When it comes to your device being the “world’s thinnest” or not can be decided by a single millimeter. Just days after Toshiba unveiled its 9mm-thick 500GB external hard drive, ADATA has knocked a little more off its own enclosure and declared victory. It’s releasing the DashDrive Elite HE720, a stainless steel USB 3.0 drive that measures in at 8.9mm-thick, and size is not the only department where it’s making an end-run around ol’ Tosh — it’s also $25 dollars cheaper, costing $90. In more mundane news, users who pick up the unit are entitled to snag a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security and it’ll be available shortly.
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.
Here at AMD’s Financial Analyst day, the company had a little demo area which is where we spotted this little number — an ODM reference unit from Compal, stuffed with the company’s upcoming Trinity APU. We’re told the unit above is one of several, which are proof-of-concepts used to convince and show OEMs powerful, yet thin machines the duo hopes they’ll bring to market. Inside this particular prototype is one of the lower voltage variants of Trinity (read: either the 17W or 25W part), which enables that svelte 18mm profile. Seeing as it is a one-off (and one that’ll never come to market in this form), our impressions are moot, yet we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out we were a little dismayed by its chassis, which was flimsy enough to put the existing flex champion, Toshiba’s Z830, on notice. Still, with an estimated starting price of half an Ultrabook (roughly in the $500 to $600 range), we’ll leave it up to you to decide exactly how much you value torsional rigidity. Other then that, viewing angles seemed good from the brief demo reel we watched, and there’s plenty of connectivity onboard, with two USB 3.0 ports, mini-DisplayPort and HDMI flanking the left, followed by audio jacks, another USB, Ethernet and power along the right. Looks like thin and lights are about to get a whole lot more interesting later in the year, which, frankly is great — it’s about time Chipzilla got some worthy competition.
We hate to break it to you, dear readers, but we’re in the throes of back to school season. In a few short weeks, lots of wide-eyed freshmen will be setting up their dorm rooms and begging off name games during orientation, which means they (and their generous parents) are stocking up on gear now. We’ve been testing a bunch of budget and mid-range laptops aimed at young folk and pretty much any other mainstream consumer who’d happily forgo some bells and whistles in exchange for a lower price. So why not start with a review of one of the best? Sony’s VAIO SB series is the 13-inch laptop for the kindele who can’t afford the VAIO Z, or even the slimmed-down SA series. It offers good specs for the money, a bright, matte display, a solid keyboard, long battery life and a (mostly) well-built design. And while we try not to spoil our reviews, we’ll say this: it’s one of our favorite mid-range Windows laptops, period. How much do we like the SB? Join us as we count the ways.
There comes a time when that giant, corporate-issued laptop stops fitting into your lifestyle. When dragging around a Kensington roller case just won’t do. When you start to hear the siren lilt of something thinner, lighter, and maybe a bit more alluring. For years the MacBook Air has been that svelte temptress hollering your name, but it’s always been a bit too slow — all show and no go. It didn’t have the power and the longevity to make it a serious contender for your serious affections.
No more. With its latest refresh, Apple has taken what was once a manilla-clad curiosity and turned it into a legitimate machine, not just a sultry looker. Good thing, too, because the death of the plastic-clad MacBook means the Air is now Apple’s entry-level portable. Weary traveler looking for a laptop that will lighten your load and, it must be said, your wallet too? This might just be it.
If you’ve somehow not heard of the ThinkPad X1 yet, you join us at a good time. The well leaked laptop has shown up at an X Series comparison site, put together by Lenovo itself, where yet more specs have been made known. The 13.3-inch display is dubbed a SuperBright HD inifinity panel, which to you and us simply means it’s built using IPS technology. There’s also an integrated fingerprint reader, a buttonless touchpad, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a promised 10-hour battery life with a slice battery. Weighing in at 1.36kg (3lbs) and measuring about 16mm (0.625 inches) in thickness, it’s described as Lenovo’s thinnest ThinkPad yet. Last time we heard, we were told to expect it on May 17th, guess those webmasters are getting the show started a little early. One more glamor shot of the X1 can be found after the break.
