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All posts tagged "laptops"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Courier is More Than Just a Font

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

"Courier is a real device, and we've heard that it's in the "late prototype" stage of development. It's not a tablet, it's a booklet. The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre."

Pretty neat, I'm a fan of dual screens on the desktop, but I'd be curious to see how well they'd work on a portable. One concern I have with the current design is whether you can fold the second screen all the way back and use it as a single screen device that could be held with one hand. The current iteration makes it appear you'd need a desk or lap to be able to hold and interface with it simultaneously.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eurocom's D900F Panther For Serious Workers Only

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM,2354.html

"Designed to serve as either a portable replacement for a mid-range graphics workstation or a high-end game machine, the D900F Panther features Intel’s fastest Core i7 Extreme desktop processors, RAID support for up to four drives and, purportedly, the user’s choice of Nvidia’s latest GeForce or Quadro graphics."

It was only a matter of time before Core i7 CPUs worked their way into laptops. While Eurocom's attempt uses the older Core i7-965 Extreme CPU, it still represents the top of the line kind of laptop where one favours horsepower over weight, size or portability. Not surprisingly, the Panther is a 17" laptop, which seems to be the minimum size for mobile workstations and desktop replacements. Yes, it is capable of gaming, but the monster seems designed more for workstation performance so for those of you wanting to process video or other CPU/GPGPU intensive tasks, this is the laptop to go for. I've got a 17" heavyweight myself, and while it does not compare to the portability of netbooks, when you need to get a real amount of work done, nothing compares. For details, check out Tom's review.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Laptops get the Core i7 Treatment

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"When it arrived on the desktop scene, Intel’s Core i7 levelled the opposition. With enough power to embarrass Intel’s own Core 2 architecture, not to mention AMD’s efforts, and coming at a cost that would make even a banker weep, Core i7 set the benchmark and set it high. Now it’s set to repeat the trick in the laptop market, and we’ve got our hands on a sample boasting the mid-range quad-core 1.73GHz i7-820QM."

With the recent announcement of the updated Core i7 CPUs, Intel is looking to bringing the number crunching wonder to the laptop world. PC Pro has a peek at what we can expect from laptops equipped with the Core i7 hotness and what extras Intel has tossed into the mix that could see better battery life, well, for performance oriented laptops at least. TurboBoost definitely looks interesting, and I can see many applications where it could help things along, such as encoding videos, file compression and the like. Still, I do not see Core i7 laptops being available for anyone but the mid to upper range laptops for a while, especially with cost concerns and a draw of 74 watts. Of course, wait long enough, and we will eventually see netbooks offering this kind of number crunching muscle.

Nvidia's Tegra Based Netbook

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:00 AM

""This is what we think a netbook should be," says Bill Henry. As the general manager of Nvidia's Mobile Internet Products (hint: driven by the Tegra chip), he's supposed to say stuff like that. So I roll my eyes a little. But after seeing a late prototype that's nearly ready for market and getting a little hands-on time with the Mobinnova N910, I'm inclined to agree."

What's not to like. Streaming HD...Check. Small size and weight...Check. Great battery life...Check. Low price...check. Plus, with the battery and rear ports are articulated, which is a new twist, that actually appears useful. That just leaves the question as to whether the release model will be as cool.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gaming on a Netbook? Surely You Jest!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM

"I don’t spend a whole lot of time playing games, but I do enjoy playing them. You can’t even get graphics-intensive games to load on most netbooks, but they’re playable on the Mini 311. In this video you can see that Call of Duty 4 plays smoothly on low settings."

The HP Mini 311, though not available yet, is one of the first netbooks that will be released using the Nvidia ION chipset. One of the big draws about ION, aside from potentially offering 1080p video playback, is the 9400M class GPU. While it will not be able to run games with the highest quality settings, it is way faster than the antiquated GMA950 that comes with most netbooks. Way faster. I mean, 3D games no longer look like someone using a slide projector. even has a video demonstrating Call of Duty 4 to give you a real world example of what you can expect. I doubt that any hardcore gamer would settle for what the HP Mini 311 provides as their primary rig, but being able to start up the occasional game without having to cart around a behemoth is very attractive. At an estimated starting price of $399, there is little reason to pick from the older generation netbooks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Netbooks and Notebooks, Say Hello to the NetNote

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 06:30 AM

"These NetNote systems are “turnkey” in the sense that manufacturers can choose between ultra low-voltage VIA C7-M processors or VIA’s newer Nano processors, then add up to 2GB of RAM, mobile broadband chips, and Windows or Linux operating systems."

