Samsung RF511

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 Samsung RF511

The Samsung RF511 is a mid-range laptop which offers solid yet unspectacular performance, at a less than inspiring price. With so many great laptop bargains on the market this year boasting new Intel chips, we reckon that Samsung has missed the mark with this middle-of-the-road outing.

With its muted grey metal trim around the keyboard and austere black-on-silver keys, the kind of room which would suit Samsung’s RF511 will have black leather couches and smoked glass tables. It’s a world away from the designer minimalism of something like the Asus Zenbook and a design that will repel as many as it attracts.

But once you look at the glossy baked plastic lid, you begin to wonder who exactly the RF511 is aimed at. Is it a workhorse machine for open plan offices? Or something that could be a desktop replacement for the family home? We’re just not sure – and the problem is that Samsung doesn’t seem to have the answer, either.

If you’re shopping around, there are two versions of the RF511 available: one has a discrete graphics processor supplied by Nvidia for extra gaming power; the other relies on Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 GPU that’s built into a Sandy Bridge chip. This is the latter incarnation, meaning that the latest games are going to be beyond your aspirations.

Like the Packard Bell TS13HR, you’ll be able to get some older games running at a playable rate, but forget your secret ambition to be a soldier in Battlefield 3 if you choose to arm yourself with the RF511. Far Cry 2 runs fairly well on it, though.

Samsung build

So, if it’s not extra games performance that Samsung is offering punters, how does it distinguish itself from the almost £180 cheaper Packard Bell TS13HR? For the extra outlay here you get a Core i5 processor (rather than the Core i3 in the Packard Bell) and an extra 250GB of hard drive space.

It’s not much lighter, though, and the battery life isn’t any better if you’re running video or doing anything more challenging than browsing the web.

We can report, however, that the RF511’s screen is an improvement over the TS13HR. The contrast levels are even better for richer colours all round, but it’s not that much better. Certainly not £150 so.

Limited benefit

So what about those differences between the Core i5 and Core i3? With the former, you get Hyper Threading and Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. That’s reflected in the benchmarks, but they don’t have as much real world benefit as you might imagine – certainly not unless you’re encoding a lot of video or doing the kinds of high intensity workloads that this laptop really isn’t otherwise designed for.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 168 minutes
Cinebench: 9960
3DMark 2006: 4740

As far as using the the RF511 or the TS13HR for photo editing, watching videos, surfing the web and office suites, there’s not a huge performance advantage to be gained by spending the extra money.

What you do get for the extra money is a lot of bundled software. Unfortunately, most of this borders on the intrusive rather than the genuinely useful. Internet security pop-ups and notifications about Wi-Fi also have a habit of knocking out other running applications. If you’re after a no-frillls 15-incher, there’s little reason to buy the RF511 over the cheaper TS13HR.

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Dell Studio XPS 15, 17 Laptops Leaked

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Dell is going to release the new Studio XPS laptop line, including the Studio XPS 15 and 17, according to a post on LesDelliens forum.

Sources from Dell France say the Studio XPS 15 and 17 will include the lastest Intel Core processors, up to Core i7, and Nvidia’s dedicated graphics. The XPS 15 will ship with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 750GB hard drive, whereas the 17 will have up to 16GB RAM and dual HDDs for maximum 1.2TB of storage space. There’s no info on screen sizes, but we assume the 15 and 17 will have display diagonals of around 15″ and 17″, respectively.

The notebooks also include JBL speakers, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Dell’s Studio XPS 15 and 17 laptops will be available in late October or early November in France. There’s no word on pricing and availability in other countries.

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Dell XPS 15 Overview

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Dell today officially launched the new XPS entertainment laptop lineup, including the 15.6-inch Dell XPS 15.

As same as the XPS 14 and 17, the XPS 15 provides a choice of Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors and Nvidia’s Optimus switchable graphics technology, which saves battery life. It comes with the dual core i5-460M or i5-560M, or with quad core i7-740QM or i7-840QM. Besides the Intel HD integrated graphics, the XPS 15 has the NVIDIA GeForce GT435M or GT420M dedicated video card. The notebook is offered with 6 or 8GB of RAM, up to 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive or up to 256GB solid state drive, and a DVD burner or Blu-ray combo.

