Netbooks New Products

White MacBook Clone

White MacBook clone.

Making the news just now is a clone of Apple’s white MacBook, courtesy of China’s OEM providers. Supposedly, this model has a “feature” better than a stock MacBook: a second battery that can put in the DVD drive’s slot. Unfortunately, total run time with the two batteries is less than four hours, lower than a genuine MacBook.

Because this laptop is powered by an Intel Atom D510 1.66 GHz processor, it essentially is just a netbook with a 13.3–inch screen. The basic model comes with Intel GMA 3150 graphics but Nvidia’s ION 2 is said to be an option.

Would you buy this one for less than 500 USD?

Apple New Products

The Apple Refresh of Q4 2009

2009 Apple iMac

It would be a surprise if you haven’t heard about the news on Apple’s updates to its consumer computing line, so I’ll just give some brief details on them. The new Apple iMac now comes in 21.5 and 27 inch widescreen versions, with resolutions more than enough for typical users. The cheaper model sports full HD 1920×1080, while the more expensive one has 2560×1440. Wow.

2009 Apple MacBook

The new white MacBook is now almost the same as the MacBook Pro with the same LED–backlit screen, multitouch glass trackpad, and 7–hour battery life. With a 250GB hard disk, it has more storage than the cheapest MacBook Pro, making it seem like a better a value.

Apple Magic Mouse

To cap it all, the new Magic Mouse is one of the coolest pointing devices ever made, being a mouse and a touch surface in one package. The joke’s that it also magically makes your 70 USD disappear.

And while we’re talking about Apple new products, there’s still a few more updated products that aren’t getting enough attention right now.

Mobile Phones New Products

Apple iPhone 3GS Globe Prices

Like what we’ve told you about a week ago, Globe will be offering the just released Apple iPhone 3GS here in the Philippines. Reservations are accepted at Globe Business Centers since the 15th of this month, so head on there if you’re planning on getting one. Prices are still just as expensive as the first time they released the iPhone 3G:

Regular Plans iPhone 3GS 16GB iPhone 3GS 32GB
Plan 500 PHP 29,500 PHP 35,100
Plan 800 PHP 25,350 PHP 30,950
Plan 1200 PHP 23,100 PHP 28,700
Plan 1800 PHP 19,050 PHP 24,650
Plan 2500 PHP 11,850 PHP 17,450
Plan 3500 PHP 3,950 PHP 9,550
Plan 5000 FREE PHP 1,000
Plan 7000 FREE FREE
Plan 10000 FREE FREE

Like before, you can also get the 3GS in a prepaid kit, but you’ll be paying a lot more:

iPhone Prepaid Kit
iPhone 3GS 16GB PHP 38,850
iPhone 3GS 32GB PHP 45,250

There’s no other official way of getting the iPhone 3GS here in the Philippines but through Globe, so if you’ve been waiting for it, you can get it now!

New Products News

Acer Timeline laptops unveiled in Manila

Acer Timeline

Aiming to be one of the few to first launch highly energy–effecient laptops, Acer has launched its Acer Timeline series of laptops that boast of ULV processors that result in extended battery life. Two models were demoed in the launch event: the Timeline AS4810T and the Timeline AS3810T. Both trims sport Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processors clocked at 1.4 GHz running on an 800 MHz front–side bus. With 3 MB of L2 cache, this is a reasonably good processor hampered only by the absence of dual core.

Here’s the Acer Timeline in brief:

  • Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4 GHz, 3 MB, 800 FSB) processor (ULV–type)
  • Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset
  • Intel Graphics Media accelerator 4500MHD with up to 1759 MB DVMT 5.0 (64 MB dedicated memory, up to 1695 MB shared)
  • 1366 x 768 pixel resolution Acer CineCrystal LED–backlit TFT LCD screen (14 inches for the Aspire 4810T and 13 inches for the Aspire 3810T)
  • Intel Laminar Wall Jet technology for cooling the processor
  • 6–cell battery rated to 3 hours of battery life, but can be extended up to 8 hours using the Acer PowerSmart Manager
  • 24 mm chassis thickness
  • 1.6 kg for the Aspire 3810T and 1.9kg for the 4810T

The Timeline laptops surely are attractive devices that try to be very similar to Apple’s MacBook Air. The 3810T in fact skips the built–in optical drive just like the feather–light MacBook Air, but infortunately, it is still nowhere as thin or sleek. One thing I found worth noting was the new keyboard design used in the Timeline, they are also MacBook–like yet they appear floating on a flat plane; very attractive and classy for a laptop of its class. Typing on the keyboard was a joy, providing a tactile feel without the clickity–click noise.

