ViewSonic VX2739wm, 27-inch LCD monitor with a response time of 1ms

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ViewSonic VX2739wm, 27-inch LCD monitor with a response time of 1ms

Coming attractions by ViewSonic. The American company has announced the upcoming market introduction of a new 27-inch LCD monitor for all those who want uncompromised performance.

ViewSonic VX2739wm has a Full HD native resolution, has a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a brightness of 300cd/m2. The factor that sets it apart from the crowd, however, is the response time set at a value never before achieved: a millisecond.

The display, as well as HDMI inputs, DVI and VGA, it boasts the presence of four USB ports and two speakers of 2W each.

ViewSonic VX2739wm is now in pre-order online store overseas at a price set at 349.99 U.S. dollars. At present there is no news on the actual availability of the product.

5800, v.50.0.005 firmware available for Product Code 0595998

After a few days from within the product code 0596011, with reporting by Manuel, we knows the number that Nokia has released new firmware for v.50.0.005 5800 with product code 0595998.
Completed thus expected to update the product code, at least for the No Brand. The devices branded by operators, however, almost certainly will not receive any updates.

You can upgrade to new firmware directly from the Nokia Software Updater.

44 of 100 iPad replace a netbook!

A recent survey by Alphawise, analyst Katy Huberty and Morgan Stanley, on March 2010, informed that 44% of shoppers have bought the iPad tablet sostituzone an Apple netbook / notebook!

The “middle way” between the iPhone and Macbook (so that the tablet was initially described in the Apple keynote in January) has been an enormous success, in both WiFi and 3G, as sales exceed one million devices!

The initial criticism from the iPad, focused on the impossibility of using such a product to a full replacement notebook! But it seems that many of these users would prefer the iPad to the laptop, did not consider therefore essential tastira physics, a webcam, a removable battery, Flash Support, Multi-tasking (which still will), etc..! It even seems that the iPad has slowed sales of notebooks in early 2010!

Probably it was the arrival of the iPad to direct the company HP, a leader in the field of notebookPC, the purchase of the Palm smartphone WebOS.

But while the iPad does not promote the sale of non-Apple laptops (20%), analysts tell us that in 41% of the tablet has replaced an iPod Touch, a Macbook in 24% and even 14% in the ‘buy a Mac (13% of a desktop PC)! Other data definitely positive for Cupertino indicate that 20 iPad of 100 have been purchased instead of another e-Reader is not Apple (like the Amazon Kindle’s) and in 17 cases out of 100 instead of a game-console, portable non-Apple (see Nintendo Game Boy and PSP).

Reade comic comics reader v2.03 for Windows Mobile, htc HD2 test on Video

We do not know how many of you read comics on a mobile device, but this program could be useful to someone. There are several programs for the iPhone and other devices. This program, comic reader, is also available for Windows Mobile and allows you to directly read a variety of formats like zip, rar, crb, cbz and directories containing images, all formats that are popular comics on the web.

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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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6.5.3 for Windows Mobile Omnia 2 closer: New Roma JE1

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6.5.3 for Windows Mobile Omnia 2 closer: New Roma JE1

The Italian official update for the Omnia i8000 2 new Windows Mobile version 6.5.3 seems ever closer. At the moment it is not official yet, but in recent weeks are a number of successive Roma office with the version 6.5.3 of the system.

The last JE1 is an example. At the moment there seems no particular differences smartphone software and the speed is very good from the first test. Find downloads and more info in the Forum.

GDesk, the theme of Symbian Maemo interface is updated

The theme for GDesk, based on the GUI running on Maemo and S60 has received a major update.
Now the issue is much more complete than the previous version and you can download it from.

Apple will solve problems with a Wi-Fi iPad next firmware

A few weeks ago, near the exit iPad Wi-Fi, you talked about some issues related to Wi-Fi on the “multimedia table” of Apple.

Apple recently updated support document, specifying what are the current solutions to the problems of Wi-Fi iPad. In various forums, including the official one from Apple, the problem with the Wi-Fi is in fact at various times been touched.

The solutions listed in the new document are:

* Update the router firmware to the last available
* Use passwords for WPA or WPA2 Wireless Security
* Change the brightness of the screen (?)
* Renew the IP address

Apple Hardware denies a problem nonetheless, adding that in the near future these problems will be fixed with a software update. Expect then a new firmware update soon which could be the iPad 3.2.1.

The problem which we have discussed include the weak signal and lack of access to reta with your password. According to Apple, the problem is still a small slice of iPad users.

Inception, the spectacular final trailer for the new film by Christopher Nolan

Expected in U.S. cinemas on 16 July (we will only come September 3) Inception is a science fiction movie – written and directed by Christopher Nolan – the plot that will see as a fascinating protagonist Leonardo DiCaprio.

Don Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the best ever in the dangerous art of extraction, ie the theft of valuable secrets from the depths of the subconscious in dreams, when the mind is most vulnerable. The rare ability to Cobb has made him an actor in this new world of corporate espionage misleading, but it has also made an international fugitive costing the loss of everything he loved.

But Cobb is offered a chance for redemption: one last job may give him back his life, but only if he can accomplish the impossible – the inception, in fact -. Instead of stealing perfect, Cobb and his team have to do the exact opposite: their aim is not to steal but to implant an idea. If successful, it could be the perfect crime. But no one can warn them of an enemy pawn and who seems to know their every move, an enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.

Green N8, complete image gallery

They come new images and some brief impressions of the Nokia N8 from the website Engadget. The version tested is the green one, a very unique color that makes the phone definitely unique and unmistakable. The following images and impressions:

The anodized aluminum shell construction gives the phone an excellent and extremely light, so one wonders if the battery is already present or not. In his pocket is extremely natural and comfortable, thanks perhaps to the particular curve at the sides. The attention to detail and design of the outer primary aspects were certainly in a constructive search for the new Nokia N8.

The Home button on the front seems a bit ‘low pressure but it is too early to make conclusions.

This is a short extract of the first impressions. Following the gallery pictures and videos, and more surely soon

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Review: Samsung Series 7 Chronos

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Review: Samsung Series 7 Chronos

Overview

Samsung wowed us with its ultra-thin, surprisingly powerful Series 9 laptop earlier this year, but the £1,000-plus price tag lifted it beyond the grasp of most common folk.

We’ve spent a week with the latest Samsung portable, the Series 7 Chronos (or Samsung Series 7 Chronos 700Z5A-S01, to give it its full catchy monicker), which isn’t quite as portable but certainly packs in the power – as well as a hefty price tag.

Although the rather curious name conjures up images of psychotic androids hell-bent on human extermination, the Chronos is a rather tame-looking beast.

