Pretty in pink Asus Eee PC 901

Pretty in pink  Asus Eee PC 901We know you can’t get enough news about Asus’ cute little Eee PC, but what do you make of this latest picture of the world’s favourite UMPC? It’s an Eee PC in... pink!

Okay, so it’s not real. But what is apparently real are a series of images of a black Eee PC 901, posted over at the ever-reliable Blogeee.net. These new photos of a black Eee PC follow on from a similar set of images posted just last week, apparently showing a white-coloured Eee PC 901. As last time, we won’t embarrass ourselves by attempting word-perfect translations of Blogee’s French captions but, if you want to learn more do click the Read more link below.

Both the black and the white (but not the pink) Eee PC 901 are expected to be released in June this year. Powered by an Intel Atom processor, the new model is expected to have Bluetooth; though tentative plans for WiMax compatibility as standard have apparently been abandoned.

Instead, according to Digitimes, Asus has decided to make WiMax available only as an option to contract customers. The Digitimes’ piece goes on to say that this is because Asus believes the WiMax market is currently not sufficiently mature. Sounds like watch-this-space territory to us.


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Asus U2 Luxury Ultraportable

Asus U2
Asustek rolled out the Asus U2 11.1-inch widescreen luxury notebook series, which is a successor of the U1 ultraportable.

The Asus U2 features the Intel Core Duo Processor ULV (ultra-low voltage) U7500 at 1.06GHz paired with the Intel GM965 Express Chipset, which incorporates the GMA X3100 integrated graphics. The laptop’s thin LED backlight 11.1" display has a 1366×768 resolution and enables a lower power consumption, better luminance, and faster response time, when compared to standard CCFL backlight displays.

The U2 sub-notebook, which starts at 2.75 pounds, comes with up to 120GB 1.8-inch hard drive at 4200rpm or 32GB solid state drive, and supports up to 4GB of system memory. It features the Intel WiFi Link 4965AGN or Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection, a LAN port, and a 56K modem, as well as a built-in web camera, three USB ports, a VGA port, and a micro-DVI output.

For enhanced security, there are a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and a fingerprint reader. In addition, the webcam is complemented with ASUS SmartLogon software that “intelligently recognizes its rightful owner and grants access to the computer accordingly after a positive facial scan”.

According to Asustek, the U2’s chassis features materials such as polished stainless steel and premium leather.

This ultraportable runs Windows Vista operating system. Pricing and availability date are currently unknown.

Specification:
Intel® Centrino® Processor Technology
- Intel® Core™ Duo Processor ULV U7500
- Mobile Intel® GM965 Express Chipset
- Intel WiFi Link 4965AGN or Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
Genuine Windows® Vista®
- Genuine Basic
- Genuine Home Premium
- Genuine Business
- Genuine Ultimate
11.1" WXGA 1366 x 768 LED backlight
80G/100G/120G PATA 1.8" 4200rpm HDD, 32G SSD
2 so-dimm socket for expansion up to 4096MB, DDRII-667 DRAM support
3x USB, 1x VGA, 1x LAN, 1x Phone, 1x micro-DVI
27.7 x 19.4 x 2.49-2.9 cm, 1.25kg with SSD, 1.28kg with HDD


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Toshiba Satellite A305-S6845

Toshiba Satellite A305-S6845Toshiba's Satellite A305 is a bit chunky for a thin and light notebook computer system, but this extra girth allows it to pack in an extra hard drive for some class leading hard drive storage. Performance is quite good from thanks to its balance of components but it is the attractive price that will entice most people.

Pros

* Lots of Hard Drive Space
* Glossy Fusion Finish Holds Up Well
* Excellent Pricing

Cons

* A Bit Larger Than Average 15.4" Thin and Light Laptop
* Glossy Screen Can Have Significant Glare

Description

* Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 Dual Core Mobile Processor
* 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 Memory
* 200GB 5400rpm SATA System Drive and 200GB 4200rpm SATA Data Drive
* 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
* 15.4" WXGA (1280x800) Wide LCD with 1.3MP Webcam
* ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 512MB Graphics
* v.92 56Kbps Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless
* Four USB 2.0, One FireWire, ExpressCard/54, HDMI, 5-in-1 Card Reader
* 14.3" x 10.5" x 1.6" @ 6 lbs.
* Vista Home Premium, MS Works, Ulead DVD Factory, Norton 360

Guide Review - Toshiba Satellite A305-S6845 Thin and Light Notebook

5/20/08 - The first thing that most people will notice is all the glossy surfaces on the Toshiba Satellite A305. From the exterior case cover to the keyboard, just about every surface has gloss. This Fusion surface will show fingerprints quite easily, but Toshiba has managed to create a surface that is surprisingly resistant to scratches. Of course, some might find using the glossy keyboard a bit annoying and the glossy LCD screen will have significant glare in certain lighting conditions.

In terms of performance, the Satellite A305-S6845 does a very good job thanks to its newer Core 2 Duo T8100 mobile processor and 3GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory. Even with the Vista operating system it is able to handle most tasks without any issues at all.

The Satellite A305-S6845 has some of the largest storage space available on a thin and light notebook system. This ability comes from the fact that Toshiba has actually put in two 200GB hard drives into the system rather than a single drive. This is one of the reasons why the Satellite A305 has a bit larger dimensions than a traditional thin and light notebook making it a little less portable than some of the competition.

Graphics wise, Toshiba has elected to use the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 over the more popular GeForce graphics from NVIDIA. This doesn't hurt the 3D performance of the system much as the 3650 is able to handle most 3D graphics without much issue and the driver offers more multimedia support than the 8000 series GeForce processors.

Overall, the Toshiba has the advantage over the competition thanks to its price tag being several hundred dollars less than competing notebooks. This makes the Satellite A305 a great value.


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BenQ Joybook Q41

BenQ Joybook Q41

BenQ has released the BenQ Q41, a 14.1-inch laptop equipped with Microsoft’s SideShow. The Q41 is the first notebook from the company to offer an external display for Windows Vista's SideShow feature: a 2.5-inch LCD on the outer lid lets users access e-mail, media, and simple games from the system even while turned off. Completely unique to BenQ, however, is the SideShow display's VoIP feature: owners can place Internet phone calls without having to boot up the main system and start conventional software, the company boasts.

The PC builder has yet to post full details of the Q41's feature set but reveals that the 14-inch system will use a Core 2 Duo processor at its heart and incorporate both Bluetooth and WiFi for its wireless duties. Neither a release date nor pricing for the system have been set, though BenQ typically releases its systems first in its southeast Asian home as well as Europe.



Press Release:

BenQ takes enjoyment to the next level with its new class of laptops, offering design, functionality and convenience to consumers.

TAIPEI, TAIWAN, December 17, 2007 – BenQ today announces the launch of a new class of laptops—the Joybook Q41 featuring dual screen. Equipped with 14.1” UltraVivid widescreen, a 2.5” auxiliary display, Intel® Core™2 Duo processor and Microsoft Windows Vista® operating system, the Joybook Q41 is designed for forward-thinkers with exquisite tastes. The Joybook Q41 keeps your favorite music, treasured photos, fun games, and updated information available on its 2.5” auxiliary display. The Joybook Q41 is the first laptop to offer VoIP function directly from the auxiliary display. Users can dial directly from the auxiliary display to be instantly in touch with friends and colleagues. As a new class of laptops, the Joybook Q41 is designed to fulfill all of your needs conveniently.

Inspired by glass curtain walls of skyscrapers, the Joybook Q41 is designed with a glossy belt for its 2.5” auxiliary display and a red operation-key-lighting that adds a sense of fashion. The Joybook Q41 is equipped with Intel® Core™2 Duo processor and Microsoft’s Windows Vista® operating system that offers breakthrough gadgets for Windows® SideShow™, enabling users to quickly browse for the information they need on the auxiliary display and enjoy personal entertainment without opening the laptop.

The auxiliary display allows consumers to have immediate access to the Windows Media Player at the touch of a button, to the SlideShow Player to view all their photos, and to access fun games. Consumers can also stay updated by using the RSS Feed Viewer that automatically downloads breaking news or blog articles from favorite subscriptions. For the busy business person, the Joybook Q41 allows convenient access to calendar appointments, latest emails, entire contact lists and even PowerPoint presentations all on the auxiliary display.

Equipped with a 14.1” widescreen and BenQ’s exclusive UltraVivid technology with DBEFTM (Display Brilliance Enhancement Film), the Joybook Q41 increases screen brightness and sharpens details to provide consumers with a superior viewing experience. Consumers can also easily experience the convenience of wireless connections by accessing the Internet via high-speed Wi-fi networks, and connecting to Bluetooth-capable phones and peripherals. Whether at work or at play, consumers can enjoy the freedom of going online, listening to music, and linking to other devices without the constraints and hassles of cables.


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Acer Extensa 5620

Acer Extensa 5620Acer creates a wide range of notebooks for both the business and consumer markets but we're not too sure where the Extensa range fits in to the scheme of things. For instance, the design is clearly a business-like one, after all it's based on the old TravelMate style of a thick plastic casing with a keyboard that boasts a five-degree curve, which makes it really comfortable to type on.

