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All posts tagged "netbook"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HP Goes Professional with the Mini 5101

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:07 AM

"HP today unveiled its top-of-the-line Mini PC for on-the-go professionals who demand a stylish, yet durable fully functional companion PC. The HP Mini 5101 features a sturdy, lightweight anodized aluminum display enclosure with a black, brushed finish. Complementing the aluminum is the use of magnesium alloy in the lower case of the Mini frame. Soft-touch paint on the base and palm rest further advance the PC's look and feel. This combination of materials, an industry first in the netbook category, not only delivers an eye-catching design, but also improves durability."

I thought that the HP Mini 2140 was HP's "professional" netbook? Guess not. The HP Mini 5140, being released in July, starts at $449 and features a completely different look and feel from previous "Mini" branded HP netbooks. The keyboard looks like the Macbook keyboard, with clearly seperated keys. The trackpad features buttons on the bottom, not the left and right, and this is the first netbook I've heard of to feature a 7200 RPM hard drive. That should give it some snap - and the optional 1366 x 768 resolution will make it better than your average netbook at accessing browser-based content. Engadget has some further details and some hands-on photos worth checking out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Toshiba Makes a Flashy, If Late, Entrance to Netbook Game

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

"At first glance, it would seem that there’s very little a manufacturer can do these days to make its 10-inch netbook stand out from the hordes of others on the market. Yet, despite being more than a year late to the game in North America, Toshiba’s mini NB205 does just that. It has created a netbook that, while housing a standard Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, and Microsoft Windows XP Home, manages to break the mold. With a beautiful chassis, a spacious keyboard and touchpad, an exemplary 8.5 hours of battery life, and a competitive $399 price tag, Toshiba’s netbook rises above the competition."

That keyboard is pretty slick looking. Looks like something I'd expect on a Mac netbook. I think some of the other design features are love it or hate it. While I like the idea of a textured lid, I think they could have gotten a little more creative than essentially a corduroy pattern.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Netbook Powered By AA Batteries Now On Sale

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

"The NohrTech Gecko Edubook is a cheap, somewhat modular netbook that runs on AA batteries. The netbook first hit our radar in early May, but the folks behind the project have posted some updated information, as well as a nice little surprise: You can order one today for $199 if you’re willing to pay for shipping from Thailand."

I have to admit that when I first heard about the Edubook, I was excited. AA batteries? What a great idea! Now I can slap in a fresh set of batteries anytime I'm low on a charge and keep on putting and AA batteries are available pretty much anywhere! Then the more I thought about it, the less excited I got. Realistically for me, I'm very rarely away from a power outlet for hours on end. I could see myself maybe finding the feature useful maybe once a year, and I've got a battery pack that has an AC outlet so even if I'm low on power, I have a backup. Also, carrying around an 8-pack of extra batteries could be as cumbersome as a regular extra battery pack. The real benefit I could see in a device like this would be when it comes time to replace the battery, it will be considerably cheaper and more assured. I do have doubts about how good the CPU is, but for the price, this does seem like a great device if you're into tinkering with your toys. Are you willing to try it out? At $199, I am sure it would be a fun YouDay Present to yourself.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Does Netbook = Low Cost Small Notebook PC?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"The marketing geniuses in Redmond are at it again. From the folks who brought us "Zune," "Bing," and "MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search" comes a new name for the venerable netbook. Digitimes reports that Microsoft will refer to netbooks as "low cost small notebook PCs," according to Microsoft's Steven Guggenheimer. Try saying that ten times fast. Microsoft's rationale for the name-change? A netbook can do more than just get you online, so it should be called something else. There's no arguing that—some new netbooks hitting the market can even handle 1080p video, thanks to a bolstered graphics system."

At first I was thinking that this was simply a result of the pending Psion lawsuit, but then I recalled that the issue had been dropped and the term netbook was again fair game. The article comes up with a pretty simple reason for the more descriptive name - Windows 7. Microsoft does not want the everything in the netbook category to be eligible for the starter version of Windows 7, especially if they are capable of running a more expensive version of the OS. Regardless, I'm still calling them netbooks.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Modified HP Mini Uses Dockable Android Tablet

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

"It looks to have all started in an HP Mini 1000 that had been modified to use a 1.6GHz VIA C7 processor and for the tablet portion a 533MHz Samsung Arm core chip. Check the video below for a closer look at this amazing device!"

Developed by III, an organization in Taiwan, the Hybrid HP Mini is another stab at the modular concept for computing. At its heart is a modified HP Mini that runs Windows XP. However, you can remove the screen which becomes a tablet that runs Google Android. Try and recall the very old idea from IBM called the Metapad. This would be very similar. Do not forget the Celio Redfly, Palm Foleo and Windows tablets using the slate format. So far, the only one I know of that has been successful at all are the slate tablets, and only within certain vertical markets at that. Of course, the whole consumer market has changed, but the way in which this Hybrid has been put together just does not look practical to me. The idea of using two different operating systems could be a bit frustrating for some users. While I can see a benefit, since each OS is better suited to a particular physical format and size, I cannot see any real benefit of this over a two device configuration, that being a phone and a netbook. At least its an attempt at something new and different.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 - R.I.P.

