Tag Archive for netbooks

Dell mini 9 Netbook for $199 (Today Only)

Just a quickie notice today, that Dell is offering $50 off, today only, on the Dell mini 9 netbook. I know a lot of you want one, so here’s your chance to get one and save money, too! Offer good until midnight CST tonight.

One Day Only! Inspiron Mini 9 for only $199 after $50 off. Offer ends February 27, 2009.

Mini 9

Mini 9 in Obsidian Black

The base model for this price comes with the Ubuntu Linux operating system (version 8.04.1). Some people say, “Linux?! I don’t know Linux” which shouldn’t be an issue because many people get the netbook for Internet usage, and once you’re on the Internet the operating system doesn’t make much of a difference.

The base model also has an Obsidian Black finish (which can be changed to either Promise Pink [add $30 and Dell will donate $5.00 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure), Alpine White or Cherry Red [add $30], Stickers in Green, Black, or Blue, or The Muse in Purple or  Orange [either of the beforementioned for an added $50]. It also includes 1Yr Ltd Warranty and Mail-In Service, 512MB DDR2 RAM (Memory), 4GB Solid State Drive (no moving parts like the drive in your digital camera). It uses the Intel Atom Processor model N270 (technically that’s 1.6GHz clock speed, 533Mhz FSB (Front System Bus), and 512K cache memory space on the chip). The screen is a glossy 8.9 inch LED display (1024X600). Internet access is via a Wireless 802.11g Mini Card.



Available Upgrades

Some of the upgrades include 4 times the memory (2 GB) for $75 (that’s a good price), 4 different hard drive upgrades up to 64GB for $150, and a 250 GB external portable hard drive for $80 (another good deal), and last but not least an add-on integrated 1.3 MP webcam for $25.

Promise Pink (For the Cure)

Promise Pink (For the Cure)

Muse Orange

Muse Orange

Pico Projector No. 2: Optoma PK 101

Optoma PK101 Projector

Optoma PK101 Projector

Yesterday, I discussed the first of two pico-projectors to hit the market: The Dell M109S. Today I’ll discuss the second, the Optoma PK-101 PICO Pocket Projector which, coincidentally, became officially available yesterday. I’ve only been able to find it online at Amazon.com (pre-order) and eBay at this time. It sells for $399, $50 less than the Dell M109S, but don’t stop reading yet.

First off, these units aren’t meant to replace your large home video projectors. Home units, which are designed for lit room viewing, are much much brighter than these mini-projectors, but the home units aren’t exactly portable or easy to transport and setup. And you certaily won’t fit a home unit in your pocket or handbag. These mini pico-projectors are portable, and are very very easy to setup. The Optoma PK101 will fit in your pocket, and the Dell M109S will fit in a slightly larger pocket. (FYI, you may very well see a pico-projector in future cellphones and portable computers for projecting images on a wall or other light colored surface.)

Back to the PK 101 from Optoma

The PK 101 is much smaller and lighter than the Dell M109S. It’s just over half an inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 4 inches long. It weighs only 4 ounces — a third the weight of the M109S (13 ounces), but the PK101 is only a fifth as bright as the Dell unit.  The Optoma is rated at 11 lumens versus the M109S’s 50 lumens. (Current home theater units are rated at 1,000 to 2,500 lumens).

The PK101 runs on a battery, which lasts for 2 hours of usage. There is a second battery included which can be swapped when the first one dies. The Dell M109S runs on an AC adapter, and there is no battery option. The PK101 has a AC adapter, too. The lower lumens rating is probably intended to conserve the PK101’s battery life. Both units work best in a dimly lit or dark room.

The plus side for the PK101 is that it is supposed to include a cable for connecting it to your iPod, so you can project video and slideshows. The Dell M109S can also be connected to an iPod, but you’ll have to buy the connecting cable from Apple: Apple Composite AV Cable – Apple Store (U.S.). The cable costs $50.

About Connectivity

The PK101 connects to iPods and iPhones with its included bundled connection kit. It can also be connected to camcorders, DV-Cams, and Digital Cameras with their standard composite AV Outs with the PK101’s included composite cable. You can also connect it to DVD Players and other video players. The same holds true for the Dell M109S (Note: I mentioned earlier a special cable is needed from Apple to connect the M109S to a iPod or iPhone).

