HP Spectre XT Ultrabook

HPSpectreXT1

The HP Spectre XT is one of those sleek looking Ultrabooks, and the moment I saw it I liked how it felt and looked. My first real Windows 8 experience at the Microsoft store in Boston, after trying out several different machines I went for the HP Spectre XT. I liked the 15-inch screen and the touch and feel of it.

HPSpectreXT2

It is a different machine then last years Ultrabooks, the ASUS Zenbook Prime I have is thin with a metal finish which makes it slippery and a very nice 13 inch screen. Its great for traveling, and light the battery wasn’t that great. But it was a great machine, but I wanted something a bit bigger then is more powerful and so that is why I went with HP Spectre XT. It has this industrial finish to it that makes it very appealing, it really looks like an Apple device, if I didn’t know it was an HP laptop. This was the machine I was looking for to jump into Windows 8, I’m not used to a laptop with a Touch Screen but it was an interesting idea, and people are always surprised when I make adjustments right onto the screen.

HPSpectreXT3

Specifications

  • Operating system – Windows 8 64
  • Processor – Intel® Core™ i7-3517U (3 GHz/1.9 GHz )
  • Screen size – 15.6″ diagonal full HD IPS BrightView LED-backlit (1920 x 1080)
  • Memory – 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
  • Hard drive – 500 GB SATA (5400 rpm)
  • Secondary hard drive – Acceleration cache (32 GB Solid State Drive cache) with Intel Smart Response Technology

HPSpectreXT4

Pros:

  • Beautiful Design, I Love The Clean Metal Feel
  • Touch Screen – Works Perfectly
  • Very Nicely Spaced Out Full Keyboard
  • A Decent Touch Pad, but the Windows 8 gestures get a bit annoying
  • The Sound On the laptop is very loud and clear, Which was Perfect for my need
  • Powerful Processor – Can handle anything I threw at it

HPSpectreXT5

Cons:

  • Seriously Horrible Battery, barely lasts two hours
  • Substantially Heavy Machine
  • During Hibernation it Loses Battery Power

HPSpectreXT6

Wrap Up

I got this laptop before the new Intel Haswell boards came out which was optimized and in all the ultrabooks. The reason why this laptop annoys me after several months of use is because of the battery, its a beautiful machine that I enjoy using but runs out of battery so quickly. It barely lasts 2.5 hours with the screen at full, and if you lower the brightness you can get it to 3.5 hours but just barely, this isn’t what we have come to know from laptops, we expect more of them. But as my first experience into Windows 8 I have to say that I enjoyed it and learned a lot, the machine itself is perfect for Windows 8, there was a lot to it that I had to figure out. For $1299 over it is a powerful laptop in a beautiful package, and the price decent, but the battery is annoying.

Rating:

HPSpectreXT7

Continue reading…

New Netbooks

Asus1201

PC speciifcations keep upgrading every few months, with new machines, better specs and cheaper prices. Asus & MSI nearly cornered the market for netbooks but a few notables came along from HP and Asus with some interesting features.

Simple requirements for a netbook:

  • Plays HD Videos perfectly
  • Light Weight
  • Exterior Doesn’t Overheat
  • 4+ hours of battery life
  • 10 to 12 Inch Screen

HP311

Asus 1201N

  • Nvidia Ion Graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB hard disk
  • HDMI out
  • December realease @ $500

HP Mini 311

  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom Processor N270
  • 2GB RAM
  • 250GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
  • NVIDIA ION for Windows 7 (895MB)
  • 11.6″ Widescreen Display
  • HDMI Port
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 6-Cell Battery
  • 3.3 lbs
  • $499

My Use – HP 5101

Finding the right netbook is always annoying these days since they are updating them consistently. I wanted a machine that I take around, very light but yet powerful and can handle a good amount of multi-tasking. The previous HP Mini was nicely designed but was really lacking punch, now they have done a great job with 5101 and the features of it. I have now used it for a few months and really put it through its paces, traveling with me for weeks on end, using it on planes, in cafes and carrying it in a small bang and taking a few bangs on the way. Overall I think it turned out to be a better laptop then I expected but the price and not being able to play 720p video crisply brought it down from 5 out of 5 to 4 out of 5, I think HP is taking the right steps.


