Microsoft Security Essentials

Share Button

 Microsoft Security Essentials

Overview and features

In the two years since its 2009 launch, free malware protection tool Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) has become the world’s second most popular security package – a big change for a company regularly criticised for how it managed Windows’ security.

While much of that may be down to the cost, compared with much of its competition, it’s also a well-designed anti-malware tool with both anti-virus and anti-malware capabilities.

Available for Windows XP (Service Pack 2 and higher), Windows Vista and Windows 7, and in both 32- and 64-bit form, Microsoft Security Essentials is part of the Genuine Windows programme, and can only be used on consumer PCs.

Small businesses do have an exemption, and can run it on up to 10 machines; any more than that and you need to use Microsoft’s Forefront Endpoint Protection tools. It’s a small download, the latest beta version is 9MB for 32-bit machines, and 11MB for 64-bit.

Microsoft security essentials review

Microsoft has done its best to keep MSE unobtrusive. There’s no obvious slowdown when it runs, and all you see is a tiny task bar icon that shows whether your PC is protected or not. Right-click to launch a settings tool and to run scans – with a choice of quick, full or custom.

Installation is quick and easy, with MSE replacing Windows’ built-in anti-spyware Microsoft Windows Defender. Once installed it downloads an updated set of malware definitions from Microsoft’s update servers and scans your PC, before starting up real-time protection.

Microsoft security essentials review

That first scan is relatively quick, and took less than five minutes on our test laptop. A small icon in the task bar is the only sign that MSE is installed and running, and it changes colour depending on the risk to your PC.

Microsoft security essentials review

Green is, of course, good and yellow means that it’s time to run a scan.

Microsoft security essentials review

MSE will automatically run a quick scan once a week, although we’d recommend changing the default 2am on Sunday to a time when your PC is likely to be turned on. You can limit the amount of CPU that MSE will use for a scan (the default is 50%), and you can also make sure it won’t scan if you’re using your PC. We’d recommend leaving real-time protection on – it won’t use too much power or add significant latency to downloads, and will reduce the risk of downloading malware inadvertently.

Microsoft security essentials review

Other tools built into MSE let you tune it to exclude specific files and locations from scanning, as well as specific file types and even specific processes. You’re better off not changing these settings, since it’s impossible to predict how malware may disguise itself or what zero-day attacks they might use. A custom scan will check specific files, folders, or drives, while a full scan will check everything on your PC. We’d suggest sticking with quick scans for everyday operation, which look for common malware and check system files.

Microsoft security essentials review

The advanced options in MSE’s Settings tab enable you to include removable drives in scans, to protect flash drives as well as your system disks. You can turn off archive scanning (although we’d recommend leaving it on, since it’s able to detect malware wrapped in several layers of zip compression). Other options enable you to set system restore points automatically before making system changes, including deleting, running or quarantining detected malware.

Microsoft security essentials review

You’re also able to set how long MSE will keep quarantined files before automatically deleting them. Use the History tab to see and remove quarantined malware, with links to online information about the malware so you can decide whether to delete a file or not.

So how can Microsoft give a tool like this away for free? While it doesn’t advertise it, MSE is part of Microsoft’s Forefront suite of security tools, based on the Forefront Endpoint Protection client used on enterprise desktops. When MSE detects malware it reports back to Microsoft, giving the company a wider view of the security landscape than it would get from just its enterprise security software. With millions of free copies of MSE, Microsoft’s paying customers get a more responsive and more secure set of tools, and we all get better security.

Microsoft security essentials review

The reporting system Microsoft uses is its Active Protection Service (previously known as SpyNet). You can choose whether to be part of it, but if you don’t, you won’t get full protection from MSE, since it won’t detect and alert you if unknown software has been download or is being run.

Basic membership gives you additional protection in return for sending Microsoft details of downloaded and detected software, while Advanced membership sends more details, including how the software runs, what filenames it uses and where it installs.

The process should be anonymous, but there is a slim possibility that personal information could accidentally be sent back as part of reporting malware behaviour – something to consider when signing up for the Active Protection Service.

Verdict

Microsoft security essentials review

If you want good, free antivirus software, then Microsoft Security Essentials is the tool for you. It’s small, doesn’t sap system performance and gets regular automatic updates to keep you secure. There’s no obvious downside to using MSE – and because it’s the basis of a revamped Windows Defender that will ship as part of Windows 8, it could well be a good idea to get used to it now. With Microsoft regularly updating MSE there’s really no excuse to not run anti-malware tools, when they’re as good as this – and especially when they’re free.

We liked

MSE is one of the simplest and easiest to use anti-malware tools around. It’s quick, unobtrusive and works without slowing your PC down.

Malware is caught quickly, and the default actions work well for most users. It’s a small download, and keeps itself up-to-date. And above all, it’s free – with no need to register or re-register.

We disliked

There really isn’t much to dislike here, since MSE provides the service you want, carrying on raising the bar for all the other anti-malware vendors out there.

Our one big caveat is the default time for scheduled complete system scans. Once a week, at a time that a PC is likely to be off is not good enough, by a long way.

Final verdict

If you’re not running anti-virus software, you really have no excuse. MSE is free, simple to use and has been tested by independent anti-malware certification bodies.

It may not have all the features of other security suites out there, but that’s really not that important – especially when widespread use of MSE should help make it a safer internet for everyone.

