What a week for laptops! We'll start with the big news, which drew many a visitor to Crave: at a press event in Cupertino, Calif., Steve Jobs announced a number of updates to Apple's MacBook line. Get a sense of the changes with our "new vs. old" analysis of the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, or just have a look at which new MacBook is right for you.
This year still has several weeks left on the calendar, but it's not too early to look back at the past 10 months and evaluate how we've progressed on the consumer tech front. Rather than look at the best products of the year, however, I decided to focus on the ones that were the most cutting-edge. As such, I've looked back at everything we've covered this year, and I've done my best to winnow down the list and come up with 10 products I think are at the cusp of... something. They may not be fully baked, and they may be overpriced, but they're at the forefront of their respective categories. Of course, I've surely missed some worthy products, so feel free to agree or disagree and add your own selections in the comments section below. … Read more
Samsung announced earlier this week that it would begin selling laptops in the U.S., and the first model, the 13-inch Q310 has is now for sale on Newegg.com. Two Q310 models are listed, the $1,049 Q310-34G and the $1,249 Q310-34P. (The prices reflect a $100 and a $50 discount, respectively.)
The Samsung Q310 weighs 4.4 pounds and features a 13.3-inch wide-screen display with a 1280x800 resolution. Oddly, despite its apparent consumer appeal, which includes Samsung's "touch of color" design (introduced earlier this year on its LCDs), the laptop comes with Vista … Read more
This week we reviewed two Samsung handsets that span the full range of mobile multimedia. The Highnote is a new music phone for Sprint and the Innov8 is a fancy 8-megapixel camera. In North America, it is available as an unlocked model.
Samsung and Sprint introduced the Highnote at the CTIA Fall 2008 show last month. Also called the SPH-M630, the Highnote is a music phone that replaces the Samsung Upstage and the LG Muziq. It offers all the usual highlights of a Sprint music phone, with an eye-catching slider design and a new menu interface. Call and music performance … Read more
Update Dec 10, 2008: After a subsequent conversation Samsung's representative did provide a bit more information.
"The newer A950 sets feature a slight enhancement to black level performance which improves the already excellent picture quality of the A950. That said, most of the Samsung A950 sets sold in the market now feature this upgrade. Customers who have already purchased an A950 set can find out if their TV is the enhanced version or not by calling 1-800-SAMSUNG (1-800-726-7864). If customers would like to upgrade their A950 TV, a software upgrade will be provided free of charge in the form of a USB stick. This software upgrade, available within 30 days of request, will enable performance similar to that of upgraded A950 TVs."
Unfortunately, we have not been able to get more information out of Samsung on this issue, and the company still has not provided a clear way to distinguish between products that have the update and those that don't. The best advice we can give for A950 owners concerned about the problem is to contact Samsung and try to get a resolution, and comment here about your experiences.
Samsung has updated the A950 series, the company's flagship line of LED-based LCD HDTVs, by introducing changes that affect picture quality. In accordance, we have updated our review of the 46-inch LN46A950.
While the change will have a minor impact on picture quality, it probably irks current A950 owners to find out that they don't have the most up-to-date version of the television. Here's the relevant section from the review's updated performance section, describing the differences we saw:
To assess the picture quality impact of the changes, we compared our original LN46A950 review sample side-by-side to a new one, and will use the new one in all comparisons involving the A950 going forward. The differences we saw concerned black levels primarily. The company has raised the black level in very dark scenes--those with a very low "average picture level." In those scenes the new model showed improved shadow detail and eliminated some of the worst blooming effects we mention below, while the older model reproduced darker overall black levels--its LEDs appeared to dim more aggressively, while the new ones stayed more illuminated. We didn't notice any differences between the two Samsungs in the vast majority of scenes however, which have higher average picture levels. As a result, we're not modifying the rating for this review.
According to Samsung, all A950 series sets sent to market after September 20, 2008, will feature the upgrade. Of course that means A950 series TVs sent to market before that date, whether still on store shelves or comfortably at home with their new owners, won't have the update.… Read more
Samsung announced a new cell phone Tuesday that appears to take aim at the recently announced LG Lotus for Sprint and the Verizon Wireless Blitz. The Samsung Propel SGH-A767, which is bound for AT&T later this month, is a slider phone with a square shape that hides a full QWERTY keyboard. This isn't a true smartphone, so there's no Outlook Exchange support, but you can text and IM on the Propel to your heart's content. Web-based POP3 e-mail support will be available as well.
Other features on the 3G phone include AT&T Navigator, … Read more
Samsung has long sold laptops in Europe and Asia, but for years its reach in the U.S. mobile computing market has been limited to the Q1 UMPC, a niche product. That's all set to change after Tuesday, though, when the company announced that it would begin selling laptops in the United States.
Given the tight margins and fierce competition of the American laptop market, it's always a pleasant surprise--for consumers and reviewers, at least--whenever a new player enters the fray. And Samsung looks to be off to a solid, if conservative, start by launching seven laptops in … Read more
As part of its launch into the U.S. laptop market, Samsung announced two models designed for small business, the 14.1-inch P460 and 15.4-inch P560. Both laptops are built to take a little extra abuse: the matte-black lids are scratch-resistant and incorporate an internal metal plate that helps protect the screen. A sturdy brushed-aluminum keyboard deck surrounds a spill-resistant keyboard. And the keys themselves incorporate silver nanotechnolgy to fight off bacteria and viruses.
Samsung will offer two fixed configurations of the 5.3-pound P460: one with a previous-generation 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 processor and a … Read more
Tuesday's laptop announcement from Samsung includes specialized models for travelers and business users, but what about the average home user who wants a solid laptop at a relatively low price? That's where the 13-inch Q310 and 16-inch R610 come in: neither as flashy as the ultraportables nor as rugged as the business models, the Q- and R-series laptops provide middle-of-the-road components and feature sets inside of attractive cases (featuring Samsung's "touch of color" design) at prices from $1,000 to $1,250.
Though it has a 13.3-inch display, the Samsung Q310 is a bit … Read more