Pros:

  • Fast Loading SSD
  • Very Long Lasting Battery 4 – 6.5 hours depending on Screen Brightness
  • Handle Most software
  • Excellent quality and Build, very nice exterior, clean cut and nice keyboard
  • Very Light
  • Perfect 11.1 Inch Screen
  • N280 Intel Atom Processor does the job
  • WWAN Card works with Viva, Wataniya, and Zain
  • Very nice feel to the keyboard
  • The fan isn’t loud when cooling
  • When running for long periods it doesn’t get too hot like previous models

Cons:

  • Doesn’t Play 720p videos as promised
  • Lacking CD Slot (As can be expected from a netbook)
  • Price a bit steep with the SSD option, just going over $1000

Rating:
r4.0.bmp


Continue reading…

HP Mini 5101: The Highend Netbook

I have been a huge fan of netbooks but they do have their drawbacks, I picked up the HP 2133 but it had the Via chipset which was slow as hell but with the new Atom it worked better. There are a lot of drawbacks as well as advantages to the netbook phenomenom and one major point is they trade processor power for portability. This time around I think they struck middle ground with this HP unit, and I really liked the build and quality of the HP 2133. This time around it seems to have the same quality build with a lot of other extras that I am curious to try, it supposed to come out sometime in July and starting at $449 which isn’t bad. I’m assuming that will jump up with the SSD option, and most probably I will downgrade it to Windows XP SP3 instead of Vista because it would suck the life out of it and based on the screen details I’m assuming it can play HD movies without any real issue.

Specs that I am looking at:

  • Intel Atom N280 (1.66 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB)
  • Mobile Intel® 945GSE Express
  • 2 GB 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 10.1-inch diagonal LED-backlit HD anti-glare
  • Mobile Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Integrated 2 MP Webcam
  • Intel WIFI Link 802.11a/b/g draft-n;
  • optional HP Mobile Broadband powered by Gobi;
  • 6-cell (55 WHr) high capacity Lithium-Ion

Link: Gizmodo

HP BlackBird 002

The HP Blackbird is back with a little bit more reaonsable pricing. The technical design of this case is excellent with tool-free configuration and it can come up with 8GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core 3.2 GHz, Liquid Cooling for CPU & GPU, Dual Graphics cards and a few more options. The price range can go from $1800 up to $6500 depending on your choices, I like how it is but not sure about liquid cooling lasting long, might prefer air cooling.

Link: HP

HP Mini 1000

The Mini 1000 comes in several configurations, but the basic model starts at $400 and comes with Windows XP Home Edition. You can choose between an 8.9″ or a 10.2″ display, 8GB or 16GB SSD or a 60GB HDD. The stock model has only 512MB RAM, upgradeable to 1GB (for an extra $25), and although the webcam is standard, Bluetooth is not — HP will swap out the Wi-Fi (801.11g) card for a combo Bluetooth/Wireless g version for another $25.

At last HP has switched over to the Intel Atom, the Via processor from before was a little too slow for my liking. I loved the quality of the HP MiniNote and this looks the same, so hopefully it will perform as good as it looks this time around, and he price is very reasonable as well. Too bad they don’t have it upgradeable to 2GB Ram, I’m going to wait to see the reviews on this machine.

Link: UnCrate

The Really Mobile Computers

A lot of companies have tried to come up with the Mini-Computers after the huge success of the EEPC which is a good balance of price and performance. Sony did make a small laptop PC but it also did cost around $2500 which is ridiculous in my opinion but these new PCs have decent performance with very reasonable price, and all ranging from $400 to $750 depending on options. I have tried a few of them for a decent amount of time and I own the HP 2133, and this is the ranking that I have given based performance and size.

