Notebooks, Tablets, Smartphones, Wearables And Gadgets

In-depth product reviews and news of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, wearable technologies and gadgets. We're now living in a contextually-aware computing world and mobile devices can not only help us enjoy the ride but create and capture new experiences as well.

We're inching closer to the end of an era. Now that Microsoft has acquired Nokia's mobile phone unit, we'll soon see Microsoft-branded handsets rolling out in place of Nokia's own hardware. The company has made a heroic attempt to fight the tide of Apple's growing popularity coupled with the surging share of Android, but currently, Windows Phone holds only around 5% of the global market in smartphones. By and large, the Lumia line has looked fairly uniform to date, relying on polycarbonate frames, bold colors and stand-out camera features to differentiate itself. The Lumia 925, despite being one of the final Lumias to ship with Nokia's branding, stands as one of the first in the range to truly... Read more...
Nokia's battle in the global smartphone race is an intriguing one, and those who follow technology have long wondered if the company's decision to hitch its wagon to Microsoft was a wise one. When Stephen Elop came in as CEO, Nokia was in a rare position: it could choose which platform it wanted to support for the foreseeable future. Of course, choosing Windows Phone was a polarizing choice. Android loyalists yearned to see Nokia hardware running Google's mobile OS, while early fans of Windows Phone were thrilled to have such a well-regarded hardware maker on-board. Over the past couple of years, Windows Phone as a whole has struggled to gain mass acceptance. Meanwhile, iOS and Android have... Read more...
NVIDIA made quite a splash at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show when they first unveiled their SHIELD portable gaming device. If you missed the original announcement, or the myriad of related posts we’ve put up about the device since then, SHIELD is a Tegra 4-based portable gaming machine that’s packing a 5-inch multi-touch screen, a console-grade game controller, and an unmolested version of Android Jelly Bean. NVIDIA SHIELD Portable Gaming Device In some respects NVIDIA’s SHIELD is simply a small Android tablet with a kick-ass game controller attached. But of course, NVIDIA has injected some of their own special sauce into SHIELD and is leveraging the huge... Read more...
Nokia has been trying hard to play catch-up in the smartphone race for a long time now, and as Microsoft's strategic partner with the Windows Phone operating system and ecosystem, they've got their work cut out for them, with a gridiron full of Android and iOS devices offering compelling and powerful solutions.  And so, Nokia, perhaps more-so than any other smartphone manufacturer in the game right now, needed to find a way to make something special. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, though it sports essentially the same internals and display as Nokia's Lumia 920, most definitely is different, and perhaps even a very attractive alternative, depending on your specific needs. 41 megapixels of resolution,... Read more...
Microsoft and its partners were pushing Windows Phone 8-based smartphones hard this holiday season. In a market that's already crowded with plenty of great Android and iOS options, Microsoft and its partners definitely have their work cut out for them. Given its touch-friendly features, unique UI, and personalization options though, Windows Phone 8 is getting a second look from a lot of people. If you're in the market for a new smartphone in the post-holiday season, you'll have a few Windows Phone 8 smartphone options to consider, including the new Lumia 810 which is exclusive to T-Mobile and the Lumia 820 which is exclusive to AT&T. These new Windows Phone 8 smartphones... Read more...
In a sense, it feels like Windows Phone 8 is Microsoft's first real foray into the smartphone space post Windows Mobile. Of course, Microsoft made a concerted effort with Windows Phone 7, but there's something vastly different about version 8. WP8 borrows from the underpinnings of Windows Phone 7, but there are so many differences in the operating system -- along with its incompatibility with WP7-class hardware -- that it feels like we're evaluating an entirely new product. And in reality, we are. Nokia's Lumia 920 is one of the first Windows Phone 8 products, along with HTC's 8X, in a holiday smartphone lineup that has become amazingly crowded. Microsoft is trying... Read more...
Windows Phone is only about a year and a half old in the market at this point but Nokia has a much longer lineage. In the past 12 months though, their two worlds have collided in a fashion that will have repercussions for quite some time to come, with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop firmly committed to focusing his company's turnaround on what Microsoft is cooking up in Redmond for handsets. It has been, and will continue to be, a long shot. Nokia's smartphone market share in America has eroded so severely that many consumers have assumed that Nokia has pulled out of this market entirely, ceding ground to Apple and the myriad companies that have backed Google's Android platform. But the... Read more...
