Recently we’ve seen new Chromebook models from Acer, Samsung and more recently Lenovo, and a spec sheet discovered on HP’s site shows that they too are throwing their hats into the cloud-based computing ring. The PDF states that the 14″ 1366 x 768 Pavilion Chromebook is capable of running for 4 hours 15 minutes on a charge, and the remainder of its hardware appears reminiscent of a mashup between Acer’s C7 and Samsung’s Series 3, with the C7’s 1.1GHz Intel Celeron 847 processor coupled with 16GB of solid state storage as found in the Samsung model. The whole package weighs in at 1.8kg and it features 3 USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port, although a disc drive remains absent. There is no word on when we will see this hitting store shelves, but another major Windows manufacturer beginning Chromebook production is bound to cause shivers in Redmond.
Intel’s march into the mobile market hasn’t been as successful as they would have desired, with devices powered by the Medfield family of Atom chips such as the XOLO X900 and Orange San Diego struggling for traction, although things began to look up with the release and heavy marketing of Motorola’s RAZR i late last year. With its second wave of phone chips, codenamed Lexington, the company has decided to target emerging markets, and the first Lexington phone has now been announced in conjunction with Safaricom, one of Kenya’s largest carriers.
The Yolo (yep, YOLO) is essentially a consumer version of the Intel Smartphone Reference Design shown off at CES, and its Atom Z2420 chip clocks in at 1.2GHz, which Engadget notes makes the phone feel like 2009, and its 5MP rear camera is capable of 1080p video and a 7 shot-per-second burst mode. The Yolo will also have a 3.5″ touchscreen of as-yet-unknown resolution, and an HSPA+ modem will be responsible for connectivity. The Yolo will be available in Safaricom stores with 500MB of data for Kshs. 10,999 (£79.57) and will almost certainly make its way to Europe with alternative branding later this year.
Google’s family of Chrome OS-powered devices has expanded again today with Lenovo’s announcement of the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook, a variant of the existing Windows-powered machine. Pitched by the company exclusively towards the education market, the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook features reinforced hinges and a ‘rugged’ design that is sure to keep it safe around any child, but the 1.77kg machine is not likely to be as child-friendly as the 1.10kg Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, which, like the Lenovo, features an 11.6″ 1366 x 768 matte display and around 6.5 hours of battery, a figure which Lenovo claims should last the entire school day. Unlike the latest Samsung model, however, the X131e sports an as-yet-unspecified Intel processor and is not currently expected to get a wide release. Interested schools will be able to pick them up from February 26th for $429 (£268) with an optional $30 (£19) charge ensuring support from Google. Compared to the $249/£229 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, the X131e does not look like the best of deals, but a third manufacturer joining the Chrome OS family after the release of the Acer C7 earlier this year only serves as encouragement for the browser-loving among us.
Since they were announced back at CES in January, people have been heavily anticipating the launch of Vizio’s first range of Windows PCs. Famed in the States for low priced TVs with unbeatable value, the company unveiled an all-in-one, a notebook and a pair of
Ultrabooks thin-and-lights at the trade show, but remained coy on release dates, pricing or exact specifications until today. In a press release that can be found below, the company revealed a few more details, including that pricing for all 3 ranges would begin at just $898 (£578), and that all of their computers would run on Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge chips with a clean installation (i.e. zero bloatware) of Windows 7. The AIO will come in both the $898 24″ model and an $1100 27″ model, and both come with USB 3.0, Nvidia’s latest Kepler graphics architecture, up to a 1TB HDD paired with a 32GB SSD for boot and 1920 x 1080 displays. The thin-and-lights both come with integrated Intel graphics and a 7 hour battery life, with the $898 14″ model coming equipped with a 1600 x 900 panel, while an extra hundred dollars will get you a 15.6″ model with a 1080p display. The $898 notebook is internally identical to the larger thin-and-light, but in exchange for the added girth you get an as yet unspecified Nvidia Kepler GPU. Pre-orders for all models are live at a number of American retailers right now, but don’t get your hopes up for a UK release, as Vizio has yet to release any of their bargain bin products outside the US of A.
