Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Acer Aspire AS5741Z-5433 Review
With a 15.6-inch screen, dual-core Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive, and running Windows 7 Home Premium, the Acer Aspire AS5741Z-5433 ($579.98 list, at Staples) has an impressive list of features for a budget laptop. In addition, its battery life and overall performance place it among the top tier in its category. All this earns it an Editors' Choice for budget laptops...

Monday, June 28, 2010

HP TouchSmart tm2t Review
Thanks to the Apple iPad, tablet computers are a concept recently discovered by countless consumers, but a contingent of die-hard road warriors and business-laptop users have been using them for years. And perhaps no one has been making tablets quite as long as Hewlett-Packard has, which is why HP is able to throw a few pleasant surprises into its newly revamped, configure-to-order TouchSmart tm2t line. Tablets in this line start at $829, and depending on how you configure yours, you can land decent battery life and switchable graphics. The biggest surprise, though, is that HP can put together a compelling ultraportable convertible tablet for less than $1,000—$919, in the case of the model we looked at...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HP Pavilion p6507c-b Review
With older technology under its hood and a relatively unchanged chassis design, the HP Pavilion p6507c-b ($599.99 list), available at Costco, isn't quite cutting-edge. But before you disregard it and move along to a more modern design with newer components, consider that the p6507c-b offers competitive performance with room for expansion. Factor in the bundled 20-inch HP monitor and HP Pavilion p6507c-b represents a decent entry level PC for the money...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dell Studio s7100-1060NBK Review
The Dell Studio s7100-1060NBK ($899.99 list) is a solid general-purpose desktop with strong overall performance. Available at Staples, the s7100-1060NBK's nearly-$900 price tag puts the system on the more-expensive end of the spectrum of the mostly budget-class desktops that Staples sells. But as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. The extra cash you'd plunk down for the s7100-1060NBK garners not only speedier performance, but also upgrade potential should your computing needs ever grow. The premium you'd pay now for the s7100-1060NBK might later be the difference between an inexpensive upgrade or needing to purchase a new system. The one thing the s7100-1060NBK won't give you is decent 3D gaming performance—but with the ability to upgrade the system, you could always pop in a more powerful graphics card...
HP G62-225nr Review
The HP G62-225nr ($579.98 list) is a mainstream, budget laptop that should serve the needs of a wide range of users—as long as speedy performance isn't a prerequisite. Available at Staples, there's actually not much to make the HP G62-225nr stand out from other 15.6-inch laptops; but that doesn't mean you should overlook it. Not only are you going to have a hard time beating its affordable price tag, but very good battery life and a smudge-resistant design should appeal to frequent travelers...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dell Inspiron iM501R-13230BK Review
With a sub-$600 price tag, the Dell Inspiron iM501R-13230BK ($599.99 list) would be a winning entry-level 15.6-inch laptop if it weren't for its lackluster performance. The iM501R-13230BK, available at Staples, has all the essentials that you should need from a mainstream laptop, including even a few extras such as a combination USB/eSATA port, great-sounding audio, and no pre-installed bloatware. But while its feature set is a boon at this low price, you can find similarly priced 15.6-inch laptops that offer noticeably faster performance...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sony VAIO VPC-EB13FX/BIC Review
There is no denying that the Sony VAIO VPC-EB13FX/BIX ($999.99 list) is a feature-packed, mainstream laptop that offers more than enough performance to satisfy most folks' needs from a sub-$1,000 machine with lots of entertainment potential. What Costco customer would pooh-pooh a Blu-ray drive, HDMI and eSATA ports, a 500GB hard drive, and even an ExpressCard/34 slot? But a laptop is more than the sum of its parts. Below-average battery life, no real 3D gaming performance to speak of, and a few design flaws, all detract from its appeal—especially when you can find the same feature set in another laptop that has better battery life and costs less...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Weekend Project: How to Set Up a Tech-Efficient Home Office
Our comprehensive, practical tech overhaul will put your home office miles ahead in efficiency and productivity.
Sometimes it’s by choice; sometimes it’s forced on you. But in increasing numbers, today’s knowledge workers are trading in corner offices and cubicles for the comfort and ease of working out of their own homes. If you’re one of them, you quickly learn a harsh truth, however: You are your own IT department. But whether you’re self-employed or working remotely for The Man (or The Woman), the right technologies can make you far more productive working from home than shoveling away on a cube farm...
HP Pavilion dm4t Review
HP’s goal for its new Pavilion dm4t series of thin-and-light laptops is to deliver a strong balance of performance, entertainment features, and long battery life in a lightweight, good-looking laptop. You’ll have to make some adjustments to the dm4t’s configure-to-order specifications to get a system that comes close to meeting this objective, but you need not venture too far from the base model's $729.99 starting price. The $904.99 model that we looked at delivers on many of these promises, though we still longed for a dedicated graphics chip to round out the entertainment image HP is going for...

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to Set Up a Virtual KVM
For many, the Windows-versus-Mac debate is a moot point. An increasing number of users who previously found themselves in one camp or the other now are firmly straddling the fence. For some it's purely a personal choice, having been swayed towards the Mac because of the iPhone Halo Effect, or perhaps enticed by an inexpensive Windows netbook. For others, their work demands that they use both platforms. The commonality between these users is that many of them try to cram two systems onto a desk that's barely big enough for one...