Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zepto Znote 3414W

Searching for a transportable office Laptop? If the EEE-PC and comparable laptops aren't idyllic, for the reason that their recital does not please your requirements, the Mac Book Air by Apple and the X300 by Lenovo are merely too luxurious, and 15.4 inch middle class laptop not handy enough, it's about time to mull over a laptop with portable 14.1 inch screen.

The 14.1 inch Znote 3414W produced by Zepto Carries the dimensions of 33.7 cm x 24.4 cm x 4.3 cm large and therewith about 8 to 10 percent lesser than wide-spread 15.4 inch laptops. Weighing 2.5 kilograms in whole, it is still practical, although other laptops of the similar size, e.g., the Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo Mobile M9400 and the Samsung X22-Pro, which weigh at about 2.2. Kilograms are still lighter and peak concerning on weight.

The evaluated Znote 3414W was prepared with an Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile processor T7250. The T7250 is similar to the T7300 planted with a highest clock rate of 2.0 GHz. But, the economical T7250 is only powered with 2 as an alternative of 4 MB 2nd-level cache (L2). In practice the presentation dissimilarity is that negligible that the consumer will barely be familiar with any. Two DDRII-667 RAM units of 1.024MB capability each provide a total RAM capability of 2 GB. In addition, the customer is free to decide supplementary parts at arrangement time.

The screen of the reviewed laptop is a 14.1 inch sparkly WXGA wide display.
The Znote 3414W by Zepto is equipped with a shade of matte black keyboard with 87 keys. The maximum volume of the incorporated speakers is not elevated. In homecoming there are barely any deformations.

The sound level in inoperative mode and with customary office work load is little. We calculated 33.3 dB (A). Also under standard load the noise level is only 38.2 dB (A), which is all right. Idling under Vista, we gauge an power insist of 17.6 up to 27.2 Watt. This is about customary for laptops with this paraphernalia. The power insists is much superior with standard load (50.6 Watt) and as high as 75.6 Watt under full load.
The 6 cells power pack of 53Wh battery has a sprint time of up to 3.5h with the Battery Eater Reader's test.

The Znote 3414W by Zepto is a customary performer. This rock-hard 14.1 inch laptop weighs only at around 2.5 kg, its workmanship is high-quality and its input units are easy to use. When compared to supplementary 14.1 inch laptops its gear is also high-quality. So is the request presentation, whereas the sound emissions are low in office means. To sum up, the Zepto Znote 3414W tariff is good.

+ Compressed size
+ Reasonable weight
+ Rock-hard Case
+ High-quality workmanship
+ Concrete input apparatus

- Lid responsive to force
- Keyboard arrangement not typical
- No DVI or HDMI

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Apple Macbook Air

by SatishSaydotCom

I am pretty darn sure that Apple’s marketing guys are the best in the whole world. It takes that much more effort to disguise the flaws in a product and have the unsuspecting masses believe it to be an enhancement. Bravo, bellisima and all that exclamatory nonsense, Apple.

Given a pile of dung, they would successfully add shadows, use a cool blue font, call it iDung and guffaw all the way to the bank. That is what I think of Apple’s latest tomfoolery, the MacBook Air. It’s not that bad as the above lines make it to be, but there’s very less going for it, in any case.

Looks and build

There is little to be said when it comes to Apple’s design and the MacBook Air is eye-candy enough. The design is as clean as clean can be. From the front, all you see are the track pad, keyboard and display. No shiny stickers exemplifying the innards of the machine. I personally think that’s a good move. I mean it’s a bit like “12 foot long intestine, Duo” or “7 inch you-know-what, GTX” stickers slapped on to your forehead. Even the ports are tucked away smartly behind small sliders and you wouldn’t really notice them, unless you know or are told (there aren’t too many of them).

The whole package is so slim that you find it difficult to believe that there is a processor and a hard drive, spinning away inside. It really is a bit unbelievable at first and it’ll take time to getting used to the mass, or the lack of it, rather. It’s not unlike Mrs. Beckham’s size zero frame, but it’s a lot more beautiful. LOT more, actually (enough actually, I know my readers would choose a Mac Book Air over a silly, anorexic mother-of-2, any day).

The competitors for the Mac Book Air, weight wise, should be the Sony Vaio TZ series, the Fujitsu Lifebook Q series or the Lenovo X300. (All of them have smaller screens, but all of them are endowed with an optical drive)

Input and Output

The keys on the MBA keyboard are well spaced out and shouldn’t induce fatigue even after using it for long hours, (provided the battery has enough juice). It has a backlight which adjusts its brightness in accordance to a sensor. But above all this is the brilliant track pad which has multi-touch. Which means all your pinching and rotating actions will work on photos and web pages in Safari.
There, everything nice about the MacBook Air is over. Now for some fun.


“Just not enough” is exactly how I’d sum it up in a line. It does support 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1, though. The blazing fast speeds provided by the 802.11n wireless protocol are supposed to be the excuse given by Apple for not having an optical drive. Yeah, right, keep your marketing gimmickry to yourself, Apple. And I don’t particularly like the idea of optical-drive socializing unless it’s a really hot chick, so there.

“Hey Cutie Pie,
Your optical drive, May I?”

(This might earn you a kick in the nuts. Said hot chick might be expecting a better pickup line)

On the wired side, we have only 2 USB ports, no FireWire, one audio out and that’s all. I just don’t get how Apple relies solely on the existence of a fast wireless system to compensate for an optical drive. What if the person around you also has a MacBook Air? It’ll be fun watching your faces when you want to re-install your OS or new software.

Apple does offer a SuperDrive, which essentially is an external optical drive which plugs into your USB port. This means, you’ll have to disconnect your mouse or whatever is connected to your solitary USB port. Have fun with your single USB port, douche bag. There is also a Time Capsule which promises to wirelessly backup your data.

But this entire drama means the MacBook Air always needs something or the other to complete itself. This is not really unlike a crippled person who will always need their crutches or wheelchair to move around.


This is where the MacBook Air takes a big beating. Everything has been compromised to find that Zen-like slim form factor. That silly 80GB 4200RPM hard disk lifted from the iPod is hardly any good. It doesn’t show its weaknesses when it is new, but fill it up and it’ll gradually start showing its true colours.

I believe, this laptop has been manufactured for frequent travelers who would want to access their data at a more hurried pace and they sure wouldn’t be happy with its performance. Apple does offer a solid state drive, but that will push up costs even further. There are a load of other laptop manufacturers who’ll offer you a SSD and optical drive at the price of a base MacBook Air with a standard hard drive. But then, this is Apple we are talking about and they will somehow make you feel very smug about it.


Battery performance, too, is not up to mark and is way lower than what Apple claims and sure enough it runs only 3 hrs under normal usage. You might just get a little bit more if you scrimp on your usage, but you haven’t got an Air to scrimp when you’ve spent a bomb.

