Trimming the price but not the quality from their KNS series of headsets

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If you are looking for a decent pair of circumaural headphones that simply offer great performance and do not delve into simulating 5.1 or 7.1 sound and have a budget of around $100 then check out KRK Systems’ KNS 6400.? One of the best features of both this headset and its more expensive brother are the cords, which are not integral but can be replaced if they become damaged or if KRK?Systems follows TechPowerUp’s suggestion of selling custom cables for those with specific needs.? The audio quality is not top notch when compared to more expensive headphones but for $100 KRK?Systems seems to have done very well.

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“KRK Systems is well on their way to becoming a big name in the headphone business. Today we will be taking a look at yet another interesting set of closed back headphones, namely the KNS 6400s which feature the same mechanical design as the KNS 8400.”


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HP Envy 14 Spectre

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 HP Envy 14 Spectre

Overview

The HP Envy 14 Spectre is the latest and best-named Ultrabook to hit the shelves, and with the combined draw of HP’s premium Envy range, and Dr Dre’s urban cool Beats brand, it’s going to be very hard to ignore.

We’re well into the Ultrabook race by now and we’ve already been impressed by the Asus Zenbook UX31, Acer Aspire S3 and most recently by the Dell XPS 13, perhaps the toughest rival that the HP Envy 14 Spectre faces in the battle for our hard-earned pennies.

And HP’s newest baby is taking an interesting approach to the competition by being less concerned with a size zero frame. The HP Envy 14 Spectre is 20mm thin, and weighs 1.8kg – hefty for an Ultrabook.

But the slight bulk enables it to throw around some extra connectivity and features that other Ultrabooks, perhaps save the Toshiba Satellite Z830, can’t match.

Hands on: hp envy 14 spectre review

Of course, before we start dreamily idolising this shiny new offering, there are a couple of points that need to be looked at. Firstly, the fact that the HP is built around an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, rather than the Core i7 CPUs on offer inside the likes of the Dell and Acer mean that for all its bulk, the Spectre lacks power.

You might also be forgiven for thinking that this lower-spec processor will have a pleasing effect on the price of the computer. Not so.

The HP Envy 14 Spectre costs a sphincter-tightening £1,100 in the UK, and $1,400 in the US. That’s a clear £200 more expensive than the Dell, and in these hardened times; a penny saved is a penny earned… or something.

But before you click away in disgust, there are a number of excellent features that the HP Envy 14 Spectre has to offer, and we have to say that it’s one of the best-looking Ultrabooks we’ve yet seen. Clearly a lot of time and effort has gone into its design and development.

Specifications

HP envy 14 spectre review

Shunning the aluminium silver outer design favoured by other Ultrabooks such as the Dell XPS 13 or the Acer Aspire S3, the HP Envy 14 Spectre boasts a black Gorilla Glass lid with a slick, glossy finish. Adding the final touch is the bright HP logo nestled in the corner.

Although it looks great, the inevitable downside is that the surface of the lid will quickly attract dust and smudgy fingerprints – more so than any other Ultrabook we’ve seen.

A backlit, isolation-style keyboard lurks underneath, and is one of the most comfortable we’ve used on an Ultrabook. The greater depth of the chassis gives a better travel to the keys, and the result is comfy typing all day long.

HP envy 14 spectre review

A neat trick is the ability of the keyboard to sense your proximity, and dim itself when you move away from the laptop, saving power.

Of course, any discussion of the Spectre’s features starts and ends with the Beats audio. The speakers do a decent job of producing a rich, full sound – but slap a pair of Beats headphones on and you’re ready to experience the best sound we’ve heard from an Ultrabook since the Bang & Olufsen-packing Asus Zenbook UX31.

Anyone who has used any of HP’s other laptops, including the Envy and Pavilion ranges, will be at home with the extra choice Beats gives you.

You can open up a control panel to tweak all aspects of the Envy 14 Spectre’s audio performance. There are also several bonus modes to take advantage of, such as noise and echo cancellation.

HP envy 14 spectre review

The HP Envy 14 Spectre also features a small Beats-branded clickwheel on the chassis that enables you to quickly alter the volume of the speakers.

