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All posts tagged "notebook"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Asus ZENBOOK UX21 and UX31 Ultrabook Pricing and Release Date Confirmed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:05 PM

Now dubbed the "ZENBOOK", the much-anticipated UX21 and UX31 ultrabooks are coming very soon - as in, available for order tomorrow. Woot! I'm really excited about this personally, because I've been looking for a new laptop for quite a long time now. The UX31 looks like it's exactly what I'm looking for, though I'm reluctant to drop $1500 on one until I read a review or two. Asus has a good track record with recent laptops, so I'm cautiously optimistic this will be a solid product. What about you? Are you getting an ultrabook?

Full press release after the break.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Samsung Series 9 Laptop Reviewed: Be Very Afraid Macbook Air, Be Very Afraid

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

Samsung's Series 9 laptop (here's my unboxing) presents the most serious challenge to the success of the Macbook Air thus far - as long as you're not one of those people who has to run OS X. As someone who ran Windows 7 on a Macbook Air for two weeks, I can say that while it's workable, there are enough differences with the keyboard that it can be hard to adjust. Given a couple of months, I probably could have made the shift, but when I started using the Series 9, there was no need to adapt: I could type normally (well, except for that ridiculous tiny left shift key) and the size/weight on the Series 9 felt virtually identical to the Macbook Air I had. Read more...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unboxing the Samsung Series 9 Laptop: Is This a Macbook Air Killer?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 07:00 AM

This is a three-part unboxing and first impressions video of the Samsung Series 9 laptop; the 900X3A-A02CA model to be precise. It's on loan to me from Samsung Canada for a couple of weeks, so I'm putting it through its paces. This is a thin and light laptop that goes head to head with the Macbook Air, though it costs a pretty penny doing so. Is it worth the extreme price premium? It's unusual to talk about Apple having a less expensive product than the competition, but you can't escape the numbers: a maxed out Macbook Air 13 in Canada with a 256 GB SSD, 2.13 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of RAM, and the Ethernet dongle, would cost me $1878. This Series 9 with a 256 GB SSD, a 1.4 Ghz Core i5 second-gen (Sandry Bridge) CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and the Ethernet dongle included, rings in at $2399. That's a 28% price premium. Yes, the Series 9 comes with twice the RAM and a better CPU, but the Air has a better GPU. Read more...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dell Offers Teaser Video for XPS 15Z

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:30 AM

"Dell killed off the Adamo line, but it's not giving up on making ultrathin premium notebooks. The company has created a Facebook page for a sleek new consumer laptop called the Dell XPS 15z. The machine sports a 15.6-inch screen, machine metaled speaker grilles, and a razor-thin profile. The laptop will reportedly give shoppers a choice of second-gen Core i5 or i7 processors, so you won't have to sacrifice speed for a svelte look."

Interesting teaser video, with quick partial glimpses of what's to come. No substantial details, but the chiclet-style keyboard hints look good (possibly backlit?), the edges seem to be rounded, the bottom beveled, and it appears that there are speakers flanking the keyboard. The back appears to extend further back behind the screen hinges, possibly due to a larger battery, so the form factor should be "sleek." Are we seeing the emergence of a very light multimedia laptop?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laptop Magazine Reviews the Samsung Series 9

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 07:00 AM

"Ever since Steve Jobs pulled the original MacBook Air out of an envelope, Windows laptop makers have been trying to beat the thinnest, lightest notebook in town. We've seen some notable efforts, such as the sexy but underpowered Dell Adamo series and the powerful but unsexy ThinkPad X301. Others have tried, too, but no one has been able to pair an ultra-slim and ergonomically sound design with an uncompromised computing experience. Now Samsung has taken up that challenge with the Series 9, a machine that rivals the latest 13-inch MacBook Air not only on in terms of design but performance. It also has a brighter display than the Air and a backlit keyboard, which you only get on the MacBook Pro. The Series 9 definitely has the air of an Air killer, but is it worth $1,649?"