The Good
• Slim form factor
• Well spaced out keyboard
• Large multi-touch track pad

The Bad
• No optical drive
• Slow hard drive
• Poor battery


Even an eternal optimist would agree. There is just no way the Apple Macbook Air can be your primary laptop and when you are shelling out this much money, you’d expect a lot more. Call me a class-less, panache-less and a frustrated teen, but money doesn’t grow on trees either.
However, this might be a great thing to show off at a conference or presentation. Now, there.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lenovo Ideapad U8

Lenovo Ideapad U8 UMPC
Lenovo is releasing the sexy new Ideapad U8 with Intel’s newest Atom processor. The Ideapad U8 device features a 4.8-inch touchscreen display and bullseye, an optical mouse, EDGE or 3G data, “Live GPS,” hand written note taking, and support for MS Office applications.

It’s also got a 12-key numeric pad and don’t expect to see a Microsoft OS, it has the Linux system. The device was unveiled at Intel’s IDF in Shangha and apparently it won’t be available outside of Asia. The detail spec for this device not released yet, so for now we only have this picture.

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Cuso PC S600

The Cuso PC S600 called MINI UMPC is a mobile device powered by a ARM 926EJ 266MHz processor, 1GB or 4GB of flash memory and runs Windows CE OS.
It supports WiFi 802.11b for internet access through Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Skype, and using 2500 mA Lithium polymer batteries.
The device supports almost all kind of media formats. including MP3, WMA, ASF, WAV, OGG, AAC, APE, AVI, WMV, DIVX, H.264, ASF, and 3GP (um, with the freeware app TCPMP).
It features editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and other documents. 3D games and games that support Windows CE and On the back you will find a 2megapixel interpolation camera also miniSD.

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Fujitsu-Siemens’ announcement of the expansion of its Esprimo range peaks with the high-end D9500, a professional notebook computer targeted at the mid-range market. It’s a mid-sized desktop replacement model with a 15.4-inch WXGA screen, weighs in at a fairly svelte 2.5kg and offers the latest in wireless connectivity.

It certainly seems to be designed for the professional market. A gunmetal silver finish on the outside and black interior aren’t particularly inspiring from an aesthetics point of view, and at first glance the designers seem to have taken a minimalist approach to the control set. You won’t find much in the way of shortcuts or extra buttons dotted around the keyboard, which simply provides you with an on/off switch and shortcut to the wireless connectivity activation panel.

In the latter you’ll find Intel Pro Wireless 4965 a/g/n LAN, Bluetooth 2.0 and the latest UMTS/HSDPA mobile data technologies, so you should have no trouble jumping online or connecting to external wireless devices on the move. It’s handy to be able to activate and deactivate any or all of these connections via a simple shortcut control, making it easier to prevent unnecessary power-drain as well as increasing security where necessary.

Elsewhere you’ll find an Intel Core Duo T7700 2.4GHz processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a 120GB hard drive. There’s also a DVD super multi drive present, although in terms of multimedia prowess we have to question the D9500’s potential. The screen, while clear enough in low light conditions, isn’t particularly vibrant even at the highest brightness setting. It’s also quite susceptible to glare from direct sunlight or interior lighting.

We were also less than impressed by the built-in speakers, which sit under the front lip of the notebook, a position that no doubt contributes towards sound getting lost during operation; they’re all but useless in any but the quietest environment.

Being aimed at business users this shouldn’t be a big problem for most people, but in today’s competitive market we believe it’s important that notebooks be built for as many potential uses as possible. This point is further highlighted by the integrated X3100 Intel graphics, which puts gaming out of the picture as well.

But when viewed in its intended light, the D9500 is a perfectly capable machine with some impressive wireless connectivity. Wired ports are few - four USB 2.0, VGA and S-video out and the appropriate network and modem connections don’t exactly scream adaptability - but Fujitsu-Siemens does laud the addition of a common port replicator to aid transition between home and office environments, although this must be picked up separately.

Finally, you’ll get around 8 hours of battery life provided you attach the optional second battery, which, considering the lack of high-demand components, is fairly middle-of-the-road

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VIA OpenBook Mini-Note

VIA OpenBook Mini-Note

The VIA OpenBook mini-note, intended to promote its C7-M ULV based Ultra Mobile Platform and greater video playback support, in a compact and stylish clamshell form factor that weighs just 1kg. Combining the low-voltage and economical processor with the company’s own VX800 digital media IGP chipset, the OpenBook has an 8.9-inch screen and a flexible internal interface for high-speed broadband wireless connectivity that provides customers with the ability to select from a choice of WiMAX™, HSDPA and EV-DO/W-CDMA modules appropriate to their market. In addition, under a unique collaborative approach, the CAD files of the external panels of the reference design are offered for downloadunder a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 license to give customers such as OEMs, system integrators, and broadband service providers greater freedom in tailoring the look and feel of their device to meet the diverse needs of their target markets. The VIA OpenBook measures 240 x175 x 36.2mm, also has dual 2-megapixel webcams (internal and on the outer lid) together with up to 2GB of RAM, which should cater reasonably for the choice of Vista Basic, XP or various Linux flavors. It has three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port and audio-in/audio-out jacks, as well as a 4-in-1 card reader (SD/SDIO/MMC/MS). Both traditional hard-drives as well as SSDs are listed, and battery life is up to three hours courtesy of a 4-cell 2600mA lithium-ion pack. A second wireless connectivity module provides WiFi, Bluetooth and optional AGPS.
The VIA OpenBook supports a wide range of operating system environments, including Microsoft Windows Vista Basic, Microsoft Windows XP, and various Linux distributions. The device features up to 2GB DDR2 DRAM and can be equipped with a choice of hard disk drive and solid state storage options.
Featuring a 4-cell 2600mA lithium-ion battery, the VIA OpenBook delivers up to three hours of battery life.

Enabling Global Broadband Wireless Coverage
The VIA OpenBook reference design has a unique internal interface for the addition of a choice of extended connectivity modules, enabling customers to offer HSDPA, EV-DO/W-CDMA, and WiMAX connectivity options to the their device that are appropriate for their target markets, and to forge deeper relationships with local carriers and service providers, creating new business models for the mini-note segment.

Making Customization More Accessible
The CAD files for the external panels of the VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design are being released under the Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution license, giving customers the flexibility to bring their own innovative style and brand value propositions to the mini-note market segment. Through this flexible approach, customers can reduce product development costs and speed time-to-market. The CAD files can be downloaded from the www.viaopenbook.com website.

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Sungju TangoX Nano

Sungju TangoX Nano

The Koreans have the up and coming release of the Sungju TangoX Nano Touchscreen UMPC to look forward to which, apart from sporting extremely compact proportions also comes with in-built Skype/VoIP capabilities courtesy of a removable integrated handset.

The TangoX Nano has a VIA C7-M ULV processor running at 1.2GHz, 1 gig of DDR2, your choice of a 40 or 80 gigabyte HDD, HD audio, a 7” 800×480 touch-screen. There is also a 4-in-1 memory card reader, Ethernet NIC, WiFi in A/B/G flavors, 2 USB 2.0 ports, DVI out, and the removable, yet built in, Skype/VoIP phone that you see next to the screen.