Arguably, the HP Envy 14 Spectre’s 14-inch screen should get as much praise as the Beats audio. The 1600 x 900 pixel resolution is a step up from other Ultrabooks such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, and we marvelled at the crystal clear high-definition visuals.

Not only that, but the HP Envy 14 Spectre has a tiny bezel, allowing the 14-inch screen to sit nicely inside a 13.3-inch chassis.

Performance

HP envy 14 spectre review

TechRadar Labs

TechRadar labs

Cinebench 10: 7, 336
3D Mark ’06: 3, 377
Battery Eater ’05: 206 minutes

Ultrabooks are all members of the Sandy Bridge family, and the HP Envy 14 Spectre is built around an Intel Core i5-2467M CPU operating at 1.60GHz and 4GB RAM.

It’s not the fastest or highest-spec chip we’ve seen in an Ultrabook, and rivals will triumph on raw power. This is reflected in the Cinebench scores we recorded, in which the Spectre posted less than rivals including the Acer Aspire S3.

But general day-to-day use is unaffected, and the HP Envy 14 Spectre kept up with our multitasking needs. In part a justification for the higher price tag is that both Adobe’s Premier Elements and Photoshop Elements editing suites come preinstalled, and ran perfectly when we tried a spot of on-the-fly photo editing.

Unfortunately, though, we had a lot of problems with the trackpad. It was responsive enough when moving the cursor, but the integrated mouse buttons were a pain to use. We appreciate the nicer look of integrated buttons, but the irritation of repeated clicks to select and execute slightly tarnishes the overall experience.

HP envy 14 spectre review

Although the HP Envy 14 Spectre can cope with the demanding graphical performance of video editing, or running several intensive websites at once, don’t buy this expecting a gaming platform.

The integrated GPU is powerful enough, thanks to the Sandy Bridge heritage, but it won’t be boasting the latest Assassin’s Creed title.

We don’t know what the thought process was behind naming this laptop the Spectre, but it could be to do with the almost silent way in which it goes about its business, thanks to the SSD drive and its lack of moving parts.

The Spectre remained cool to the touch during operation and, like other Ultrabooks, is available with either a 256GB or 128GB SSD internal hard drive.

According to HP, the Envy 14 Spectre will offer you a reasonable nine hours of battery life. We ran our high-stress benchmarking tests and recorded an impressive score of 206 minutes.

Avoid our brute force attack on the battery and you should have no trouble getting through a day without the company of the AC adaptor. Just keep the volume down.

Verdict

HP envy 14 spectre review

We see the HP Envy 14 Spectre as being the ‘cool kid’ of the Ultrabook class, with its Beats audio branding, high resolution 14-inch screen and Gorilla Glass casing. It’s a highly usable laptop, with only the integrated click buttons on the touchpad giving us grief.

We liked

At first, we had worries about the slightly chunkier casing, but this was tempered by the joy we felt when we spotted the HDMI port and Ethernet port that HP has included on the chassis. We’ve lamented the lack of connectivity on other Ultrabooks, and having the option for a wired internet connection and the use of an external monitor is music to our ears.

On the subject of music, this is undoubtedly the Ultrabook for media enthusiasts. The screen is gloriously crisp and the extra audio technology on board gives you options to tweak and alter the sound to get your albums sounding the way you want. Invest in a decent pair of headphones or an amplifier and you can make this your sole media machine.

We disliked

Ultrabooks are meant to be light, airy and portable computers. By any other laptop standards, the HP Envy 14 Spectre is a classy ultra-portable. But, when you put it up against the other Ultrabooks, it’s inescapably bulky.

It just comes in under the weight limit set out in Intel’s specifications for Ultrabooks, and business users might be more swayed by the svelt curves of the Dell XPS 13 or the functionality of the Toshiba Satellite Z830.

We also got increasingly frustrated with the integrated click buttons on the touchpad. We know the overall effect is a nicer aesthetic, but unfortunately the usability suffers as a result. Often we would just rely on the double-tap to select files and launch programs instead.

Final verdict

We’re deep into the second round of Ultrabook releases by now, and we feel the HP Envy 14 Spectre sits alongside the Dell XPS 13 at the top of the heap. But these are two different machines with different focuses.