  1. MSI Wind (10 Inch Screen)
  2. Acer Aspire Once (8.9 Inch Screen)
  3. Asus EEPC (10 Inch Screen)
  4. HP 2133 (8.9 Inch Screen)

Voodoo’s Envy 133

I have always been a fan of high end PCs, and Voodoo sets a very high standard and with that comes a very high price. I wasn’t sure what HP wanted to do with Voodoo since they bought it, but it seems the track is clear, and the Voodoo Envy is the result of that collaboration. This is not meant a gamin PC but as a high end luxury business laptop, and it has more features then any other laptop I have seen of its size. It is developed and made by the Voodoo Business Unit which is trying to branch out with the non-gaming system.

  • You can boot up in VIOS (Voodoo Linux) or Vista depending on what you want to do.
  • Circular touch with Proximity Sensor, it switches off when you are using the keyboard. (To avoid cursor hop)
  • Ethernet connection is through the power adapter which also acts as your wireless accesspoint for the laptop if you disconnect the power plug
  • Ship with two USB ports, one which doubles as an eSATA jack, and an HDMI pot. Every Envy 133 ships with an external drive
  • Carbon Fiber Casing
  • 13.3 inch backlit LED screen
  • 3.45 hours of battery life
  • Wireless 802.11 ABGN + Bluetooth
  • Proessional Backlit Keyboard
  • Slightly thinner then MacBook Air 0.76 inches, the Envy is 0.70 inches

Price: $2100

Link: Gizmodo
Link: Voodoo

Continue reading…

Review: HP 2133

I have been taking a look at the HP 2133 for some time now and it has been getting some mixed reviews. Some bad and some good, the Vista OS is the first problem that this machine faces.

The Machine:

  • Windows Vista Business 32-Bit
  • VIA C7-M Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) 1.6GHz Processor
  • 128KB L2 Cache, 800MHz Front Bus speed
  • 2048MB DDR2 (PC2-5300) RAM
  • 120GB (7200RPM) SATA Hard Drive

My Points:

  • The keyboard is very nice and feels like a small laptop.
  • The touch pad is a bit strange is the left and right click are to the sides and not the bottom which takes some getting used to.
  • The overall case feels very clean and well made, but it is pretty heavy for its size
  • The battery protrudes out the back which limits how much you can tilt the screen
  • The speakers are one of the best laptop speakers I have heard, they are better then both my Alienware and Dell which is surprising since they are bigger
  • The screen is comfortable and a good size
  • You have lots of options with this machine such as: Express Card, SD Card, Ethernet Port, VGA Port, 2 USB, headphones, and microphone
  • The biggest mistake was to preload Vista on this machine, HP wanted to push it to market and that is what caused mixed reviews. This machine would be perfectly fine running XP or Linux since it is well built with a lot of space. My friend is thinking of installing Ubuntu on this machine which I think is a great idea since its a very light OS in comparison. Its known that Vista is a resource hog so any heavy duty action feels difficult on this machine, it has nothing to do with being a VIA Chip or an Intel Chip.
  • The laptop lasts 4.5 hours with the low screen setting and 2.4 hours with the high screen setting. During the day I just have it with the low screen setting.

Do I like the machine? Yes
Is there room for improvement? Yes

It could be lighter, the OS should be XP Pro, and a few other imrpovements.

Continue reading…

HP Mini-Note 2133

The HP 2133 is out in the market for a few weeks now and a lot of reviews have been surfacing. Its an interesting piece of a equipment and I’m looking for something like this after trying a friends Asus. This comes with a bigger screener and it looks like it has a cleaner build. I like most everything about this machine except for the processor. I would get it with all the features but with the downgraded to XP version since I wouldn’t want Vista on machine that small, its a bit sluggish on a desktop so the performance would probably be an issue with the Mini-Note.

HP 2133 Mini-Note PC

  • Genuine Windows Vista® Downgrade to Windows XP Professional (note) w/ MS Office (Trial)
  • VIA C7™-M processor (1.2 GHz, 800 MHz FSB)
  • 8.9-inch diagonal WXGA (1280 x 800 resolution)
  • Graphics VIA Chrome 9, 128MB shared system memory
  • VGA camera included
  • 2048MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (1 DIMM)
  • 160GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
  • Broadcom 4311AG 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi Adapter
  • HP Integrated Module with Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
  • 6 cell Li-Ion battery

Link: notebooks
Link: Engadget

Continue reading…