It is mere millimeters larger than the Eee and weighs an unnoticeable .05Kg more than the Eee. Measuring in at a mere 270 x 171 x 29.4 mm and weighing just 0.92kg. No word on price, but it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to get one outside of Korea anyways.

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Zepto Notus A12


Zepto’s Notus A12 weighs only 1.37 kg and is therewith certainly lighter than many other notebooks. It is also well equipped, with Bluetooth 2.0, Draft-N-WLAN up to 300MBit/s, 6.5 millimeter thin 12.1″ display with LED back light, TPM module for encryption, flat magnesium case and a battery that keeps it running for quite a while.
The Zepto Notus A12 integrates core components like processor and chipset of the UMPC class and thus offers the relatively low performance of a UMPC. However, it also inherited the very low energy consumption of computer dwarfs. On the other hand, the Zepto Notus A12 is regarding seize, weight and display definitely a very light subnotebook, the displays of UMPCs’ are smaller by far.
Note that the Zepto Notus A12 is a notebook that is based on the Getac 8212 barebone made by the specialist for industry notebooks Getac (Mitac). According to Getac, the Zepto Notus A12 is a “durable notebook”, which means it is durable and resistant against environmental impacts. Depending on the configuration, it is thus comparable with the Rock Pegasus 210.
The Zepto Notus A12 deserves the title subnotebook. With a size of 29.5 x 21.0 x 3.4 centimeter it fits into every briefcase. An expensive, but very robust magnesium alloy is used for the outer parts, which saves space, reduces weight, and at the same time improves stability. The result is a feather light but very durable subnotebook with 1.37 kilogram.
If the display lid is shut it lies neatly on the base unit and doesen’t need an extra transport hooks. The hinges do that job and keep the lid safely shut. In this state the notebook looks like it could be carried around like a folded newspaper. We can easily open the only 6.5 millimeter thin notebook lid with our small finger.
Comforting for travelers: Keyboard, touch pad and other sensitive components like the hard disk are protected against splash water, vibrations, falling, and shocks. The workmanship of Zepto’s Notus A12 can only be described as outstanding.

The interface equipment of the Zepto Notus A12 consists only of essential ports and connections, like earphone and microphone ports, three USB 2.0 ports and an analog VGA connection. Even stereo speakers are not included for weight reasons, every gram counts for subnotebooks. A tiny mono speaker has to be sufficient for sound output. At least a PCMCIA card slot for PC expansion cards and a 4-in-1 card reader (MMC, MS, MS Pro, SD) are included.

In order to satisfy people who travel a lot, the Notus A12 integrates the fastest cable and wireless network standards available. Gigabit Ethernet and WLAN (802.11a/b/g/Draft-N) with up to 300MBit/s, as well as fast Bluetooth 2.0+EDR should be enough for the most demanding user. An analog 56K modem is also built-in. A connection for a docking station and fast internet via UMTS/HSDPA would have been nice too, but are not included.

Fingerprint scanner, Smartcard reader on the flat front side, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) make the life of data thieves harder. Typical Zepto, the customer can select any operating system, and is not restricted to a specific one. An external USB-DVD burner is also available for 91 Euro. Drivers for the Notus A12 are at the time of this writing only available for Windows Vista 32 Bit on Zepto’s support site.

Two hot keys facilitates controlling Zepto’s Notus A12 a bit. The left P1 key can be set to any function the user desires, while the right Eco key switches to energy saving, or back to normal mode. Keyboard, power switch and hot keys are protected against splash water to keep the damage from accidents with liquids as low as possible. According to Zepto, the Notus A12 should be appropriately protected against infiltrating liquids.

A keyboard with 83 keys is integrated into the Zepto Notus A12. The main keys are with 1.2 to 1.3 x 1.4 centimeter effective size surprisingly large for a subnotebook. But the space key shrunk to 6 centimeter. Despite this, the keys of the Notus A12 are satisfactory. The notebook keyboard works relatively quiet and typing feels good. Nevertheless, we mistyped at the beginning, because the left Fn key was moved. Pressure point and stroke are clear and short, and there is no noticeable bending of the keyboard.

The touch pad is easy to use too, and its workmanship can keep up with the keyboard without problems. Its size of 6.1 x 3.4 centimeter seems pretty large for a subnotebook, but the actual touch sensitive area is with 5.0 x 2.8 centimeter much smaller than expected. Especially on the sides one frequently hits the inactive border area, without moving the mouse arrow at all. Supporting haptics, for example a noticeable border, would have been helpful. The two touch pad keys are responsive and appear optically as well as mechanically reliable and work quietly.

The only 6.5 millimeter thin 12.1″ WXGA LCD display of the Zepto Notus A12 is outstanding. Toshiba produced the panel LTD121EW6S and used an energy saving LED back light . The resolution of the glossy display is with 1280 x 800 pixel “good” for a subnotebook. Unfortunately it is not very bright, with only 135.7cd/m2. On the other hand, it becomes obvious that LCDs with LED back light have better overall illumination the lower their maximum brightness. Our Notus A12 achieved a “very good” 88.7 percent illumination. This means that the brightest spot in the upper center of the 12.1″ screen with 142.1cd/m2 is only 13% brighter than the darkest area in the left upper corner with 126.0cd/m2. The glossy display manages with a black value of 0.8cd/m2 a contrast ratio of 176:1, which is not really impressive. Additionally, the otherwise colourful picture looks a little bit hazy.

The overall performance of the Notus is significantly below Core 2 Duo level. This doesen’t come as a surprise, since the Notus A12 uses energy saving hardware components of mini computers. Intel introduced the Intel Ultra Mobile Platform 2007, with the code name “McCaslin” for MIDs (internet capable mini computers) and UMPCs, at the IDF in 2007. One of the main advantages of components based on that platform is the extremely low energy consumption during typical UMPC usage of less than 10 watt. Usual notebooks need far more, but also offer far more performance.

Zepto’s Notus A12 is powered by a ULV 945GU-express chipset (codename “Little River”) and a A110 single core processor (codename “Stealey”). The A110 is a Pentium M (”Dothan”) based on outdated 90nm technology with a small 512KByte L2-cache and a clock rate of up to 800MHz, as well as a front side bus of 400MHz. It is obvious that low energy consumption of less than 2 watt were more important than performance. Our Notus A12 also contained 1024MByte DDR2 RAM , which is already the maximum possible amount and certainly not too much for Vista.

Instead of the small flash memory UMPCs usually use, the Zepto Notus A12 contains a 80GByte hard disk in 1.8″ format. The MK-8009GAH made by Toshiba is a 4200r/min hard disk and manages an average transfer rate of19.4MB/s . Not very much, but again: Less is more when it comes to energy consumption and weight. The MK-8009GAH is only 59 gram light and draws between 0.07 to 1.8 watt. An optical drive is not included with the Zepto Notus A12, but an external burner can be ordered for 91 Euro together with the Notus A12.

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Zepto Znote 3415W

NOTEBOOK & UMPC REVIEW - Zepto Znote 3415W
These days Zepto entices customers by a big price reduction for its Znote 3415W ‘Power’. Besides a Penryn-CPU T9500 and a huge RAM capacity of 4GB also the mass storage capacity is big. The 200 GB hard disk runs at a revolution speed of 7,200 rpm, and a GeForce 8600M GT ensures high performance graphics. All aboard!

