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PC

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UMID Mini-NetbookIn size its rival would be the Nintendo DS, but in function it can rival some decent laptops. With 1GB of RAM, a 1.3 mega-pixel webcam, a mini-USB port, wireless connectivity (WIMAX, WiBro, HSDPA), and a card reader, the UMID is a formidable netbook.  It probably would not be considered a netbook, though.  Like the IMOVIO iKIT handtop computer, it’s more of a mini-netbook.  You could almost call it a pocket-sized laptop.  It’s screen is 4.8", touch screen enabled, and runs at 1024×600 resolution.  The device is powered by Intel’s Atom processor @ 1.33 GHz. It packs quite a punch for such a small device. Some sources on the Internet claim the mini-netbook can support Linux, Windows XP, and even Windows Vista.

The casing looks great, even though there hasn’t been any word on the exact dimensions. It almost looks like the new PDAs or stylish cell phones, but a little bigger. It’s not available outside of Korea yet, but we’re just excited as everyone else. Pricing information should be available soon.
 

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ASUS G50V-A1 Gaming NotebookThe ASUS G50V-A1 is a new 15.4" gaming notebook to hit the market this holiday season.  The G50V-A1 is one of the best machines produced by ASUS performance-wise, but it has other issues that should be considered if your intention is to use the "gaming notebook" heavily for its intended purpose.

The notebook offers excellent performance powered with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, high-quality WSXGA+ screen, and numerous features that make the system stand out.  It is even bundled with useful accessories that do not normally come with a laptop, including a backpack and gaming mouse. The G50V is covered with a two-year warranty, and the first year includes accident damage coverage as well.  The ASUS G50V-A1 also comes with a recovery disk that can be useful in the case of emergency.

If the system was marketed as a business machine, we could stop there with an exceptional review.  However, while the laptop offers great stock performance, the G50V-A1’s over clocking and power management abilities didn’t fare so well. Even though the machine was nearly flawless during regular usage, it’s always a plus for it to perform during rigorous benchmark tests (WorldBench, Mobilemark, etc.). Another serious issue is that it lacks driver support for widescreen resolution (1440×900), which would come in handy. It runs perfectly in its normal resolution of 1680×1050, but having to step down to 1280×768 for a decent widescreen resolution is not a good look.

The G50V-A1 comes with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, with 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM. The notebook includes an 8X DVD-RW Super Multi drive, 8-in-1 memory card reader, built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam, and Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100AGN with built-in Bluetooth support.  Overall, the G50V is a quality gaming platform.  The design and numerous features are great. The graphics card it uses (the NVIDIA GeForce 9700 GT) is a bit of an undershot for ASUS since it’s quite underpowered for a gaming laptop.

The A1 can be purchased for a little under $1600, but it may be overpriced since the ASUS G50Vt-X1 can be purchased for $1,250. It’s a cheaper machine, but it has a Core 2 Duo processor, a 15.6" 1366×758 display, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS, which is simply a better graphics card for a gaming platform.

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Google Talk with Voice and VideoGoogle is always working to release new and effective Internet solutions.  Continuing in this tradition, Google’s Talk messenger application has recently been updated with video and voice capabilities.  The new release is not meant to be a contender to Skype, as it does not possess the ability to connect to the standard phone network or voice mail support.

The audio and video is high quality, though.  Since Google Talk’s video traffic goes through Google servers, it’s expected to be more consistent as far as the connection then Skype since Google has endless bandwidth and server space. If you’re using an older computer, the PC may suffer poor performance during usage since the application utilizes a lot of resources.  There are no such issues with any recent system, however.

Straying from the path of other video chat products, Google Voice and Video uses a proprietary plug-in instead of Flash. A miniscule download of 2MB supports Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google’s own Chrome on a PC as well as Firefox on a Mac.  Details have not yet been released on support for other platforms, such as Linux, but ports for them may come later. Google Video and Voice made its official public debut at midday on Tuesday, November 18th. Now that Google provides Voice and Video, users have access to a vast array of tools with one login, including email, voice, chat, and soon even SMS. If Google ties in Youtube and Google Docs better in the future, the Google account will be nearly unstoppable.

Google’s Voice and Video is quite simple to use.  When the option is available, a "Video & More" button is shown in the chat messaging window.  Once selected, the plug-in will be installed and immediately accessible for video calls with friends.

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Imovio iKit Mini Netbook ComputerWe’ve all seen small laptops, and we’ve also seen mini-laptops now referred to as netbooks.  Now let’s take a look at a mini-netbook!  IMOVIO has released the iKIT, a tiny pocket-sized netbook which dimensions are 9.5cm by 6.5cm and a petite 15.5mm high. The laptop is just as portable as modern-day cell phones. The device features a full QWERTY keyboard, is Wi-Fi enabled, has an 8GB SD card slot, a 2.8 inch QVGA display, and the capability to add a HSDPA dongle via the optional internal USB connection. Doing so makes the iKIT a reasonable alternative to a laptop. Another noteworthy feature is the access to multimedia and webcam with a press of a button using its dedicated hotkeys.