Just when you thought that netbooks were becoming notebooks, Via has decided to make the market simple and easy to understand by introducing the NetNote platform! Via isn't actually selling any NetNotes themselves, but providing a new platform that other manufacturers or brands can sell. The specifications are hardly earth-shaking, though Via claims the ability to offer 1080p output and idling at 2.3 watts of power. The NetNote can also supposedly work as an mp3 player without booting the system (as if someone would love to cart around a netbook sized mp3 player) and an fm transmitter. What it comes down to though is that Via just wants a piece of the netbook pie. With ION and Pine Trail imminent, it looks like we will all at least have a choice we can gladly look over.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

AMD Rekindles Notebook War

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 AM

"San Francisco, Calif. AMD has introduced a "mainstream" notebook platform designed to provide improved performance for multimedia applications and 3D gaming. Tigris - which has already been adopted by 8 OEMs - supports full 1080p HD playback and offers up to 25 percent longer battery life (55+ minutes) than previous AMD mobile platforms."

Notebooks have been dominating the sales charts for quite a while now, and Intel, with its Core 2 line, has been sitting nicely at the top of the chart. AMD first struck at Intel in the netbook segment with its ION platform, and it looks like they are now ready to compete on bigger laptops. Tigris and Condo appear to offer some impressive boosts over Intel in both performance and battery life. The charts they provide are pretty, but the past few years, I've seen AMD's mobile line run pretty hot and with poor battery life. I really hope they have come up with a real contender(s) here but I will wait until the reviews come out to believe all their claims.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lean, Mean, Netbook Friendly Windows 7

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

"Like many of you I loaded Windows 7 on my netbook and it performed just OK. It provided a huge performance improvement over Windows Vista but was not as snappy as I wanted. The key to speeding up Windows 7 on a netbook with limited resources is to turn off and disable features that you don’t need. After all, it’s a netbook and there are many Windows components that will never be used. Additionally, disabling un-needed components will extend your battery life since fewer processes will be using the CPU running in the background."

There are some great tips in this article for optimizing Windows 7 for use on a netbook. If you are already running Windows 7, give it a shot. If not, bookmark this site for once you get ready to upgrade.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nokia Wants a Piece of the Netbook Pie

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"At first glance, the Booklet 3G looks like your typical netbook with an Intel Atom processor. But the machine has a few tricks up its sleeve. First, it packs an HSPA 3G modem in addition to WiFi and Bluetooth. Nokia claims that it gets up to 12 hours of battery life. And the Booklet 3G also includes an HDMI output and a 10 inch, “HD ready” display."

Nokia has announced their take the the netbook, the Booklet 3G. Most of the specifications seem pretty similar to most other netbooks, with a 10 inch display, WiFi, Bluetooth and Atom CPU. There are some notable boosts like a built in 3G modem, 12 hours of battery life and its claim of an "HD Ready" display. Still, rumours are flying around that they intend on pricing it at $799 without a contract, which definitely sets this netbook apart. Being Nokia, its likely that the great push will come from mobile operators, however, at the rumoured price, I'm not sure why I would favour the Booklet 3G over a different netbook with a 3G USB stick, and the 3G stick would even let me use my 3G data plan on other laptops as needed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Best Buy Serving the Student Market

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

"Best Buy asked college students what they wanted in a laptop computer, and then partnered with leading PC manufacturers HP, Toshiba, Dell & Sony to create the Next ClassTM line of personal laptop computers - available exclusively at Best Buy."

I'm not sure if they quite hit their objectives in all the areas. One of the desired features was long battery life. The best of these offerings succeeds at 6 hours, but the worst is at 3 hours. But, this is good as a one stop purchase that has everything most students will need already on and ready to go. However, I think if you are going to college, you should know how to do things like install software without having your hand held.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dell Does Big Screen at a Tiny Price

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

"Dell's just added a 17.3-inch option to its Inspiron lineup. The Inspiron 17 -- which has a backlit 16:9 aspect ratio, 1,600 x 900 resolution LCD -- will boast options for Intel Pentium Dual Core as well as Core 2 Duo processors, up to 3GB of RAM, an up to 320GB SATA hard drive, and an up to 9-cell battery (the base model comes with a 4-cell)."