The Znote 3415W by Zepto looks modern and elegant. However, due to its size of 36.5 cm x 27.0 cm x 3.9 to 4.5 cm, it appears to be a little bit bulky, yet, not extraordinary for this notebook category. Furthermore, with a total weight of 2.9 kg the Znote 3415W is everything but not one of the lightest of the popular 15.4 inch multimedia notebooks.

The silver-grey-black metallic lid is one of the highlights of this 15.4 inch notebook. However, it demands intensive cleaning every now and then, because this finish is sensitive to fingerprints and dust, which are always visible after usual use. But, that’s not all. It is unfortunately also sensitive to tiny scratches.

But, this glossy lid works without problems. Despite a transport hook is missing, the lid is safely kept close. It is more or less non-pressure-sensitive if the force is moderate. The pressure test does not lead to distortions on the screen. The two firm and self-locking hinges are able to support any opening angle without problems. Furthermore, there is hardly any see-saw after adjusting the opening angle.

The inner part of the Znote 3415W is simple black without striking lights or glitter. Only the silver illuminated power switch and web cam with chrome surround attract attention. But, the touch-sensitive hot keys in front of the screen and the fingerprint reader are rather decent. Furthermore, the position of the indicator LEDs is disadvantageous . The are hardly visible, if you do not leave your usual working position.

The interface equipment is standard for a 15.4 inch multimedia notebook. It consists of four USB 2.0 ports, FireWire (i.LINK, IEEE 1394), audio ports, S-Video out, and VGA. The two USB 2.0 ports at the left notebook side are high power ports. If some peripherals require more power, you can switch this feature on by pressing the power USB button and, these higher-power devices, e.g., iPods or external hard disks, obtain more power through the USB host. You can even recharge an iPod via this port if the notebook is turned off.

A modern ExpressCard/54 slot and a 3-in-1 card reader are also standard features of today’s 15.4 inch multimedia notebooks. But, the fingerprint reader, which is located at the right palm rest area and makes user authentication without password possible, is not. The built-in 2 MP web cam does not only allow video chats with friends. Because it can also distinguish faces, it allows access control by videos. In spite of the otherwise good interface equipment there is one point of critique left: A digital video out (DVI, HDMI) is missing.

Wireless data communication is possible via Gigabit LAN, which is today’s fastest wired LAN connection - provided the remote devices supports it too. The usual modem interface is of course also available. Stable wireless communications is either implemented by Intel’s PRO/Wireless 4965AGN or Zepto’s Wpro WLAN module (AzurWave/Ralink). Both of them support 802.11 Draft-n, which allows transfer rates of up to 300 MBit/s. Bluetooth 2.0, which makes modern wireless telephony possible, is available for 28 Euros extra. However, a UMTS/HSDPA option is not available.

Frequently used system function can be user-friendly launched by seven hot keys. Two of them are left beside the keyboard, one of enables recharging the battery to 70% of its capacity within one hour. The other one allows energizing the two USB ports at the left side even if the notebook is turned off. However, we checked whether we could recharge a Trekstor player with hard disk via this port, but it did not work. The other five hot keys, touch-sensitive keys in front of the screen, launch the default e-mail application, the default web browser, WoW Video/Audio, and control the sound system. The indicator LEDs cannot be easily read off.

The Znote 3415W is equipped with a matte black keyboard with 87 keys. Their size is 1.5 cm x 1.3 cm, so they are a little bit smaller than those of desktop keyboards. But, the keys are comparably tightly attached to the base construction. The key travel is short and the feedback firm - a matter of taste. The big keys, e.g., space-bar and enter clatter clearly audible. At first typing mistakes are likely, because the keyboard layout does not follow the usual standard: E.g., the left ‘Fn’ key and the ‘Ctrl’ key are in reverse order and the ‘Del’ key is not totally at the right top. The area of the ‘9′ and the ‘F10′ key slightly gives when typing.

The touch pad has a size of 7.0 cm x 3.7 cm, which is rather big. But, controlling the mouse pointer by touch pad is difficult: It is not sufficiently sensitive, so, it is difficult to precisely control the mouse pointer. Also an optically marked scroll area is missing. But, both of the touch pad buttons have a user-friendly short travel, however, they are unfortunately loud.

Contrary to the specifications published at Zepto’s web site, the reviewed Znote 3415W was neither equipped with a WSXGA screen nor with a WXGA+ screen. Instead it came with a 15.4 inch WXGA screen (39.12 cm) with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This panel was made by Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd. (CPT, CLAA154WB034A) and is a reflecting display. The average brightness of it is 160.2 cd/m², which is just good. But, due to its reflecting surface the Znote 3415W is not really fit for outdoor usage.

But, the illumination is 88.6 percent, which is quite even. The brightest area is 175 cd/m² in the centre of the screen, the darkest is 155.1 cd/m² in the left top area. So, the Znote3415W is one of the top notebooks of its category here. This gets most obvious when running office applications with white background.

The contrast of this screen is not that good. A black value of 0.8 cd/m² gives together with the maximum brightness a contrast ratio of about 219:1, which is just average. But, the colour diagram proves that the colour representation is just right, because it does fortunately not follow the trend to cold colours (blue tint) of today’s flat screens.
Now we are highly interested how this 15.4 inch display rates in our subjective evaluation. But also directly compared to our 20 inch reference screen, a Viewsonic VP2030b, it rates good. Directly comparing pictures with pictures displayed on the calibrated Viewsonic, we especially like the neutral and natural look of portraits. The colours are strong, but could be even more luminous considering it is a reflecting display. However, gradients do not look absolutely good on this screen. A clear dithering gets obvious here.

As already mentioned in the introduction the Znote 3415W is equipped with a very fast dual core processor by Intel. The Core 2 Duo processor T9500 with 2.6 GHz clock rate comes with 6MB second-level cache and a fast 800 MHz front-side bus (FSB). So, the computer was very fast regardless of the specific benchmark or test we ran and also with our editorial work. Therefore, there is no need to bother about performance in any way.

The same is true for running Windows Vista. It does note only run smoothly on the Znote 3415W, the Znote is very agile. The two available RAM slots at the bottom side of the notebook are occupied by fast DDRII-667 modules. The reviewed notebook was equipped with two PC5300 module with a capacity of 2GB each, so providing a total of 4 GB RAM. However, the 32 bit version of Vista can only address 3 GB, but also the 64 bit Vista can be installed on the Znote 3415W.

The Znote 3415W is equipped with a fast middle class video chip, a Geforce 8600 GT by Nvidia. The GeForce 8600 GT can access 512 MB of dedicated GDDR2 memory and handles usual picture and video editing and multimedia with ease. Also the results of the video benchmarks are considering it is a multimedia notebook good.