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

"As some of you with sharp eyes noted over the weekend, today marks the official retirement of the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, our first entry into the netbook market. It was a successful product by any number of measures, including the unofficial "modders dream" device with owners adding GPS modules, installing different OS, upgrading memory, etc."

Since the 10v is mostly the same except for the slightly larger screen, it makes sense to discontinue the 9. I'm assuming the 10 has out sold the 9 by a considerable margin since being released, making this a pretty easy decision for Dell. Having netbooks with both 9 and 10 inch screens, I do think the 10 inch models are the best fit for a majority of users.

Monday, June 1, 2009

HP Mini 110 Reviewed

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 AM

"Assuming the 6-cell battery on the Mini 110 gets close to the 6-hour runtime claim, the Mini 110 will be one of the better netbook bargains at $369. We’re still not fans of the vertical touchpad buttons, but HP has made several welcome improvements while still delivering one of the best netbook keyboards around. It's up to you to decide if the Mini 110's slightly heavier and bulkier design--and less striking display--is worth having a VGA port, an extra USB port, and a cooler-running system."

Hot on the heels of the product announcement, LaptopMag has a review. It looks like they have eliminated a few of the fancier features (like edge-to-edge glass) but have developed an overall better product.

The Latest Netbooks from HP

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

"The new Mini models are small enough to slip into most purses, backpacks or briefcases, starting at 2.33 pounds and measuring just over 1-inch thick.(1) With a 10.1-inch diagonal standard or optional high-definition LED widescreen display, a keyboard that is 92 percent the size of a standard notebook PC keyboard, and a built-in webcam and microphone, the new HP Minis are designed for consumers and business professionals who surf the web, check email, listen to music and need access to friends, family, coworkers or information while on the go."

I really like the styling of the recent HP netbooks. This looks like a nice update to the HP Mini 1000. If you are interested I'd suggest waiting a month or two so the optional Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator will be available that should provide for 1080p video.

Friday, May 29, 2009

NEC Netbook Ready to Lighten Your Wallet With its Netbook

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

"If the Asus 'seashell' Eee PC 1008HA is still a bit too big and heavy for you, NEC's VersaPro UltraLite Type VS might be the netbook you're looking for. At 29.9mm to 15.8mm it's a slightly more pronounced 'wedge' than the 1008HA, albeit thinner at the pointy end, but at 725g it's light enough to give Asus a decent kick in the proverbial."

NEC has tossed out a featherlight netbook from their labs for those who are extremely conscious about carry-on weight. The features on the VersaPro UltraLite Type VS are mostly pretty pedestrian, though the higher resolution screen is appreciated. I'm convinced that the 64GB SSD is a true SSD and not a part SSD, part SHDC combo. I cannot see any other possible reason why they would charge ¥176,000 for it. That that price, you could buy three or four regular netbooks!

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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lenovo Unveils The Ideapad S12

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"We've seen NVIDIA's Ion placed within a nettop, a motherboard, and now (at long last), a laptop. Yep, the machine you're inevitably peering at above (Lenovo's S12) is both the company's first 12.1-inch netbook and the planet's first netbook with Ion baked in, and it's likely just a snippet of the kind of material we can expect to see at Computex."

I have recently been of two minds about netbooks, nettops and their kin. One the one hand, I'm thrilled to see ultra-portables sell for a friendly price point despite what it did to the resale value of my Fujitsu P1610. Then on the other hand, with the sheer popularity of netbooks, it has set the expected computing and graphics horsepower for a typical computer pretty low to the point of stagnation. While it does not boost the CPU itself, NVIDIA ION at least puts a respectable amount of graphics capabilities in a netbook. The Lenovo Ideapad S12 looks pretty nice and includes a lot of the regular netbook connectors. Notable is the 12 inch screen, which seems to push it out of netbook country as 10 inch screens seems to be the sweet spot. The attraction for me is that this is the first netbook to have the ION setup, which makes this a far more well rounded portable, and my netbook of choice. Anyone else disappointed with the graphics performance of netbooks?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dell's Inspiron Mini 10 Reviewed

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

This is an in-depth review video of the Dell Inspiron Mini 10. A couple of months ago I did the unboxing video, and after some heavy use here's my full review - it's the longest video review I've done to date. As configured from Dell Canada, it cost me $559 CAD in March 2009 - and now, in May 2009, the same configuration is available for $499 CAD. It goes to show you how often Dell changes the prices on their products, and how the only way to find out how much a Dell computer costs is to go to the Dell Web site yourself and configure one. This Mini 10 is cherry red in colour, uses the Intel Atom Z530 (1.6 Ghz) CPU, has 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, uses Windows XP Home SP3, has a 10.1 inch 16:9 aspect ratio screen (1024 x 576 resolution), a 160 GB 5400 RPM 2.5 inch hard drive, a 1.3 megapixel Webcam, a 802.11g WiFi card, and is powered by a 3-cell 24 WHr battery.

