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All posts tagged "laptop"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Bott's Five Reasons Why Google's New Chromebook Isn't a Windows Killer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

"At Google's I/O conference this week, the audience erupted into cheers when they heard the news that they were getting a free notebook powered by the Chrome OS. It's too bad that the audience was filled with developers instead of the IT pros who Google is counting on to actually buy these things. Something tells me that the latter audience would have been sitting on their hands for most of the session, and they wouldn't have been swayed by that Oprah moment."

Ed Bott comes out guns-a-blazin' against Google's Chromebook - and he has some very legitimate points. If you're an enterprise, the last thing you want is a product that gets updated immediately before you have a chance to test what impact the upgrade has on the tools your employees use. The pricing is also a big question mark - $28 a month over three years is $1008. For a consumer, that makes no sense. For a depends if they can save other costs around software licensing (anti-virus, Microsoft Office), hardware replacements, and IT labour re-imaging systems that get borked. The thin-client computing dream has been around for a long time, just like the tablet dream has, but as we've seen with raging success of the iPad, when the technology reaches a certain inflection point, things can take off. Is thin-client computing at that stage now? I guess we'll see!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tom's Hardware Reviews Three 2.5" 7200 RPM Notebook Drives

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 PM,2832.html

"Hard drives aren't dead yet! And they won't die out anytime soon. The latest 2.5" drives for notebooks deliver relatively high performance and ample storage for little money. Five hundred, 640, and now 750 GB. Three quarters of a terabyte are now available at the most important 9.5 mm height on the 2.5" format. This is the form factor that is utilized in more than 95% of all laptop and notebook designs, including most netbooks. We got the latest 7200 RPM drives from Samsung, Seagate, and Western Digital for a shootout."

Laptop drives continue to grow in capacity and speed, especially when there is an increasing demand for laptops to replace desktop PC's. When that that happens performance is often a criteria over battery life and in that case 7200rpm disk drives with bigger capacities might be required. Tom's Hardware reviews three of the latest ones and let's you know their thoughts in their usual comprehensive manner. If you're looking for a laptop and want to know if the drive in it will perform, or you are looking to change your existing laptop drive for a bigger or faster one, then this article may help.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Razer Switchblade Previewed at CES: Mobile Gaming Nirvana

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 06:00 PM

"For all intents and purposes, this is a miniature netbook. But unlike the UMPCs and MIDs that never really caught traction years back, this one has a very specific purpose: gaming on the go. And it's well equipped to handle it. A full-on copy of Windows 7 is loaded on, and Razer's happy to let users surf around on the standard desktop if they so choose. If not, Razer's created an in-house overlay that makes access to the internet, media, games, etc. a cinch. Quite frankly, it's one of the most stunning overlays we've seen -- it's lightweight, non-intrusive, and it actually makes using a machine of this size more practical. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen was decidedly glossy (and thus, a fingerprint magnet), but the 1024 x 600 screen resolution looked downright luscious."

This is "old" news because it happened earlier this month at CES, but I completely missed it in the mad rush of news that happens every CES...and I think it's worth sharing! We've seen a lot of small devices, but I've never seen anything quite like this. The keyboard is actually a series of tiny LCD displays that dynamically re-configure based on whatever game the user is playing. This is the first time I've aware of this technology being implemented in a portable laptop-like device. There's some seriously cool technology at play here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Don't Particularly Want to Buy a Macbook Air: What Other Options Do I Have?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 AM

OK readers, here's the deal: I'm on the hunt for a new laptop, and I have certain specs that I want the laptop to have. Shockingly, the new 13.3" Macbook Air seems to come closest to the mark...but, given a choice, I'd prefer to not give Apple more of my money. I have no plans to run OS X regularly on it, so something that's built specifically for Windows 7 is more to my liking (rather than using Boot Camp on the Air). Read more...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dell Simplifies Consumer Product Line-up

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 PM

"We knew something was going on with Dell's branding with the resurrection of the XPS laptop line, and this morning we caught up with a few of the company's executives to learn all about the entire restructuring. As you can see above, there will now be three core brands -- Inspiron, XPS and Alienware -- all focusing on different "performance seekers."

Dell's product line up has grown bloated and out of control over the years, and this is a much-needed effort to streamline it. Will it help change the perception that people have as being Dell as a "budget" provider of computers? Maybe - but I think Dell also needs to focus more on releasing fewer, but better, products. Releasing a new laptop every month means less engineering and design effort put into each product - and Dell needs to do better in both.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Awful Looking Text Over HDMI on Your TV? Turn Down the Sharpness

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

Are you seeing awful-looking text on an LCD or plasma TV after connecting your laptop or desktop to it via HDMI? Here's a tip that might help. First, some back story...

