HP dm4-3000ea Beats Edition

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 HP dm4-3000ea Beats Edition

HP’s Pavilion range was never going to offer the same ‘wow factor’ as its premium Envy line and we couldn’t pick out its previous dm4 Pavilion in a line up.

But HP’s new dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is far from anonymous.

Thanks to the ubiquity of Beats Audio technology, HP has decided to give its non-descript dm4 Pavilion a chassis overhaul and specs update. That upgrade does bump up the price to £849, so it’s not the very best value for money, but the Beats redesign is a success for various reasons.

It looks super-modern without being too cool for school, enjoys a solid feel for a 14-inch multimedia portable and – most importantly – it sounds absolutely fantastic.

Punching above its weight

Despite its slinky dimensions (338 x 225 x 32 mm), the dm4-3000ea is fairly heavy. A weight of 2kg for such a small chassis is surprising, but every component – including the great backlit keyboard – feels robust and well-made (although it’s not the solid mag-alloy chassis that HP puts in its Envy laptops; just serviceable plastic here).

The board marries the same soft red and matte black hues that adorns the case. The Beats logo also sits front and centre, which could annoy, but the font design is so nice it actually really works.

It can be hard to type on dinkier laptops’ keyboards, but the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is the exception to the rule . It felt much better than the first dm4 Pavilion board and has isolated chiclet keys with a solid bounce.

HP has also binned the miniature navigation keys, making it fine to use for long periods for multi-tasking and browsing online. Our only bone of contention was the unresponsive touch tech on the trackpad which is still a novelty.

The 14-inch display is powered by 1366 x 768 LED-backlit BrightView screen, which works perfectly well in most brightness conditions. It’s not over-glossy and coped admirably with the darker hues of The Dark Knight. We also had no problems streaming high-definition video content. Clearly, the HP dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition won’t have any problems performing most multimedia tasks.

HP also gets bonus points for adding one of the better in-built webcams available. Thanks to the TrueVision low-light tech, it managed to pick us out accurately enough in murky lighting.

Under the hood

HP beats laptop

The rest of the specs under the hood are decent enough to make sure HP’s dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition didn’t suffer any staccato playback – even on number crunching apps.

HP has bundled a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-2450M processor, a 500GB SATA hard drive and 4GB of memory with space for two more sticks if you fancy an upgrade. That should be enough oomph to boot the OS from cold in no time at all… but, irritatingly, HP has added the usual bloatware gubbins to slow everything down. That said, some of the pre-loaded software, like Norton and Windows Office Starter Edition is actually useful.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 174 minutes
Cinebench: 5629
3DMark 2006: 5622

Performance in our lab tests produced steady if unspectacular results, especially when you consider the power available from that Intel Core i5 chip. A score of 5629 in our processor benchmarks means that it’s more than adept at multitasking, but it does seem low when compared with laptops such as the Packard Bell TS11 which achieved better lab tests.

Graphics were equally unspectacular, and we also got a mid-range score of 5622 in our 3D Mark tests. This is enough for light gaming, thanks to 1GB of dedicated graphics on its AMD Radeon HD 7470M GPU. Just don’t expect to get anything out of Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3, though.

The 174-minute battery life using Battery Eater Pro’s Readers’ Test was pretty good – especially when you bear in mind that it has a 6-cell battery.

So, the question remains, how do you get enjoy audio fidelity on such a small laptop? The simple answer is to plug in decent headphones and bypass the traditionally tinny laptop speakers.

If you’re not a fan of headphones, a more permanent solution is to upgrade to superior audio components.

While the Beats audio results good, you still can’t been hooking up a decent set of speakers. That said, for audio on the go, the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition comes highly recommended – and HP even throws in a pair of Dr Dre’s Solo headphones as part of the package.

Overall the HP dm4-3000sa is a capable portable laptop, for those who want style while they’re on the move. Admittedly, it’s not packed with power, and there are lighter machines for the money, but the Beats credentials give it cool credibility that will attract students and younger users.

Anyone who does invest will be rewarded with a solid performer capable of work and play on the move, but those with demanding needs will want to look at portables backed up by a bit more grunt.

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Introduce Laptop Dell XPS 14z

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Introduce Laptop Dell XPS 14z

Not so long ago we looked at the laptop Dell Inspiron 14z. And now we have a model on the operating table with a similar name. Twins? Just relatives? Or is it namesakes and nothing more? Try to understand.

