If you read the notebook and netbook reviews that I write here at TweakTown you know that I think most netbooks are the same. They all have very similar performance and mostly the same hardware. A few machines are setting themselves apart with somewhat better performance and things like Ion graphics, but they are still very similar.
Netbooks are so popular today because of their low price and the poor economy. Users buy what they can afford. One analyst believes that next year will be big for netbooks with the machines taking 17% of the portable PC market in 2010. The analyst believes that 28 million netbooks will ship.
At the same time, smartbooks are predicted to grab 3.6% of the market with 6 million units shipped. That leaves the traditional notebook with 79.4% of the market and shipping along the lines of 131 million units next year.
NVIDIA and Asus announced yesterday that several computers in the Eee line would be getting Ion graphics. Today Asus has offered up the full specifications of the Eee 1201N netbook that was one of the machines mentioned yesterday with the Ion announcement.
The machine has an Intel dual-core 330 Atom CPU and a full-size chicklet keyboard. The machine will be offered in two models that vary with the amount of RAM and storage offered. One version will have 2GB of RAM and 250GB HDD and the other will have 3GB of RAM and 320GB of storage.
Both machines will have 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. The battery used in the netbooks is a 6-cell 63Wh battery good for five hours per charge. The machine weighs 3.22 pounds and measures 296mm x 208mm x 27.3 - 33.3mm. Pricing and availability are unknown.
With Windows 7, one of the things that was really pushed was how well the OS will work for touchscreen computers and those sporting multitouch. Dell has announced that one of its largest notebooks, the Studio 17, now has multitouch technology built-in.
The massive notebook has a 17.3-inch screen with a 1600 x 900 resolution with the multitouch tech I mentioned before. That means you can navigate pictures with a finger and use gestures like pinch to zoom.
The notebook can have up to 8GB of RAM and a variety of CPUs up to the Core i7 parts from Intel. The notebook also has up to 1TB of storage, optional discrete graphics, and built-in 802.11b/g/n WiFi. The machines get standard graphics via Intel GMA 4500MHD. The Studio 17 starts at $899 for a base model and the price will climb quickly from there as you add options.
Asus has unveiled what it claims to be the world's first multi-touch netbook called the Eee PC T91MT. The convertible tablet netbook has an 8.9-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 that supports multi touch. The OS is Windows 7 Home Premium and the netbook runs an Intel Atom Z520 CPU.
Other features include 1GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD for local storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 0.3MP webcam. The battery is a li-polymer unit good for five hours per charge. The multi touch technology allows the user to browse the computer and zoom in or out with gestures like pinch and more.
Document pages can be flipped with a finger swipe and the machine ships with a touch-optimized app called TouchSuite. The machine will sell for $999, and since the announcement was from Australia, I presume that is in AUD meaning it will be cheaper when it tips up stateside.
Subsidized netbooks are common now in the U.S. after being mostly in Europe for a long time. AT&T is building up its netbook fleet and has announced that it will be offering the Samsung Go as a subsidized offering starting on November 22 for $199 after new agreement and mail-in rebates.
The netbook runs Windows 7 Starter edition and has an Intel Atom N270 CPU. Storage is to a 160GB HDD and the machine has 1GB of RAM. Power comes from a 4-cell 4000mAh battery. The 3G modem built-in operates on HSPA 7.2/5.1 networks and GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks.
The screen of the machine is 10.1-inches and it has a resolution of 1024 x 600. To get the machine at the subsidized price you will need to pay either $35 monthly for 200MB of data or $60 monthly for 5GB of data.
Lenevo's FL5-B3 netbook has been given an early showing on the net. This is an interesting model as it looks to be the first that is confirmed to be powered by Intel's new PineView processor (next-gen to the highly underwhelming Atom), running at 1.66GHz (Atom N540). The processor has a built-in DDR2 memory controller with integrated graphics and also a Broadcom video decoding processor.
Other known specs of the particular unit at this point in time include a 10.1-inch screen with a native res of 1024x600, 250GB HDD and 2GB of RAM.
Photos come from the FCC after the unit made an appearance late Friday night in a filing by Intel.
Whilst what we see here looks to be in final form, PineView isn't expected to be formally introduced until January of next year, so it's not likely we'll see this model from Lenevo officially launched till after such time.
Details are scant by we have a blurry pic to prove that Qualcomm is set to cram its Snapdragon processor under the hood of a Lenovo branded machine destined to hit AT&T. We really don't know anything about the machine other than the processor type.