Share Button

Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

Share Button

 Lenovo IdeaPad U300S

Overview

The wait for the flurry of Intel ultrabooks is over, and the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is among the latest super thin and light Windows laptops to come to the fore.

It joins the likes of the Toshiba Portege Z830, Toshiba Satellite Z830, Asus Zenbook UX31 and Acer Aspire S3 in the ultrabook range, a new kind of laptop category that is critically important for the future of the entire market.

Ultrabooks are super-thin, light, sleek and powerful laptops that aim to emulate Apple’s recent gains with the Apple MacBook Air, and finally give consumers a reason to invest in PCs again.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is the last in the current line of ultrabooks to hit the shelves, and with a host of new models rumoured to be released at CES 2012 in January, it needs to offer a potent mix of power, great looks and competitive price to stand out among the early salvos from Acer, Asus and Toshiba.

However, our first impressions are underwhelming.

Lenovo hasn’t obsessed over aesthetics, and this laptop is no Apple MacBook Air clone. It seems chunky next to the wafer-thin Asus Zenbook, which features a wedge-shaped design that tapers off to a thin, blade-like point.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S retains its 16mm thickness across the chassis, giving it the impression of being squat.

The body is aluminium, and weighs 1.4kg, the same as the Acer Aspire S3, but much heavier than the Toshiba Portege Z830 and the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10U. If you’re looking for an ultrabook that will turn heads, you will most likely look elsewhere, but can the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S impress with power?

Specifications

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

Under the hood of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is an Intel Core i5 processor, which we were slightly disappointed to see, when other manufacturers have managed to add Intel Core i7 processors to a smaller, lighter chassis.

The processor is one of Intel’s low-voltage chips, which balances power with decent battery life and enables system builders to keep their laptops svelte, and achieve the standard required for ultrabook branding.

The low voltage family of processors are part of Intel’s Sandy Bridge range, but don’t expect the same performance as on full laptop systems such as the Dell XPS 15z. These processors are clocked at a meagre 1.6GHz, but have some cunning tech built in to keep the system optimised.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

There’s Intel’s fast booting technology, which enables the Lenovo to resume from sleep and boot from cold in seconds, and makes a huge difference. It’s one of the best ultrabook features, but it’s not exclusive to the Lenovo.

We have seen better processors elsewhere, such as the Asus Zenbook with its Intel Core i7 processor, and this affects performance.

There’s also 4GB of RAM, which is standard across all ultrabooks and provides enough memory for keeping the system feeling responsive.

Finally, there’s a 128GB SSD drive, which we’re glad to say is becoming standard on ultrabooks, but whether you can live on that is debatable. Yes, you can employ an external HDD, but the question for many is whether an ultrabook can function as a primary machine, or whether it must be complemented by a full-form computer.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The lack of connections on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S means using this as a primary laptop is difficult, which is a bugbear.

While the whole world goes wireless, and we start to store data in the cloud, 128GB of storage seems plenty. Cloud apps and storage are taking the strain off disc drives, but connectivity is the problem. The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S features just two USB ports, one of these being USB 3.0, and an HDMI port but no Ethernet or VGA.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is also the only ultrabook not to feature a media card slot, and with only two USB slots on offer, connectivity is severely limited.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

The result is that it’s harder to get online, and we found it frustrating when hopping between offices and meeting rooms when wireless signal was poor, or non-existent. That’s not a problem for home users, but with the matt screen and less attractive lines, we feel this ultrabook is aimed at mobile workers.

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S features a 13.3-inch display, and in a nod to true portability, the screen is matt, with a coating to stop reflections in direct sunlight.

Matt screens tend to polarise opinion, with many complaining that it makes the panel dull and lifeless, versus others who love the ability to work outside and near windows with them.

The truth is that both of these statements are true, and the Lenovo is totally unsuitable for those who want to enjoy movies and pictures, but it’s a great choice for people who want to work on the move.

Performance

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Benchmarks
Cinebench: 7,244
3D Mark: 3,394
Battery Eater: 232 mins

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S’s less powerful Intel Core i5 processor showed through in our lab tests, and the 7,244 score in Cinebench is on the low side when compared to the Asus Zenbook UX31 and Acer Aspire S3.

In real-world terms, this is more than enough processing power to run advanced programs such as Photoshop, although rendering will take longer than on full-powered Intel Core processors and ultrabooks with the Core i7 model. You’ll have no problem running multiple applications at the same time, though.

There’s no dedicated graphics card, so 3D effects are left to the GPU found on the Intel Sandy Bridge processor. As you might expect, it produces a poor score, and you won’t be playing any of the latest titles on the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

There’s enough graphical grunt to deal with HD video, so you can watch a movie on the move, but anything more demanding is out of the question, and the screen won’t make movies look their best anyway.

The battery life was decent, if unspectacular, with 232 minutes of use in our harsh lab tests. This translates to around five hours of web surfing and emailing, which equates to a good day on the move, but nowhere near the seven hours quoted by Lenovo on its marketing literature.

One of the major complaints across many ultrabooks is that they often feature poor, uncomfortable keyboards, and single button trackpads that are frustrating to use, and easy to skip across the page with unintentionally. Unfortunately, the Lenovo suffers here too.

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

On the plus side the keys are as comfortable and natural to use as any ultrabook here, and they’re well cushioned and well spaced, with isolation-style keys jutting through the aluminium chassis.

