Say hello to what most of us would have considered the new OCZ Vertex 5 SSD: the OCZ Vector 256GB SSD. That’s right; this isn’t some offshoot, sub-par asynchronous NAND-using bargain basement drive, but OCZ’s new benchmark-busting flagship SSD, and the first to use the company’s very own Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and firmware rather than a modified Marvell or Sandforce controller like its previous drives. Since the drive uses OCZ’s own controller, it ditched the Vertex branding and went with an all-new name, hence the Vector badge.
Traveling is great — nay, amazing. And travel that requires a passport can be even more fulfilling for those willing to open their minds to new cultures (and, perhaps, deal with entirely too much security screening). But here’s the thing — travel is a lot better, generally speaking, with an internet connection within arm’s reach. Things are never more likely to go awry than when you leave your comfort zone (or, you know, home nation), and we here at Engadget have been investigating the best methods for maintaining a connection whilst abroad for the better part of our lives. To date, you’ve got a smattering of options: rent a MiFi from XCom Global, pick up a rental SIM from iPhoneTrip, pray that you can find a shop that rents data SIMs upon your arrival or pony up for whatever absurd roaming fees that your home operator deems fit.
All of the above options have their pros and cons, but the good news here is that your choices are expanding. As the market for ubiquitous connections continues to grow, another player has recently entered the market. Tep Wireless began as a hotspot rental service that mainly looked after those traversing the United Kingdom, but recently, it expanded its coverage umbrella to include some 38 countries across Europe and 50 nations total. This here editor recently had the opportunity to cross through four of those on a single journey, with a Tep hotspot in hand the entire way. Care to see how things turned out? Let’s reconvene after the break.
The 17-inch behemoths that call themselves gaming notebooks are traditionally quite large, trading extreme performance for substantial bulk. These machines routinely flirt with double digit weigh-ins, and flaunt meaty 1.5-plus inch bezels. They represent a unwieldy reality in portable power that most gamers have learned to expect. Not Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, however — he’s still chasing the dream: thin, powerful and sleek. Tan caught up with us this week to brief us on the next generation Razer Blade, a rig that still boldly claims to be the “world’s first true gaming laptop.”
Razer’s first laptop hit shelves earlier this year, packing a 2.8GHz Core i7-2650M CPU and a GeForce GT 555M GPU into a svelte 0.8-inch aluminum shell. Tan explained that the rig’s attractive hull hadn’t changed much, but its internals sure have. “The Blade was our first laptop, and we’ve taken feedback really seriously since then,” the CEO told us. “We’ve been listing to gamers and made a chart of all the pros to keep, and all the cons to address. Every single one of them.” That chart eventually mapped out the refreshed rig’s internals, which include an unannounced Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and 64GB of fast-booting solid state storage. All this comes in the same aluminum shell as the first Blade, of course, sporting a 17.3-inch high definition display and the firm’s exclusive multitouch LCD Switchblade interface. Tan says the new build addresses some of our own complaints too, noting that the sticky hinge that plagued our review unit has been tweaked to bend to a lighter touch. The machine’s internal speakers have been upgraded as well, and are said to be 250% louder with no distortion.
The new Blade’s sharpened specs will come with a price cut, ringing in at a penny under $2,500 — and gamers who picked up its predecessor (which will be getting its own price cut, to $2,299), we were told, can snag one for $500 less. Pre-orders are slated to start on September 2nd, and should ship within 30 days. The new laptop is being unveiled for the first time at PAX Prime this weekend. Not in Seattle for Labor Day? Check out the official press release after the break.
Archos has had its hand in the slate game since the early days of “internet media tablets,” and while its products don’t have quite the same brand recognition as, say, Samsung’s, we’ve found the French company’s devices to be some of the best-value tablets available. Budget-minded prices and innovation don’t usually go hand in hand, but in the case of its new 101 XS Android 4.0 tablet, Archos has a few tricks up its sleeve. The slate boasts a keyboard cover and kickstand, along with a magnetic hinge allowing the lid to attach to the display. Arriving in November for $400, the Archos 101 XS is a productivity-minded take on slates, complete with a full set of keys and a bundled copy of OfficeSuite Pro. Do the hardware and software add up to a killer combo? Read on to find out.
When setting up a gadget for review, delicately unboxing and smelling the carcinogenic whiff of freshly molded plastics, we typically feel some amount of excitement and anticipation to see how it stacks up against the competition. It’s either that or a resigned sense of duty as we run yet another iterative evolution of this or that laptop through the same benchmarks to see just how this year’s model stacks up to the older model now being sold on discount. With the Nexus Q, though, we felt something different altogether: genuine curiosity.
