Think a laptop is supposed to be a light and portable PC? Think again. iBuyPower’s CZ-17 is neither of those things. With a carry weight of almost 11 pounds and dimensions measuring 16.9x11.3x2.2-inches, this thing is huge and friggin’ heavy. Imagine lugging around a dumbbell in your pack all day and you’ll catch our drift.
Note: This review first appeared in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
Road warriors are forced to admit that while wireless broadband has improved at hotels over the years, it’s still far from perfect. When both are offered the speeds are almost always better if you are able to jack in, but with modern tablets that’s not always possible. This creates a captive audience of tech savvy business travelers, and ASUS appears to be eager to cash in.
Unlike many an Ultrabook, there’s no mistaking this one for a MacBook Air, or even an Air wannabe. Staying true to the venerable ThinkPad brand, the X1 Carbon is matte-black through and through, and clad in that distinct rubberized coating that feels nice to the touch, won’t easily slip from your grip, and remains blessedly free of fingerprints. It looks every bit the business companion it’s intended to be. In fact, the X1 Carbon looks a lot like the ThinkPad X1 we reviewed last year (bit.ly/lEdkj4). But it’s grown from 13 inches to 14 inches, and its body has been flattened to Ultrabook standards, measuring just .71 inches at its thickest. Its lap weight, by the way, comes in just under three pounds.
Can a ThinkPad be sexy? When you’re talking about the slender and sleek X1 Carbon, it sure can.
Origin PC’s Eon11-S isn’t the first 11.6-inch gaming notebook to come knocking—Alienware kicked off the category in 2010 with its small-but-mighty M11x. But times have changed since the M11x’s debut, hardware and thermals have advanced, and thus Origin’s Eon11-S is no less impressive an accomplishment. Packed into the 11.2x8.1x1.4‑inch chassis are an Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM quad-core processor and a GeForce GT 650M GPU. They’re joined by a 256GB SSD in the standard 2.5-inch trim and 8GB of DDR3/1333 RAM across two slot‑driven SO-DIMMs. Incidentally, all the innards are accessible via a bottom panel that pops off with ease, making future upgrades possible.
The Eon11-S comes in either a “Traditional” design, with a simple matte-black textured lid, or this “A-Panel” design, in either matte red or black, for the same price.
Dell’s XPS 13 certainly isn’t wanting for style. Sporting a slick wedge profile that measures .24–.71 inches front to back, the XPS 13 is all matte-silver, machined aluminum up top, with a carbon fiber base. A soft-touch surface on the bottom makes the device easy to grip and two rubber “feet” that run horizontally along the underside will surely hold it in place on any surface and promote airflow. Dell even took care to construct a thin metal door on the XPS 13’s underside to hide the Windows certificate of authenticity sticker and sundry other unsightly logos.
An embedded magnet keeps the lid securely attached to the base when the laptop is closed, but opening it can be a challenge—it’s a two-handed affair. Inside, the XPS 13 continues its logo-free theme (save for the “XPS” on the screen bezel). The black, soft-touch palm rest is void of third-party branding. It’s kept company by a black magnesium clickpad and a shiny black island keyboard, which is backlit. The screen consists of edge-to-edge Gorilla glass. As with the HP Folio 13, it’s 13.3 inches with a 1366x768 resolution. The TN panel displays all the typical weakness—move your head or the screen beyond the narrow sweet spot and see contrast and colors diminished.
Full-featured Honeycomb tablet tries to steal discount slates' thunder
TIMES ARE, LET'S SAY, challenging for anyone who makes a 7-inch tablet but doesn't also own some type of bookstore. The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet could look the Thrive 7" square in the eye and say, "You're good, kid, but as long as we're around, you'll always be second best, see?" It hardly matters that the Thrive 7" has the full Honeycomb 3.2 OS, more storage, and superior screen resolution, because it also carries a price that's almost twice that of the Fire and without all the Amazon ecosystem advantages, to boot.
With that said, for those discriminating individuals who do appreciate the finer things in life, the Thrive 7" furnishes the highest resolution of a 7-inch tablet and costs a bit less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. Graphics in games and videos on the Thrive 7" look crisp and finely detailed, with excellent black levels. It's a great tablet display for reading ebooks or websites.
On the downside to browsing the web, the Thrive 7" performs pretty poorly with web browser screen redraws and scrolling and exhibits demonstrable touch‑response lag. Several other Honeycomb tablets we've tested also suffered from such problems to a degree belying their hardware specs, but the Thrive 7" felt particularly laggy, if only intermittently. Similar problems occurred with certain other apps, on the home screens and menu screens, and when waking up the tablet. These behaviors were only occasional, but still common. Benchmark tests also showed results inexplicably lower than other Tegra 2 devices with similar specs.
WE REVIEWED Eurocom’s top-of-the-line mobile workstation, the Panther 2.0, in our June 2011 issue. That high-end behemoth weighed more than 15 pounds and cost upward of $5,000, but it sported a desktop Core i7-980X CPU and a pair of Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire. This time around we’re taking a look at the company’s lighter-weight mobile workstation, the Neptune 3D.
While also billed as a high-end desktop-replacement, the Neptune 3D is far more modest than its beefy big brother. It’s based on a mobile Sandy Bridge CPU (Intel’s Core i7-2760QM) and a single mobile GPU (Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 580M). The Neptune 3D weighs less than nine pounds, but its defining feature is its 17.3-inch, 120Hz, 3D display.
It’s oxymoronic to say that a vacation is stressful. But it is. And I’m not even talking about the sand that’s waiting to creep into your shorts on the beach, the hotel room that’s going to spring a leak, or the vast number of other disasters about to transpire throughout your travels.
I’m talking about the very, very beginning of your vacation: The part right after you’ve planned and purchased the tickets up until the moment you step off the plane at your intended (and final) destination. As a geek, you’re probably wondering if there’s a better way to go about “the routine:”
There’s a hidden part of each of us that revels in destruction. That part of us sees a piece of technology billed as “rugged” and vows to destroy it. Granted, most rugged hard drive enclosures are a joke—a thin layer of rubber over a standard plastic chassis; or a thin aluminum shell, if you’re lucky, with a 2.5-inch drive held inside. They’re meant to survive a drop from a desk to the floor, or sometimes just to look cool. IoSafe, on the other hand, is serious about the “rugged” label, and the Rugged Portable SSD is among the toughest external drives you can get. Challenge accepted.
Toshiba is trying to cover all the bases with its new Canvio 3.0 portable hard drive line. These drives ship in 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities for local backups, support fast transfers via SuperSpeed USB 3.0, support plug-and-play operation, and come pre-loaded with cloud-based backup software.