11 June, 2009

The hunt for new and good-priced gizmos begins

By Susan Ferroa, ChannelNewsAsia.com | Posted: 10 June 2009 1124 hrs

Pavilion dv4-1413TX Entertainment Notebook, 2140 Mini and TouchSmart Tx2 from HP

It's Christmas come early for tech die-hards when June rolls around and two events coincide nicely – the GSS (Great Singapore Sale) and the PC Show.

Those on a hunt for new and good-priced gizmos have marked the date well in advance and come 11 June, anyone who is not on the hunt for a PC, PC-accessory, PC-software and anything in the related realm would best leave a wide berth of the vicinity of the annual show.

If it's a desktop you're hoping to get, HP has an offer on: it's the Pavilion Home PC that is very tempting.

With a 23 inch LCD Display included with the Intel Core2 Quad Processor PC, you're looking at paying between $1,599 and $1,999 depending on the hard drive. The extra $400 brings in a 1TB hard drive and Integrated TV Tuner.

In terms of mobile computing, HP has the dv4-1413TX Entertainment Notebook going at $1,299 which is a hefty markdown from its usual $1899 price.

Going at the same price is a 14 inch business-users notebook, the Probook 4410S while those searching for something smaller will appreciate the 2140 Mini which is being bundled with an external DVD drive at only a dollar.

Lenovo IdeaCentre

This is basically a top-end netbook, running on a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor with a 512 KB L2 cache and 533 MHz FSB, which means you can safely check your email and surf the web with little fuss.

Although the touchpad is less than generous, the keys are as with most HP notebooks, slightly curved offering a decent, comfortable type on the near full-sized keyboard.

The 10 inch screen blends seamlessly into the all-aluminium case which is great for viewing documents as well as videos or even a Skype call thanks to the on-board camera.

I didn't like the blue glow indicating wireless connectivity and also power on/off from the batteries which come with a standard 3-cell that shouldn't suffer too much with the Intel Atom processor.

With the batteries and in-built 160 GB hard drive or 80GB solid state drive, you're looking at a load of just over 1kg for one-hand portability.

If you don't want anything too small and a 14 inch laptop is larger than what you're hoping for, HP offers notebooks in the 12 inch range.

There's the Pavilion dv2 aimed at home-users and the TouchSmart Tx2, with signature flip-around screen so you can also use the notebook like a scribble block.

Microsoft's Arc and Explorer Mini Mouse, SideWinder Gaming Keyboard and mouse, and Xbox 360

You'll need to pop out the stylus from its hidden location to make your jottings which will be translated into typed text.

It was a little disappointing that the stylish 'pen' couldn't be replaced by stubby fingers when writing especially since the screen of the TouchSmart Tx2 has been designed so you can drag and drop items and launch programs at a finger-touch.

Some of the 'fingerobics' that you need to learn include the pinch to enlarge or minimise an object, and the wave which is a two-fingered movement to launch the MediaSmart suite for browsing through your music, movies and pictures.

Running on Windows Vista the system seemed to lag slightly on some programs even though it was running on the top-end 2.2GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-82 Dual-Core Mobile processor with dedicated ATI Radeon graphics card.

Although it is compact in size, the laptop which packs a 320GB SATA hard drive is a little heavy both in terms of weight and thickness.

If the word "Sale" is something you can't resist, then Lenovo may have what you want with laptops ranging from the 10 inch netbook to the 16 inch entertainment notebook.

Asus Eee Top PC

Prices ranges run from $669 to $2299 during the Sale which runs till the end of June, coinciding nicely with the PC show where you should be able to pick up similar deals if you brave the crowds.

If you'd rather not, the Sale is available online and like the HP deals, covers peripherals as well as desktops such as the Lenovo IdeaCentre, a 21.5 inch all-in-one PC with full HD viewing through the in-built TV tuner.

The stylish black desktop which comes with a keyboard, is a stark contrast to the offering from Asus known for its cost-efficient, smaller devices.

To begin with, the Asus desktop device is all-white, is about half the size and more than half the price of the Lenovo IdeaCentre.

The Asus Eee Top PC which has been on the market for a few months, is compact and can easily be carried from room to room with the in-built handle, although it is not exactly light-weight.

This is an all-in-one touch-enabled computer with a 15inch LCD screen that comes coupled with mouse and USB keyboard which is slim but oddly cramped, so you end up hitting the wrong keys more often than not.

Bundled into the desktop PC are a host of touch-optimized applications that require just one finger to open up, making this a great device for a household wanting something simple for both the young as well as elderly family members.

Different icons represent the various options and all it takes is a touch of the finger on the screen to bring up the internet, 1.3 megapixel web camera or even games.

Also on show and on sale at the PC show will be the latest in hardware technology from the Microsoft team.

The range runs from keyboards to webcams, and different types of wireless mouse that work on almost any surface, featuring details that suit everyone from gamers to office-workers.

This includes the mouse for the style conscious - - the crescent shaped, Arc Mouse that folds shut into almost half the size when not in use.

Some may say a PC show wouldn't be complete without a good Microsoft deal on the Xbox, so just in case, the Xbox 360 Pro Console is being offered at under $500 while the Xbox 360 Arcade console is going at under $400.

Both include bundled specials with the price.

No tech show will be complete either if there isn't a slew of mobile phones, so look out for one of the newest from Nokia, the N97 which was launched in early June and will feature the Comes With Music service for a year of unlimited music downloads as well as special widgets.

If you plan to visit the PC Show there is just one problem you might face - which floor to start your shopping!

From ChannelNewsAsia.com; see the source article here.

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