Outwardly, the two “chetarnadtsatzed” resemble each other only vaguely. The same, by and large, only joint cap to the body: in both notebook hinges are “upright” and not on the edge of the shell, and indented. In the case of Dell Inspiron 14z is more pronounced, and in the Dell XPS 14z is noticeable only at certain angles. The most important aspect of mismatched design – the materials used. In the low-cost Inspiron 14z plastic housing, with a decorative ornament from the “shredded” the metal.

In the XPS 14z all noticeably more interesting: the lower half of the body and the outside cover is made of anodized aluminum, like the MacBook. But, unlike the MacBook, “working surface» Dell XPS 14z – that is, the plane on which the keyboard and touchpad – not aluminum and plastic. The plastic is painted in gray color and looks much darker than aluminum.

In general, highly original approach: all the beauty of metal, for which the user actually pays to hide at the bottom and the back of the lid. A user is referred to propose the same realm of synthetic materials, as in the cheaper models. For example, openwork lattice air intake holes on the metal bottom of the XPS 14z looks just wonderful. And the same pattern – speaker grille – on the plastic panels for painting turned out pretty oplyvshim.

Typically, a company copying creatively reinterpreted design Apple, limited to the exterior. But the Dell decided to go one step further: to heighten the resemblance copied More innovative thinking and OSD-will adjust the volume, brightness, and the like. And rethink the most creative – even cleaned. Keyboard Dell XPS 14z looks interesting and somewhat unusual, and has the correct layout is well established.

Perhaps the main advantage of the keyboard XPS 14z – the presence of illumination. It is made less accurately than in Samsung 700Z5A, But its function copes well: in the dark buttons clearly visible. The touchpad is quite large, covering the right, the finger glides on it good and comfortable. Physical buttons that can be called a pleasant surprise, considering that the design of this laptop is innovative thinking you know someone.

In front of the case, obviously, is the battery. Therefore, no Front useful elements at all – there simply is empty. By the same token is not used, and about a third of each side. So the right fit only optical drive, and the left – a memory card reader, audio jacks and one of the two “exhaust” vents. The bulk of the ports are concentrated behind. Use them, of course, inconvenient. Terribly uncomfortable, to be exact to the end.

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Corsair Vengeance M60 gaming mouse

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 Corsair Vengeance M60 gaming mouse

Overview

This Corsair Vengeance M60 mouse represents the next step for Corsair – peripherals.

Specifically, high-end peripherals designed for the gamer who’s prepared to pay a little more for a rugged build and enhanced usability.

The Vengeance M60 FPS gaming mouse is a prime example of that – premium components, eight-button functionality, and all the extras like adjustable DPI buttons and a mega-low DPI ‘sniper’ button that’s rapidly becoming the standard for a gaming rodent.

Corsair has a pretty impressive pedigree across a number of fields. The Californian company started out producing L2 cache modules, and today it’s still go-to guy for performance RAM like the Vengeance and Dominator DDR3 ranges.

In recent times we’ve seen speaker systems, power supplies, PC chassis and USB flash drives all bearing the Corsair name, and by and large it signals a mark of the highest quality.

The specs for this new mouse are impressive, but can Corsair really pull off a flawless debut into the mouse market with the Corsair Vengeance M60?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer’s yes.

Verdict

There are two mice in Corsair’s fledgling range – the M90 caters for the MMO gamer’s needs, and as such sports fifteen programmable buttons.

This M60 sets its sights square and true on the first-person shooter afficionado, for whom split seconds and DPI figures are everything.

With that said, even the grouchiest CS:S gamer will be happy with the Corsair Vengeance M60’s performance.

Corsair vengeance m60

The jury’s still out on whether DPI really makes a huge difference, but the M60’s adjustable polling rate, high tracking speed and low-friction PTFE pads make for a noticeably smooth experience.

And if you’re still hung up on that DPI comment, it’s 100 dots higher than our previous darling of the rodent world, Mad Catz’s Cyborg R.A.T. 7.

This is a mouse that lots of clever people have sat and thought about for a long time – that much is evident in its ergonomic design.

The sniper button feels well-placed enough that you’d actually use it, and the thumb rest blends perfectly into your mouse mat.

Having experimented with the M60 it turns out to be comfortable in all but the most improbable hand position, which is worth thinking about if you’re such a pro gamer that you’ve analysed your own grip.

Show off.

You don’t have to be Fatal1ty to expect more adjustable weighting though, and that’s sadly off the menu with this mouse. All you get are three removable weights in the base, so you can make it lighter but not heavier is that is your bag.

Take an eyeful of the price tag and you’ll understand why the Corsair Vengeance M60 doesn’t offer this – it’s clear that most of the money has been spent on its remarkable build quality – but it does lose ground to the similarly-priced R.A.T. 5 from Mad Catz here, which is far more adjustable by weight.

