Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sony unveils Vaio Z with optional docking station

The new Sony Vaio Z is an ultraportable 13.1 inch laptop weighing just 1.2kg. It sports a carbon fiber body which gives it an attractive look.

Under the hood, the Vaio Z has a 2.7Ghz second generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 256GB SSD. Sony says that the laptop will get up to 7 hours of runtime. With the extended battery it will last for up to 14 hours.
The Sony Vaio Z doesn't have discrete graphics, but that shouldn't discourage avid gamers. The machine comes with a vertical docking station called the Power Media Dock 2. The dock adds a 1GHz AMD Radeon 6650M graphics, an optical drive and additional USB ports to the laptop. Attach the dock and you can play bleeding edge games. You can also output video to four displays at the same time.

Pricing and availability
No word on pricing at the moment, but the laptop is expected to launch in July.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Intel Atom Cloverview chips coming soon

Microsoft is building a version of Windows capable of running on ARM-based processors as well as x86 based processors like those built by Intel and AMD. The move is hardly surprising: tablets are selling like hot cakes. Most of them have ARM-based processors. And because Windows can't run on ARM-based chips, few tablets ship with Microsoft's operating system. By building a version of Windows compatible with ARM-processors, Microsoft is hoping that it will get its share of the tablet market.

Meanwhile Intel is working on making its chips even more power efficient. The chip maker is also eying the tablet market. The upcoming Intel Atom Cloverview processors which are supposed to replace the Intel Oak Trail chips next year will reportedly be comparable to ARM-processors in power consumption. The Cloverview chips are expected to launch at about the same time as the launch of Windows 8.

They are the first Atom chips built with the 32nm design. Few details are available right now, but it is safe to assume that they will consume less power and generate less heat than today's Atom processors.

Acer AC700 Chromebook could ship during this month for $349.99

Although the Acer AC700 Chromebook missed that June 15th launch date, it is likely to ship during this month itself. Acer has sent out a press release stating that the tablet's launch is imminent. The WiFi-only model will run $349.99. A 3G-enabled model will be available later this summer.
The Acer AC700 Chromebook runs the Google Chrome operating system. It is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 dual core processor. The laptop has 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 16GB solid state disk. Other specifications include 2 USB ports, 1 4-in-1 card reader, WiFi 802.11b/g/n and a 6-cell battery that will reportedly get up to 6 hours of runtime.

Besides Acer, Samsung has also introduced a Chromebook. Starting at $429.99, the Samsung Chromebook is pricier than Acer Chromebook. Interestingly both laptops have more or less similar specs. The only major difference is in the screen size. The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has a larger 12.1 inch display.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Newegg selling the 15.6 inch eMachines eME443-BZ602 for $330

The eMachines eME443-BZ602 15.6 inch laptop is now available from Newegg for just $330. For that price you will get a 1.2GHz AMD Fusion C-50 Ontario processor, and Radeon HD 6250 integrated graphics with HD video playback capabilities.

Other specifications include 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, DVD burner, built-in webcam, 0.3MP sensor and a VGA output port. The 15.6 inch display has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.

The eMachines eME443-BZ602 also has stereo speakers, WiFi, Ethernet LAN, 3 USB ports and an SD/MMC media card reader.

Acer has a history of launching affordable laptops under the eMachines brand name. The eMachines eME443-BZ602, for instance, is a rebranded version of the Acer Aspire AS5250-BZ873 which is currently going for $370 at Amazon.

Intel Core i7-2677M, Core i7-2637M and Core i5-2557M ULV processors announced

Intel has made three new additions to its Ultra Low Voltage laptop processor lineup. The new chips are the Core i7-2677M, i7-2637M and Core i5-2557M. They are designed for use in ultra-portable and ultra-thin laptops called 'ultrabooks'.

All the three processors are dual core processors and have a thermal design power of 17W. The standard voltage Core i5 and i7 processors, on the other hand, consume 35 to 55W power.