However, Lenovo has made the Enter and Backspace keys very small, with the Home, End and Delete key to the far right.

This meant mistakes were common, and it took us a while to get used to the keyboard. The trackpad, however, is terrible, and often clicking and navigating led to chaotic moments, where clicks were mis-registered.

Verdict

Lenovo ideapad u300s review

When it comes to weighing up the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, “average” is a word that crops up too often. It looks average, performance is average despite being thicker and heavier than other ultrabooks, and the keyboard and trackpad are still awkward to use. It doesn’t have the power to turn heads, nor to blow away the likes of the Acer Aspire S3 in terms of performance, and that means it’s hard to recommend, even for particular niches.

The matt screen will make it attractive for business buyers, but the lack of a VGA and Ethernet connection mean that many will overlook this laptop.

We liked

Despite our gripes with the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, it’s still an excellent ultra-portable laptop. If it had come out before the other ultrabooks, we’d be applauding the excellent design and performance, and the Intel Core i5 is plenty powerful enough for image editing and advanced multitasking.

While we’d never recommend the screen for movies, we applaud Lenovo for offering a matt screen, which is great for people who want to work outside.

The keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on, with good travel between the keys, and good cushioning for long working sessions.

We disliked

Rather than complaining about poor trackpads, we’re going to get down on our knees and beg manufacturers instead. Please believe us that single button trackpads are prone to mistakes and frustrating to use. Stop mimicking Apple and adding them to your laptops.

We also would have liked the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S to be more visually striking. Ultrabooks aren’t just supposed to be thin laptops, they’re supposed to be a new category, where we can get excited about our PCs, take them to Starbucks and sit among our Apple-using friends with our heads held high.

There’s little here to boast about, and that’s a real shame.

Final verdict

The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S is a good ultra-portable laptop, but as an ultrabook, it doesn’t offer any compelling reasons to choose it over the competition.

Share Button

Toshiba Portégé R830-138

Share Button

 Toshiba Portégé R830-138

We had to pick up our jaws up from off the floor too. It’s going to take a damn sight more than a sophisticated-sounding French moniker to distract you from this laptop’s gargantuan price. But the Toshiba Portege R830 must be an astonishing piece of kit, right?

Designed for the busy executive who wants a laptop that doesn’t interfere with the shape of a soft Italian leather briefcase, Toshiba’s wafer thin Port

Share Button

Asus Zenbook UX21

Share Button

 Asus Zenbook UX21

Overview 


The Asus Zenbook UX21 is the first 11-inch ultrabook to hit the shelves, joining the likes of the Acer Aspire S3 and its bigger brother, the Asus Zenbook UX31.

It expands the lineup of the new breed of super light and thin laptops, which has been nurtured by Intel. The ultrabook market is quickly expanding, with the Lenovo IdeaPad U300 and Toshiba Portege Z830 expected at the end of November.

The Asus Zenbook UX21 brings the exceptional power of the Intel Ultrabook to the small form laptop market, making it a different proposition to any existing netbook.

There’s Sandy Bridge power for starters, and power to match any full form laptop, but Asus has condensed all this technology into the smallest of chassis.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

Of course, comparisons will be immediately drawn with the Apple MacBook Air, which is one of the best ultra-portable laptops money can buy, and these two 11-inch portables are very closely matched.

The Asus Zenbook UX21 matches the Apple MacBook Air in every respect. It’s just as well-built, made out of a single piece of aluminium, just as light and oozes the same head-turning style and class that makes people cast admiring glances while you work in public.

It has the same Intel Core i5 low voltage 1.6GHz processor, and a 128GB solid state hard drive, which keeps the system really responsive and fast.

While they’ve slashed the size of this waif- Ultrabook, and retaining some top class tech, Asus has created the best netbook ever made.

Specifications

Asus zenbook ux21 review

Despite being only 11 inches in size, this netbook-sized ultrabook doesn’t scrimp on power. Under the Asus Zenbook UX21’s hood there’s a low-voltage Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 2467M processor, clocked at 1.6GHz.

Despite only having a clock speed of 1.6GHz, the low voltage Core i5 still packs plenty of power, and there are four cores to make mincemeat out of most tasks.

The Asus Zenbook UX21 has a few more tricks up its sleeve. It has 4GB of RAM, (the MacBook Air has just 2GB) and a 128GB SSD card that aids performance. And at £849, it’s a whopping £150 cheaper.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

The Asus Zenbook UX21 is a Windows machine, so there’s no sleek OS X 10.7 Lion, should you have a preference, and there’s no superfast Thunderbolt port, but one of the two USB ports is the brand new USB 3.0 standard.

This whole package weighs just 1.2kg and measures just 9mm at its thickest point, making it frighteningly portable yet strong.

It’s clear from the outset that the Asus Zenbook UX21 has the right to rival the Apple MacBook Air, and the build quality is superb.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

The aluminium body offers no flex, the lid rises smoothly from the body, the keys are tactile, comfortably spaced and easy to type on despite being on a netbook-sized portable laptop, and it’s comfortable to type on, although the reduced size did lead to more mistakes than a standard-sized laptop.

If you spend most of your day bashing out long documents, then you would probably want to opt for the Asus Zenbook UX21’s larger 13-inch cousin, the UX31, or the excellent Acer Aspire S3, which is available for £699 for the Intel Core i5 model.

