Author: Hannan

Laptop manufacturers try and take on the iPad with the Ultrabook

The iPad’s dominance of the lightweight computing market could soon be in doubt as laptop manufacturers come up with ultra thin laptops with everything a computer offers that can be taken everywhere.

Dubbed the Ultrabook by Intel, this new form of laptop could be a serious threat to Apple as it gives the functionality of a laptop combined with the weight benefits. These computers will be especially popular with business travellers, and could see the end of the line for the Netbook.

The first Windows based Ultrabook which has been announced is the Asus UX21. It’s very lightweight – 3mm at its thinnest point and just 7mm at its thickest, and has an 11.6” screen.

The UX21 is due to be released in September.

Acer, HP and Dell are also rumoured to be planning their own Ultrabook to try and take on Apple’s iPad and MacBook Air.

Apple MacBook Pro 13”

Though at first sight, the Apple MacBook Pro 13” will not appear to be much different from the previous models, a closer inspection will reveal otherwise.

The 13-inch glossy screen of the laptop is provided with a native resolution of 1,280×800 but it is not upgradable. The 13-inch base model has an immensely attractive colorful display and displays photos and videos with very accurate colors. But the option of an antiglare screen which is available in the 15- and 17-inch models is not offered for the 13-inch screen.

The full-size keyboard is equipped with backlit keys, remaining perfectly spaced and responds to the user’s touch extremely well. An ambient-light sensor has been fitted with it to adjust the intensity of the key backlights while detecting the brightness of the surrounding. The island keyboard has a soft finish, thus making very little sound while typing. The large buttonless multi-touch trackpad, with a glass surface is present on the keyboard deck. Instead of the two-button pad you’ll find on most other laptops, the entire pad on the MacBook Pro acts as a button, allowing you to press anywhere to enact a function; you use two fingers to right-click. One new feature added to it is that if swiped up or down on the pad with two fingers, the page will continue to scroll until it reaches the top or bottom. The user is also able to toggle in and out of full-screen mode while watching a DVD using a nice feature fitted with it. The trackpad is extremely easy to use, allowing users a four-finger swipe to reveal the desktop, view all the windows currently open and also alter programs.

Apple’s iSight camera is installed in the centre of the top of the screen edge, with an indicator light, to warn you when the camera is on. The camera performs commendably, with very little refresh lag, functioning properly under dim light conditions.

The CPU is upgraded fto a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and graphics card from an Nvidia GeForce 9400M to an Nvidia GeForce 320M chipset.

Apple had unexpectedly not used a Core i3 processor for the 13-inch MacBook,. But clock rates on the Core i3 laptops were 2.26GHz, below the 2.4GHz rate in the Core 2 Duo chip Apple. But then again, Core 2 Duo doesn’t allow multiple virtual threads.

The MacBook Pro is installed with the Mac OS X Snow Leopard OS (version 10.) with the iLife ’09 software suite with iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, and GarageBand applications.

The battery life is long lasting for 7 hours and 28 minutes even when a movie is played in loop.

These state-of-the-art features is totally worth the price of the laptop and make for an excellent buy.

New MacBook Air finally announced, along with new OS X Lion!

Any of you out there who happen to be fans of Apple and their MacBook’s then you’ll be glad to hear that they have finally added to the good looks of the MacBook Air with some proper, meaty hardware inside that finally matches up to the sleek design of the MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air was released last October, and to be perfectly honest everything that was ‘under the hood’ didn’t really do the laptop any justice whatsoever. Apple were forced to stay with the then ageing, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor. Now though, they have got something that actually gives them a bit of a kick when it comes to speed and performance.

They are now stacked with the new Intel Core i5 and i7, meaning it will run a lot smoother and faster than its predecessor did with the old, slow Intel Core 2 Duo Processor. With the announcement of the new MacBook Air comes the announcement of the new OS for the MacBook series.

For any of you out there who are currently using the old OS that the Mac’s ran on then you will be glad to hear that the OS X Lion is now available for download if anyone fancies paying £20.99 for the new version. At the minute though as you may imagine it isn’t totally bug free and as we imagine there will be a patch to fix the bugs but at the minute, as has been pointed out by a few people who have had a bit of hands on time with the product have said that certain apps won’t work with the new OS and that if you have any outdated, hardware or software, or even if you’re using any non-Apple products then you should just check compatibility before you go to the app store and decide to buy a few things.