The HP Envy 14 Spectre is the most media-centred Ultrabook, with a larger 14-inch screen, 1600 x 900 pixel resolution and Beats audio technology. But it won’t win over fans looking for performance and portability, due to the lower spec processor and bulky Gorilla Glass chassis.

If you can overcome the steep asking price then the HP Envy 14 Spectre is a well-built and stylish way to transport and enjoy your music, movies and do a spot of image editing.

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Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA

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 Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA

The Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA won’t win any awards for its looks, but does offer the things we look for in a budget machine. It’s solid with a decent screen and great speakers, and the sort of internal specifications we’d expect at this price.

However, even though this is a budget machine, we’d still appreciate something a little nicer to look at.

The Compaq is a solid black brick seemingly devoid of colours, shades or textures. It’s boring and uninspired but, as mentioned above, solidly built – with only a small amount of flex detectable around the chassis.

We were also pleased to discover that it’s not as heavy as it looks, but it isn’t the lightest at 2.5kg.

Leaving the aesthetics behind, usability is perfectly acceptable. The keyboard has wide buttons and a good depth of travel but, despite the amount of space on the chassis, feels cramped. There’s no numeric keypad or quick-access hotkeys to be found, but, like most laptops, you can alter volume and media playback by holding down the Function key and using the F-keys.

While the touchpad is responsive, it’s also the exact same shade of black as the rest of the chassis and therefore wonderfully camouflaged.

Where the Compaq picks up again is with the screen. It’s got a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, meaning you can enjoy 720p HD videos – although the full 1080p experience is out of reach. We found that although the screen was very bright, it wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen elsewhere. The Super-TFT coating helps, but ultimately we’d pick this for working on documents rather than watching Avatar.

Having said that, the Altec Lansing speakers are very good indeed – so we’d definitely be listening to music while we worked.

£350 won’t buy you the greatest components on the market, but the basic user will find everything they require here. The first-generation Intel Core i3 processor is backed up by a capable 4GB of RAM and a standard integrated graphics chip that will handle video streaming from iPlayer or YouTube but stops short of advanced editing suites.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 184 minutes
Cinebench: 7839
3DMark 2006: 1464

There’s a DVD rewriter and a standard 320GB hard drive for storing programs and media.

Compaq

Better battery

Pleasantly surprising was the 184-minute battery life the Presario posted on our benchmarking tests. It’s good to see budget laptops lasting more than three hours and, with careful usage, we reckon you could squeeze even more out.

The only noticeable omission in terms of connectivity is the lack of an HDMI port for connecting to a high-definition external monitor or TV. You’ll have to make do with the standard VGA Out connection or buy an adapter for one of the three USB ports.

There’s an SD Card expansion slot and an Ethernet port in case you don’t want to use the 802.11n Wi-Fi connection to access the internet.

The Compaq Presario CQ57- 366SA is a perfectly acceptable budget laptop, with special mention going to the battery life and speaker system. It doesn’t look, or perform, like a standout laptop and there are alternatives – such as the Acer Aspire 5742 – but if you’re searching for a basic machine for the next year or two this is a good pick.

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HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea

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 HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea

It’s not often that a laptop will get everything right when it comes to media playing. It might have a fantastic screen, for example, but the speakers could be inadequate, especially if you want to get the most out of Blu-ray’s DTS HD and Dolby HD goodness.

The HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea is different, however, and ticks all the boxes that are required of making a fantastic media playing laptop. But before you get to appreciate its media playing chops you need to go through a tedious setup procedure when you first turn it on.

Setting up Windows 7 Home Premium with a username, time zone and connecting it to a wireless network – plus setting when to automatically update Windows – is a necessary step, but after all that it was frustrating – to put it mildly – to be faced with another set of installation steps – this time for HP’s own Total Care service. All it does is end up delaying you from what you really want to do – which is to get started with your brand new laptop.

Another thing that annoyed us was that if you don’t want updates from HP Support Assistant, or for your laptop to be tuned up automatically, you can’t just select ‘No’ but have to choose ‘No, remind me later’. Even if you’re not interested in the service, you’re going to be nagged about it in the future. In the grand scheme of things this is a small irritant: once you’ve finished the setup process you won’t have to worry about it again, apart from the odd reminder.