Dell M109S

Dell M109S

The Optoma PK101 isn’t configured for connecting to a laptop or computer. unless the computer itself as a special video output.

The Optoma PK101 is the more atractive of the two units with its sleek finish, though some have complained it is prone to showing fingerprints and smudges. The Dell M109S has a brighter and sharper image, but no battery option. For computer and video connectivity, I’d be prone to go with the M109S. If I were more interested in iPod video connectivity, I might be inclined to go with the Optoma PK101, though I could always get the Apple cable to connect to the M109S.

I think the three questions you need to ask yourself when decing on these two units are: Do I need an option to run on a battery, or will I usually have access to a power outlet? What will I connect to more: an iPod or a computer? Do I want to drop it in my pocket or carry it in a briefcase or bag?

Update (Mar. 31, 2009): Connect Optoma PK-101 to a MacBook Air

Apple Micro-DVI to Video Adapter

The Optoma PK 101 is designed to connect to devices that have composite video connections. The MacBook Air has a mini display port that can be used as follows:

  • DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
  • VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
  • Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter

This is according to the MacBook Air’s Technical Specifications web page.

According to a MacBook Air Developer Note from Jan. 18, 2008:

The MacBook Air ships with a micro-DVI to DVI adapter and a micro-DVI to VGA adapter. A micro-DVI to video adapter, which provides composite and S-video support, is sold separately.

The Apple Micro-DVI to Video Adapter (shown above right) is available from the Apple Store in the US and Canada for $19. Apple says, “The Micro-DVI to Video Adapter was designed specifically to fit the slim profile of MacBook Air. The adapter connects to the Micro-DVI port on your MacBook Air and provides both S-video and Composite video connectors so that you can view content from your computer on such devices as TVs, VCRs, or overhead projectors with S-Video or RCA (Composite) connectors.”




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Ultra-portable Presentations: The Dell M109S Projector

Dell and Optoma have each released an ultra-portable projector recently. Dell has the Dell M109S On-the-Go Projector and Optoma has the Pico PK-101. Today I’ll discuss the Dell M109S On-the-Go Projector.

Dell M109S

Dell M109S

The Dell M109S is an amazingly small projector. As you can see it truly fits in the palm of one’s hand with every dimension between 1-1/2 inch and 4-1/4 inches, and it’s weight is less than one pound (0.80 pounds to be exact).

This just-about-pocket-sized projector could be used to deliver business or ther presentations in small gorup or conference settings. College students could find it useful for course presentations. It could also be useful for travel for connections to portable DVD players, console game stations, or laptops for projecting videos, movies, or games. Update (12/16/08): If you purchase a $50 Apple Composite AV Cable – Apple Store (U.S.) you can attach it to your iPod and project video or slideshows onto a wall.

The M109S uses Texas Instruments DLP (Digital Light Projection) technology. DLP uses millions of tiny mirrors and reflectors that work in concert to create stunning colors and highly-accurate images. This same technology is being used in digital movie theatres and in home entertainment and theater systems.

Connecting the Dell M109S On-the-Go Projector is a breeze since its included multi-input cable lets you connect to notebooks, desktops, DVD players, gaming consoles and other video devices. So there’s no need to search for or carry a multitude of adapters.

For you techies who need to know the specs, here they are:

  • Ultra Portable – At 3.64″ x 4.12″ x 1.46″ and a mere 0.80 pounds, you’ll hardly notice it’s in your laptop case.
  • 858 x 600 SVGA Native Resolution – Displays up to 480,000 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
  • Contrast ratio: 800:1 typical (Full On/Full Off) – Projects clear images and easy-to-read text.
  • Long Projection Life – The M109S utilizes mercury-free LED light source of usage life up to 10,000 hours, helping to save money and reduce maintenance to a minimum as no replace of LED module light source is required.
  • Password Protection – Keep critical presentations safe and secure.
  • Green Machine – With the efficient, mercury-free LED technology, you can help protect the planet and your bottom line.

If you combine this with one of the ultra mobile, ultra portable netbooks like the Dell Inspiron mini 9 or the Asus Eee PC and you’ll have one of the most compact travelling presentations ever. You’ll dazzle your clients more than ever with your great presentation and your amazing projection system.