So there are pro’s and con’s where the new MacBook OS is concerned but at the minute the only con with the MacBook is the price. But all of you Mac fans out there already knew that it would be expensive didn’t you?

Alienware m15x

The new Alienware m15x is a powerful, lightweight gaming notebook with much practical user-friendly designs. Some of its features that set it apart from a crowd are:

1>15.4″ WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD (1200p)
2> Alienware AlienFX System Lighting
3>  512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTX
4> Intel Core 2 Extreme X9000 2.8GHz (6MB Cache, 800MHz FSB)
5> 4GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz – 2 x 2048MB
6> Intel Turbo Memory (1GB)
7> Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
8> 200GB 7200RPM (16MB Cache)
9> 320GB 5400RPM (8MB Cache) Smart Bay
10> 2x Dual Layer Blu-ray Disc Burner (BD-R, DVD±RW, CD-RW)
11>Internal Intel Wireless 4965 a/b/g/Draft-N Mini-Card
12>Internal High-Definition Audio with surround sound
13>  AlienFX Illuminated Keyboard

Design

Alienware has come up with a totally unique design for the m15x. The laptop is covered in glossy plastic making the entire unit shiny. Most of the surface is in metallic silver, while deep glossy black trim at the region around the lid.  The bottom is mostly made of all-black metal alloy. The corners are rounded off with an overall soft feel to it.

The m15x feels solid with some flex in the palmrests and around the keyboard area which are minimal. The unit base is rigid with a strong internal frame. One of the fascinating visual features of them laptop is definitely the AlienFX System Lighting. The different lighting zones are:
1>    Alien Head (on the back of the display)
2>    Power Button
3>    Light Pipe (around the edge of the display)
4>    Alienware Name (below the display)
5>    Quick Touch Controls
6>    Touchpad
7>    Keyboard
Screen
Alienware m15x has a WXGA+ (1440×900 pixels) “ClearView” glossy screen as standard which can be upgraded to a matte WUXGA (1920×1200 pixels) The WUXGA screen is noted for the excellent picture quality especially useful for games and movies. The backlighting is almost even. Viewing angles are also impressive. The display clarity is also acceptable Contrast levels are quite balanced, not like a glossy screen, butcomes without reflections and are quite easy to clean.
Audio Quality
The m15x has two speakers at the left and right corners of the notebook which have no bass. They aren’t particularly loud too. But The headphone jack performs well without  distortion.
Keyboard
The keyboard is comfortable, quiet with cool elegant backlighting. The keys all feel individual with good travel. They have pleasing tactile feedback; when depressed, there is enough padding to make the keys feel springy yet controlled. The keys are covered in an almost rubberized surface, so that they don’t wear like conventional plastic keys.
There’s also a large, functional touchpad with a sleek design design with its boundary marked by LED backlighting around the corners. But it has a slippery surface with vertical and horizontal scrolling bars unmarked.

Acer Aspire 7740 Review

A multimedia notebook with excellent features that can be obtained without burning a hole in their pockets is what some users want. And the all-new Acer Aspire 7740 is what exactly can satisfy their demands.

Configuration

1> 17.3-inch HD+ LED-backlit display (1600 x 900, glossy finish)
2> Windows 7 Home Premium
3> Intel Core i3-330M (2.13GHz, 3MB Cache)
4> 4GB DDR3 Memory (2GB x 2GB)
5> Intel GMA HD Integrated Graphics
6> 6-cell 48Wh battery, 65W 19V AC adapter
7> Dimensions: 16.2″ x 10.8″ x 1.6-1.8″
8> Weight: 6lbs 14.3oz

Build and Design

The Acer Aspire 7740 conceals its size with a slim profile. From the side, it appears short with the lower chassis not much higher than the VGA-port’s height. The design becomes narrow in the front giving the palmrest an attractive sharp edge. The color scheme is elegant with a glossy, dark-blue screen-cover, metallic blue palmrest and keyboard trim, and black keyboard. A moderately sized Acer logo is embossed on front and center.

