Amid all the laptop news this week, much of it coming out of the IFA show, there were a few announcements that especially stood out: two major PC makers unveiled their entries in the new (and untested) Ultrabook category. Even better, we got a change to get our hands on working demo units of both models, the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s and the Toshiba Portege Z830. Those two new models join previously announced Ultrabooks such as the Asus UX21.
Much has been made of Intel's plans to promote a new laptop designation, the Ultrabook. The initial pitch was something along the lines of an 11- to 13-inch laptop, less than 18 millimeters thick, with SSD storage, running on current-gen Core i-series processors, and selling for less than a comparable MacBook Air--the clear example the Ultrabook design spec is meant to compete with.
We've seen a few Ultrabook announcements recently, but Lenovo is the first to put a working unit in our hands, and we got to spend a little time this week with the new Lenovo … Read more
It's a big week for laptops, thanks to the IFA going on in Europe right now, and Toshiba's addition is the Portege Z830 series. Toshiba says the system is part of Intel's new ultrabook platform, and at first glance it shares some common traits with the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s we saw earlier in the week.
The Portege Z830 has a magnesium alloy case and weighs around 2.5 pounds and is 0.6 inches thick -- Toshiba says that's about 20-percent lighter and 40-percent thinner than the Portege R835, which is one of our favorite current … Read more
In addition to its new Series 7 laptops, Samsung is showing off a new Windows tablet, called the Series 7 Slate. We got a chance to play around with a demo unit earlier this week, and at a minimum, it at least includes some of the smarter ideas we've seen for Windows tablets (which may be faint praise, as the Win 7 tablet universe is filled with clunkers).
The 11.6-inch system we saw ran an Intel Core i5 CPU, but Samsung says Core i3 and even Pentium versions will be available. That Core i5 CPU is why we … Read more
Sony has added a new 15.5-inch laptop to its lineup in the form of the Vaio SE, an upscale-looking slim and light system about 1 inch thick that weighs 4.4 pounds. From the design and features list of the Vaio SE, it's clear Sony is targeting this as a high-end, power laptop with potential appeal to business users.Additional Sony IFA announcements Sony bets on quality with S and P Android tablets Sony debuts Android-based Walkman prototype Sony Reader Wi-Fi puts Kindle in its sights Sony debuts 3D OLED head-mounted display
Our just-arrived review unit, currently being benchmarked in the CNET Labs, is black, but a silver version is also available (Sony calls them Jet Black and Platinum Silver). Like Sony's other high-end laptops, such as the Vaio Z, the body is made of magnesium and aluminum, for a combination of ruggedness and light weight. The look and feel is pure Vaio, and the system looks like a matte black slab when closed, offset by an angular chrome hinge. … Read more
Samsung today announced a new laptop line, adding the Series 7 to the existing Series 3 and Series 9 lines. We had a brief chance to get our hands on the 15-inch version (as well as a nonfunctioning mock-up of the 13-inch version), to see how they stack up against Samsung's other recent high-profile releases.
While the Series 9 laptops, available in 13-inch and 11-inch sizes, are very high-end machines originally priced at $1,699 and $1,199 respectively, and the Series 3 laptops are closer to budget prices (the 11.6-inch version exclusively at Staples is $699), the Series 7 falls somewhere in the middle, starting at $999.
Samsung reps brought a working 15-inch unit and a nonworking 14-inch unit over to us to check out, and the systems do indeed look and feel like a halfway point between the Series 9 and Series 3 systems. The aluminum bodies were sleek, cast in gunmetal gray, but not as fancy as the curved Series 9 chassis. At the same time, they looked and felt a lot more expensive than the Series 3, which has the feel of a budget-minded plastic ultraportable (but a very nicely designed version of one).
We especially liked how the 14-inch model was built into what would normally be closer to a 13-inch chassis, and the 15-inch model was also fairly slim and light for a midsize laptop. The lids of both models had thinner than usual bezels, which Samsung says is inspired by the company's nearly bezel-less plasma TVs, and the 1,600x900 screen on the 15-inch model was not only bright, but also had a matte finish, a feature we always appreciate. … Read more
Following its "PC gaming is not dead" ad campaign, Razer has officially unveiled its first foray into system-building. The new product, teased in a full-page ad Razer ran in the Wall Street Journal on August 22, is the Razer Blade, which the company describes as a "full aluminum chassis gaming laptop featuring true portability, incredible performance, and an all-new revolutionary user interface."
This is surprising in a way, not because a mouse-and-keyboard maker is getting into the business of making and selling laptops, but because we were hoping the mystery product was the pocket-size Switchblade, a curious handheld prototype we saw and played with at CES 2011.
Instead, this is a 17-inch gaming laptop, although Razer claims it will be only 0.88 inch thick and weigh under 7 pounds, which is impressive if you've seen any of our recent monster gaming laptop reviews. The unique part is the right side of the keyboard, where you would normally expect to find a number pad.… Read more
It's hard to open a Web browser right now without running across one or more stories about Steve Jobs and his departure as the CEO of Apple, and rightfully so. Jobs is a hugely influential figure, and his products have had an unmeasurable impact on mobile phones, personal computers, and media players. One of the most influential Apple/Steve Jobs product designs is actually one of the most traditional, at least on the surface: the MacBook laptop.
The MacBook line of laptops has managed to be both contrarian and influential at the same time. Its first appearance was in 2006, with the MacBook Pro announced in January of that year. This product replaced the older non-Intel PowerBook G4 and was followed several months later by the familiar (and recently discontinued) white polycarbonate MacBook, which was intended to replace the consumer-targeted iBook. … Read more
Acer reported its first-ever quarterly loss yesterday, which it blamed on various expenses and excess inventory, though chairman J.T. Wang stressed that he sees a slowdown to the current wave of tablet fever.
For the quarter ended June, the Taiwanese PC maker suffered a net loss of 6.79 billion in Taiwanese dollars ($234.3 million). That loss compared with a net profit of NT$2.65 billion in last year's second quarter and was considerably larger than the NT$3.3 billion loss expected by several analysts polled by Reuters.
Sales fell by 32 percent from a … Read more
Mac sales grew by 26 percent in the United States in July, a healthy surge, compared with PCs, which saw only a 4 percent rise in unit sales last month, according to new NPD data cited by Barclays Capital.
The 26 percent gain in Mac sales over July 2010 came on top of growth of only 7 percent in June but 21 percent in May. Analyzing the data in an investor report released Monday, Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes attributed the surge to the launch of Mac OS X Lion, as well as to the July 20 launches of Apple'… Read more