When I first saw the Samsung Series 9 laptop at CES 2011, I was more than a little excited: only weeks before I'd purchased, then returned, the 13 inch Macbook Air. There was a lot that I liked about the Air, but at heart I'm still a Windows guy. If found it kind of clunky to use Windows 7 on the Air, though I might have gotten used to it after a while. The Series 9, however, represented to me the potential of what a top-tier OEM like Samsung could do when they put some real effort in. The Series 9, while not exactly a home run, delivers a top-notch experience...if you can afford the entry price. I was wondering if this was going to be my next laptop, and while I'm tempted, I'm not so sure. I feel like the Sony Vaio Z might be a better choice for me if they release one with a Sandy Bridge Core i7. Read more...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Witness The Power of Fusion: HP's Pavilion dm1z Laptop Unboxed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:30 AM

Above is part one of an unboxing and first impressions video of the HP Pavilion dm1z laptop [affiliate]. It was one of the first laptops to ship using the new AMD Fusion APU. It features an AMD Dual-Core Processor E-350 (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache) and an AMD Radeon HD 6310M Discrete-Class Graphics chip for the GPU. This model I purchased from HP came with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 3 GB of RAM, a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, a six-cell battery, an 11.6 inch display (1366 x 768 resolution), a Webcam with integrated microphone, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth. It has no internal CD/DVD drive: you need to buy an external, USB-based drive to load CDs or DVDs. Part two after the break.


Friday, March 25, 2011

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Tablet/Notebook Hands-on

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 PM

"After showing off the Eee Pad Transformer at CES, Mobile World Congress, and other shows, ASUS finally announced that it has launched the 10.1-inch tablet and the optional keyboard dock that effectively turns it into an Android-powered notebook.. The unique device features a 1280 x 800 display with 10-finger touch support, a speedy Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage, and Android 3.0."

The hybrids are landing! Is it a tablet, or is it an Android notebook? Add an optional keyboard/dock to a Honeycomb tablet, and you have a very workable, powerful travel companion. Initial pricing estimates for the tablet itself (16GB) are in the $400-500 range, with the dock adding another $100. Details on North American pricing and ship dates are not yet available. Check out the video to get an idea of the speed and features of the Transformer, and note how well the two components work together. Impressive stuff!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Samsung's QX410 Laptop Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

This is my review video of the Samsung QX410-J01 (you can check out my unboxing and first impressions here). The QX410 has a 14 inch screen, running at a disappointing 1366 x 768 resolution (1440 x 900 is my ideal resolution at 13 to 14 inches). It packs a lot of power in the CPU/GPU department: it uses an Intel Core i5 CPU running at 2.53 Ghz with turbo boost up to 2.8 Ghz. It has an NVIDIA GeForce 310M GPU with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Other hardware includes 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 640 GB 5400rpm hard drive, a DVD/CD burner, gigabit Ethernet port, memory card reader (SD), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a Webcam with built-in microphone, HDMI output. The laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

The materials of the laptop are impressive though - the lid is a brushed aluminium and the overall feel of the materials is one of quality. It's not quite at the level of a Macbook Air/Pro, but it's close. Read more...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Samsung's QX410 Laptop Unboxed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Samsung QX410-J01. The QX410 has a 14 inch screen, running at a disappointing 1366 x 768 resolution. It packs a lot of power in the CPU/GPU department: it uses an Intel Core i5 CPU running at 2.53 Ghz with turbo boost up to 2.8 Ghz. It has an NVIDIA GeForce 310M GPU with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Other hardware includes 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 640 GB 5400rpm hard drive, a DVD/CD burner, gigabit Ethernet port, memory card reader (SD), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a Webcam with built-in microphone, HDMI output. The laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium. Read more...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wondering Why the New Macbook Pro's Seem to Offer Less Battery Life?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 02:00 PM

"Now that the news about the new MacBook Pros is out there, one thing that may disappoint someone just reading the spec sheet is battery life. Across the board, the Pro is now rated at 7 hours. While still very solid, this is actually a step down from the previous versions which were rated at 8 to 9 hours for the 15 and 17-inch models, and 10 hours for the 13-inch model. So what gives?"

