Thursday, June 21, 2012

Iomega StorCenter ix2 Network Storage Review
With the glut of network-attached storage (NAS) devices available today—many with nearly identical feature sets—from a host of reputable manufacturers, you could probably pick one blindfolded and still wind up with a unit that easily meets your needs. In recent years, this thick competition has put pressure on NAS-drive manufacturers to find ways to feature-stuff and differentiate their offerings to make them stand out from the crowd...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zotac Zbox ID80 Plus Review
Today’s high-definition TVs may be relatively “smart”—fitted out with built-in Wi-Fi and interactive Web apps—but they’re not ready to make the PC obsolete quite yet. If you want to use your TV for watching and listening to your own digital media collection, browsing the Web, and playing games, your best bet is to connect a home theater PC (HTPC) to your TV. An HTPC lets you take full advantage of the processing power, storage capacity, and graphics capabilities of an actual computer...

Monday, November 21, 2011


Notes From the Technoground: My Rough Road With the iBike iDash Cycling Computer
I tried to take the iBike iDash for a spin—really, I did! But I kept getting flats.
My Notes From The Technoground column is a guilty pleasure of mine. Essentially, I get to write about anything tech I want—within reason—as long as the topic is potentially interesting for ComputerShopper.com readers. It gives me the opportunity to play with cool products and technologies that might not otherwise come my way. "Cool," in theory. But sometimes, "cool" doesn’t always work out the way I planned. This last March, a nifty-sounding product, the iBike iDash CC, popped up on my radar screen. The iDash lets you use your iPhone or iPod Touch as a full-function cycling computer...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pandigital Nova Review
To be minimally good, a tablet must have three key attributes: access to one of two major mobile-app e-tailers (Apple, or the Android Market), a gorgeous screen, and the best touch interface possible. To be very good, it must also have long battery life, a sleek design, and exceptional media playback. Pandigital’s Nova has none of these things. The one thing it does have is a low price: $189. It could replace an e-reader, or get you into an Android tablet (if that’s the goal) for less than $200. If you’re still reading, enticed by the price, we’ll evaluate this tablet like any other. But be prepared to be underwhelmed...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kingston Wi-Drive Review
So, you've filled your iPad, iPhone, or Android device to the brim with movies and music, and you don't want to deal with streaming more media from "the cloud"? Then you're just whom several storage sellers are targeting with a new breed of devices. Essentially, these products are portable hard drives that stream media to your Android or Apple iOS device over a Wi-Fi connection. Some (though not all) of these drives have a rechargeable battery, so you need not worry about where the nearest power outlet is when streaming or transferring your files, making them ideal for road trips and long commutes...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Acer Iconia Tab A100 (8GB) Review
For most of 2011, tablets and the Android "Honeycomb" operating system have been buzzing around each together like, well, bees and honey. But the latest version of Android has not been seen on 7-inch-screened slates. Acer, though, broke the trend and paired it with the Iconia Tab A100. In theory, we like the idea, but we wish Acer had paid more attention to the hardware to create a desirable finished product. As is, the Iconia Tab A100 is not a bad tablet, but a tablet needs more than a smooth operator (err…operating) system to make it a winner here in 2011, considering the competition...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 Review
What a difference a year makes. Last year when we looked at the Lenovo IdeaPad Z360, we found it “a solid all-purpose thin-and-light laptop for the masses.” So when its newer sibling, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z370, arrived at our doorstep, we anticipated that we’d come to the same favorable conclusion as we did with the Z360, and we assumed we’d see faster performance, an updated design, and more features. But that’s not exactly what we found...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p 0266 (B8U) Ultrasmall Desktop Review
Not so long ago, if you wanted a compact business PC, you'd have to dial down your performance expectations and pay several hundred dollars extra for the convenience of saving a few inches of office space. But the Lenovo ThinkCentre M91p 0266 (B8U) Ultrasmall Desktop, a business PC that's not much bigger than a hardcover book, should convince office denizens and IT professionals that those days are in the past. While it is undoubtedly somewhat hampered by the limitations of its small stature—most notably, limited expandability—this PC hides some surprises under its hood, including a powerful processor and full-size desktop components rather than the smaller, generally pricier laptop components usually used in systems of this size...

