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HP Omni 27-1015T Review

Has HP lost its touch?

We used to get excited when HP would send us its latest all-in-one. Each new model seemed to add some cool innovation or new feature that no other manufacturer had. The Omni 27-1015T has us wondering if the all-in-one pioneer has tired of pushing the envelope.

HP needs to move the power button off the top of its all-in-one PCs; it’s too easy to accidently turn the machine off while adjusting the angle of the display.

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Dell XPS One 27 Review

My God! It’s full of stars!

OK, our first look at the Dell XPS One’s gorgeous display didn’t leave us quite as flabbergasted as astronaut David Bowmanstaring into the monolith at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the absolutely gorgeous Samsung PLS panel—with its 2560x1440native resolution—did leave us a bit slack-jawed. The XPS One’s$2,000 price tag might have contributed to that reaction, too; then again, a 27-inch Samsung Series 9 display built using the same panel costs $1,200 all by itself.

Dell’s XPS One 27 is a gorgeous computer. You’ll have to decide if it’s $2,000

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Apple iPad Review

One giant high-res step forward for tablets

APPLE DIDN'T CALL the newest iPad the iPad 3 or the iPad HD—just the iPad. And that’s fitting, because while it’s a handsome upgrade to the best tablet on the market, it’s not a huge leap forward. If you’ve used any iPad for more than 10 minutes, this won’t blow you away—the revolution was two years ago. Now it’s time to iterate.

Yes, it’s a little bit thicker: 9.4mm, compared to the 8.8mm iPad 2. And it’s a skootch heavier: 1.44 pounds, or 1.46 pounds if you get Wi-Fi + 4G; the iPad 2 ranged from 1.33 pounds for Wi-Fi to 1.35 pounds for the AT&T version of the Wi-Fi + 3G. We bet you won’t notice. What you will notice is the 4G/LTE speed and the Retina display.

The bright 9.7-inch display’s dizzying resolution is now 2048x1536, or 264ppi. That’s four times the pixels on the 1024x768 iPads of yore, and the best screen we’ve ever seen on a hunk of electronics. It’s got a million more pixels than a 1920x1080 HDTV, plus better color saturation than the iPad 2.

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Optoma HD33 Review

At first glance, Optoma’s DLP-based HD33 struck us as the Charlie Brown of this batch. While it was the first 3D video projector in this price range to reach the market, it delivers only 1,800 ANSI lumens of brightness, its zoom lens is limited to 1.2x, and you must buy the 3D glasses separately. Like the Epson, the HD33 doesn’t have a lens-shift feature, but it is the least-expensive model we looked at, and its image quality is at least as good as the other two.

The HD33 comes with an RF emitter for synchronizing 3D glasses, but the emitter is a stand-alone device that must be plugged into a VESA 3D port at the back of the projector. Optoma helpfully provides a bit of two-way tape so you can glue it to the projector housing, but it’s a tacky (no pun intended) solution at best. The glasses Optoma sent for this review (not included in the price of the projector) were considerably dorkier looking and less comfortable to wear than the glasses Acer and Epson provided. Optoma’s glasses are also unique in that they use a rechargeable battery, but that comes with a downside: You recharge them using a Micro USB cable and an AC adapter, which is also not included (although you could plug them into your PC). Alternatively, you can use any manufacturer’s DLP Link 3D-compatible glasses. You can expect to pay about $100 per pair for active 3D glasses of any type.

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Samsung SyncMaster T27A950 3D Display Review

Impressive looks; less-than-impressive performance

WHEN SAMSUNG DEMOED the T27A950 for us a few months back, we got excited. This 27-inch, 120Hz display looks sleek and sophisticated, and it offers a long list of features, including an onboard digital HDTV tuner, picture-in-picture capability, DLNA-compliant networking, Samsung’s collection of smart TV apps, and active 3D. We couldn’t wait to get it in the Lab for a better look.

It didn’t take long for our excitement to ebb. The unconventional stand that makes the monitor stand out from the crowd severely limits the panel’s range of movement. You can tilt it forward and back by a few degrees, but you can’t adjust its height, pivot it into portrait mode, or mount it to a wall or any alternative stand.

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Acer H9500BD Review

Acer’s H9500BD 3D video projector is the most expensive of the three models here, but it has a couple of features the other two lack. Its overall image quality, however, is only on par with projectors in this price range. We’ll leave it up to you to match those considerations to your needs/wants list.

The H9500BD, like Optoma’s HD33, is based on Texas Instrument’s DLP technology. When connected to a PC or Blu-ray 3D player via HDMI, the projector is capable of producing frame-packed 3D video at 1920x1080 resolution at a refresh rate of 24Hz (the same frame rate movies are filmed at). If you want to play games, you’ll need to drop the resolution down to 1280x720, so you can use a 60Hz refresh rate (markedly better for games).

Unless you’ll be the only person watching the projector in 3D mode, though, you should keep in mind that Acer provides only one pair of 3D glasses with the projector; additional pairs of DLP Link 3D glasses cost about $100 each. (Flip over to Lab Notes on page 92 for a longer discussion of what you’ll need to drive any of these projectors with an AMD or Nvidia GPU.)