The Timeline 3810T has a suggested retail price of 44,500 pesos while the 4810T comes cheaper at only 39,900 pesos. With prices just close to mainstream laptops available today, the Timeline series should sell well. Though the 8–hour promised battery life may be a little too much, it should still comfortably provide 4 hours of use considering the ultra low voltage single–core processor. I bet it would be fun putting the Timeline 3810T to a battery life test against the more popular netbooks.

Netbooks New Products Ultraportables

Quick Review: Sony Vaio P


Having been invited to the Philippine launch of the Sony Vaio P, I got the chance to handle this new ultraportable computer from Sony. I won’t call it a netbook, at least not for now, as Sony has been insistent that this product is not a netbook competitor. Considering its USD $900 price tag, it ought to be a lot more than a netbook. Here in the Philippines, it will be selling for 49,999 pesos at its cheapest configuration while the more upscale option is listed at 69,999 pesos. Ouch.

The cheaper version has a slower Intel Atom processor, the 1.33 GHz Z520 while the other one has the 1.6 GHz Z530. For storage, the entry–level (if you think fifty thousand pesos is an entry–level price point) version uses 60GB HDD while the other one sports 1 64GB SSD. RAM is more than adequate at 2GB, but since they’re using Windows Vista on this one, it really doesn’t help.

Here’s a very quick summary about the Sony Vaio P:

  • 50,000 pesos is a hard sell for an ultra–mobile solution, but then again it might be okay since Sony has never been out to capture the whole market anyway. Maybe it will sell well enough to be not a flop, but definitely not a hit.
  • 1600×768 resolution on a screen this small is a technological feat — but you should’ve stopped at that. There’s no reason to sell it as you cannot read text on the screen. It defeats the advantages presented by the wonderful keyboard — you can type fast comfortably but cannot see what you’re writing. Almost the same as the netbook problem, but this time we’re complaining about the screen, not the keyboard.
  • Now let’s look at things differently: it is a marvelous screen. The ultra–widescreen LCD is bright with good contrast and color that it would be very good for watching movies and viewing photos. Unfortunately, for the same money I could’ve bought a 32–inch LCD TV with a cheap netbook and I can use the netbooks video out port to view everything on the LCD TV, in HD resolution.
  • Trying out Internet Explorer 7 that came with Vista, I opened two web pages on two different tabs. Switching between the two of them takes noticeable time that it becomes irritating. The Vaio P would’ve fared better if it ran Windows XP.
  • Touch–point/trackpoint interface instead of a trackpad was a necessary detail to keep the device’s size to a minimum. However it somehow limits the usability of the device itself, especially considering the ultra–high resolution screen; it is hard to control the cursor movements with such an input device.
  • Not to be entirely negative about the Vaio P, this thing can do HD video output as well as special wireless pairing features with other Sony devices. It can do beautiful photo slideshows and similar presentations. Not to exaggerate, but the device itself is an engineering milestone. It’s just crippled by some compromises and a huge price tag.


Apple Netbooks New Products Rumors Site News Ultraportables

HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

Yes, that’s the fashionably chic version of the HP Mini 1000. Noted designer Vivienne Tam comes up with a provocatively red Mini 1000 that you can easily mistakenly identify as a fashion accessory instead of a netbook.

Looks great! With a USD $699 price tag though, it will get buyers thinking twice. After all, you can get a much more usable Dell Inspiron Mini 12 for that money with some change to spare.