Dell’s new 15.6″ XPS has a LED bakclight display with a full HD 1080p resolution or lower 720p.

There are also a built-in JBL 2.1 speaker system with a total 20W output and Waves MaxxAudio technolgy, optionally integrated TV tuner, a 2.0MP web camera, and various networking options including 802.11n, WiMAX, HSPA and EVDO-HSPA mobile broadband, Bluetooth, and Gigabit LAN. The laptop has optional GPS, two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, a 9-in-1 media card reader, mini DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4 video outputs, and NVIDIA 3DTV Play technology which alows you to “connect your laptop to your 3D-enabled TV and effortlessly project your favorite Blu-ray 3D movies and 3D photo slideshows.”

Regarding design, the notebook has rounded edges, a silver aluminum lid, and black aluminum palmrest.

According to the product specifications the XPS 15 provides a battery life of up to 5 hours and 14 minutes with its standard 6-cell battery or up to 9 hours and 9 minutes with the extended 9-cell unit.

The Dell XPS 15 runs Windows 7 OS and starts at $849.99 at the Dell.com online store.

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DRS Announces ARMOR X10gx Rugged Tablet

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DRS Technologies has announced the new 10.4-inch ARMOR X10gx fully-rugged tablet.

The X10gx has a magnesium alloy chassis and is fully compliant with MIL-STD-810G standards for shock, vibration, and temperature extremes. In addition, it’s rated IP67 for ingress protection, making it impervious to moisture, dust, sand, pollen, mold and more.

The ARMOR x10gx features the Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory expandable to 4GB, up to 160GB solid state drive, twin hot-swappable lithium ion battery pack, and Windows 7 Ultimate OS.

Its anti-glare LED-backlit display has a resolution of 1024×768-pixels and supports digitizer pen and resistive touch input. Also, there is a pen-only model available.

The ARMOR x10gx includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth, optional Gobi 2000 mobile broadband with GPS, three USB ports, an HDMI output, an SD/SDHC card reader, a legacy docking connector, and an optional handle.

Regarding security, there is the TPM 1.2 module, fingerprint scanner, a Smart Card reader, and support for encrypted drives.

The 4.7-pound (including handle and one battery) ARMOR X10gx will be available from September 15th with a three year limited warranty. There is no info on pricing yet.

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Samsung R590 Laptop Now Available in UK, Australia

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Samsung’s 15.6-inch R590 multimedia notebook is now available in the UK and Australia.

The Samsung R590 is a more powerful version of the R580 and features the Intel Core i5-450M 2.4GHz processor, Nvidia GeForce GT330M 1GB dedicated graphics, 4GB of DDR3 memory, 500GB of hard disk space, a DVD burner, and a 6-cell battery.

Its LED-backlit glossy display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.

Samsung’s new laptop also includes an integrated 1.3MP web camera, stereo speakers, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth 3.0, four USB ports (including an eSATA/USB combo), an ExpressCard slot, 3-in-1 card reader, and HDMI and VGA outputs.

The 4.8-pound R590-JS02 has a blue gradation finish and runs Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

It is available via Amazon UK (R590-JS02UK) for £809, which is around 1,247 USD, and JB HI-Fi (R590-JS02AU) for 1,298 AUD or about 1,152 USD. We have no info on pricing and availability in other countries.

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Gateway ID Thin-and-Light Laptop Series Announced

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Gateway has released the ID thin-and-light notebook series, including the 14-inch ID49 and 15.6-inch ID59.

Around 1-inch thin, the 5.07-pound ID49 and 5.5-pound ID59 laptops feature the Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, Intel’s HD integrated or switchable Intel HD/NVIDIA GT330M graphics in select 14″ models, 1366 x 768 LED-backlight displays, up to 8GB RAM, up to 500GB hard drives, DVD burners, stereo speakers, Dolby Home Theater audio, 1.3MP web cameras, 802.11n Wi-Fi, up to 6 hours of battery life, and Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

The notebooks have a “sleek silver casing that is punctuated by a unique aqua-blue touchpad that glows when touched, acting as a beacon for accessing entertainment and information”.

The Gateway ID49 and Gateway ID59 start at $679.99 and $799.99, respectively.