A Travelstar 7K200 HTS722012K9SA00 with 120 GB RAM allows fast data transfer. This SATA harddisk by Hitachi is equipped with 16 MB (!) cache instead of only 8MB and runs with a revolution speed of 7,200 rpm. The HDTune benchmark proves that this 2.5 inch hard disk has an excellent average transfer rate of fast 46.6 MB/s. So, it even outperforms our reference hard disk, a ST910021A (100 GB, 7,200 rpm) by Seagate, which only reaches nearly 42 MB/s, in this aspect. Furthermore, the Znote 3415W comes with a DVD burner SN-S082H by TSST (Toshiba Samsung Technology Corporation).

In the meanwhile the Geforce 8600M GT by Nvidia became an appreciated general purpose middle class video card. It is no problem to run some older, yet demanding games on this notebook, some of them even at a resolution of 1,280×800 pixels and high detail level. However, today’s games do not run smoothly, especially, if they are configured for anti-aliasing, dynamic light/shade and volumetric particle effects. However, also today’s most powerful desktop video cards games are used at their full capability when running games like Crysis and World in Conflict (WiC).

In general the gaming performance of the GeForce 8600M GT combined with the powerful T9500 is not bad. It reaches 3,451 points with ForceWare 156.10 (driver in the 3DMark06 by Futuremark. Nevertheless, it is not as good as similarly equipped notebooks with Geforce 9500M GT video card, the successor of the 8600M GT. Older games like Doom 3 run smoothly. We measured 79.2 fps when running at a resolution of 1.024 x 768 pixels and with details level ultra. However, Crysis and WiC only run smoothly, if the detail level is low.

The fan runs faster under average load, where we measure 34.2 dB(A). A noise level of 39.9 dB(A), which is clearly audible, can only be measured under full load. Once the fan runs that fast, you can also hear a high-frequency noise, which we didn’t like. The maximum noise level is 41.3 dB(A), which is loud, but fortunately it is a low frequency noise. The burner is very quiet. In contrast to the Znote 3414W, which is actually equipped with the same DVD burner, a SN-S082H by TSST, the one inside the Znote 3415W is more quiet (44.4 db(A)).

The ‘power’ version of the Znote 3415W is indeed very powerful. Furthermore, its operating noise is quiet. The equipment can be customized with any of the up-to-date Penryn processors, a big and fast 200 GB hard disk, 4 GB RAM and 300 MBit/s WLAN. So, it is an ideal bundle for demanding power users. To summarize, the Znote 3415W rates good in the multimedia notebook category.

However, it looses points, because a digital video out like DVI or HDMI is missing. A UMTS/HSDPA option is not really an obligatory requirement. Nevertheless, some competitors do provide it. The input devices are in general alright, but, compared to competitors there is still a potential for improvements. But, the display of the Znote 3415W is evenly illuminated.

This Znote costs about 1,190 Euro. So, the price-performance ratio is also good. If you would upgrade the ‘Value’ version to a ‘Power’ version, the price would be 1,700 Euro, which would be definitely too high.

[+/-] Read moore...


UMPC Review – Gigabyte M704

· Genuine Microsoft®Windows®XP Home
· VIA® Esther Mobile Technology
· VIA Esther ULV C7-M (1.2GHz, 400/800MHz, 128KB/128KB L2)
· VIA VX-700 UniChrome Pro II Graphics Integrated
· DDR2-533 768MB on board
· IDE HDD 40 / 60GB support
· 7" touch screen, full page resolution 1024x600
· Integrated 1.3M Pixel Web Camera
· Dimension: 190*120.8*30.3 mm
· Ultra portable feature of 780g
· 4hr longer battery life

Embrace the latest member of lightweight and portable notebooks from GIGABYTE:
The M704 not only boasts the best performance amongst UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PC) available in the market, its major selling point of “The right size for your hands” has been very well received among consumers. Weighing merely 780 grams, the M704 comes with a 7” touch screen and a sliding QWERTY keyboard to offer convenience in various operations (such as replying to e-mails and word processing). Users will appreciate the fashion statement that M704 makes with its minimalistic design that provides outstanding performance within their grasp. Inside the body of the powerful GIGABYTE M704 houses a VIA Esther ULV C7-M 1.2GHz CPU, and the hard disk can be upgraded to a maximum capacity of 60GB. The M704 comes with DDRII 768MB of RAM and supports Microsoft XP Home operating system. When fully charged, the battery offers four hours of operating time and features built in components such as a 1.3 mega-pixel CMOS video camera and IEEE 802.11 b/g wireless network card. Users may surf the wireless net, send and receive e-mails, host video conferencing sessions with the M704 regardless of where they are, making M704 an ideal solution for personal entertainment and work. M704’s exterior design has inherited GIGABYTE U60’s minimalistic, elegant and fashionable design. Its touch screen display offers more options for diverse input methods. The convenient “Snapshot” function simplifies image capturing and the “Touch Pad On/Off Button” gives users greater versatility in operating preferences. M704’s “Mobility Center Button” can be used to perform a number of tasks such as changing display resolutions and adjusting volume without having to access the respective menus. Every functional hotkey on the GIGABYTE M704 has been designed with the principle of offering the maximum convenience to satisfy users’ needs for enhanced convenience and comfort.Optional peripherals for GIGABYTE M704 include a digital television reception module for users to receive DVB-T signals and a GPS module. In addition, a tastefully designed dock is also available to provide users with a comprehensive output interface including ports for IEEE1394, USB, D-SUB, RJ-45 modem, speaker out and so forth. With its sliding QWERTY keyboard, improved battery performance and wireless network ready features, GIGABYTE M704 is built to offer the convenience of unrestricted internet access and information sharing to bring consumers a brand new experience of mobile lifestyle through wireless internet access.
UMPC Review – Gigabyte M704

[+/-] Read moore...

Ruvo Avox A65U1

The vibrant world of UMPCs has many players, most of them well-known brands, others less so, but probably deserving our attention just the same. In this category you will find the Ruvo Avox, a handsome slider UMPC. Think of it as a Nokia N95 on steroids, but then a lot bigger! The Avox, whilst practically unknown, has a more familiar incarnation as the Gigabyte U60. Are they exactly the same?

We got ourselves the first Avox in Australia, courtesy of Tegatech, the UMPC distributor par excellence down under. They are excited about that little critter and I am beginning to see why!

Please follow me on this unboxing and our subsequent in-depth reviews of the Ruvo Avox.

First off, the Avox is billed as the smallest full-featured PC. In this fluid world of sub-notebooks and UMPCs that claim is probably correct but bragging rights are never long-lived and it is better to judge a device, particularly when it is this small, by its usability. So that will be the main focus of this and the following reviews.

Today we will be looking at the Avox from the unboxing perspective and go into the hardware details.

A next review will highlight the software and performance aspects to be followed by a write-up of all the various accessories that can be bought separately.

Let's start with that by way of a teaser.

Connectivity is a strong point with the Avox -- as it should be. It's the nature of an Ultra Mobile PC: you can take it anywhere and be connected to the Internet via WiFi or to other devices with Bluetooth. No big deal. The fun starts when you see what the docking station offers in terms of connectivity and flexibility. The docking station is not included in the purchase price of AUD1199. With the Australian dollar almost at parity with the US greenback, the Avox hovers around that sweet price point of US$1000.
Other accessories make the box not only versatile but they may be essential in some applications. This is what is on offer: GPS, 3G, extra battery, TV tuner and DVD burner.
More on all these options later.