The screen looks fantastic for such a small laptop, and it’s ideal for watching movies while you’re on the move. Colours were vibrant, the picture sharp, and this makes the Asus Zenbook UX21 a great media machine for regular business travellers who need a functional machine when they reach their destination.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

One bugbear we had is with the Asus Zenbook UX21’s trackpad. For an 11.6-inch laptop, it’s well sized and smooth, but it’s extremely sensitive. This led to some chaotic moments, where clicks were registered accidentally, so things were dragged accidentally.

This is one area where the MacBook Air prevails, and its multi-touch track pad is smart enough to work out what you’re trying to do, and is seamlessly integrated with every part of the operating system.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

We were impressed to find a handy protective sleeve in the package, because the brushed metal will scratch easily, but it will do little to help protect against crushes or bangs, so it’s worth upgrading to something more durable.

Performance

Asus zenbook ux21 review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 7297
3D Mark ’06: 4096
Battery Eater: 189mins

The Asus Zenbook UX21’s Intel Core i5 2467M processor scored well in our lab tests, notching up 7297 in Cinebench, making it easily as fast as chips found on most mid-range laptops. It’s fully capable of multitasking standard tasks such as web browsing, streaming online video, picture editing and playing HD video.

When you consider the waif-like form of the Asus Zenbook UX21, it’s incredible that it can compete with bulky portable laptops.

In terms of graphics performance, the numbers that denote the quality of games, video rendering and programs such as Photoshop show that the Asus Zenbook UX21 doesn’t stack up so well.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

There’s no dedicated graphics card here, so the processor handles the 3D effects instead. There’s enough power to watch video and make simple edits to video, but hardcore graphics programs and even mid-range games would test the system beyond its limits.

Battery life is also good, and we achieved 189 minutes using our lab software, which involves simulating document writing while looping HD video in the background. In real terms, you can watch a full HD movie before reaching for the charger, or expect around five hours of web surfing and writing before your laptop dies.

If you’re away from the mains all day, then you might not consider five hours to be enough, but you’d have to look to the Sony Z Series to get anywhere near the same power and portability as the Asus Zenbook UX21, and that would mean a huge jump in weight and price. The Sony Z Series and its external power pack cost in excess of £2,600.

Asus zenbook ux21 review

One of the most noticeable attributes of the Asus Zenbook UX21 is the speed in which it resumes from sleep. Using innovations from Intel, the Zenbook resumes instantly, without the hangs and loading periods that have historically plagued Windows machines. This is the most tangible benefit, and brings the fight to the host of tablets on the market.

The screen itself is excellent, and it’s one of the best panels we’ve seen in a small form notebook. With the resolution equivalent to that of a larger 15-inch laptop, you can enjoy text documents and web pages properly, not like on a netbook, where the lower number of pixels means that web pages look zoomed it, meaning you have to scroll every few lines.

If you’re a regular traveller, and you like watching movies, then the Asus Zenbook UX21 is perfect, and has enough power to play back high-definition video. The extra two inches over a tablet makes all the difference too, and this means it’s a fantastic machine for those who mix work and play while on the move.

Verdict

Asus zenbook ux21 review

At over £100 cheaper than the Apple MacBook Air, with 2GB more RAM and an almost identical chassis, the Asus Zenbook UX21 is a fantastic buy for anyone looking for an ultra-portable laptop.

Some will argue that £850 is too much for a laptop that is too small to be an effective primary machine, and will need to be used in conjunction with something more powerful.

We liked

The form and size of this petite portable laptop is mind-blowing, especially when you consider the Sandy Bridge processor that’s inside.

You can play HD video and enjoy most tasks short of gaming and HD editing without coming across any issues, which genuinely offers an alternative to tablets such as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer.

The extras that Asus has packed into the box are also worth a special mention, and getting a thin protective sleeve and carry case for the extremely small charger add an extra bit of detail to this excellent all-round package.

We disliked

The problem we have with the Asus Zenbook UX21 is that few people would want to use this little laptop as their primary machine, due to the uncomfortable size and lack of connectivity options.

At £850, it seems like a very expensive addition to someone’s portable armoury, and less versatile than its big brother, the Asus Zenbook UX31.

The trackpad also is also crossed off the Christmas card list, and while you do get used to it eventually, it seems designed to infuriate users who are starting out with this wonderful portable PC.

Final verdict

As a piece of modern laptop engineering, the Asus Zenbook UX21 is sublime. Only Apple has previously been able to make something this sleek, light, powerful and desirable, and for those who want to stick with Windows, this moment could not have come soon enough.

Any major faults are not with the Asus Zenbook UX21 itself, but with the merits of an 11.6-inch machine.

If you need something for long trips away, £850 seems steep when excellent 13-inch ultrabooks are available that could arguably be used as a primary machine. The Acer Aspire S3 Intel Core i5 version retails for just £699.

Up against a host of great tablets, including Asus’ own Eee Pad Transformer Prime, it’s hard to justify the outlay.

Despite this, the stunning power and portable body make this a great buy. As netbooks continue their rapid decline, this ultrabook could replace them, and with it show the world that laptops are here to stay.

Share Button

Toshiba Satellite Pro C660-1UX

Share Button

 Toshiba Satellite Pro C660-1UX

Toshiba’s Satellite Pro range is designed for business use, but solid build quality, strong usability and decent specifications make the C660-1UX suitable for home use.