When I was looking at the battery life on the new Macbook Pros, I noticed something curious: they're all listed as "up to 7 hours". I couldn't recall what the exact battery life specs were for the previous Macbook Pros, but I knew it varied from model to model. As the above text shows, Apple had quoted the battery life on previous Macbooks from 8 to 10 hours. Sandy Bridge processors are supposed to be even more power-friendly than the first-gen Core series processors. So what gives? Read more...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anyone Else Underwhelmed by the New Macbook Pro Line?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 04:00 PM

Apple announced a new line of Macbook Pro hardware today (buy 'em from our store), and I have to admit I was underwhelmed. Yes, they have Intel's rocking new Sandy Bridge CPUs that offer insanely great performance. Yes, they've switched from NVIDIA to AMD (ATI) graphics that offer up to 3x graphics performance. And, yes, there's the impressive Thunderbolt connectivity and an HD camera. Read more...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DigitalTrends Looks at the Toshiba Protégé R705

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 04:00 PM

"Before there were netbooks, Adamos, Timelines or even a MacBook Air, there was the Portege. Toshiba's long-standing marquee for ultraportable notebooks never achieved the prominence of many of its more fashionable contemporaries, but the business-styled portable has always pressed the bounds of technology. Back in 2007, the Portege R500 actually took the title of the "world's thinnest notebook with an optical drive." The R705 continues the thin-and-light, business-centric traditions of its fore-bearers, but with a new emphasis on value; an exotic prepped for the mainstream market."

Toshiba, a long-time stalwart of the Windows laptop realm, has been making thin and light laptops for a long time now - but the competition has left them behind when it comes to making thinner and lighter laptops. That's not to say that the Protégé R705 doesn't bring a lot to the table - decent CPU firepower in the form of a Core i5 clocked at 2.53 Ghz, decent battery life at around 5 hours, and a sturdy chassis for around $800. Where you lose out is GPU performance: by going with the Intel HD graphics chip, gaming on this laptop is restricted to Solitaire and Purple Place. But if gaming and 1080p Flash video playback aren't important to you, the R705 is worth a serious look.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Engadget Reviews the HP dm1z: Game Changer?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 05:00 PM

"So, what the heck does Fusion and AMD's history of promises about the platform have to do with HP's new Pavilion dm1z? Almost everything. HP's newest 11.6-inch not-quite-a-netbook (or a notbook as we like to call it) is the first Fusion system to hit the market, and with a dual-core 1.6GHz E350 Zacate processor and AMD Radeon HD 6310 GPU on the same chip it promises... well, everything AMD has promised for so long. According to HP and AMD, the system should last for over nine hours on a charge, play full 1080p content, and perhaps more importantly, not fry our laps as some previous AMD Neo-powered systems have done. For $450, it sounds like a true no-sacrifice system, but is it?"

The HP dm1z was one of the laptops that really got my attention at CES - it's one of the first out of the gate that supports the new AMD Fusion chip, and it comes in at a price point and feature set that many will find compelling. I was personally somewhat shocked when I picked it up - for something so small, you don't expect it to weigh so much (3.5 pounds). But comparing it to a 2.5 pound netbook doesn't really do it justice - with a screen almost two inches bigger and much more under the hood, I think the dm1z could be a real contender.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Samsung's 9 Series Notebook: Finally, Some REAL Competition to the Macbook Air

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:24 AM

"If you're thinking about ditching Windows to get a MacBook Air, you might want to think twice. The Samsung 9 Series, which goes on sale next month, is sexy, slim, and oh so fast. Weighing in a 2.89 pounds and measuring just .64 inches thick (versus 2.9 pounds and .68 for Apple's 13-incher), the 9 Series is just as portable. But there's a lot more to this notebook."

When I saw the Samsung 9 Series laptop, it was techno-lust at first sight. Wow, what hardware! This is exactly the kind of thing I've been waiting for someone to do: really try to go after the Macbook Air market with a drop-dead gorgeous design, superior materials, and hopefully a price tag that isn't out to lunch ($1599 for the 13" version is the only price tag mentioned). The units we saw at CES were prototypes, not final hardware, so Samsung was cagey about some of the specs and prices. We know it will come in two screen sizes: 11.6" and 13" (maybe 13.3"?). The 11.6" will come with a Core i3 or a Core i5, and the bigger 13" version will be a Core i5 and possibly a core i3. A 128 GB SSD will be standard on the 13" model, as will USB 3.0, and the screen technology - dubbed "SuperBright" - kicks out 400 nits and looked excellent in person. This is a laptop series I'll have my eye on! Laptop Magazine's video after the break, along with some of my own photos. Read more...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CES 2011: The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Demo

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:30 PM

This is a very brief demo of the Lenovo IdeaPad U1, an interesting tablet/laptop hybrid computer. The screen detaches and you have an Android 2.2-based tablet computer, and when you dock it with the main chassis, you have a full-fleged Windows 7 computer. I think it's great to see companies pushing the envelope of what's possible with computer designs like this - we need more of that in an industry where, all too often, companies are afraid to experiment in case they fail. My hat is off to Lenovo for stepping out with this design.

