HP’s HDX18 desktop replacement reviewed: rocks those socks right off

It’s takes a — how do you say? — special type of person to get all jazzed about an 18-inch laptop, but given that there’s a solid chance you’re one of those folks, we figured it prudent to pass along PC World‘s review of HP’s beastly HDX18. Obviously designed with multimedia in mind and to possibly take the place of your desktop, this sucker performed satisfactorily in all the basic, everyday tasks as well as those media playing duties. It’s not meant for hardcore gamers, but you probably already knew that. Amazingly, the included battery lasted nearly three hours before petering out, which is pretty astounding for an 8.9-pound energy destroyer. At the end of the day, critics found enough to love to slap down a 90 out of 100 rating, noting that anyone crazy enough to want a “laptop” this big (save for FPS freaks) would likely find lots to love. In more ways than one.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Video Preview

For those who’ve been waiting to see what’s inside the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 box, look no further than this video preview. Just to recap, this Smartphone features a “528HMz processor with 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM with a hardware 3D graphics accelerator.” Video after the break. Click here for first picture in gallery.

The X1 is a quad-band GSM device with market-specific 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS. Despite the full QWERTY and larger display, the device is only slightly larger than HTC’s Touch Diamond. It’s metal casing adds to the hefty but solid feel, and the keyboard slide mechanism feels fantastic.

T-Mobile Samsung Behold Lightning Review

The Gadget: Samsung’s Behold, T-Mobile’s slice of touchscreen feature phone pie with a Korea-style five-megapixel camera and Sammy’s “innovative” TouchWiz UI.

The Price: $150 after the standard rebate and two-year contract

The Verdict: The Behold fills the hole in T-Mobile’s lineup for a not-quite-smart feature phone: It does a lot of the stuff a smartphone will do, like web browsing and email, just you know, not quite as capably as a real smartphone, or even as well as its cousin, the Instinct (even before it got better with its most recent round of updates). The web browser is bleh for anything but mobile sites since T-Mobile does you the favor of translating pages, which tends to butcher more complicated ones, and the email client won’t do standard IMAP or POP. The IM client is slow, though not terrible, but either way, you can’t really install your own apps to rectify the situation.

So what’s good? The touchscreen is one more of the responsive ones that Samsung has put out, a hair better than the Instinct, and the keyboard layout is pretty good too, though I wish the space bar was bigger. The TouchWiz UI is attractive and easy to use, even if it’s only skin deep—once you go past the widget-y “desktop,” you’re dumped into a more generic, though not exactly ugly, cellphone UI.

The 5MP camera, though not miraculous, is better than most of the ones in these kinds of phones by a long shot, with satisfactory noise levels and a decent suite of basic photo editing that’ll let you adjust fundamentals like contrast and color, crop or add crazy effects. I wish the flash were a little stronger and the autofocus were a little faster, though.

Overall, it’s what you’d expect out of a feature phone—it’ll do a lot of things, just none of them amazingly. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, for the money, I’d go with a G1—it lacks polish in some places, and the hardware isn’t nearly as tight as the Behold’s, but you’ll get more out of it.

Scosche Passport FireWire-to-USB iPod adapter gets reviewed

Okay, so this adapter doesn’t directly convert a FireWire 400 socket into a USB port, but for all intents and purposes here, it does as much. You see, Scosche’s Passport was designed to channel the energy from older FireWire-based iPod charging gear into the USB prongs that the newer iPhone / iPods only accept. Macworld was able to get ahold of one for review, and in testing, it found that everything worked well when toying with new iPods, and while it was designed specifically for in-car applications, critics found that it even worked (albeit inelegantly) with dock-cradle accessories. Was it worth $30? Absolutely, so long as you’d rather burn $30 than replace that mess of wires you’ve got behind the dashboard (and you would).



Dell’s Core i7-powered XPS 730x reviewed: potent and pricey, like it should be

Whenever Intel (or AMD, for that matter) drops a wicked quick new chip, everyone knows it ain’t gonna be cheap. Critics over at Computer Shopper would like to remind you to keep that in mind as you scope out Dell’s Core i7-powered XPS 730x, ’cause the thing sports a price tag that’s rather absurd. Dollars and cents aside, the machine is about as powerful as one could hope, offering enough muscle to churn through the most demanding of games. The biggest issue these reviewers had was that many other capable Core i7 rigs could put up similar FPS numbers for substantially less dough, and in the end, it didn’t find the flash in Dell’s enclosure to be worth the surcharge. Granted, that didn’t stop the beast from snagging an 8.1 out of 10 on the review scale, but that’s probably assuming you’ve got the disposable income lying around and ready to burn.


BlackBerry Storm review

By now most of us have heard this story in one fashion or another: when Steve Jobs and Apple were in the planning stages of the iPhone, the first carrier they brought the device to America’s largest network, Verizon. Even if you haven’t heard how the tale ends — Verizon refused and Jobs took his multi-billion dollar ball to AT&T — you surely know the outcome. The iPhone has soared to become the ultimate smartphone, the must-have accessory that everyone from celebrities to your mom wants — nay, needs — to have in their pocket. It’s changed the landscape of modern cellphones, put a serious dent in the sales of competing devices (just recently overtaking the venerable RAZR as the best-selling domestic handset), and unquestionably raised the bar when it comes to expectations for features in new handsets.

It may seem unfair to open up the review of RIM’s latest BlackBerry — the Storm — with a history lesson on the iPhone, but if you understand the market which Verizon and RIM hope to capture, then you understand the Storm, and it helps put this critique in perspective. The Storm, a widescreen, touchscreen, device boasts many of the same features as the iPhone, but adds innovations like a clickable display, and comes packed with RIM’s legendary email and messaging services. Mainlined into the biggest (and some say best) network in the States, the Storm is an almost deafening blast to the competition at first glance, but does it hold up on closer inspection? Read on to find out.

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