Netbooks New Products Ultraportables

HP Mini 1000 with MIE

HP Mini 1000 MIE (Mobile Internet Experience)

MIE is HP’s Mobile Internet Experience, essentially a customized Ubuntu Linux variant with a very attractive interface. It will be offered in the new HP Mini 1000 and priced at USD $379, making it the cheapest Mini 1000 available.

Netbooks New Products Ultraportables

HP Mini 1000

HP Mini 1000

After the not so impressive Mini-Note 2133, HP makes sure it gets its sequel right with the new HP Mini 1000. Now looking even sleeker than before, it is now powered by the Intel Atom unlike the Via processors that limited the previous model. Early photos shows an impressive black finish with probably the best keyboard in a netbook.

Priced at USD $399, the Mini 1000 just made the ultraportable/netbook market even more interesting. Expect a massive price war this coming Christmas season as all manufacturers push prices down for an upsurge in sales. We consumers are getting lucky.

Apple Laptop Reviews New Products

New Apple MacBook reviewed

Apple MacBook

If the announcement of the new aluminum MacBooks got you all excited, aren’t you wondering how they would fare in real world use? NotebookReview now has a user review of the new MacBook and if that’s not enough, a guest editorial breaks down the position of Apple’s new product. Very interesting is the comparison putting the MacBook against similar offerings available in the market, which suggests that the so–called “Apple tax” is much more than we used to get, and questions if it’s worth paying now.

Nice read if you’re considering the new MacBook just like me, making you think twice if it’s worth all the money. But then again, buying a Mac was never only about the money.

Netbooks New Products Ultraportables

Dell Inspiron Mini 12 officially launched

Dell Inspiron Mini 12

Now the ultraportable is taken to the next level. You’ve heard about the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, right? Now Dell comes up with a 12–inch version that should appeal more to portable computer buyers. Armed with the same Intel Atom processor just like other ultraportables these days, it has 12–inch LCD display with a 1280×800 resolution, definitely much more usable for everyday use.

However, the same downside applies to this offering: the absence of an optical drive. But we know that you hardly need an optical drive for everyday use. Besides, most of us have desktop computers with DVD–writers anyway.

The less than USD $600 price tag is sure to get holiday shoppers excited. The Dell Inspiron Mini 12 appears to be a viable option to buying Apple’s Macbook Air, which comes at three times the price with basically the same limitations.

Are they going to sell it here in the Philippines anytime soon?

New Products Rumors Ultraportables

Samsung ultraportable

Samsung ultraportable. [1]

What Laptop unwraps the news on what is another entry in the affordable ultraportable market, this time coming from Samsung. Currently just dubbed as the “Samsung Netbook,” it has features similar to everybody’s ultraportable, running on the Intel Atom N270. It is rumored to use a hard drive instead of an SSD drive, which will make it more appealing as a general use mobile device without the storage limitations of SSDs.

Samsung ultraportable. [2]

New Products News Ultraportables

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 now shipping!

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Quick to capitalize on the market’s hunger for cheap ultraportables, Dell has now started to ship the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, their great–looking entry in this currently very profitable market.

Spec–wise, it is very much like every other ultraportable out there, with a few notable omissions — no F11 and F12 keys! I think it’s a rather costly decision that may be a huge factor in the acceptability of this product. Here’s the compete specs:

  • 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
  • 1GB DDR2 533MHz (1 DIMM)
  • Ubuntu 8.04 Linux with Custom Dell Interface (Includes Open Office)
  • 8.9″ 1024 x 600 WSVGA glossy LED backlit display
  • 8GB miniPCI SSD card
  • Intel GMA 950 Integrated Graphics
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 4-in-1 Media card reader
  • 1.3 Megapixel webcam, Dell Video Chat application, Dell Support Center
  • 4-Cell 32Wh Li-ion battery (14.8V)
  • Size: 9.2″ x 6.8″ x 1.3″ (including feet)
  • Weight: 2lb 5.5oz (with 4-cell battery), 2lb 11.6oz (with battery and AC adapter)
  • Price: $434 ($474 with Windows XP)

Pretty solid model, but I think I like the Acer Aspire One better. If you’re interested how the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 performs, here’s a review you should be reading.

