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Big Brother Eviction: Nokia N810 on order, 770 looking for a home…

Nokia’s third internet tablet hit the stores a few days ago and here it is, running Maemo Linux Internet Tablet 2008.

What does it look and feel like? In a word amazing. Ultra thin and extremely desirable.

The family which started with the 770 and then developed with the N800 now has a big brother in the shape of the N810. Big on features that is, but smaller on size. The N810 is the first in the series to get a super slick slip out keyboard. Yet it feels fantastic in the hand and thinner than its predecessors.

There is 2GB of internal storage and it will also accept Micro SDHC cards for serious memory expansion. GPS and mapping software also come as standard with an optional upgrade available to Waypoint in-car navigation.

The 4.1 inch screen is the same size as the 770 and N800 with an 800 x 480 resolution which allows a good view of web pages. The Mozilla browser has gone through significant updates since the 770 and is now Flash 9 compatible. As a rare feature, the screen is sunlight readable.

With plenty of storage potential, the N810 is multimedia friendly. Initial video tests showed bright and smooth flowing video with solid sound reproduction from the onboard speakers.

Like the N800 there is a built in camera for video calls using Gizmo. The N810 also comes with Skype but it does not seem at this point in time that the cam works for this yet.

And the word ‘yet’ is what this family is all about…These tablets run Linux, so the environment is really open to the user community to do whatever they want with it. Nokia is encouraging developers to build applications for the distro and now that the N810 has a keyboard, I’d expect to see plenty of releases over the coming months. The development forums are alive with excitement over the N810.

Mine is arriving tomorrow; the 770 has been evicted by its (not so) big brother. Watch this space for an N810 interview as soon as I get it into the diary room.

Neil Berman

Nov 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lift me up – at&t Tilt

This is the at&t Tilt, successor to the 8525. Also known as the HTC TyTN 2, the Tilt expands upon its predecessor’s already copious feature set by adding GPS, a 3 megapixel camera and a tilting screen.

See photos and read the latest CES cellphone news here
Get latest CES 2008 Laptop and UMPC news here

Bits on the inside have also changed, with an expansion to 256mb ROM and 128mb RAM. This is pretty sweet as oftentimes I find my TyTN running short of space having installed Skype, Google Maps, AvantGo and all manner of weird and wonderful Windows apps. The processor has also changed from a Samsung 400MHz to a Qualcomm running at the same speed. In general tests performance between the Tilt and my TyTN seemed similar. In fact when accessing web pages both models loaded pages in exactly the same time, even though the Tilt was on at&t’s UMTS network and the TyTN was on T-Mobile’s slower EDGE.
The tilting screen is a novel function which allows typing to be done on a desk surface similar to a laptop setup. Although the mechanism feels well made, it’s difficult to know how long the sliding and tilting mechanism would stand up to prolonged road warrior use. Having said that, I have had no problems with my TyTN’s slider as yet.

The screen itself appears to be brighter but marginally smaller than the original TyTN and less responsive to touch. I had difficulty getting it to respond to finger inputs unless I pressed hard, whereas my TyTN’s screen behaves perfectly. The keyboard has also undergone a minor makeover with a more textured feel to the keys.

I was unable to test the GPS but this feature will doubtless be very useful, as long as the mapping and searching software is well designed.

Overall this is evolution rather than revolution, with the changes pushing Tilt even further ahead of iPhone than the original TyTN was for most things except for web browsing and album art. So if you want to see your album art and surf the web on the move, you’re still better off with an iPhone.

For just about everything else in a smartphone, this is now even more convincing as a one-box solution.

See photos and read CES news about: Laptops & UMPCs, Home Entertainment, Media Players, Cellphones, Gaming and Trick Technologies.
To read all the CES 2008 articles, click here.

Nov 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

More EEE…

Who said beta testing isn’t glamorous?

Right hand side sports SD-HC reader compatible with cards up to 32GB, two USB ports and VGA out:

Left hand side houses ethernet, modem, a third USB and mic/line ports:

Small keys demand good aim. Trackpad familiar for laptop users:

Base and lid are super-thin:

Hands-on review coming soon…

Neil Berman

Nov 25, 2007 Posted by | Mobile | | 2 Comments

Germanii to the Rescue

Judging by comments on the BBC’s website many disappointed shoppers have been unable to find Wii stock in the UK.