Then there is the fact that this machine is loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium Edition and finished with a 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen, which are clearly aimed at home users. Then there is the price, at £399 (inc. VAT), this is a budget notebook that takes an older chassis design but still manages to offer great value for money.

For your money you'll get a fully specified machine that is powered by an Intel 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5450 processor, which is more than quick enough for average users. You'll also find 2048MB of memory, which is a bargain at this price, as is the 160GB hard drive, offering plenty of space for storing your media files.

It's not the lightest of machines, weighing 2.9kg, so is more likely to be used on a desk than on the move. That said, we managed to get well over 3 hours from the battery, so it'll certainly last you if you need to carry it around.

The screen may be aimed at home users but this isn't really a multimedia machine as the graphics are integrated, which is fine for movies and surfing the web but you won't be able to play games on this notebook. Images looked bright and there is a nice even tone across the screen, so movies running from the optical drive, which is a standard DVD rewriter, look crisp.

Less impressive was the sound quality of this notebook. The speakers are fitted to the front of the chassis and really are poor quality. So much so that we had to add headphones when watching a movie, as the speakers are tinny, lack bass and generally are the worst part of this notebook.

The widescreen display allows for a keyboard with plenty of space between the keys. As we've already mentioned, the keys have a five-degree curve to them, which can initially feel a little odd but the design is more ergonomic than a standard keyboard. We found the typing action to be smooth and reliable. Sure, some of the secondary keys and shortcut strokes can be a bit of a stretch but we liked the feel of this keyboard.

Connectivity is well provided for, as you'll find four USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, which is often only found on business machines, and 802.11g wireless LAN for connecting to a wireless router. Extra features are kept to a minimum but you'll find a webcam resting above the screen.

Acer Extensa 5620 won't blow you away in the style or performance stakes, but for less than £400 (inc. VAT) it's good enough for every day tasks, especially if your needs are basic, but don't consider it if you're looking for a multimedia machine.


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Zonbu-Everex

Zonbu-Everex Notebook

Zonbu has announced a new notebook computer and service based on an Everex laptop PC with Zonbu operating system preloaded.

"Starting at $279 upfront and a $14.95 monthly subscription fee, the Zonbu Notebook and service will include 20 best-of-breed software applications, free and automatic software upgrades, generous online storage, file remote access and sharing, automatic data back-up, unlimited online tech support, and free hardware replacement in case of damage. Best of all, it eliminates the need to spend any time on managing PC, or to spend money on anti-virus packages, back-up storage or firewalls" the company’s press release says.

The 15.4-inch Zonbu-Everex laptop is based on the VIA C7-M processor at 1.5GHz, and has 512MB of system memory, a 60GB hard drive, and a Combo optical drive. The notebook uses the VIA Chrome9 HC integrated graphics, managing the 1440-by-900 pixels display.

It has an 802.11b/g wireless module, an Ethernet LAN connection, and three USB ports.

The Zonbu Notebook’s battery life is from 2.30 to 3h. The system weighs 5.3 pounds and is claimed to be eco-friendly.


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Amtek iTablet T221

Amtek iTablet T221



Amtek has announced the iTablet T221 Tablet PC, featuring a 12.1-inch display with support for active digitizer and touch screen inputs.

The Amtek iTablet T221, which has no keyboard, is powered by an Intel Core Duo Ultra-Low Voltage (ULV) processor at 1,2Ghz, and sports up to 2GB of system memory and a 60GB hard drive. The tablet’s sun-light readable 1024-by-768 XGA display is managed by the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, which is incorporated into the 945GM chipset.

The iTablet T221 has wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth connections, and provides two USB ports, a PC Card slot, a VGA output, and a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera.

The Amtek iTablet T221 runs Windows Vista Business operating system.

There is no information on the Tablet PC’s weight and the U.S. availability date. The device is priced at about $2,237 reportedly.


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RippleNote T7700 Notebook

RippleNote T7700

Pixel Lab Korea rolled out its latest innovative RippleNote T7700 Laptop in a distinct style. The name makes one think that there must be ripples on the Laptop. But the design reminds me of chocolate. The RippleNote T7700 features 160G HDD, Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 CPU, 1G turbo memory, 1.3M camera, 2G DDR2 SDRAM, and Intel WiFi Link 4965AGN 802.11a/b/g/n chip, 7 in 1 multi card reader and a built in mike.

Pixel Lab Ripple Note


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Dell Latitude E6500, E6000 , E5000

Dell Latitude E6500, E6000 ,  E5000
Dell Latitude E6000 and Latitude E5000 is introduced by Dell to continue its E-Series introduction. The E6000 family has 15.4-inch Latitude E6500 and 14.1-inch Latitude E6400. If everything is on schedule, both Latitude E6500 and 6400 along with E5500 and E5400 will be the Dell’s first Montevina platform laptops when they released this June.

Latitude E5500 is a 15.4-inch laptop to replace Dell D531 while E5400 is a 14.1-inch laptop which will replace Dell 530 laptop.

The 15.4-inch E6500 will replace Dell's D830. These will be Dell's first Montevina / Centrino 2 class machines. The E6500 will weigh 5.1lbs and have the following built-in options

# WB, Bluetooth 2.1, mobile broadband
# Integrated GPS
# New 84WHr slice batteries for "all day" computing
# LED backlighting, 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, discrete nVIDIA graphics and DisplayPort out
# Hard, Hybrid, and Solid State disk drive options with eSATA jack for more
# Optional camera and mic
# Plenty of security options including contact-less smart cards and encrypted hard disks


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First look at the FastMac U-Charge

First look at the FastMac U-ChargeHere’s an exclusive sneak peak of FastMac’s newest product: U-Charge.

U-Charge is a portable, standalone charger that connects directly to the battery’s terminals to recharge the battery quickly and efficiently. It’s compatible with over nine years of Apple laptop batteries as well as after-market/third party replacements like their high-capacity TruePower line.

FastMac has posted a U-Charge product page on their Web site and (surprise!) it’s priced at US$69.99.

I could have used a U-Charge when I was charging all my MacBook batteries at the library earlier this week. Without an external charger I had to charge them one at a time in the MacBook itself, and charging a MB battery is slow.

After the jump, a list of all the battery models that U-Charge is compatible with…

U-Charge will work with all 10.8V Apple Laptop Batteries Produced Since 1999. Including the following.

Model compatibility list:

* iBook G3 12-inch
* iBook G4 12-inch
* MacBook 13-inch
* MacBook Pro 15-inch
* MacBook Pro 17-inch
* PowerBook G3 Bronze (Lombard)
* PowerBook G3 Pismo
* PowerBook G4 12-inch
* PowerBook G4 15-inch
* PowerBook G4 17-inch

Apple part number compatibility list:

* M9337G/A
* 661-1764
* 661-2472
* 661-2569
* 661-2672
* 661-2994
* 8403
* A1061/M8433
* A1008
* M8403
* M8433G
* M8433G/A
* M8433G/B


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Dell XPS M1730 Notebook and XPS 730 H2C Gaming Desktop

Dell XPS M1730 Notebook and XPS 730 H2C Gaming DesktopExpanding the gaming industry in India, Dell has announced to launch the gaming-dedicated XPS M1730 notebook and XPS 730 H2C desktop in the Indian market.

The XPS M1730 incorporates the AGEIA PhysX Mobile Technology and Logitech’s GamePanel LCD. This GamePanel LCD allows gamers to view game stats, create new macros and track important system information without leaving the game. For high performance, the notebook is equipped with NVIDIA SLI technology with support for DirectX 10 graphics.

Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 processor at 2.2GHz, 4GB dual channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 200GB 7,200 RPM hard disc drive and 8x DVD+/-RW are some of the other specifications of the M1730 notebook. Besides, the notebook is equipped with a 17-inch UltraSharp widescreen (1920×1200) display with TrueLife technology, 2MP built-in webcam with dual digital array microphones and ExpressCard Consumer IR Travel Remote Control.

Buyers can make their choice of operating system from Microsoft Windows Vista Premium or Windows XP Professional. The Dell XPS M1730 will be available in the Indian market at a price starting from Rs. 1,00,800 in various colors like Crimson Red, Sapphire Blue and Smoke Grey.

On the other hand the XPS 730 H2C desktop features the new NVIDIA nforce 790i Ultra SLI chipset with standard ATX motherboard. Further it supports a variety of optional high performance graphics solutions, including the ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 in four-way CrossFireX or NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT with SLI technology.

Some of the other features of the XPS 730 H2C desktop are:
# Standard ATX motherboard, 1 kilowatt 80PLUS power supply, and clean cable management for easy component upgrades
# Large, quiet pulse width modulation (PWM) fans
# Support for the new Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA), enabling real-time and complete PC performance management, while delivering new control and monitoring features for thermal, electric and acoustic characteristics.

The XPS 730 H2C is expected to be available for Rs. 1,39,900 and onwards.