We liked

For a debut effort, the Corsair Vengeance M60 mouse is incredible.

It’s hard to pick a fault with it if you’re a FPS gamer. Primarily, you want a comfortable mouse that doesn’t have a ton of buttons you’ll keep accidentally pressing at a fair price, and Corsair’s rodent ticks all those boxes with confidence.

The adjustable DPI and sniper button are useful additions in a layout that otherwise shows restraint, and it feels like it could survive a nuclear blast.

We disliked

It is missing out on more fully-adjustable weights and a free-rolling wheel, but the low price eases those concerns considerably.

Final word

Corsair’s debut mouse hits the ground running – right to the front of the pack.

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Toshiba Portégé R830-138

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 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

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

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 Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Overview

The burning question with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer prime release, as with any tablet, is this: is it better than the Apple iPad 2?

The immediate follow-up question is usually a bit less thrilling: can it beat the reigning champion of Android tablets, the super-slim and light Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1?

We’ll explore both questions in depth, but for those whole don’t like to wait around for the punch line, we’ll say that the super-thin and light Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime might just be the best tablet ever made.

But first, the basics – in the UK, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime will go on sale in January 2012. There’s only going to be one version over here, which is a 32GB SKU bundled with the keyboard,a charger, cleaning cloth, USB cable and earbuds.

This bundle will cost you £499, which is £70 more than the 16GB tablet-keyboard bundle that the original Eee Pad Transformer came in when it launched earlier in 2011.

The most important spec on the new Transformer is the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Everything amazing about the Prime tablet rests on this quad-core, 1.3GHz chip.

HD videos play smoother (and longer, with up to 12 hours of battery use for video) than ever before. Games suddenly look fluid and dynamic, with water ripple effects, smoke, fog and explosions that mimic what you’d normally find in a PC game.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The super-crisp IPS display, which is similar to the one used on the iPad 2, is refreshingly easy on the eyes even in outdoor locations or with incandescent bulbs blazing around you.

The rear 8MP camera is a wonder of engineering. In several tests, HD videos recorded at 1080p looked smooth and clear, unlike the grainier results from the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Even the 1.2MP front-facing camera worked well for video chats, without the typical fuzziness of other tablets.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime also includes a free intuitive Asus webstorage app for offloading your files, and you can pop in a microSD card in a left-side slot up to 32GB each.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

All of the typical connection options are here: Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right and a micro HDMI port (also on the left) for connecting to an HD TV.

The 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm tablet is wider than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, although the screen, at 1280 x 800p resolution and 10.1 inches, is the same size.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

At 586g, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is lighter than the iPad 2 but a touch heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, although nobody will notice a few grams.

It’s also the thinnest tablet on the market today, bar none.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The 25Wh lithium-polymer battery lasts for about nine hours on a charge for normal use. Asus claims a battery life of 12 hours if you watch mostly videos, because of the way the Tegra 3 manages power.

The tablet comes running Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but Asus says it’s compatible with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, if you wish to upgrade when the update becomes available next year.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Features and interface

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Features

We said up front that we will answer questions about whether the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime beats the Apple iPad 2 and the leading Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Truth be told, some of the factors that will help you decide between the three similar tablets are subtle, yet important.

Let’s start with the hardware design. All three tablets look remarkably similar. An untrained eye wouldn’t know the difference between them.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Turn the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime over on its back, and there’s a silver back cover that looks much more durable than the white plastic back of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and grey back of the iPad 2. The front IPS screen, made with Gorilla Glass, is also durable and sharp.

There’s a proprietary charge port below the main horizontal screen on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. This is the same port you use to pop the device into the laptop dock.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

There are two extra ports that secure the tablet to the dock, and when housed that way, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime works reliably as a touchscreen laptop.

The dock isn’t ideal for long typing sessions, and matches the quality of other lapdocks such as the one for the Motorola Atrix 2. In other words, they are functional and provide a mouse pad, quick access function keys, a USB port and an SD memory card slot. But otherwise it doesn’t match the responsive typing of a regular full notebook computer.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Some of the port covers on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s dock are a bit hard to remove. For example, the one that covers the USB port might require some prying loose with a knife.

Overall, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is easy to handle. It’s wider than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, so is easier to grip, with a slightly wider bezel. But it seems a bit less portable for that reason as well.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The back is metallic and durable, but not exactly scratch or smudge-resistant, as we found out. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a bit more of a pick-up and go feel to it only because the Asus is wider and felt just a hair wider and longer.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Interface

Asus packed some choice extras onto the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, but generally stuck to the basic Android 3.2 Honeycomb user interface. In fact, there are just a few extra widgets for quickly reading your emails, seeing the weather forecast and controlling music tracks.