A couple of weeks ago, I swapped out video cards in the desktop PC that I use as my Windows Media Center computer. A few months earlier, I'd removed my aged Dell 26" 720p LCD TV and replaced it with an LG 32" 1080p LCD TV. I was running over DVI, using a DVI to VGA adapter since the LG TV didn't have a DVI port. Everything looked great, though I wasn't sure if I was really seeing 1080p resolution when I was watching Blu-ray movies - the NVIDIA 7950GT video card was a couple of years old, and I wasn't sure if it would support HDCP over DVI > VGA. I spent a few hours trying to determine if I had an HDCP-compliant chain of devices (computer to video card to display) and found it impossible to find anything that allowed me to easily test this. I'd already purchased the new video card - a low-end, passively cooled ATI 5000 series Radeon card - so I figured "What the hell, I'll just put it in". Read more...

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Coolest Docking Station I've Ever Seen

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:33 PM

Yes, it's for Apple products, but I really admire the ingenuity of the approach - most docks are ugly, clumsy, and generally poorly designed. This is the first dock I've seen that has a real "Of course! That makes so much sense!" approach. About the only problem I foresee with this dock is that because it relies upon user-placed physical cables, if the placement is off by even 1mm, it may not dock properly - or, worse, you may damage the port on the product. Still, it's an innovative approach. I often bemoan the lack of choice in the Apple world, but products like this are only possible when companies standardize their product lines and don't change form-factors very often. Although at these prices, it wouldn't be onerous to buy a new dock every time you bought a new laptop. I wonder if these guys will ever come out with a dock for a Windows laptop?

I also really admire the videography on this video - the actor was wearing some sort of wearable camera it seems, and it makes for a really interesting video. Well done!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Slim and Gorgeous Dell Vostro V13 Reviewed

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

This is my review video of the Dell Vostro V13, a shockingly thin (0.65 inches) and light (3.5 pounds) laptop from Dell. If you missed my unboxing and first impressions video of the V13, you can check it out here. This particular model I'm looking at features an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 CPU at 1.3 Ghz, Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit), 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, 802.11n WiFi, a 1.3 megapixel Web cam, a 13.3 inch LED-backlit display (1366 x 768), gigabit Ethernet, a VGA-out port, a USB port and a combo USB/eSATA port. It also has a 34mm ExpressCard slot, a microphone jack, a headphone jack, and a 5 in 1 memory card reader. It has no optical drive. The V13 uses the Intel GS45 chipset, and the Intel GMA4500 GPU. Read more...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dell's Vostro V13: A Surprisingly Great Laptop

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

When I hear the words "Dell Vostro", I think big, bulky, corporate laptops devoid of anything resembling nice design. A Dell Vostro I ordered in 2008 bore that out; it was cheap-feeling, heavy, and ugly. When I saw the Vostro V13, my jaw dropped: it had an Adamo-like design, and even more surprising, a Vostro-like price. This is a very compelling product that's worth a serious look by anyone seeking a thin and light general productivity laptop. Read more...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

14 New HP Models Leaked in Advance of CES 2010

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:01 PM

"Holy smokes! A ton of unannounced HP laptops and desktops just came across our desk, in addition to those Envy models we saw just a few days back. Ahead of what we presume will be their formal announcement next week right around CES, we've got some details on 14 new models -- some more interesting than others."

Itching to see what HP has in store for the next few months? Engadget has the lowdown on a bunch of new models of laptops, desktops, and the HP Mini 210 netbook. Looks like some interesting hardware in the mix!

Friday, December 11, 2009

HP's dm3 Laptop: Looks Great, Worst Touchpad Ever

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

If you haven't already watched my unboxing video of the HP dm3, be sure to check that out first.

This is my two-part review video of the HP dm3 [affiliate]; the dm3 is a new laptop from HP that's an evolution of the dv2 - it's thin, light, and not very expensive. It uses the AMD Athlon Neo X2 dual-core processor, a semi-low power processor that uses 18 watts of power, but delivers better performance than the Intel Atom processors found in netbooks. This particular model has 4 GB of RAM, uses a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, has a memory card reader, ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, four USB ports, and HDMI out. The 13.3 inch wide-screen display is 1366 x 768 pixels in resolution (driven by an ATI Radeon 3200 GPU), and it has a built-in Webcam and microphone. The keyboard is full-sized, and the laptop features Altec Lansing speakers.