Anyone expecting a super-slender chassis like the Series 9’s will be disappointed. The Chronos is still slender, at just 25mm, but the 2.4kg weight means it’s more of a chore to lug around than ultrabooks such as the Acer Aspire S3 and the Asus Zenbook.

The sleek silver lid is solid at the edges to keep the display from bending, and even the centre is surprisingly firm. Inside, the metallic motif continues. However, the palmrests are less sturdy than the lid, flexing under light pressure. It isn’t a major concern, but a pity considering the otherwise strong build quality.

We have to admit to being a little disappointed by the overall appearance of the Samsung Chronos. Perhaps our expectations were too high, but this laptop isn’t exactly a beauty compared to some of the new ultrabooks, or even the older Series 9.

Samsung series 7 chronos

Still, we were pleased to see the isolation-style ‘chiclet’ keyboard stretching the width of the interior, giving well-sized keys and enough room for a numeric keypad. Typing is a smooth experience, although the keys don’t travel far when hit.

The arrow keys are once again crushed into a single row, but we could find them without looking, thanks to their wide design.

The keyboard is also backlit, and a built-in light sensor ensures the subtle glow only turns on when the atmospheric lighting is poor, thus saving your battery life as well as your eyes.

However, it isn’t all good news. We noticed after typing for a while that the sharp edges of the chassis were cutting into our wrists.

Not hard enough to open up a vein, thankfully, but enough to leave a red mark. It isn’t so bad if you don’t slouch in your chair, but we found ourselves sinking further down as the working day progressed, putting our tender skin at risk.

We were also less than enamored with the Samsung Chronos’ touchpad. It’s spacious enough, taking up a generous chunk of the palmrest, but opts for annoying integrated mouse buttons.

You have to push the bottom corners to simulate left and right mouse button clicks, which quickly frustrates, since the cursor jerks each time. We gave up and started tapping the surface instead, which occasionally doesn’t register but is less annoying.

Specifications and performance

Samsung series 7 chronos

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos’ 15.6-inch display stretches almost to the edge of the lid, with only a slender bezel in place. It isn’t quite as sleek as the Dell XPS 14z‘s display, with its edge-to-edge glass, but the screen does appear larger than it actually is.

A sharp 1600 x 900 WXGA++ resolution keeps images crisp and clean, whether you’re browsing through embarrassing Facebook pictures or enjoying an HD movie. There’s no glossy coating, so you can use the Samsung Series 7 Chronos outside or in brightly-lit interiors without squinting through pesky glare.

Colours are still rich, and the screen is reasonably bright. However, the narrow viewing angles are less impressive.

If you need a machine to keep you entertained on the move, the Chronos’ spacious 750GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for your games, movies and music. A slot-loading DVD drive has also been packed into the slender chassis. If you’d rather use this laptop as a home entertainment machine, an HDMI port can be used to hook up televisions or monitors, and you have three USB ports for attaching peripherals, two of which are zippy USB 3.0 connections.

Samsung series 7 chronos

Samsung has joined a host of other manufacturers in the challenge to create the fastest booting laptop. The Windows desktop pings up just 20 seconds after hitting the power button, while the Samsung Series 7 Chronos also wakes up from hibernation in just two seconds. That gives you plenty more time to browse mucky Scandinavian websites.

Of course you get the usual range of trial software that has to be uninstalled, while Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi can be used to get online.

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos may be light on features, but it doesn’t skimp in the performance department. A mighty Intel Core i7 2675QM processor running at a standard speed of 2.2GHz is in charge, backed up by a generous 8GB of memory. This blasted through our benchmark testing, hammering every task we threw its way.

You can run any software imaginable, and should be able to for some time to come. If you want future-proofing, the Chronos lays it on thick.

Gamers and hardcore editors are also catered for, thanks to the AMD Radeon HD6750M graphics card. While the likes of the Alienware M18x provides twice the graphical power, you can still run some of the latest games on modest graphical settings, and older games run without issue.

Movie fans can enjoy the latest films in HD quality, with no stuttering or other issues. Video editing suites and other multimedia applications also run smoothly.

Despite all this power, we were highly impressed by the Samsung Series 7 Chronos’ excellent battery life. We put our laptops through a tough test, playing HD video on loop with performance settings turned to max, until the battery is drained. Most laptops last a mere three hours before dying, but the Chronos powered through four hours of video before the screen faded to black.

Cinebench 10: 16828
3D Mark ’06: 10049
Battery Eater ’05: 239 mins

Verdict

Samsung series 7 chronos

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos may not be quite as thin as some of the emerging ultrabooks, or the glorious Series 9 that hit stores earlier this year, but can it stand out from the crowd with killer performance instead?

We liked

The latest Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor crushes anything you throw at it, and will do for some time to come. You also have a powerful GPU that can handle the latest games (albeit with some graphical compromises) and multimedia software.

The screen is sharp and vibrant – a great way to enjoy the latest HD movies. The lack of a glossy finish means there are no annoying reflections when working out of doors, while a 750GB hard drive gives you plenty of room for your media. You also have a slot-loading DVD drive.

We were also impressed by the solid build, while the backlit isolation-style keyboard is spacious and well constructed. And although the Samsung Series 7 Chronos isn’t the slimmest or lightest laptop around, its excellent battery life will see you through a full day of office use.

We disliked

Although we like the keyboard, there are some usability issues. The sharp edge of the palmrest cuts into your wrists at times, and the touchpad opts for annoying integrated mouse buttons, which knock the cursor out of position when pushed.

The Samsung Series 7 Chronos also lacks that certain something to get us excited. It doesn’t have the sexy, curved chassis of the Series 9, or the ridiculously slender build of some of the new ultrabooks.

Final verdict

If you need a portable machine to entertain you on the move, which won’t be out of date any time soon, the Samsung Series 7 Chronos is well worth considering. Just don’t expect great beauty.

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Review: Asus Zenbook UX31

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Review: Asus Zenbook UX31

Overview

The Asus Zenbook UX31 is one of the first laptops to conform to Intel’s Ultrabook specification.

And, right away, we’ll tell you – it stands toe-to-toe with Apple’s MacBook Air in the fight for the title of best luxury ultraportable.

More competition is to come, however, in the form of the Lenovo IdeaPad U300 S, Acer Aspire S3 and, potentially, others from the likes of HP and Dell.

Back to the present though and Asus has done a terrific job with the Zenbook’s design – even if you have to acknowledge that the designer took more than a sneaky glance at Apple’s ultraportable first.

The 13-inch Zenbook is fantastic to look at. When closed, the wedge-shaped laptop measures 17mm at its thickest point and a mere 3mm at its thinnest.

