Matching the right laptop to your needs
Choosing the right laptop can be rather confusing for those without a great depth of technical knowledge – even those who have it can find deciding a challenge. For the same price you can get a desktop PC with more power and a higher specification, but more people are embracing the quick convenience and mobility that laptops offer for their home computing.
There are a range of options out there on the market, with online deals on laptops from Misco and other web retailers bringing more and more computing power to the sector at a lower price. But before you start looking at the specifications, it is important to consider exactly what you need the device for. This Which? guide provides some helpful tips, but internet novices and those who only intend to use their laptop for basic tasks – web surfing, email and writing documents – will find their needs more than met by an entry-level model, which usually retail for under £450. The devices have less RAM available and less storage space, but it’s surprising how far 250GB of the latter actually goes. Good value examples include the Toshiba Satellite Pro series and the Acer TravelMate.
For those wanting a bit more power, desktop replacements provide the processing power of a PC in a portable laptop. Ideal for gamers and those who want to edit videos, these devices will pack in upwards of 4GB of RAM and contain a separate graphics card and faster processing chip. The downside of these devices is that battery life is notably reduced by running these more complex programs, but good examples include the Samsung Series 7 and HP DV7 ranges.
Straddling the two groups are the likes of the Samsung Series 3 and Acer Aspire, which are good for families which want a versatile device without spending too much. Alternatively, if you just need quick internet access, a small netbook, such as the Toshiba NB500 or Dell Inspiron, could be just the ticket.
Researching laptops can be confusing and occasionally frustrating, but it pays to persevere in the same way you would when buying a car; you don’t want to overspend and be left with computing power you don’t need, or find out your new device is insufficient and be forced to upgrade.
New Macbook Air heralds the death of the disc
Well, it looks like MG Siegler over at TechCrunch called it. Yesterday, Apple announced the new line of Macbook Air laptops and they’ll ship with the little number you see in the picture. That’s right, that’s your recovery drive.
It’s a miniature USB stick, packed with the data that would normally come on an Apple recovery disc. This isn’t a huge surprise – more like the natural evolution of data storage. DVDs replaced CDs a while back for their superior storage. Flash drives have long since surpassed DVD storage, but they’re still more expensive to make. By stripping away a lot of the plastic and limiting storage, I’d imagine the cost will come down enough that we’ll see this option more and more often.
Aside from the new recovery method, the new Air line is looking pretty good. It comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models and is ridiculously thin. Both models have the unibody design and now sport the multi-touch trackpad present on the Macbook line. For me, 11-inches is way too small, especially if it’s widescreen. My current 13-inch MB Pro often feels too small, if only because of resolution.
Acer won’t try to compete with the iPad
When Apple announced the iPad you could almost hear world inhale, waiting for the onslaught of competitor products with such clever names as the youPad and the Padlet. Can you imagine a world without iPod knock-offs? I can’t. Acer can, though, and the company won’t be feeding the tablet flames, according to Engadget.
The news came from Scott Lin, president of Acer Taiwan, who said the tablet just doesn’t fit Acer’s business model. Instead, the manufacturer will be focusing on ultra-thin laptops, some as svelte as .7 inches when closed. It’s a smart move, one that could grab the interest of anyone scared off by that weird touchscreen keyboard. The company expects the thinner line of products to account for 20-30 percent of sales in the coming year.
Posted in: Computers, News
Tags: acer, better than ipad, ipad, ipad challengers, ipad competition, itablet, netbook, next ipad, tablet pc, thin laptop
Nokia Booklet official for AT&T
I think I’m starting to understand AT&T’s strategy for the next few years. As complaints continue to pile up, the company will just add more and more bandwidth-hungry devices until it inevitably crushes the network, at which point customers will be so fed up they will pay for anything, including tiered data plans. That’s a long introductory sentence for a netbook, I know. Now, the netbook.
Nokia confirmed its 3G capable netbook, the Booklet, to be released on subsidy with AT&T. The little lappy will run $299 with a two-year contract at data rates of $60/month. You will also be able to get the computer for $599 unsubsidized. The system runs Windows 7, which supposedly seamlessly handles 3G to wi-fi crossover, has a 120GB hard drive, and sports an A-GPS card for location services. Nokia has also crammed a 16-cell battery into the thin frame for an estimated 12-hour battery life. I’ll believe that when I see it, but for now it’s nearly double most other netbooks.
Through the holidays you’ll only be able to buy the Booklet at Best Buy stores. Execs from Best Buy, Microsoft, and Nokia were all in Manhattan for the announcement today and seemed optimistic about sales potential. If you’re looking for an ultra mobile device and don’t already have a laptop, will you really want one of these on a service contract? How bout when it’s sitting next to a 32GB iPhone?
Posted in: Computers, Mobile
Tags: a-gps, att, best buy, booklet, booklet 3g, cell reception, netbook, nokia, ovi, wi-fi 3g switching, Windows 7
Google Wants to Study Netbook Usability
This past Thursday, Google posted an ad on Craig’s List asking for users willing to participate in a netbook usability study. Participants would be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be paid $75 in American Express gift checks.
The ad was released the same day as Google’s annual meeting, during which CEO Eric Schmidt declined to comment on the future of Android netbooks. From his short press conference, it sounds like Schmidt and the Google squad are looking to keep their web services viable on netbooks, and possibly roll out some new features for the netbook level consumer.
Sounds like business as usual for Google – telling us very little about what they’re actually doing. What kinds of applications are they looking to develop specific to netbook users? What kind of stability issues arise with netbooks/Google products. Why no word on Android?
Century’s 3-in-1 USB Dock Expands Netbooks
As netbooks continue to shrink, so does their collective feature list. Hard drives are smaller, batteries can’t last as long, optical drives are completely out of the question. Century hopes to bring back some functionality with their 3-in-1 USB docking station.
The dock comes with a standard CD/DVD drive built in, along with an internal SATA port for adding a hard drive. The unit also has a 4cm fan for…cooling the netbook? I’m not real sure why they added that last feature. Even if its miniscule, it just means more power being drawn from the netbook’s battery, and isn’t battery life one of the biggest issues?
There’s definitely a gap between reducing a tech’s scale and maintaining efficiency in that new scale. Until the two merge, I’m sure we’ll continue to see stopgap gadgets like this one.
Souce: Everything USB