Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Enter Sandy Bridge

In desktops, concerns such as power efficiency are important, but usually aren’t potential deal-breakers. In laptops, the processor has a significant impact on the design of the laptop. There is a broad spectrum of performance, power efficiency and thermal efficiency, and these variables make the difference between a 1” thick ultraportable and a bulky 1.5” thick desktop replacement.

Desktop processors tend to catch the majority of the glory when new processor architectures debut. AMD’s recent decision to release Bobcat as its first APU was quite unusual; in most cases, laptops have to wait for new processor technology to filter down.  As a result, the performance story of laptop parts is often second-fiddle to that of its desktop cousins.

That’s a shame, really, because laptop processors are in many ways more interesting to examine. The variety of product on the laptop market is staggering. The performance gap between an Intel Atom and an Intel Core i7-QM quad-core is staggering – it’s hard to believe that they’re both the same type of product and are capable of running the same basic programs. 

The laptop space is also more rigorous than that of desktops. In desktops, concerns such as power efficiency are important, but usually aren’t potential deal-breakers. In laptops, the processor has a significant impact on the design of the laptop. There is a broad spectrum of performance, power efficiency and thermal efficiency, and these variables make the difference between a 1” thick ultraportable and a bulky 1.5” thick desktop replacement.

We already know from the desktop parts that Sandy Bridge is kind of a big deal. The new Intel processors absolutely destroyed their former cohorts and all competition from AMD in our earlier Sandy Bridge review.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops.

Netbooks have been solid Intel territory since their rise to popularity in 2008. Intel won the category virtually by default; AMD had no alternative to offer. Even AMD’s most power efficient models have never been capable of providing battery life comparable to Atom. The debut of the Nile platform late last year finally gave AMD the ability to compete in the ultraportable market, but that was a long way from the power efficiency Atom could provide. AMD needed a new architecture, one made with power efficiency as a primary goal.

Now, after much anticipation and some delays, AMD has delivered. The new Fusion processors, which combine the CPU and GPU into a single processor architecture known as an APU, are filtering into production laptops. With them comes opportunity. AMD is rolling out low-end, power efficient components first, which means Atom finally has a competitor. Intel has done very little to update the performance and functionality of Atom since its introduction because there was no reason to make changes. With no competition from AMD, and the margins on Atom products small, Intel has had little incentive to substantially revise or improve the processor. AMD’s E-240 APU may finally spark a battle that has been absent for far too long.

The processor inside the Toshiba Satellite C655 is just one reason why this laptop is interesting. The other is the laptop’s size. Yes, laptops with 15.6” displays are the most common sold today, but Intel has made sure to keep Atom processors out of them. The company has been understandably guarded about the idea of placing such an inexpensive part into the most popular category of laptops. If consumers suddenly decided that an Atom was really all they needed (which I think is unlikely, but a possibility) Intel’s entire mobile processor business could be throw into a blender.

The Satellite 655 is simultaneously one of the least and most unique laptops on the market. Let’s see what (besides the APU) makes it tick.

Nothing here is surprising besides the processor and the price. While it is not unusual for 15.6” laptops to sell for $349, laptops that sell below $450 are usually stripped models, clearance products, or loss-leaders that stores hope can be attached to profit-fat extended warranties and peripherals. The Satellite C655 has an MSRP of $349, however – it would not be surprising to see this laptop sell for $325 or even $300 after a few months on the market.

Inexpensive pricing doesn’t excuse poor quality, however; the Toshiba Satellite C655 needs to be pleasant to use even if it is inexpensive. This is a place where many netbooks stumble, and even 15.6” bargain laptops sometimes have hidden flaws. Can the Satellite C655 cut costs without cutting into your experience?

 
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple
Tagged:

Introduction and Features

After Apple released their new line of Macbook Pros on Feb. 24, many users thought Apple would do a basic performance bump of the system's hardware and send it out the door to consumers. They predictably included Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, which integrates an HD Graphics 3000 processor with the CPU, but they also became the first company to adopt Intel's new Thunderbolt technology. The combination of Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt is just the tip of the iceberg for this year's Macbook Pro lineup. We ordered one of their entry level 13" models to see firsthand how these new capabilities boost system performance and usability.

Apple brings Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt technologies to MacBook Pros


Courtesy of Apple

After Apple released their new line of Macbook Pros on Feb. 24, many users thought Apple would do a basic performance bump of the system's hardware and send it out the door to consumers. They predictably included Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, which integrates an HD Graphics 3000 processor with the CPU, but they also became the first company to adopt Intel's new Thunderbolt technology. The combination of Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt is just the tip of the iceberg for this year's Macbook Pro lineup. We ordered one of their entry level 13" models to see firsthand how these new capabilities boost system performance and usability.

