The Latest Posts in Quikr, Electronics & Technology

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The force is with you: Toshiba Qosmio G20

The battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD will be fought not just in the home video market but also the computer market given the obvious advantages of next-generation discs when it comes to storage. So it’s not surprising that Toshiba, the leader of the HD-DVD consortium, has launched the Qosmio G20 a laptop which not only plays HD-DVD’s but also comes with some great multimedia features.

As you might expect the laptop has an excellent 17 inch screen to enjoy the high-definition video. It comes with a LiteBrite layer for extra contrast and sharpness in addition to being one of the brightest laptop screens around. The G20 also has Harman Kardon speakers for better sound than usually available on a laptop. Other features include a GeForce 7600 Video card for gaming and DVD writing capabilities.

Multimedia features invariably require huge amounts of storage and the G20 delivers with two 80 GB hard drives for a total of 160 GB. The extra drive helps ensure that your precious files are safe if one of the drives fails. Finally, the G20 comes installed with Windows XP Media Centre which is a special version of XP specially tailored to multimedia needs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Recommended Prescription – Tc4200 Tablet PC

The HP Compaq tc4200 Tablet PC has a convertible design: the screen and keyboard are connected with a hinge and a simple twist will transform the unit from a laptop into a tablet.

Durability and toughness are always important when it comes to mobile computers and the tc4200 delivers. It has a sturdy and compact design and comes with scratch-resistant lamination and a spill-free keyboard to preserve the unit through the inevitable accidents.

It’s powerful on the inside as well with an Intel Pentium M 740 processor which runs cool and offers a battery life of almost 6 hours. Connectivity options include a 56k modem, an integrated wireless LAN card and integrated Bluetooth. The tc4200 comes with a range of navigation options: both a touchpad and a rubber-tipped pointer for mouse-style scrolling in addition to two sets of mouse buttons. It also comes with a graphic pen which can be used on the touchscreen.

Though the tc4200 doesn’t have a dedicated video card, it features a significantly improved graphics chip called GMA900 which means better performance at tasks like photo-editing and gaming.. It also comes with a built-in microphone which is handy for dictation using the voice recognition software.

Executive Class – XDA Executive PDA

There can be few pocket devices which pack in as many features and as much software as the XDA Executive PDA which weighs under 300 grams but can almost be considered a miniature PC.

The first thing you notice about the Executive is the clamshell design: it features a Qwerty keyboard which pivots into the screen making the XDA Exec a bit like a small tablet PC. You can also enter data through the touchscreen and handwriting recognition software.

The Executive has a number of communication features: in addition to being a full-featured GSM phone it has 3G and GPRS for connecting to the Internet and Bluetooth and infrared capabilities for connecting to other devices. For multimedia, the Executive comes with a 1.3 MP camera with video-recording as well as an MP3 player. Its internal memory can be expanded through SD memory cards.

The Executive comes installed with Windows Mobile 2005 and is packed with other Microsoft software like Pocket Office with the mobile versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. You also get Pocket Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Microsoft Active Sync for synchronizing with your PC. The CD contains additional software like ClearVue PDF Viewer.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Apple Laptops

While Apple is increasingly identified with its iPod, the company made its name as a creator of stylish and innovative personal computers. Its latest Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops maintain that tradition. The Pro laptops have bigger screens and better video cards as well a number of extra features compared to the Macbooks. What they have in common is Intel’s Dual Core processors marking Apple’s much-discussed switch to Intel chips. Both laptop series also come with a built-in camera called iSight.

The laptops also come pre-installed with some great software. The operating system is the latest version of Apple’s OS X: 10.4 also known as Tiger. It features improved search capabilities as well a programme called Dashboard for using small desktop applets called widgets. The laptops also come with Apple’s software suite iLife which includes movie and photo editing, DVD making, iTunes and a really neat music creation programme called Garage Band. It may be the best entry-level suite out there and what makes it really convenient is the level of integration between the different programmes: for example the seamless way in which you can take video clips that you have edited and use them to create a DVD.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gaming on your laptop!

