Thursday, October 8, 2009

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VAIO L is Sony's first touchscreen PC, starts at $1,300

Hey there Windows 7, we hear you've got some fancy new touch features, huh? Well, Sony's jumping on the ballooning bandwagon of manufacturers with a heart for touchscreen PCs, putting forward its very first model with the all-new L series all-in one. Sony is billing it as part HDTV and part PC (in typical Sony fashion), with Blu-ray playback and what sounds to be a TV tuner tucked underneath, piling up to a $1,300 starting price. Not bad for a 24-inch multitouch screen.

Update: We just went hands-on with the VAIO L and it's got a pretty great touchscreen sensor -- quite responsive and accurate, even in multitouch gestures. Unfortunately, the TouchSmart-style software that Sony's packed in his woefully half-baked. Hopefully what we saw was just an early prototype of sorts, or Sony's got some serious work to before October 22. Overall the hardware is pretty Sony-ish and minimal, while the glossy display looks pretty brilliant.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A-DATA's SH93 hard drive is probably more daring than you are

A-DATA already has slim and colorful portable hard drives covered, but it looks like it's now done one better with its new SH93 model, which adds a dash of ruggedness for good measure. That includes waterproofing compliant with IEC 529 IPX7 standards (or up to one meter deep for 30 minutes), shock-proofing to MIL-STD-810F standards for drops and general jostling and, of course, a bright yellow or red rubber enclosure that's almost begging you to toss it across the room. No word on pricing just yet, but it looks like this one will be available in your choice of 250GB, 320GB, 500GB or 640GB capacities, and presumably sometime soon.

GameStop listing points to November 3rd launch, $100 price for 802.11n Xbox 360 adapter

Designed for versatility and ease, the Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter ‘N’ enhances your Xbox 360 experience in the digital home, seamlessly synchronizing with the Xbox 360 system with the newest Wireless N standard. Wireless N offers increased speed, coverage and reliability and can easily stream media-intensive applications such as ‘Games on Demand’, HD movies, videos and music to your Xbox 360 system from Xbox LIVE® or your Media Center PC.

HP Mini 311 First Test Results: Is Ion Worth It?

It’s here, and it could redefine netbooks. The HP Mini 311, with Nvidia’s Ion LE graphics chip inside, arrived in our offices today. But how good is it?

For months you’ve been hearing that Ion will improve graphics performance on mini-notebooks and offer better HD video playback, but now we have some hard data. We’re in the process of testing the Mini 311 for our full review, and the first test results are in. Let’s compare Ion’s scores to those of the average netbook with Intel’s graphics, as well as more expensive ultraportables powered by Intel’s ULV processor.

We started with PCMark 05, which measures overall application performance in Windows XP. The Mini 311 notched a score of 1,917 on PCMark05, which is almost 500 points above the current netbook average of 1,423. The highest netbook score we’ve ever seen in that test is 1697 for the Dell latitude 2100 ($394.00). Once we get in Ion netbooks that run Windows 7 ($119.99), we’ll do a direct comparison with ULV-based ultraportables using the PCMark Vantage benchmark.

The MIni 311 produced an even more impressive score in 3DMark06, which measures graphics performance: 1,386. That showing is over 1,200 points above the netbook average. The only netbook to beat this score was the ASUS N10Jc, and that had switchable Nvidia graphics. The only other system that comes close is 256 points away, the AMD-powered Gateway LT3103u.

Compared to ultraporable notebooks with Intel’s integrate graphics, the Mini 311’s 3DMark06 score trounces the Intel GMA 4500 graphics inside the MSI X340 ($699.99) (643) and ASUS UL30 (760). The Mini 311 is 501 points better than the overall ultraportable average. In fact, this system has an almost identical 3DMark06 score to the latest MacBook Air ($1,995.84).

So what about high-def video playback? We tested the mettle of the Mini 311 by outputting a 1080p iTunes trailer (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) via HDMI from the system to a 32-inch Samsung HDTV. The Ion-powered netbook held up well, delivering satisfactory detail and great color. We saw only some instances of motion blur, but the clip took 30 seconds to cue up. On the other hand, when we played the same 1080p clip on a Dell Mini Inspiron 10 with an HDMI port, the action stuttered so much that it looked like a slideshow.

Another area where Ion is supposed to shine is video editing. The typical netbook takes about a half hour to transcode a 114MB file from AVI to MPEG-4. Using vReveal, a program that can tap into Ion’s graphics muscle, the HP Mini 311 converted the same file in 6 minutes and 14 seconds. That’s approximately five times as fast. The average ultraportable notebook takes 14:16; so in this case Ion is more than twice as fast as ULV-based notebooks with Intel graphics.