Its sturdy plastic chassis has all the resilience you’d expect from a business machine. The textured, matt finish feels great and protects well against scuffs and scratches. Build quality is impressive throughout, with no flex in evidence on any of the panels. Even the thick screen is well put together and sure to withstand frequent family use.

The keyboard is fixed well to the chassis and there’s almost no sign of flex when typing. The keys respond accurately, although a long range of motion can cause occasional errors when typing at speed. However, by striking the keys firmly, it’s easy to avoid such problems.

The touchpad is small and narrow, making it awkward to navigate onscreen at times. It is far wider than it is deep, so it takes a few swipes to get from one side of the screen to the other. In contrast, the mouse buttons are huge but are recessed too far, so they too can be awkward to operate.

At 2.5kg this is not a laptop built for travel use, but it is light enough to be carried occasionally without too much discomfort. While the 159-minute battery life is average, it betters the Advent, Lenovo and Samsung in this group.

Sharp display

The most striking feature is the vivid 15.6-inch screen. The 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution means you can enjoy high-definition 720p content and the display is bright, sharp and vibrant.

Photos and videos look great and the Super-TFT coating is one of the least reflective we’ve seen. The Toshiba lacks an HDMI output, though, so you can’t connect to your TV. An analogue VGA – or D-Sub – port is fitted, for connecting older PC monitors and projectors, but the lack of HD connectivity is surprising for such a new laptop.

Performance is equally disappointing. The Intel Celeron 925 processor is vastly outperformed by the Core i5 and i7 chips of the Acer Aspire 5943G, Alienware M11x and Lenovo B570. Even the Celeron-powered Samsung doubles the power on offer here, making the Toshiba only suitable for basic use.

Graphics fare even worse and the integrated Intel graphics card struggles with the simplest tasks. All its rivals at least double the power on offer and, in some cases, provide almost twelve times the performance of the Toshiba, so consider your needs carefully.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 159 minutes
Cinebench: 2544
3DMark 2006: 703

Toshiba build

Storage is also disappointing. While the 250GB hard drive is average for this price, most rivals in this group better it. The Lenovo, for example, provides three times the storage. The DVD rewriter and five-in-one card reader compensate somewhat, letting you back-up files to DVD, CD and multimedia cards to save space on the hard drive.

The Toshiba continues to fall short when assessing its other features. The two USB ports limit the amount of peripherals you can connect; there is no Bluetooth for wirelessly sharing files; you only get 2GB of memory as standard and even the fixed Ethernet connectivity uses the older and slower 10/100 standard.

If you’re looking for a tough, usable laptop with a great screen, the Satellite Pro C660-1UX is a good choice. With such high-quality rivals, though, its limited power and features are far too pronounced. The similarly priced Samsung 200B5A provides better value for money, making the Toshiba hard to recommend.

Share Button

Samsung 200B5A

Share Button

 Samsung 200B5A

Samsung has a great reputation for top-quality machines at great prices. The 200B5A adds to the list and is a usable and powerful business laptop let down only slightly by limited graphics.

While the staid, black chassis won’t win any awards for design, it provides a neutral look to suit all tastes. The hard-wearing plastics and firm panels provide a sturdy feel and the whole machine feels extremely well put together.

The thick screen panel is also extremely firm and Samsung claims it will withstand up to 500kg of pressure. As with all but the Alienware M11x, this is not a laptop built with portability in mind. At 2.5kg it is quite a heavy machine and you won’t want to use it as your main laptop if you travel a lot. This is backed up by a 136-minute battery life that provides only basic mobility.

The excellent user interface is a pleasure to work with and this is a great machine to use for extended periods. While the spill-resistant keyboard shuns the use of an isolated design, the firm keys, comfortable typing action and smooth movement ensure the board is quiet, accurate and responsive.

The touchpad is slightly less reactive and feels sluggish at first. Once you increase the pointer speed in Windows 7, though, it feels a bit sharper. The mouse buttons, on the other hand, are excellent. They are easy to access when working at speed and respond well, no matter how hard or soft you press them.

Another strength is the Samsung’s great screen. The 15.6-inch panel uses a glossy coating to improve colour and contrast, but it is the least reflective example we’ve seen. Whether working in direct sunlight or under harsh lighting, you can always see the screen clearly, with images rendered sharply and brightly.

Capable performance

The Samsung’s Intel Celeron P4600 processor means that it is outperformed by its Intel Core-powered rivals, but the difference is not as vast as expected. At no time did we see any notable slowdown and the Samsung runs quickly and efficiently at all times.

Graphics performance is where things fall down slightly. While not nearly as limited as the Toshiba Satellite Pro C660-1UX, the integrated Intel graphics card is very underpowered and won’t suit gaming or media editing. There is enough power for enjoying your photos and videos, however, which is sure to suit most people’s needs.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 136 minutes
Cinebench: 5209
3DMark 2006: 1237

Samsung 200b5a

In terms of storage, the Samsung is capable, if unexceptional. The 320GB hard drive will hold large collections of music, photos and videos, but is bettered by the Acer Aspire 5943G, Advent Monza E1 and Lenovo B570. Most users will be more than satisfied with the storage on offer, though, and the anti-shock drive protects against damage if the laptop is dropped.

You can also back up your files to DVD and CD using the built-in DVD rewriter, making it easy to create movie, music and photo discs. A seven-in-one card reader is also in place and offers broad media card compatibility, letting you share files with a wide range of the most popular multimedia card formats.

