Archive for iulie 2007

Asus U1F

iulie 4, 2007 Lasă un comentariu


LED backlights will soon start showing up in many laptops, enabling thin and sleek designs that will blow your mind. The ASUS U1F, a 2.7-pound ultraportable, is one of the first to rock this technology.LED backlight offers terrific contrast. Good battery life. Leather palm rests. Featherweight. Innovative design.Lacks integrated optical drive. Low-powered components.


AsusTek Computer Inc.

Spec data:

Price As Tested: $2,099.00

Type: Media, Ultraportable, Business, Small Business

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Business

Processor Name: Intel Core Duo U2400

Processor Speed: 1.06 GHz

RAM: 1.5 GB

Weight: 2.7 lb

Screen Size: 11.1 inches

Screen Size Type: widescreen

Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950

Storage Capacity: 80 GB

Networking Options: 802.11a/g

Primary Optical Drive: External



ASUS laptops have fervently pushed the design envelope in the past two years. After all, AsusTek is widely considered one of the top five ODMs (original design manufacturers) in the world. It makes every laptop component imaginable, including chassis designs for Apple computers, so it’s only logical that it would excel in this area. The ASUS U1F ($2,100 street) is the company’s latest bid into the ultraportable market. It weighs a svelte 2.7 pounds and rocks LED (light-emitting diode) screen backlighting technology. The U1F is a traveler’s delight—that is, if you can live with carrying an external DVD drive.Only a handful of vendors use LED backlights in their laptops. Sony recently implemented this technology in its TX series (Sony VAIO VGN-TXN15P), and the Toshiba Portégé R500 Series also features an LED screen. Now, the ASUS U1F is reaping its benefits, too. For one, LEDs are more compact in size, roughly half the thickness of traditional fluorescent-lamp backlighting systems. This lets companies develop ultrathin screens; the one ASUS designed for the U1F is 5mm (0.2 inches) thick. That is almost as thin as the screen found on the Sony TXN15P; Sony is able to make its screen even thinner by housing it in carbon fiber. ASUS uses a magnesium-aluminum alloy to protect its screen, which is a little thicker but offers more protection from flexing. Another advantage is that the LEDs emit light in distinct colors: Light from three sources (red, green, and blue) is combined to form the picture. This yields uniform picture quality and excellent color contrast, and translates to deeper blacks and whiter whites on the screen.

The 11.1-inch screen looked magnificent when playing the DVD of The Incredibles. ASUS bundles desktop wallpaper that showcases the deep blacks displayed by the LED screen. My digital photos and even my YouTube videos look amazing under low light. The problem is that despite the fabulous colors, the screen is very sensitive to glare coming from any light source above you. If you want to avoid glare, you’ll want the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 (Vista) with its matte-finish screen instead.

Like the Sony TXN15P, the U1F’s keyboard is horizontally challenged. The 92-percent-size keyboard is made for those with slender fingers, unlike the full-size one on the Panasonic CF-W5. Anyone who applies leather to a laptop is worthy of praise. In the U1F’s case, the leather located on the palm rests is like an ottoman made for your wrists. The touchpad is responsive, but I found the mouse buttons difficult to press.

The only thing hindering the U1F from taking off is its lack of an integrated optical drive. At 2.7 pounds, I feel that AsusTek should have found a way to push the envelope even further. The Sony TXN15P and the Panasonic CF-W5, both of which weigh under 3 pounds, include dual-layer DVD burners, and the Toshiba R500 manages to integrate an optical drive in its tiny 2.4-pound frame. On a brighter note, the U1F’s four USB ports (two on each side) are extremely rare on such a small system. In addition, you also get a FireWire port, ExpressCard slot, and a 4-in-1 card reader. The U1F doesn’t have integrated WWAN yet, unlike the Sony and Panasonic, but you can always occupy the ExpressCard slot with a WWAN card. Because of its size and shape, the U1F can fit only a 1.8-inch hard drive. This also means that the drive spins at only 4,200 rpm, which downgrades performance.

It comes as no surprise that size constraints would greatly affect the system’s performance. The U1F uses an Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) Intel Core Duo processor, much like the Sony and the Panasonic. The Gateway C-120X, on the other hand, uses a ULV Core 2 Duo U7500, the latest in ULV processors from Intel. On SYSmark 2007 Preview, the Gateway’s overall scores were about 6 percent better than those of the U1F, which uses a 1.06-GHz Core Duo U2400 rated at the same speed. The U1F’s RAM configuration is a little weird. It comes with 1.5GB of RAM (a 512MB plus a 1,024MB module), instead of implementing a full 2GB, as does the C-120X. Regardless, it’s enough to handle all Windows Vista Business’s bells and whistles. Still, I’d prefer the system to come standard with 2GB of RAM, to offset some of the memory requirement from Intel’s integrated graphics.

Aside from uniform picture quality, LED backlights have the advantage of lowering power consumption, increasing battery life. The system comes with a 53-Wh battery, which is considered medium size. Nevertheless, it lasted 2 hours 48 minutes playing a compilation of DVD videos. This is pretty decent battery life, considering the task. Playing DVDs is typically more demanding than day-to-day tasks such as e-mailing, Web browsing, and photo editing. With the U1F, you can get 5 to 6 hours of battery time running these basic tasks and more.

In the next few months, you’ll be seeing more and more PC makers implementing LED backlights into their laptops. The ASUS U1F is one of the first of what’s sure to be many ultraportables packing LED technology, and that and most of its other features earn it a clear thumbs-up. Still, you may find yourself missing that optical drive.

By Cisco Cheng


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Apple Safari 3 for Windows (beta)

iulie 3, 2007 Lasă un comentariu


As on the Mac platform, Safari is an attractive and fast browser, but certain ease-of-use browsing items that Windows users have come to expect either aren’t present or, in some cases, aren’t turned on by default.

Fairly fast. Finally gives Windows fans their own Apple browser.Some popular features not set on by default. Few add-ins.


Apple Computer Inc.


Safari 3 for Windows beta is a good browser, but not a great or terribly innovative one. Many people have been asking me why Apple is even bothering to spoil a good thing by opening up this will-run-on-Windows can of worms anyway. The answer is simple: survival.It’s looking more likely every day that the future of software is on the Web (and off it) with browsers as the gatekeepers. Mozilla and Google have been building platforms and applications that will work both online and off. And we’ve heard plenty of talk about offerings such as Google’s Apps for Your Domain usurping—or at the very least eroding—Microsoft’s office-productivity hegemony.

That, I believe, is where Safari for Windows comes in. I see it as the prelude to an Apple play for some of the still-lucrative software business and segment of the Web economy that Microsoft holds. Though the browser in its current form isn’t really anything to write home about, the future could be rosy, depending on how Apple proceeds. To get momentum, though, the company would have to roll out some truly exciting features (and prevent any major security breaches due to browser vulnerabilities). Conceivably, introducing such features could put Safari into competition with Firefox and Internet Explorer—although that’s a tall order. Opera, for example, is a phenomenal browser—superior in some ways to all three of these competitors—yet despite that and barrels of laudatory ink, the Norwegian import’s U.S. market share hovers at less than 2 percent.

By Davis D. Janowski