A laptop like this appeals to a lot of users. With laptop prices a lot closer to desktop prices than in years past, many users are buying laptops simply to have a machine that does not take up a lot of space, is easy to move around, and easy to set up. For those, a laptop with a big screen and a full keyboard at a low price (like this one, starting at $499) is an easy choice. Even the base model will more than cover the needs of most users and the rather small standard battery is not much of an issue, since it probably won't spend much time far away from a power outlet anyway.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hands-On With The Lenovo IdeaPad S12 with NVIDIA ION

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

"Lenovo’s officially introduced the first notebook to feature NVIDIA ION graphics. This new graphics platform offers outstanding graphics performance without sacrificing too much battery life. The IdeaPad S12 will be available in the U.S. soon for $449. I got a chance to play with a pre-production IdeaPad S12 and shot a quick video."

To answer your major question, yes it appears to be able to handle high-def content without an issue. There is also a demo of them playing Call of Duty 4. Total price is expected to be around $450 US. In the video they also state that the Ion chip adds about $50 to the total price of a netbook.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stylish Netbook from Samsung

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home News" @ 04:30 PM

"For the past several months Samsung has led the netbook parade in terms of quality, creating solidly built systems that boast long battery life. With the new N310, the company is trying to establish itself as the leader when it comes to style, too. At $479, the N310 is one of the most unique and chic 10-inch netbooks on the market, and its island keyboard is a pleasure to type on. However, end users will have to be willing to pay a premium for a netbook that has the same specs as the competition (an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM and Windows XP) and considerably less battery life than more affordable systems."

I haven't gone down the netbook path, yet, but it's turning into a very interesting category. One of the latest from Samsung gets a hands-on review over at As with other product categories, it seems that style comes for a premium in netbooks, too.

Tags: hardware, laptops

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Asus Netbook and Laptops

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

"We've got the skinny on ASUS's latest North American foray, with the Eee PC 1008HA Seashell, UX50 and U80V "thin and light" all vying for your slice of the stimulus this summer. The quite familiar (by now) 1008HA will be retailing for $429, featuring 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, a new thin form factor and six hours of battery (thanks to the Super Hybrid Engine) to set it slightly apart from the netbook competition."

If Apple ever came out with a traditional netbook, I'd expect it to look a lot like this. If you like the whole thin and light thing, but want more of a traditional laptop, check out the U80V at $899 or the UX50 for $1,199.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Top 10 Netbook Questions I Want to Answer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 PM

OK people, here's the deal: I spent an ungodly amount of time answering questions posted by users on YouTube, and answering the same basic questions over and over is making me go slowly insane. It's also a waste of my time and I need to stop doing it. I want to shoot a video that will address some of the basic questions that people ask over and over again so I can reference the video. Here's the list of questions I have so far:

  1. Why do netbooks ship with Windows XP?
  2. Where's the DVD drive?
  3. Why get an underpowered netbook when a full-sized notebook is about the same price?
  4. How much does that netbook cost?
  5. Where can I buy it?
  6. Can I load Word/Photoshop/Excel/whatever on this?
  7. Can I play Flash-based browser games on this?
  8. Can I play World of Warcraft/Call of Duty/whatever on this?
  9. Can I record/upload YouTube videos? Can I watch YouTube HD videos?
  10. What's the best netbook? Should I buy this netbook?

If you're reading this site, you're more advanced than the types of people who post questions like this, but am I missing anything obvious in that list? Anything I should add or change? Thanks for your input!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is the End of the Traditional Desktop Near?

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

"Netbooks are forecast to comprise one-fifth of the 133 million notebooks to be shipped in 2009, and the more than 3.5 million all-in-one desktops shipped in 2008 is expected to double by 2010, according to market research firm DisplaySearch. While all-in-ones are still a small part of the desktop market, it's one of the only desktop form factors that's actually growing."

