7 would also require a new CPU, memory and motherboard. If I go that far, I might as well get a new baby!

Engadget Reviews The Acer Aspire One 532h

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

"Acer's maintained a steady lead in the race to sell as many netbooks as possible in the past year. That's largely because the Taiwanese manufacturer figured out early that basic netbooks at lower prices would fly off shelves. And the new Aspire One 532h doesn't mess with that formula: the 10.1-inch netbook packs a new Intel Atom N450 processor, 1GB of RAM, Windows 7 Starter, 160GB hard drive and a six-cell battery all for $299. Yeah, we said $299."

If you haven't already got a netbook, and you are looking for one, then you might be considering the Acer Aspire One 532h. At a price of $299 it's considerably cheaper than it's equally specced rivals, but at what cost to performance and build quality? If it's as good as the original Acer Aspire One, then you can bet that Acer have a winner on their hands.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AMD Offers Laptop Triple Threat

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

"AMD's offering would be the first triple-core processors available for laptops. AMD has been offering triple-core processors for desktops and offers only dual-core chips for laptops. Intel offers dual-core and quad-core chips for its laptops and desktops."

Upon hearing that AMD wants to give their mobile CPU offerings the triple core treatment, I had to wonder what the benefit would be. I have read a lot of reports showing that triple and quad core systems do not tend to benefit the consumer. However, reading the claims by AMD, their Danube based triple-core mobile goodness will also increase battery life, so I figure, why not? Much like how I believe that NVidia's ION platform is forward thinking in raising the bar for netbooks, the Danube based CPUs should raise the bar on what laptops offer, especially if it increases battery life. To be honest, I would be fine even if it did not help battery life. Advances in how we use computers is still dependant on having more and more horsepower to drive our applications. Sure, this is not quite as relevant as say, when CPUs were still clocked below 1Ghz, but knowing that consumers have plenty of oomph gives developers more options and frees them to use their imagination.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alienware M11X Will Make Your Current Netbook Cry and Run Home to Mama!

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

Details are sparse right now, but Alienware intends this to be the netbook you can game on. So it will probably also do a pretty good job of supporting other resource intensive applications. While the screen is probably too small for most people to game on full time, this could provide just the right balance for a lot of users, powerful enough for most gamers and small enough to be easily portable, plus, with a rumored price of less than a grand, won't break the bank.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lenovo Ideapad U1 Hybrid Out In June?

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

"Lenovo's IdeaPad U1 is quite the clever combination of multi-touch tablet and laptop. When you ditch everything but the screen for the slate-like tablet section, the device is to switch processors and operating systems. Oh, and it's gorgeous, too."

I absolutely love the idea of this possible laptop from Lenovo. While the screen is mounted in the body it has the power of a Core 2 Duo running Windows 7 via the base, and when you disconnect the screen to use it as a tablet, it switches to using a lower power Arm Snapdragon processor running Linux behind the screen. It will be interesting to see if this actually does come out in June as Gizmodo are suggesting, but if it does, then this is one I might just have my eye on. There are more pictures and hardware specs over at Gizmodo.

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