The term "thin and light" has a flexible meaning in the laptop world. Currently, to be truly thin, a PC must be in the same range as the MacBook Air. Still, plenty of thicker 13-inch laptops still exist that would have been considered thin a few years ago, but seem merely normal today. The Asus U31SD-A1 is just that sort of laptop. Its thickness is more akin to a 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro, but Asus' laptop lacks an optical drive. We reviewed a nearly identical Asus U31JG laptop a few months ago, noting that it was a solid … Read more
When reviewing the Dell XPS 15z this summer, it was hard not to notice how comparatively slim it was to the normal XPS 15--and how thick so many of Dell's laptops are by comparison. While the Inspiron R series is hardly as large as the XPS, it's miles away from anything one would call thin and light.
Dell's newly unveiled Inspiron 13z and 14z laptops are a continuation of the thinner laptop trend, but they're a bigger deal for most consumers: they're 13- and 14-inchers, and they're relatively budget-oriented mainstream machines as opposed to high-end. It's a repeat of what Dell did just a few years ago with the Inspiron line, but revisited on the latest-generation laptops. … Read more
Laptop bags and cases come in all shapes and sizes, but if you're toting around a 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Air, you're going to want something designed specifically for your system. We've skipped the generic nylon briefcases (which are usually designed for 15-inch laptops) and oversize backpacks, and instead picked some of the best recent laptop cases that are perfect for a 13-inch laptop.
Some of these are more traditional messenger-style bags, others are sleeves designed to fit inside some other piece of luggage. They all have one or more unique features that make them stand out from the crowd.
Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case We've reviewed our fair share of laptop cases over the years, and in the past year and a half we've seen (and reviewed) a good number of cases designed for Apple's iPad tablet. We've seen people shove laptops and tablets together into backpacks and messenger bags, but the $69 Cocoon CLS456 is the first case we've seen specifically designed to hold both a 13-inch laptop and a tablet at the same time.
Just a few short months ago (in March, to be exact), we wrote about an odd glut in Apple's otherwise streamlined lineup of products: instead of one or even two 13-inch laptops to choose from, Apple was offering three. The white MacBook, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro each had a slightly different value equation in terms of design, features, and price.
That glut's been lessened a little now that the white MacBook has been discontinued. The MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro are the only two MacBook product lines left, and they represent two different solutions to same problem. The unibody aluminum Pro used to be considered thin, but it's--relatively--thick at 1 inch, and weighs over 4 pounds. The Pro offers better specs, while the Air, which has just been recently updated, leans toward light weight and quick booting as its advantages.
There's more to consider, though: the 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro and new 13-inch MacBook Air have become more similar than they've ever been before, for several reasons: performance, battery life, and a Thunderbolt port.
Two 13-inch MacBooks: which do you choose?… Read more
Augmented reality, which brings together the physical and digital worlds, holds much promise for gaming. So why do most augmented-reality games suck? Here's the key: Most aren't true augmented reality. They're little more than animations overlaid on a video feed.
Enter Ball Invasion, a game from Swedish software developer 13th Lab. The iPad 2 game is a leap forward. It's also simple: Shoot a stream of round black bullets at the colorful balls that emerge on your screen. Unlike other augmented-reality games, however, you can bounce your animated bullets off the real walls around you. Check out the video below.
Here's what goes on under the hood. Ball Invasion uses Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) to build and continuously update a 3D digital representation of the physical space in the iPad camera's field of view. This is the technology many robots, including NASA planetary rovers, use to get a sense of where they are.… Read more
A few years ago, the Acer TimelineX was one of the first of what we then called "thin and light" laptops, 13-inchers with sleeker, lighter frames, long battery life, and a more easily portable design than a standard notebook.
The TimelineX series still exists, and Acer's latest version features newer Intel second-gen Core i-series processors and impressive Nvidia graphics. Still, the landscape has expanded to include many thin laptops: the Sony Vaio S and Toshiba Portege R835, and the extremely thin Apple MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9. The $779 TimelineX 3830TG-6431 is thin, but not as … Read more
Following a few leaks, Sony's new high-end Vaio Z laptop has been announced by the European arm of the Sony Vaio group, a few weeks ahead of its expected American debut.
The 13.3-inch laptop is slim and light, under 17mm thick, but still manages to pack in a full-voltage Intel Core i7 processor (paired with an SSD hard drive). The screen has a 1,600x900-pixel resolution, which is higher than most 13-inch laptops.
But the real interesting part of the new Vaio Z is its docking station. The vertically mounted Power Media Dock not only includes an optical drive and a rarely seen Intel Light Peak port, but also a fully functioning AMD Radeon graphics card, which can be used by the laptop when connected to the dock. Sony, in its European press release, says: … Read more
Animated Water Drop Desktop Wallpaper is a free app from Artdocks that creates a realistic effect of water droplets slowly moving down your screen. While it does vary your screen's pixels somewhat, it's not a screensaver; it's a wallpaper enhancement that you can use with your usual background images. The effect is attractive and subtly soothing.
We activated Animated Water Drop by clicking its desktop icon, though there's also a Start Menu entry as well as icons in the Artdocks folder, which also contained an uninstaller for the wallpaper. You can't access the program from … Read more
Sony laptops generally tend to be particularly good at being two things: big, high-end media experiences, and small, slim executive powerhouses. The new Vaio F and S series laptops, announced today, offer a bit of both for laptop shoppers willing to spend over $1,000.
The 13.3-inch Vaio S series is only .95 inch thick, and also relatively light: just 3.6 pounds, despite having an optical drive. The closest equivalent we can think of is the Toshiba Portege R835. Unlike the Portege, the Vaio S has a higher-resolution display--1,600x900 pixels--and optional discrete graphics. The Vaio S comes … Read more