Media mogul

HP dv7

Finally, we can enthuse about the dv7-6b51ea’s media prowess. For a start the 17.3 inch LED screen looks amazing, with a not inconsiderable 1600 x 900 maximum resolution. As you’d expect from an LED screen, colours and contrasts are brilliantly reproduced and high definition media looks great – just as well considering the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea features a Blu-ray drive.

All good so far, but what about the Achilles’ heel of so many laptops – the speakers? Once again the dv7-6b51ea triumphs thanks to HP’s partnership with Beats Audio, resulting in some excellent compact speakers that sound amazing. Little details in our test Blu-ray’s soundtrack were picked up and reproduced perfectly. There is even a built-in subwoofer on the base of the laptop that gives low frequency sounds a real depth and impact.

Another nice feature when it comes to media is the 1TB hard drive which offers loads of space for holding photos and MP3s and high definition movies – saving you from having to carry around CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays and having to use the optical disc drive, which can save precious minutes on the battery life.

While the AMD Radeon HD 6490 graphics card is no slouch, it’s not quite powerful enough for the latest games, but for the odd less-demanding game it’ll cope pretty well. Also the 8GB of RAM supplied is huge and means almost all tasks will open and run smoothly, whilst multitasking won’t be a problem at all.

Whilst running a Blu-ray movie we had Skype running and Internet Explorer open on a number of websites, and the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea didn’t miss a beat.

So where else does the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea excel? Well, at the risk of appearing shallow it is a stunner in the looks department. From the brushed aluminium outer shell, to the soft, understated light that glows around the mouse pad, this is a laptop that you would be keen to whip out and show off.

At 3.45kg it’s not very portable, and it’s nowhere near as thin or light as the latest Ultrabooks.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 195 minutes
Cinebench: 5259
3DMark 2006: 5715

Just the type

The keyboard is large enough to type on comfortably and the aforementioned gorgeously-lit mouse pad is large, responsive and supports multi-touch gestures. There is a fingerprint reader for extra security to boot.

Next to the power button is the ‘web’ button. When we first saw this we excitedly thought it could be for booting into a light Linux operating system designed solely for browsing the web – as found on a lot of Sony VAIO laptops. However, all it does is open up the default web browser when in Windows 7. It’s a feature that manages to be handy and a little bit useless all at once.

Also, at first glance it appeared that the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea didn’t have any USB 3.0 ports, with the familiar blue colour code missing from all of the USB ports. This couldn’t be right, not in 2012 with a laptop just shy of £1000. We checked the specs, and indeed there are USB 3.0 ports.

On closer inspection the two USB 3.0 ports were on the left of the laptop’s case. Not highlighted by blue, but with a subtle ‘SS’ next to the USB icons. Again not a big problem, but it makes it a little harder to find the USB 3.0 ports in a hurry.

Also as a laptop positioning itself as an ultimate entertainment laptop, there is no 3D support. If you’re not too into 3D then this won’t be a problem, and the lack of 3D helps keep the price south of £1000, but if you want a laptop that can handle the latest media, while future-proofed, then the absence 3D out of the box could be a blow.

However, the AMD Radeon HD 6490 graphics card does support AMD HD3D, so if you plugged it into a 3D monitor or TV you might be able to get 3D working.

A battery life of just over three hours is good for such a power-hungry machine, but not astounding.

Overall, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea is a fantastic laptop for media and entertainment, if a little on the expensive side.

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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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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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Introduction Of HP G Series Notebooks

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Introduction Of HP G Series Notebooks

The G series notebook combines a Hewlett-Packard quality with an attractive design. The model that we know today is G42-372br version, this is considered an intermediate notebook but it has great results in demanding activities. For many users who are looking for a machine to do the basics with a good performance this is an option to be considered by the balance of its features and MSRP which attracts a lot.

The design of the G42-372br Hewlett-Packard is one of the main highlights of this team. The notebook is really nice, dark gray outer shell gives her a sober tone while the texture and gray accents a little clearer to give you a smoother appearance to the notebook becoming very visually pleasing. The model has at its base straight lines which further strengthens the professional air. By using the notebook is perceived the use of solid materials in its construction.

