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CES 2011, Las Vegas - Zotac has unveiled some new barebones HTPC machines that look more like a normal Blu-ray player than a HTPC. That is a good thing too since these machines will be in an entertainment center along with your other gear. The machines are the Zbox Blu-ray AD03 and AD03 Plus. They are exactly the same save one key feature.
The Plus version comes packed with 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD whereas the standard version has no memory or storage and the user has to add their own. Neither of the machines come with an OS installed. They both use the AMD E-350 APU running at 1.6GHz with dual-cores. Graphics for the machine are handled by AMD Radeon HD 6310 GPU with 80 shaders and an engine clock of 500MHz.
Other features include a USB 3.0 port, a single mini-PCI Express expansion port, a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, Gigabit Ethernet, and WiFi. The machines support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD sound and ship with Cyberlink PowerDVD software for playback of Blu-ray movies. The Plus version will sell for $499 and the normal version is $399.
CES 2011, Las Vegas - Lenovo's adding quite a few new laptops to their line just in time for CES, and the three that are first off the line are the ThinkPad Edge E220 and E420 as well as the ThinkPad X120e.
The ThinkPad Edge series give you premium design options like a matte finish with metal accents and an infinity screen. The 12.5" E220 and 14" e420 feature the choice of Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, optional mobile broadband and 4G/WiMAX in addition to regular WiFi, and the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 for Windows 7 to speed up boot time by 30 percent on select models with Rapid Drive technology. Models will start at $899 for the E220 and $749 for the E420 and will be available starting in April.
CES Rumor Mill: Does huge price slash on HP Envy 13 mean a new ultra-thin laptop release is imminent?
HP's Envy 13, their answer to the Macbook Air, has gotten a serious price slash from $1499.99 to $999.99 With its 13.1-inch, 1366×768 screen, Intel 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo Processor (SL9300), 3GB of memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 Graphics with 512MB of dedicated memory, Beats audio, and 250GB (5400RPM) hard disk drive, that makes this a pretty attractive laptop for the price.
The big question being raised at this point is whether HP is just looking to clear out old stock, or whether they've got something up their sleeves to compete with the newest Macbook Airs at CES. With the Envy 13 no longer even featured on the HP Envy page alongside its bigger brothers, it's anyone's guess at HP's strategy at this point. I guess we'll find out in about a week.
Two new netbooks have quietly hit the Gigabyte's product pages. The M1005, a netbook that comes complete with a docking station that was officially announced a couple of weeks ago, as well as the Q2005 have hit Gigabyte's site, if not stores.
Both netbooks are sporting dual-core Atom 550 processors, with the Q2005 boasting a 10.1" 1024 x 600 display, 1 to 2GB of RAM, integrated graphics, 250 / 320 / 500GB HDD, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 10/100 LAN, Bluetooth 3.0+HS (optional), 0.3MP webcam, 3-cell or 6-cell battery and Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium. The M1005 looks to be an updated M1022, with an improved 1.3 mp webcam and Gigabit LAN port over the Q2005 but only a four cell battery.
CES is just around the corner and I expect that one of the biggest categories of products will be gear that is powered by the Android OS. We will see hoards of tablets and other things at the show like smartphones with Google's open source sauce inside. A company called SBN Tech will be bringing a device to the show called the IP Video Phone that will run Android.
The device is billed as a video phone, but it might as well be called a tablet. It has a big 10.1-inch screen, runs Android 2.x OS, and supports all sorts of software. It can check email, make Skype calls, and supports Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, think-free Office, internet radio and a lot more.
The device also has a VGA camera on the front and supports HD media streaming. It has widgets for calendar, clock, and more and can stream video from YouTube. Storage for media is to SD cards and the device has a kickstand on the back for standing it up. Pricing and availability are not announced at this time.
MSI is looking to shove it's foot into the world of Netbooks again with the pre-CES announced Wind U270 netbook. It's an 11.6-inch based system which is includes a 1366x768 display, powered by a 1.6GHz Zacate processor - part of AMD's upcoming Fusion lineup.
Also included in the U270 is the option of a 320 or 500GB HDD, up to 4GB of RAM, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, VGA and HDMI-out, a 4-in-1 SD card reader and then the usual audio jacks, Ethernet port and a Kensington lock slot.
One of the coolest computers that Dell offers in my book is the thin and very cool looking Adamo 13. The thin little notebook has been around for a while now and when it first hit stores, it was aimed directly at the MacBook Air (and still is). The Adamo 13 gets more than just a simple price cut though.
The rig gets its prices slashed and while the price is $100 less than the $999 the basic unit sold for previously, you actually get components for the price that are better than the old base machine. A version of the Adamo 13 with a 2.13GHz CPU sold for $1099 before. The $899 price tag now gets you that processor and some other choice hardware.
The new $899 machine has the same 13.4-inch screen, 6-cell battery, and 4GB of RAM along with 128GB SSD for storage. The processor is the Core 2 Duo SL9600 and the machine runs Windows 7 64-bit. If you want a thin machine, the new $899 price point makes the Adamo much cheaper than the $1299 starting price of the MacBook Air.
Netbooks already seem to be dying off as a category with the soaring growth the tiny machines were experiencing slowing and many consumers flocking to tablets today. Despite the slowing sales for netbooks, there are still new machines coming to market today. A new rig from Acer has leaked called the Aspire One 522 and it looks pretty cool.
The machine has a 10-inch screen and runs an AMD processor under the hood. The machine is based on the AMD C-50 Ontario APU, which is a dual-core part. The TDP is 9W for the machine, which should mean decent battery life. The 10.1-inch screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 and the GPU inside is an AMD Radeon HD 6250.
The other features of the machine include 2GB of RAM, Windows 7 Starter, 500GB of storage, a HD webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 6-cell battery. The little rig won't be great for listening to music with the onboard sound system; it doesn't even have stereo speakers. The price is said to be about $425.
I don't think of computers at all when I hear the BenQ name. I think more of the displays and projectors that I have seen from the company. BenQ along with everyone else and their dog is set to toss an Android tablet onto the market early in 2011 with its offering called the R100. A few pics of the device have surfaced and it looks to be pretty cool.
The R100 has a 10.1-inch screen that offers 1024 x 600 resolution and it runs the Android OS. The processor is an ARM unit made by Samsung running at 833MHz. The tablet naturally hopes to compete directly with the iPad, which will be a big task. Android tablets are expected to grab a lot of the tablet market over the next few years though.
Other features of the R100 include 8GB of internal storage, an SD card slot for expansion, mini-USB and HDMI ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The device also has Bluetooth and WiFi. The dimensions of the tablet are 15mm thick and it measures 119mm x 244mm and weighs 720g. Pricing for the device is unknown and exactly what version of Android will be used isn't mentioned.
It doesn't take long when you use the iPad a lot to realize that having to look down at the screen if you watch movies or read a lot can be a literal pain in the neck. There are a ton of stands on the market for the iPad to prop it up for you making it more comfortable to use. The latest stand to hit the market is from NewerTech. NewerTech makes all sorts of accessories for Mac computers and has for a long time.
The new stand is called the NuStand Alloy and is offered in version of the iPad and a version for the 2010 Mac mini computer as well. The iPad version of the stand is black and is sized to allow the iPad to be used in the stand while a thin case is installed. It has non-skid rubber feet and a rubberized black soft touch finish.
The stand holds the iPad screen in landscape or portrait modes at a 15-degree angle. You can pick it up right now for $24.99. The version of the stand of the 2010 mini is very similar with a silver rubberized finish. It has the same non-skid feet and won't scratch your computer at all. It sells for $24.99 as well.