Asus zenbook ux31

The aluminium silver lid boasts a distinctive concentric circle design that catches and reflects the surrounding light. Befitting the name, the Zenbook’s simple, sleek finish gives it a premium look that keeps getting better as soon as you lift the lid.

The design ethic is in evidence earlier than that, though – it’s a lovely experience as you open the box while Asus has also included a mini Display Port to D-Sub adapter and a USB to Ethernet lead as well. Both are housed in their own little pouch. Better still, you even get a bespoke sleeve for your Zenbook in the box.

The same thinking even stretches to the Intel Core and Windows 7 stickers. We wonder who it was that proposed they were silver and black – Intel? Asus? – but whoever did has made a difference.

Specifications

Asus zenbook ux31

The outward elegance of the Zenbook UX31 has certainly been matched by power on the inside. There are currently two different versions available, our test model has the Core i7 2677M Processor while there’s also a Core i5 2467M Processor variant.

Our test version was running Windows 7 Home Premium, though the Asus spec sheet seems to suggest that Professional is also available should that be a requirement for you.

For those looking for a smaller laptop, there’s an 11.6-inch UX21 version that costs £849. We’ll be reviewing that separately as soon as we can get our hands on one.

You’ll get 4GB or RAM with all 13-inch models, as well as a 128 or 256GB solid state drive (SSD). Our review model had a 128GB drive under the hood and, as we were using it a lot, we managed to fill most of that with apps and files in no time. This is a performance machine and you may find yourself wanting the larger capacity.

The isolation-style keyboard is front and centre inside the Zenbook with no additional clutter from the likes of hotkeys, volume controls, numeric keypads or even separate mouse buttons.

As the chassis is so thin, there’s very little depth to each key. It must be said that, at first, this can be of-putting, especially if you’re used to hammering out your emails – but before long typing on the Zenbook becomes second nature.

We did find the directional arrows and the enter key to be a little on the small side, but not enough to interfere with extended typing sessions.

There’s also no backlight to the keyboard – as the MacBook Air and other competitors such as the Samsung 9 Series have this. A shame it’s missing here.

Asus zenbook

Alongside the keyboard, Asus has included a large, central touchpad. We had doubts about the inbuilt buttons and lack of a textured surface at first, but these were soon laid to rest.

The response is swift and because of the larger size, it is possible to use your thumb on the touchpad without moving your hands from the typing position. Occasionally you might brush the touchpad when typing but this is a rare occurrence.

However, we really don’t like the mouse buttons. The touch isn’t very definite, while it can be quite hard to do selections or multiple presses. Things could be a lot better here.

Another noteworthy feature of the Zenbook is the external speaker running across the base of the 13.3-inch, 1,600 x 900 16:9 Super-TFT screen. Developed by Bang & Olufsen and called ICEpower, the speaker is monitored by in-built Asus techcalled SonicMaster to keepthe balance even.

The Zenbook will hit a reassuringly loud volume without disintegrating into either a tinny treble or a fuzzy bass. It sounded impressive both in our expansive office and at home in a fully furnished room.

For the record, there’s also a 0.3 megapixel webcam for video conferencing or Skype.

The Zenbook weighs in at 1.4kg, exactly the same as the 13.1-inch Macbook Air. It’s hardly noticeable when carried around for the day and, because of the svelte design; it won’t take up too much space in your bag.

Thankfully Asus hasn’t filled the Zenbook with too much add-on software, but there is an annoying Live Update engine that keeps on popping up messages from the taskbar, while there’s also a battery life gadget (actually useful but it remains in your taskbar), as well as backup tools and a webcam app.

We’re sure there are some people that think it’s nice to have this kind of stuff, but we’re not among them. Moreover, much of the software is simply unnecessary.

And then there’s the graphics that appear when you turn the volume up, change the brightness or switch the power mode. To be honest, they’re horribly ugly and we’re simply not impressed.

It’s a shame the same attention that was paid to the external design wasn’t paid to the add-ons within the OS.

Performance

Asus zenbook ux31

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 8726
3D Mark ’06: 3623
Battery Eater ’05: 253 mins

Both processors in the 13-inch are from Intel’s second-generation Sandy Bridge family and mean the Zenbook can easily handle multi-tasking, varioius demanding apps and multiple displays using the Sandy Bridge chips’ in-built HD 3000 graphics capabilities.

However. the lack of non-dedicated graphics from AMD or Nvidia does hit the Zenbook in the performance pocket – hence our relatively modest 3D Mark score.

We felt the display wasn’t the best – dark colours and especially blacks seem a little washed out – but definition is good. We also found the viewing angle wasn’t great for watching video and working alongside others.

Speed, clearly, is the focus of the ultrabook range and the Zenbook is no slouch. The instant-on feature means you can be up and running in just two seconds from sleep mode and standby time will hit two weeks on a single charge.

The Core i7 unit featured here performs brilliantly and it was able to handle multiple browsers, Outlook and Word 2010, Spotify, FileZilla and image editing apps all concurrently. You really find you can do what you want, when you want.

There were a couple of times when we found this wasn’t the case – several times when switching power states suddenly (like unplugging the charger) meant that the whole system seemed to struggle to adapt – browsing became slow and we had to let the system calm completely down. Also we found that using more intensive apps could make things hang – handling a load of images inside Microsoft Publisher, for example.

Even with heavy use during our testing, the Zenbook’s battery lasted for an impressive 253 minutes. And when the battery does dip below 5 per cent, the Zenbook will automatically save any files in progress to avoid you losing all your work when the machine shuts down.

The battery can seem like it’s draining reasonably quickly when doing any tasks on high performance but on power saving mode this thing is positively frugal, going for around six hours if you’re careful. Asus quotes seven, but you’ll have to barely use it to get that. So we’re not at the all-day battery life scenario yet, but we’re getting closer.

The slim design means physical connectivity isn’t as abundant as regular laptops, but there’s still enough here to satisfy most users.

Asus zenbook ux31

Asus has included two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0 as well as an SD card slot plus a mini HDMI and mini DislayPort for connecting the ultrabok to an external TV or monitor. The Zenbook also has 802.11n Wi-Fi and cutting edge Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.

Asus zenbook ux31

Good value?

Although the 13.3-inch Zenbook will set you back from £999, that;s still £100 less than the cheapest 13.3-inch Macbook Air.

Similarly, Asus has matched Apple with pricing for the 11.6-inch model which, like the smaller Macbook Air comes in at £849. Considering the technology and the form factor, a starting price point of under a thousand pounds is good value for money – especially when you consider other such ultraportables have cost as much as £1,500 in the past.