Also it is a lightweight equipment weighing 2.2 kg. This is the type of notebook that perfectly combines the use anywhere. Your screen has good viewing angle and 16:9 aspect ratio which gives us a more than interesting for viewing videos. The screen is fourteen inches with a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. An interesting detail is the touchpad which is primarily necessary to calibrate but then gives us a great performance.

If we talk about team performance Hewlett-Packard comes with an AMD dual core Turion II P560, this processor has a clock of 2.5 GHz and AMD graphics card is a Radeon HD 6370 resulting in satisfactory performance most daily activities. During testing with equipment that is perceived performance could be even better if the notebook had 4 GB of RAM instead of 3 GB and a version of Windows 7 64-bit is present instead of the Windows 7 version Home Basic 32-bit.

Such restrictions were made for the price of the product is ultimately more accessible. In addition to this within the G-series models are more robust configurations. So nothing prevents the user can perform an upgrade to a RAM 8 GB such as the team to support this amount of memory, as well as the user can change the operating system present.

One bright spot of the notebook from Hewlett-Packard is the 500 GB hard drive with a speed of 7,200 revolutions per minute and usually in this type of equipment we record with a speed of 5,400 revolutions per minute. Meanwhile the battery is six cells and offers a range more than reasonable allowing 3 hours of use. If finally we talk about the relationship between cost and benefit the Hewlett-Packard G42-372br is an option to be considered by those who need a laptop that offers performance and flexibility in the daily mobility.

In a final conclusion on Hewlett-Packard team definitely has an excellent design and finish, an attractive price than a hard drive with a speed more than niche appeal, the disadvantage we have little memory and an operating system version little basic.

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Samsung Series 3

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 Samsung Series 3

Overview

Hot on the heels of Samsung’s Series 7 and Series 9 laptops comes the more budget-friendly Samsung Series 3 NP305V5AI.

This AMD-powered portable PC uses less powerful components than its older siblings, but comes in at half the cost too, making it better suited to families and users with more basic needs.

After reviewing a long line of black and silver laptops, the Samsung Series 3 was immediately refreshing, with its friendly blue design. This colourful metallic finish covers the lid and the keyboard, with a white interior giving it a fresh appearance.

Anyone with small children will be relieved to hear it’s solidly built too, so can withstand a bashing by tiny fists. The Samsung Series 3 laptop’s palm rests are firm, and we only noticed a little flex around the DVD drive. The screen is held firm by some strong hinges, while the lid itself is rigid enough to absorb any bumps, to protect the display.

Samsung series 3 review

As usual, the laptop’s isolation-style keyboard is comfortable for all-day typing. Keys are firmly mounted and spaced apart to prevent typos, and none of them are particularly crushed – even the arrow keys are given generous space, instead of being crammed into a single row.

Spreadsheet lovers rejoice – the Samsung Series 3 laptop also has a numeric keypad for those sweaty number crunching sessions.

We did find the very centre of the board a little spongy, but while this cheapens the feel of the overall quality, it doesn’t impair your typing in any way.

The touchpad is similarly well-endowed, covering the full width of the palm rests. The smooth surface is responsive, and supports multi-touch gesturing for zooming in and out of photos and documents. If you rub your finger up and down the right-hand edge, you can also scroll through files.

At 2.5kg, the Samsung Series 3 is fairly average for a 15.6-inch laptop, proving light enough to throw in a backpack and carry around all day.

Specifications and performance

Specifications

Samsung series 3 review

If you’re constantly on the move and want a portable computer to keep you entertained or productive, the Samsung Series 3 is a great option. One massively useful feature is the matt 15.6-inch screen, which lacks the shiny gloss coating of many modern laptops. This might not seem like a big deal, but the difference when you’re outside is impressive.

While glossy Super-TFT displays are a massive pain to use outside, reflecting light straight back into your eyes, the Samsung Series 3’s screen is almost completely non-reflective. You can work on it even in hideously bright conditions.

This is also helped by the brightness levels of the display. Turned to maximum, the panel is comfortable to use even for extended periods. It’s vibrant enough to bring your photos and movies to life, although viewing angles are a little tight.