While the B200B5A is not the most stylish or powerful laptop, its resilience, great screen visibility and strong usability make it an easy laptop to like. If you need a tough and capable machine that will stand up to years of demanding daily use, then this is certainly a great choice.

Share Button

Dell Laptop Battery Replacement

Share Button

Dell Laptop Battery Replacement

The battery is a very important part of your laptop. If it stops working, so you can say you have a portable system, you can not go to places and the laptop without it. And even if the battery lasts about 1-2 years depending on use Dell inspiron 6400 battery and to ensure that the time will come when your laptop battery should be replaced Dell laptop. This can be easily deceived, and you do not move the chair because they are delivered to the door.

If you want to subscribe to the Dell battery online, here are the steps: Take a Dell laptop with Dell service tag, usually sees the publication of a white label with a bar code. Enter this code and visit the Dell in the battery industry. Enter the Service Tag for your laptop battery is a page to select. If you do not have this code, you can easily create a list of specifications or on the number and type of model. Select the Dell xps m1330 battery model, in some cases only one option, and in some cases and May are a few improvements.

For example, select the 9-cell battery, 6 cells, and thus can take advantage of longer battery life. But it all depends on the laptop. Finally, the “Add to cart” and “View Cart” and fill the order transaction.On a few other sites that you have a cheaper replacement Dell laptop battery, but do not forget the warranty and return policies of these two very important aspects to consider to determine. It is also advisable to use only original batteries to buy, used to unpleasant surprises in the long term to avoid. If the batteries properly, it will be useful to the same long Dell inspiron 1300 battery life to have and be able to manage your tasks wherever you go.

Now, if you have a battery, to see how to install on a Dell laptop. The task is very simple to do and takes about 10 minutes. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver and battery. First, turn off your computer and remove any peripherals you have connected with him, even if the power cord. Unplug your computer and find the battery. It is definitely on the back of the laptop, but it is also a symbol, so you can not say exactly where. Remove the Dell inspiron 1720 battery and remove the cover completely, then.

Remove the old battery and store carefully moved into a new battery.Ensure that the fingers touch the battery terminals. Cover by changing the camera, includes power cord and a new battery for about two hours. It allows you to benefit from longer Dell latitude d620 battery and improve things from the beginning. Finally, laptop batteries, cheap and if you can, you can replace them if not bothered if this situation before.

Dell,laptop,business,laptop life,lifestyle,technology,electronics

Share Button

GDesk, iPhone theme for Symbian 5th Edition

Share Button

GDesk, iPhone theme for Symbian 5th Edition

Increase the collection of GDesk Themes: Today we announce a theme based on the interface of the iPhone. We can say that the theme is very basic, as happens on the phone to Apple (at least up to firmware 3), but very fast in its use.

Crazy Goblins: World War II, arriving in a beautiful third-person Shooter Game

TouchArcade shows the first images of what will be a new third-person shooter game., Diasponibile soon in the App Store. The game is called Crazy Goblins: World War II. The developers who are creating have indicated that the work is still being improved and that soon it will offer its first video-game.

Even in terms of graphics the game looks well built, although the certainty is given by the video that will follow in the coming days. The game should still be available for next month.

We will keep you informed on this new titoloo, showing the possible future Screenshots and videos will be released. For now, no information on the weapons, missions and purpose of the game. We look forward to.

Poll: Improve Android updates? And if they were paid?

It is useless to deny it, revealing a certain discontent common regardless of whether it is Samsung, HTC, Acer, Sony Ericsson and other manufacturers, with respect to the Android software updates.

On the one hand there are the manufacturers: to develop a product, create the hardware, optimized the Android software, and especially change the interface specific UI is definitely a job for a week. The times are much longer than one interface is more complex and diverse. Continuously updates released by Google certainly does not help to keep up and also all the manufacturers need to think about different phones and not to a single device at the same time.

There are other users: who spends 400/500 € for a phone you expect, with good reason, to receive a long-lasting support, a series of updates that improve the software features and a clear transparent and sincere on the part communications company. In addition, the customer expects to receive updates for distribution terminals that are not too old and can accommodate a “major update” with the hardware Inventory report. The customer expects spending 400/500 € a life cycle of the phone at least 18/24 months.

This unfortunately seems to happen and the reasons are many and as always linked to the economic factor.

But how could we find a meeting point between the interests of the houses and those of users?

Copy the way Apple could be a very clever solution by releasing the “major update” for a fee. This would mean that, if a phone comes out with Android 2.1, and is updated while keeping the same version, the update will be released without charge. If, however, after months, is updated to a higher version, say Android 2.2, this can be paid aggironameto (5 / 10 € for example).

In practice, if we take a Hero released in late September with Cupcake 1.5, this nine months after receiving the update 2.1. This update may be issued to pay, perhaps to 9 €. With this system, the houses could recover the money “spent on” development and might be encouraged to release the first update.

By applying this methodology in a larger scale, an update released Android 2.2 to a Hero maybe in November or December at an extra charge, increase the life of the phone and do not abandon to its fate after a few months.

An optical simplistic and does not take into account other factors, and perhaps more specific regulation, but, assuming remaining generalist.