The new Intel Core i7-2677M processor has a clock speed of 1.8GHz. It can reach up to 2.9GHz in the TurboBoost mode. Other specs include 4MB of cache. The processor has a recommended channel price of $317. The Core i7-2637M has a minimal and maximal clock speed of 1.7 and 2.8GHz. It is priced at $289. The $250 Core i5-2557M has 3MB cache and runs between 1.7 and 2.7GHz.

All the three processors have Intel HD graphics built into them. The new chips also support Intel vPro system management technology.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sony launches budget-friendly VAIO EG, EH and EJ laptops

The Sony VAIO EG, EH and EJ laptops are now available for purchase in the US. The new notebooks sport Intel's second generation Core i Series and Pentium Sandy Bridge processors. They will replace the VAIO EA, EB and EC models with the previous generation 'Arrandale' processors.

The 14 inch Sony VAIO EG, the 15.5 inch Sony Vaio EH and the 17.3 inch Sony VAIO EJ are available with a choice of Intel Core i5-2410M, Core i3-2310M or Pentium B940 dual core chips. Other specifications include NVIDIA GeForce 410M discrete graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 750GB of hard drive space and a DVD burner or a Blu-ray player.

The new Sony VAIO E series notebooks run Windows 7 operating system. While the EG and EH has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, the EJ sports a higher resolution 1600 x 900 pixels display.

The VAIO EG and EH notebooks are available in blue, white, black or pink cases. The VAIO EJ is only available in white or black. Sony says that the 14 inch VAIO EG will get up to 6.5 hours of battery life. Its larger siblings should get up to 5 hours of rumtime. The notebooks can be configured and purchased from the Sony's web store. Prices start at $580. The estimated launch date is June 30.

Laptops with Intel Pentium B940 processor now shipping

Various PC makers have started shipping laptops based on the lower-end Intel Pentium B940 Sandy Bridge processor. The Pentium B940 has a clock speed of 2GHz. It is a dual core processor, but doesn't support Hyperthreading. It uses the 32nm technology and is compatible with the Intel H65M chipset usually found in laptops powered by the 'Huron River' and 'Sandy Bridge' chips.

The Pentium B940 comes standard with integrated graphics which has a base frequency of 650MHz. Other specs include 2MB of cache and a maximal thermal design power of 35W. In the PassMark CPU benchmark test, the B940 scores 1,978 points. In the same benchmark test the Intel Core i7-2630QM scores 6,282 points.

Laptops currently available with the Intel Pentium B940 are the Sony VAIO E, HP Pavilion, Lenovo G570 and Toshiba L755.

Lenovo IdeaPad K1 and ThinkPad tablets coming soon

The Lenovo Ideapad and Thinkpad tablets are getting closer to their launch. In a note to members of its affiliate program, Lenovo has announced that the Ideapad K1 tablet will start shipping in late June or early July. That is hardly surprising because a number of major retailers have already uploaded product listings for the tablet.

In the same affiliate newsletter Lenovo has also mentioned that its ThinkPad tablet will be announced on June 28th. Few details are available about this machine right now.

The Lenovo IdeaPad K1, by the way, has a 10.1 inch 1280 x 800 pixels display and a 1 GHz dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. It will run one of the latest versions of the Android Honeycomb operating system. The tablet is expected to retail for under $500.

Fujitsu Lifebook TH40/D tablet with slide-out keyboard delayed

The Fujitsu LifeBook TH40/D is a tablet computer with a slide-out keyboard. It is similar to the Samsung Series 7 Sliding PC. The Lifebook TH40/D was introduced last month and supposed to go on sale by the end of June in Japan. But it looks like the little tablet has been delayed.

The Fujitsu Lifebook TH40/D has a 10.1 inch display. It features a 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670 Oak Trail processor, a 120GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. The tablet runs Windows 7 operating system.