The Snapdragon runs at 1GHz in several smartphones on the market today. I would not be surprised if it runs faster than that for use in the smartbook though. As for why exactly they are calling the machine a smartbook rather than a netbook, your guess is as good as mine.
The machine is set to officially debut at CES this January. We will get the full details then. From the blurry pic it appears to be an average netbook size machine of 10 or 11-inches.
SSDs are common in many netbooks and ultraportable notebook computers today thanks to the power miserly nature and better performance. The catch is that some netbooks like the Eee line from Asus have SSDs that offer less performance than can be had with SSDs today.
Thankfully, Active Media has a new line of upgrade SSDs that are compatible with the Eee S101, 900, 900A, 901, and 1000 Eee netbooks. The SSDs use a mini PCIe card form factor and the 3Gbps SATA-II interface.
The SaberTooth S4 SSDs use MLC NAND flash for performance and reliability. ECC error correction is built in and the SSDs have a wear leveling algorithm to prolong their life. The sequential write speed is up to 50MB/sec and sequential read is up to 130MB/sec. The drives come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities.
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It's uncommon to see a notebook debut that has both lots of features and a good price. Acer has unveiled a new notebook called the Aspire AS8940G-6865 that offers both things. The machine has a massive 18.4-inch LCD with full HD 1920 x 1080p resolution.
The notebook also offers a Blu-ray drive that can burn CD and DVD media for movie night. The machine uses an Intel Core i7 Quad 720QM processor and runs Windows 7 Home Premium. That speedy quad-core processor will make short work of most any media task you can throw at the machine.
Other features include NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M graphics, five speaker sound system, 500GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The machine also has touch-capacitive media control keys, five USB ports, HDMI out, and an eSATA port. Power comes from an 8-cell lithium-ion battery. Acer is asking $1,349.99 for the machine which is a very good price considering the feature set.
So far Netbook specs have been much the same across the mass of models to have swamped the market, no thanks to Microsoft and Intel's tight restrictions for low-cost machines.
The good news is that this will loosen up somewhat in the near future thanks to Windows 7 and Intel's upcoming next-gen lineup of Atom chips, allowing for a bit more freedom in what can be done with the platforms to release a wider range of differing models.
Microsoft has already started allowing netbook manufacturers to load Windows 7 Home Premium on machines without restrictions, and now Fudzilla says Intel will lift the 1GB RAM limit from Atom machines when the 1.83GHz N470 Pine Trail chip hits in March. That means we'll start to see more of a range of netbook specs going forward, but the low-end will probably still be dominated by Windows 7 Starter and the Atom N450, which will still be limited to 1GB of RAM, so don't expect to be happy with the cheap stuff anytime soon.
Whilst still not yet made offical, leaked specs of ASUS' very soon to be released Ion based Eee PC 1201N have briefly appeared on EeePC.
liliputing were quick enough to take note of what it's likely to shape up with; a 12.1-inch screen, dual-core Atom 333 CPU (a nice adjustment over the previously rumored Atom 270), 3GB of RAM, 320GB HDD, HDMI out, multitouch trackpad, six-cell battery and of course Windows 7. There's three color choices for the unit; black, blue, or red.
If the Ion based unit isn't your cup of tea, a more laid back non-Ion version dubbed the Eee PC 1201HA is also said to be launching at the same time with lesser specs across the board.
After showing you the G-Screen dual display laptop we thought you would be interested in seen the lower end side of this concept. Like say, a netbook with sliding displays.
The odd looking contraption is from Kohjinsha and it is a netbook featuring two 10.1 inch displays. But it is not just the dual displays that make this net"Thing" interesting to look at and read about. No, it is the fact that they are not using an Intel Atom under the hood.
Gasp, Kohjinsha is daring to give an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU a try. No word on the version of the Radeon mobile GPU that will be used but it had better pack a little power behind it. The rest of the specifications are very netbook, 160GB HDD, 1GB RAM...you know the drill.
Kohjinsha has not given any indication if this will remain a concept or if it will hit the streets in the future, still it is very interesting to look at.
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HP's have a very tidy notebook on the horizon dubbed the Envy 13, due to hit the streets on October 18. The folks at Engadget managed to get a hold of one early and have taken a bunch of snaps showing us just how sweet this thing looks.
It's not cheap, though. HP are pushing it for $1,700 U.S. but Engadget feel there's enough reasons why this is somewhat reasonable for what you're getting.