Why? Well, it’s a high-end device with a $299 MSRP, a price that’s multiple times higher higher than media streamers like the Apple TV, anything from Roku and, indeed, Google’s own Google TV. And yet, the Q has considerably less functionality than any of them. Largely because of this, many who witnessed its unveiling at Google I/O were quick to write it off. Despite having our own doubts we pledged to give it a fair swing, a week of solid use at home and with friends. How did it do? Does this high-concept device with high-end componentry make up for some decidedly low-end capabilities? There’s only one way to find out.
Good things come in pairs, right? Earlier this year Samsung revamped its high-end Series 9 line with two new Ultrabooks: an impressively thin 15-inch model, along with a more portable 13-inch machine. So far this year, we’ve gotten a chance to review the larger version which remains one of our favorite ultraportables ever, thanks to its minimal design, fast performance, lovely display and long battery life.
“So what?” you’re thinking. “Why bother revisiting the miniature version?” For one, friends, Samsung only recently refreshed the Series 9 with third-generation Intel Core processors, and we were eager to make note of any performance gains. More importantly, though, the 13-inch Series 9 faces stiffer competition than its big brother. There truly isn’t another big-screen notebook quite as thin or as light as the 15-inch Series 9; if those are the attributes that matter most, that’s the laptop you’re best off getting. But the smaller Series 9 finds itself fighting for space on retail shelves amidst high-end ultraportables like the MacBook Air, ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A, the HP Envy Spectre XT and, well, you get the idea. So how does this $1,300 system fare against such worthy opponents? Read on to find out.
Product categories come and go, grow and wither, revolutionize the world and then slowly fade into a state of cold, quiet, everlasting obsolescence. It happens all the time, sometimes over the course of just a year or two (see: netbooks) and, while companies have made billions by establishing truly new categories, rarely has anybody rocked the world by splitting the difference between two very closely aligned ones.
That’s exactly what Apple is trying to do here. The company’s MacBook Pro line is one of the most respected in the industry for those who need an ostensibly professional laptop. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air is among the best (if not conclusively the best) thin-and-light laptops on the market. Now, a new player enters the fray: the MacBook Pro with Retina display. It cleanly slides in between these two top-shelf products, while trying to be simultaneously serious and fast, yet slim and light. Is this, then, a laptop that’s all things to all people, the “best Mac ever” as it was called repeatedly in the keynote? Or, is it more of a compromised, misguided attempt at demanding too much from one product? Let’s find out.
Let’s be honest here: there hasn’t been an overly compelling option in the all-in-one PC space in a really, really long time. Not to say there weren’t decent options, but that “blow you away” factor has been missing for a good while. No more. Dell’s wildly handsome XPS One 27 has hit the ground running, and it’s garnering near-universal praise across the web. While it boasts a somewhat steep price point ($1,399 and up), packs a touchpanel option and is landing just months before Windows 8′s debut, critics at large seem to have fallen back in love with the AIO form factor thanks to this one machine.
Hot Hardware lauded the Core i7 CPU and NVIDIA Kepler graphics, and they had a tough time controlling their adoration for the Samsung PLS panel that stole the show. PCMag struggled to find cons, noting that the rig managed to put “almost every technology and feature we’re looking for in a compact stylish chassis.” AnandTech, however, rightfully points out that the lack of a touchpanel is no big deal in the land of Windows 7, but not providing the option for those looking forward to a Metro-fied Windows 8 experience may end up hurting the value proposition in the long run. Hovering over that buy button? Restrain yourself a bit longer while you dive into the source links below.
It’s a strange feeling, receiving such a keenly anticipated phone to review. The hubbub of launch events, hands-on previews and heated debates suddenly dies away, leaving you with one small and intensely silent cardboard box. In this instance, the packaging contained the “marble white” version of the Galaxy S III (not the more daring “pebble blue”) alongside one burning question: apart from all the hype, do this handset’s paper credentials translate into a product that is worthy of serious cash and a 24-month commitment?
Those credentials are certainly more subtle than those of other recent devices. There’s no unusual camera, stand-out display or unibody build. Instead, we get an abstract design statement about the phone being “inspired by nature” alongside a list of incremental hardware improvements such as a quad-core processor, as well as fresh additions to Samsung’s customized Android 4.0 skin. As it turns out, these specs forgo immediate swagger in favor of creating a solid workhorse of a smartphone that is intent on attracting a long-term following. Read on and you’ll discover just how it pulls that off.
The Sony NEX-C3 rounds out the bottom end of the NEX line; however, it’s still quite the full-featured camera. I’ve already raved about the Sony NEX-5n (aside from a now-fixed problem with the audio capture in movie mode). The NEX-C3 is just as impressive of a camera to me.
It offers a 16.2MP CMOS image sensor and captures 720p HD video in an easy to use MPEG-4 format. It is a full-time live view camera, which means you don’t have to put your eye up to the viewfinder in order to frame your image. In fact, there is no viewfinder.