There’s a goofy app called MyZine that automatically adds your photos into a magazine-like layout, but it has a limited purpose and might be the first one you drag to the trash.

There are no extra app widgets like there are on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet for adding favorites to an app wheel or an app launcher. Frankly, these additions offer a nebulous value beyond the stock operating system.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Asus used a slightly modified treatment for the bottom row of icons. There’s a back button, a home button and a pop-up multitasking button that shows you open apps and enables you to switch between them. Here you can also click a small X that shuts down any open app to save memory.

There’s not too much more to say about the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s interface, because Asus kept things simple. There are no extra tools for storing apps like there is on the Toshiba AT100 (known as the Toshiba Thrive in the US), but some of those enhancements don’t really add to the value anyway. The simple core Android OS makes the Prime easy to use.

Market and apps

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Android Market and Apps

The Android Market included on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime has been upgraded with a new interface that is surpassingly easy to use. Following the lead of the well-designed HP TouchPad app store, there are panels with rich photos that draw your eye and make you want to purchase more apps. The new look also mimics the Windows Phone 7 look, in that it is image-centric to draw the eye.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Of course, once you drill into the Market a bit you will realise that this glossy magazine-like front-end interface is just icing on the old cake – the Market works about the same as always. You can rent movies and television shows through the Market as you can on other recent tablets.

Where Asus scores extra points is with the included apps. It has quite outdone itself for this model.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

First, there’s a MyLibrary app for ebooks, magazines and newspapers. Then not quite as extensive as the Amazon Kindle Store (OK, far less extensive), the Asus @Vibe store, which is really just a portal to Versent Books, lets you buy major bestsellers such as John Grisham’s The Litigators.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Pricing is suspiciously the same as most Amazon Kindle store bestsellers. Some books were noticeably missing, including the latest Michael Lewis book called Boomerang, which is featured prominently in the Kindle store.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Asus @Vibe Music is a welcome addition. With functionally similar to the Google Music app, this music app works like Last.fm in that you can search for an artist and play their songs.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Each “station” lets you play random songs by that artist. The @Vibe store also lets you play songs you have purchased from the Asusvibe.com store, as long as you have used a supported Asus laptop or netbook.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Asus MyCloud is a handy cloud storage portal similar to Dropbox. You can use 2GB of storage for free, or pay about US$9 for three months of unlimited storage. Keep in mind, though, that the service limits file size to 500MB per file for the free account.

Also, while the app lets you offload files to the cloud, you can also access files on one computer that is sharing files through the service.

The Asus MyNet app works exactly like the Samsung Allshare service, in that you can set up a connection to and from another computer on the same router network to share music, photos and videos. We tested the app with a Sony all-in-one desktop PC and could easily share files between the tablet and the desktop computer.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime we tested also came pre-loaded with a wide selection of pre-release Tegra 3 games, including BladeSlinger, ShadowGun and Davinci THD. These titles will be available through an app portal called the TegraZone, and generally cost about the same as normal Android games.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

One important point to make about gaming on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is that the games look astounding – the best we have seen on any tablet. ShadowGun in particular uses water effects that look ultra-realistic for a portable device (although nothing like, say, Battlefield 3 on a console).

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The most interesting comparison we discovered was between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime playing the same game, Riptide. On the Prime, the water effects were much more convincing, with waves flowing back and forth and whitecaps that change as you drive your jet ski.

At the same time, the Apple iPad 2 may not play games as smoothly, but there is a much wider selection of games, and many are arguably more in-depth. For example, the gameplay for Infinity Blade II on the iPad 2 is far more advanced, with magic ring power-ups, duel-wielding options and collectible gems.

Many of the games on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime are more like visual effects demos, with limited gameplay value.

Office

The Transformer Prime also includes the Polaris Office app for opening and editing word processing and spreadsheet documents. It’s completely compatible with Microsoft Office.

The app does add value, especially since competing office apps like Openoffice cost £9.99 or more.

Screen

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Screen

The 1280 x 800 resolution, 10.1-inch screen on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is sharp and easy to read.

We had no complaints reading an entire ebook on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and browsing dozens of websites. Finger swipes and presses registered accurately, and typing was fast and responsive.

Asus chose to use a Super IPS display for the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, and there are pros and cons with this.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is not as bright, colourful, or crisp as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, so if you plan to watch movies and view photos routinely, the Samsung is the better tablet.

