Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Design and Ergonomics

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Droid. When the brand launched, this was a name that stood for something. While the iPhone enthralled consumers with a friendly, easy, but ostensibly restrictive experience, Droid retaliated with the motto “Droid Does.” It was all about superior functionality, and in that regard it was a success. Today we’ll be looking at the Droid Charge, a phone coming by way of Samsung. 

The Droid Charge is the second 4G LTE phone to hit Verizon’s network, making it an obvious competitor to the HTC Thunderbolt (along with the recently released LG Revolution). Like the Thunderbolt, the Charge is a member of a breed of single-core flagship phone that is already in the process of becoming extinct. Let’s have a look at what else powers Samsung’s Droid. 

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Many buyers are too quick to dismiss phones based of hardware specs, however – the single core tells us little about the Charge’s performance as a phone. As the first Droid to come from Samsung’s stable, this is actually quite an interesting device. Will the brand remain meaningful on a device from this manufacturer? Or is it being diluted?

Keep reading our review of the Samsung Droid Charge for all the info!!

Maingear's Titan 17 is one hefty desktop replacement

Subject: Mobile | July 4, 2011 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: maingear, desktop replacement, 17.3

The stats read like a high end desktop, from the hexa-core i7-990X to the GTX485M's in SLI which support the 1080p display, though the weight of 12.1lbs is a little lighter than most desktops.  TechSpot had a chance to review this $5,400 laptop and they had quite a bit of fun doing it.  As you can see from the image below, this notebook produces a lot of heat and you'd be foolish to place it on your lap but perhaps it would be handy for reheating a snack.  When they tested the power the notebook pulled 85 watts at idle, 336W under load, making the 8 cell battery more of a UPS than anything.  Check out the full review to see the long list of peripherals and some incredible gaming performance.

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"Today we will be looking at the notebook equivalent of the above mentioned Shift desktop system, known as the Titan 17. Our evaluation system consists of an Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition processor, a hexa-core desktop CPU operating at 3.46 GHz. Other notable hardware includes a 17.3” LED-backlit display running at 1920 x 1080, two Nvidia GeForce GTX 485M graphics cards, 6GB of Kingston DDR3-1333 memory, a 120GB Intel 510 solid state drive, a 750GB Western Digital 7200 RPM hard drive, a Blu-ray optical drive, Bigfoot Killer Wireless-N Ultimate network adapter and integrated Bluetooth technology, all running under Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit."

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Source: TechSpot

Intel is attempting to revive their CULV with the Ultrabook

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 4, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, culv, ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, sandy bridge, ultramobile

You can't really blame the failure of Intel's CULV form factor on just the name, though it is very awkward, since at the same time Intel was trying for that type of ultraportable we saw netbooks catch on.  The netbook was easier to market than the CULV which was being trumped by the Macbook Air on one side and the surprising popularity of netbooks in general.  Sure the Atom powered midgets couldn't do much, but they were just so cute.

We heard of the new Intel Ultrabooks at CES 2011 during Intel's keynote speech, and Ryan saw an example of one, the ASUS UX21 which sports a nice brushed aluminium shell.  It was powered by a Sandy Bridge Core i7 and was 1.7cm at its widest and weighed only 1.1kg fully loaded, sported SATA 6Gb/s and can boot in 5 seconds with ASUS' Instant On feature.  It should be available by September of this year and in theory will be a sub-$1000 Ultrabook.

DigiTimes today reported on Intel's plans for the release of their first Ultrabook and the future models, which they hope will together net Intel about 40% market share by the end of 2012.  The strategy sounds familiar, those who remember what they did with the chipset for their Atom processor.  DigiTimes reports that Intel is planning on "providing a significant budget to support its partners launching Ultrabooks".  Now that is not very specific as to the support that Intel will be offering, but with Llano's decent performance and incredible price, it will be had for 1st tier vendors to be attracted to selling Ultrabooks that are faster but cost three times as much.  Hence Intel's announcement about support for any vendors willing to build and sell their new form factor.

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"Intel has recently started planning a new marketing strategy for its Ultrabook concept and has invested heavily into the related budget and resources hoping to attract first-tier notebook vendors into developing Ultrabooks, according to sources from downstream notebook players.

Due to the failure of Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage-based (CULV-based) ultra-thin notebooks in 2009, while the notebook market has been severely impacted by tablet PCs, most notebook vendors are taking a conservative attitude toward Intel's Ultrabook concept and Intel is hoping its heavy investment will be able to attract these vendors to launch Ultrabook products, the sources noted.

Intel announced its Ultrabook concept in June with a goal of having 40% of the global consumers notebooks using its Ultrabook concept at the end of 2012. Asustek is already set to launch its first Ultrabook concept-based notebook, UX21, in September."

