The ALO Island is a USB-powered digital audio converter/headphone amplifier, and it's a honey! Functionally, it's not so different than many of the other USB digital converter/amps I've covered on this blog, but it's a bit bigger. The others are about the size of a thumbdrive; the Island is a 1.25x1.25x3.25-inch aluminum "brick," but it's still small enough to be considered a portable device. It handles low- and high-resolution files, up to 192kHz/24-bit. The Island sells for $299 in the US direct from the ALO Web site, … Read more
As the browser becomes the driving engine behind several operating systems, extensive hardware controls are landing as built-in HTML5. The latest developer's build of Firefox Aurora can now record by default video from your camera and audio from your microphone.
Firefox 20 Aurora (download for Windows, for Mac, for Linux, and for Android) has the new hardware API getUserMedia enabled by default, which means that you won't have to use a plugin to record directly from your local camera or mic. In her blog post announcing the update, Maire Reavy, Firefox's product lead on media, provided an … Read more
Under the skin of Samsung's new ultrasvelte laptop beats new Intel silicon that will likely be adopted by Apple in the refresh of the MacBook Air.
One of the criticisms--admittedly of the geek variety--of the 2010 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs is the internals. At the risk of sounding like a broken record (as this has been asserted ad nauseam by many reviewers), both models use silicon that, in tech years, is long in the tooth--namely, the Core 2 Duo.
But Apple is expected to pull a leapfrog with the new MacBook Air. The upcoming Airs will jump from … Read more
The new MacBook Air offers an interesting paradox: a spanking-new, ultra-thin design that is wrapped around old Intel chips.
The just-announced 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch Airs are a marvel of thin design, with the smaller model weighing in at only 2.3 pounds and both models only 0.68 inches at the thickest point. What Apple CEO Steve Jobs described as MacBook-meets-iPad. And inside is Apple's latest and greatest flash storage technology that sits directly on the system board as well as a new higher-performance Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics chipset.
Also inside are old Intel processors. How old? Old enough to date back to the same line of processors used in the original MacBook Air, announced three years ago come January. No power-efficient--and much newer--Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors here. So, what gives?
Here's the pithy, tepid statement that Jobs made Tuesday during the MacBook Air rollout: "The Core 2 Duo is a fast processor for this class of machine." And Apple had this to say in its press release yesterday. "Flash storage combined with power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics delivers an ideal balance of mobility, battery life and performance."
But digging a little deeper, the reason is really no different than the rationale given for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which also uses Core 2 Duo processors. In short, real estate. Because Apple needs to tap into the performance goodness of the graphics processing units (GPUs) from Nvidia--even in a highly compact design like the MacBook Air--Apple can't use a new Core i series processor because it would require too many chips: an Intel Core i5 processor (as an example), an Intel chipset, and the discrete Nvidia GPU. (Also: see Additional Notes at bottom.)
Apple solves the real estate problem by using a two-chip design (see graphic): the Core 2 Duo and the Nvidia GeForce 320M chipset.… Read more
A new Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T-68U118 boasts both a design and internals that rival current and possibly future MacBook ultraportables.
Persistent rumors about an upcoming MacBook Air point to a redesign--as well as new processors. And on Wednesday, we got official word from Apple that it is staging a "Back to Mac" event on October 20. Needless to say, this can only serve to fuel speculation about new MacBooks--and most prominently the MacBook Air.
So, could Acer be blazing a trail that others will follow? At the very least, the TimelineX's feature set points to a contemporaneous … Read more
Intel has updated its processor pricing list with new Core i series chips, including the widely used Core i5 and i7.
The processor update, dated September 26, includes two Core i5 mobile chips for laptops: the i5-580M and the i5-560M. The 2.66Hz i5-580M (3M L2 cache, two cores, four threads) is priced at $266, while the i5-560M (same clock speed) is priced at $225.
Intel also newly listed the Core 1.33GHz i5-560UM (3M L2 cache, two cores, four threads, 32-nanometer), costing $250. The "UM" indicates ultralow power mobile, and these chips typically go in ultrathin laptops … Read more
Small laptops aren't necessarily getting any smaller, but they are getting more powerful. Here's a quick look at the power-efficient engines purring inside the latest laptops from Hewlett-Packard.
The newest welterweight laptops from HP, introduced on Wednesday, offer more than flashy new skins. Inside is Intel's newest chip technology that offers more performance without a significant hit to battery life.
First up is the 3-pound Mini 210. This Netbook offers, for the first time, a dual-core Atom processor, a break from a long line of single-core-only Atom Netbook processors. Dual-core processors are better at handling multiple data streams than single-core processors and thus boost performance significantly for certain applications.
Despite having two cores, Intel's 1.5GHz Atom N550 has a thermal envelope of only 8.5 watts, only two more watts than its single-core N455 cousin. And this thermal envelope is even more impressive when you consider the fact that it also includes the 200MHz graphics chip, which is built onto the same piece of silicon as the main processor.
HP claims up to 10.75 hours of battery life with a six-cell battery. That said, even if HP is overstating battery life, anything within the ball park of eight to ten hours is decent for a Windows dual-core laptop.
The HP Mini 210 is available in the United States with a starting price of $329.
Pavilion dm3 squeezes Intel's higher-performance mobile processors into a slim form factor
The just-announced HP Pavilion dm3 laptop boasts an Intel Core i series chip matched with a new design that keeps the laptop cooler.… Read more
Intel on Monday introduced new low-voltage Core processors for the ultrathin laptop segment.
The laptop designs in this segment have been symbolized to date by the less-than-one-inch-thick Apple MacBook Air and Dell Adamo--which use Intel processors that draw relatively little power compared with standard mobile processors. But those are pricey, luxury notebooks beyond the price range that Intel is targeting with the newest processors.
"It will fit the consumer system price point. Very affordable systems," Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, said during a video conference Monday morning. Though Eden … Read more
When purchasing any electronic device in "these troubled times," it's important to ask yourself one important question: Is it worth it to me?
In other words, does it do what I need it to and does that functionality justify its price. Simple really. To know the whys and hows of my opinion on the Nanovision Mimo UM-720S and to see if I believe it justifies its price, check out CNET's review here.
As always, you can always find new monitor reviews here.