In comparing the exact same videos and photos on both devices, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime has a slightly dull and washed out look. The Apple iPad 2 looks marginally better than the Prime (they both use IPS displays) but not as vivid as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Clearly, Asus decided to make functionality a higher priority than superior colour reproduction.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime works better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a variety of lighting conditions. There’s even a super-bright outdoor mode that makes the display easier to read.

There is much less glare on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which means the screen works better, for reading emails and books and for browsing the web.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Unlike some recent tablets, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime doesn’t use haptic feedback for the keyboard or for any parts of the touchscreen. Presumably this is a trade-off with the IPS screen tech that makes it easier to view the tablet from an angle or to view the screen in bright sunlight or by a lamp.

It didn’t hamper the experience of using the tablet, though some users might find that haptic feedback on other tablets gives you a tactile sense that the tablet has registered your finger press.

One surprise is that the screen uses an oleophobic fingerprint-resistant coating. Even more surprising is that it actually works. The chemical agent reduced grime and finger print build-up. We found that movie-watching was more enjoyable when there wasn’t a thin residue coating parts of the screen.

Usability

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Usability

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is one of the most user-friendly tablets we’ve tested, and matches up easily with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2 in terms of portability, user interface and media playback.

Between the three tablets, the only major difference is that the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is just a little wider and longer, even though the screens are all the same size. That’s not a negative pronouncement, and in fact means the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a bit easier to grasp for long web browsing sessions or for watching movies.

The original Asus Eee Pad Transformer felt bulky, overly thick and designed from a bygone age of Windows slates.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Asus skipped any dramatic interface enhancements and sticks to the basic Android 3.2.1 Honeycomb user interface. That means three buttons for navigating back, home, and to a pop-up app list on the lower left.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

The newly designed pop-up menu on the lower left (which shows a taskbar for time, app downloads and open apps) is a pleasant departure, though. You can quickly see the Wi-Fi network you are using, your battery level and access settings.

There are three icons you can use to set the power level – eco mode, balanced and performance. You can also enable screen rotation, check Wi-Fi level and enable Bluetooth connections. There’s an option for setting the brightness level, or using auto, and enabling the outdoor brightness.

Otherwise, this pop-up then shows notifications about recent downloads, schedule reminders and email alerts. You can also view Gmail chat messages here. In general, the new design for this pop-up works remarkably well for controlling basic functions on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. The pop-up is well-designed as well.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

One gripe, though, has to do with accessories. Sure, there is a lapdock included as a bundle for the UK version. However, the Apple iPad 2 offers many more choices for docking stations, covers, cases and even microphones you plug into the 30-pin connector.

The original Asus Eee Pad Transformer didn’t become iconic in the sense that hardware accessory companies started making add-on devices for it. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime may catch on, but we doubt it will develop the widespread third-party support that the iPad 2 enjoys, or even come close.

The keyboard dock is helpful for a few purposes, though. For one, it adds another 8 hours to the total battery life (the dock itself can take a charge, and then charge the tablet.) The dock has a USB port and an SD port. Measuring 263 x 180.8 x 8 to 10.4mm, and weighing 537 grams, the dock is small enough to fit into a laptop bag, but is like carrying another tablet around all day.

And then there is the quality of the keyboard. If you’ve used a netbook before, you already know what this dock is like – typing speed suffers from the slightly cramped confines of the lapdock, but you get used to it after a while and it’s still easier than typing on the screen.

There are dedicated keys for changing brightness level, volume, and wireless, which makes it easier to control the tablet. When docked, you can use the mousepad or finger input on the tab. One helpful software change would have been to disable the mousepad when you type because the small size of the keyboard makes it easy to inadvertently brush the mousepad. In a pinch, the keyboard helps you type up longer docs but it in no way competes with a full notebook keyboard.

Battery life

For battery life, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime lasted about nine hours on a charge but of course with the extra 8 hours provided by the keyboard dock, that’s a battery span of 17 hours which is phenomenal.

Media

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Media

Our first experience with media files was a bit of a letdown. We download the movie Conanthrough the Android Market and were greeted by an error message. Asus said it must be a Google problem, but the same file and same Android version on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 worked fine.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Otherwise, all of our media tests were blazingly fast, smooth and played without any problems. One of the most impressive tests was for the Battleship trailer, which used a high frame rate, looked colourful and clear, and played in full 1080p resolution. Every video we tested played smooth and fast.

Music playback on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime also worked reliably and sound quality was excellent.