Unboxing a new device is that unique experience where you find out whether the reality meets your expectation. You've seen the pictures before, you've read about the specs but what does it feel like in your hands, what's the keyboard like, battery life under load? How easy is it to use? What's the build quality like?
First impressions are important and I'm glad to report that my expectations were exceeded. The Avox is just about the right size for a handheld device running full Windows. It feels well-balanced in your hands, particularly when you use the keyboard in thumb typing. It feels slightly heavier than I would like it to be but it may also be due to the excellent build quality and heavier battery.
The 6.5” 800x480 LCD TFT-LCD display with touch-sensitive screen has a very pleasant quality to it and even though you can use it in a higher resolution (it supports up to 1024x600) the native resolution looks best.

Let's do a quick walk around.
A decent WebCam and two microphones grace the top bevel. On the left edge from top to bottom you find the following buttons: one to access the Mobility Centre Button under Vista but currently it's set to the much more useful screen brightness settings (7 levels). Next, the Resolution Change Button where you can switch between four levels of display resolution and the Enter Button -- handy for when you are not using the keyboard. There is a four way Scroll Button followed by a left mouse button and one for the right mouse functions.
Bottom right you have the tiniest touchpad you ever come across! Small but effective. Most of the time you will be navigating using your fingers on the touchscreen. That's the fastest way and if you need a greater precision you can always use the built-in stylus. Kudos to Ruvo for including a second one. I know it's only 10 cents more in manufacturing but these things are the first to misplace or lose...
On the lower left-hand side -- on the bottom slider keyboard that is -- there is a USB port, an SD slot and the battery lock and latch.
Viewed from the right you'll encounter the DC-In Jack, microphone and headphone jacks, the SAS switch to emulate Alt+Ctrl+Del, (I reckon they should have called it the SOS switch!) and the power/hold switch with a volume control rocker switch.
Finally at the bottom another USB port, and VGA connector and a special one for the docking station.
The underside accommodates the stylus, the Bay module connector for any optional accessories and also houses the speaker. Not a great place for a speaker but then again there ain't a lot of room on the front, is there?

Split Personality
I'm not talking about myself in this paragraph although I can identify with split personalities.
I am referring to the keyboard which is split into two halves or segments, easily accessible to either thumb. It's a pretty full keyboard with the numbers keys doubling up as function keys. In the middle of the keyboard you have four communication buttons: these will give you quick access to Bluetooth and wireless LAN functions as well as switching on the WebCam and the Bay module.
Yes, the keys are small, there is no way around it. With careful placement of my thumbs I did not make too many mistakes but if you do a lot of typing you may find this inadequate. I am surprised frankly that there is no tablet software standard on this machine. Handwriting recognition or even speech recognition, as built in with Vista, is very attractive on a mobile platform. But it is very much a function of power – or lack of it – that dictates what is possible.

The hard drive is a 1.8" format, 30 GB affair. Not great as after a Windows install only some 23GB remain. Again, you have to consider the environment that you take the Avox into: it's an away from home type of device for quick access to e-mail or your documents but it is not your main machine. As such, the hard drive should be sufficient as there are many ways of offloading the extra data.

Initial Impressions
I’m pretty impressed with the unit so far given the constraints of the 1.2GHz VIA processor chip and the size of the box.
Battery life is a reasonable 3 to 4 hours depending on brightness settings alone.
We still have to see what it will be under WiFi load, etc.
What I particularly appreciate in the Ruvo Avox is the absolute silence of the unit. The chip doesn't need any extra cooling through fans and it is quite comfortable to have on your lap or in your hands for an extended period of time.
I’ll tell you what: the “wife” factor is very high! She loves the Avox (keyboard is purrfect for her...)

In case you wonder – Ruvo is a division of the Taiwanese Hybrinx Technology company. They make notebooks as well and I would gladly give you their website but it is hopelessly out of date.


Yes, you can get a lot more capacity, speed and features if you go for a notebook or desktop. You do pay more for tinier components. The portability of a UMPC outweighs that of most notebooks and even that of the Dialogue Flybook V33i which I have had for quite some time. The Flybook is arguably one of the best connected ultra-compact sub notebooks around but when you open up the Flybook it is twice as large as the Avox. Not everybody needs a UMPC but they can be extremely handy in certain vertical markets (think of home valuation, medical sectors and mobile sales applications) or as a large screen navigation device. We will report on those uses in an upcoming issue.



VIA C7M ULV 1.2 GHz + VX700

Operating System

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (XP Professional upgrade also available)

System Memory

Standard 768MB DDR2

Hard Drive

1.8" format, 9.5mm height, 30 GB

VGA Resolution

Native resolution of 800x480 and supports up to 1024x600


6.5” 800x480 LCD TFT-LCD display with touch-sensitive screen

Input Device

Left/right mouse buttons and MicroPad, plus QWERTY 50 thumb keys

I/O Ports

Media card slot (SD/SD-IO/MMC) x 1, USB x 2, Audio jack x 2: Mic-in and HP out, VGA x 1


Winbond 802.11b/g networking with power ON/OFF switch
Bluetooth® 2.0 built-in module


Integrated mono speaker



Included Accessories

standard battery
universal power supply
stylus & simple carrying case


226.5(L) x 146.4(W) x 26.5(H) mm


700g - Weight may vary by configuration

Warranty & e-support

1-year limited warranty

[+/-] Read moore...

Fujitsu P1510D

Tabletpc2 have done a very nice review on the Lifebook p1510D:

” The Fujitsu P1510D is a Convertible style Tablet PC, that boots in just under 50 seconds with 512 ram installed. We got 2 hours and 16 minutes battery life with the Tablet running in always on mode, the wireless on, no standby, no hibernate and the screen and hard drive set to always on.

Needless to say we would like to see a longer battery life, but in all fairness to Fujitsu as end users we want it all. Small size, light weight, big performance, long battery life, low price. Unfortunately at this point in time the technology to give us the lightweight long life battery’s at a low price just isn’t there.

Wide-Format Touch Screen: An ultraportable notebook with an 8.9″ wide-format touch screen display. Using a stylus, you can quickly and easily navigate through your applications and the Web. The 15:9 wide-format aspect ratio coupled with 1024 x 600 resolution maximizes viewing area, making it ideal for forms and spreadsheets

Weighing 2.2 pounds with the 3 cell battery and 2.5 pounds with the 6 cell battery, an 8.9″ wide SVGA display with touch screen, Intel Pentium M 1.2 GHz processor and 30 gigabyte hard in a 9.3″ x 6.57″ x 1.36″/1.46 package make the Fujitsu P1510D Tablet PC an excellent choice for any one who travels and wants or needs the convenience of a convertible pc with out the weight.