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Asus Eee PC 901 comming soon

Asus Eee PC 901Looks like a new sibling to the existing Asus Eee PC 900 is coming soon. The Asus Eee PC 901 may have the same specs as the 900 and the difference is only a new row of buttons between the keyboard and battery, along with a power plug on the left side.

Nothing much is different from the 900, but apparently Asus has thrown in a new row of buttons between the keyboard and battery, along with a power plug on the left side.Guess the measurements were not tampered with this time. I wonder if the innards will be different.


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How to Add Games to the Asus EEE PC

While some people will want to use the ASUS Eee PC for work, a little entertainment never hurts, and that includes games. These tips are designed for people new to Linux, with Xandros the default operating system found on many 2 GB and 4 GB models. Read on for how to add games to the ASUS Eee PC.

Step1
Back up your files and settings, preferably to a USB flash drive, especially if this is your first experience with adding programs to your ASUS Eee PC, or you are new to using Linux.
Step2
Synaptic Program Manager Use Terminal Mode by selecting the Ctrl+Alt+T keys simultaneously to access a program called Synaptic. Synaptic enables you to read about several games as well as install them, mostly from preapproved compatible sources. Also note that many games for Linux and the ASUS Eee PC are obtained through file repositories. These may be updated via Synaptic as well. If you are working in Advanced Mode or with KDE, you can also access Synaptic via the File menu.
Step3
Typing in Terminal Mode Access Synaptic in Terminal Mode by typing “sudo synaptic” (no quotes), then hitting "Enter." The Synaptic Package Manager should now be viewable. Do not worry about mistakes at this point since the Synaptic Manger will not install programs without your permission.
Step4
Games in Synaptic Manager Find "Games" or “Games and Applications” in the left-side Synaptic window listing. Click on "All" and then type “G” or “Games” for faster location. Notice how the different names of packages (programs) appear on the right side. Click on these individually, or use the search function to find games of interest. Their description is available in the lower-right box underneath the games list.
Step5
Right-click on a game you wish to install and select “Mark for Installation.” A confirmation menu will appear; select "Mark" and "OK."
Step6
Select “Apply” in the Synaptic Manager to complete the process. After the game is added to your ASUS Eee PC, you can elect to view the “Details” to verify how the process worked.
Step7
Game directory Navigate to the /usr/game directory, with your File Manager, to locate your game. Simply click on it, and the game should load if the installation went well. For convenience, you can learn how to add an icon or link, depending on which Linux setup you have.


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Asus E3 Eee PC4G Green notebook computer

The Asus E3 Eee PC4G range is small portable laptops in a range of colours and with a shock proof design, the Asus E3 Eee PC4G is powered by an Intel Celeron M ULV 353 processor and runs on an operating system of Customized Xandros Linux. The Asus E3 Eee PC4G has 512MB DDR2 RAM combined with a 4GB Flash hard drive to handle your important files such as music, photos, video clips, and documents.

The Asus E3 Eee PC4G measures 225 x 164 x 35mm with a weight of 0.92kg and features a 7 inch WVGA TFT display, Intel GMA 900 graphics, Integrated Intel High Definition Audio, card reader, Built-in 1.5W Stereo Speakers, 0.3 Megapixels camera, 3 USB ports, 2 year warranty.


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Acer Aspire 6920G-603G25Bn

The Aspire range of notebooks from Acer are aimed at home users who want a portable machine for multimedia purposes, whether that's simply watching movies or TV, listening to music, or increasingly, actually editing content for themselves, as well as every day tasks.

This machine is the first we've seen that uses the new Gemstone Blue design, which pushes multimedia to the forefront of the design. On the left-hand side you'll find a rather large and ostentatious array of media buttons that glow blue when in use.

 Acer Aspire 6920G-603G25Bn

Acer has christened these buttons CineDash and are touch-sensitive. However, there is a Hold button that will stop you from accidentally changing your settings. The buttons are linked to Acer's Arcade media software, which works in much the same way as Microsoft's Media Centre tools, so you can load and run movies, music and all your media files from one central interface.

We found this worked well but unlike other companies who have used a Linux kernel for these services, which take up less resources and allow you to drop in to this mode straight from boot-up, Arcade loads from within Windows, which sort of defeats the need for it.

However, it is the design and extras that come with this machine that really make it stand out. The screen is a 16-inch Super-TFT panel and is the first notebook to sport this size. The reason is that it supports HD Ready natively, so can be connected with your HD television without having to rescale images.

This means the screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9, the same as a widescreen television, as opposed to 16:10 found on a normal notebook panel.

Movies fit on the screen better and as a result look better. Acer has added a Blu-ray drive, so you can watch the latest HD content with ease. The larger screen also means there is plenty of space for the keyboard, which is of a good size. The keys sit comfortably in the middle of the main body and while they aren't the most secure – they tended to rattle as we typed – it felt comfortable to use.

With an overall weight of 3.4kg, this machine is intended for use about the home rather than being taken on the move. In terms of battery life, we managed to get a little less than 2 hours from a full charge, which is fine for home use.

Acer may have concentrated a good deal on the look of the machine but it hasn't neglected the components inside. Powered by an Intel 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 and backed by 4GB of memory, this is a powerful machine to use. The 320GB hard drive is more than acceptable at this price.


Full Review

12 May 2008 - The Aspire range of notebooks from Acer are aimed at home users who want a portable machine for multimedia purposes, whether that's simply watching movies or TV, listening to music, or increasingly, actually editing content for themselves, as well as every day tasks.

This machine is the first we've seen that uses the new Gemstone Blue design, which pushes multimedia to the forefront of the design. On the left-hand side you'll find a rather large and ostentatious array of media buttons that glow blue when in use.

Acer has christened these buttons CineDash and are touch-sensitive. However, there is a Hold button that will stop you from accidentally changing your settings. The buttons are linked to Acer's Arcade media software, which works in much the same way as Microsoft's Media Centre tools, so you can load and run movies, music and all your media files from one central interface.

We found this worked well but unlike other companies who have used a Linux kernel for these services, which take up less resources and allow you to drop in to this mode straight from boot-up, Arcade loads from within Windows, which sort of defeats the need for it.

However, it is the design and extras that come with this machine that really make it stand out. The screen is a 16-inch Super-TFT panel and is the first notebook to sport this size. The reason is that it supports HD Ready natively, so can be connected with your HD television without having to rescale images.

This means the screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9, the same as a widescreen television, as opposed to 16:10 found on a normal notebook panel.

Movies fit on the screen better and as a result look better. Acer has added a Blu-ray drive, so you can watch the latest HD content with ease. The larger screen also means there is plenty of space for the keyboard, which is of a good size. The keys sit comfortably in the middle of the main body and while they aren't the most secure – they tended to rattle as we typed – it felt comfortable to use.

With an overall weight of 3.4kg, this machine is intended for use about the home rather than being taken on the move. In terms of battery life, we managed to get a little less than 2 hours from a full charge, which is fine for home use.

Acer may have concentrated a good deal on the look of the machine but it hasn't neglected the components inside. Powered by an Intel 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 and backed by 4GB of memory, this is a powerful machine to use. The 320GB hard drive is more than acceptable at this price.

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VERDICT
The look of the Acer Aspire 6920G-603G25Bn is definitely a love/loath design and as much as we didn't like it, there is no denying this is a great notebook for the price. Acer has been bold with the design and as a result has delivered an impressive machine.


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ASUS Eee PC 900

The popularity of the ASUS Eee PC range cannot be denied. Since it was launched five months ago, ASUS has sold over one million units of the Eee PCs worldwide. The sleek white (or black) machine has fueled much envy over its success and competitors have been quick to take note of this fact by launching their own versions.

Not one to be upset by its competitors, ASUS has released its newest model of the Eee PC series, the Eee PC 900. You may have seen our coverage of the launch of the Eee PC just recently, so you're probably aware of the newer features the Eee PC 900sports, such as the 1.3-megapixel camera and the larger 8.9-inch screen. ASUS has also increased the storage capacity of the 900 series to around 20GB for the Linux version and 12GB for the Windows version.

Both models will be retailing at the same price despite the difference in storage capacity, mainly due to the licensing costs for a Windows XP operating system. Linux after all, is free, but may not be as familiar to most users as Windows is.

ASUS Eee PC 900 Sleek, slim and light is the motto of the day.


ASUS Eee PC 900 The front profile is clean with only the silverish trackpad buttons visible.


ASUS Eee PC 900 Located on the right side of the Eee PC 900 is a MMC SD card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, an analog video out and a Kensington lock.


ASUS Eee PC 900 The left profile is less packed and has a LAN port, another USB 2.0 port and the audio jacks. Located in the middle is a fan vent.


ASUS Eee PC 900 The back of the unit is similar to the front profile, clean with only the power port for charging.


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HP Pavilion dv3000

It's not hard to love HP these days. As the top PC retailer you might figure they would be resting on their collective laurels but instead, they been delivering products that continue to impress while making computers more personal that appeal to both business and casual users alike.