Right around 2.5 years after the introduction of Nikon’s most recent game-changer (yeah, we’re bragging about the D3S), its proper successor has emerged. Without qualification, the amount of hope and expectation surrounding the Nikon D4 was immense. In a way, most Nikonians were (perhaps foolishly) expecting the D4 to be to the D3S what the D3S was to the D3, and we’ll confess that we were cautiously saving up precious pennies in the event that the game was changed yet again.
For better or worse, the actual specifications of the D4 ended up as hardly worth writing home about, with an ISO range mirroring that already seen on the D3S, a megapixel rating lower than that of the cheaper D800 and a battery rated for fewer snaps than the outgoing D3S. All at an MSRP that’s starting at $800 above where the D3S started. You’ll notice a lot of comparisons throughout this article with the Best Camera of 2009, but that’s intentional; yours truly has spent the last 2.5 years using the D3S for business and pleasure, and it’s only logical to pit the D4 against a camera that has become molded to many palms here at Engadget HQ. Is the D4 a worthy upgrade? Or even a worthy successor? Let’s find out.
When Acer’s Aspire Timeline Ultra notebooks made their first appearance at CES, these 14- and 15-inch laptops seemed like little more than the successors to Acer’s TimelineX series. Thin-and-light laptops, complete with optical drive and some likely reasonable prices. While there’s no mistaking that DVD burner and mainstream screen size, we now know a few things we didn’t then: the 15-inch version you see up there packs NVIDIA’s next-gen Kepler graphics… and Acer’s calling it an Ultrabook.
Acer’s branding that there Ultra M3 as an Ultrabook because it’s less than 20mm (.8 inches) thin, but given that 15-inch display, numpad, optical drive and graphical horsepower, it’s hard to think of this as anything other than a mainstream laptop. If you accept Acer’s marketing scheme, though, this is the first so-called Ultrabook to ship with discrete graphics. (We’re expecting to see more — many more — of these.) As of this writing, at least, we don’t have a confirmed price, though Acer has said the pricing for the Ultra series should align with current TimelineX notebooks (which is to say, we’re hardly expecting this to be a $1,500 machine.) Until we know for sure, it’ll be hard to say how sweet of a deal this is, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about what it actually does. How does the performance stack up against regular ‘ol 15-inch laptop? Does it pummel your garden-variety Ultrabooks like you’d expect it to? Join us past the break where we break down exactly what this ‘tweener can do.
Shoot in the dark. That’s essentially what you can do with the Canon 5D Mark III — with a top sensitivity of ISO 102,400, what was once unfathomable could soon become an acceptable standard. While point-and-shoot manufacturers are adding WiFi and GPS, and tweaking algorithms in an effort to boost sensitivity beyond the 6400 mark, Canon and Nikon are making clear cases for a DSLR upgrade, by drastically improving image quality. The 5D Mark II had an excellent three-year run, but with its 22.3-megapixel sensor, 1.04M-dot 3.2-inch LCD, improved autofocus and high-performance video capabilities, Canon’s latest full-frame DSLR is an entirely different beast, and a very compelling successor.
What’s in a name? Or, more importantly, what’s in a digit? Would that which we call an iPad by any number less than 2 be less sweet? That’s the question Apple posed for us indirectly when it unveiled the new iPad and relegated its future slates (and, presumably, phones) to a numeral-free future. And that new slate? It’s much the same as the old one, with a slightly more chipper processor at its (quad) core and support for both Verizon and AT&T’s fancy new LTE networks.
But there’s one bigger change here, one that will ripple across the industry as each manufacturer struggles to keep up in this ever-accelerating market. That feature is the iPad’s new 2048 x 1536 Retina display. It’s the best display ever featured on a tablet, probably the best display ever on a mobile device, but is that enough to keep this tablet ahead of the pack? Believe it or not, the answer is yes.
New iPad full review and how it compares to the old iPad 2. A5X processor, better 5MP iSight camera, retina display like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and Dictation for speech – text input.
You don’t have to be a marketing skeptic to agree that “Ultrabook” is a somewhat hyperbolic term for a class of devices designed a little thinner, a little lighter and maybe a little quicker than those notebooks that have come before. From a pure hardware standpoint there’s nothing particularly “ultra” about them when compared to a standard Wintel lappytop, but manufacturers are, thankfully, using this as an opportunity to raise their game on another front that’s becoming increasingly important in the world of portable computing: aesthetics.
Compared to clunky laptops of yore, many Ultrabooks mark a truly massive step forward when it comes to purity of design and Dell is showing some impressive chops with the new XPS 13. But, when you’re buckled in to coach class and it’s time to get to work, looks are less important than having a solid laptop that performs. Does the new XPS have the brawn to match its beauty? Let’s find out.