Cinephiles can enjoy HD movies on this PC laptop, with 1080p videos playing perfectly. Of course the 1366 x 768p resolution doesn’t produce the sharpest visuals, but we didn’t notice any grainy-looking images.

However, the Samsung Series 3’s built-in speakers are typically rubbish, lacking any real oomph. A gunfight in The Dark Knight sounded more like a barrel of damp firecrackers going off.

We love carrying our entire media collection with us wherever we roam, and the Samsung Series 3’s dual hard drives don’t disappoint. You get 750GB of storage – enough for hundreds of HD movies and hundreds of thousands of music albums. It’s definitely a generous amount, considering the relatively low cost of this laptop.

Features are a little slim on the ground, but you get three USB ports for hooking up your own peripherals, and both VGA and HDMI options for attaching an external monitor. Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi means you can hook up to the internet.

Performance

Samsung series 3 review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Cinebench 10: 7,198
3D Mark ’06: 5,330
Battery Eater ’05: 136 mins

The Samsung Series 3 laptop slashes its price by using budget components, compared to the Sandy Bridge-powered Series 7. This laptop features an AMD A6-3410MX quad-core processor, running at 1.6GHz, backed up by 6GB of RAM.

Our Cinebench tests confirmed that the Samsung Series 3 isn’t much of a performance heavyweight. You can happily browse the web, tinker with word processing documents and enjoy your media, all at the same time, but anything more strenuous causes the odd stutter.

This will suit most families fine, but don’t expect a laptop that’ll last you for years to come.

The Samsung Series 3’s AMD chipset also handles graphics, and the integrated AMD Radeon HD 6480G GPU is surprisingly capable. Our 3D Mark score was comparable with many low-end dedicated graphics cards, and the Samsung Series 3 laptop can comfortably run older games.

New releases will struggle, however, so gamers should look to up their budget to find a computer with dedicated graphics.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is edit your photos and movies, and watch the occasional HD film, the Samsung Series 3 is a dependable laptop.

If you’re strapped for cash but want a more powerful machine, we’d recommend the Acer Aspire 5750G, which comes kitted out with Sandy Bridge processors. Not only that, it costs roughly the same as the Samsung Series 3.

Sadly, the battery life is less impressive. We were hoping for over three hours of life from a charge, as we got with the Samsung Series 7, but the Samsung Series 3 died after just 136 minutes of playing HD video on loop. This is below average for budget laptops like this, and means you’ll have to drag the adapter with you on longer journeys.

Limit yourself to less intensive activities, such as office software and web browsing, and you’ll eek out three hours. It’s still unimpressive, and definitely disappointing.

On a more positive note, the Samsung Series 3 is a quiet machine. And we didn’t notice any hotspots during use – keep the vents clear and it stays reassuringly cool.

Verdict

Samsung series 3 review

The Samsung Series 3 is a cut-price laptop that banks on the latest AMD quad-core technology, but does it set itself apart from the budget laptop hordes?

We liked

The Samsung Series 3 NP305V5AI’s design is appealing, considering so many laptops at this price point feature a dull black or silver finish. The metallic blue lid and keyboard stand out among its peers, and the Samsung Series 3 is solid enough to survive a reasonable amount of abuse.

Just as colourful is the 15.6-inch widescreen panel. It’s also comfortably bright and shuns a glossy coating, making it perfect for working outdoors.

The keyboard is comfortable to work on all day, or if you’d rather kick back with a film, the Samsung Series 3 plays HD films smoothly.

The integrated AMD graphics are surprisingly capable, and while you can’t play recent games, you can certainly waste hours on older or more basic titles.

Video editing is also perfectly possible.

Finally, you can carry a sizeable media collection, thanks to the 750GB of internal storage.

We disliked

However, the AMD processor is still highly limiting, and will quickly become out of date. This isn’t uncommon for a budget machine, but the likes of the Acer Aspire 5750G offers Intel Sandy Bridge performance for the same price.

We were also massively disappointed by the Samsung Series 3’s battery life, which barely lasts long enough for a two-hour film. If you suffer a long commute like us, you’ll need to carry your charger and power it up at work.