The HP Pavilion dv3000 notebook is no exception to this rule and it's not hard to see why, with its glossy "iron mesh" surface thanks to HP's Imprint technology and its reflective silver interior. Though HP Pavilion dv3000 is not just all looks and no substance as it comes packed with sufficient hardware to compete with most desktops.

HP Pavilion dv3000 The spanking new and glossy dv3000 stands ready for all your entertainment needs.


HP Pavilion dv3000 The front profile is clean, hosting only the audio jacks together with the Altec Lansing speakers.


HP Pavilion dv3000 Located on its right profile is the removable optical disk drive, a USB port, a LAN port and a modem port.


HP Pavilion dv3000 The left side packs more stuff: a analog video out, a Kensington Lock, a USB port, a USB & eSATA combo port, a HDMI port, a 5-in-1 card reader and an ExpressCard slot which also holds the remote control.


HP Pavilion dv3000 The rear panel is empty, no doubt intentional as the battery slot is located there and the screen swivels open to block any ports behind.


HP Pavilion dv3000 Here we see a close up of the 'iron mesh' design, thanks to HP's Imprint technology, which also gives it a glossy outer look and feel.


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Dell Three Slim Inspiron Notebooks - 1435, 1535 and 1735

Dell Three Slim Inspiron Notebooks - 1435, 1535 and 1735Seems Dell is getting ready to launch its slim laptops. Dell is expected to introduce three Inspirons laptops namely 1435, 1535 and 1735.

Dell’s upcoming Inspiron notebooks are similar in design but the thickness ranges between 1.0 to 1.5-inches, while the screen size varies between 14 to 17 inches depending on the model. The numbering of the models is in line with other Inspiron models.

Specifications can vary but you may come across a Core 2Duo 2 16 GHz processor, multi format card reader, optional 3G connectivity and slot- loading Blu-ray drives. 1535 is rumored to go on sale from 26 May, followed by 1735 in June and 1435 later in October. These features are enough to judge the intensity of competition faced by its rivals like Macbook.

The leaked pictures reveal the tapering design that stretches from around 38mm at the thickest and 25mm at the thinnest. The side hinges look as if they have come straight from the XPS 1330 and 1530.

Dell is the largest mid-range laptop manufacturer that provides cheap, affordable solutions to everyone looking for a laptop. They surely know what people look for and have come up with these laptops that are thinner than the usual Inspiron.


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Acer TravelMate 6292

Acer TravelMate 6292The Acer TravelMate 6292 sports an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500 running at 2.20 Ghz with 2GB RAM of memory on Windows Vista Business. This 12-inch portable business notebook is equipped with a biometric fingerprint reader for your security concerns, a 160GB SATA hard drive, Intel X3100 graphics and a Super- Multi DVD burner drive. The integrated biometric fingerprint reader, supports Pre-Boot Authentication (PBA) for secure authentication during system power-on even before the operating system starts, and Acer’s FingerLaunch offers a one-touch way of accessing frequently used documents/applications by simply swiping your finger on the reader to open the document or application assigned to that fingerprint. One drawback though is that the fingerprint reader is placed in between the mouse buttons, and tends to get in the way while working.

While the small sized keyboard keys may be tricky for those with big fingers, the keyboard has five quick launch buttons, which enable you to launch the email application, activate the internet browser, enable/disable the wireless LAN or Bluetooth function and use the webcam function. Above the keypad are the power button and another hotkey- Acer Empowering technology. Acer Empowering Technology integrates seven frequently used applications into one portal, easily accessible via a single key. Acer's eRecovery Management for system backup and system restore, and ePresentation Management, which controls video output modes to external LCDs or projectors, are some of its other features.
The magnesium alloy body projects robustness. And weighing approximately 2kg, the Acer TravelMate 6292 is a portable but very robust business notebook thanks to Acer’s Disk Anti-Shock Protection (DASP) technology that insulates the notebook's hard disk from damage. Acer’s DASP technology takes care of your data keeping it safe and secure even while on the go.

As for its performance in our benchmarks, it got 549 3D Marks Score in 3DMark06. The RAR File Extraction Test took 1 hour, 2 minutes, 3 seconds, and the file converter benchmark took 6 hours, 13 minutes for it to convert a 47- minute VOB test file into MWV. In Sisoft Sandra’s Memory Bandwidth benchmark this notebook read at 4018MB/s and ran for an impressive 2 hours, 35 minutes in our battery life test, Battery Eater Pro. Company of Heroes scored low just like the MSI PR300 with only 5.7-FPS average frame rate. DOOM3’s time demo results was 11.7-FPS as it was able to render 2148 frames in 1 83.9 seconds. It could not install FEAR, but we just let it pass because we do have to keep in mind that this is a business notebook.

Pros:It''s portable, but not fragile. And Acer''s Disk Anti-Shock Protection (DASP) technology helps insulate the notebook''s hard disk from damage.

Cons:Small sized keyboard maybe tricky for those with large fingers and those used to a full sized keyboard. Fingerprint reader tends to get in the way while working.


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Control your Apple Mac OS X Leopard over the Internet

Control your Apple Mac OS X Leopard over the Internet
Working from home means that I have never really needed to have control of my home Apple Mac when traveling, but this has started to change of late with a few occasions happening that included the fact that I needed a file from home when I was away. This problem can now be solved with “Back To My Mac”, this software lets you control your Apple Mac OS X Leopard over the Internet, and this is ideal if you need anything from your main Mac. You just connect via .Mac; it will find your Apple Mac computer and then display it in the Leopard Finder.

Some people might feel this is a security risk, but Apple have said that the information will be for your eyes only, they said the software “uses advanced authentication and data encryption technologies to help prevent unauthorized access to your data and protect it”. Using Back to my Mac, you can browse your entire hard drive and simply drag and drop the file to your local Mac. If you want to control your remote Mac just like you are sitting next to it, then you can use the Screen Sharing feature and, move folders, launch applications, save and edit documents from anywhere in the world.

All you need to use Back to my Mac is two or more Mac OS X 10.5.1 Leopard-based Mac computers that are configured for use with the same .Mac account, and an AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme or third-party router. Be aware that the 3rd party router has to be compatible with UPnP or NAT-PMP.

Watch Back to my Mac in action, view demo video.


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HP delivers inexpensive business desktop PC

HP delivers inexpensive business desktop PC
HP recently introduced a new business-focused Compaq desktop PC which is reportedly energy efficient. It is known as the HP Compaq dc5850 Business Desktop PC and you’ll find it with a starting price of around $600.

The HP Compaq dc5850 Business Desktop PC, available now, makes use of AMD Business Class processors, including the AMD Phenom processor. You’ll also find integrated ATI Radeon 3100 graphics with support for DirectX 10 technology, standard support for dual monitors and standard support for RAID technology with data mirroring.

Other features of the dc5850 include Energy Star 4.0 qualification, an embedded TPM 1.2 security chip and AMD Cool’n’Quiet 2.0 technology. This desktop is focused more towards corporate settings so consumers may want to look somewhere else for a cheap desktop PC.


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Toshiba A305D

Toshiba A305DToshiba A305D is the sometimes overlooked AMD younger brother to the Intel A305 notebook. This model shares practically the same design, just fewer features that help to bring the cost down. At first glance it would be impossible to tell these two notebooks apart, but if you take a close enough look you can probably spot the differences. Read on to see if this lower cost AMD-equipped Toshiba A305D deserves a spot on your desk.

Observant readers will notice that much of this review is similar to our review of the Intel-based A305, and with good reason. The A305D is essentially the same notebook with a few different parts inside. Keep reading and we'll focus on whether those differences make the A305D better or worse.

Our review unit of the A305D features the following specifications:

* Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
* AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core TL-64 (2.2GHz)
* 15.4" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1280x800 (WXGA)
* ATI Radeon X1250 Integrated Graphics
* Atheros Wireless 802.11a/g/n
* 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
* 320GB 5400rpm Toshiba Hard Drive
* DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive with Labelflash
* 1.3 megapixel webcam
* Harmon/Kardon stereo speakers
* Fingerprint reader
* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 14.25" x 10.5" x 1.4" /2.25"
* Weight: 6 lbs 2.5oz with six-cell battery
* 75W (19V x 3.95A) 100-240V AC Adapter
* 6-cell (4000mAh) Lithium Ion battery
* 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty
* Price as configured: $999.99

Build and Design

First thing you will notice is every part of this notebook is glossy, from the screen cover, to the palm rest, and even the keyboard keys. Toshiba is really showing off their new durable Fusion finish on every part of the notebook that they can, and in some ways it is a very good thing. Durability is a big thing with notebook finishes, as many glossy finishes will dull and scratch over time. The new Toshiba Fusion finish on this is incredibly durable, and has yet to actually scratch throughout my testing. With multiple trips in my backpack, I can't find any visible scuffs on the cover, where other notebooks would show fine scratches almost out of the wrapper.