Design, Power and Entertainment Reign Supreme in VIZIO’s Incredibly Sleek and Sophisticated, Premium PC Line Unveiled Today
Irvine, CA – June 15, 2012 – VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today the availability of its highly anticipated line of innovative personal computers designed to work hard and play hard. By combining its entertainment know-how with the unmatched power of the latest Intel® Core™ processors, VIZIO intends to set a new standard for the Windows® experience. The premium line, which consists of the VIZIO Thin + Light, Notebook and All-in-One PC, was created to break through the clutter present in the mainstream market and prove that power, design and entertainment can flawlessly co-exist in a PC.
Similar to its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO took careful inventory of the needs and wants evident in the PC space. The result is a sophisticatedly handsome PC line that meets the productivity and power standards consumers expect, while delivering the entertainment and design differentiators they desire. Calling on its HDTV background, VIZIO developed the PCs with contrast, image quality and viewing angles top of mind, giving PC users an experience only HDTVs could previously deliver. Combined with an NVIDIA® Kepler™-Class GeForce GPU, the brilliant HD display of the VIZIO PCs makes watching movies, gaming and streaming TV shows more enjoyable than ever. Deep and resonate SRS Premium Sound HD™ serves as an ideal complement to stunning image quality but can also stand alone, allowing music junkies to immerse themselves in rich, custom-tuned audio.
Understanding the impact aesthetics have on experience, VIZIO also focused heavily on design. Manifested beyond a few sleek bevels, VIZIO’s purposeful design decisions and premium materials culminate in a line of PCs that rival the status-quo. From the die-cast aluminum neck with its hidden hinge, premium wireless keyboard and wireless touchpad of the All-in-One, to the anodized aluminum unibody construction with precision CNC detailing of the Thin + Light and Notebook, VIZIO took every detail into account, creating top-quality work and entertainment fixtures like no other.
“PCs haven’t always been made with design at the forefront. While customers want an elegant, multi-purpose device capable of executing tasks and flawlessly delivering entertainment, some PCs still look like mundane work machines,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “VIZIO is passionate about innovation, design and the user experience. We listened to consumers and created a line of PCs that deliver on productivity but are also uncompromisingly clean, stylish and sophisticated.”
Optimized to deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, VIZIO PCs ensure a fast and immersive best-in-class consumer experience. To that end, VIZIO and Microsoft® worked together to build an optimized system image that includes the Microsoft Signature experience for Windows 7 PCs to deliver a great experience for customers, from out of box to support. Every VIZIO PC also includes Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses and spyware with no renewal fees and 90 days of Microsoft technical support.
“We’re pleased to be working closely with VIZIO as it debuts in the PC category,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “VIZIO has a strong reputation of providing consumer innovation and entertainment experiences, and it’s great to see the company using Windows to help deliver premium experiences on PCs.”
Designed to tackle any task a user needs to accomplish, VIZIO PCs are powered by 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. Providing an extra performance boost, the efficient Intel® Core™ processors are capable of handling a multitude of jobs, allowing users to multi-task with ease.
“We know how important it is for VIZIO to have its PCs deliver best in class performance,” said CJ Bruno, Intel VP, GM Americas. “VIZIO has repeatedly shown its ability to deliver leading technology to its customers and we are thrilled that 3rd generation Intel core processors will power VIZIO’s latest computing innovations. We think people will be amazed by the stunning visual experiences in these new systems, from the beautiful all-in-one to the slim, stylish and responsive Ultrabook™ device.”
VIZIO All-in-One: Starting at $898
Elegantly combining a powerful PC with features similar to a television, the VIZIO All-in-One PC offers an unparalleled entertainment experience**. With a stunning 24″ or 27″ Full HD 1080p display, included subwoofer for 2.1 surround sound audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and dual HDMI® inputs for connecting cable boxes and game consoles, the VIZIO All-in-One PC delivers serious entertainment.