Monday, August 15, 2011


Notes From the Technoground: Watching Movies on My iPad 2
Keeping my daughter happy on long road trips means turning my iPad 2 into a glorified movie player. Here's how I did it.
In my last column, I was giddy about acquiring my first Apple iPad, a Wi-Fi-connected iPad 2 with 16GB of storage. Not only was I over the moon with all the cool iPad apps and features, but I was also looking forward to sampling some of the innovative accessories available for it. Part two of this deepening relationship continues in this column (as well as a few more columns to come), as I take a few more iPad accessories for a test drive...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Gallery
The First 7-Inch Honeycomb Tablet
On the heels of the recent onslaught of 10.1-inch Honeycomb tablets (Android OS 3.x), the Acer Iconia Tab A100 is the very first 7-inch Honeycomb to make a public appearance. It’s also the first tablet we’ve seen to run the latest iteration of Honeycomb, Version 3.2. This version includes a number of incremental improvements to the Android OS. Perhaps most significant is a new set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that gives app developers more control over how their apps appear on different-size displays. This means that developers can now theoretically create a single version of their apps that will run on all Android devices (regardless of screen size) and no longer have to create separate versions of their apps optimized specifically for 10.1-inch tablets. The only problem is that the devices running these apps need to be using version 3.2 or higher of the Android OS...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 (32GB) Review
The Honeycomb-tablet market is rapidly evolving into an all-out swarm—and Lenovo is just one of the latest computer-system manufacturers to start buzzing around it. But not one to be outdone by its rivals, Lenovo is actually getting into tablets on several fronts, announcing three models: a Honeycomb (Android OS 3.1) tablet for general consumers, another Honeycomb tablet for business users, and a Windows version for those attached to their PC apps at the hip. The business-centric Android model is due out in late August, and the Windows version will make its debut sometime in the fall. The consumer tablet—the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1—just landed in our hands, and we put it through our rigorous tablet tests to see how it stacks up...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Notes From the Technoground: A Love Affair With the iPad 2 Begins
Not long after bringing an iPad 2 home, the iPad accessories start to roll in.
I've been looking at a lot of tablets these last few months. I've reviewed the Motorola Xoom, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and a smattering of other Android tablets. (I just got my hands on the Toshiba Thrive, too.) I've also spent some time with the BlackBerry PlayBook, the HP TouchPad, and even some Windows tablets. Curiously, the more hands-on time I spent with all these other tablets, though, the more I wanted an Apple iPad.
HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-slim PC (XZ788UT) Review
Don't let the look of this little box deceive you: The HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-slim PC might be small in stature, but it stands tall in functionality, performance, and manageability. Those are three things that businesses want to hear when outfitting an office or workgroup with workhorse PCs by the bunch—especially when all three come at a reasonable price. (Our test model rang up at $869.) A fourth factor comes into play with this model, too: It's a green machine. Too often, green concerns go out the window when they don't directly add to the bottom line—especially in tight economic times like we're seeing today. But the Compaq 8200 Elite includes a number of environmentally friendly features that can make eco-conscious employees and investors sit up and take notice. (Plus, they won't add to the cost of the PCs...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Toshiba Thrive 10 Tablet (32GB) Review
Gamble much? If so, you'll appreciate the risk Toshiba has taken with its Thrive 10 Tablet, the first Android tablet to offer full-size ports and a removable battery. Those additions come at the cost of size and weight, but in the increasingly crowded world of tablets, we welcome having a choice like this one. At first glance, the Thrive seemingly goes head-to-head with the strongest competitors, but on closer inspection, it fails to knock either of the top two consumer tablets off its perch. Nonetheless, you may deem the ports and battery flexibility of this tablet to be worthy trade-offs...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lenovo IdeaCentre K330-77273GU Review
Stylish, speedy, and expandable: These three words are a good way to sum up the Lenovo IdeaCentre K330-77273GU desktop. With a $999 price direct from Lenovo, it sports a combo Blu-ray reader/DVD±RW drive, a dedicated graphics card, and a modest, but mostly useful, collection of pre-installed software—with nary a piece of bloatware in sight. But tread carefully when browsing the K330-series marketing material on Lenovo's Web site and stickered onto the system. Pay special attention to those asterisks and footnotes, or you might be led to believe that the IdeaCentre K330-77273GU has capabilities beyond its actual abilities—at least right out of the box...