Asus zenbook ux31

Verdict

Asus zenbook ux31

Overall we were very impressed with the Asus Zenbook. Neither power nor portability has been sacrificed in pursuit of the other and features that traditionally suffer, such as audio quality and battery life, have not been neglected.

Battery life, especially, isn’t the worry it usually is with the Zenbook, but you need to make sure it’s in the right power state – running on high performance means that the system flies – but it comes at a cost. For most purposes, running in power saving mode is more than enough.

We liked

There’s so much to like about this laptop. It’s a real PC ultraportable – the design is fantastic and it goes like stink.

Beautiful design can only come into its own when there’s performance to match.And it’s all here in spades.

The instant sleep and resume is exactly what you want in a laptop like this, and you’ll find yourself quickly adapting to never shutting down. Unless, that is. Windows wants to install updates!

We disliked

There’s surprisingly little we disliked about the Zenbook, but it must be said that the trackpad buttons grate especially. They are truly awful and mean that a mouse is recommended for serious work.

The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to and isn’t as good as many – however, you quickly get to know it and it’s not too much of an issue. The lack of a backlight is also a problem.

Graphics performance could be better but we realise that’s slightly unrealistic for a machine of this type – we also weren’t huge fans of the display.

Finally, you could say the design – though fantastic – is rather derivative. Still, unless you’re a real design freak, you’ll almost certainly find that you’re not that fussed.

Verdict

While price may preclude some from purchasing the Zenbook, we have no problem in recommending it as one of the best ultraportables we’ve seen.

It’s certainly a match for the impressive MacBook Air – and a real tonic to those who have wanted a performanceWindowsultraportable at a price point that doesn’t require a remortgage. Yes, it’s expensive. But it’s so worth it.

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Review: Dell XPS 14z

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Review: Dell XPS 14z

Overview

We first checked out Dell’s XPS 14z at IFA, a slightly dinkier version of its excellent XPS 15z laptop. The XPS 14z hits stores today and we’ve already spent a few days snuggling up and getting to know it.

While a 14-inch version of a 15-inch laptop might seem a little pointless, we were impressed by how slim and light the XPS 14z turned out. With its 23mm build and 2kg weight, it more closely resembles a 13-inch portable. The XPS 15z wasn’t exactly a chubster, but commuters will want to consider this laptop first.

The slender body may seem less impressive compared to the upcoming slew of ultrabooks, including the ridiculously skinny Asus Zenbook which is just 9mm thick. However, we had no problem slipping the XPS 14z into our backpack and carrying it around all weekend.

In terms of design, almost nothing except the size has been changed from the XPS 15z. You get the same beautiful brushed metal finish, which feels as solid as it looks – we pushed and prodded every inch and found no worrying weak spots. Even the paper-thin aluminium lid is firm enough to take a pounding, so you won’t need to pad your bag with bubblewrap.

An isolation-style keyboard fills the centre of the XPS 14z’s chassis, bordered at both sides by the built-in speakers. We love the curved design of the keys, which gives them a futuristic appearance. They’re firmly set and comfortable to type on, while typos are a rarity thanks to the gaps between each key.

Dell xps 14z

The board is surprisingly well-sized too, despite not stretching the width of the laptop. The tiny arrow keys are the only casualty. As with the XPS 15z, the board is backlit for late-night sessions, and Dell also touts it as ‘spill-resistant’. However, we didn’t have the guts to assault it with a bottle of Evian.

We also liked the spacious touchpad, which thankfully avoids the irritating integrated mouse buttons you find on many compact laptops. Instead, the XPS 14z has two dedicated buttons underneath. The pad also supports multi-touch gesturing, as is the norm.

Our only issues with the design are the stiff lid hinges, which to be fair at least keeps the screen still when you’re on rocky public transport. The screen only tilts 45 degrees back from vertical, so finding a comfortable viewing angle can be tricky when the XPS 14z is resting on your lap.

Specifications

Dell xps 14z

The Dell XPS 15z was a perfect way to enjoy HD movies on the go, thanks to its 1080p screen. The dinkier XPS 14z display isn’t quite as sharp, featuring a standard 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, but video still looks pleasingly crisp.

Images are also colourfully reproduced, but we were disappointed by the brightness levels – even with the settings turned to maximum, the XPS 14z’s screen isn’t as bright as the 15z’s. Viewing angles are also merely acceptable. However, the edge-to-edge glass gives the display a classy appearance which complements the slick design.

The built-in speakers are once again powerful enough to fill a small room. Sound is a little tinny on top volume, so audiophiles will want to hook up an external pair, but if all you need is a little background music you won’t be disappointed.

Regular travelers will want a sizeable hard drive for carrying their entire media collection around, and the XPS 14z doesn’t disappoint, packing in 500GB of storage. The drive spins at 7200rpm, faster than the standard 5400rpm, so software loads quickly and movies stream perfectly.

A 7-in-1 memory card slot can be used to boost storage space further, or access your holiday snaps on the move. The slender body also houses a slot-loading optical drive, so you can watch DVDs and install games from disc. Quite a few compact laptops skip on the DVD drive, so it’s good to see Dell cram one into the XPS 14z.

Other features are limited to a 1.3MP webcam for chatting with friends and family. We were surprised by the lack of ports, with only two USB connections available (one of them USB 3.0). Thankfully you get HDMI and Mini DisplayPort connections for hooking up a television, monitor or projector, but that’s your lot.

Networking is standard, with 802.11n and Gigabit Ethernet available for getting online. You also have Bluetooth 3.0 support for transferring files with mobile phones and hooking up headsets.

Performance

Dell xps 14z

The Dell XPS 14z comes in two Intel Sandy Bridge flavours: Core i5 and Core i7. We tested the Core i5 2430M version which performed typically well in our benchmarking tests. This powerful CPU is backed up by 6GB of memory, and even with bucketloads of programs running at once, we saw no slowdown.

Our model also packed an Nvidia GeForce GT 525M graphics card for gaming and running multimedia applications. This card is getting on a bit and we were disappointed by the stilted performance during testing. Recent games will stutter, unless you turn detail levels down to low or medium – you’re better off sticking with older titles.

If you want to play the latest games, we’d recommend boosting your budget and looking at a gaming machine such as the MSI GT680 or Alienware M11x instead. The Alienware M11x is a similar weight although a lot chunkier, but more than makes up for it with fantastic all-round performance.

Although you can’t smash up terrorists in high detail, you can easily run video-editing software and other multimedia applications. HD movies play perfectly too. And despite featuring some powerful components stuffed into a slender chassis, the XPS 14z remains cool and quiet at almost all times. Only when we inserted a DVD did it make any real noise.