 


Courtesy of Apple

The 13" model we configured for our review includes a 13.3" glossy widescreen LED display that natively runs at 1280x800. We also kept everything else standard like the 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with 3MB shared L3 cache and 4GBs of DDR3-1333 system memory, but we upgraded the hard drive to a 500GB, 5,400 RPM SATA model. We also chose to stick with the Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared memory to keep the cost down below $1,300. 

 


Courtesy of Apple

As of Mar. 5, Apple had five basic Macbook Pro configurations that consumers could purchase from their website. Their entry-level 13" model starts at $1,199 while the 15" model starts at $1,799 because of the included Intel Core i7 2GHz quad-core processor and AMD Radeon HD 6490M 256B graphics card. The high-end 17" model only comes in one configuration that starts at $2,499, but it uses an Intel Core i7 2.4GHz quad-core CPU and an AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of DDR5 memory. Overall, these five configurations help users with a wide range of needs and professional backgrounds.

 

Apple Macbook Pro 13" Features

Up to 2x Faster Processors
With all-new quad-core and dual-core processors, the new MacBook Pro isn’t just faster. It’s phenomenal.

Up to 3x Faster Graphics
The 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro feature discrete AMD Radeon graphics for stunning visuals.

Ultrafast Thunderbolt I/O
New input/output technology lets you connect high-speed peripherals and high-resolution displays.

FaceTime HD Camera
Now when you make video calls with FaceTime, your friends will see you three times more clearly than before.

Multi-Touch Trackpad
The spacious Multi-Touch trackpad lets you use gestures to control and interact with what’s on your screen.

Long-Lasting Battery
Even with faster processors and graphics, the new MacBook Pro lasts an amazing 7 hours on a single charge.

 

 

 

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Motorola
Tagged:

Introduction and Honeycomb Overview

Early this year Google teased the next version of their mobile device operating system, Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb). Now we finally have our hands on the first Honeycomb device, the Motorola Xoom. Read on to see how much the face of Android has changed.

While the Motorola Xoom may not be the first tablet that has been released with Android, it marks a major shift in the paradigm of mobile computing. Tracing back the history of Android, Google seems to release new software platforms with a specific hardware partner. While the original G1 phone was developed by HTC, Google decided to launch Android 2.0 (Eclair, known as 2.1 on other phones) with Motorola and their original Droid product. The success of the Motorola Droid is a hallmark moment for Motorola, who had been slowly dying after the massive success of their RAZR phone years ago.

With 2.2 and 2.3, Google decided to partner with hardware partners to develop what they considered the ideal platform. From this we got the HTC built Nexus One, and Samsung built Nexus S. Both of which have been heralded as phenomenal devices.

This brings us to Google’s newest and most ambitious mobile operating system yet, Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). Once again, Google has partnered here with great hardware companies, giving us a Motorola built device, powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 ARM SoC.

One of the things that veteran Android users will notice right away when looking at a Xoom in action is the lack of the standard Home, Menu, Back, and Search buttons of Android devices of the past. This is actually due to a Google decision, and not one on Motorola’s part. In Honeycomb, the way you navigate through the operating system has been reworked, and these buttons integrated into the UI, instead of the device itself. This allows Google greater flexibility in displaying these navigational items when needed, and flexibility to change their appearance or function down the road in later revisions of Android.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: General
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

Luxury. Premium. Exclusive. These are words rarely associated with laptops, particularly PC laptops. While Apple happily reaps in profits from the MacBook Pro, most other laptop manufacturers have a difficult time selling high-end laptops. The U260 is Lenovo’s attempt at a stylish flagship that will stick in the minds of buyers. Indeed, if you visit the IdeaPad main page, you’ll find that the U series is the only line of IdeaPad laptops described as “stylish” in the bite-sized popup descriptions.

 

Luxury. Premium. Exclusive. These are words rarely associated with laptops, particularly PC laptops. While Apple happily reaps in profits from the MacBook Pro, most other laptop manufacturers have a difficult time selling high-end laptops. Some companies, such as HP, have simply resorted to emulating Apple’s successful formula (with the Envy line) while others, such as Sony, seem to have made peace with their small portion of the laptop market. ASUS’s recent Bamboo line, which we recently reviewed in the form of the U33JC, proved to be the best recent attempt at a luxury laptop by any PC laptop vendor. But it was essentially a diamond in the rough, and it has few peers.

The U260 is Lenovo’s attempt at a stylish flagship that will stick in the minds of buyers. Indeed, if you visit the IdeaPad main page, you’ll find that the U series is the only line of IdeaPad laptops described as “stylish” in the bite-sized popup descriptions.

Before we go into the design details, however, let’s take a look at the guts of this slim machine.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Tagged:

Our first retail AMD Fusion System

AMD has been making promises about the future of our computing lives revolving around this thing called "Fusion". We previewed the world of the AMD Brazos platform late last year and now we have our first retail notebook based on the Zacate processor, AMD's E-240 single-core APU. Does the Toshiba C655D-S5126 live up to the hype of the last 18 months?

