Thursday, October 30, 2008

HP dv4-1028us makes a Big Lots front page debut

Well, you know laptops are beyond mainstream when Big Lots has a big laptop special on the front page of their weekly circular ad. Yes folks, Big Lots, formerly known as MacFrugals in some states.

And this is not a joke-laptop, this is a feature-packed model going for $600. They claim it is part of an $8 million closeout by HP. The model is the HP dv4-1028us, and it has *gasp* 4-gigabytes of memory, a 320gb hard disk, and a 14.1" widescreen display which attracts mobile users while not having a totally tiny screen either.

Other features include a 2GHz Intel Core2 Duo processor, dvd burner with lightscribe, WiFi (Intel Link 5100), webcam, and memory card reader. Holy cow, this is a good deal!

So when you walk down the Big Lots aisles, your shopping cart will be filled with 50c cans of tuna and HP dv4-1028us laptop :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The ASUS Invasion: Now at Best Buy (model X83VB-X1)

The Taiwanese computer industry is cheering as ASUS continues to make big splashes. The latest splash, having one of their new colorful laptops being offered exclusively at Best Buy. Hooray for ASuS!

The laptop is the ASUS X83VB-X1 being offered at a special price of $700, without rebates. This is a limit one per household promotion, so don't plan on loading up the truck ;-)

This is a pretty solid laptop, and favors mobility with its 14.1" widescreen display. It has a nice four gigabytes of memory, 250gb of hard disk, dvd burner with lightscribe, nVidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics module with (yes, with) 512mb of dedicated graphics memory. Yum!

But that's not all, it is powered by a Centrino Core 2 Duo, has wireless-N and webcam, and the battery is listed as 3 hours and 23 minutes using the MobileMark 2007 benchmark. Of course the listed battery life is not a guarantee, unless your usage pattern and usage conditions match those of the test.

Did we mention this is a stylishly colorful laptop? Perhaps to match the harvest, halloween and the fall colors, it comes with a smooth burnt-orange-yellow color.

Decision time: Laptop or Ultra-mobile?

With the prices dropping for laptops and ultra-mobiles becoming (finally) more popular, a number of people are facing the decision whether to get a traditional sub-$500 laptop or one of the cutesy ultra-compacts.

Obviously processing power is one of the factors to consider, but the gap between the two is closing, but the ultra-mobiles don't have to catch up or jump over the laptops to succeed. All they have to do is be fast enough when using popular web applications, such as browsing and email. So in a way the race is not between the two types of computers, but rather between the ultra-mobiles and the common applications. And with newer and faster browsers, such as Chrome, things are looking even more promising into the future.

So what should you get if you are buying the price-point? Well, the answer quite possibly depends on how you plan to use the computer. The ultra-mobiles are much smaller and easier to take with you everywhere. On the other hand, most of the sub-$500 laptops are of the six-pound variety and they feature the typical 15.4" widescreen. Not exactly ...ultra-portable, although by no means un-mobile.

If you are looking for something that offers basic connectivity applications, such as browsing and email, and you will be carrying with you everywhere you go without hassle, then an ultramobile. Otherwise, a "real" laptop.

One last note, by "browsing" in the paragraph above we don't mean opening up 50 Firefox tabs and loading them up with multimedia :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why a USB cooler fan is a must for your laptop bag

Yes laptop fans, carrying a USB Cooler fan in your laptop bag is a great idea. It costs very little but has a lot of benefits!

Benefits of a USB cooler laptop fan
  • Cools off the laptop, especially if you have a battery that overheats
  • Provides a barrier between the laptop and the surface it is sitting on. You don't want sticky buns from Starbucks smearing the bottom of your laptop
  • low price
  • it gives your laptop bag a "bottom", that way your laptop is not the thing that makes contact with the surface. So you can put your laptop sunny-side up :)

  • Takes up more space in your laptop bag
  • can't fit it into a laptop sleeve
  • takes up one USB port
  • eats up battery if you are not connected to live electricity

So as you can see, the pluses overwhelm the negatives, so unless you have something that inhibits the use of a laptop cooler, it's a must-have and must-use accessory. And it won't break the bank! You can get these for $10 to $20 depending on where you get it and whether it's on sale or not.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hot Product: Gateway M2414u pink is #1 at Amazon

The hottest mover and shaker in Computers at Amazon is the Gateway M2414U. This is still in pre-order status, and retails for $650.