Dr Jack Torobin, CEO of IMOVIO, says “Many consumers can’t afford the latest smart phone or mini-PC gadget, while others simply can’t use or just don’t like the existing form factors. This means that large groups of people still don’t fully utilize mobile data. These users, mainly women and teens, still want to have the ability to send email, browse the web, and update their online profiles whilst they are out and about.”

Based on Linux 2.419 OS, IMOVI’s iKIT mini-netbook will cost around $170, which is quite reasonable compared to the prices of other similar gadgets. This item is well-positioned to be a hit this holiday season with the current economic client, if the general public is ready for the non-Windows machine.  However, it could have greatly benefited from better battery life and 3G connectivity.

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Road MiceFour Door Media has introduced a line of fully-functional wireless computer mice for PC and Mac that are designed to look like muscle cars.  Automobile models available include the Ford Mustang GT, Chevy Corvette, Dodge Charger, and Chevy Camaro. Each model features different colors and decals as well as headlights. The models are available for $44.95 each, and more models will be released soon.

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Hardcore Computer Reactor Custom PCHardcore Computer is a manufacturer of high-end custom computers.  Their latest offering is the Reactor model.  The system boasts the current most powerful components, including a Core 2 Extreme processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, up to three GeFoce GTX 280 GPUs, Creative Labs X-Fi audio, Wi-Fi antenna options, CMOS battery and BIOS reset switches, and much more.  However, what makes this system stand out the most from other custom computer options is the fact that all the heat-producing hardware components are completely immersed in a custom dielectric fluid (Core Coolant).  Similar in concept to the fish tank PC touted by Puget Custom Computers, the Reactor indeed houses the CPU, motherboard, video card, memory, and power supplies with the actual fluid.  The Hardcore Reactor approach is more advanced, long-lasting, and available to the general public.  Hardcore Computer claims this patented technique results in 10x the heat dispensation of the best water or air cooling solutions on the market.  Pricing for the Hardcore Reactor starts at $4,500, with components being fully customizable.

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CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XI Desktop SystemThe CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XI is a factory-overclocked gaming machine that boasts impressive specifications. The customized gaming system is based on Intel’s Core 2 Extreme platform and includes a 4GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 quad-core processor, 1600FSB and 4GB DDR3 RAM to match, dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB PCIe x16 video cards, two 500GB 7,200rpm hard drives or two 64GB SSDs, Blu-ray optical drive, and 7.1 channel audio.  The machine has a starting price of $4939, and is available for purchase online now.  Although most enthusiasts are waiting for the Core i7 (Nehalem) processors and corresponding motherboards to be released before buying a new system, if you’re looking to purchase a new system now, the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XI is certainly an attractive option.

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As we utilize more and more electronic devices in the digital home, controlling them becomes an important issue.  No one wants to keep up with or sort through a dozen different remotes for various devices in a home entertainment system and surrounding electronic equipment.  The Logitech Harmony Universal Remote Control is the perfect solution.  After reviewing numerous different remote control options and actually using Logitech Harmony remote controls for years, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Logitech Harmony remote control to anyone seeking a solution.  I prefer the 880 model’s buttons and additional display items, while others prefer the touch-screen and interface upgrades of the Harmony One.  However, both remotes use the same intelligent system, making either an excellent choice.

Both models support 15 or more devices.  The device database is extensive, and is perfect if you have lost a remote control or have a damaged remote.  Otherwise, you can also program a device from an existing remote control.  The setup wizards are intuitive and enable easy setup of devices.

One-touch operation is provided for operation, including turning on a device and any other component(s) that may be required to use it (such as turning on a TV also when playing a DVD).  Buttons can be customized for specific tasks.  Backlighting is provided for the buttons as well as the LCD display.  The remotes are also rechargeable via the charging station, with low battery notification available when in use.

The device compatibility for the Harmony remotes is incredible.  You can control a televisions, satellite or cable box, DVD player, video recorder, digital media player, TiVo or other PVR, game console, amplifier, stereo, or even a PC or home automation setup.  More than 5,000 brands and 225,000 devices are supported.

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Shuttle’s small form factor desktop PCs have maintained a similar, rectangular design for years.  The Shuttle D10 is no exception, other than the addition of a built-in 7-inch touch screen display! The D10 is Shuttle’s first computer that boasts an integrated 7-inch (800×480) LCD touchscreen display. The display can be used to view photos, movies, music, video, etc.  It was designed with surveillance and simple entertainment center functions in mind.

The Shuttle D10 offers the following Specifications:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E4000, Dual-Core E2000, and Celeron 400 series processor support
  • Intel G31 + ICH7 chipset
  • Up to 4GB RAM
  • Intel GMA 3100 video card
  • 5.1 channel audio support
  • Two 3.0Gb/s bandwidth SATA II controllers
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • Power efficiency and quiet operation

The Shuttle D10 will be available for approximately $475.

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The PC Remote Controller II is a computer remote control that also functions as a mouse for the PC.  It features four programmable buttons that can be used to open software applications, and operates such multimedia software as Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, KMPlayer, TTPlay, WinDVD, and PowerDVD.  The unit seems particularly well suited for handling media and presentations.  The PC Remote Controller II is now available for $21.

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