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

ASUS has been seriously challenging the custom-order companies with its own pre-built options over the last few years. While the earlier models were good, the more recent launch of the ASUS G73 was, I think, the company’s declaration that it intends to be counted among the best gaming laptop manufacturers in the world. ASUS is now offering the G53, which serves as the flagship 15.6” model.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung
Tagged:

Introduction and Hardware Overview

After all the buzz around new tablets at CES 2011, we take a look at
the current best Android tablet on the market. Does the Galaxy Tab, available on either the Verizon or the Sprint network, have the chops to compete with the iPad? And how does the performance of the Galaxy Tab compare to current high-end smartphones?

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

The Acer Aspire 5551G-4591 doesn’t pack any surprises. It is the definition of a mainstream 15.6” laptop, which means that it will probably appeal to many readers. However, the laptop steps into a market that contains fierce competition. Does the Acer Aspire 5551G-4591 find a way to stand out from the crowd? Well, have a look for yourself.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Leadtek
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

There are still those who to this day swear that Lenovo's acquisition of the brand was the beginning of a death spiral, but the truth is that ThinkPads continue to thrive. Lenovo recently celebrated the 60 millionth ThinkPad sold, and to commemorate the event they've added an interesting new feature to some laptops – Nvidia Optimus. The green team's graphics switching technology is now available on some T410, T510 and T410s laptops.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Alienware
Tagged:

Introduction and Specifications

If you told me two years ago that Alienware would be selling an 11.6” gaming laptop I would have called you insane, yet here we are. The reason I would have doubted the future of such a laptop is the engineering challenge that exists whenever powerful hardware is crammed into a small frame. Gaming laptops are generally thick, heavy monsters with displays over 15 inches because that's the size required to pack in and cool gaming hardware. And what does the M11x pack in?

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple
Tagged:

RAGE for iOS

Teased at QuakeCon this year, RAGE HD for iOS devices impressed everyone with its visual fidelity. Will this game live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

Introduction and Design

Now we have the ASUS U series Bamboo laptops, which try to class up the market by adding real bamboo to the lid and palmrest. The U33JC is the smallest of the family, and it feels familiar – the price, overall design and hardware is reminiscent of ASUS U30JC, which received an Editor’s Choice Award from this site in July.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell
Tagged:

Introduction

The question of whether the M101z is really a netbook or laptop is certainly open. Its size, price and performance makes it difficult to categorize. Given the uncertainty, I will bow to Dell’s marketing department – they’ve made the M101z a part of the Dell Inspiron laptop line rather than a part of the Dell Mini netbook line.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Tagged:

Entering the Nile

Earlier this year AMD released big news: 135 new design wins with major manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and more. These victories are a badly needed boost for AMD, which has been trailing Intel in the mobile space for years. These many of these new designs are based on a new platform AMD is calling Nile - and the Toshiba T235 is among the first Nile notebooks to hit the market.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: LG
Tagged:

Introduction and Spec Sheet

This is a fairly basic laptop, but it also appears well equipped for multimedia duty. The review unit specifications are representative of the most basic Z560, which costs $699. There is a lot of competition in this segment from other solid laptops like the Sony EB series, the Samsung R580, the Toshiba E205 and others. Let’s see how the Z560 stacks up.

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple
Tagged:

Overview

Despite the difference in materials, the MacBook essentially has the same physical specifications as the MacBook Pro. The display size is 13.3 inches, and unlike most PC laptops, the MacBook still has a display aspect ratio of 16:10. The MacBook is a powerful laptop for its size, both in terms of processing power and graphics power.

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Antec
Tagged:

A Notebook Cooler for Everyone

Heat is the enemy of all electronics, and cooling a notebook properly can be a challenge. To help prolong the life of your investment, Antec has two super quiet coolers, and one passive notebook stand that help promote better airflow.

Is this one insurance policy you can't afford to pass up?

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Asus
Tagged:

N61 Specs

The ASUS N61Jv notebook offers a lot for its $900 price tag including a 16-in screen, Core i3 processor, NVIDIA GT325M GPU with Optimus technology, USB 3.0 and a nice keyboard and touch pad combination. Battery life isn't going get you through a full day without plugging in but for a mid-range price and impressive feature set it could be the perfect back-to-school notebook.

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Acer
Tagged:

A New Slate of Mind

This coming quarter, we are going to see multiple slate devices hit the market by different companies. With each slate unique from its operating system to screen size, it's hard to even begin digesting all the specs and features.

Luckily PC Perspective has you covered in this first installment of 'Slate of the Nation'. Be sure to check out the handy downloadable PDF guide as well!