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All posts tagged "notebook"


Friday, September 5, 2008

MSI Wind Unboxing & First Impressions

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiJXYIlgm8M

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]

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dell USA Launches Inspiron Mini 9

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.dell.com/content/product...=dhs&ref=homepg

Dell.com has finally launched their Inspiron Mini page, and you can check out the details for all three models there now. Strangely, the $349 USD version with Ubuntu is only available for pre-order, leaving only the Windows XP-based versions for sale. Equally strange is that the $399 version, equipped with Windows XP, only comes with 512 MB of RAM. Windows XP really needs 1 GB of RAM to breathe properly, so this is a poor choice - especially since many, if not all other netbooks at $399 come with 1 GB of RAM. The good news though is that for $51 more you get bumped to 1 GB of RAM and the 16 GB SSD hard drive. The bad news is that even at $449, you don't get Bluetooth or the 1.3 MP Web cam - Dell wants $20 and $10 respectively for each of those.

If it seems I'm being a bit hard on the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, it's because I had really high hopes that Dell would bring something exciting to the table - either in the form of reduced pricing, great custom configuration options, different colour options, etc. If you don't like black, you can pay $25 for the privilege of owning an "Alpine White" version. Supposedly other colours are coming later, but Dell was so late to the game, why not launch with all guns blazing? Dell is a huge company, and instead of broadening the netbook market and giving the other players something to compete against, they seem to have released an also-ran product. Maybe once I get my hands on one I'll feel differently - perhaps the build quality is excellent, or the battery life is better than Dell says. We'll see...


Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Overview Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcwxR9kFEnE

Want to learn more about the Inspiron Mini 9? Brian Pitstick, part of the Dell team that brought this product to market, gives us a 10 minute overview of this new Dell product. There's not a lot of new information, but it's nice to see how the product looks/feels in the hand.

[Side note: why doesn't Dell upload higher quality videos? There's no "High Quality" option for Dell's video on YouTube. Weak!]


Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Launch Imminent: Leaks Galore

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:35 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2008/09/04/...-pops-official/

"Dell doesn't take its site down when it introduces product unlike some laptop peddlers. The result, however, is shots like this of early pre-release gear like the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook as Dell spins the product up for retail. $449 fully spec'd just like we heard with 8GB SSD, 1GB memory, Bluetooth 2.1, Windows XP, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. We still expect to see a lesser spec'd $349 model running Ubuntu. Shipping on the 16th of September in your choice of white or black though white will cost you a $25 premium. Dell hasn't officially announced the product yet but we're sure they'll get that sorted out in a few hours. For now, happy URL hacking as we dig for more details."

Dell sure knows how to limply launch a product launch that could have been really exciting! Instead of having a simultaneous, multi-site launch, the launch of the Inspiron first had a leaked flyer, then the product went live in the UK and Germany (but only certain configurations), and then Gizmodo broke press release embargo and published the press release. Meanwhile, all my emails to Dell over the past four months about this product have been ignored. Sometimes I find dealing with Dell so incredibly frustrating.

At any rate, here's the breakdown, and if you were hoping for something new and exciting in the netbook space with a giant like Dell entering it, you're in for a disappointment. The $449 version will come with an Intel Atom N270 CPU, an 8 GB solid-state drive for storge, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11g WiFi, a 1.3 MP Web cam, and Windows XP SP3. 8 GB of storage and Windows XP? That seems highly dubious to me - how much storage space is going to be left for applications and user data? There's going to be a 16 GB SSD option, but no word on pricing. Looking at the spec sheet, there are really only two things that stand out to me as being interesting: first, that Dell managed to fit a 4-cell battery in there, but apparently still only manage three hours of battery life, even with an SSD. The MSI Wind, and other netbooks, can get three hours of battery life with a 3-cell battery - and the MSI Wind has both a ten inch screen and an 80 GB hard drive. That makes me wonder why the Dell is so power-hungry.

Keep an eye on your local Dell Web site for the official launch - I'll very likely be ordering one, if only to check it out for a couple of weeks. Pictures, and the full press release, are after the break. Read more...


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dell Releases New 13" Inspiron Laptop

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

http://www.dell.com/content/product...=dhs&ref=homepg

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.


Monday, August 25, 2008

The Tech Report Reviews MSI's Wind Netbook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 AM

http://techreport.com/articles.x/15291/1

"With variants of the Eee PC dominating the burgeoning netbook market, it seems as though every manufacturer is now rushing to squeeze out its variant on the theme...The Wind U100 sits as a sort of standard bearer for this new wave of netbooks. It's a remarkably balanced piece of engineering, delivering on nearly all of MSI's early promises. But rather than facing off against the original Eee PC, the Wind must now contend with a fresh batch of rivals, including HP's Mini-Note, Acer's Aspire one, and new Eee PC 900 and 1000 series models from Asus. Keep reading to see whether MSI has crafted a worthy competitor in the U100, and whether the system is a compelling netbook in its own right."

This is the netbook that I've ordered for myself...well, the 6-cell battery version, not the 3-cell version they reviewed here. As much as I loved the design of the HP 2133 Mini Note, having both an under-powered processor incapable of playing DVD-resolution video and only having 90 minutes of battery life (at best) was just too much in the way of compromise. After look at the Acer Aspire One and the MSI Wind, I settled on the MSI Wind - but looking at the review of the Asus EEE PC 1000, I'm suddenly feeling a bit torn. I'm not interested in the SSD version, so I'd get the 1000H version, which I can get locally for $549 - right around the same price as the MSI Wind. The hardware is damn near identical, so it comes down to things like the screen, the battery life, etc. Choices, choices...


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

http://www.notebooks.com/color_survey/

"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 Notebooks.com 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

http://www.dailytech.com/Report+Int...rticle12720.htm

"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.


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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d28tnzOkWzE



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!


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