This is a fashionable pink color, and has the following main specs:
  • 1.9 GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core QL-60 processor
  • 3GB memory
  • 250GB hard disk drive
  • dvd burner
  • 15.4-Inch widescreen display
  • ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics
  • Built-in 1.3 MP Webcamera and Microphone
  • wireless alphabet soup (B,G,N)
  • ExpressCard/54
  • memory card reader
  • weighs about 6.3 pounds
  • Vista Premium

These are just the main specs, check the Amazon page above for more details. There you will also find some suggestions for accessories to go with this laptop.

HP DV7-1132n for $700 at Staples

Attention laptop shoppers! The HP Pavilion DV7-1132n is on sale at Staples for $700. This is an "entertainment" laptop as it features a 17" widescreen display, and can also serve as a desktop replacement because of the larger screen.

It has a great amount of memory, four gigabytes (4gb) which is great, along with the AMD RM-70 dual core Turion processor, and 250gb of hard disk space. Other specs of interest include dvd burner with lightscribe, hard disk protection, wireless, memory card reader, and 64-bit Vista Premium, of the Home variety.

There are no rebates to mail or file online. The price is a straight $700. The special is good from Sunday October 26 up until Saturday November 1st!

Friday, October 24, 2008

First impressions on the new MacBooks

What do Apple users think of the new Apple MacBook and more specifically the new glossy LCD displays? Take a look at Aperture Professional.

So how bad is the glossy screen, and why isn't Apple offering a matte finish as well, at least to give potential laptop users a choice?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why do you need two laptops?

There are many reasons to have more than one laptops, but if you need a hard reason to justify a second laptop, we have some ideas for you. You can use this to justify it to yourself or your spouse or boss or whoever controls the financial decision :-)

When traveling
If you use a laptop as your main computer, and you travel with it, think again. With airport security taking a look inside laptops, you probably don't want your personal and business data to be accessed by 3rd parties beyond your control. This could be your TaxCut or Quicken data, your company's emails and documents, personal documents, things that can used for identity theft purposes, proprietory and NDA data, and things like that.

And what about Wifi?
The above, combined with the availability of Wifi at almost every street corner, means that you probably don't want to have your main laptop loaded with all your personal and business data to be in this vulnerable position.

The Plan B laptop
If you rely on a laptop for your business, what if your laptop has a hardware failure? You just can't wait for it to get fixed, whether it's going to local technician or mailing it to the manufacturer.

What you want is to have another laptop ready to go, so you can continue with your time-sensitive activities, and once you finish your time-sensitive tasks, what you have to do, then you can come back and take care of the ailing laptop.

A good way to keep upgrading at a low cost
This method also allows you to keep rotating newer laptop models, so you can have newer models with faster processor and better specifications, while at the same time, not buying the top of the line model, but instead always going for the sweet spot and getting the best bang for the buck laptops.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New laptops from Apple today!

After rumors, and a lot of buzz, Apple has opened the laptop bag and pulled out a new batch of MacBook laptops! And it looks like the bean-counters were paying attention because the prices are more sensitive to the current economic environment. This of course within the context of Apple prices, since PCs are much more affordable.

Two New MacBooks
Two flavors of the MacBook are being launched today, a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo version for $1600 with a backlit keyboard, and a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo edition for $1300. The former has a 250gb hard disk while the latter has a 160gb. Of course external hard disks are readily available and a dime-a-dozen (well not quite yet) so it's not as big of a deal as it could have been five years ago.

New features have been added, for example, we have a metal body versus the current "plasticy" Mac Book. Other improvements include an NVidia 9400M GeForce graphics module, LED backlit screens, and a larger glass track-pad.

The current 2.1GHz "plasticy" MacBook will be the entry-level point at around $1000.

Be like Mike: MacBook Air
Nothing dramatic here, but there are some impromvements, as the NVidia 9400M module takes over these as well. Those who prefer the SSD (solid state disk) edition can rejoice, now there is a 128GB option. If you prefer a traditional hard disk, there's always the 120gb option. Prices start at $1800 and $2500 depending on processor speed.

Two new MacBook Pro models as well
Both are sporting 15.4" widescreen displays, the high-end model at $2500 with a 320gb hard disk drive and a 2.53GHz processor set, and the second one at $2000 with a 2.4GHz processor set. That of course being an Intel Core 2 Duo.

Meanwhile, the 17-incher gets a few minor (or major if you like them) upgrades, which includes a wider 1920x1200 display resolution. The starting price is $2800.

Further reading on the net