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All posts tagged "netbook"


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Newer, Bigger, Badder Aspire One

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 AM

http://laptoplogic.com/news/acer-to...spire-one-59328

"Acer is all set to release the biggest and most advanced Aspire One-series netbook in the form of a 11.6-inch model. This newest Aspire One will feature 1,366x768 resolution display with 16:9 aspect ratio. Similar to the existing 10-inch Aspire One, VGA & Ethernet port continue to have unusual placement."

The line continues to blur regarding what is a netbook. If screen size goes up much more, there really won't be much of a difference between a netbook and a notebook. But as long as they keep them cheap, I'm betting they'll continue to be a winner.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Unboxing the Dell Inspiron Mini 10

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:46 PM

Today the courier delivered a box I was looking forward to opening: this is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Dell Inspiron Mini 10, a new netbook model that Dell has just released. As configured from Dell Canada, it cost me $559 CAD. The same configuration on Dell.com as of March 19th costs $504 USD. 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 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.

I mention in the review that one of the issues right off the bat with the Dell Mini 10 is the cost: I can order an Acer Aspire One in ruby red, today, for $459.99 CAD, a full $100 less expensive than the Dell Mini 10. The Acer Aspire one comes with 160 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM, and uses a slightly older CPU - the Intel Atom N270 - but it's the same clock speed as the newer Z530 that the Dell uses. Surprisingly, the Acer also comes with a 6-cell battery. The build quality on the Dell Mini 10 is excellent, but $100 better? That's the question. I'll let you know once I get a chance to use it more - watch for my full video review a couple of weeks from now!

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.


Less Storage Options on Future Eee's

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-278757.html

"Asus plans to offer fewer storage options for users of its Eee PC netbook range, a company representative said on Monday. The manufacturer's spokesperson told ZDNet UK that, while Eee PC models are currently available in each country with a choice of hard-disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), the company will from August offer only one version per model in any given country."

I don't think this is a big surprise given the level to which the netbook market has gone mainstream. I know a number of netbook owners who had no idea whether they had a HDD or SSD. I enlightened them after they commented how they liked their netbook except for the really small disk drive (which was SSD of course). My first netbook had an SSD but our two current ones both have HDD, and frankly I prefer more space (surprise, surprise). Given the costs differences, this is the exact reason I see a move to HDD's for netbooks targeted at mainstream users.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Real World Reviews: The Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000

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

This is a new type of review that I'm experimenting with - rather than me doing an exhaustive review of a product, I'm giving a a product to someone else for a couple of weeks and asking them about their experience using it. I think there's a lot of value in real-world testing of products by people who aren't experts, because as much as I try to put on my "Everyman Hat" when I'm testing a product, I still carry bias with me. In this case, it was my wife Ashley who was given the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition netbook to use over a period of a month, because, hey, it's made for women so who better to test it?

Q: Let's start with first impressions. What did you think of the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition when you first saw it?

A: I loved it! I had no idea that any laptop companies had even thought of partnering with world class designers to make the laptops they were selling more aesthetically appealing to their customers - specifically women. Everywhere I take my HP Mini, I get tons of compliments and people asking me what it is and where I got it! It's definitely a great conversation piece.

Q: So beyond the initial impact of the design and colour, what did you think of the size and weight?

A: Again, I love this about it: it's so small, light and compact. I could put it in my purse and carry it with me to a meeting if I needed to. The only downside is the comparatively huge power brick and cables. With such a small device, it would sure be nice to have an equally small power brick! Read more...


Friday, March 13, 2009

The Ravishing Red Netbook: HP's Vivienne Tam Edition Mini 1000

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:52 PM

This is my video review of the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition netbook. Since the hardware and design of the laptop (other than the colour) is identical to the HP Mini 1000, please check out my HP Mini 1000 unboxing and first impressions video for my thoughts on that part of the experience. Just like the top-end HP Mini 1000, the Vivienne Tam edition runs Windows XP SP3, and in the configuration I was sent, costs $724 USD directly from HP. It has an Intel 1.6 Ghz Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, a 60 GB 4200 RPM hard drive, an SDHC card reader, two USB ports, 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 3-cell battery. Watch for an upcoming written Q&A interview with person who has the most experience using this netbook: my wife!

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Asus Eee 1002HA Reviewed

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

http://gadgetmix.com/index/?p=4116

"The EEE 1002HA is a great machine which takes the all the positives of the EEE S101 and EEE 1000H. The ASUS took the challenge to produce a regular HDD-based EEE with the slim looks of S101. Are we happy with the final outcome? Yes! The 1002HA is great in performance and brings seriously professional looks. On the battery life front, it may not break and records, but with careful usage, you should easily get 3.5 hours+ of battery life."