New Products News Ultraportables

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Now here’s another one for our crowded ultraportable market: The Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Announced earlier this month, the IdeaPad S10 is equipped with the Intel Atom processor that’s now common for cheap ultraportables these days. Curiously, it is offered in configurations that use traditional hard disks without the SSD option that others have.

Red Lenovo IdeaPad S10

Pegged at 399 USD is the base model that comes with 512MB of RAM and 80GB of storage, while the 449 USD model has 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard disk. The IdeaPad comes with Windows XP without any mention of Linux, yet. With a familiar operating system, this may make the IdeaPad more appealing to common consumers and not just to the geek market.

New Products News Rumors Ultraportables

Dell E: Asus Eee PC killer?

Dell E ultraportable notebook.

While the cheap ultraportable/netbook market seem saturated enough now, Dell doesn’t agree. They will be releasing the Dell E, yes, with just one “e” instead of three as that on Asus’ ultraportable. Expected to arrive this August, we will have a huge ultraportable battle with the Dell E joining the fun, competing against the Asus Eee PC, the MSI Wind, the Acer Aspire one, the HP MiniNote, and several others from smaller manufacturers.

The Dell E will be utilizing an Intel Atom processor just like the Acer Aspire one. It will reportedly sell for 299 USD. Here are more details:

  • IntelĀ  Atom 1.6GHz processor
  • 8.9–inch 1,024 x 600 display
  • 3x USB 2.0
  • SSD
  • integrated webcam
  • WiFi
  • Thickness: 0.82–1.22 inches
  • Weight: Approximate 2.2 pounds

Let the battle begin! Cheaper ultraportables for everyone this coming Christmas season!

New Products News Ultraportables

Acer Aspire One Philippine Price: 18,800 Pesos

Acer Aspire One

Yes, the Acer Aspire One is finally here in the Philippines! Another competitor of the popular Asus Eee PC just like the MSI Wind, it is now listed at Villman’s website for just 18,800 pesos. This is a very tempting price compared to the MSI Wind which is now selling at the 25 thousand peso level. At this price, it is obviously a better alternative to the Asus Eee PC 701 which still sells for 18 thousand. Left in the dust is the Asus Eee PC 900, which at 25 thousand pesos pails in comparison to the models we just mentioned. Good thing I resisted the urge to buy the Eee PC 900 just a few weeks ago.

Here’s a short spec sheet for the Acer Aspire One:

  • Intel Atom Processor N270 (1.60GHz. 512KB L2 Cache,533MHz FSB)
  • Mobile Intel 945GSE Express Chipset
  • Acer Invilink 802.11b/g WiFi Wireless Network Network Connection
  • Linpus Linux Lite
  • 1GB Memory (onboard 512MB + 1x 512MB Module)
  • 8.9″ WSVGA TFT CrystalBrite LCD (1024×600 pixel)
  • LED Backlight – 262,000 color supported
  • 8GB SSD (with one storage slot for SD Card for storage expansion)
  • Integrated Acer CrystalEye Webcam
  • Multi-in-1 Card Reader
  • Built-in 10/100 Mbps LAN
  • with 89% full size keyboard
  • with notebook sleeve
  • Weight: 995g (2.19lbs)
  • One (1) Year Warranty (Parts and Labor)
  • One (1) Year International Travellers Warranty

Almost everything’s to like in the Aspire One, except for the weird touchpad buttons placed on the left and right side of the pad, just like the HP MiniNote’s blunder. It is not a deal–breaker though and considering how beautiful the Acer looks compared to the others, I wouldn’t be surprised if Acer scores big on this one.

New Products Ultraportables

Neo Explore X1: Asus Eee PC wannabe?

Neo Explore X1

Here’s something first in the Philippines: Local laptop maker Neo has just released an ultraportable not much different to the Asus Eee PC. Named the Neo Explore X1, it has the same 900MHz Celeron 353 ULV in the Eee, along with a 7–inch screen.

Though a lot of the specifications are almost the same, the Explore X1 sports a roomier 30GB hard disk! The keyboard appears meatier than that on the Eee, though of course it doesn’t guarantee that it’s better in actual use.