The Fujitsu Lifebook TH40/D isn't all that thin or light like the Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It weighs 2.4 pounds and measures 0.7 inches in thickness. Nonetheless, it is light for a laptop with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Series 7 Sliding PC too hasn't started shipping. It was introduced at CES in January.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Archos 80 and 101 G9 Android Honeycomb tablets announced

Archos has unveiled two new Android tablets. The Archos 80 has an 8 inch, 1024 x 768 pixels display. It starts at $279. The Archos 101 G9 has a 10.1 inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It has a starting price of $349. Both models are expected to go on sale at the end of September.

The Archos 80 and Archos 101 G9 are probably the cheapest Honeycomb tablets we have seen so far. They are both powered by a 1.5GHz TI OMAP4 dual core processor. The tablets have official access to the Google Android Market. They can be configured with flash storage or a hard drive of up to 250GB capacity.

Other specifications include 720p front-facing cameras, USB host and slave capabilities, HDMI output, microSD card slots, GPS, G-sensor and compass. Both tablets come standard with built-in kick stands. Archos says that the tablets will get up to seven hours of video playback.

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook now available in Europe

The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook is going global. The 12.1 inch Chrome OS notebook has been available in the US since June 15th. Starting today, it will be available for purchase in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

In the UK, the WiFi-only model has a price tag of 349 pounds. It will run 399 Euros in other parts of Europe. The 3G-enabled model will run 399 pounds in the UK and 449 Euros in other countries.

The Samsung Series 5 Chromebook runs Google Chrome which is a light weight operating system built around a web-browser. Samsung is the first company to bring a Chrome OS laptop to the market. Acer is also building one, but the Acer AC700 Chromebook is unlikely to start shipping in two or three weeks.

Sprint offering HTC Evo View 4G for $400 on contract

Spring will start offering the HTC Evo View 4G Android tablet on June 25th.The HTC Evo View 4G is basically the same tablet as the HTC Flyer already available in many parts of the world. But unlike the Flyer, the Evo View 4G comes standard with a 4G WiMAX modem. It also sports a black and gray casing. The Flyer has a white and silver casing.
Sprint is offering the tablet for $399.99 on a two year service contract. For that price you will get the digital pen accessory as well as the tablet.

The HTC Evo View 4G has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It runs HTC's Sense software on top of Google Android 2.3 operating system. The tablet has a 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. HTC has also built some custom apps for the tablet. For instance, there is an ebook reading app that lets you scribble notes on the page using the digital pen.

Top 5 Powerful Yet Portable Laptops

These laptops are portable which means that you can carry them around without much difficulty. They can also handle just about anything you throw at them. Here is a quick overview of top 5 portable powerhouses.

Toshiba Portege R700-185
With its 13.3 inch display, the Toshiba Portege R700-185 isn’t much bigger than an ultraportable laptop. Nonetheless this little machine packs a first generation Intel Core i7 processor (2.66GHz Intel Core i7-620M dual core processor) under its hood. The notebook comes standard with 4GB of RAM and a speedy 128GB SSD. The 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels display is crisp and vibrant. On the flip side, it doesn’t have a discrete graphics option.

The Intel integrated graphics that come standard with the laptop has difficulty handling graphically demanding tasks. On the bright side, the notebook gets excellent battery life. According to the product page, it will get up to 8 hours of battery life.

HP Envy 14-1195EA Beats
The HP Envy 14-1195EA is an extremely attractive laptop. The biggest selling point of this Beats Edition notebook is its beefed-up sound system. The HP Envy 14 has a 14 inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It is powered by a 1.6Ghz Intel Core i7 720 quad core processor which has enough power to handle everything you throw at it. The graphics department is handled by the Radeon HD 5650.

The HP Envy 14-1195EA is not entirely without faults, though. While the 14 inch display is backed by some nifty graphics software, it doesn’t have a full HD resolution. It will reportedly get up to 6 hours of battery life which isn’t bad for a laptop of its size.

Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 wouldn’t win many awards in the looks department, but it has exceptionally good specs and delivers stunning performance. The aluminum clad laptop has a second generation Intel Core i5 2410M processor and NVIDIA GTX 252M discrete graphics. The 15.6 inch display has a full HD resolution which is complemented by capable graphics and a Blu-ray drive. The laptop will reportedly get up to 9 hours of battery life.

MacBook Pro 15 inch

This one is expensive, but if that is not an issue this is the laptop you will want to buy. The 15 inch MacBook Pro has an extremely attractive aluminum shell. Under the hood it sports an Intel Core i7 2720QM processor and AMD Radeon HD 6490M discrete graphics. Other features include a nice keyboard and a remarkably good operating system. Yes, it is costly, but you get what you are paying for.

The Sony Vaio brand is synonymous with style. This model is no different. The VAIO EB4X0E has a 15.5 inch full HD display and a Blu-ray drive that makes proper use it. There is a full size keyboard. This VAIO has a first generation Intel Core i5 processor. It is the slowest of the five models, but it does have enough power to handle most tasks.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lenovo Ideapad K1 gets OfficeMax listing for $500

The folks at Engadget have spotted an OfficeMax listing for the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Android tablet. The retailer is expected to start offering the tablet for $499.99 sometime soon.
It looks like the IdeaPad K1 is the US version of the Lenovo LePad Android tablet which is already available in China. The device reportedly has a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels display, a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It will weigh about 1.65 pounds and measure about half an inch in thickness. Other features include front and rear facing cameras.

The IdeaPad K1 is expected to ship with Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system.

Meet Toshiba Thrive: The Tablet with Laptop-like Features

Plenty of Android tablets are available on the market and nearly all of them have identical specs – dual core ARM based processors, 10 inch HD displays and 5 megapixel rear-facing cameras. So how would you make your tablet stand out from the rest? Well, if you are like Toshiba you will build a tablet with laptop-like features.
Toshiba’s first tablet – the Folio – didn’t get rave reviews, but the latest – the Toshiba Thrive – has many features that would entice both the consumer and the reviewer.

Like pretty much every other Android tablet on the market, the Toshiba Thrive has a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels display and a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. But while most tablets have micro USB and HDMI ports the Toshiba Thrive has a full sized USB port, a full sized HDMI port and a full sized SD card slot. Better still, the Thrive has a user removable battery.

The Toshiba Thrive will start shipping on July 10th. It weighs 1.6 pounds and has a textured back panel that provides a nice grip.

Closer look at the BlackBerry Playbook

The BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM’s first tablet, has started shipping in the US and many other parts of the world. Like the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, the BlackBerry PlayBook sports a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixels display. The tablet runs a webOS-like sliding-tile UI based on the QNX software. Its biggest strength is its multitasking skills. You can, for instance, run Quake III while playing a 1080p HD video on the tablet.

The BlackBerry PlayBook has a 1GHz dual core ARM based processor and 1GB of RAM. There is a 5 megapixel camera on the back side with video recording capabilities and a 3 megapixel on the front side for video conferencing. The PlayBook has an understated look with a black matte casing.

The PlayBook supports HTML 5 and Adobe Flash. And because it has a widescreen display you will not have to worry about your videos getting cropped. But the feature that would appeal most to a BlackBerry Messenger fan is the tablet’s secure email skills.

Right now only a WiFi version of the tablet is available. A 4G-enabled version is expected to be available in the US sometime soon. You can pair a WiFi PlayBook with a BlackBerry smartphone via Bluetooth to access enterprise grade email, contacts and the BlackBerry Messenger IM software.

The biggest drawback right now is the limited availability of apps for tablet. While the iPad has tens of thousands of iPhone apps to run, few apps are available for the PlayBook right now. On the bright side RIM has announced that it is working on adding support for the Android Market although it is not clear when exactly that would happen.