Steve Jobs WWDC 2010 focused on the iPhone OS

In a little less than a month will see Apple’s most anticipated event: the presentation of new-generation iPhone. Together, the iPhone will be released the final version of the new firmware 4.0. During the WWDC, Apple will be rewarded by the best applications for iPhone and Mac, but this year’s Design Awards, or the award of the Application, will be exclusively dedicated to the iPhone OS, leaving the Mac

Many developers who create their own app for the Mac have felt saddened by this decision, to the point that Gansrigler Matthias, Flickery maker, has decided to send an email to Steve Jobs to know the reasons for this choice.

In the email, Matthias wonders why Apple has put aside the Design Awards for Mac developers and if there are hopes for the future.

Steve’s answer, strangely than usual argued:

We are focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on iPhone OS this year. Maybe next year we will focus mainly on Mac Just as is the normal cycle of things. No hidden meaning in everything.

Coming straight to the point, Steve admits that this year the work dedicated to the iPhone OS are really the most important. With the launch of the iPad and the imminent launch of the new iPhone, even within the resources of Cupertino are working on mainly two mobile devices.

So expect great things from this new OS for the time being only the third beta.

Other Electronics News:

laptop battery

fujitsu fpcbp136 battery

fujitsu fpcbp136ap battery

fujitsu fpcbp144 battery

fujitsu fpcbp145 battery

lenovo thinkpad x61 battery

Share Button

Review: Asus U46 SV

Share Button

Review: Asus U46 SV

Overview

We’ve got to confess, the unveiling of the Asus Zenbook has spoiled us. The beautifully slender yet sturdy body is a marvel, yet it still makes room for some powerful components for (hopefully) excellent performance.

This makes reviewing the Asus U46SV – another new laptop from the Taiwanese giant – a rather tricky business. It’s not that this laptop is ugly or anything. But imagine embarking on an illicit one-night affair with Megan Fox, then hooking up with Hilary Duff. She’s probably a very nice girl and not bad looking, but you’d be thinking of Megan during sexy time.

Let’s begin by saying we really liked the Asus U36JC, a powerful and well-built ultra-portable laptop. The Asus U46SV is a spiritual successor to the U36JC, but we were surprised by how chunky and heavy it felt when we pulled it free of its box.

The chassis is 38mm thick, which is rather bulky for a laptop of this size. It also weighs 2.3kg – a lot more than the Asus U36JC’s featherweight build. The U46SV won’t exactly weigh you down if you’re carrying it in a bag all day, but we expected something a lot slimmer and lighter. Compared to the Sony VAIO S Series, this is a boxy beast.

We also aren’t massive fans of the Asus U46SV’s aluminium build, which feels strangely like plastic. The lid is especially weak, and bends in the centre under light pressure. Both the lid and the palm rests feature a circular pattern that looks cheap compared to the beautiful finish of the Zenbook.

Asus u46 sv

Still, we can’t complain when it comes to the keyboard. The popular chiclet, or ‘isolation-style’, design means that keys are well spaced, which makes it perfect for touch-typists. The keys are a great size, with no tiny Shift or Return keys to spoil the party. Even the arrow keys get plenty of space, which is a welcome relief.

We also liked the smooth touchpad, which finds plenty of space to spread out across the Asus U46SV’s palm rests. The dedicated mouse buttons aren’t set too firmly and are a haven for grimy fingerprints, but they’re hugely preferable to those pesky integrated buttons.

Specifications

Asus u46 sv

For some reason, Asus built the U46SV with a jutting lip at the back, which prevents the lid from tilting back by more than 45 degrees. This makes it tricky to get a good view of the screen when this portable laptop is sat on your lap.

Thankfully the 14-inch display goes some way to rectifying this, with decent enough viewing angles. It’s also impressively bright, although blacks aren’t as deep as we’d like and images can occasionally look washed out. However, we still enjoyed watching high-definition movies and browsing our photo collection (holiday photos, not the other kind. Ahem).

Speaking of which, you can carry a large chunk of media around on the 500GB hard drive – over 100 HD films, or around a hundred thousand songs or photos. Only torrent fans should struggle to carry around their entire collections.

A five-in-one memory card reader can be used to boost storage space, or quickly copy your holiday snaps onto your laptop, ready to bore close friends and family. You also get VGA and HDMI ports for outputting to an external display, and three USB ports. One of those is USB 3.0, so you can quickly back up your files to a compatible hard drive.

Asus has also stuck an extra power button above the keyboard, for booting into its Express Gate OS. This gives you quick access to your media and the internet, booting up in mere seconds.

However, we still aren’t massive fans of the stripped-down user interface and limited functionality, and would rather wait the extra 20 seconds it takes to boot into Windows. Let’s face it, we’ve got nothing better to do with our time, except feed Doritos to the office gerbil.

You have built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi for hooking up to wireless internet networks and an Ethernet port if you prefer to trail cables across your lounge. You also get a built-in DVD drive, and in terms of features that’s about it.

We were surprised to see no more, but extras such as fingerprint scanners would probably go unused by most consumers anyway.

Performance

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench ’10: 9816
3D Mark ’06: 8771
Battery Eater: 330 minutes

While we’re less than impressed by the build and looks of the Asus U46SV, we can’t deny that the laptop is stuffed with power. One of Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge chips, the Core i5 2410M, is ably backed up by 4GB of memory and is strong enough to run any number of applications at once.