In the US the Wii outsold the PS3 by 3 to 1 last quarter and Sony have now cut the basic PS3 down to $399 to create momentum. Due to high demand, many Wii sales in the UK are based around packages which include games, accessories and inevitably a hefty price tag. So UK buyers seem to have been looking to European neighbors for help…

If the comments on the BBC site are anything to go by then in Germany seems to be the place to buy a Wii if you’re a Brit in need. People have been reporting stock of basic models at a reasonable price. And so Mario’s machine rolls on.

It looks like Nintendo have played this one like a pro. A year since release and no price cut, amazing sales figures and contracts to supply to retirement homes. Who would have guessed it?

Click here for Wii vs Playstation analysis

Click here to read about the Wii Zapper

Neil Berman

Nov 25, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Asus EEE, Where Art Thou?

The Asus EEE PC is here. At under four hundred dollars, this is THE hottest property in IT right now.

With a proper stength Intel processor, the two pound ultraportable ships with Linux (Windows XP version apparently on the way), an integrated webcam and a solid state 4Gb hard drive for ultra-fast access times. Wifi, USB and an SD expansion slot are included.
There are also 8Gb and 2Gb hard drive versions in the range with 1Gb and 256Mb of RAM respectively. All models are Windows XP and Linux compatible and have a seven inch screen.
“Where can I get one of these must-buy miracles?” I hear you ask. Good question. They are such hot property that J&R sold out straight away, with no definite date for replacement stock. Watch this space for pics and a review as soon as I manage to get my hands on one!

Neil Berman

Nov 22, 2007 Posted by | Mobile | , | Leave a comment

When good hearing runs in the family: Grado vs Sennheiser headphones

Gone are the days when consumer audio meant tinny tunes and bashful bass. Today’s quality home and portable devices have decent outputs, high signal to noise ratios and good frequency balance. Even off-the-shelf cellphones can sound great. So how do we embrace the potential of these devices? Typically by embracing the generally poor ‘phones which come in their packaging. Time for an upgrade methinks…

Meet the families, Grado & Sennheiser

Grado is one of the most exclusive names in the audiophile community. Their headphones promote function over form with what I’d describe as a stunningly retro look, but not resulting from a modern marketing design. Grados have always looked this cool. We’re going to try out the SR80s and SR225s at $95 and $200 respectively.

Sennheiser meanwhile are more of a household name, with a multitude of cans across the price range. We’ll throw up the $200 HD595s against the SR225s and the $100 HD555s against the SR80s.

Who’s the Daddy – Grado SR225 vs Sennheieser HD595

The first thing you notice when picking up the SR225s is that they’re light. Every component reeks of quality construction but feels like it should be in the featherweight class. This bodes well for prolonged usage and true to first impressions the Grados always felt comfortable in use. The foam pads sit nicely around the ear but only partially block out ambient noise.

What you do hear is exceptionally focused stereo imaging, tight bass and great clarity across the frequency range. Compared to my similarly priced Beyer DT250s, they gave the impression of better separation, more solid presentation and warmth with only minor coloration.

Pick up the HD595s and initial impressions could not be more different. The Sennheisers are a large and modern design, which block out ambient sound effectively through snug fitting pads. Although they feel larger and heavier than the Grados, they still manage to sit comfortably on the head.

Switch on the sounds and excitement is the name of the game. The 595s sound BIG. With more midrange and wider bass than the Grados, the Sennheisers have an upfront sound which gets tiring. Frequencies which come out clearly on the Grados seem lost in the mix on these, but for listening to your favorite thumping track these will give you a smile.

Like father like son – Grado SR80 vs Sennheiser HD555

Experiment: Close your eyes, hold the SR80s in one hand and the SR225s in the other and guess which is which. The SR80s look and feel pretty much identical to their senior relation and that’s a good sign. Grado suggests that they’re functionally similar too, the main downgrades from the 225s being slightly less closely matched drivers, a different diaphragm and less sophisticated rear screen introducing coloration.

In real terms the SR80s are so good that the changes are barely noticeable. They exhibit the same solidity and warmth as the SR225s with minor degradation of stereo imaging and size of soundstage. In a quiet room this would be noticeable but with ambient noise present the perceived results from both models are pretty close.

Like the Grado family, the HD555s look and feel almost identical to their more expensive relative. The similarities end there however, with disappointing delivery and a less focused presentation. Compared to the 595s the soundstage is smaller with deficiencies in stereo imaging and a clear 100 dollars-worth of difference.

Sounds like teen spirit

The Grados really shone in this test and although the SR225s are amazing, for me the more junior member of the family is the wiser. At over 100 bucks less, the quality of the 225s is almost completely preserved in the 80s. Like father like son.

Neil Berman

Nov 13, 2007 Posted by | Audio, Reviews | , , , | Leave a comment


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