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Comdex: Get the gear you need

What's new on the show floor? CNET Reviews and Computer Shopper reporters scour the show for the newest and greatest tech products.

Comdex Fall 2002 starts off with a bang, with a host of products from major manufacturers for conference attendees to gawk at. Editors from CNET Reviews and Computer Shopper take a look at what's hot, and what's not, from the show floor.

NEC trims the Tablet PC
NEC Solutions America unwrapped a prototype of its upcoming Tablet PC Sunday night at the Digital Focus/Mobile Focus event, showcasing a featherweight slate-style device that's as light as it is good-looking.

What makes the NEC Versa LitePad stand out from the pack of Tablet PCs is portability: The prototype weighs only 2.1 pounds and measures a svelte 0.8-inch thick, resulting in the thinnest and lightest of any Tablet PC to date. It will cost between $2,000 and $2,500 when the final version is released in February or March, according to an NEC representative.

Many of the final specs are not yet set, however. The Versa LitePad will be powered by an Intel processor, but NEC declined to say which speed. Likewise, NEC wouldn't confirm how big the hard drive would be, or if the final screen will measure 10.4 inches diagonally. (The model on display appeared to have a 10.4-inch screen, but we left our ruler at the hotel.) NEC hinted that the Versa LitePad will not ship with a keyboard, although the representative said a keyboard could be hooked up using one of the system's three USB ports.

Previously, the lightest tablet was the 3-pound Compaq PC TC1000 Tablet. After weeks of handling six other tablets for CNET's comprehensive roundup, it's easy to understand the appeal of diminished dimensions.
--Tom Dunlap
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Samsung goes wide with new LCD
Samsung Electronics unveiled on Monday the SyncMaster 172W, a sleek 17-inch wide-format LCD that the company says delivers an additional 25 percent of work space over other displays of the same size. Samsung

The extra screen real estate doesn't just offer additional document space and drawing area; it also allows DVDs to be viewed in wide-screen format. Its 90-degree screen tilt makes the 172W amenable to SOHO (small office home office) and business settings as well. Available at $699 in the first week of December, the 1-inch-thick display may cost more than some competing 17-inch LCDs, but it incorporates both analog and digital inputs, and its stand folds back to be used as a wall-mount bracket.

Additionally, the 172W offers Samsung's MagicBright technology, which enables users to select one of three brightness modes: PC-Text, Internet Mode and Multimedia. The 172W delivers on the tech specs, with a resolution of 1,280 pixels by 768 pixels, a 400-to-1 contrast ratio, a fast response time of 25 milliseconds, and a 150-degree (horizontal)/120-degree (vertical) viewing angle. Samsung supports the monitor with a lengthy three-year warranty.
--Adam Fisher
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Alienware invades entertainment industry
Alienware Gaming PC specialist Alienware invaded the living room with the launch of a new line of Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) PCs.

Two of the PCs, which aim to fuse personal computing with digital audio- and video-entertainment, were introduced by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in his Comdex keynote, as was a recent entry from Gateway.

Alienware eschews the traditional tower form and packs a host of high-end components into a cool black cube. The $1,699 Navigator is powered by a 2.53GHz processor, an 80GB hard drive, and a CD-Rewriteable/DVD-ROM combo drive, while the $1,999 Navigator Pro ups the processor to 2.6GHz and the hard drive to 120GB. The higher-end system also adds a DVR (digital video recorder) drive.

Both systems in Alienware's Navigator line feature Intel's 845GE Alienware Navigator chipset, which supports an advanced technology known as Hyper-Threading. They also are outfitted with 512MB of DDR (double data rate) memory, Nvidia's GeForcde4 Ti 4200 graphics card, a remote control, TV tuner PCI (peripheral component interconnect) card and a Smart Card reader.

The first--and until now the only--entry into this new category of computers was the HP Media Center PC. Besides Gateway, other manufacturers with plans for MCE systems are CyberPower and ABS Media Center.
--Nancy Lang
Want to know where to buy the Alienware Navigator? Get more information at CNET Hardware

A portable display for the PC
Couch potatoes and patio dwellers can now become more productive members of society, thanks to a new line of remote PC monitors unveiled Monday by ViewSonic.

The line of Airpanel Windows Powered Smart Displays (formally code-named Mira) enable people to access the contents of their PC from the sofa, patio or anywhere else in or around the home.

ViewSonic's touch-screen, wireless LCDs connect via 802.11b and give users the freedom to roam up to 100 feet from a PC running Windows XP Professional. Surfing the Web is easy with the included stylus--just double-click links on the screen as you normally would with a mouse. For text input, you can call up the onscreen keyboard and writing pad from the task bar. The keyboard can be resized to fit the width of your fingers but is better for short e-mail messages than lengthy Word documents.

ViewSonic will market two of its Airpanel Smart Displays, which will be available Jan. 8. The 10.4-inch V110 and the 15-inch V150 will retail for $999 and $1,299, respectively, and can be preordered online now. Each ViewSonic Airpanel Smart Display includes a wireless USB adapter and an upgrade to Windows XP Pro (for XP Home users).

Other companies, including Fujitsu, NEC, Philips and Samsung, plan to launch Windows Powered Smart Displays in the first quarter of 2003.
--Matt Elliott
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PDAs for portability, performance
HP on Monday unveiled two impressive iPaqs for those who want great technology at an affordable price, and those who demand the very best PDA, regardless of cost.

Seductively svelte and selling for only $299, the HP iPaq H1910 is touted by HP as the thinnest and lightest Pocket PC handheld available, weighing a slight 4.2 ounces and measuring a mere 4.5-by-2.8-by-0.5 inches (LWD). It's powered by a 200MHz Intel XScale CPU with 64MB of RAM, and can display 65,536 colors on a 3.5 inch screen. There's also a Secure Digital/MMC card slot for extra storage.

If performance, not portability, is your priority, then the $699 HP iPaq H5450 is up to speed. As HP's flagship handheld, the H5450 is packed with high-end features, so it's not surprising that the device weighs in at 7.26 ounces and measures 5.2 inches in length. Outfitted with a robust 400MHz Intel XScale processor and 64MB of RAM, the H5450 boasts both integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b) and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.

The unit has a unique fingerprint scanner for security and, unlike the H1910, the H5450 also sports a Secure Digital/MMC card slot that is Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) compliant, paving the way for future SD card hardware upgrades.
--Brian Bennett
Want to know where to buy the HP iPaq Pocket PC H1910? Get more information at CNET Hardware
Want to know where to buy the HP iPaq Pocket PC H5450? Get more information at CNET Hardware