This looks like a great machine, I am curious why they didn't go with the 6 cell battery that was present on the 1000HA. Probably a matter of form factor and it is nice to have choices.

Tags: asus, netbook

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Great Netbook Accessories

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:50 PM

This is a video review of two great accessories that I recommend every netbook owner get: a USB-powered DVD burner, and a shorter power cable. The DVD burner in question is a Samsung SE-S084B/RSBN External Slim USB DVD-Writer - it requires two USB ports to function, so as I explain in the video, you'll need a USB extension cable to reach two USB ports on most laptops. The power cable is a 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C5 Cloverleaf Plug from Cyberguys - it's great for shaving off some bulk from your travel bag.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.


Dell Teases Inspiron Mini 10 Features

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 02:31 PM

http://www.dell.com/content/product...s=19&l=en&s=dhs

Dell is doing something really puzzling with their Mini 10 netbooks, and I can't quite wrap my head around the logic of it. At CES they announced the Mini 10 with some really surprising features, including GPS, a built-in TV tuner, and several other options you don't typically see in netbooks. When I saw that Dell Canada was releasing the Mini 10, I placed an order to get one to review. Imagine my surprise when I was configuring it and saw no features beyond the basics offered on every other netbook out there today (well, other than the colours offered). I dug around the Mini 10 product pages, and found this text:

"Coming Soon: The following Inspiron Mini 10 features will be available at a later date:

  • HD capabilities - Enjoy your favorite movies on the optional 720p Hi-def 10.1¨ seamless display.
  • More Storage - Do even more with optional 2GB memory and optional 250GB hard drive.
  • Navigation - Know your way like the back of your hand using the optional GPS with optional internal WWAN support.
  • Design Studio - Personalize your Mini 10 with cool designs from the artist, Tristen Eaton, in Dell's Design Studio.
  • Long battery life - No need to sacrifice weight for battery life. The Inspiron Mini 10 provides extended battery life while keeping the weight of the system under 3 pounds. 3-cell: approx. 3 hours. 6-cell: approx. 6.5 hours
  • The New TV - Watch your favorite TV shows with the internal digital TV tuner."

In the many years I've been running my tech sites, I've never seen a company promote an unreleased, improved version of a product on the pages for a current product they're selling. Talk about killing sales! Nobody wants to order a product and find out that it's already obsolete before they order it. A Dell Mini 10 with all those features will certainly be more expensive than the already expensive Dell Mini 10 that's offered today, but most consumers doubtless want the option to have these improved features. Dell, where's your head at?


Monday, March 9, 2009

Dell, Why Don't You Know The Definition of HD?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:23 PM

I placed an order for a Dell Mini 10 last week, and I noticed something odd about how they list the products on the Dell.ca Web site: you can see that above. A 10.1" "Hi-Def" screen? 1280 x 720 is the resolution of 720p, and that's the minimum resolution that can be considered "HD". What's the screen resolution on the Mini 10? 1024x576. While it might look close in terms of numbers, it's a jump that we have yet to see any netbook make, and it irks me to see Dell's marketing department abuse the term HD. If it's not at least 1280 x 720, it can't be called HD.

Here's an interesting fact that I noticed when plumbing the depths of the Dell Mini 10 spec sheet: unlike virtually every other netbook out there today, including the Dell Mini 9, the Mini 10 doesn't use the Intel 945 chipset. Instead, it uses the Intel US15W chipset. Why does this matter? The 945 chipset uses 7 watts of power; the US15W uses 2.3 watts. That's roughly 300% less power consumption, and when you consider the fact that the Atom Z530 CPU in the Mini 10 only uses 2 watts under full load, you can see that the new chipset is a much better choice for this netbook. Will it have any measurable impact on the battery life of the Mini 10? It's too soon to tell, but it's nice to see Dell advancing the technology inside netbooks.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Gigabyte Bridges the Netbook and the Nettop

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

http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/25/...elves-at-cebit/

"Gigabyte said it'd be showing off a trio of new netbooks at CeBIT this week and, lo and behold, all three have now emerged from their less than secretive whereabouts and made their public debut, and the good folks from Engadget Chinese were on hand for an up close look. While all three pack more or less the same standard netbook specs, they do manage to differentiate themselves quite a bit from each other around the edges..."