We were also impressed by the excellent battery life, something the XPS 14z has in common with its elder brother. Usually Sandy Bridge laptops are defeated by the ruthless Battery Eater test in under three hours, but this portable played HD video on a loop for 200 minutes before finally submitting. This is almost as good as the XPS 15z’s four hour longevity, and beats most other multimedia laptops we’ve seen lately.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 9769
3D Mark ’06: 5345
Battery Eater ’05: 200 mins

Verdict

When we first heard that a 14-inch version of the XPS 15z was in the workings, we were intrigued and excited, but also curious at how much difference an inch would make.

We Liked

As it turned out, that inch makes a considerable difference. The XPS 14z is surprisingly slender compared to its elder sibling, and a good chunk lighter too at just 2kg. The same slick brushed metal design is in place, and is just as drool-worthy, while the edge-to-edge glass of the display is a classy touch.

Build quality is also just as strong. There’s nary a weak spot, from the solid chassis to the ridiculously thin aluminium lid, while the isolation-style keyboard is a pleasure to type on.

Movie and music fans also have plenty to enjoy. The XPS 14z’s 500GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for a large media collection, and spins fast to keep things streaming smoothly. The 14-inch screen is colourful and crisp, while the speakers are better than most we hear.

Performance is good enough to run the latest multimedia software, and the Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor won’t be out of date any time soon. Yet despite these powerful components, we still managed well over three hours of intensive use before the battery died.

We Disliked

Unfortunately, some sacrifices have been made in slimming down the mighty XPS 15z. The screen only tilts back 45 degrees on its stiff hinges, and the Full HD 1080p resolution has been lost. We were also disappointed by how dim it was, even on the highest settings.

There’s obviously less space for ports, especially as Dell has crammed in a slot-loading optical drive, but the two USB ports seem a little stingy. Peripherals fans will want to invest in a USB hub.

The XPS 14z is also less graphically capable than its bigger brother, and we found the latest games were stuttery affairs unless we turned detail settings right down. Gamers should look elsewhere for their fix.

Verdict

The XPS 14z is a more compact ultraportable version of one of the best laptops of 2011. While it isn’t quite as technically impressive, it’s still an excellent machine that can keep you entertained and productive on the move.

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Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet

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Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet

Overview 

and features

For those with a penchant for tech throwbacks, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a reminder of past accomplishments. With its all-black design and an optional pen with a large red faux-pa eraser, this tablet looks a bit like one of those original IBM ThinkPad notebooks from years ago. Sadly, its throwback design is still no match for the thin and powerful Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Apple iPad 2.

Like the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer, the ThinkPad Tablet has quite a few extra ports including a camera card slot for loading images from a digital camera straight from the SD memory card, a USB port for connecting peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse and a micro-HDMI port for sending the screen out to your HD TV.

However, at 14.5mm thin and 748g heavy, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is not as sleek or portable as the Apple iPad 2.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, which runs on the Android 3.1 operating system, is loaded with the latest chips, as expected. There’s an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.0GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and – at least on the version we tested – 32GB of storage. Lenovo offers 16GB and 64GB versions as well, costing £683 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only version, £788 for a 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G version and £885 for a 64GB Wi-Fi and 3G version.

The tablet has a 2MP front-facing camera and a rear 5MP camera for videos and photos. There’s a SIM slot for adding an optional 3G card, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are both on board.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The most unique feature is the pen, which is thankfully just an optional add-on that enhances the interface in dramatic ways. For most tasks, you can just use finger presses and swipes. Yet, if you want to jot down notes, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet converts what you write to text quickly and, for the most part, accurately. You can also draw objects in a sketchpad and annotate documents with ease.

From a design standpoint, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet feels a bit chunky and is reminiscent of older slate tabs that ran on Windows Tablet PC. That said, unlike the Toshiba AT100 (known as the Toshiba Thrive in the US), the IPS screen, made of Gorilla Glass and so exceptionally durable, is viewable from a side angle, like the iPad 2’s.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

There are four buttons on the top left-hand side that serve as the screen lock, Web, Back and Home buttons.

The tablet is loaded with extra software. Lenovo includes the Documents To Go app, which normally costs £9.99 to download. Lenovo says its ThinkPad Tablet is the first Android tab to include the Netflix app – the popular US TV and movie streaming site – on its US models. There are two unique interface add-ons – one is an app launcher that sits in the centre of the screen, and the other is an app wheel that functions just like the app pop-up menu that’s standard with Android.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

Lenovo advertises its ThinkPad Tablet as “professional grade”, and we think that means it’s focused less on the consumer side. That’s a good thing, because one of our overall impressions is that the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet runs slowly for video.

The Chinese PC maker might be targeting business people with the higher price as well. At £821 for the 32GB model (although currently offered at the discounted price of £580 on the Lenovo website), the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is one of the most expensive Android tablets around. It may not be worth the high price, but some of the features are definitely business friendly.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

In the box, Lenovo includes a charger and USB cable, but no earbuds, case or stand

.

Taking a tour around the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, the first impression is that the tablet seems big and bulky. At 748g, it’s heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, at 565g, and the Apple iPad 2, at 601g. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is even heavier than the Toshiba AT100, which we described as too bulky.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

There are ports galore, though. We tested the USB port, which is below the screen on the right, and it worked with a USB keyboard called the Luxeed, and even a wireless mouse from Microsoft. However, the tablet didn’t work with one USB flash drive loaded with music and video files. We tested another flash drive, formatted on the same Windows 7 PC as the first one, and it worked fine.

Above the USB slot, on the right-hand side, there’s a three-in-one camera flash card reader that works with SD, SDHC, and MMC cards up to 32GB. A docking port, micro USB port (for charging and swapping files) and a mini-HDMI port are also on the left-hand side. The power button is on the top to the left. On the left-hand side, there are volume control buttons and a slot for storing the pen.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The 1280 x 800 IPS display, measuring 10.1 inches, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, looked a bit dull for movie playback and games. At least it is viewable from a side angle, up to 178 degrees, since the technology is the same as the Apple iPad 2. Like almost every tablet we’ve tried, the screen glare on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is obnoxiously bad – the device is barely useable outside.

Other notable hardware features are here to appease the business user. For example, Lenovo includes an app that you can use to encrypt sensitive business documents stored on flash media. There’s also a handy USB file transfer app that works for copying internal files to an external hard drive or USB flash drive.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

Battery life on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is about average for most Android tabs, lasting for around eight hours. In our testing, we experienced all-day usage from sun-up to sun down when we used the device under normal conditions for checking email, browsing the web and playing YouTube clips.