The 6-cell battery is rated for up to six hours of battery life, though in my initial battery test playing back a ripped copy of the Lord of the Rings extended edition, at 100% screen brightness with WiFi off, it was down to 5% battery life after finishing the movie at 2 hours and 51 minutes. That's not a small feat though - many other notebooks I test can't finish that movie. Dropping the brightness down to the lowest setting - which makes it so dim you'd have to be in a dark room to have the screen be viewable - allows the dm3 to have 20% battery life after the LOTR test. I discuss my other battery tests in the first video, but even with my most basic of tests - the "Surf 'n Type" test at 50% brightness - I could only eek 3 hours 55 minutes from the battery. I don't know where HP is getting the six hours of battery life - my guess is minimum brightness, WiFi off, and the laptop is doing nothing - but they're not alone in an industry rife with the over-quoting the battery life. Can't the industry come up with some sort of reasonable test that they'd all use as a benchmark? Read more...

SquareTrade Says One Third of Laptops Fail Within Three Years

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

"SquareTrade analyzed failure rates for over 30,000 new laptop computers covered by SquareTrade Laptop Warranty plans and found that one-third of all laptops will fail within 3 years. SquareTrade also found that netbooks are 20% more unreliable than other laptops, and that Asus and Toshiba are the most reliable laptop brands."

Image courtesy of Eyestare.

The study also pointed out that expensive laptops last longer than cheap laptops, which last longer the really cheap netbooks. I was a little surprised that Asus came out on top in reliability. Squaretrade sells a 3rd party warranties, so the statistics don't seem to cover laptops that fail immediately and are returned to the store, which would make the real numbers higher. Some of the companies are responding that SquareTrade is fudging the numbers to sell more warranties. For instance, Lenovo is claiming that their own internal numbers are two thirds lower. Maybe I have just had good luck since I don't travel too much, but one third in three years is much higher than in my experience.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

HP dm3 Laptop Unboxing & First Impressions

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

This is my unboxing and first impressions video of the HP dm3 [Affiliate]; the dm3 is a new laptop from HP that's an evolution of the dv2 - it's thin, light, and not very expensive. In fact, I never did my review video of the dv2 - just an unboxing video - because HP discontinued the dv2 about five months after they launched it. Bizarre, no? It's probably for the best though. There was a lot to like about the dv2, but the fact that the hot air vent was at the front of the left side, right where your hand would typically rest, was a real problem. Read more...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unboxing Photos of the HP Envy 15

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 06:00 AM

"As configured, the HP Envy 15 is the most powerful five pound notebook on the market. As you can see in the image below, this envy 15 comes with an Intel Core i7-720QM processor, dual 160GB solid state drives, 16GB of DDR3 RAM and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830 graphics with 1GB of deicated graphics memory."

I'm eyeing the HP Envy 15 for my next laptop - my XPS M1330 is starting to feel a little aged, though it still stacks up nicely against most other notebooks in the spec department - so I'm eager to read everything I can about the Envy 15. It blends the opposing traits of a powerful CPU with great battery life by including the battery slice in the box, which is excellent - it's one less thing to buy. I've seen the Envy 15 in person and there are two things I'm iffy on: the 1920 x 1080 resolution is really high for a 15.6 inch screen, and I'm not sure if bumping font sizes (or the DPI) would be enough to make it workable. The second thing is HP, for some bizarre reason, went with a very "girly" floral-style pattern on the lid. I hate the way it looks, so I'd be looking to slap a decal from DecalGirl on there right away...which seems ridiculous to me. I'm not aware of any other laptops out there that have the Core i7 mobile CPU but still manage decent battery life...any suggestions?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lenovo Announces New Windows 7-Equipped IdeaPad U150 And Lots of Other Stuff

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

"The U150 is just 13.5mm thick and weighs only 1.35kg2, yet under the textured red or black cover lies a range of features designed to strike the right balance between mobility and functionality. The ultraportable U150 with an energy-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processor offers up to 8GB DDR3 memory, 11.6in HD widescreen display and long battery life. The Active Protection System on the U150 helps protect the hard drive if the laptop is dropped or gets bumped. A new version of OneKey Rescue System, Version 7.0, performs data backups up to twice as fast and includes more powerful antivirus scanning that can be run even before loading the operating system."