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Source: DigiTimes

AVADirect Now Offering NVIDIA GTX 580M Graphics In Clevo Notebooks

Subject: Mobile | June 29, 2011 - 09:53 AM |
Tagged: notebook, gtx 580m, gaming, AVADirect

Hot on the trail of NVIDIA's latest 580M mobile graphics release, AVADirect has just announced that it will be incorporating the new graphics chip into their gaming focused Clevo notebook lineup. The 15.6" P150HM, 17.3" P170HM and 17.3" X7200 gaming notebooks will be the first to receive the upgrade, and will be made configurable with the new mobile graphics chip today. Further, the new notebooks with the GTX 580M will be shipping out to customers according to their advertised time frame starting today.

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Because the GTX 580M uses the same MXM module as the preceeding 400M graphics cards, laptops with the older chip will be able to be upgraded to the GTX 580M easily, according to AVADirect who further stated that the chip uses less power and has a smaller footprint than the 485M.

In addition to recieving the updated graphics card, the three Clevo gaming notebooks all feature HDMI, USB 3.0, SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel Sandy Bridge processors, DDR3 SODIMMS at 1600 MHz, and the option of a SSD (Solid State Drive).  The three notebooks further feature a Full HD 1080P 16:9 display, that the GTX 580M should easily power with cranked up visuals on today's latest games.

Source: AVADirect

NVIDIA Releases GeForce GTX 580M and 570M, Brings Optimus to Hardcore Gaming Laptops

Subject: Mobile | June 28, 2011 - 08:47 AM |
Tagged: nvidia mobile, nvidia, mobile graphics, gtx 580m, gtx 560m

The green team today announced the GTX 580M and GTX 570M, the newest high-end GPUs for gaming laptops. These parts succeed the GTX 485M and GTX 470M, respectively. According to NVIDIA, the GTX 580M will be the quickest mobile graphics solution on the market, while the GTX 570M will be 20% faster than the 470M it replaces.

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Gaming performance samples show a substantial improvement over the previous generation. According to the press material, a single GTX 580M is capable of outputting over 30 frames per second at 1920x1080 at high detail in various games including Crysis 2, DIRT3, and Civilization V. These high marks are only further improved when the two GPUs are placed into SLI. In Crysis 2, for example, this configuration achieves over 70 FPS with detail set to Extreme Quality.

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Both the GTX 580M and 570M will support all of the company’s typical hardware features including PhysX, Nvidia 3D Vision, 3DTV Play, SLI, CUDA and OpenCL. In addition to this, these new mobile solutions will offer support of Optimus.

This is the first time that Optimus support has been offered in high-end mobile GPUs, and it could provide the green team with a significant advantage. In past reviews of Optimus enabled laptops, such as the ASUS N53, we’ve found that the feature made it possible to offer battery life on par with laptops that don’t have a discrete GPU. Optimus in the 580M and 570M will likely replicate this, making it possible for gamers to enjoy extreme gaming performance while plugged in and reasonable battery life while on the go.

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NVIDIA also continues to push its NVIDIA Verde driver program. For those who missed the initial announcement, Verde can be summed up as a monthly driver release program. The goal is to consistently improve performance and stability, giving owners of Nvidia GPUs a better long-term experience. Driver updates have proven to increase performance in the past, sometimes significantly, so these monthly updates are welcome.

The initial wave of 580M mobile graphics will be found in three laptops: the Alienware M18x, the Clevo P170HM3, and the Clevo P270WM. It’s reasonable to expect that both Clevo models will be picked up by various companies, such as Origin and Maingear, and released with some modifications under those brands. MSI will be the only company launching a 570M equipped laptop, in this case the MSI GT780R. Pricing has yet to be announced.

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With the release of these new parts, NVIDIA has converted nearly all of its current components to the 5xx series brand. Only the “mainstream” GeForce 315M and 410M remain outside the fold.

UPDATE: Need some more proof of the power of the GTX 580M?  Here it is seen running the brand-new DX11 variant of Crysis 2:

Source: Nvidia

Acer's new Honeycomb driven Iconia Tab A500 tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 27, 2011 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: tablet, honeycomb, Android, acer

As the table in AnandTech's review demonstrates, the interior of most tablets is dominated by a 1 Ghz ARM Cortex A9 with Tegra 2 doing the heavily graphical lifting.  This puts the onus for standing out among the crowd on the look of the tablet and the compatible peripherals as well as the pice.   Acer's design was not particularly well received at AnandTech, with several seams reducing their enjoyment of the tablet.  On the plus side is the peripheral support, with HDMI and both a microSD card reader and a miniUSB port you will have no problems interfacing with your other gadgets.  With a cost just under $400 AnandTech does like the tablet but they can't help but point out that with quad core ICS/Android 4.0 and Kal-El just around the corner you might want to wait for the next generation.

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"Next in our series of Honeycomb tablet reviews is the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The A500 was the second Honeycomb tablet to go on sale, and is one of four on the market at present, all of which are very similar. They share basic specs—10.1” 1280x800 displays, NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 underhood, 1GB LPDDR2 RAM, 16-64GB onboard NAND, front and rear facing cameras with HD video capture, basic wireless connectivity options, and stock versions of Android 3.0/3.1 Honeycomb (albeit with different preloaded software packages). The hardware similarities makes things like design and price that much more important, and the latter is where Acer seemed to have an edge."