As expected, when we watched several episodes of The Killing one after the other, with the display turned up bright so we could see what was happening, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet only lasted for about four hours of continuous playback.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

One other hardware perk is that the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet comes with a service called PrinterShare. You install a utility on your PC, select your printer and can then print directly from the tablet – although you have to configure the printer under Settings – over a Wi-Fi network. Of course, the printer has to be on the same network as the tablet.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

Interface


Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

Other than the slightly unusual hardware features, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Tablet is also outfitted with some interesting new user interface enhancements. Some of them work well, but others aren’t as impressive.

The thing first you notice about the main screen is that Lenovo has added a Launcher widget in the centre of the screen where you can quickly start the internet browser, open a book, watch a movie or listen to music. The widget really only sends you to an app – Slacker Radio for music or the mSpot app for movies. For new users, the widget is a smart idea because it calls attention to main features on the device.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

Another addition is the App Wheel. There’s an icon on the lower centre of the screen – press it and you’ll see a circle menu you use to start an app. This is different from the pop-up menu included with Android that shows you open apps – this wheel is for storing favourites. The App Wheel looks a bit clunky though, with an unconvincing drop-shadow. Also, it’s easier to just store apps on the desktop.

Both of these are just extra UI icing on the standard Android 3.1 interface. There are no radical interface overhauls like there will be with the Amazon Kindle Fire. There are also no app categorisation bins like there are with Samsung and Acer tabs, although these bins don’t add a lot of value.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

Many of the other interface features are standard – you can drop widgets onto the main screens. None of these stray too far from the norm – Lenovo hasn’t added any extra widgets. There’s a back button on the lower left-hand side and a Home button in addition to the pop-up app menu.

One oddity, though, is that the hardware buttons on the left of the screen require that you press them close to the screen. If you press near the edge, the button might not work. In daily use, you might just skip these buttons altogether.

Market and apps


Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

Some of the best features on the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet are all behind the scenes. Lenovo includes IT-specific tools such as Computrace for finding a lost device or wiping the data if it’s stolen, LANDesk for pushing apps to the device over a network and requiring that data has to be encrypted when moved to an SD card, and the McAfee Security app, which is designed mostly for backing up and restoring data.

Lenovo went well beyond the norm for bundled apps. In addition to the IT tools, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet includes an app called ArcSync that enables you to synchronise documents, music files, photos and videos to a website, then sync the same media to your phone and computer.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet also includes Angry Birds HD, Documents to Go for viewing and editing Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files, several “virtual” board games such as Backgammon and a few card games including Euchre and Spades.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

As you’d expect, all of the Android apps are here as well, including a light app for editing movies you’ve taken with the built-in camera, the Google Music app for syncing music to the cloud, a built-in Maps app that includes turn-by-turn navigation, and Google email, web browser and calendar apps.

One interesting addition has to do with the Lenovo app store, called App Shop. This cluttered app store pales in comparison to the Android Market. We searched for any pinball game and found none listed. Worse, the screenshots that show up on the main screen were stretched as though the app store was designed for a thinner tablet. When we searched for a PDF reader, the store only had two suggestions – one was the free Adobe reader.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

There’s also an AppVerse feature within Lenovo’s App Shop, which is designed to help you find the best apps. This enables you to browse through the popular apps suggested by other users. The section works like Twitter – you can follow other users and they can follow you. The main problem at the moment, though, is that there just weren’t enough users actively making app suggestions to make this feature useful.

Screen


Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The summary so far is that the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet does offer some extra IT services, there are some good bundled apps, and the Lenovo app store isn’t really worth the effort. But what about the screen? A tablet lives or dies on the quality, brightness, and touch input of the screen.

Lenovo uses the same IPS technology on the Apple iPad 2 that makes the screen viewable at a sharp angle. That was helpful in a crowded coffee shop when trying to work with a laptop and the tablet at the same time – sitting on a table, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet screen was still viewable.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The colour quality looked a bit dim, though, and the screen brightness isn’t anywhere near as luminescent as the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1’s.

In terms of gesturing, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is just average. We didn’t notice any serious problems – in a session with Angry Birds HD the screen registered our flicks and swipes with ease. Pressing on an app icon registered quickly and accurately.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

However, during several tests with the keyboard, we found the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet would occasionally miss a finger press. There’s no haptic feedback (a slight buzz that tells you your finger registered) but the keyboard does make a chime to register a finger press.

For pen input, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet works wonderfully well if that’s what you need to do. Modern tablets are designed for finger input, but there were times when we used the pen to annotate a document, write down notes and control the interface. The pen proved to be highly responsive.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

Using the Notes Mobile app, we wrote out a grocery list and found that the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet recorded these notes accurately as text.

In the SketchPad app, we drew a complex artistic drawing with the pen and were impressed with how accurate the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet registered every brush stroke and spray paint blob. We liked that Lenovo includes the pen not as a primary input device but as an extra option you can use when you need that functionality. There were no times when we felt dependent on the pen to control the tablet.

Usability

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet seems like a throwback device at times. The all-black design doesn’t help – it reminded us of a ThinkPad with the red mouse control nub from the early noughties. Lenovo meant for that to be a bit nostalgic we think, but the overall impression is that the design looks dated. The tablet felt a bit heavy and bulky, not exactly state-of-the-art thin and light like the Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 models.

We also found the buttons a bit superfluous. The buttons to the right of the screen are all repeated as software buttons, and our focus tended to stay on the screen. So we used the software home button more often, rarely used the hardware button for the web browser and never bothered locking the screen rotation, although that last one’s partly due to the fact that the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet rotates the screen correctly.

The ports tell a different story. We used the USB port with a USB flash drive throughout a day of testing, and snapped in an SD card from a Nikon D7000 camera several times.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

We also tested the mini-HDMI port with a 50-inch Sony HD TV, and were mightily impressed: the screen looked crisp and ran fast on the HD TV, and finger swipes were responsive, even with the mirroring.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

When we watched the movie Fast Five, playback looked a bit dim and had a poor, muddy contrast ratio, but at least the movie looked properly formatted and streamed fluidly from the mSpot app.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet lacks that pick-up-and-go aesthetic of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2. There’s something about the extra thinness of those devices that makes you think they’re designed to grab quickly to look up a recipe in the kitchen or flick through a website.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has a business-like aesthetic that’s designed more for a conference room than for quick YouTube sessions. It almost feels and looks like a small LCD from a Lenovo laptop, only at a 10 inch size.

Media


Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

By emphasising the business features on the ThinkPad Tablet, Lenovo has made some of the consumer features a little less compelling. There are no first party apps for renting movies, buying music, or serving up your photos to a secure image library. Instead, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet relies heavily on apps.

