Lenovo IdeaPad U400 review

If you need evidence that the Ultrabook fad isn’t impressing everybody, look no further than our inboxes. More than a few of you have been inquiring about the Lenovo IdeaPad U400, the 14-inch big brother to the IdeaPad U300s. And we think we understand why. Starting at a more palatable price of $800, it offers the same understated design as the U300s, except it brings an extra inch of screen real estate, along with an optical drive and discrete graphics. The best of both worlds, right? Beauty and a little more brawn? Not exactly. Though it looks the same, the U400 trades various components, starting with the storage disk and continuing on to the touchpad drivers. (Specs, schmecs, are we right?) So how much of a difference does this new set of innards make? Meet us past the break to find out.

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Lenovo IdeaPad U400 review originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Dec 2011 16:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dell XPS 14z available now for $1000, ready to assail your eyes with a Shuriken display

From IFA to retailers’ shelves, Dell’s XPS 14z has finally completed its marketplace destiny. The 14-inch Windows 7 laptop we recently reviewed as a sensible buy is now up on the company’s site in three configurations, with the base model starting at $1,000. For your money, you can choose from a Core i5-2430M or Core i7-2640M processor, DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB, up to 750GB of storage, an Intel HD Graphics 3000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M graphics card and, of course, you get that narrow bezeled Shuriken display. Looking for a lightweight laptop to add to your computing arsenal? Then hit up the source below and get to ordering.

[Thanks, Jordan]

Dell XPS 14z available now for $1000, ready to assail your eyes with a Shuriken display originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 01 Nov 2011 11:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dell Studio Laptops Get Some Mac-Like Qualities

This article was written on June 26, 2008 by CyberNet.

dell dock.jpg

Dell has a launched a new line of laptop computers dubbed Dell Studio that has raised a few eyebrows. The laptops ship with Windows Vista which isn’t surprising, but the thing that made Gizmodo do a double-take was the Mac-like dock that appeared on the desktop. The dock is used as a way to remove some of the icons from the user’s desktop, and can be customized in a variety of ways (color, location, etc…). Plus you can add your own shortcuts to it.

After a little searching around I came across this article from Notebook Review that was just posted today. That’s where I got the screenshot from at the beginning of the article, and as you can see each main icon serves as a folder for your shortcuts. That way you can group your related shortcuts, and therefore steer clear of cluttering up the dock itself.

The Dell Studio line also includes backlit keyboards, which happens to be one of the biggest features that drew me to the MacBook Pro. That way when you’re in a low-light environment, such as a presentation, you’ll still be able to see the keys on your keyboard. I had been wondering for awhile why Apple was one of the only laptop manufacturers to offer this feature, and so I applaud Dell for offering this.

dell backlit keyboard.jpg

I’m sure there will be a lot of Mac fanatics criticizing Dell for including these features will their Studio laptops, but the dock they designed actually looks pretty good. The dock isn’t very Apple-like if you ask me, but there will be plenty of other people who will disagree. I wonder if they will be rolling these two things out to their other laptops?

Copyright © 2011 CyberNetNews.com

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Dell XPS 14z review

As far as product launches go, Dell didn’t exactly rip the Band-Aid off the XPS 14z. After teasing it back in September, the company let all the specs out of the bag, but stopped short of naming a price and ship date for the United States. Well, now we know: this 14-incher will be available in the US and Canada November 1, and will start at $1,000 — a price that puts it in direct competition with the likes of the HP Envy 14 and Sony VAIO SA series.

Like these other laptops, the 14z commands a premium over cheaper models, with beefier specs and a (supposedly) more luxurious design. With Core i5 and i7 processor options, discrete graphics, USB 3.0 and an optional solid-state drive, it offers a lot of the same specs as its peers, though it manages to stand out in a couple key ways. One, it sports an LG Shuriken display, which crams a 14-inch screen into a chassis normally reserved for 13-inch systems (translation: its bezels are super narrow). And with a starting weight of 4.36 pounds, it’s lighter than a lot of the other laptops you’re probably considering. But are these bullet points enough to make it a smart buy? Read on to find out.

Gallery: Dell XPS 14z

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Dell XPS 14z review originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 09:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ASUS Zenbook UX31 review

It was just last week that we got to take home the Acer Aspire S3, the first Ultrabook to go on sale here in the States. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the pillars laid out by Intel: its performance trails similar machines, its battery craps out early and the design, while portable, is too chintzy to make it a bellwether for skinny Windows laptops. Our verdict, in a sentence, was that you’d be better off getting a MacBook Air, or at least considering other Ultrabooks — namely, ASUS’ line of Zenbooks.

As it turns out, one showed up on our doorstep just a few days later. In many ways, the UX31 is everything the S3 is not: it has a gorgeous all-metal design and comes standard with an SSD and 1600 x 900 display (not to mention, a case and two bundled adapters). And with a starting price of $1,099, it undercuts the entry-level (and similarly configured) MacBook Air by two hundred bucks. So is this the Ultrabook we’ve all been waiting for? We suggest pouring yourself a large beverage, settling into a comfy chair and meeting us past the break. We’ve got a lot to say on the subject.

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ASUS Zenbook UX31 review originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:25:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MSI infuses more gaming juice into its G Series notebooks with processor refresh

They may have barely finished component convalescence after being kitted out with NVIDIA’s GTX 570M, but MSI’s GT780DXR and GT683DXR are getting yet another technical leg-up. This time, the processors are being nudged up to an Intel Core i7-2670QM, replacing the Core i7-2630QM we found on these gaming rigs last time we met. The ultra slim X460 series will also get the same CPU refresh. We’ll admit, it’s a pretty gentle update, but it should help keep MSI’s latest offerings close to the bleeding edge of high-end laptops.