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Intel Updates Laptop CPU Lineup

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Intel has launched Core i7-940XM, i7-840QM and i7-740QM quad-core laptop processors priced at US$1,054, US$546 and US$364, respectively.

The company also plans to release more 2010 Core mainstream notebook CPUs – the Core i7-640M, i5-580M and i5-560M priced at US$332, US$257 and US$225, DigiTimes reports.

Regarding ultra-low voltage chips for thin-and-light laptops, Intel has launched the Core i7-660UM (US$305) and i5-540UM (US$241), and plans to release dual-core Core i7-680UM and i5-560UM models at the end of September. The company will also release several low-voltage CPUs including the Core i7-660LM in September, according to DigiTimes.

“For entry-level processors, Intel recently launched the dual-core Celeron U3400 (US$134) but has no plans to release any more upgrades before the end of 2010. In September, Intel will launch the 32nm Celeron P4600 (US$86) and 45nm Pentium T3500 (US$80), while the Celeron P4500 will be phased out of the market and the Pentium T3300 will see its price drop from US$86 to US$80,” the report says.

DigiTimes also writes that Intel’s next-generation notebook platform Huron River is scheduled to launch in January.

All the prices listed in this post are in 1,000-unit tray quantities.

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Asustek’s U-Bamboo, NX/N/U Series Laptops Released

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Asustek Computer has released the Asus U-Bamboo and NX/N/U series laptops.

The U-Bamboo laptops feature a chassis made of bamboo, 13.3-, 14.1- and 15.6-inch panels, Intel’s Core i5-450M processor, Nvidia GeForce 310M 1GB dedicated graphics, and USB 3.0 support.

The NX90JQ will have the Intel’s Core i7-720QM processor, Nvidia GeForce “334M” 1GB graphics, 8GB of DDR3 memory, 1TB of hard drive storage, USB 3.0, and Sonic Master audio technology, which Asustek jointly developed with Bang and Olufsen ICEpower.

Asustek will also launch the model N53Jh featuring a 15.6-inch display, 13.3-inch U35 and a 14.4-inch U45.

The U-Bamboo series pricing will range from $1,288 to $1,351. It will be available in mid-June. The NX90JQ will be available in July for $2680. The U35, U45 will be priced at US $1,200 and $1,260, but there is no info on availability.

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Apple MacBook Pro 17″ (MC024LL/A) Overview

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Apple has released recently the updated MacBook Pro laptops with the new 2010 Intel Core processors, including the 17-inch MacBook Pro MC024LL/A.

The MacBook Pro MC024LL/A with the aluminum unibody enclosure features the Intel Core i5 CPU at 2.53GHz or Core i7 at 2.66GHz, a switchable graphics solution combining the NVIDIA GeForce GT330M 512MB video card and Intel’s HD graphics, 4 or 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 500GB of hard disk space or up to 512GB solid state drive, the SuperDrive DVD burner, and a battery life of “8 to 9 hours”.

Its 1920×1200-pixel LED-backlit display has a glossy or anti-glare coating, depending on customers’ choice.

The notebook also includes a multi-touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard, iSight video camera, stereo speakers, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB ports, a Mini DisplayPort output, SD card and ExpressCard slots, and a FireWire 800 port.

Apple’s MacBook Pro MC024LL/A runs Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.

Customers can buy the notebook online direct from Apple for a base price of $2,299 or through MacMall which offers mail-in rebates and instant off for a total of around $130 savings.

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HP Pavilion dm4t Laptop Overview

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Hewlett-Packard’s 14-inch thin-and-light entertainment laptop – the HP Pavilion dm4t series – is now on sale.

Less than 1 inch thin and starting at 4.4 pounds with the standard 6-cell battery, the Pavilion dm4t features the Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, a switchable graphics solution combining the Intel HD integrated and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450 dedicated GPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, up to 640GB HDD, and a DVD writer.

Its BrightView LED-backlit display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.

The HP Pavilion dm4t also includes an island-style keyboard, a web camera, microphone, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetoooth, Gigabit Ethernet, three USB ports (third shared with eSATA), a 5-in-1 media card reader, VGA and HDMI outputs, and a fingerprint reader.

It runs Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional OS and starts at $729.99 at the HP online store.

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