For example, the mSpot service is included for renting Hollywood movies. This app is actually quite useful, because it streams movies instead of forcing you to download them first. So, in our test of the movie Fast Five, the first chapter of the movie started playing immediately after we rented it. You can set the app to use a low bandwidth or high bandwidth mode, which determines the quality level.

At the high bandwidth setting, the movie looked similar in quality to a LoveFilm or BBC iPlayer stream. The low bandwidth setting made movies look almost unwatchable, with a soft jagged look to objects.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

For music, there are a few options available, but none of them match the tight infrastructure of iTunes. The main portal is the Amazon MP3 app, but there’s also a music purchase store from mSpot. If you have your own music, you can load files onto the tablet easily using a USB flash drive, connected over Wi-Fi, or from an SD card. When you do, you can use the Google Music app for playback and cloud storage.

From what we hear about the Amazon Kindle Fire, these features might all suddenly seem outdated and even archaic. The Kindle Fire enables you to store all media in the cloud for free, and that feature is baked right into the device – it will be seamless. That means every photo, movie, music file and document will be transferred automatically over to a cloud server from the Kindle Fire.

With the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, and every other Android tablet, cloud integration is app-specific.

We had no problems with media support – the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet worked fine with every music file we loaded, including several WAV and MP3 files. We also loaded several hundred JPG photos. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet worked well in terms of playing these media files and formatting them for the screen.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet review

The one glitch we noticed appeared when we loaded Windows Media video files for the TV show The Killing. The videos would stutter and pause occasionally. We loaded the exact same files, which weren’t even HD quality, on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and they played smoothly.

Camera

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

Let’s be clear about camera technology on tablets: it is not what it should be. Shots with the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet tended to look a tad blurry, with a washed-out look and lack of colour variance. In fact, comparing the photos to those taken with a handheld Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, there is quite a disparity.

In a pinch, when all you have available is the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, the camera does work OK. But there were times when it was difficult to hold the tablet steady, and shots looked blurry.

Indoor shots looked less colourful than those taken outside on a bright sunny day. The problem isn’t particular to the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – no modern tablet is really ideal for taking photos.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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Lenovo thinkpad tablet

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In terms of videos, colour quality was also an issue, but there wasn’t as much of a problem with blurriness. In a scan of a back garden scene, the video looked clear enough and had some colour variance, but the movie wasn’t nearly as impressive as what you’ll find on any typical handheld pocket camera, and is definitely far worse than a dedicated video camera or the video mode on a DSLR.

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet offers a few extra scene modes than we’re used to on Android tablets. You can quickly press the scene button and select a setting for a beach, sunset, snow or even fireworks. There’s also a solarise setting, which casts your image in a pale silver outline. White balance settings for indoor shots or even on a cloudy day help to improve colour accuracy.

There are no scene settings for the video mode, though, other than using black-and-white, sepia or other colour modes. For video, it would have helped to have scene modes that improve shutter speed for recording at a sporting event or for low light conditions (say, a birthday party).

Verdict

Lenovo thinkpad tablet

We ended up liking what Lenovo has done to make its ThinkPad Tablet a more professional-grade tablet than some of the competition. IT folks can track the device and wipe data if it’s stolen, the back-up app from McAfee means not worrying about lost business documents. Help desk staff can push apps to the device, which isn’t something Samsung or Apple offer out of the box.

Overall, the design is a bit dated, which is odd for an Android tablet. It has a throwback look that seems more like a Lenovo laptop than a sleek, modern tablet. The device is a bit hefty and bulky for daily use, but if you are a mobile professional and need to run a Citrix client all day and tap into your ERP system, then the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has you covered – and you might be willing to overlook the design issues.

That said, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is also a poor consumer choice. The AVI movies we tested stuttered and looked washed out, like looking through a steam-covered window.

There isn’t the same quick mobile movie session of competing tablets, and that’s a shame, because even for business use there are times when watching a movie on an aeroplane or at the hotel makes sense.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet beats several other Android tablets, including the Acer Iconia Tab A500, the Toshiba AT100, the Motorola Xoom, and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. Each of those tablets also provide some extra ports, including one for USB connections, that make them more suited for a PC-centric tablet user, but are not exactly thin and light enough for mobile entertainment.

Yet, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet adds some extra business-oriented features. We loved the pen input for jotting down notes and drawing in pen-enabled apps. Other than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the iPad 2 and potentially the Kindle Fire, which is coming to the US soon, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a good bet.

We liked

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has extra business features for tracking the device in case it’s stolen or lost, pushing apps for a secure install and backing up your data.

The pen, which slips into a holder below the screen, is useful for making notes that are accurately converted into text, and for making original art sketches.

The eight-hour battery life is about what we’d expect from a 10-inch tablet – the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet lasted all day and them some for typical web browsing and email activities.

We disliked

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet felt bulky and heavy compared to thinner tablets on the market. The all-black design works well at the office, but not so much on a long plane ride or at a sporting event. Other sleeker and more modern-looking tablets point to a future age when most computing takes place on a thin device.

The camera, like the one included with most tablets, is just not that great. It’s hard to take really compelling photos and videos and want to keep them forever (aka, on Facebook). Some AVI videos played with stuttering that made the TV show unwatchable.

It’s unfortunate that not many apps actually support the annotation features – the pen didn’t work with Adobe Reader or Documents To Go. That means the pen is useful but not essential.

Final verdict

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is a smart option for those who need to use a tablet at work. It has an understated but somewhat bulky design that fits well with a full-size laptop.

Movies and other media are hit and miss, but mostly miss because of the less than colourful screen and choppy playback.

Our final conclusion is that this tablet is better than many other Android models, mostly because of the extra ports and the business apps, but the larger size and weight make it a runner-up to Apple and Samsung models.

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Review: Acer Aspire 5830T

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Review: Acer Aspire 5830T

Although billed as a business laptop, Acer’s Aspire 5830T also suits as a family laptop, or simply an entertainment machine.

One of Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors runs the show, and is comfortably powerful enough to handle various applications at the same time. We played with complex editing software, surfed the web and enjoyed some 1980s pop music, all at once, with no slowdown.

The lack of a dedicated GPU means you won’t be able to play the latest games but you can play around with photos and even our home movies using software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel VideoStudio Pro, while high-definition movies play smoothly and look fantastic. The built-in speakers do a surprisingly decent job, too.

The 15.6-inch widescreen display is great for both work and play. It’s reasonably bright and pleasingly vibrant, which brings your photos and videos to life. The only downside is the glossy Super-TFT finish, which is highly reflective.

Still, if you plan on taking this laptop out and about, you won’t have too much trouble packing its slender chassis into a bag. At 2.5kg, it’s also light enough to carry around without cracking your spine.