So what does this Fusion finish mean to you? Your keys will not go from matte to glossy over time as they wear down (they are already glossy). Every part of the notebook will get full of smudges and fingerprints, but you can always wipe it down in a couple of minutes to make it look brand new. On other notebooks you get all the smudges, but it would take some hard work with some plastic polish before you ever got it looking new again.

Build quality is excellent in most areas, giving the notebook a very solid feel. Squeaks and creaks are not present, and panel flex is at a minimum. The only areas that stand out as needing some improvement are the wobbly battery, and rough edges around the screen frame where the two plastic pieces meet.

Conclusion

The AMD-based Toshiba Satellite A305D is built off a good platform that it also shares with the Intel A305, but the small price cut doesn't make up for the huge loss in performance. For saving roughly $200 you go from a capable gaming machine with dual hard drives and an extended battery, to a budget configuration notebook. If the price was about $300 or $400 dollars less than it is now I would be all over it considering how much I love this design, but the retail price of $1,000 is asking way too much.

Pros

* Above average LCD
* Slick keyboard (literally)
* Touch sensitive media keys
* Flush mount touchpad with great surface texture
* Great Harmon/Kardon Speakers

Cons

* Warm touchpad
* Reflective surface can blind others with its awesomeness
* Low performance for the price


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Kensington Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports

Kensington Ci70 Keyboard with USB PortsKensington has an updated version of the Ci70 keyboard: the Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports. This new keyboard has a mini-USB connector that will allow the user to attach smaller gadgets and download files without the hassle of searching through a pile of cords or worrying about forgetting your cords at work and home.

The Kensington Ci70 Specifications

* Keyboard dimensions: approx. 16.0"L x 7.0"W x 0.25"-1" H
* PC and Mac compatible
* 3 USB 2.0 ports (2 regular, 1 mini)
* Five keyboard hot keys
* 5-year warranty

Kensington Ci70 keyboard with USB ports is extremely light and thin; most of the keyboard is only a .25" thick. It's black, which I like, with off white accents.

The keyboard features Kensington's soft-touch keys- which like the name indicates- that need only a light touch unlike some keyboards.

At the top of the keyboard- the only section that is an inch thick- are five hot keys, the built-in mini USB connector and a regular USB port. The hot keys are easy to figure out, there is an eject key (only works with Mac), a search key, e-mail key, internet key and music key.

Above the number pad, there are five media keys that will control your default media player: volume up, volume down, play/pause, skip forward, skip backward.

There is also an Apple key and a Windows key.

Using the Kensington Ci70

Installation was a snap. There was no software to load. Just plug in the keyboard into any USB port and it works almost immediately.

Like the Kensington Ci70wireless keyboard I reviewed awhile back, I had a problem with the ultra thin design. I can't type comfortably with a flat, super thin keyboard and for whatever reason the feet are designed to give the user less than a half inch of lift. For me, that's not enough.

All the hot keys and media keys worked well, and the keys themselves were responsive. The USB ports all worked fine, including the mini USB connector. I didn't have a camera I could test out the connector with because all the ones we had in the office were micro USB. I did plug in a Motorola Q and a MP3 player and my computer recognized the new hardware, etc. I couldn't get the Q to charge through the keyboard though (Kensington doesn't claim that it would, just that it will download files from devices that have mini USB).
Conclusion

The Kensington Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports is definitely a useful product for people with extra gadgets. I love the idea of not having to drag out five different cords to plug in my MP3, camera and phone. It does stink that USB devices are not standardized; maybe in the future Kensington can look into adding a micro USB port/connector as well.

Pros

* Light weight
* 5-year warranty
* Flexible- can use if right or left handed
* Compatible with a Mac and PC

Cons

* Small kickstand
* Comes in only one color
* Sort of expensive


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Sager NP9262

Sager NP9262Today we will look at Sager NP9262, "the world's most powerful notebook computer." This 17-inch monster features desktop processors, dual graphics cards, and the biggest power adapter you will ever see. At 12 pounds it is not light, and starting at more than $2,200 no drop in the bucket. However, for those seeking the ultimate in portable power the Sager NP9262 is the answer

Our test Sager NP9262 is configured as follows:

* Display: 17-inch WUXGA (1920x1200) Glossy Widescreen
* DUAL NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX in SLi Mode w/1,024MB
* Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz Processor w/6M L2 Cache - 1,333MHz FSB
* Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
* 4GB (2 SODIMMS) DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory
* 640GB RAID 0 ( Dual 320GB SATA II 3GB/s 5,400 RPM Hard Drives (8MB Cache Buffer) )
* Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
* Built-in Intel PRO/Wireless 4965 802.11a/g/n
* Built-in Bluetooth Wireless
* Smart Li-ion Battery (12 Cell)
* Windows XP Professional AND VISTA Ultimate 32bit on two sets of hard drives

As of writing, the Sager NP9262 starts at $2,262 on PowerNotebooks.com; the above configuration tops out at a shade under $3,900. Note that Sager sent us the Sager NP9262 with two operating systems for testing purposes only; Sager cannot sell a system with two operating systems. However, users are free to install a second operating system on their own.

Think of the Sager Sager NP9262 as the Apple MacBook Air . . . on opposite day. The Sager NP9262 stresses the very definition of the term ‘notebook' and intimidates with its sheer size. This animal has the following dimensions and weight:

* 15.5 in. wide x 11.75 in. deep x 2.35 in. thick
* 11.55 lb including battery
* 2.5 lb 280W power adapter

I had a great time showing this notebook to friends, as the first sight never failed to produce either an expletive or gaping mouth. I was usually able to bring out a second expletive by handing them its epic power adapter. This is not a power brick - this is a power cinder block. Yes, it is that big.

Sager NP9262 looks powerful. Its external appearance is blocky but civilized, and by civilized I mean has no sharp corners or rough edges - all corners on this machine are nicely rounded off. The bottom half of the base is smaller than the top half, giving the impression this machine is smaller than it really is. All viewable areas of the Sager NP9262 with the exception of the keyboard and lid are beautifully finished with a clear glossy lacquer. There are two colors used on the Sager NP9262: dark slate gray and black. The palmrest area and border around back of the lid have the dark slate gray paint job. It discreetly displays its small metallic flakes in the light, which shows attention to detail. Glossy black covers the remainder viewable surfaces, including the sides and inside of the lid. The black is deep and offers good contrast to the gray areas. The back of the lid is largely one solid sheet of brushed aluminum and looks of high quality.

The build quality of the Sager NP9262 is fantastic. Unusually thick plastic is used for most of the construction; obviously weight was not a concern in the design of this notebook. There is positively no flex to be found on any surface ... two-by-fours might as well be lining the insides of this beast. The glossy lacquer finish is blemish-free and feels silky smooth to the touch; it surprisingly feels durable and hides fingerprints well. The back of the display is amply reinforced by a sheet of aluminum, which adds protection in addition to style. The entire display of the Sager NP9262 is resistant to flexing; no ripples appear in the display while pushing on the back of it. The entire display is anchored to the chassis by two strong hinges, which do not allow it to wobble.

The Sager NP9262 has many subtle design features which give it a sophisticated appearance. In the center of the lid is the SAGER logo set on top of a matte black square; both the logo and the trim around the square have a mirror finish. The touchpad also has a thin mirror finish border surrounding it and lighter-colored brushed aluminum buttons. The touchpad is inlaid with a secondary black glossy plastic border as well, giving it an elegant appearance. The multi-purpose buttons to the left of and above the keyboard are solid pieces of aluminum, which yield a solid feeling when pushed. The power button is large and surrounded by a neon blue lighted ring that is lit just right.

In summary, the Sager NP9262 is without a doubt one of the best-built notebooks I have tested. From its flawless finish to brick-like solidness, it has no-compromise quality written all over it.

Conclusion

The Sager NP9262 is not small, is not cheap, and is not for everyone. This notebook battleship means business with its intimidating design, rock solid quality, and arsenal of high-powered components. The Sager NP9262 is in a class of its own and proved itself during our testing. There is truly nothing else like this on the market. I enjoyed every minute of my time with the Sager NP9262 and will miss it dearly. Without hesitation I recommend the Sager NP9262 to those seeking the ultimate performance in a mobile package.

Pros

* Phenomenal performance courtesy of desktop processors, dual graphics cards, and up to three hard drives in RAID
* Beautiful display
* Rock solid quality
* Reliable cooling system
* Quiet operation
* Good keyboard/touchpad
* Excellent service and support
* Wide variety of input/output ports
* Battery life (it actually gets one hour)

Cons

* Keyboard layout could be improved
* No HDMI port


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Toshiba Satellite A305

Toshiba Satellite A305Toshiba Satellite A305 is a redesign of the older A205, vastly improving the look and feel of the notebook, as well as adding the incredibly durable Fusion finish. While some of the lower body looks similar to the older notebook, everything from the waistline up has changed to a sleeker, softer, and glossier feel. Read on to see how well this notebook stacks up against its older brother, and find out if this notebook is worthy of a spot on your lap.

