Dell Upgrades Mini 10 to Atom N450

Thinking about picking up one of those Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbooks? Good news! The company has announced that the product line has been refreshed to include the new Intel Atom N450 processor (the newly announced Atom that previously went under the code name Pineview). The N450 clocks in at 1.66 GHz and incorporates a new integrated graphics processor.

The new CPU promises better performance and battery life - Dell claims about 9 1/2 hours using a 6-cell battery. You can further get the new Mini 10 with a standard (1024x600) or high res (1366x768) display, an optional TV tuner, optional mobile broadband and GPS, and a 160GB or 250GB hard drive. One disappointing note: it looks like the systems will still be limited to 1GB of DDR2-800 RAM.

The new integrated graphics processor may be a step up from the one Intel bundled with its previous netbook platform, but it's still not powerful enough to run most 3D games and it's lacking in video decoding capabilities. Dell will offer an optional Broadcom Crystal HD decoder option to enable smooth video playback, so you can watch those HD YouTube and Hulu videos without stuttering.

Read more »


Dazzboard Adds Support for Windows 7, Windows Mobile and Android Smartphones

Media-centric smartphone users, meet Dazzboard: An easy, lightweight and clean way to transfer media to your smartphone. Dazzboard runs on your browser, works with multiple phones and MP3 players (iPhones and iPods, of course, excluded) and is completely free. To get Dazzboard, you simply go to Dazzboard Web site, register for an account and then download the free browser plug-in. Also, make sure to check whether your browser and OS are covered by Dazzboard here. Dazzboard is still working on compatibility with Mac OS and there's no Linux support.

First, you have to connect your phone to your PC and set it as a mass storage device. Dazzboard explains how to do this with different phone models in their FAQ. Once you're set up, you'll be able to view and manage all of your phone's content on the Dazzboard homepage. You can also transfer files from your PC to your phone, including your entire iTunes library. The Dazzboard user interface is very clean and incredibly simple as it shows thumbnails of your photos or albums so you know exactly what you're going to transfer.

Dazzboard also lets you download content to your phone from your other social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube with the "Dazz me!" bookmarklet. It is a quick download and worth it if you upload photos to various accounts.

Read more »


Need Fast Web Access? Try Chromium OS on a Stick

We’ve all had those moments at an airport waiting room, hotel lobby or coffee shop when we just want to yank out our laptops, hop onto the Web, check our e-mail and get offline. Try that with a Windows notebook and you’re talking about a few minutes to boot up, and maybe even longer to shut down. Your plane could be gone by then.

The solution? Arm yourself with a USB flash drive loaded with Google’s new Chromium OS. Boot your notebook with that when you’re pressed for time and you’ll be on and off the Web in less than a minute each way. Don’t want to boot with Chromium right now? Just remove the USB drive before your next boot-up. Your Windows notebook will forget all about Chromium and boot up normally.

Read more »


The Carpal Tunnel Survival Guide

My index finger went completely numb. You could poke it and I wouldn't feel a thing. That was the flashing red neon sign telling me something was wrong. The culprit: laptops. My esteemed partner in crime, Patrick Miller, recently wrote about what bugs him about laptops. Now it's my turn, but I want to share a personal tale with you. Along the way, I'll tell you how to avoid the same mistakes I made.

Carpal Tunnel: A Loathe Story

Carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI--the bane of the modern computer user--hit home for me because I spent too much time using poorly placed touchpads and seriously scrunched keyboards. But I've gleaned a thing or two about ergonomics as a result. My misery is your chance to learn.

Read more »


All I Want for Xmas (Laptop Edition)

This week is as good a time as any--just before Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Consumerpocolypse Tuesday--to look back at a year's worth of laptops. In fact, we've got a huge laptop holiday gift guide feature that I encourage you to check out. In the meantime, though, I threw out an innocent-enough question to the Internets (Facebook, Twitter, TwitBook...whatever!) this past week: "What are you looking for in a new laptop?"

You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) some of the answers I got from folks. Here, in no particular order, is a sampling--with some of my snark thrown in for good measure. (Note: Messages from Twitter were expanded from 140-characterese.)

What Are You Looking for in a New Laptop?

Read more »


Samsung Omnia II Arrives Just in Time for Holidays

With the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 last month, we saw a variety of new smartphones showcasing the updated OS. But truthfully, none of them were exactly mind-blowing. Sure, the HTC Pure and Tilt 2 and others are solid phones, but none of them impressed us like the recent crop of Android phones. Windows Mobile fans may no longer have to feel left out: Verizon today announced the Omnia II, available December 2 for $200 with a two-year contract.

The candybar Omnia II sports a 3.7-inch WVGA AMOLED display. AMOLED is becoming the standard for Samsung's high-end smartphones and we were impressed by the quality on phones like the Samsung Moment and Behold II. There's no physical keyboard, however, so you'll have to rely on the virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype technology. Swype lets you type faster and easier with one continuous finger or stylus motion across the screen keyboard.

Predictably, Samsung's TouchWiz 2.0 interface runs over Windows Mobile 6.5. I have a love/hate relationship with TouchWiz 2.0. While the widget-based interface is intuitive and touch-friendly, it can be slow and feels a bit cluttered. I'm also not a fan of the 3D Cube menu, which we also saw on the Android-powered Behold II. It felt clunky and unnecessary.

Read more »


9 Things I Hate About Laptops

I'm a big man with big, goony hands. And if there's one thing I've learned from testing laptops for PC World, it's that a good keyboard and trackpad on a laptop is kind of like a toilet. You take it for granted until you're stuck with one that doesn't work so well. Read on for a list of keyboard-and-trackpad complaints, from yours truly and some of our readers.

The Page Up/Down--Arrow Key Turf War

Read more »