Engadget has further details on the product that, while originally was announces at CES 2010, seemed to become more official at CES 2011.

Apple's Macbook Air 13 (2010 Model): The Future of Laptops?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 01:30 PM

This is my review video of the Macbook Air 13 (2010 model). This version has the 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n WiFi. It has no CD/DVD drive. The unboxing video can be found here; I kept this laptop for the full two weeks before returning it to Apple. Returning it was a hard decision, because there were so many things I liked about the Macbook Air. Read more...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Engadget Reviews the Lenovo IdeaPad U260

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 04:30 PM

"It's obvious by now that we've got a real crush on the U260's bronzish, mocha exterior (it comes in an orange hue as well), and a glance at a few of the pictures in the gallery above makes it very easy to see why. It isn't as minimalistic as some others out there -- say Google's Cr-48 --but the soft-to-the-touch magnesium-aluminum alloy that envelops the system like a book cover gives the entire system a very clean and simplified look. Believe us, it's more than a welcome change from the glossy lids and rounded edges that we've gotten used to on the ThinkPad Edge family."

My interest was piqued when I saw this product teased a few months ago, but after reading this Engadget review, I'm quite disappointed. Lenovo, why on earth would you release a laptop that only has a 20 watt hour, four cell battery? People buying thin and light laptops value mobility and portability; those two traits mean that excellent battery life is a must. The thinner and lighter Macbook Air 13, in comparison, manages to pack in a 50 watt hour battery - which translates to at least two hours more battery life. Sure, the Macbook Air has a slower CPU, but having a strong CPU doesn't matter much in the end if there isn't some decent endurance to match.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Apple's Macbook Air 13 (2010 Model) Unboxing & First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Apple Laptops" @ 07:00 AM

This is an unboxing and first impressions video of the Macbook Air 13. This is the maxed-out model has a 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 320M GPU, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n WiFi. It has no CD/DVD drive, two USB ports, no Ethernet port, a built-in microphone and Webcam, and a headphone jack. The slender (0.11-0.68 inch) profile weighs in at 2.9 pounds. The full specs can be found on the Apple site. Read more...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What You Can Do When You Go Chrome

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 11:00 AM

"Chrome OS has always planned to offer "an experience that is nothing but the web," and that makes for some easy setup. In today's demo, Google showed how you can set up a Chrome OS notebook in just four steps. You log in to Google, set up your web connection, take a picture of yourself (or not), and get started."

WebBooks, thin clients, whatever you want to call it, have been tried many times before, but it looks like they may succeed this time. Actually, they have already succeeded. They are called smartphones and to a lesser extent, tablets. Still, it is hard to break from the installed application legacy; just look at how important the app store and Android market are to their respective phones. The Chrome OS seems to straddle the line, though instead of traditional Apps, meaning installed applications that are compiled for that OS, you are looking at web based Apps.

The release of the Chrome notebook also shows how pervasive we expect Internet connections to be. With Wi-Fi for urban areas and 3G/4G for everywhere else, it seems as if we almost would be aghast if we were somewhere without Internet access. I only shudder to think of how much our collective phone bills will cost.

I am in a situation where I still need traditional applications, and do find myself with spotty or impractical Internet access once in a while, so a computer that makes the assumption of always being connected does not make sense to me, but I am sure there are many out there where it does make sense. Is that you? Would you be tempted by a Chrome notebook, or would something like an iPad or netbook be of more interest?

2010 HP Pavilion dm3t: Not 2009's dm3t

Posted by Michael Knutson in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:30 AM

"If you placed them side by side, you wouldn't realize that the 2009 and 2010 HP Pavilion dm3t shared the same name. That's because HP completely redesigned its 13-inch consumer notebook, making it thinner, lighter, and faster."

What a difference a (model) year makes. Thinner, lighter and faster indeed. The redesigned dm3t notebook offers soft-touch surfaces, a backlit chiclet keyboard, very good speakers, an Intel Core i3 processor, 3GB RAM (max 8GB), 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive, 13.3-inch display with 1366x768 resolution, about 4-pounds, over 5 hours of battery life, and $400 less than a MacBook. Prices start at $549 from HP, with estimated build date being late December 2010. Way to go HP!

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