Our review unit of the Toshiba Satellite A305 features the following specs:

* Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
* Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.10GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
* 15.4" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1280x800 (WXGA)
* ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 with 512MB video memory
* Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n)
* 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
* 200GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (5400RPM) Primary
* 200GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (4200RPM) Secondary
* DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive with Labelflash
* 1.3 megapixel webcam
* Harmon/Kardon stereo speakers
* Fingerprint reader
* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 14.25" x 10.5" x 1.4" /2.25"
* Weight: 6 lbs 13.5oz with nine-cell battery
* 120W (19V x 6.32A) 100-240V AC Adapter (6.0" x 2.55" x 1.45" and weighs 1.56 lb)
* 9-cell (6000mAh) Lithium Ion battery
* 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty
* Price as configured: $1,249.99

The first thing you will notice is every part of this notebook is glossy, from the screen cover to the palm rest, and even the keyboard keys. Toshiba is really showing off their new durable Fusion finish on every part of the notebook that they can, and in some ways it is a very good thing. Durability is a big thing with notebook finishes, as many glossy finishes will dull and scratch over time. The new Toshiba Fusion finish on this notebook is incredibly durable, and has yet to actually scratch throughout my testing. With multiple trips in my backpack, I can't find any visible scuffs on the cover, where other notebooks would show fine scratches almost out of the wrapper.

So what does this Fusion finish mean to you? Your keys will not go from matte to glossy over time as they wear down (they are already glossy). Every part of the notebook will get full of smudges and fingerprints, but you can always wipe it down in a couple of minutes to make it look brand new. On other notebooks you get all the smudges, but it would take some hard work with some plastic polish before you ever got it looking new again.

Build quality is excellent in most areas, giving the notebook a very solid feel. Squeaks and creaks are not present, and panel flex is at a minimum. The only areas that stand out as needing some improvement are the wobbly battery, and rough edges around the screen frame where the two plastic pieces meet.

The new Satellite A305 changes quite a bit of its design, while still retaining some resemblance of its older A205 brother. The biggest change is the use of the new durable Fusion finish, which can be found on practically every surface of the notebook, from the top cover to the individual keyboard keys. Unlike the older glossy surface that would scuff with minimal effort, the Fusion finish holds up very well, and I have yet to find a fine scratches or other wear on it.

The keyboard and surrounding area has changed quite a bit form the older A205, including touch sensitive multimedia keys, which are all the rage these days on most notebooks. Another change is the flush touchpad area, which is surprisingly slick with its textured surface. It is almost too easy to slide your finger around on it, and slip off onto the palm rest. The touchpad buttons have also changed quite a bit, going from rectangular slabs to chromed ovals which are easier to trigger, as well as being more comfortable to use.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Satellite A305 is an excellent upgrade and overhaul to the older lackluster A205 notebook. The design looks great, the finish is awesome, the performance is outstanding, and the price is much lower than expected. I would have no problem recommending this notebook to friends and family, and right now it is almost too tempting to go out and buy one for myself.

Pros

* Above average LCD
* Slick keyboard (literally)
* Touch sensitive media keys
* Flush mount touchpad with great surface texture
* Excellent performance
* Outstanding price
* Great Harmon/Kardon Speakers

Cons

* Warm touchpad
* Reflective surface can blind others with its awesomeness
* Wobbly 9-cell battery


Continue Read Toshiba Satellite A305

Toshiba Satellite U405

Toshiba Satellite U405Toshiba Satellite U400/U405 series is a new 13.3" widescreen notebook that weighs in at just 4.85 pounds and packs solid Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn performance and a big hard drive with plenty of storage space. Add to that a stylish chassis covered in Toshiba's new "Fusion" finish, 3GB of RAM, a webcam, and fingerprint reader and this notebook starts looking even better. Toshiba calls this notebook a "compact hero [that] balances working room with carrying comfort." Let's take a look and see if this laptop is as good as it sounds.

Toshiba Satellite U400/U405 series is available with a range of Intel processors (from the 1.73GHz Pentium Dual-Core T2370 up to the T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Penryn). There is only one 13.3" screen offering, a 1280x800 WXGA "TruBrite" glossy display. The notebook can take up to 4GB of RAM and Toshiba offers 32-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista SP1. The system is priced starting at $767.20 at the time of this writing.

Our review unit of the Toshiba Satellite U405-S2830 is equipped with the following specs:

* Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 32-bit)
* Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T8100 (2.10GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHz FSB)
* Mobile Intel GM965 Express Chipset
* Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/g/n)
* 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM (maximum capacity 4GB)
* 250GB Serial ATA hard disk drive (5400RPM)
* DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive with Labelflash
* 13.3" diagonal widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display at 1280x800 (WXGA)
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 with 128MB-358MB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory
* 1.3 megapixel webcam
* Bluetooth version 2.1 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
* Fingerprint reader
* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 12.4" x 9.02" x 1.08" /1.38"
* Weight: 4.85 lbs with six-cell battery
* 75W (19V x 3.95A) 100-240V AC Adapter (5.0" x 1.20" x 2.01" and weighs 0.77 lb)
* 6-cell (4800mAh) Lithium Ion battery
* 1-Year Standard Limited Warranty
* Price as configured: $1,149.99


Like most notebooks with a 13.3" widescreen display the U405 is on the border of the thin-and-light and ultra-portable categories. With a weight of more than four and a half pounds it isn't the lightest notebook in its class. Likewise, since the notebook is 1 inch thick at its thinnest point the U405 falls in the "middle of the pack" among recent 13.3" systems. While the U405 might be a little thicker and heavier than Apple's MacBook Air or Lenovo's ThinkPad X300, the U405 is a far more consumer friendly notebook with the perfect balance of form and function.

The exterior of the U405 is constructed of plastic yet it felt exceptionally solid. There was no flex to the chassis even when significant pressure was applied to the corners of the notebook. The U405 also uses the high-gloss "Fusion" finish which is an imprinted design that is both durable and attractive. The Fusion finish is one of the most durable glossy finishes I've seen on a notebook and easily rivals the quality of the "Imprint" finish found on HP notebooks.

While I generally like the horizontal line design imprint on the U405, the finish isn't just glossy ... it's reflective. This will be quite appealing to some consumers and ghastly for others. When you open the LCD lid on this laptop the back of the display basically looks like a mirror as seen in the photo below.

Of course, the mirror-like reflections on the Fusion finish have some advantages as well. You can use the laptop to reflect the sun and signal rescue planes if you are ever lost in the woods with your laptop. The LCD lid also comes in handy if you need a mirror for your morning shave.

In all seriousness, the design is extremely attractive but certainly isn't subdued or conservative.

Conclusion

A notebook is more than the sum of its parts. For several years now Toshiba has managed to make solid notebooks but they didn't excite our editorial staff ... until now. In years past Toshiba usually did a fine job "on paper" by delivering laptops with good components, but the "complete package" left something to be desired. Well, Toshiba was paying attention to that criticism and the result is the new Satellite lineup for 2008.

The Satellite U405 is quite possibly the best 13-inch consumer budget notebook we've seen to date. Sure, the current configuration doesn't offer dedicated graphics for playing the latest 3D games, but the U405 is the most balanced overall package we've seen in quite a while. The U405 combines attractive styling, a gorgeous screen, a wonderful keyboard and touchpad, good port selection, and solid performance all at a price that rivals anything we've seen from the competition.

The entry-level configuration of the U405 is priced at $767.20 compared to the entry-level configuration of the Dell Vostro 1310 priced at $747 ... but the U405 is a far superior laptop. As configured, our review unit of the U405 is priced at $1,149.99 (even less at some online stores) but a similar configuration of the less-impressive Dell Vostro 1310 is priced at close to $1,300 and a similar configuration of the Dell XPS M1330 costs $1,400.

Still, the heart of the matter is that the Toshiba Satellite U405 is simply a great laptop. I don't often get attached to review notebooks but I can honestly say I don't want to send this laptop back to Toshiba. This warrants repeating. As an editor and writer for a website that reviews laptops I get a new laptop to use at least once a week ... but I don't want to send this one back.

If you are an average consumer looking for a well-rounded 13-inch notebook that can handle all of your needs without breaking the bank then the Toshiba Satellite U405 belongs at the top of your list.

Pros

* Reasonably thin and light weight
* Great screen
* Wonderful keyboard
* Fantastic touchpad and touchpad buttons
* Great media buttons and white LED indicators
* Good selection of ports
* Convenient USB "Sleep and Charge" ports
* Excellent performance
* Great value

Cons

* No S-video or HDMI port (in this configuration)
* No dedicated graphics option (at the time of this writing)
* Mirror finish won't appeal to everyone
* I don't get to keep it


Continue Read Toshiba Satellite U405

Lenovo ThinkPad X300

Like any ultra-portable notebook, there are a few compromises in the design which is meant to enhance battery life at the expense of all-out power, and is a typical trade-off in this category. It starts with the CPU, which is a low-voltage Core 2 Duo running at 1.2GHz. It also comes with a 64GB solid-state hard drive, and unfortunately there’s no option to configure it with a higher-capacity mechanical drive
Lenovo ThinkPad X300
Aside from those specs, the rest of the notebook is as full-featured as you would expect a flagship notebook to be. Lenovo hasn’t skimped one bit on features and includes three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and mic jacks, a Gigabit Ethernet port, optical drive, VGA-out, 1.3MP webcam and a switch to disable all wireless radios. There are no expansion slots however, such as an ExpressCard port, nor are there any slots for removable media.