The premium wireless keyboard, wireless touchpad with multi-touch gesture support, remote control and subwoofer with integrated power supply makes the VIZIO All-in-One PC easy on the eyes. Crafted from genuine, top-quality materials with design advancements, these machines challenge the very notion of what a PC can be, making it the ideal fixture in a bedroom, design studio, kitchen, dorm or swanky boutique.
For the ultimate in entertainment, consumers can use the display of their VIZIO All-in-One PC even when the computer is off, plugging in up to two HDMI® sources to enjoy cable or satellite programming, gaming and other HD offerings.
VIZIO Notebook: Starting at $898
The VIZIO Notebook delivers remarkable power in a beautifully portable profile. Stylish and light, the aluminum construction provides solid durability not possible when using cheaper plastics. With an impressive 15.6″ Full HD 1080p display, performance-tuned audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and a long-lasting battery, the VIZIO Notebook is an all-day, on-the-go, multimedia powerhouse.
The sleek, seamless surface of the VIZIO Notebook boasts beveled edges and a slip-free, soft-touch underside. The machine’s slim profile is made possible by an anodized aluminum unibody construction that lends itself to strength and durability. Smart innovations include a concealed passive heat venting that pulls in cool air to reduce the need for bulky, noisy and unnecessary grills and fans.
VIZIO Thin + Light: Starting at $898
Part of a new class of Ultrabook™ devices inspired by Intel, the VIZIO Thin + Light is an ultra-responsive, ultra-sleek and long-lasting portable PC. This powerful machine boots up in seconds and packs enough battery to stay up and running all day.
With a 14″ HD+ or 15.6″ Full HD display and a razor-thin design made possible by a durable, anodized aluminum unibody construction, the VIZIO Thin + Light is sleek enough to take anywhere and easily outperforms notebooks twice its size.
Entertainment enthusiasts will appreciate the HD resolution, stellar picture quality with wider viewing angles and SRS Premium Sound HD™ of the Thin + Light, allowing users to enjoy their content on-the-go or tap into the full-size HDMI® outputs to put entertainment on the big screen.
For more information on VIZIO PCs visit VIZIO.com. Consumers can also find the new PC line at key retailers such as Walmart, Amazon.com, Sam’s Club, Costco, Target and Microsoft Store.
Sony has today unveiled the Vaio Q, the world’s smallest Ultrabook with a 0.75″ x 1.25″ 1080p display at 1511ppi, the highest density display ever seen on a Windows PC. Equipped with a 3.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i9 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB of solid state storage, the Vaio Q promises to provide a balance of power and portability with no compromise. To find out more, visit the Sony Store and watch the announcement video below.
In August, HP were in turmoil. Leo Apotheker had killed webOS out of nowhere, announced that he wanted to spin off their PC division. Then he was ousted in favour of Meg Whitman who eventually came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea (gasp) to keep the world’s largest PC business. Apotheker is an idiot, and HP make fantastic computers, such as the budget Pavilion g6 range and the award-winning Folio ultrabook. Now, we have our hands on a Pavilion dv7, a high-end notebook designed for work and play, but can it justify its £949 price tag?
The dv7-6b51ea that we are reviewing boasts a powerful 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-2670QM processor, capable of turbo-boosting to 3.1GHz, and a massive 8GB of RAM, enabling it to handle almost anything you throw at it. This, combined with the 1GB of video RAM on the AMD Radeon graphics chip and the 1TB hard drive means that this laptop is perched at the higher end of the spec table. HP didn’t stop there, adding in a few small things such as a fingerprint scanner and a Blu-ray drive to make it just that bit better. The display is a 17.3″ panel of 1600 x 900 resolution which, while having great contrast and a crisp picture, lacks in brightness, even compared to lower end laptops like the Pavilion g6. The screen does however have impressive viewing angles. The built in camera is quite crap, despite its misleading HP TrueVision HD label. Both videos and stills come out at a measly 640 x 480 resolution, and the frame rate is worse than a dustbin.