Typically mobile graphics launches trail their desktop counterparts by a few months, as major GPU players like NVIDIA and AMD wring out power consumption and performance from their architectures in order to accommodate the tighter thermal and power budgets of notebook form factors. However, NVIDIA has obviously been refining their new Kepler GPU architecture into its various incarnations for while now, because the company is launching a dual salvo of production silicon for both mobile and desktop graphics markets today.  Of course the company has significant motivation for this, with Intel's Ivy Bridge mobile platform just around the corner, backed with DX11 class integrated graphics.... Read more...
For all but the most budget conscious buyers, piecing together a home brewed rig often entails forking over a premium for certain components, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. If you're a gamer, you probably bought a high-end graphics card (or at least that's what you should have done). Do you spend more time ripping videos than fragging your friends? Then chances are you allocated a bigger percentage of your budget to your CPU than on other parts. But for professional designers, graphic gurus, and anyone else who relies on pinpoint color accuracy, it's the monitor that matters most. That sub-$200 TN panel you spotted in the clearance bin at Walmart just isn't going to have the moxie... Read more...
Lately, it seems like Desktop Replacement notebooks don't get any respect, at least in our humble opinion.  The trend for thin and light mobile computing is massive these days, with good reason. However, there is a market and usage model for these beefier, significantly more robust machines the deliver the multimedia horsepower, gaming prowess and a general computing experience usually found in a desktop, but in a form factor that can easily be moved from room to room and a variety of environments. Take the use case of a Home Theater PC, for example.  Instead of an emaciated media streamer, current generation Desktop Replacement notebooks can connect to a stereo media receiver... Read more...
Ever since NVIDIA's original ION chipset proved it was possible to pair Intel's low-power Atom processor to a relatively powerful graphics core and attain acceptable multimedia performance, the market has been curious as to what NVIDIA's Ion 2 Next-Generation Ion product might offer. This has also been a topic of some discussion between Intel, NVIDIA, and the FTC. Because Intel's next-generation Atom platform is a system-on-chip (SoC), NVIDIA had to adjust its own plans for NG-Ion.     That's Ion on the left, NG-Ion on the right. Parse the diagram and you'll soon realize that NG-Ion is a discrete GPU, unlike its predecessor. Specifically, it looks to be a low-power, netbook... Read more...
A few years ago and again only recently, a select few notebooks hit the scene with "switchable graphics". That is to say, these notebooks are able to manually switch between low-power integrated graphics solutions in the notebook chipset, to more powerful, and higher-performing discrete graphics processors. To enthusiasts, power users, or even somewhat tech savvy consumers, switchable graphics seemed like a no compromise solution.  The IGP could be used to conserve battery life when multimedia performance wasn't necessary, while the discrete GPU was available for more demanding applications.In practice, however, notebooks with switchable graphics were somewhat cumbersome to use in the real... Read more...
NVIDIA invited members of the press to a briefing at the Las Vegas Hilton so that the company's fearless leader, Jen-Hsun Huang, could unveil their latest highly integrated mobile processor.  Dubbed only "the new Tegra processor," but known now as the Tegra 250, NVIDA's CEO spoke of their commitment to improving the mobile computing experience both functionally and visually.  With the connectivity of a smart phone but the portability and screen real-estate we all crave, NVIDIA's new frontier is unmistakably marked for the Tablet PC.Behold, NVIDIA's future... HD and 3D capable in the palm of your hand.. well, Jen-Hsun's anyway.Above Jen-Hsun holds an entire Tegra platform in the palm... Read more...
Consumer DSLRs with HD video capabilities are becoming more and more prevalent these days. As a result, manufacturers are constantly battling to find ways to differentiate themselves and their products from the others. Nikon's D5000 offers a few features that help set it apart from other options in the company's line as well as from the models offered by other manufacturers. Like many DSLRs today, the D5000 offers Live View mode. It also has HD movie recording capabilities with the ability to capture up to 720p HD video at 24fps. While some cameras such as the Canon EOS Rebel T1i focus on a large, high-resolution display on the back of the camera, Nikon has gone a slightly different route and... Read more...
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