Wireless Coverage

Speaking of wireless, it seems Lenovo shares Apple’s vision of a wireless future, but Lenovo has taken it to the next level by including every possible wireless option known to man, including onboard Intel Wi-Fi that supports legacy G speeds as well as the faster N standard. The system also supports Bluetooth, and has an internal Verizon Wireless broadband card as well. The wireless broadband isn’t free of course, and you have to sign up for 2 years paying either $39.95 a month for 50MB of data usage or $59.95 for 5GB.

Ultra-portable

Tipping the scales at a mere 2.9lbs., the X300 is certainly very light, but that doesn’t mean it’s a feathery notebook that will crack the first time it falls out of one’s laptop bag. Lenovo has designed the X300 to not only be easily portable but also rugged enough to withstand the rigors of frequent travel. It uses a roll-cage that wraps around the chassis, and features a magnesium chassis for increased strength. Internally it features carbon and glass fiber to reduce weight without sacrificing ruggedness.

Display Details

In the past most ultra-portable notebooks have used small 12.1” displays in order to keep size and weight to the minimum, but recently manufacturers have moved to a larger 13.3” display for the simple reason that more display real estate is better as long as it doesn’t negatively impact overall weight. The X300 uses a 13.3” LED backlit display, similar to the MacBook Air paired with onboard Intel X3100 graphics. The movement toward using LEDs for a backlight instead of cathode tubes is gaining popularity as its makes for more even lighting, reduces backlight leakage at the edges of the display, and consumes less power.


The Fixed Bay

Most ultra-portable notebooks do not include an optical drive, and though it’s mostly due to weight and size limitations it’s also because most people don’t bring CDs with them on the road and only occasionally need access to such a drive. Lenovo recognizes this, and allows the user to remove the optical drive and replace it with either a lightweight travel bezel that protects the port, or an additional 3-cell battery. Lenovo claims that when using Windows XP and the optional 6-cell battery, the additional 3-cell battery can extend battery life up to 10 hours.

Operating System

The default OS for the X300 (and all business-oriented notebooks these days) is Vista Business, but Lenovo also offers Windows XP Professional at no additional charge and Vista Ultimate for an extra $63. If you are considering ordering an X300 with Windows XP, you better get on the ball since Lenovo won’t be able to offer it after June 30th.

Security Features

Like all ThinkPads, the X300 comes with a biometric fingerprint scanner that can be used to log into Windows. It also features Lenovo’s Active Protection System for the internal hard drive, which monitors the movement and acceleration of the laptop in order to protect the hard drive. It also includes a Trusted Platform Module which can encrypt passwords.

Use and Testing

Like the MacBook Air, as soon as we lifted the X300 out of the box we were amazed by not only how thin and light it was, but by how rugged it felt. You can pick it up by the display or by the corner of the chassis and it doesn’t flex one bit. We pressed down hard on the top of the LCD cover and it was rock-solid and didn’t budget. It’s a smidgen thicker than the Air, but that’s mostly due to its boxy roll-cage design. Suddenly, our very own 6lb. notebook – an XPS M140 – felt like an obsolete tank in comparison.

First Boot

Since the X300 uses a solid-state hard drive, we expected its boot time to be better than average - especially since we’d heard stories of how fast it boots. It ended up booting to the desktop in a scant 40 seconds, which is good, but it then took an additional 15 seconds to load all the startup items, giving it a 55 second boot time, which is average for a Vista machine. This performance backs up our previous experience with the Asus Eee PC – as a user it’s literally impossible to “feel” any speed advantage with solid-state drives.

Once we got to the desktop it seemed pretty sparse in terms of pre-installed programs, as the only links on the desktop where to ones we see on almost every pre-built PC we get in for review: Norton Internet Security, Microsoft Office trial and Adobe Reader. It’s certainly nothing like the Toshiba Qosmio we recently reviewed. However, when we looked at the available hard disk space our jaw dropped – with its 64GB hard drive, only 36GB remained unused. This translates to a 24GB installation of Vista plus the usual ThinkVantage applications, which is unbelievably large. We used a utility to examine drive usage and nothing out of the ordinary came up aside from a 4GB directory named “backup,” but we looked and System Restore had been disabled. We’re honestly not sure why Lenovo configures its systems this way or what takes up so much space, but 36GB for storage is not a lot of space obviously.
Lenovo ThinkPad X300

General Performance

With its 2GB of RAM and Core 2 Duo processor, the X300 is certainly zippy enough for day-to-day tasks. It comes pre-loaded with Vista’s Service Pack 1, which has been known to improve general performance as well as file transfer times. It’s Windows Experience Index score is a decent 3.5.

Obviously, given its specs it’s not a machine one would purchase for gaming or video editing, and though some people are griping about its processor running at only 1.2GHz, we found it to be totally sufficient for general laptop duties.

Battery Life

Battery life is critical to an ultra-portable, and to test it we disable the screensaver and other battery-saving options and simply loop a DVD while surfing the Net until the battery runs out. Though this scenario isn’t a “worst case” scenario such as running 3DMark or loading the CPU to 100 percent, it’s a bit more strenuous than simply typing emails and such. In our tests we were able to squeeze 2 hours and 35 minutes from the included 3-cell battery, which is decent, but not spectacular. We can imagine it wouldn’t be difficult to stretch that out past 3 hours though using the built in battery-saving features Lenovo includes. Also, we received a low battery warning near the end of the test saying it was disabling the optical drive to preserve battery life, but we ignored it, so know that it’s certainly possible to get more life out of the battery. Lenovo also sells a larger 6-cell battery that’s supposed to be good for over six hours, and there’s also the extra 3-cell battery that can replace the optical drive for a few more hours of battery life.

Keyboard and Drive Protector

Every time we get to review a ThinkPad we’re reminded how much we love the keyboard. It’s spot-on perfect in terms of size, feel, key travel distance and sound. And while some notebook keyboards can feel a bit squishy or soft, the X300’s felt totally solid and was a joy to use. Though we don’t like using the red nubbin and the left-and-right keys below it, it’s nice that Lenovo includes them for those who don’t like the touchpad, which is a bit small but easy to use.

Also, Lenovo includes its Active Protection software for the hard drive, which is supposed to be able to move the read/write heads out of the way in case the notebook is dropped. We wondered though, how is that supposed to work on a solid-state drive? We opened the utility and looked at the real-time status window which displays a 3D animation of the notebook that moves when you move the notebook. It noted “no shock detected” no matter what we did, even when we swung it around very fast and even dropped it on our bed, which would normally trip the sensor, it always said no shock detected. We bring this up to highlight how nice it is to have a solid-state drive. Even if it doesn’t “feel” faster than a normal drive, it’s comforting knowing you can throw the notebook around without having to worry about any moving parts inside (aside from the CPU fan).

Conclusion

Lenovo has done a very good job with the X300, and if we win the lottery soon we’d choose it over the MacBook Air simply because it’s just as portable but a lot more flexible. Despite its size, the X300 makes very few compromises to achieve such a slim profile and it’s so solid construction makes it feels almost unbreakable. The biggest drawback is clearly its small 64GB hard drive, and that situation is exacerbated by the fact that only 36GB are free. Granted it’s a business notebook so it is likely users won’t be ripping movies to the hard drive or engaging in other “home user” type of activities. Anyone could easily augment this storage with a USB drive but still – 36GB is below what we’d consider a bare minimum amount of storage for a notebook these days.

Specs

Processor Brand Intel
Processor Class Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed 1.2 GHz
Mobile Technology Intel Centrino with vPro Technology
Installed Memory 2 GB
Maximum Memory 3 GB
Memory Technology DDR II SDRAM
Cache Size 4 MB
Processor Core 2 Duo
Processor Technology Intel Centrino with vPro Technology

Storage Hard Drive Capacity 64 GB
Included Drives DVD-Writer

Display and Graphics Display Size 13.3 in
Display Type TFT active matrix
Graphics Processor Intel GMA X3100
Resolution 1440 x 900 pixels

Battery Battery Life 4.3 hrs
Battery Type Lithium polymer

Communications and Networking Wireless Technology Bluetooth

Software Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Business

Connectors Interface Provided VGA, Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T

Warranty Warranty Information 3 years warranty
Base Warranty 3 years warranty

General Product Info Input Devices Keyboard, TrackPoint, UltraNav
Included Sound Card Sound card
Chassis Color Black
Weight 3.2 lbs

Pros:

• Amazingly light and portable
• Lots of expansion ports
• Feels rugged
• Includes swappable optical drive



Cons:

• Expensive
• Small touchpad
• Needs bigger hard drive


Continue Read Lenovo ThinkPad X300

LapDawg X4

The LapDawg X4 laptop tray has made pulling those all night work sessions just a little bit easier. This highly customizable laptop tray fills the niche for those of us that can’t leave the office behind just because we changed into our pajamas. The LapDawg X4 is a versatile laptop desk meant to be used around the home in situations where traditional desks just don’t cut it.
LapDawg X4
The LapDawg X4 is essentially a large tray with adjustable legs on each side. Most of the construction is of anodized aluminum and feels incredibly sturdy. Though the metal is cold to the touch, it serves as a heat sink. Grooves in every surface help channel heat off to the sides, as well.