The Cinebench score of 9,816 isn’t one of the best we’ve seen lately – that award goes to the Toshiba Qosmio X770, which managed a stupendous 17,063. However, we’re confident that even demanding users will get years of use from the Asus U46SV.

Asus u46 sv

This laptop also caters to movie and music editors with its Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card. You can run dedicated editing software without any kind of stuttering or issues, and even have a blast on modern games (although you’ll need to turn down detail levels on the more complex titles to keep a respectable frame rate).

If you’re more into watching movies than fiddling with them, you can enjoy HD video with smooth playback. We recommend plugging in some decent speakers or headphones, though. The Asus U46SV’s built-in efforts are tinny and, strangely, the sound seems to come from the right-hand side of the laptop instead of hitting you head-on.

Asus u46 sv

Despite the excellent performance and dedicated GPU, the Asus U46SV somehow pulls off fantastic battery life. We test our laptops by looping an HD video on full brightness, with performance settings turned to max, which gives a good indication of the minimum life to expect. Most portable laptops manage less than three hours before dying, but the Asus U46SV lasted almost double that before the screen went black.

It’s a damn shame the body isn’t slimmer or lighter, or this would be one of the most portable laptops we’ve used in a long time.

Verdict

Asus u46 sv

After enjoying our time with the Asus U36JC, we really hoped that the Asus U46SV would be a worthy update, packing similarly strong performance into another light and slender chassis. However, when we pulled the U46SV from its box, it wasn’t quite what we expected.

We liked

We certainly weren’t disappointed with the performance. The Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor can multitask with the best of them, while a dedicated Nvidia graphics card copes with video editing and gaming.

Despite the powerful components, you can still enjoy movies for almost six hours before the battery dies. This is one of the best results we’ve seen in a long time. Movies look good on the bright 14-inch screen, even if colours are occasionally saturated.

If you’d rather bash out a novel or chat with friends online, the firm isolation-style keyboard will keep you satisfied. You can store plenty of files on the 500GB hard drive, and you get a decent range of ports, including USB 3.0.

We disliked

Performance impressed, but the build of the Asus U46SV is a letdown. While the Asus U36JC had a sleek ultra-portable body, this update has a chunkier chassis and weighs a meaty 2.3kg. It’s still portable, but we expected this laptop to be just as light, if not lighter.

We were also disappointed by the build quality. The lid flexes far too easily under pressure, and the design isn’t too appealing. There’s also a lack of exciting features.

Verdict

While the Asus U46SV is powerful and its impressive battery life makes up in some part for the bulky build, we’d recommend holding off for the upcoming Asus Zenbook instead.

Share Button

Review: Toshiba NB520-10U

Share Button

Review: Toshiba NB520-10U

From the lime-green rubberised lid to the integrated Harmon/Kardon speakers, the Toshiba NB520-10U is a netbook that demands attention.

Not content to be a standard black business appliance, the Toshiba NB520-10U wants to be the life and soul of the party. It’s cooler and louder than the Asus Eee PC and one of the best netbooks worth owning.

The Toshiba comes in a choice of colours; green, blue or brown. Your chosen hue extends to the lid, mouse buttons and speaker edging while the rest of the chassis is solid black. The textured rubber of the lid is pleasant to touch and won’t get covered in grubby fingerprints.

There’s no flex to be found around the chassis and the netbook is easily light enough to carry around without a problem. There’s also a little extra bulk given to the battery compartment so, when open, the netbook is slightly raised at the back giving you a nice typing angle to work with.

The only minor gripes we had with the design was a particularly thick bezel and an awkwardly placed power button that’s nestled in the hinge below the centre of the screen. These are some tiny niggles but overall the design of the Toshiba is catching and stylish with a Converse-cool kind of appeal.

Of course, most noticeable are the twin speakers built into the palm rest. They’ve been developed with Harman/Kardon technology and will reach a genuinely impressive volume for a netbook. We were also impressed with the bass we could get out of it.

The 120GB disk space will likely preclude you from loading your entire music collection onto the hard drive, but if you subscribe to a streaming service like Spotify, the Toshiba would be a great addition to any house party.

If you want to work with this netbook then using the keyboard isn’t immediately intuitive as it’s packed pretty tightly into the chassis. Frankly, we preferred typing on the Acer Aspire One or Asus Eee PC, but anyone using this netbook regularly will adapt to the feeling of the keys quickly.

Toshiba nb520-10u

The touchpad is neither too responsive nor sluggish and is positioned well – you can use your thumb without your fingers leaving the keyboard. Although, being a netbook, it’s a little on the small side.

The standard Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM and Windows 7 Starter OS means this won’t rival a laptop for performance. But if you want to browse the web and type out an email while streaming some music, you won’t have any problems here.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 220 minutes
Cinebench: 521
3DMark 2006: 151

On top of that, the battery life is exemplary. By far and away the most important feature for a netbook, Toshiba has ensured you won’t need to regularly charge and the NB520 lasted for 220 minutes under our barrage of tests.

Advanced features

Toshiba has thrown some nice features into the NB520 to make it an even better choice for a netbook purchase. Plug an MP3 player into the USB port and you can use the Toshiba’s speakers to play your music, even when the machine is in standby or switched off.

It also has built in sleep-and-charge facility, so you can charge up a USB device while the laptop is powered down and idle.

This is a netbook a little different from others available and Toshiba has put together a great product – highly recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy their collection of music when they are on the move.

Share Button