Tag Archives | Laptops

The Nub of the Matter

I used to swear by ThinkPad-style tiny pointing sticks as my mobile input device of choice. I’ve since grown accustomed to touchpads–and come to think of it, before I swore by pointing sticks I swore by trackballs–but Laptop’s Avram Pitch is still a pointing-stick man, and has gone so far as to review them.

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Enter the Notbook

Here’s a nice piece from Engadget’s Joanna Stern on a class of portable PC–roomier and more powerful than a netbook, but compact and minimalist compared to traditional notebooks–which she calls notbooks. I like ’em myself–and despite the “not” in her nickname, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become the dominant form of laptop over the next couple of years.


Living With Apple’s 11.6″ MacBook Air

I like ridiculously small notebooks. There was a time when I used a truly diminutive Fujitsu subnotebook called the Lifebook B112 as my main mobile machine. I also have a soft spot for netbooks. I’m willing to make compromises to shed weight–such as dealing with cramped keyboards, squinting at small screens, and learning to use abnormal pointing devices.

In recent years. though, I’ve tended to use laptops that were reasonably compact–13″ is my favorite–but not ridiculously small. That’s in part because I’ve used Macs as much as I have Windows laptops, and no Mac notebook has been anywhere near midget-sized. The closest Apple has gotten to tiny has been the MacBook Air, and until last week, the MacBook Air (with its 13.3″ screen) hasn’t been so much small as thin and light. All Airs up until the new models have also pretty basic in terms of specs and kind of pricey–which is why they never tempted me.

But a week and a half ago, Apple announced the first all-new Airs since the original version. The prices are lower, the specs are better, and there’s a new model with an 11.6″ display. It weighs 2.3 pounds and is .11″ at its thinnest point, making Apple’s smallest Mac portable ever–much more so than my late, lamented 12″ PowerBook, the smallest Mac I’d used until now. It also starts at a temptingly low $999. I’ve been living with one (loaned to me by Apple) since the press event.

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Resolved: We Need More Realistic Notebook Battery-Life Claims

One of the best features of Apple’s new MacBook Airs hasn’t gotten all that much attention. Here’s Steve Jobs announcing it last week:

That’s the 13.3″ Air Jobs is talking about–later on at the event, he introduced the 11.6″ version and said it got up to five hours, again with the tougher tests.

I’ve been using the 11.6″ MacBook Air over the past week and a half, and judging from my experience, Apple’s estimate of five hours is indeed realistic. It’s about what I’m getting–which is a pleasant surprise considering that I’m used to discounting the battery life claims made by laptop manufacturers (including Apple) by anywhere from thirty to sixty percent. The Air’s five hours remind me more of the ten-hour claim Apple makes for the iPad; it seems fair.

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The Appliance Age of Computing

My weekly Technologizer column for TIME.com this up. I wrote about the overarching message of last week’s Apple event–which, between the almost entirely solid-state MacBook Airs, the iPad-like new version of OS X, and the Mac App Store, is that Apple is trying to reinvent the Mac into something that looks a little less like a personal computer and a little more like an appliance.

Is that good news or bad? As with most change, it combines both upside and downside, and it’s Apple’s responsibility to pull it off in a way that works for its customers. (I like the first tangible results, the surprisingly iPad-like new Air, and will be writing more about it.)

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Massive Dual-Touch Screen Acer Laptop is All Kinds of Wrong

Over the weekend, TechReviewSource scored some photos of what is allegedly an Acer laptop with dual touch screens.

I’m not familiar with the website, which doesn’t name its single source that provided the photos, so take these details with a grain of salt, but the 15-inch laptop reportedly packs a 2.67 GHz Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 7. The goal is to release the laptop in fall 2011 — it’s still slow and buggy right now, says the source.

A lot can change in a year — my gut says this is a prototype that will never see the light of day — but for now I’m wondering if any PC makers really think the dual-touch screen Windows laptop is a great idea to begin with.

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Less Annoying Laptop Stickers from AMD

Forget the iPods and Apple TV; David Pogue has the best news I’ve heard all week: Starting next year, AMD will make the stickers it slaps on laptop palm rests considerably less annoying to remove. They’ll peel off easily and leave no sticky gunk behind. Maybe other companies will follow suit, or better yet, get rid of those ugly advertisements altogether.


HP Goes 3D, Sends Movies Wirelessly

HP is anouncing a bunch of consumer laptop news today, including models with emphasis on 3D, audio, and cool performance–plus an adapter that lets users stream high-definition movies from a computer to an HDTV. I got a preview during press briefings which the company held last week.

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