We did notice some flex around the edges, but the lid is solid enough to protect the laptop on the move. You can work on battery power for four to five hours if you limit yourself to basic office tasks, but battery life drops to just under three hours when watching a movie.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 165 minutes
Cinebench: 7464
3DMark 2006: 4176

Comfortable keyboard

Typists are well served by the isolation-style keyboard, with keys poking out through individual holes to separate them out. This is great news for touch-typists, as you’re less likely to hit the wrong key by mistake. With the exception of the dinky arrow keys, the board is well sized and even finds room for a separate numeric keypad.

The touchpad is a little too compact, but is smooth, responsive and the touch-sensitive scrollbar is useful for jumping through documents and web pages.

A generous 640GB hard drive gives you plenty of space for carrying your files and software, as well as a huge media collection. You can store hundreds of thousands of songs and photos, or hundreds of full-length movies.

For a business laptop there are surprisingly few other features. Four USB ports can be used to connect peripherals, including a speedy USB 3.0 port that can charge portable devices even when the laptop is hibernating. You also have VGA and HDMI ports for attaching a monitor or projector, for presentations or showing off your pics and movies.

While the Aspire 5830T offers nothing remarkable compared to other mid-price professional laptops, it also has very few flaws to speak of. If you need a machine to keep you productive and entertained on the go, there are much worse options.

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Review: Asus PA238Q

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Review: Asus PA238Q

Page 1: Overview

Fed up with cheap and not-always-cheerful monitors based on TN panel technology? Then get a load of the new Asus PA238Q.

At around £235, it’s pricier than your average 23-inch TN screen. But, joy of joys, it’s got an IPS panel.

IPS stands for in-plane switching and just so happens to be the finest panel technology known to man or beast. That’s why Apple, for instance, exclusively uses IPS in its iPhones and iPads. It’s simply the best when it comes to colour accuracy and viewing angles.

As it happens, colour accuracy is a big part of the remit for the Asus PA238Q.

It’s pitched as a low-cost screen for graphics professionals. However, Asus is also claiming 6ms response times, which makes for a tantalising all-round package. Could this affordable, colour-accurate screen also be killer for games and at the movies?

Armed with these objective metrics and our own experience, we’re able to deliver the definitive verdict on the Asus PA238Q. So, how does it fare?

Page 2: Verdict

Asus pa238q

We’ve been desperate for something, anything, other than a TN screen at an affordable price for a while now. Few monitor makers have been willing to deliver. Admittedly, BenQ has given us a couple of cheap screens with VA panels, but the recent BenQ EW2430 was seriously disappointing.

There’s an open goal waiting for Asus to slide home a winner.

On paper, the Asus PA238Q certainly looks like premier league material. Along with that all-important IPS panel, you get an LED backlight and a huge colour gamut that captures 100% of sRGB. Nice. You also get a full complement of inputs, including HDMI, DVI, VGA and even DisplayPort. There’s picture-in-picture support, too.

The Asus PA238Q is a fine physical specimen too.

The stand is fully adjustable in all directions and hewn from the right sort of plastics. It’s sturdy stuff. We also love the minimalist styling vibe. The overall effect is like an IBM laptop from the ThinkPad heyday – no nonsense quality, in other words.

But the real clincher involves image quality.

Asus claims every PA238Q is carefully colour calibrated at the factory and the result is indeed impressive. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a screen with such deft black, white and colour scales out of the box. The viewing angles are impeccable, too.

As for pixel response, we have very good news indeed: this is one of the snappiest IPS panels we’ve ever seen.

We liked

The panel. The backlight. The chassis. The colours. The input options. The price. Frankly, what’s not to like?

All of our previous experience with cut-price VA and IPS panels has lead us to expect some kind of downside, visual nasty or obvious specification faux pas, but not here.

We disliked

It isn’t easy picking holes in this classy screen, but one or two imperfections are visible.

Our review sample had the slightest whiff of backlight bleed on the right-hand edge. And like all IPS screens, there’s a little backlight glow at some angles when viewing very dark tones. But that’s about it.

Final verdict


It’s been a long time coming, but the (very nearly) perfect PC monitor has finally arrived. Buy one.

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Review: Alienware M14X

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Review: Alienware M14X

The Alienware M18x may be a humongous beast with a huge price tag, but those who prefer a more portable gaming machine or are on a tighter budget should consider the M14x instead.

At first glance, the M14x looks like a shrunken version of the M18x. The design is very similar, from the curved lip of the chassis to the glowing headlights. You’ll either love it or hate it, and we definitely love it.

The reduced body size means the keyboard has been cropped, but the bevelled keys are still perfectly sized for playing your favourite games. The numeric keypad has been ditched, as have the media controls that sat over the M18x’s keyboard.

However, this board is firmer than the M18x’s and is just as great for typing out essays as it is for blasting your way through an action game. We also like the subtle blue glow that lights the keys at night.

Despite being a lot slimmer than the M18x, this laptop still packs in plenty of power. One of Intel’s latest and most powerful Core i7 processors scored one of our best benchmark results, while the dedicated Nvidia graphics card will keep you gaming for the foreseeable future. Even the latest shooters played smoothly and looked incredible.

If money is tight, you can downgrade to a Core i5 processor, which should still handle the latest games with ease. However, if you have money to burn, then you can upgrade the specs to get even longer life from your laptop.

Unfortunately, the slot-loading DVD drive can’t be upgraded to a Blu-ray.

Staying power

If you need a gaming laptop to keep you entertained on the move, the M14x is a great option. At 3kg it isn’t exactly light, but it won’t break your back either.

We were especially impressed by the battery, which survived for almost three hours on a single charge when we decided to watch a movie. Playing games does drain the battery more quickly, and the M14x’s internal fans spin loudly during intensive gaming sessions.

Thankfully, it’s hard to notice if you turn the sound up, as the built-in speakers are surprisingly powerful. The back of the laptop gets warm around the air vents, but not to a worrying degree.

The smaller 14-inch screen is still fine for gaming, thanks to its sharp 1600 x 900 resolution. It’s bright enough to work on comfortably for extended periods without straining your eyes, which is great news for anyone who likes all-night gaming sessions.

TechRadar Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 165 minutes
Cinebench: 17090
3DMark 2006: 12259

While 500GB of hard drive space is a lot for the average laptop, gaming machines tend to fill up fast when you install all of your favourite titles. You’ll have to choose carefully to avoid running out of space.

We fell in love with the M14x’s compact and portable chassis, which still finds room for some impressive technology. Based on price and portability alone, we’d pick this slim gamer over its big brother.

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