Final verdict

By cutting down the specs of the Series 7 laptop, Samsung has produced a more pocket-friendly laptop that should appeal to families and anyone looking for dependable budget performance.

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HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea

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 HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea

Overview

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea comes at an interesting time for portable PC laptops. Traditional laptops have had a turbulent ride of late, with a number of threats appearing to erode their market.

The first threat – netbooks – has been seen off pretty comprehensively. The diminutive machines offered a smaller, lighter and cheaper alternative, but at the cost of power and features.

In the end netbooks failed to capture the public’s imagination, despite the efforts of some great products, such as the Toshiba NB520-10U.

Tablets, however – especially the Apple iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – haven’t had this problem, and have surpassed netbooks to become the laptop’s biggest threat. Sales have rocketed so that tablets have succeeded where netbooks failed. Offering slick interfaces, a huge selection of apps and usually attractive and portable designs, tablets are a force to be reckoned with.

Their Achilles’ heel at the moment is price. Top range tablets go for around £300-£400. You can get cheaper models, such as the Binatone HomeSurf 705 and ViewSonic ViewPad 7e, but they’re not very good.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

A new front has now opened up from the high end of the laptop market, with Intel’s ultrabook format. These new laptops are incredibly thin, light and beautifully designed, as well as being powerful. The standout models of ultrabook is the Asus Zenbook UX31 and the Acer Aspire S3.

So where does this competition leave standard laptops in general, and the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea in particular? Does it do enough to stand out in an already crowded market, and does the audience for that market even exist any more? The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea starts with a strong foundation, with Hewlett Packard remaining a trusted and respected manufacturer of laptops.

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s stablemate, the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa, has impressed as an ultra-portable laptop that doesn’t make too many sacrifices when it comes to performance. But now the spotlight is firmly on the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea.

Specifications

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea is certainly a small laptop, with dimensions of just 29.2 x 21.5 x 3.2cm, and a weight of only 1.6kg. This makes it almost as small and portable as the much maligned netbooks but, crucially, it also has enough power to handle most tasks.

Packed onto the small chassis of the laptop are VGA, HDMI and Ethernet ports. There’s a combined headphone out/microphone in jack and three USB 2.0 ports. It’s a bit disappointing that there are none of the faster USB 3.0 ports included, since these are becoming increasingly common on new laptops.

To keep the computer small, there’s no optical drive for reading CDs or DVDs, so you’ll have to rip music and video to a USB stick to make the most out of this laptop’s media-playing capabilities.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

HP bills the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea as an “Entertainment Notebook PC”. This conjures up expectations of a machine that’s capable of handling media with ease, and maybe even a few casual games. Where the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa was let down with its handling of high-definition content, we expect the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea to have no such trouble.

On paper, things don’t look too bad. The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea uses an AMD Radeon HD 6320M integrated graphics card. It comes with some automatic overclocking tools to give it a bit of a needed boost, and with DirectX11 support, it can handle low- to mid-range games.

Graphically demanding newer games are definitely a no-no, though. This is because while the AMD Radeon HD 6320M inside the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea can theoretically use up to 1.92GB of memory for graphics, it doesn’t actually have dedicated graphics memory, so it needs to share memory with the rest of the PC.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

This means if you’re running a few graphic-intensive programs, along with other applications that need memory, the strain is going to show. The 11.6-inch screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768, which is fine for high-definition movies.

Although there’s a lack of dedicated graphics memory, HP has been very generous by including 4GB of DDR3 RAM with the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea. This is more than enough for most applications, and it’s nice to see that HP hasn’t hobbled the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea by cutting the RAM to 2GB to lower costs.

Processor-wise, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea comes with a 1.65 GHz AMD Dual-Core E-450. This processor has been specially designed by AMD to work in laptops, with lower power consumption that leads to greater battery life and saves the components inside the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s small body from overheating.

While it’s no competition for the Intel Core i5 and i7 processors found in higher-end (and much more expensive) laptops, this dual core processor is meaty enough for a lot of tasks, and pleasingly powerful, considering the size of the laptop.