The standard netbook and tablet version are pretty much expected at this point, but I like the idea of the center one. Basically, it includes a vertical dock with connectors to hook up to a full size monitor and other peripherals, giving you in essence a netbook and a nettop. If priced similarly to other netbooks, you could easily pair this with a nice sized monitor and have a desktop and laptop solution that would satisfy modest users for somewhere between $500 and $600.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

UMPC Portal's Long-Term Impressions of the HP Mini Mi

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 AM

http://www.umpcportal.com/2009/02/l...p-mini-1000-mie

"It has definitely been an interesting testing experience with the Mini 1000 MIE. The netbook, as you have probably read, runs a custom Ubuntu interface designed by HP. They call it the Mobile Internet Edition of the Mini 1000. I am anything but a Linux pro, so I approached this as a newcomer to Linux. Luckily, HP is marketing the Mini 1000 MIE to less experienced computer users and not Linux pros. I gave you my initial software impressions not too long ago, but I'm ready to give you some more detailed information."

I've been using the Mini Mi for a couple of weeks now, and I have mixed feelings about it, some of which are echoed in this article. It's definitely a slick interface, but underneath it's still Linux, which isn't the most usable operating system in the world. I'm continuing my tests, and will probably do a video review of what HP has done with the Mobile Internet Edition software. One of the issues I've seen, mentioned in this article, is performance. The "common wisdom" is that Windows is bloated and slow, while Linux is lean and fast. You'd never know that using the HP Mini Mi - there are screen redraw issues galore, and a general feeling of sluggish performance - and this is with 2 GB of RAM installed. Now it may be that the target market for the Mini Mi - general consumers who want an Internet-focused device - might not notice these issues, but I can't shake the feeling that the software wasn't designed for the hardware.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Asus Eee PC 1000HE has Great Bang for the Buck

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

http://www.notebooks.com/2009/02/13...ce-on-netbooks/

"Asus’ second generation netbook Eee PC 1000HE changes everything by offering all the high-end features for less than $400. It dispenses with the thick protruding 6-cell batteries of old with a flush 6-cell high capacity battery that can stretch beyond 9.5 hours when operating in “airplane mode” with all the wireless features turned off and the screen dimmed to 40% brightness. It not only offers integrated Bluetooth, but also 802.11n wireless networking. Instead of a small solid state hard drive, the 1000HE includes a 160 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. Instead of a dinky 0.3 megapixel webcam, a 1.3 megapixel webcam is included. It uses an N280 processor which is 60 MHz faster than the N270 and has a 2 watt TDP instead of 2.5 watts for the N270."

This is a minor upgrade to the Eee 1000HA which I recently purchased. For basically the same price as the 1000HA was about a month ago, you pick up an extra 2.5 hours of battery life (sweet), Bluetooth, and 802.11n. Not bad, not bad at all.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Unboxing the Samsung NC20

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 PM

http://gadgetmix.com/index/?p=3588

A bit on the large side for what I'd normally consider as a netbook. Given the size I think it looses some of the advantages of a netbook but maintains a nice price/weight advantage that makes it more of a competitor to things like the Macbook Air. Personally, I'm more interested in the physical dimensions and less so in the weight, so I'd probably choose a cheap full-sized laptop over this particular model, but I know a lot of people this would be great for.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

HP Mini 2140 Webcam a Huge Improvement Over the Mini 1000

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 PM

http://www.notebooks.com/2009/02/12...ni-2140-webcam/

"I’m a big fan of the HP Mini 1000 and it earned our first Editor’s Choice award, but the quality of its built-in webcam is a weak point. The Mini 2140 has a similarly spec’d webcam, but it delivers a dramatically better image than the one found in the Mini 1000. The Mini 1000’s webcam has a dark filter in front of it that doesn’t let enough light through."

If the only difference between the 1000 and 2140 cameras is the filter, then it is pretty obvious that the filter makes a huge difference. However, I'm curious if HP actually included a better quality, if similarly spec'd camera in the 2140.


Friday, February 13, 2009

HP Mini Accessories Trickling Into Market

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 AM

http://www.hp.com/united-states/cam...ccessories.html

I've been spending a lot of time with the HP Mini 1000 lately, in all three flavours: the Windows XP-based Mini 1000, the Vivienne Tam Mini 1000, and lately the Mobile Internet Edition or "Mini Mi". It's by far my #1 favourite netbook right now - I haven't booted up my MSI Wind in a month. As good as the HP Mini 1000 is though, it's strange how HP released a product with basically zero accessories for it available at launch - it's only now that these accessories are starting to become available. From the top left, going clockwise, we have the 3-cell battery, the Mobile Mini Drive, the AC power brick, an external DVD burner, a VGA cable, and a sleeve. The VGA cable in particular is a glaring omission: for mobile professionals who want to travel ultra-light, but still need to hook up to a projector, not having the ability to do so is a deal breaker. And given the price premium that HP is charging for the Mini 1000, it's a shame that there's no carrying case included in the box.