Lenovo has released a bunch of new Windows 7-based hardware, and Hot Hardware has the full breakdown - pictured above is the IdeaPad U150 - a slim laptop with enough power to handle most tasks. I dig that finish - HP, take notes on how to make a unisex design that doesn't repulse your male buyers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Win an HP Envy 15 from

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 07:00 AM

"One lucky reader will get to unwrap an HP Envy 15 on October 22. That's right, we're giving one of these bad boys away and you have a chance to win it. Wouldn't you rather spend the day playing with one of the most powerful notebooks on the market than waiting in line to buy Windows 7?"

A 15 inch screen at 1080p? Intel Core i7 processor, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive? ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830 GPU? Wow...what's not to love? Full contest details are over at, though be aware this contest is US-only.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

HP Envy 15 Beats Limited Edition

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

I can't seem to find any information about the pricing on this Beats limited edition version of the HP Envy 15, but I have a hunch it will come at a slight premium - made less painful by the fact that this version of the Envy 15 doesn't come with the Core i7 features an Intel Quad Core CPU instead. CPU aside, I love the black finish on this looks slick!

Thursday, September 17, 2009 Video of the HP dm3

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 PM

"The HP Pavilion dm3 is a great looking notebook PC that starts at just $549. Its premium metallic finish makes it stand out from the crowd of notebooks with plastic finishes and I'm sure this will be a hot seller this holiday season. The dm3 is a thin and light notebook with a 13′ display. It weighs in at just over four pounds, making it light enough to carry around all day long. It utilizes mild processors that are relatively affordable and that increase battery life."

One word: wow. It blows me away that HP is able make such a thin, light, and frankly great looking computer and sell it for such a low price. Dell keeps cranking out plastic computers - other than the ultra-expensive Adamo of course - and HP is pushing the envelope with their materials and designs. One thing I wish though is that HP offered more colour choices. I'm a sucker for a coloured laptop, and HP is sadly inflexible when it comes to that. But I'll take the great looking dm3 any day!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dell's Adamo Laptop: A Looker, but Light on Power & Speed

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

This is my review video of the Dell Adamo laptop - please check out my unboxing and first impressions video if you haven't already. This is easily the most impressive Dell product I've ever looked at from a design perspective - if you took the name Dell off the laptop, you'd never know it was created by the world's second biggest computer maker. The materials, the design, the build-quality, the fit and finish, the attention to detail: all are mind-blowingly excellent. But the hardware performance and price tag that comes with it? Much less impressive.

This is the "Admire" model, which features a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (SU9300), 2 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD drive, Windows Vista 64-bit, a 13.4 inch 16:9 aspect ratio 1366 x 768, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth 2.0, a back-lit keyboard, two USB ports, one USB/eSATA combo port, gigabit Ethernet, Display Port out (it comes with an adaptor for Display Port to DVI), 802.11n WiFi, built-in speakers, and a 40-watt hour battery that's rated to last five hours. As you can tell from my video, five hours would only be possible if the display was so dim it would only be readable in the dark, and you couldn't actually use it for anything during those five hours. Read more...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dell's New Studio 11z Notebook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

A few weeks back, Dell released a new laptop: the Studio 11z. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get Dell to send me press releases about their new products, so you'll have to pardon the fact that this is late. The 11z is also only available from Dell USA (and perhaps elsewhere), but not Dell Canada, so I can't order one to review it. But enough griping from me, let's look at what the 11z brings to the table.

Dell continues to expand their laptop line across different screen sizes: the 11z features an 11.6 inch WLED screen at 1366 x 768 resolution. Unlike almost every other Dell laptop available, the 11z has zero customization options. It uses a Intel Celeron 723 CPU (1.2GHz, 800MHz, 1MB cache) that's supposed to offer 39% better performance than the Atom N270 CPU. The 11z has 2 GB of RAM, uses Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, uses an Intel GS45 graphics chipset, has two 1 watt speakers, 802.11a/b/g WiFi, an integrated 1.3 megapixel camera with a microphone, and a 250 GB 4200rpm hard drive. Ports? HDMI output, three USB, 3-1 memory card reader, audio line-out, microphone input, and 10/100 Ethernet. No optical drive, naturally. The battery is an anaemic 3-cell 24 watt hour, no doubt contributing to the thin 0.92 inch profile (1.02 inches thick at the back). There's a 6-cell battery option "coming soon" that will boost battery life into the 6 hour range. It weighs in at 3.05 pounds.

UPDATE: Guess it helps to mention the price! Dell is selling the 11z for $449. That's netbook ballpark pricing - this is definitely some serious competition for the HP dv2 as well, though that product brings a real GPU to the table...not to mention nicer design.

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