- This is one sexy laptop. It's incredibly quality in its construction, and intensely attractive. The screen in particular is a knockout, showing up very bright and vibrant behind its glossy, mirror-tastic sheen
- The single button trackpad is severely miscalibrated, and perhaps an altogether bad idea. We're having trouble scrolling consistently, but clicking is also a hit or miss affair -- having multiple fingers on the trackpad at the same time seems problematic, with our cursor glitching this way and that. It's also actually possible (likely even, if you're as bad at mousing as we are) to "click" the pad and yet have nothing happen, which seems very counterintuitive.
-The keyboard is comfortable, but has a bit of a loose, pushover feel to the key action -- not cheap, but not really best-in-class either.
More comments and unboxing pics can be found at the source.
Just saw this interesting video where an NVIDIA ION based netbook plays a flash video using the GPU. It is pretty impressive, especially when you see them pop it up on the big screen. Of course there is something that is bugging me about this demo.
If you watch the screen displaying the demo from the ION is flickering very badly. It made watching this a little rough and gave me a headache. Besides that it means that the ION was being displayed on a screen with at least a 120Hz refresh this is twice the refresh on the smaller screen (which should be running at around 60Hz).
I know you are wondering what this has to do with anything; well you see the faster the refresh the slower your frame rate can be and still maintain the appearance of full motion video. It is an old trick, back the CRT days it was not uncommon to see 100Hz refresh rates making 20 FPS games look playable. After all if memory serves the human eye refreshes at about 50Hz. So at 120Hz you are more than doubling the screen refresh which removes much of the stuttering you would see at 60Hz.
It would be interesting to find out more about the test and to see it run on the same display. I have found the 9400 IGP to be little lacking when it comes to HD video even at 720, of course we will have to wait and see what happens once this is out an available to the general public. It will be interesting to see if the performance shown in the video can hold up in the real world.
So what would you do with four screens on your favorite portable? This thought came to me today while checking out the news from Intel's IDF event being held at the moment.
At the show was an interesting concept, this is a laptop with a main screen and three (yes three) smaller OLED screens.
These three screens would be above the keyboard and could show a variety of widgets. The interesting thing is that they can be interacted with through multi-touch gestures and your standard mouse. You would be able to drag files between the screens, including the main one.
Although the concept is interesting, I am not sure how much traction it will gain in the market. I could see this having a bigger impact if the screens could be tilted out for better viewing. Of course this is a prototype and there would be plenty of refinement before anything like this would make its way to your local (r)e-tailer.
It looks like ASUS' first Ion-equipped Eee PC is almost ready and should be shipping across to the states in large quantity by this time next month.
Dubbed the Eee PC 1201n, this tidy looking netbook boasts a 12-inch high resolution panel, 2GB of RAM as standard and is of course based around NVIDIA's Ion technology.
Engadget has spotted the new model on an Asian e-tailers website and it appears, at least for now, it's still relying on the aging Atom N270 processor.
The full tech specs shape up as follows :-
- Processor: Intel Atom N270 Diamondville
- Chipset: Nvidia Ion LE
- Memory: 2GB DDR2
- Hard drive: 250GB SATA 5400RPM
- Screen: LED 1366x768 pixels
- Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 9400M G
- Networking: 802.11b/g/n wireless, Ethernet 10/100
- Interface: USB2.0,, 1 x VGA, 1 x RJ45
- Battery: 6-cell 5200mAh
- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Hot on the heels of the new HP ION based netbook, we see VIA is launching what it is calling a "NetNote". Besides the ridiculous sounding name, this new product category is noteworthy for the fact that it is capable of playing back 1080p HD video.
This is the same high-end resolution that the NVIDIA ION platform is shooting for. Now while this is very impressive, what I did not see in the press release was any indication that the associated netbooks were able to display this on its tiny little 10.1 - 12-inch displays. If they cannot playback 1080p natively in the display, it does reduce the impact of having this feature available in the first place. They might manage 720p in a 10-incher, but I doubt 1080p is going to happen. I would think that if this was the case, we would see it bandied about in the text of the PR. Instead we only see VIA working hard to create a new category in the mobile world exactly where we do not need a new category.
VIA is getting this performance from its VX855 media processor combined with its Chrome9 HCM IGP. The company is also dropping in an HDMI port to turn your NetNote(Book) into a mobile HD media center.
Still it is nice to see competition in the world of the Ultra-Portable. As it stands, while netbooks may look a little different on the outside, internally they are pretty much the same. This makes for a very boring market segment.