Gaming taxes both the processing power of your computer and its multimedia capabilities so packing in a decent gaming experience on a laptop is quite difficult. Here are the things you should look for on your gaming laptop.

The most important is probably the video card. Because desktop video cards generate too much heat, laptops often make do with integrated cards which are inadequate for many games. Companies like ATI and nVidia do make video cards specially for laptops. Make sure your laptop has one of them with at least 128 MB of RAM. The second big requirement is obvious: a big enough screen to enjoy your games. You would want at least 15 inches and if your laptop has a widescreen display, all the better.

Other important requirements are a powerful processor and adequate RAM: at least 512 MB and preferably 1 GB. A sufficiently large and fast hard drive is also useful. Many of the newer games are released on DVD-ROM so make sure that your laptop has a DVD drive. For a laptop with a decent set of gaming features check out the Sony Vaio FS660.

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Laptop | Gaming | Sony Vaio | Sony Vaio FS660

Friday, July 28, 2006

The right prescription: Tablet PCs

A tablet PC is a mobile computer shaped like a slate on which data can be entered via a touchscreen and a stylus. Tablets are becoming steadily more powerful and sophisticated and there is also more tablet-specific software available. For instance there is Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and some tablets also come with Linux pre-installed.

Tablets come in two basic varieties. Slates consist of a screen and a stylus without a keyboard though it is often possible to attach a separate keyboard either through USB or wireless. Convertibles come with a keyboard attached to the screen at a single joint which can be rotated out when necessary.

The main advantage of a tablet is a much more intuitive interface since for many people writing is still easier than typing. The stylus comes in especially handy for digital art because the mouse is often too jerky a device for precise drawing. It also makes it easier for students to take classroom notes involving graphs or diagrams. Some tablets come with speech recognition software as well and if necessary a keyboard is available on many models.

Tablets, especially slates, are also lighter and easier to handle compared to laptops.

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Tablet PC

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Choosing a laptop: Sony Vaio & Dell Inspiron

Perhaps the first thing to consider before choosing a laptop is how much you need to carry it around and what kind of multimedia features you need. The two are closely related.
Lighter laptops generally have smaller screens and fewer multimedia features but of course every kilo of weight saved makes a difference if you intend to carry it around a lot. For instance you might consider the Sony Vaio Z1RA which weighs about 2 kilos. The screen is 14.5 inches and the main features are quite good: a 1.6 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 60GB hard-drive.

On the other end of the scale is a model like the Dell Inspiron 9300 which weights about 3.5 kilos. This extra bulk helps produce some great multimedia features though. You have a 17 inch wide screen and also two speakers including a sub-woofer which make it a great laptop for watching movies. The DVD writer comes in very handy for storing large multimedia files and the 128 MB ATI video card is essential if you want to play the latest games. These features are comparable to a good desktop and such models are often called desktop replacements.

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Laptop | Sony Vaio | Dell Inspiron

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Accessories for your PDA

Protection, data entry and connectivity are some of the features that can be improved by using PDA accessories.

It’s not the most exciting accessory but a protective filter for your PDA’s LCD, like this one for the O2 XDA, is among the most useful and cost-effective. The filter protects the screen from scratches and harmful sunlight and your eyes from ultraviolet rays. It also sharpens the image and improves colour quality.

If you need to enter a lot of data you might consider a Bluetooth keyboard like this model for the HP iPaq. The model is big enough for comfortable typing but can be easily folded and put away when not in use. There is a small stand where you can attach the PDA and Bluetooth means that there are no messy wires between the devices.

For connecting your PDA to a wifi network you might need to buy a separate wifi card like the SDIO WLan card which plugs into the SDIO slot and is compatible with most PDA’s with Pocket PC 2002/2003. Important features included low energy consumption, Wireless Active Sync for synchronizing data with your PC and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) for secure wireless connectivity.

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PDA | PDA accessories