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Car Connection, your auto shopping resource

thecarconnectionI’ve been shopping for a new car lately. Nothing fancy. I’m mostly practical when it comes to cars. (Don’t mention the new Ford Mustangs, or I will become decidedly impractical). During my web focused car search I came across The Car Connection.

The Car Connection has proven to be a great resource for my car shopping needs. Their reviewers provide full bodies reviews and ratings for just about any car you can think of … or at least as many as this practical shoppr could think of.  The reviews provided sizeable articles on a wide range of makes and models both new and old. So it’s useful even if you’re in the market for a used car.

In addition to the well-written articles, they provide detailed specifications and pricing for each make and model covered, along with a 10 point rating system regarding Styling, Performance, Comfort and Quality, Safety, and Features.

2009-audi-q7-premium-plus_100167859_mLet’s say you’re in the market for a 2009 Audi Q7.  This model has information gathered by 8 on-site reviewers, plus an additional 38 reviews and comments from guests of the site who also provide their opinions on the Audi Q7. They also had information regarding some of the popular equipment packages for the Q7, along with links and summaries of other reviews around the web.

ford_100171131_mForgoing the Mustang for the time being I looked into the 2009 Ford Taurus. Right across the top was an umissable rating of 8.4 out of 10 which was further broken down into the aforementioned categories. Beneath the headline were easy to find links to jump to the portions of the reviews that dealt with those criteria.

Maybe you don’t know exactly which car, truck or mini-van you’re looking for.  Not a problem. The Car Connection has menus and links for narrowing down the type of vehicle you’re looking for based upon a wide range of details. You can search by price, body type, number of doors, sports, luxury, practical (wink wink) or economical.

I also liked the fact that they provided links to auto insurance companies, and that they quite readily referred me to other reputable car review sites. They also provided information regarding financing a car purchase, and links and search tools for classified ads from private owners and auto dealerships are thousands of other web sites.

honda_100173423_mSo whether you’re in the market for a Honda Fit or maybe your business needs a new fleet of mini vans, I think you’ll find The Car Connection to be a worthy and reliable first look location. I’ve found it to be a very professional, personable, and resourceful informational auto shopping site.

Dell’s Mini-Desktop: The Studio Hybrid

Dell's Studio Hybrid mini-desktop

Dell's Studio Hybrid mini-desktop

Reports are flying about a new mini-desktop to be launched by Dell as early as August 2008, or later this year. The PC in question: The Studio Hybrid (shown at right). (Update: The Hybrid was released on July 29, 2008)

PC World, among others, reports that the PC is 80% smaller than a mini-tower — comparable to the Mac mini or HP’s Slimline s3500 mini-desktops. Furthermore, the Studio Hybrid uses 70% less power. Engadget displays some fuzzy photos of a candy apple red Studio Hybrid, as opposed to the darker colored model shown here.

Mac mini ($449)

Various articles have mentioned a hidden page on the Dell web site with pictures of the Studio Hybrid, but no one provides a link to said page. I conducted a search for the mini at Dell’s site, and while it surfaced in the results, a single click brought me to “The page you have requested may no longer exist on Dell.com“. (Update: The Hybrid is now listed on Dell’s home page and other pages, too.)

More on the Minis

Well… size-wise they measure around 12 inches square or smaller, and 4 inches thick or thinner. The Mac mini, which has been available for 3 years as of this week is about 6.5 inches square and 2 inches thick/tall. Hewlett-Packard’s Slimline series is about 12 by 12 by 4 inches in size. It, too, has been available for three years now.

HP Slimline ($599)

The mini desktops are practical for shoppers who want a small unobtrusive computer without the mobility and expense of a laptop. Other minis, like the Studio Hybrid, are powered by Intel Core 2 Duo or similar processors, have 2 to 4 GB of RAM (memory), spacious hard drives with 120 to 500 GB of file storage, and DVD or Blu-ray. The Mac mini has the least of these features (1 GB RAM and a 120 GB or less hard drive.) The Studio Hybrid isn’t the first small computer offered by Dell, as they also have the popular and well-received iMac competitor, the all-in-one Dell XPS One which starts at $1,299.

Update: The Studio Hybrid is available in six colors and bamboo with exchangeable sleeves.

Update: See a promotional email I received from Dell regarding the Studio Hybrid line

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