TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

Wii Fit auction ends at three times retail price

This Wii Fit auction on eBay today ended at $285.49. That’s over three times the retail price. Rumors are that stock is severely limited, Amazon is totally sold out at the moment.
Meanwhile eager Fitties were able to get a hands-on at today’s Central Park launch event (engadget).

Hope you’ve got yours on pre-order…

Neil Berman

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Gaming | | Leave a comment

Asus EEE 900 vs. HP Mini-Note 2133 mini review

It’s been just six months since the launch of the first Asus EEE PC and the sector has exploded. The original UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) name has been supplanted by Microsoft’s ULCPC (Ultra Low Cost PC), Intel’s MID (Mobile Internet Device) and various manufacturer led acronyms – MSI’s forthcoming Wind is actually an abbreviation of WiFi Network Device.

Screen sizes and storage space have increased, but in most cases so have price tags. Asus itself is a case in point, with its recently launched EEE PC 900 offering a nine inch screen and up to 20GB of onboard storage but a hefty $549 sticker price. The majority of the hardware on the inside is similar to the 701, but the increased screen real estate in a similarly sized package makes web browsing and general working more manageable.
Unfortunately the keyboard feels the same size as the original, which I struggle with after a few months of daily use. It’s fine for occasional emails etc but for more consistent work I make too many typos with it as my fingers sometimes land on two keys at once.

The screen seems a bit brighter than the 701 and fills the (slightly larger) lid nicely, with the webcam still preserved. Looks and build quality haven’t kept pace with the competition however, as we segway into the HP Mini-Note…
…which is one of the best looking laptops money can buy.

Powered by a range of VIA C7 processors up to 1.6GHz it sounds at first like it will outperform the EEE’s 900MHz Celeron, but user testimonies indicate that the Mini-Note often gets stuck in the slow lane.

When I tried it out running Vista it was actually pretty decent, loading apps quickly enough for general usage. In fact if you write a lot and have limited multimedia requirements, then the Mini-Note is a fair choice because the keyboard is absolutely awesome.

The keys are large, almost as large as a full size laptop, and I was able to type fluently from the get-go. The trackpad is responsive too and although the buttons are oddly placed on either side, this makes the pad’s area larger and is not a problem if you tap-to-click.

The looks, screen quality and overall usability beat the EEE and the whole thing seems better constructed too, if larger, whilst pricing is similar. The Mini-Note starts at $499 for a Linux build, compared to $549 for the Linux EEE 900. The top of the range Vista Mini-Note model sells for a not so appealing $749.

Unfortunately for both the EEE and Mini-Note, their respective Celeron and VIA processors have a tough time managing multimedia applications fluidly. This is forgiveably in the $299 EEE 2G, but less so in a unit costing around twice as much.

Overall the HP Mini-Note and Asus EEE 900 have strayed away from the original EEE ultra-low-cost concept and are competing with budget laptops but offering limited power. Of course these machines are all about portability but other models due out soon may offer a better balance…

Speaking of which, we will see MSI’s Intel Atom-powered Wind in June. With an 80GB hard drive, ten inch screen and rumored six hour battery life under Windows XP, I’d wait to check out the Wind before handing over the plastic on either the HP or Asus just yet.

Neil Berman

May 18, 2008 Posted by | Computing, Hardware, Mobile, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MacBook Air & iPod Touch Going Cheap

Want a MacBook Air but don’t fancy paying full whack? I just spotted it for $1,635 including shipping at Abe’s of Maine. That’s almost $200 off the sticker price. Looking at the forthcoming 6-hour-batteried, 10-inch-screened, Atom-powered MSI Wind, the MBA still looks overpriced…

Meanwhile I spotted the iPod Touch 16GB with current software going refurbished on Amazon’s Marketplace for $299. That’s $50 off Apple’s own refurbished price.

If you’ve been wanting to join the Apple faithful it seems like a good time to sign up!

Neil Berman

May 17, 2008 Posted by | Apple, Audio, Computing, Hardware, Mobile | | Leave a comment

Is everyone just buying iPhones now?

So at&t’s recent smartphone sale got me thinking “Is everyone just buying iPhones now?” A couple of weeks on, and a Fortune article rumors that at&t will be slashing the price of the worst-kept-secret-in-history-and-soon-to-be-released 3G iPhone by a mighty $200 suggests the answer is no. The whole smartphone sector is simply in a Great Depression.

Great news though for those in the market for smartphone. at&t’s recent sale offered the usually $299 Tilt for free on a new contract as a refurbished unit. Other free offerings included the ever popular Blackberry Pearl. With my contract ending soon, a free Tilt sounded good to me, but…

Why the price cutting? Media tales of impending economic doom are probably a factor, but beyond that the 2008 lineup of smartphone releases make current offerings seem like they should come free with breakfast cereals.

Apple, Samsung and smartphone superstar HTC are all expected to get fingers tapping on touch screens due in stores soon.

HTC’s eagerly awaited Diamond has now been announced and packs a VGA TouchFlo screen initially praised as an iPhone beater.

Their soon to follow Raphael will have similar internals adding a five row Qwerty keyboard, and replaces the current Tilt. Both feature a 2.8 inch screen and 528mhz processor.

Samsung announced its CDMA Glyde this week on Verizon. Reviews have been mixed so far.

After a quick Gotham 360 session at Samsung today, there were no real life units on display yet.

Finally Apple is heavily rumored to be prepping a 3G iPhone for release sometime in late June.

I guess the hordes waiting for a piece of soon-to-be-last-gen tech in Apple’s W14th St store recently weren’t quite as clued-in on forthcoming releases. The store was dry of iPhone stock, presumably remaining supply of the current model is dwindling as 3G unit shipments get prepared. Nevertheless the eager folk in the line remained steadfast in their bizarre quest. The Gizmodo conversation with store staff is entertaining.

Of course the fundamental iPhone problem is likely to remain: only Star Fleet academy graduates can type fast on glass, as Data et al have proved on so many occasions. So 3G or no, I still can’t see Apple eating up the Berry’s slice of the corporate market yet. In fact RIM are fighting back with their sleek new 9000

believed to be YouTube compatible., which has apparently already racked up mighty sales volumes of one unit on eBay. Crackberry has details.

Meanwhile finally coming out of its time warp, T-Mobile announced 3G service on May 1st in the US…for voice. Thanks for nothing. Rumors started coming out of NYC that there was data as well. Great, things are looking up. Looking at my TyTN expectantly to see at least a UMTS connection, I’m disappointed to find the Edge network instead. Turns out that T-Mobile are sending 3G data over 1700MHz and a non-standard offshoot of 2100MHz, which is a first. Basically you need a new T-Mobile phone with a radio tuned into exactly the right frequencies. Thanks for absolutely nothing!

Back to at&t and iPhone users can now apparently get WiFi access through the carrier’s hotspot network. Nice that a year after its release iPhone gets access to something that Blackjack, Q, Tilt etc customers have enjoyed for a long time already i.e. high speed data on the move. Well, I say ‘on the move’ but that’s only true if the iPhone moves within the confines of the hotspot.

So with the 3G iPhone just around the corner, 1.0 owners can show off their old skool model by standing outside Starbucks to get their iTunes downloads whilst the newbies walk on by. Only kidding, you know I’m just jealous!

Neil Berman

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Apple, Hardware, Mobile | , , , | Leave a comment


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