The tray piece is large enough for a 17” laptop plus a little room to spare, though smaller laptops fare better because there’s enough space to add a mouse to the setup (the surface is grooved, so a mouse pad will be necessary). The LapDawg can support up to 26.5 pounds according to the company, which we assume is the point where the joints fail. The laptop can remain on the tray while tilted, due to the raised wrist rest edge. The wrist rest itself is made of a sturdy rubber and is large enough to keep even the chunkiest lappy in check.

Each of the two supporting legs is divided into three segments, separated by locking joints. The joints can be positioned at 10 degree increments independently, but are unfortunately made of plastic. Though they do feel sturdy, although it is a little concerning, and we hope to see future models with more durable joints. That being said, the locking/release mechanisms are quick, easy, and functional, and have not provided us with any indication that they are near failing. Simply push the button, rotate the joint, and release to lock the leg into place.

Though the instruction manual gives a quick three suggestions for setting up the LapDawg (TV tray, laptop tray, and breakfast tray), there are a nearly limitless configurations. Though the makers warn to use it only on a level surface, the ability to set up each leg independently makes for easy use on uneven surfaces. The maximum height is just slightly less than 2 feet when the legs are in an “L” configuration, making it slightly low for couch use and not even an option for use from an office chair. Another nice feature we would like to see is either telescoping pieces or additional extension pieces, though the width may not enough for it to remain steady. Extended to its full height, the LapDawg is surprisingly steady, and sways much less than expected. The entire unit is rock solid when in more compressed configurations.

The legs stand about 2 feet apart, less at the most narrow point by the tray, and more at the end of the legs. The whole setup collapses down into a 1.5” thick, 5 pound board that can be stored anywhere. It’s even small enough to fit in most average sized luggage for use on the go. Our one real concern is the surprisingly short 30 day warranty. We will post updates to this review at 30, 60 and 90 days in order to report on the unit’s longevity, and allay readers’ fears. Just check out the Discussion link on Page 1 of this review.


Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a laptop tray, we highly recommend the LapDawg X4. It’s flexible, well-built, convenient, and useful in a number of unique situations. The LapDawg site gives many suggestions for configurations, and we’re sure you’ll find one to fit your lifestyle. Whether serving breakfast in bed, or tapping away spreadsheets while watching Letterman, the LapDawg will work its way into your everyday life in unexpected ways.



Pros:
• Extremely customizable
• Durable
• Easy to store
• Stylish design



Cons:
• Couple plastic pieces
• Short warranty


Continue Read LapDawg X4

ASUS U6S

Like most ultra-portable notebooks, the U6S features a 12.1-inch widescreen LED backlit display that is incredibly thin and helps keep the system’s weight down to a respectable 3.5lbs. It’s a Centrino machine to boot, featuring a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and Intel’s latest 965 chipset, which notably features support for 802.11a, b, g, and the new n wireless networking standard.
ASUS U6S
Furthermore, the machine comes with Vista Business and includes several Asus utilities designed to offer enhanced security – a must-have for any working professional’s laptop. In addition to a biometric fingerprint scanner, which can log you into Windows as well as remember website passwords, it also cleverly includes facial recognition technology that lets you sign right into the system as well.

Despite the unit’s small size, we’re further pleased to report that Asus has included a lot of expansion options, including four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, an 8-in-1 card reader, headphone and mic jacks, an ExpressCard port and an optical drive. It also includes a VGA (640x480) webcam that includes a number of customization options as well as sound-recording and video-recording capabilities.

Unlike most buttoned-down business notebooks, it’s additionally safe to say that the U6S has quite a bit of flair, including leather palm rests, chrome accents and shiny silver trim around the base that compliments its silver keyboard. (Asus humorously describes the aesthetic as, “luxurious digital fashion for on the go [sic] metropolitan.”) Worth bearing in mind as well: The “S” model we received for evaluation features what Asus calls a “mocha” color, but you can purchase models in white as well – referred to as the U6E.

Our first impression of the U6S is that it’s very stylish, much more so than most notebooks; Sony’s high-end models included. The leather palm rests are actually very comfortable, which is not surprising in retrospect, though we must admit having never even considered it as a plausible material to use for this function.

Also, after picking the U6S up and performing a visual inspection, it’s impressive how thin the display is. However, the base of the unit seems about as thick as a traditional ultra-portable. Its relative chunkiness sticks out to us since we’ve recently reviewed the Macbook Air and are currently playing with the ultra-thin Lenovo X300.

We booted to Windows in a decent one minute and ten seconds flat, which is average for a Vista machine, and matches what we’ve seen from other notebooks with similar specs. What’s more, we were pleased to find little to no bloatware, which is great. The only extra software we noticed, in fact, were trials of Norton Internet Security and Office 2007, which may actually be useful to certain owners.

Battery life was tested by performing a DVD run-down test, and we found it offered exactly two hours of juice, which is disappointing for an ultra-portable notebook. As always, battery performance can be improved by running the display at minimum brightness levels and disabling wireless networking. However, we tested it with the display at half-brightness with everything enabled. It’s also worth pointing out that this unit includes a bulky six-cell battery that juts out the back of the unit.

In PC Mark Vantage, the U6S delivered a middle-of-the-road score of 1902, which is expected from a machine designed for everyday use. Its general performance in Windows was more than acceptable however, and we never experienced any slowdowns or hiccups.

ASUS U6S
The facial recognition software was additionally tested and works as advertised, proving a pretty cool option. Essentially, the integrated webcam takes your picture, then at the Windows login screen it’ll look for your face, zoom in on it and proceed to let you in if you pass the security check. It took us a couple times to work after fiddling with lighting and the background. Not exactly reliable, but still cool to see in a notebook nonetheless.

Cheerfully, the webcam also has a lot of wacky peripheral options, such as support for putting an afro wig on your head or decking you out in sunglasses. It’s able to recognize the parts of your head and put the accessory in the appropriate place, which makes the device somewhat fun to play around with between PowerPoint presentations and sales reports, if the mood strikes.

Another interesting feature of note is that the notebook comes preconfigured with four different performance profiles, which can be toggled via a button built into the unit below the LCD. The four modes include Entertainment, Battery Saving, High Performance and Quiet Office. Each choice changes settings for display brightness, when to turn the screen off when idle, and so forth. It’s an interesting feature and we like being able to switch modes so easily.

That said, the biggest disappointment we faced with the U6S is that the left-/right-click buttons below the trackpad require a lot of force to register… More than we’ve ever needed on any notebook ever. Rest assured that your index finger will get a workout each time you have to click something, and it’s completely unnecessary to require this much effort just to, say, browse the Web or open a new application.

Specs

Processor Brand Intel
Processor Class Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed 2.2 GHz
Mobile Technology Intel Centrino Duo
Installed Memory 2 GB
Maximum Memory 2 GB
Memory Technology DDR II SDRAM
Cache Size 4 MB
Processor Core 2 Duo
Installed Video Memory 128 MB

Storage Hard Drive Capacity 160 GB
Included Drives DVD±RW / DVD-RAM

Display and Graphics Display Size 12.1 in
Display Type TFT active matrix
Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G
Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels

Battery Battery Type Lithium ion

Communications and Networking Wireless Technology Bluetooth
Modem Speed 56 Kbps

Software Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Business

Connectors Interface Provided VGA, Phone line, Composite video/S-video output, HDMI, SPDIF output/headphones, Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T

Warranty Warranty Information 2 years warranty
Base Warranty 2 years warranty

General Product Info Input Devices Keyboard, Touchpad
Included Sound Card Sound card
Weight 3.5 lbs

Conclusion

Overall, despite a few quirks, the U6S proves a better-than-average notebook with a unique look and several useful built-in features; it’s also relatively affordable too for an ultra-portable. Nonetheless, given the system’s weight and poor battery life, it’s not exactly what we’d call an ideal traveling companion. Think of the laptop instead as semi-portable, and award it style points as well as props for its four USB ports, HDMI port and optical drive – features you don’t often see in this sort of system. In short, if you’re looking for something a bit different than the typical OEM PC, the U6S won’t disappoint, but if you’re looking for maximum portability, well… consider looking elsewhere.


Pros:

• Snazzy looks
• Decent performance
• Can log in using your face




Cons:

• Poor battery life
• A bit heavy
• Unresponsive touchpad buttons


Continue Read ASUS U6S