Say it ain't so! While I am certain that the desktop PC will eventually meet its demise, I think we're still quite a few years away from not being able to find it in stores. Notebooks, netbooks, all-in-ones all exist based on the premise of a computer being something like an appliance, at least when it comes to hardware. It's only been in the past few years that this has really made sense with processor speeds leveling off, and as of this year, low cost, decently performing graphics are available. But desktop PCs still have the edge in expandability, and more importantly, value. For the same cost of a 10" netbook, a 15.4" laptop or a 19" all-in-one, you can get a much more powerful desktop PC and it is much easier to add another hard drive, multiple tv tuner cards or even if you want to leverage what stuff you already have like an LCD monitor or that keyboard you really like, the price goes down even more. Eventually, things will probably become much more of a server/client setup, even for home or the cloud, but until then, those careful to watch their pennies may be ignoring a really viable option if you don't consder a desktop PC.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Asus Eee PC 1000HE is a Great Value

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"I’ve previously called the Asus 1000HE netbook one of the best values in the netbook market in terms of bang per buck but I had to try it out myself to see if it actually lives up to my expectations. I’ve now had the opportunity to live with the Asus 1000HE for about a month and I’ve performed a good deal of testing on it to see how it performs in common tasks that one would expect a netbook to perform. For a typical street price of $375 to $399, the Asus 1000HE netbook simply can’t be beat in terms of value. It is one of the best netbooks on the market at any price. The netbook is a bit bulky compared to other 8.9″ netbooks with 3-cell batteries but you don’t need to carry your charger with you and the bigger size screen and track pad is a welcome change in netbook design. You can’t put it in a large coat pocket like the Sony Vaio P but the Vaio costs $900+ and has horrible battery life and a tiny display. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced 10″ netbook with a great looking non-glare display and all-day battery life, the 1000HE is for you."

We've got the 1000HA which is the slightly slower predecessor to this model. It is my wife's primary machine and she has been very happy with it. If you hate the glare from the glossy screens on most netbooks, you'll be very pleased with this model.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scoping Out the 11.6 Inch Acer Aspire

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 AM

"At less than an inch thick, it’s significantly thinner than the current 10-inch Aspire One, which is 1.3 inches thick. Even with what appears to be a six-cell battery, it’s super thin. Editor-in Chief Mark Spoonauer says it’s the “sleekest he’s ever seen.” To boot, the glossy black stylings give it a classy, understated look. In addition to the slimness, the thing that struck us most was the 11.6-inch display, a screen size we’re not used to seeing. Aside from being bright, we were impressed with the LCD panel’s 1366 x 768 resolution, the first time we’ve seen that resolution on a netbook."

Pretty excited about the screen resolution on this one. The extra screen resolution will be especially noticable to those who use a lot of applications that are taller than 600 pixels.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How Dell Adamo Designers Hid The Labels

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:30 AM

"The Adamo is clean. Unlike almost every other Windows laptop you can buy, it has no "Designed for Windows" or "Intel Inside" stickers glued to the palm rest. Turn it over, and instead of a jigsaw puzzle of FCC approval stickers, serial number tags, and Microsoft certifications, there's a metal builder's plate with Dell, Intel, and Microsoft logos subtly printed on it. There's even a special magnetic cover hiding a required licensing sticker."

In pretty much every laptop review/video I do, I complain about the labels. To me, they ruin the design aesthetic of the laptop. They add zero value to the user - it's not like they're going to forget they're running Windows Vista - and are usually difficult to remove. The laptop OEMs need to push back - hard - on Microsoft and Intel the way Dell has done with the Adamo. I don't mind so much if the labels are on the bottom of the laptop, but I can see why Dell wanted to keep the bottom of the Adamo clean. I'd like to see more of this from OEMs, all the way down the line.

Monday, March 23, 2009 Gets Some Hands-On With the Dell Adamo

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:40 PM

"I got my hands on Dell's Adamo, which is world's thinnest notebook and the most stylish Dell I've ever seen. It is a beautiful piece of machinery and something I'd like to own. Adamo is Dell's new luxury label and while it's made by Dell, it has nothing in common with other notebooks sold by the company."

My pal Xavier over at had a bit of hands-on time with the new Dell Adamo (being the BSG fan that I am, I keep wanting to call it the "Adama", which it sounds like Xavier does) and it's certainly something brand new from Dell: a luxury computer. Starting at $1999 USD and going all the way up to $3000 USD, it's certainly the most "cost be damned" laptop that Dell has ever released. In the video Xavier goes through the unboxing, and Dell has certainly done some interesting things with the design, the accessories, and even the packaging. Read more...

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