Performance

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

3D Mark: 2,602
Cinebench: 1,433
Battery eater: 2 hours 59 mins 26 seconds

As with many laptops around this price range, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s performance really depends on what you’re using it for. Day-to-day computing on this laptop, such as writing on a word processor or browsing the web, is accomplished with little fuss, although there is a faint lag when starting up programs. We found that a bit of patience is required when selecting options or launching applications, with pauses of a few seconds sometimes.

Even with 4GB of RAM, multitasking can slow down quite a bit, especially if you’re browsing the internet while running a number of graphic-heavy programs at the same time, such as watching a movie or video editing.

The 320GB hard drive offers plenty of space but has a speed of just 5,400rpm (revolutions per minute). The faster a hard drive can spin, the faster the computer can open, move and edit files stored on the disk. With faster drives out there achieving 7,200rpm and even 10,000rpm, it does feel like the drive is a bit of a weak link.

The trade-off with a slower hard drive, however, is lower overall cost and a longer battery life.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

Graphics performance was OK, but nothing spectacular, with a 3D Mark score of 2,602, which is on the low end even for laptops, and lower than the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa‘s score. The Cinebench score of 1,433 using multiple cores was better, but still less than the HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa’s score of 1,985.

Despite the lacklustre benchmarks, our real world tests were more positive. Media playback itself was good, with no stuttering on standard-definition movie files.

The 11.6-inch screen displayed colours well and animations in particular looked great. The 1366 x 768 resolution actually benefitted full HD movies files, since the 1080p source was nicely downscaled to run on the smaller resolution, resulting in a sharp image. High-definition movies also play very well, with just a hint of screen tear, but no noticeable stuttering.

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

Much has been made of the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea’s sound capabilities, with the inclusion of Beats Audio technology, exclusive to HP laptops. The built-in speakers sound great – definitely the best we’ve heard in a laptop from this price range. Audio is clear, with plenty of depth and none of the tinny qualities that often plague laptop speakers.

Battery life was a pretty standard three hours of intensive computing. That’s not awful, but we’ve seen laptops – such as the Acer Timeline X – with much longer battery lives.

Verdict

HP pavilion dm1-4027ea review

The HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea is a strange beast of a laptop indeed. On the one hand it can feel rather lacklustre and underpowered when doing unexceptional tasks. Windows 7 Home Premium can feel sluggish at times, and with a number of windows left open on the desktop, things can get pretty slow.

In this regard, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea can’t compete with a higher-end, more powerful laptop, or even a tablet that’s less powerful but has an operating system and apps that use the limited resources well enough to ensure a smooth user experience.

However, there’s no denying that when it comes to media playback – an important consideration due to HP’s labelling of the Pavilion dm1-4027ea as an entertainment-focused machine – this laptop actually performs very well. Movie content – both standard and high-definition – plays very well, and the built-in speakers provide audio that is well above average for a laptop.

The lack of an optical drive does limit its media playback options quite a bit, however, but if your media collection has gone fully digital, then this won’t be such a problem.

The small size and light weight is also a big factor, and this is certainly a more portable laptop than most.

If you’re after a light media-playing laptop then this is a good choice. For anything more demanding, look elsewhere.

We liked

Media playback is a big winner with the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea. A lovely screen coupled with enough graphical power to run movies smoothly (bar the odd screen tear) makes this laptop a pleasure to watch movies on.

The battery life will just about make it through an entire film.

Better still is the audio quality of the built-in speakers, which really does sound great, and saves you the extra expense of buying separate laptop speakers such as the Logitech Laptop Speaker Z305.

The small size of the laptop is also a boon, making it easy to carry around wherever you go, with a slim and attractive design.

Even with the smaller keyboard, typing is comfortable.

We disliked

Outside of media playback, performance is pretty mediocre, with relatively impressive stats on paper not making a great impact in use.

The biggest culprit here is the 4GB of DDR3 RAM, which should give the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea some punch, but actually still leaves the laptop struggling when there is too much going on at once.

Final verdict

If you want a light laptop for watching movies on, the HP Pavilion dm1-4027ea does what you want it to do. However, if you want to use it to work on, editing digital photos or anything more strenuous, then you’re going to be disappointed.

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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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