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Source: AnandTech
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo
Tagged: X1, Thinkpad, Lenovo, Intel

Introduction and Design

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Achieving smaller, thinner profiles is a long-standing goal of laptop manufacturers, but there’s been a particular obsession with ultra-thin laptops ever since Apple introduced the MacBook Air by taking it out of a manila envelope. Since then, tablets and smartphones have only increased the appeal of thin laptops. Consumers are becoming used to the idea of their electronics tightening their waistlines, and there’s no sign that this trend will stop.

The manufacturer response to this demand has been a lackluster. Laptops like the Dell Adamo came and went, but didn’t seem to put much dent in the market. That wasn’t terribly surprising, because making a laptop thin is expensive, and the Windows laptop brands generally struggle to bring in customers for products priced over $1000. 

One of the most successful responses to the Air was arguably Lenovo’s ThinkPad X series. The X series had always been thin-and-light, but was never targeted towards the average consumer. Still, these laptops – particularly the X301, which had a display size similar to the MacBook Air – seemed reasonable competition. Then Lenovo pulled the plug on the X301, leaving a 13 inch thin-and-light shaped hole in the roster. Today’s we’re looking at the plug for that hole.

Continue on and read our full review of the Lenovo X1 notebook...

AMD is out and ARM is in for several major notebook vendors

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 22, 2011 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: arm, amd, texas instruments, snapdragon, amazon, tegra

It is not just AMD which is forging a new relationship with ARM, which we saw evidence of during the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, several other manufacturers are making good on previous statements made while waiting for AMD, and are going to be selling ARM based notebooks.  These companies are not on the fringe of the market, these are major vendors like ASUS which are releasing quad-core ARM based notebooks which will use SnapDragon, Tegra or TI for the graphics portion.  DigiTimes has the scoop here, as well as news on a tablet which will be released by Amazon running an unspecified TI processor which we should see by August.

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"Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

The sources pointed out that ARM-based systems using Android were already launched under the smartbook name two years ago with Toshiba and Lenovo both launching products in the retail channel. However, due to weaker than expected demand, the related products were soon phased out of the market.

Since ARM's CPU has already been upgraded from single-core two years ago to quad-core with a significant increase in performance, while the platform's storage capacity has also seen significant improvements, and an enhanced user interface, ARM is already capable of launching notebook products that are able to run for a long period of time, and if the price is attractive, there is a great chance for the products to create a brand new market segment in the IT industry.

Asustek has already made plans to launch a 13-inch ARM-based notebook adopting Nvidia's processor with Android.

The sources pointed out that there are already several brand vendors reportedly set to launch ARM-based notebooks with prices lower than US$299 to compete for market share and the vendors' processor choices include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and processors from Texas Instruments."

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Source: DigiTimes

World's first 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 21, 2011 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, CommunicAsia, Android 3.2

There seems to always be a trade show going on at some corner of the ellipsoid world particularly at this time of the year. Down in Singapore the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition is on until the 24th and news is starting to trickle out about advancements in communication technology. If you were holding your breath until Android reached version 3.2 on devices you can almost finally exhale, if you are still conscious because you can at best hold your breath for like 8 minutes and Android products are not that quick to ship. Yet.

Seventh floor… going up… ... WHAMMY BAR!!!

Huawei announced on the 21st that they are releasing a 7-inch tablet based on Android’s 3.2 release. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm but no mention of how much system RAM it will contain as it still allegedly depends on partners. The capacitive touchscreen will be IPS-based at a 217 PPI pixel density. After a little trigonometry: a 7-inch screen will have a resolution somewhere between 1280x720 and 1366x768 if its pixel density is 217 pixels per inch. The unit itself is capable of outputting 1080p to an external display through HDMI. There are currently no details towards a price, but Huawei stated that there are no plans for a Wifi-only version. The unit is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Engadget

Keeping your laptop cool in the summer with Akasa

Subject: Mobile | June 21, 2011 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: akasa, cooler, helix

Akasa's Helix Widescreen notebook cooler has arrived just in time for summer, bringing not only a cooling breeze to your laptop but also looking relatively stylish at the same time.  The large size does negate the ability of most people to be able to place it on their laps, so the cooler is intended more for high powered gaming laptops that have trouble keeping their cool over extended gaming sessions.  eTechnix preferred it to the Lapchilla they reviewed previously but warn their readers not to expect cooling miracles.

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"Akasa are at the forefront of the PC components market and are well known for their 'Superb Design and Engineering'. Currently their products range from CPU coolers and fans to cases and power supplies and several things in between. They are a company who are very aware of its target market and as such tend to produce products that are very popular, like the Akasa Venom for instance."

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Source: eTechnix