So Ion vastly improves graphics performance and provides a boost to overall performance. But can Ion netbook handle gaming? We ran the Far Cry 2 benchmark on the Mini 311, something we don’t even bother to do on netbooks. With the resolution set to 1024 x 768, the machine averaged 12 frames per second. That’s 4 fps above the ultraportable average and well above the ULV dual-core ASUS UL30 and Aspire Timeline 3810T (5 and 3 fps respectively). Unfortunately the benchmark wasn’t able to complete the test at the native resolution of 1366 x 768.

Now, 12 fps is far from stellar (frame rates in the high 20s and above is considered playable) but Ion should provide better performance in mainstream games like Spore and even Call of Duty 4. Stay tuned for full results.

Based on our early tests, the addition of Nvidia’s Ion graphics processor to the Atom CPU in netbooks makes a big difference. In fact, this GPU could upend the category. However, we’re withholding judgment until we get the Mini 311’s battery test results. Ion’s performance gains won’t be nearly as exciting if you have to make too big a sacrifice in endurance.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Alpha 680 Android netbook spotted

While all the other kids on the block are letting themselves become duly distracted by Google Chrome OS, at least Skytone is still out there in the trenches, fighting to get its Android-powered Alpha 680 netbook to market. Initially it looked like this one would be making the scene sometime this summer, and although this has not come to pass, the OEM (Airis) is still strutting it in front of vendors and threatening us with an eventual release. According to Le Journal du Geek, who managed to get its hands on one and snap plenty of pics, the device is still "not really stable." (Take your time, guys...) Hit that read link for plenty of glamor shots of the this stark white, 7-inch resistive touchscreen wonder -- you'll be glad you did.

Nokia joins Wireless Power Consortium

HONG KONG – 30 September, 2009 – The Wireless Power Consortium (the Consortium) announced today that Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, has joined the Consortium.

"As the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer and leader in mobile telecommunications, Nokia brings a new dimension to the Consortium. This significantly expands the potential market traction of the Qi wireless charging standard," said Menno Treffers, Chairman, Wireless Power Consortium,

“Wireless charging technology carries significant potential to enhance consumer experience of battery charging,” said Markku Verkama, Director, Devices R&D, Nokia. “Consumers expect ease of use and general compatibility of mobile devices. By joining the Wireless Power Consortium, Nokia continues to support the open standards approach that aims to meet these consumer expectations. Wireless Power Consortium is the first serious effort by the leading companies to harmonize the wireless charging technologies.”

Mr. Treffers said consumer research commissioned by the Consortium indicated that a universal standard in wireless power charging ranked within the top 20 percent of consumer lifestyle demands and that more than 80 percent of consumers surveyed saw wireless power as something they would use with virtually all of their electronic devices every time they charge them . The Consortium’s Qi universal standard pioneers the interoperability needed for easy, convenient wireless power charging everywhere.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Walt Disney World unveils incredibly scary, robotic version of President Obama

Now, we've never been to this "Hall of Presidents" at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (our parents instead taking us to real, disused dungeons and battlefields for family entertainment), but we're thinking about heading down there today -- not because the newest animatronic addition -- President Barack Obama -- has just been unveiled, but because his likeness is so... unlike him, so incredibly, terrifyingly creepy (and yet still impressive all the same). Yes, we'll pop all of our closest friends' children into the van and take a fantastic voyage down to the southern tip of our great nation just to see their reactions to this horrifying robotic educational presentation. What better way to celebrate our nation's independence? Come to think of it... maybe our parents weren't so bad after all. Videos of Obamatron and of the President himself recording audio for it after the break.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thanko's Spy Button Video Camera

At 15fps (frames per second) and 4GB of on board memory, this video can take snapshots and record video with an unique on/off switch. The switch is anything made of metal that comes neer the camera, it triggers on or off. There's a use for that wedding ring eh? Not too expensive just over 60 dollars.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

$2500 Asus G60 Gaming Laptop

Perfect portable gaming system. The all new Asus G60 laptop. Said to be released sometime around September 2009.

16 inch monitor
1,920 x 1,080 resolution
Core 2 Quad processor
up to 1TB of storage from the dual hard drives
GeForce GTX 260M graphics
Blu-ray drive

Not a bad laptop, if your willing to pay the price!