Unfortunately, the Explore X1 lags in the looks department — it looks just like a kid’s VTech toy.

Here’s the complete specs:

  • Intel Celeron M 353 (900 MHz)
  • 512MB DDR2 RAM
  • 30GB PATA Hard Disk
  • 7–inch LCD Display (WVGA)
  • WiFi
  • 2 USB ports
  • Card reader
  • 10/100 LAN
  • Microsoft Windows XP Starter

Now what is Windows XP Starter? I believe it’s much like XP Home Edition though I’m not very sure. The Explore X1 retails for 17,999 pesos here in the Philippines, roughly $400 USD, right up against the Asus Eee PC 4G.

The Explore X1 is a good alternative to the Asus Eee PC if you need more space, if you can stand the way it looks.

New Products News

Intel Atom: Powering the $199 UMPCs

The Intel Atom is a family of ultramobile processors based on the company’s Silverthorne and Diamondville designed to work with the Menlow platform, now also known as Centrino Atom.

The Atom chips tiny, low–power offerings designed for small mobile devices, far smaller than your typical laptop. Speeds are expected up to 1.8GHz with thermal design power (TDP) at 0.6 to 2.5 watts. Simply said, these chips are designed to run cool with low power consumption. Exciting.

Now what makes everything even more interesting, the Atom will be relatively cheap, allowing computer manufacturers to produce desktops and simple media/DVD viewers within the $199 to $250 USD range. Despite compromises in these chips, they are capable of running Windows and Linux, our mainstream operating systems. In fact, they are designed specifically for mobile internet devices, also called MIDs, which will do most of its work with web browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox.

Without question, devices powered by the Intel Atom will most likely be similar to the Asus Eee PC, our current ultramobile favorite. I guess we all have a lot of shopping to do come Christmas. ;)

Laptop Reviews New Products

The Everex CloudBook

Everex CloudBook.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Everex CloudBook, a contender to the cheap ultraportable crown that the Asus Eee PC has comfortably held for a few months now. Do you think it stacks up to the current king?

Having the same screen size and amount of default RAM as the Asus Eee PC 4G, it has an advantage in storage space with an ample 30GB hard disk drive, compared to a 4GB SSD on the Eee. Both also use Linux variants as their default operating system.

However, what might be the CloudBook’s Achilles’ heel is its touchpad which happens to be a lousy excuse for a pointing device. It is a two–handed operation device, a first and hopefully the last for such small devices. The keyboard, though seemingly the same as that on the Eee PC, has considerable flex that makes it no fun to use.

I guess the CloudBook’s not getting to a second generation anytime soon.

Asus Eee PC New Products News

9-inch Asus Eee PC with Windows XP

Windows XP on the 9-inch Eee PC.

Yes, as Engadget has reported, the second generation Asus Eee PC that comes with 9–inch LCD screens will also come in Windows XP–powered variants.

Let’s just hope that XP will stay just as an option and for Asus to continue using Linux as the main OS; alternative operating systems makes it cheaper for the consumers!

Asus Eee PC New Products

2nd generation Asus Eee PC

Second generation Asus Eee PC

Yes, even before everyone could get their hands on the always sold–out Asus Eee PC, they have announced a new model with compelling improvements. The 9–inch Asus Eee PC is currently covered extensively by gadget blogs like Engadget, who managed to give us the scoop over at CeBIT.

Notable improvements on the new Eee PC:

  • New 9–inch LCD, actually 8.9–inch, much bigger than the previous 7–inch display
  • 1024 x 600 resolution, an ergonomic screen estate better matched for today’s operating systems unlike the older 800 x 480 pixel screen.
  • 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, twice than that before and a better starting point for a reasonably snappy system
  • Larger SSD drives reportedly coming in 8 GB up to 12 GB offerings.
  • A bigger trackpad!

Though there is more than enough reason to think that this is a completely new model, it isn’t. It is still heavily based on the previous model with the same keyboard and basic structure, with some components changed to accommodate the improvements.

Though price may be fractionally higher, the new Eee PC will still be a good buy considering the price of comparable ultraportables.