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Like most tablets, the speaker on the Prime isn’t exactly state-of-the-art quality, and is only serviceable in a pinch when you absolutely can’t use headphones. Yes that is just the one speaker, instead of the two speakers we saw on the side of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

That said, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is just a bit louder than both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Apple iPad 2 when we cranked up the volume, even if the sound quality wasn’t that great and sounded a bit distorted at times.

No tablet on the market has really exceptional sound, though, and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is in the same league.

We tested both H.264 movie files and those encoded as MPEG as they worked smoothly. This tablet does not support Quicktime, but the Tegra 3 does support H.264 1080p30/60i (HP @ 40Mbps), VC1-AP 1080p30, MPEG2 1080p30/60i, MPEG4 1080p/30, DivX 4/5/6 1080p30, XviD HT 1080p30, H.263 4CIF/30, Theora, and VP8 720p30.

Audio files like MP3 and AAC played without any problems. For audio, the Tegra 3 supports AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC+, MP3, MP3 VBR, WAV/PCM, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, BSAC, MPEG-2 Audio, Vorbis, WMA 9, WMA, Lossless, WMA Pro, G.729a, G.711, QCELP, EVRC.

Camera

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Camera

Photos we took with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime looked clear and colourful.

In a few cases, the colours weren’t as vivid as those taken with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, but they were always sharper than the somewhat blurry images we took with the Apple iPad 2. All three tablets were used for the same photo comparisons below.

Taken with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime…

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Taken with the Apple iPad 2

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Taken with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1…

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus doesn’t offer any extended features for taking photos on the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, but you can change basic settings such as white balance and choose from a few scene modes including Indoors or Night.

None of the settings really add to the value of the camera or compete with a more powerful smartphone or digital camera. Photos, like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s screen, tended to look a bit washed out but still useable.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime has a much faster shutter release than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. However, the focus wasn’t always as reliable. The Samsung tablet tends to focus slowly, but the results are sharper Asus.

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Asus eee pad transformer prime reviewSee full-res image

Video

YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0bsHgWZQo4

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

One initial complaint when shooting video with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime was that, when we recorded a 1080p video with the tablet, we noticed a few stuttering problems during recording. But playback of this file was smooth and didn’t have any stuttering.

Asus recommended we try again without any apps running in the background, and the test recording didn’t stutter at all when doing this, with smooth-as-butter playback.

Recorded videos also looked super-crisp, which is an important finding compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which tends to film grainy and almost unusable videos.

As it stands, no tablet is ideal for shooting photos or recording video, because you can’t hold the device in a way that makes it easy to capture stills or video – there is often a shaky-cam look no matter how you hold them. The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is no different, although the somewhat more rigid design and wider bezel makes it a hair easier to grip.

In one case, while shooting a video, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime suddenly went in and out of focus sporadically, trying to focus on the subject. The problem never happened again, though.

Verdict

Asus eee pad transformer prime review

Is there any reason not to rush right out and get the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime when it starts shipping in January?

Not really. The Prime is an outstanding Android 3.2 tablet.

It is also the first tablet to use the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor for faster gaming, better movie playback, and long battery life.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is light and thin, with a durable design that will withstand a few spills, and even a drop or two. The device uses an understated slim design with a metallic back cover that seems durable.

The included Asus first-party apps add to the value: they enable you to store files in the cloud, buy music and books, and stream content from a desktop or laptop computer on the same network.

The two major reasons we would avoid this model are relatively minor.

One is that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 does have a brighter, more colourful screen. Games and movies tend to pop off the screen in a more vivid way than they do on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. This is a trade-off though, because the Prime is also easier to view in direct light or from a side angle.

The other reason to delay an impulse purchase has to do with apps. Asus does include quite a few compelling first-party apps, and they make the device more enticing.

That’s all well and good, but the Apple iPad 2 is still a better choice if you prefer quality apps that offer unique features. For example, many of the games on the iPad are superior to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime in terms of gameplay options and variety.

We liked

More than any other spec, we liked the Tegra 3 processor on this tablet. It’s fast and nimble, pumping new life into apps we’ve used for the past nine months and speeding up the operating system overall. HD movies played smooth and fast, without the typical stuttering (for the most part) of other tablets.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is one light and thin tablet. In fact, it’s the thinnest tablet available. Any thinner and we’d start wondering about durability.

Battery life was good, at about nine hours, and video playback lasts up to 12 hours.

Games were visually superior to every other tablet. Smoke and water effects looked convincing, and frame rates were exceptionally high. Most apps ran faster than we’ve seen on any other Android tablet, without any stuttering, memory pauses, or crashes of any kind.