Man, Lenovo isn’t even trying to keep the ThinkPad X1 under wraps anymore. The slinky new MacBook Air competitor has just slipped out in a video commercial on the company’s own YouTube channel, where it shows off a keyboard that’s both backlit and spill-resistant, and a Gorilla Glass screen that is apparently girlfriend-proof. See the video after the break and circle May 17th as your acquisition date if you’re after one — that’s when Lenovo promises the X1 will be arriving.
We heard of a bezel-hating LG Shuriken display sneaking its way onto Acer laptops recently, but the Korean company has wisely opted to debut that cutting-edge technology in its own portable computers first. The 14-inch P430 and 15.6-inch P530 mark the start of its new Blade series of laptops, which are the result of some obsessive slimming work at the LG labs — display thickness is 4.5mm and 4.7mm, respectively, while the bezel on the 14-inch model is so narrow as to fit its screen within the dimensions of a traditional 13.3-inch laptop. Weight, at 1.94kg on the P430 and 2.2kg on P530, is also said to be on par with machines offering significantly smaller screens, but that’s not at the sacrifice of construction materials as brushed aluminum is used to strengthen LG’s new slimsters. A Core i7 CPU and GeForce GT520M GPU will provide the internal firepower, though the rest of the internal specs are as yet unannounced. The P430 will launch in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America at the end of May, to be followed by the P530 in June. Full PR after the break.
When we reviewed ASUS’ first bamboo laptop, we raved about more than just its unconventional looks — we were also impressed with its solid performance. So we’re pleased, although not at all surprised, that ASUS is refreshing the line with Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge processors. The U43SD doesn’t appear to stray from its predecessor’s industrial design (save for its bigger 14-inch screen), but it steps up to the latest Core i3 and Core i5 processors, along with NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M graphics with 1GB of video memory. You can also choose from 5,400RPM and 7,200RPM hard drive options and either a six- or eight-cell battery. While the company was at it, it also quietly unveiled another Sandy Bridge laptop, the U41SV, which offers the same configuration options as the U43SD — and a plainer design. No word on pricing, and a cursory search turned up no availability. For now, though, you can have a gander at some official photos lifted from ASUS’ own product pages.
Don’t tell us you’ve forgotten about Lenovo’s pair of new Edge machines! Sure, they’ve taken a while to get to market, perhaps having been inconvenienced by a little hiccup with Intel’s Core 2011 chipsets, but the first of them is now well and truly on sale and the other is looking eager and ready to go too. The 14-inch E420s is up on Lenovo’s web store, starting at $699 with a 2.1GHz Core i3-2310M CPU, while its 12.5-inch sibling, the E220s, is expected on the 8th of April, judging by the roadmap doc we’ve uncovered below. The E420s touts what Lenovo calls an Infinity Glass display, meaning simply edge-to-edge glass, alongside a fingerprint reader, a fetching new matte black lid, a HD webcam, 4GB of RAM and 250GB of HDD storage at a minimum, and a 48.8Wh battery. A 1366 x 768 resolution is your only option, unfortunately, though you can spruce up performance by quite a bit if you opt for the i5-2410M, which does 2.3GHz at default speeds or 2.9GHz when only one of its two cores is pushed to the limit … or should that be to the Edge?
The feature-rich and utterly gorgeous Series 9 laptop from Samsung has just received its US pricing and unfortunately it’s a bit of a whopper: $1,649. For that outlay, you’ll be getting a 13.3-inch screen, an LED-backlit display with 400 nits of brightness, Intel Core i5-2537M dual-core processor running at 1.4GHz, 4GB of RAM, and one super-speedy 128GB SSD. It’s an intriguing proposition, as both price and specs are decidedly high-end, but the decision as to which one wins out we’ll leave up to you. Hit up Samsung’s site below for a list of retailers — the Series 9 is listed for pre-order at the moment, but we doubt it’ll be long before delivery trucks start rolling out with ultrathin laptop boxes in tow.