As with all flagship HP laptops, the dv7 range comes with Beats Audio as standard. The clarity of sound is fantastic, even when playing at full volume. Little distortion occurs and the HP Triple Bass Subwoofer ensures that my large Skrillex collection always makes my head bang. Most importantly for a journalist, however, is the keyboard and the one in the dv7 is quite simply fantastic. The keys are not too shallow, and a rubberised coating makes them very comfortable. The number pad, noticeably absent from some smaller HP devices, is convenient and as you’d expect. The trackpad, hilariously coined as a TouchPad by HP, is smooth and responsive, supporting certain multitouch gestures, but I still prefer using a mouse.
The dv7 is a beautiful piece of tech. The core of the device is made from brushed aluminium, which looks and feels amazing. The base of the device is unfortunately made of plastic, but I can live with this. One advantage of the Envy range is the aluminium unibody, even if it is just a carbon copy of the MacBook Pro. The notebook is not the most portable one I have ever seen, but I haven’t had problems carrying it around the school grounds on a daily basis. The lid of the device is emblazoned with the HP logo which, again similarly to Apple devices, lights up when the device is in use. While this is a nice touch, I would rather that HP used these LEDs in a different place such as the keyboard, which suffers from the lack of backlighting. The speakers are placed around the edge of the laptop and on a bank between the two hinges. The Beats branding is clear to see across the device, even in the taskbar, but, when compared to certain HP laptops, the branding is thankfully minimal and bearable.
The dv7 comes with Windows 7 Home Premium as standard, along with the usual preloaded crapware that you have to filter through upon your first boot. Things like HP Games by WildTangent, Bing Toolbar, Internet Explorer 9 and the free trial of Norton Internet Security went without a moment’s hesitation, but HP CoolSense is actually worth keeping on any HP device. CoolSense allows you to juggle fan usage and performance to make the laptop cooler/quieter when required. SimplePass software comes to work with the fingerprint reader and it can be programmed to log into certain sites and open them with a swipe. Being so well-specced, the dv7 has had no problems with almost everything thrown at it. Games such as Portal 2 and Modern Warfare 3 can be played on the highest graphical settings with ease, and I have, on occasion, been able to play at least half a dozen HD YouTube videos simultaneously, but the Zune software has strangely caused a few problems. On a number of occasions it has caused random reboots, but I believe that this problem is with the software itself having heard of others enduring similar experiences.
The HP Pavilion dv7 is a fantastic laptop, perfectly equipped to handle anything thrown at it without being excessively bulky or expensive. For less than the price of a 15 inch MacBook Pro, you get a better processor, sublime audio and, in my opinion, a superior all-round user experience. While the battery life and webcam both leave things to improve upon, overall I would recommend this notebook to anybody who can afford it.
Xavier Voigt-Hill contributed to this review
At Digixav we love HP computers and we all agree that they make brilliant hardware. The Folio 13 won best PC of 2011, and the Envy 14 Spectre is one beautiful piece of Gorilla Glass. The new Z1 workstation, announced today, looks to be another excellent product for Meg Whitman’s company.
The all-in-one workstation looks fantastic. The Z1 comes with a Sandy Bridge i3, integrated graphics and a 250GB hard drive as standard which aren’t fantastic specs for $1,899 but, if you have the money, you can make it phenomenal with a quad-core 3.5GHz Intel Xeon chip, up to 32GB of RAM and a top-of-the-line Nvidia graphics card. There is not much that this configuration couldn’t handle.
Not only is this an incredibly powerful computer, but it looks great too. The clean crisp lines are continued throughout the design, making it look good from any angle. The whole thing can even fold down, making it possible to store very easily. The display even lifts up to allow for easy access and upgrading of the internals.
However, there is one drawback to all this power and design which is the hefty price tag. According to the HP website, it will start at $1,899, a rather high price considering that it is the i3 base model. But considering all this, the Z1 is a business machine aimed at the rich companies, programmers and graphics designers so the price isn’t that unreasonable. Expect to see these hitting workplaces in April.