The lapdock, which is included in a bundle for the UK and sold separately in the US, is a smart addition. It turns the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime into a notebook for typing longer documents in a pinch, and has a built-in mouse pad and USB port.

We disliked

We’re fans of the IPS display tech, because it means getting more use out of tablets in a variety of lighting conditions and at a side viewing angle, but the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime’s screen is still just slightly less colourful than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

To test this theory, we asked various people in the office to give us their first response to the same photo on both tablets, and everyone said they preferred the Samsung’s screen.

There’s also still a lingering question about apps compared to those available for the iPad 2. We just can’t get around the fact that the iPad has superior apps – one called Djay that works like a real DJ turntable, the Apple first-party apps such as GarageBand and Keynote, games such as Infinity Blade II that offer deeper gameplay and so on.

Asus can’t do too much about this problem, but if you want to have the best apps for a tablet, the iPad 2 is a better choice.

Of course, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime won’t attract nearly as many third-party hardware companies to make add-ons for the device, even if Asus does offer a handy lapdock accessory. That’s not a ding against the Transformer per se, but a praise for how popular the iPad has become.

Camera and video quality were good, but we ran into a few snags here and there. The resulting photos were usually sharp and focused, but not as colourful as those taken with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Final verdict

There’s a nagging sense with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime that holds us back from declaring a sweeping victory compared to the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Overall, when you consider the specs, we know the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is the better tablet. For hardcore tech enthusiasts, this is the tablet you want, because it has the latest next-gen processor and supports true HD movie recording and playback.

For the masses, and just for the overall top spot in the tablet market, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime can’t compete with the iPad 2 for app selection and quality.

And we have to give the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 the nod for a superior screen. That’s hugely important: the screen is what you look at all day.

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is faster than any tablet, and matches the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Apple iPad 2 for size and weight.

But we can’t quite declare the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime the winner overall. The iPad 2 still has that honour.

For Android tablets, we’ll say that the faster, lighter Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime ties with the excellent-screened Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

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Sony Introduces High-End Notebook — Soyy Vaio Y

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Sony Introduces High-End Notebook — Soyy Vaio Y

The Japanese manufacturer Sony returns to bet on the more advanced configuration netbooks and renews its 11.6-inch model. The new Sony VAIO Y VPCYB39KJ was updated in Japan and designed for users who want a little more performance in a small size computer. Apparently the new Sony VAIO Y does not have great aesthetic modifications in relation to the model and is sold in the world. This maintains the same compact lines, presented in a rather sober gray.

In his side can clearly see the activity indicator and equipment in the typical green color of the line Sony. No doubt the aesthetic shows a simple and versatile product adapted to the new type device designs that Apple launched its MacBook Air. So long ago Apple introduced the chiclet keyboard layout that makes typing extensively and in turn the simpler designs we see in this Sony VAIO Y.

One of the windows of this netbook is a 11.6-inch display which offers a better display of information. Besides this, with 1.5 inches in size the manufacturer was able to place larger size keys becoming more comfortable typing. Combine these features with its low weight, we can conclude that the Sony VAIO Y is a good choice for many who needs digital texts anywhere. The screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels display, ensuring sound and video files from the work area of ​​the operating system.

The processor is an AMD E-450 of 1.65 GHz that works in partnership with a Radeon HD 6320. The netbook also has 2 GB DDR3 RAM, 500 GB hard drive, webcam, memory card reader, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 and HDMI port. The operating system model is the Windows 7 Home Premium. For its part, Sony disclose the price of memory cards PS Vita, with the launch of Playstation Vita closer promising some details about the Sony laptop are being revealed as the battery that has displeased many people and now the price of memory cards used by this.

Probably looking to reduce the cost of production and consecutively the final price of the device to the public, Sony chose not to include internal memory in the Vita and therefore have to buy storage cards for content such as movies, games and songs. The big problem is as usual in the Japanese firm will use the game cards themselves and some people that something suspicious was confirmed, the price charged by them will be well more than what I paid on an SD card for example.

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Lenovo B570

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 Lenovo B570

Lenovo’s staggeringly powerful and well-equipped B570 easily asserts itself as one of the best laptops around for this kind of money.

The plain black chassis design puts function firmly before form. The tough, ridged plastics easily withstand scuffs and scratches and the firm lid capably protects the screen from damage.