What's not shown above is something I saw at CES 2009: a 6-cell battery. It was an interesting design because unlike most netbooks on the market, the HP Mini 1000's battery isn't right at the back, it's in a bit - and that means thaty can't do the "rear hump" like most companies can. The 6-cell battery for the Mini 1000 comes out the bottom and creates a hump that almost looks like a stand for the netbook. Pretty interesting design - I'm not sure how practical it is, hopefully I can get my hands on one. The battery life is about the only complaint I have with the Mini 1000 - it just does't last long enough, but that's pretty much what I expected from a 3-cell battery.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is the Asus Eee 1002HA a Step Backwards?

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

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/re...MC-R3A917316679

"We dig the Eee 1002HA’s newfound sense of style, more comfortable keyboard, great battery life (for a two-cell), and kick-ass Photoshop scores. We still think the Acer Aspire One is a cheapskate’s best friend and the HP Mini 1000’s keyboard is beyond compare, but we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this Eee to anyone who wants a hard-working, long-lasting netbook."

While I agree that the 1002 HA is a nice improvement over the 901 that they had previously reviewed, I think they missed out by a more direct comparison to its more direct predecessor, the 1000 HA. From that angle, I see this as a step backwards as the 1000 HA is available for about $75 less, has similar specs (except the Bluetooth), and a much better battery.

Tags: asus, netbook, eee, 1002, 1000, 901

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lose Some Cable Bulk, Travel Easier

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

Digital Home Thoughts reader Sven watched my unboxing and first impressions video of the HP Mini 1000, and took note of my complaint about the total size of the power brick and cable. He contacted me with some really cool power accessories that look perfect for lightening my travel load. Both are from Cyberguys, a company I've ordered some equally useful power cables from in the past. On the left, we have the 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C5 Cloverleaf Plug, which would allow me to cut a significant amount of bulk out of the HP Mini 1000 power adaptor. The cable on the right is the Ziotek 1ft. Notebook / Laptop Power Cable C7 Figure-Eight Plug, and would do the trick for other laptops or netbooks that use that type of power connector. I'd love to see HP include something like this in the box - it would be really useful to anyone who travels and wants to pack light.

Another cool thing that Sven pointed out to me was how Sony handles this problem: by designing power supplies that are more compact and easier to pack. HP? Dell? Are you guys paying attention?


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

10-inch Aspire One to Sport 7 Hour Battery

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

http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/26/...s-release-date/

"The Aspire One D150 lineup hits the streets of France beginning in February with the D150-0B. This €329 ($425) netbook sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB memory, 160GB hard drive, a 10.1-inch (1024 x 600) display, and a 3-cell battery. Then in March, the D150-1B makes its appearance. An enhanced version of the D150, this device is otherwise identical, save a 6-cell battery that should be good for up to 7 hours -- the battery upgrade will set you back a cool €349 ($450)."

Engadget has some details on the new Aspire One models, but they seem a little late and overpriced. I recently picked up the Asus Eee 1000-HA for $385 and it has pretty much identical specs. I'll reserve any further judgement until we get firm US pricing and release dates.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Dell Fills Out Their Netbook Line with the Mini 10

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

http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/09/...unches-mini-10/

"Dell has just served up its Mini 10 netbook, complete with an "edge-to-edge" 720p 10-inch display, a built-in TV tuner (!), integrated 3G WWAN / GPS, multi touch support and an Atom Z530 CPU. Moreover, you'll find an "edge-to-edge" keyboard (no wasted space, we guess), a gesture-sensing touchpad and expanded design studio choices."

Sweet, looks like Dell has thrown in everything except the kitchen sink on this one. Plus I'm thinking the 10 inch netbook ends up being the sweet spot for netbooks, so it makes sense for Dell to get this size in addition to their 8.9 and 12 inch offerings. I'm really surprised we have not seen more devices with built in TV tuners. Perhaps once the US gets through the digital transition, things will change.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

CES 2009: The Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000 Story

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 11:33 AM

Tracy Trachta from HP talks about the Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000; why and how they created the partnership with Vivienne Tam, what new markets they wanted to reach with the product, and what an amazing response the product has received. Filmed at CNTRSTG.


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