As I mention in the video, since I purchased the Dell Mini 10, Dell has come up with a new model: the Dell Mini 10v. The 10v is puzzling, because if I configure a 10v to match the specs of the 10 I configured above for $499 CAD, the 10v comes out at only $409 CAD - and the only difference is that the 10v uses the Intel Atom N270 rather than the Z530 that the regular Mini 10 uses. Both CPUs run at 1.6 Ghz, and both are on a 533mhz bus. The only difference I can see is that the N270 uses 2.5 watts of power under load while the Z530 uses 2.2 watts under load. In other words, not much of a difference from a consumer's point of view. Equally important is the fact that Dell is now offering a 1366 x 788 screen option, and a 6-cell battery - both choices that weren't available to me when I ordered mine. Read more...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dell Unveils the Inspiron 2100 Netbook for Education Markets

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:31 PM

"You may have seen some speculation that we would launch a new Dell netbook in time for the back-to-school season. Starting today, customers in the Americas and Europe can order the sub-three pound Latitude 2100 netbook at a starting price of $369. These netbooks will be available in Asia and the Pacific in the next few days. Latitude 2100 netbooks come in five fun primary colors: School Bus Gold, Chalkboard Black, Ball Field Green, Blue Ribbon and Schoolhouse Red. To see pictures of these colors and more, take a look at this Flickr set on our Dell page. We'll offer with several operating system options, including Ubuntu 8.10, Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic."

Dell was late to the netbook party, but I've got to hand it to them, they're making up for it in spades. They're rapidly adding new features to the Inspiron Mini 10 (HD screen resolution, 6-cell batteries, etc.) and now they've released a whole new produt to take netbooks into a new market: the Inspiron 2100. I really like the design of these netbooks - quite unique compared to many other netbooks out there today. Unfortunately they're only available for purchase in the US right now, and I think only if you're part of an educational institution. Beyond the unique design, they have options such as touch-screens and 250 GB hard drives that no other netbook offers today. After the break there's a YouTube video that shows the cart that teachers use to deploy the netbooks in the classroom - what I find extremely slick is that when students slide the netbooks back into the cart, it recharges them and IT professionals can then manage the netbooks all at once because they're also networked via the cart. Slick! Read more...

Talk About Overkill on the Branding...

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:10 PM

I was checking out a review of a new Samsung netbook, the N310, and was struck by its impressive design - until I saw the photo above. I mean, WHAT THE HELL? Is Samsung so deluded that they believe people would want to have a product that looks like it was designed by a corporate marketing department? Why on earth would they make the logo so enormous - and, adding insult to injury, it looks like it's embossed. Bleh. I tend to admire Samsung's design language across their products quite a bit, but this was some sort of bizarre netbook lid experiment gone awry. Make that logo about 80% smaller, put it down in the left or right corner, and remove the embossing...and this would be a nice-looking netbook. As it stands now, this grotesque lid design is worthy only of mockery.

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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Toshiba Mini NB200 Netbook Sports 9-Cell Battery

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

"Looking to raise the stakes in the netbook market, Toshiba's latest ultraportable PC packs a 9-cell battery the company says will provide up to 9 hours of run time. Remarkably, Toshiba also managed to keep the weight down to under 2.5-pounds despite the larger battery, giving the Mini NB200, as it's been dubbed, a leg up on the competition when it comes to battery life and portability."

Also interesting on this model is a hard disk drive with shock avoidance technology using accelerometers to move the disk heads from the platter when a shock is detected. Except for the fairly weak 0.3 mega-pixel, this looks like a winner.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dell Continues to Offer New Features on Mini 10 Netbook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

Just a few days ago Dell started offering a higher-resolution option on their Mini 10, and now they've added new sticker designs (shown above) and, more importantly, a 56WHr 6-cell battery for only $30 USD extra. In typical Dell fashion, there's no photo to show the user how much it sticks out the back, but I'm happy to see this option - netbooks with 6-cell batteries see a big boost in battery life. I've yet to do my video review of the Dell Mini 10 (just getting over a cold), but with a 6-cell battery, a higher resolution screen, and 802.11n WiFi, the Dell Mini 10 you can order today is significantly different from the Dell Mini 10 that I ordered a month ago.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dell Now Offering HD Resolution on Mini 10

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:12 PM

I got tipped off about this update on my Mini 10 Unboxing Video - and sure enough, in the UK, Canada, and USA Dell is now offering the Mini 10 with a 1366 x 768 screen resolution option. This exceeds the 1280 x 720 resolution requirement for 720p, so Dell can legitimately call this an HD display. On (USA) the upgrade costs $35, well-worth the price in my opinion. The Dell UK site says their displays are "TrueLife" displays, which neither Dell USA or Dell Canada mentions, so I'm not sure if this is something only available in the UK, or if all the Mini 10 displays around the world are TrueLife displays.

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.

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