Although this is not the heaviest laptop we’ve seen, at 2.4kg it’s also not ideal for regularly working on the move. The 157-minute battery life is average and can keep you working on short journeys, but falls far short of the four-hour mobility of the compact Alienware M11x.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops are known for their fantastic keyboards and some of this quality has trickled down to its budget range. The B570’s excellent, isolated-style keyboard’s well-spaced buttons move smoothly, quietly and accurately at all times. Even speed typing is a pleasure.

The huge touchpad and mouse buttons are just as pleasing to use and the pad’s textured finish makes it easy to find when typing. The wide design perfectly suits the screen’s dimensions and enables you to scroll from one side of the screen to the other without removing your finger from the touchpad.

The screen is gorgeous and renders photos and videos beautifully. While the glossy Super-TFT coating is very reflective and not suitable for outdoor use, it delivers strong colour reproduction, sharp contrast and strikingly detailed images.

Stunning performance

Despite using a technically less-capable processor than the Alienware, the Lenovo vastly outperformed its rival. The second-generation Intel Core i5 processor flew through our benchmark tests and runs incredibly quickly for such an affordable laptop. Backed by 8GB of memory, you can also comfortably multitask with no slowdown.

Graphics are less powerful, but still more than capable for most needs. The entry-level Nvidia GT 410M graphics can’t compete with the Acer Aspire 5943G and Alienware’s high-powered chips, but there is plenty of power for basic photo and video editing. Regular gaming will be out of reach, however.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 157 minutes
Cinebench: 9898
3DMark 2006: 4579

Lenovo build

The Lenovo’s real strength is its vast storage. The 750GB hard drive is outstanding at this price and provides far more space than most other laptops. Even if you plan to store thousands of songs, videos and photos on your laptop, you’ll be unlikely to fill this drive, even over many years of use.

Several useful security features also let you keep your files safe and secure. For example, a fingerprint scanner on the palm rest offers biometric protection against unauthorised access, while proprietary Lenovo software enables you to encrypt sections of the hard drive to keep private files hidden.

Lastly, you also get a comprehensive selection of Lenovo software for managing power consumption and data recovery, among others; high-speed fixed and wireless network connectivity via built-in Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi modules and Bluetooth connectivity for wirelessly sharing files with external devices.

Although the B570 is bettered by the Acer’s high-def multimedia features and the Alienware’s mobility, it is still a fantastic laptop. Its resilient build, strong performance, great user interface and capacious storage pack all you could need from an entry-level laptop and this is a machine we can heartily recommend.

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Tips for taking care of the LCD screen of your notebook

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Tips for taking care of the LCD screen of your notebook

LCD screens or Plasma have individual tubes for each point on the screen, it’s like small bulbs if they burn there is no way replace or repair these lamps, depending on how many bulbs the only solution is to exchange the screen.Hp have a positive premium notebook and HP pavilion dv5000 battery is not lighting up the screen, the LEDs connect all over the screen pretty well anything that is before the monitor does not light it was giving some legs on the image type as an old TV that had helped to adjust the image.

1 – Try to avoid touching the LCD screen, at least if it is touchscreen. Many forget that the notebook screen is not covered by a hard and thick layer of glass as conventional monitors. When you touch the screen, is actually in contact with a mild, subtle film that pushed a lot of hostility can damage the pixels (smallest unit of monitor resolution) behind her.They also occupied the system and save HP pavilion dv5 batterypower.Notebook keyboard repair, recovery in case of spillage of water and other liquids.

2-Look also take care of cleaning the screen of your notebook, they can shade and discoloring on the screen. When it becomes inevitable clean, lightly a 100% cotton flannel or a soft dry cloth, removing only the excess powder, and after passing a soft cloth lightly moistened possible to take fingerprints and other marks on the LCD.Take a while before the service to be considered as a breach of HP pavilion dv4 battery component can damage your screen or the casing of the notebook urging the concert.

3 – For users of touch screens also have some recommendations. The fact that the screen of your computer is configured to accept manual touch, does not mean that it is resistant to dirt, scratches and other damage. Actually it is more likely to suffer some damage and should be cleaned more often.When you realize the difficulty to raise or lower the screen has given HP pavilion dv7 battery is possible that the hinge function is responsible for this missing lubrication or even breaking.

4 – Screen saver on laptop. You should also give some rest to your screen. LCD monitors, unlike conventional desktop, do not suffer the loss of dot pitch or the expense of phosphorus contained in the monitors, so do not need screen saver or screen saver. But in fact, a screen saver may “wake up” hard disk drives and processors from sleep mode. Leaving your HP mini 1000 battery in standby or screen saver when not in use, you increase the life of your laptop screen and also one of the most expensive components for replacement.

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