The build quality is decent with a solid body without much flex. The screen cover provides decent protection from impact for the LCD not allowing the screen to be distorted. The glossy paint on the screen lid withstands scratches and can resist other stains and dents.
The palmrest shows very little flex under pressure. The strong chassis supports the body panels attached to it. The screen hinges are strong and hold the screen properly closed.
The Acer Aspire 7740 can be easily upgraded by accessing components through a single cover on the back of the notebook.
Screen
The laptop has a HD+ display with a 1600 x 900 resolution supporting 720P content and 1080P content when scaled. This resolution is good enough for watching movies, viewing photos etc. Color saturation and contrast are average with fine backlight levels suitable for bright office conditions, but not for outdoor viewing with the shiny screen. The screen is visible until about 60 degrees when viewing from the side.
Speakers
The speakers produce good quality sound even without a subwoofer or a low-frequency driver. Experts have found highest volume levels to be perfect for watching a movie keeping close to the screen. The speakers support simulated Dolby surround sound. There’s a hint of bass and midrange while toggling on and off the Dolby Audio Enhancer.

Keyboard
The laptop uses a floating island-style keyboard comfortable for typing but is problematic during fast typing. This keyboard is without an internal bezel structure & solid key design, so it’s easy to press another key and cause typing errors. The layout has the advantage of the chassis with a four-key wide spacious numeric pad.
Surprisingly, quick-access media keys, touch-sensitive buttons for volume control or media playback aren’t included in the keyboard. But it has quick-access buttons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, backup software, and a customizable program launch.
The touchpad is an ALPS design with a spacious layout and supports multitouch gesture. It is responsive but with some lag. Touch sensitivity is good but any adjustment for sensitivity isn’t there in the ALPS control menu. There’s a button to the right of the touchpad to disable the touch surface.

ACER Aspire 5740g

The ACER Aspire 5740g is the newest addition to the mind-boggling array of gaming notebooks available in the market. With a dedicated graphics card, an excellent processor, brilliant display schemes and battery life, the laptop can truly be a buyer’s delight and totally worth the price it asks for.

Some of its configurations are:

1> CPU: 2.26-GHz Intel Core i5-430M
2> Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
3> RAM/Expandable to: 4GB/8GB
4> Hard Drive Size/Speed: 500GB/5,400 rpm
5> Display Size/Resolution: 15.6 inches/1366 x 768
6> Graphics/Video Memory: ATI Radeon HD 5650/1GB
7> Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
8> ATI graphics which is indeed a gamer’s delight.

Design

The laptop is colored an attractive glossy cobalt blue that comes with fingerprint prone lid. It resembles the Aspire 8940G on the inside. On opening it, a deck that changes from a matte surface close to the screen to a dimpled texture around the touchpad is revealed. There is a blue LED lighting beneath the power button

The laptop dimensions are 15.1 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches and weighs 6.2 pounds. However for moving from room to room, , the 5740G provides good portability so home users find it a good choice.

A variety of buttons and controls are present around the machine’s deck that comes in gunmetal gray. The power buttons, wireless on/off, Bluetooth, and the Acer Backup Manager are found left side of the system while a touchpad enable/disable button, master volume controls, and the Acer Launch Manager shortcut are found on the right.

Screen
The display resolution is 1366×768. It looks bright and saturated, but the 60 percent color gamut implies that a lot of heavy video or photo editing will be cumbersome. DVD upscaling is good. The vertical viewing angle is problematic in the Acer Aspire 5740G laptop’s LCD screen as even a slight vertical tilt distorts an image.
Audio Quality
The audio playback also fails to impress. The Acer Aspire 5740G laptop’s soundstage was incoherent with too bright overall tonal quality, midrange lost in the mix and lack of bass. A good in-ear or full-size headphones for listening to music should be used for better performance.
Input/output ports

It has four USB 2.0 ports, none of them the combo USB/eSATA variety. Neither USB 3.0 support is found. Two USB ports are present on either side, a five-in-one flash card reader in the front. two display outputs (HDMI and VGA), analog audio ports and a gigabit ethernet jack on the left side.

Main good features are :
1> Comfortable, responsive keyboard with strong feel and distinct numeric keypad.
2>Snappy Core i5 performance
3>Rich audio playback
4>Impressive energy efficiency
5>Excellent Wi-Fi range

Cons

•    Somewhat dull display
•    Glossy lid picks up fingerprints easily
•    Single mouse button
•    Mediocre battery life
•    Limited tech support hours