With the design of a notebook and the flexibility of a tablet the Toshiba R15 is reasonably prices and provides plenty of performance. A perfect machine for those who need to stay connected on the go.”

[+/-] Read moore...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Motion Computing F5

Motion recently released their newest Tablet PC, the F5. The F5 is similar in design to the C5 tablet. It is durable and targeted toward the vertical market. It weighs in at 3lbs and sports a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo processor and 40GB hard drive. Although, they offer a 32GB Solid State Drive, which I am sure sky rockets the price. However, the F5 may just be the perfect solution for making your business paperless.

The F5 Tablet PC. (view large image)

Motion Computing F5 specs as reviewed (price as tested: $2,699)

  • Intel Core Solo processor 1.2GHz
  • 945GM chipset
  • 1.8" 40GB hard drive
  • 10.4" XGA TFT (1024 x 768) View Anywhere display
  • Windows XP OS
  • Magnesium alloy casing
  • Bluetooth
  • Integrated EV-DO Rev.A Novatel Wireless
  • 2.0 megapixel camera
  • Optional barcode reader and RFID reader
  • Docking station with three USB ports
  • Dimensions: 10" x 10" x .95"
  • Weight: 3.3lbs
  • 3 year Field Warranty, they stand behind the ruggedness

Design and Build

The F5 is obviously aimed toward the vertical market with its military standard specs, but it's still consumer friendly. Companies can adopt this slate tablet for construction sites or warehouse distribution. The integrated bar code scanner and webcam are perfect for scanning those products on the go or snapping photos on site.

The F5 with optional dock and keyboard. (view large image)

It has a solid design and is very sturdy. The highly sealed chemical resistant chassis can definitely take the bumps and bruises of the daily grind. It can be dropped and wiped clean, all without losing your days work. Weighing in a little over 3 pounds it's one of the lightest semi-rugged tablets on the market. It has a textured rubber coating on the outside so holding it is comfortable. The handle helps as well.

Right side view of the F5. (view large image)

Since the F5 is similar to it's sibling the C5, which is made for the medical field, they share some of the same accessories like the docking station. The dock lets you charge the spare battery and the entire slate, while giving you access to some ports including three USB ports, a VGA port and 10/100 Ethernet LAN. A convenient feature for mobile workers.

Left side view of the dock with USB ports. (view large image)


The 10.4" (1024 x 768) screen is quite impressive. I was surprised on how bright and vivid the colors were. The view anywhere screen comes standard now and the viewing angles are good. Although, the screen size is smaller I had no problems reading it. The F5 is the perfect mobile desktop set-up when used with the dock and detachable keyboard. By this, I mean the slate sits in the dock like a monitor, but yet can be taken out to travel anywhere you need it to go.

The F5 display. (view large image)

The screen responds to the pen well. I enjoyed navigating with the pen and taking notes. Don't worry this is one pen you won't loose though since it is tethered to the backside of the screen. I did hit the display a few times and forgot it's not a touchscreen. You would think it would be, but since it is durable and rugged the screen is protected, so it can get wet or be wiped off.

Performance and Benchmarks

The F5 sports a 1.2GHz Core Solo processor and a 1.8" 40GB hard drive. If you want to spend the extra money though, a 32GB solid state drive is available. My review unit has Windows XP as the operating system, but Vista Business is available, but not sure I would recommend that unless you get 2GB RAM or more.

I had no problems with lag during boot-up or surfing the Web. The F5 isn't a gaming machine or a business tablet, but it is made to run any software your business needs. The battery life is impressive as well.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole.

PCMark05 Score
Motion Computing F5 (Intel Core Solo 1.2GHz, Intel 945GMS chipset)
1,557 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.2GHz ULV, Intel 945GMS chipset)
2,113 PCMarks
Asus R1E (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz, GMA 965 chipset)
4,679 PCMarks
Gateway C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz, ATI X2300 HD graphics)
4,342 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)
4,171 PCMarks
HP tx2000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.3GHz, Nvidia Go 6150 graphics)
3,738 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)
3,473 PCMarks
Toshiba Portege M700 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA 965 chipset)
3,399 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150)
3,052 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)
2,860 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950)
2,732 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics)
2,724 PCMarks
LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300)
2,568 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)
2,453 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T2010 (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)
2,334 PCMarks
Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)
2,205 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)
2,187 PCMarks

Super Pi

In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits:

NotebookTime to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Motion Computing F5 (1.2GHz Core Solo)1m 56s
Fujitsu LifeBook P1620 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)1m 49s
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)54s
Gateway C-140x (2GHz Core 2 Duo)58s
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)1m 10s
HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo)1m 13s
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo)1m 20s
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)1m 24s
HP tx2000 (2.3GHz AMD Turion 64 X2)1m 33s
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)1m 39s
Fujitsu T2010 (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)1m 40s
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo)1m 49s
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)1m 58s
IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M)2m 02s
Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo)2m 10s
Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV)2m 11s
Fujitsu LifeBook U810 (800MHz Intel A110)6m 22s


Besides the dock the F5 comes with an optional USB attachable keyboard. The keyboard isn't anything fancy, but it is lightweight and the perfect size to stick in your bag and travel with. I put both the F5 and the keyboard in a tablet sleeve and had no problems.

(view large image)

The pen is accurate and great for checking data and taking notes. It is very responsive, which is a big plus since the F5 doesn't have a touchscreen. You can calibrate the pen's sensitivity and the digitizer as well. By doing this you get more of the pen/paper feel, which makes it more comfortable for individual users.

Heat and Noise

I didn't experience any issues with heat or noise. The F5 has a protective coating so I never noticed any heat issues or it feeling too warm to hold. There isn't an optical drive, so the F5 doesn't have any reason to make noise. The fan kicks on every once in a while, but I didn't even notice it. The speakers are even minimal on this tablet, meaning you can't even turn up the volume very loud.


The battery life on the F5 was impressive. I was easily getting four hours and the battery wasn't even completely charged. That is why it's made for field work and on the go professionals. The dock charges the tablet as well and there is a spot on the dock to charge a spare battery.

The F5 in its dock with spare battery slot on the back side. (view large image)

This way you can have one battery charging while you are on the go and then just replace it when you stop back in the office. Having the optional dock, which costs $349.99 and the spare battery at $159 are well worth it for businesses.


Check out the videos below from Motion Computing. They take pride in demonstrating the durability of the F5. The first video demonstrates the F5 being dropped. I actually tested this myself, but I noticed the few times I dropped it onto carpet the vent cover popped off the back. I am sure it's no big deal though and the cover snapped back on.

The second video demonstrates the F5's water resistance. It can be wiped cleaned and sprayed with water, but not submerged. I wiped the computer down with no problems, but you have to be careful.

OS and Software

The F5 runs Windows XP as the operating system and didn't come with any bloatware. Remember it is made for businesses to install their own software and run business applications. It didn't have any problems running benchmarks and installing new software was easy.


The F5 has Bluetooth and the option of Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A Broadband service. If you don't get Sprint's wireless broadband then it comes with Intel PRO/Wireless 3945a/b/g. This way you can stay connected everywhere you go. My review unit had Sprint's Broadband Service and I had no problems staying connected everywhere I traveled.