Continue reading MSI infuses more gaming juice into its G Series notebooks with processor refresh

MSI infuses more gaming juice into its G Series notebooks with processor refresh originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 14 Oct 2011 18:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ultraportable ASUS ZenBook Challenges MacBook Air

The ASUS ZenBook measures a mere .11 inches (3 mm) at its thinnest point. Image: ASUS

Hoping to shatter the dominance of the MacBook Air in the ultraportable laptop market, ASUS officially launched its slick brushed aluminum ZenBooks yesterday.

The notebooks are available in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models, and the 11-incher, the UX21, starts at just under $1,000. It comes standard with a 128 GB hybrid solid state drive, and base models feature an Intel i5 processor (i7 upgrades are available). The ZenBook runs Windows 7 and is part of Intel’s “Ultrabook” line, which includes notebooks that are less than one-inch thick and in the sub-$1,000 price range.

The ZenBook is super thin: 0.11 inches at its thinnest point and 0.35 inches at its thickest, validating claims that it’s the thinnest notebook available (the MacBook Air is slightly thicker at its largest point, .68 inches). The UX21 weighs in at just under two and a half pounds (2.43 lbs), while the 13-inch model, the UX31, tips the scales at 2.84 lbs. Compared to respective MacBook Air models, the UX21 is slightly heavier and the UX31 is slightly lighter.

When the super-thin MacBook Air debuted in 2008, it carved a niche out of the notebook market. Super light and 11- to 13-inches in size, it was perfect for toting in the wild, and more powerful than similarly small but lower-speced netbooks (and, in the case of the 2011 MacBook Air, just as powerful as the larger 2010 MacBook Pros). The MacBook Air proved thin is in, and now there are several lookalikes — er, competitors — available, such as the Acer Aspire and the ZenBook, which we first previewed in May.

The ZenBook features an “Instant On” capability that allows it to boot from standby mode in only two seconds, and can last for up to two weeks on a single battery charge in standby.

The ASUS ZenBook is available now, starting at $999 for the UX21 and $1,099 for the UX31.

Asus Zenbook Hands On: Good Lord There’s a Lot of Awesome Packed Into Something This Thin

It’s kind of insane it took a $300 million slush fund from Intel to get notebook makers to create MacBook Air-like ultrabooks, the first results from Asus are, well, pretty damn impressive. More »

Dell Laptops Affected by NVIDIA GPU Failures

This article was written on August 12, 2008 by CyberNet.

dell nvidia.pngOver a month ago NVIDIA came forward and announced that they had shipped some faulty graphical processing units (GPU’s), and that it would cost them between $150-$200 million to cover the damages done. They didn’t announce specifically what cards were affected, but the cause of the issue was a weak die/packaging material that could fail because of temperature fluctuations.

To try and correct the issues the laptop manufacturers were advised to release new BIOS updates that would trigger the fans to turn on more frequently in hopes of lowering the heat. Dell is actually the first one that I’ve seen come forward, admit that some of their laptops are affected, and have already begun taking steps to correct the issues.

So what Dell laptops are affected by the NVIDIA GPU failures? Here’s a list of the models along with any updated BIOS drivers that should be downloaded:

The BIOS update won’t do any good if you’re already experiencing the symptoms of a faulty GPU (multiple images, random characters on the screen, lines on the screen, or no video), and you’ll have to contact Dell to have the notebook repaired. They also plan on offering “modified service terms” which likely means they’ll extend your warranty in case you become affected by the problem later on down the road.

The thing that I find the most interesting is that the comments on the Dell blog regarding the faulty NVIDIA GPU’s are people saying that they’ll be purchasing from a different manufacturer next time if Dell doesn’t replace their graphics card… regardless of whether they’re having the problems right now. I understand their frustration, but these people need to realize that Dell isn’t the only one affected by the failures. I haven’t seen any other companies, like HP, come forward saying they’ll replace all of the graphics cards that could cause problems. It’s rumored that all NVIDIA 8400M and 8600M series cards are affected, which also means Apple could be in the line of fire.

Kudos to Dell for stepping forward with information on the faulty GPU’s. It’s apparent that many manufacturers aren’t brave enough to do the same thing.

Update: Dell has announced that they will be offering extended warranties to cover the issue. Thanks Claus for pointing it out!

Copyright © 2011 CyberNetNews.com

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Four Atom chips sneak out of Intel, soon to appear in netbooks and nettops

Rarely do you hear of new chips sneaking out of Intel, Escape from Alcatraz-style. But that’s (figuratively) happened today, with a quartet of processors appearing with little fanfare from Chipzilla. Two of these you might recognize as members of the delayed Cedar Trail series, the D2500 and D2700. The former clocks at 1.86GHz and 2.13GHz, with the latter upping that to 2.13GHz and 2.4Ghz; both have a thermal design power of less than 10W. The other two chips sip power even more judiciously: the N2600 has a TDP of less than 3.5W at 1.6GHz or 1.86GHz; the N2800 has a 6.5W TDP, running at 1.86GHz or 2.13GHz. All include GPUs, with the N2000 series destined for netbooks, while the D2000 series should end up in nettops. To dig deeper into the specs, see Intel’s datasheet at the source link below.

Four Atom chips sneak out of Intel, soon to appear in netbooks and nettops originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 04 Oct 2011 09:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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