Overall my impressions of the F5 are good. It's magnesium alloy chassis is durable, but still lightweight. The design is solid and fun to play with. Keep in mind the F5 is not meant to be a consumer tablet. It is for business use and field work. Motion states" It's the right tool for the job." Don't get me wrong it's great for taking notes, but a little pricey just for a student to use. The F5 is a great tablet for the vertical market and since it has rugged features that is why the price is so high, but it's really not that expensive compared to other rugged tablets.


  • Semi-rugged design
  • Water resistant and can withstand drops
  • Lightweight
  • View anywhere screen
  • 3-year field warranty


  • No USB ports on the body, have to have dock
  • White and grey color gets dirty easily

[+/-] Read moore...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sony Vaio TZ

The TZ is the spiritual successor to the much-loved TX series. It's marginally bigger than its predecessor, but it is lighter and so promises to be more portable.

More importantly, it's Sony's first laptop to ship with an ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo processor -- it therefore promises plenty of substance to go with its style. The TZ series, more specifically known as the TZ11XN, is available in several guises, but we've reviewed the £1,799 version, which revels in the product code VGNTZ11XN/B.CEK.

The TZ is utterly gorgeous -- almost eliciting feelings of lust. But whereas the TX5 was sexy in a Christina Aguilera sort of way, the TZ is sleek, and much more sophisticated. If it wasn't for the fact it's Japanese-built, we'd think of it as the Kylie Minogue of laptops.

It's arguably as tiny as the diminutive antipodean, too, occupying the same approximate footprint as a tabloid newspaper folded in half. It's 4.6mm longer and 3.3mm deeper than the TX5, but weighs 1.19kg to the TX5's 1.25kg, so it's slightly more portable.

This laptop does for small what Mr T did for gold chains, fool

Sony has bucked the trend of caking laptops in a glossy, piano-black coating. The TZ is mostly finished in matte black, which makes it easier to keep clean than the smudge magnet that is the Asus U1. The only trace of glossy plastic is around the keyboard section, although the 11-inch screen is far worse for collecting smears.

Kudos to Sony for the clever placement of the power button. This sits at the right side of the laptop's hinge -- towards the rear. The button is translucent and glows green when powered up, or amber when the laptop is idle, which is a nice touch. The AC adaptor plug connects to the opposite side of the hinge, but we think the exposed AC port looks rather naff without its plug connected.

The keyboard on the TZ is different to those on the TX series. It looks like a miniature version of those found on an Apple MacBook Pro. Each key is flat and perfectly rectangular, not tapered, as is traditional. They're also slightly smaller than those found on most laptops. Despite this, we achieved a typing speed close to what we'd manage on a full-size keyboard.

The power button is located on the right side of the hinge, which is handy

The mouse trackpad is as responsive as it should be, although it could do with being slightly larger. The mouse selector buttons are within easy reach below it. Both are easy to press with your thumb, and the area between them isn't wasted -- Sony has installed a fingerprint reader for secure logins.

Around the left edge of the laptop there are modem and Ethernet ports (hidden behind a flap, so they don't collect dust or spoil the laptop's lines) plus two USB ports. At the front edge there's a Memory Stick reader and an SD card slot, alongside mic and headphone ports. At the right side there's a D-Sub port and, miraculously, a DVD rewriter drive. How Sony managed to fit all this in is beyond us.

Once you've gotten over the TZ's style, you'll be impressed by its substance. One of its best assets is the awesome 11.1-inch LED display, which has a native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. It looks superb in everyday use, and provided you don't venture into direct sunlight, its gloss-coated X-Black screen is great for everything from spreadsheets to DVD playback. Don't expect it to play games though -- its graphics card is powered by the ageing Intel 945GM chipset, which is, for want of a better word, rubbish.

Hard-drive space tends to be limited in ultra-portable laptops, but the TZ uses the biggest available drive that will physically fit inside it. The Toshiba-built MK1011GAH packs 100GB of storage, which should let you stash a few dozen DivX movies, hundreds of MP3s and plenty of images. You can control playback of audio files via a set of media buttons along the front edge of the laptop.

The media control buttons sit just above a Wi-Fi activation switch

It uses Sony's G-Sensor HDD shock protection system, which helps prevent the disk becoming damaged in the event of falls or shocks. If you're super-paranoid about data loss, and you aren't concerned with storage space and an exorbitant price, you might opt for the top-spec TZ, the VGNTZ12VN/X.CEK, which has a 32GB solid-state hard drive. Obviously it's two thirds smaller and £200 more expensive, but it theoretically has faster disc access and boot-up times, and is more robust.

The TZ doesn't use the new Intel 965 chipset seen in the latest Centrino Duo laptops, but it does have a pretty special CPU. It's the first laptop we've seen with an ultra-low voltage dual-core processor from Intel. This itself is a first -- whereas the TX5 and its ilk used Core Solo processors, the TZ uses a twin-core Intel U7500 clocked at 1.06GHz. Its ultra-low voltage status means it doesn't consume much energy and prolongs battery life, and the fact it's dual-core means it's fairly nippy, too. The laptop has 2GB of system memory, so it's ready, willing and able to handle modern applications.

Wi-Fi comes as standard in 802.11a/b/g flavours, as does Bluetooth, but we were disappointed at the lack of a built-in 3G SIM card. Unlike the Dell Latitude D420, which lets you surf the Web anywhere, the TZ requires you to be in the presence of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Sony bundles a range of its own software for hardware diagnostics, AV playback and video editing, but many of these are available in the Microsoft Vista Business edition operating system, which comes as standard. You get a one-year collect and return warranty, which is rather tight-fisted if you ask us -- the laptop costs nearly £1,800, after all.

The TZ generally impressed us with its performance. Its dual-core ultra-low voltage CPU seemed wimpy, though. It racked up a PCMark 2005 score of 1,049, which is good, but lower than the 1,508 achieved by the TX5. 3D performance was about the same as the TX5. It scored a useless 124 in 3DMark 2006, a slight improvement on the TX5's 111.

Battery life is the most impressive aspect of its performance. Sony believes it'll last 7 hours away from the mains, but in our highly intensive BatteryEater tests it ran for 208 minutes, or just under 3.5 hours. This is pretty impressive, despite being lower than Sony's claimed figures -- BatteryEater munches battery life by bombarding the laptop with 3D modelling tasks. We reckon with lighter use, the TZ will last you closer to 4 hours.

The TZ runs coolly and quietly. Rarely do its cooling fans cause a racket -- and it doesn't get particularly hot during use either. If you're worried about burning your lap, the TZ is the one to go for.

Nearly £1,800 is a lot of dosh to spend on a laptop -- even if it is a Sony Vaio. You could buy a similarly sized, similarly specced Dell Latitude D420 for around £500 less. And what the Dell lacks in an integrated DVD rewriter, it makes up for with a built-in 3G datacard for on-the-go Web access.

If you have the cash, however, and care more about DVD playback than 3G, the Vaio TZ series is one of the best ultra-portables we've ever seen.

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