Netbook Offers (Dell and ClubMac)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Netbooks lately. Netbooks are small, compact, lightweight computers that are very handy for travellers who need to have a computer handy.  They are great if your primary interest is Internet access while travelling. Most netbooks have built in WiFi for wireless Internet access — great at Internet cafes such as Starbucks, Borders, and some Barnes and Noble bookstores, among others. They can also be tethered to a cellphone for Internet access, too.

Some will say, “Isn’t this a laptop?”

Netbooks are much smaller and much lighter than laptops, and tend to use Flash memory cards like your digital camera, so netbooks have fewer moving parts than laptops. Netbooks also have less storage space, but most come with online storage or USB capability for thumb drives.

My top recommendations for netbooks include the Asus Eee PC and the Dell Inspiron mini 9. These two machines are expected to be hot items on Black Friday. That’s three days from today.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Laptop Computer


Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Laptop Computer

Staring at $399 this version of the mini 9 comes with Windows® XP Home Edition (yes, XP, not Vista). It’s covered by a 1 year limited warranty with Mail-In Service. It has an adequate 1 GB of RAM (memory), 8 GB Solid State Drive (storage), an integrated 0.3M Pixel Webcam. The processor is an Intel® Atom Processor® N270 (1.6GHz/533Mhz FSB/512K cache). The hi-res LED screen measures 8.9 inches, and is backed by an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA). It also has a wireless 802.11g Mini Card, a long lasting 32WHr Battery, Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 8.1, Microsoft Works 9 without MS Word.

New orders can get a 3G upgrade for $125.

Click to take a better look, customize, and buy from Dell:
Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Laptop Computer

For you Linux OS fans out there, there is a $349 Ubuntu Unix version starting at $349:
Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Laptop Computer


Eee PC 901 12G – XP Home – Pearl White – Intel ATOM Processor

Also starting at $399 from ClubMac is the Asus Eee PC. It’s about the same as the mini 9, but it comes with 12 GB of storage plus 20 GB of online storage. Click to view and buy from Club Mac:
Eee PC 901 12G – XP Home – Pearl White – Intel ATOM Processor

Update: Watchout for netbooks using HDD (hard disk drives) versus SSD (solid-state drives). I prefer the SSD units because they have no moving parts and are more durable and more shock resistant than standard hard drive (HDD) technology. SSDs are smaller, and cost more, but their durability makes up for it. This is very important with a small portable computer which is more prone to shocks.




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New Computers for K-12, pt. 2

In yesterday’s post I started discussing some new ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) for K-12 students as many school districts across the nation attempt to increase access to computers and the research sources on the Internet. In 2003, the U>S> Census bureau revealed that 5% of high school juniors and seniors hadn’t used a computer, while 20% hadn’t used the Internet. (See the report)

Yesterday, I showed you two UMPCs: the Intel Classmate and the Asus Eee PC series. Today, I have two more computers which are being used in one-to-one computer ownersehip programs in school districts across the nation: the HP Mini-Notebook, and the Everex Cloudbook.

HP 2133 Mini-Notebook (www.hp.com, Product page)

Hewlett-Packard has 5 models in the UMPC line priced from $499 to $849.They weigh in at about 2.5 pounds and are just slightly more than an inch thick. The screens are 9 inches wide with a good sized keyboard, two USB ports; connections for microphone, headphone, and external monitor; with wired and wireless Internet (WiFi). Most models use a standard hard drive (moving parts), but the $499 model uses a Flash drive (no moving parts). The higher priced models are suitable for older students and non-students alike.HP Services includes a one-year standard parts and labor warranty, pick-up or carry-in, and toll-free 7 x 24 hardware technical phone support (depending on model). On-site service and warranty upgrades are also available.

  • Model KR922UT for $499: Linux operating system (OS) (instead of Windows), 4 GB storage, 512 MB RAM (memory) with digital camera.
  • Model KX868AT for $599: (Shown in video at right) Windows Vista Home Basic operating system (OS), 120 GB storage, 1 GB RAM (memory), integrated camera.
  • Model KR939UT for $729: Same as KX868AT above, but with Windows Vista Business OS (or downgrade to Windows XP Pro), and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Model KR945UT for $749: Same as above with slightly faster processor.
  • Model KR948UT for $789: Same as KR939UT, but with 2 GB of RAM (memory), and 160 GB hard drive (storage). Weight: 2.6 pounds.

HP 2133 (KX868) – $629
Click image for more info or to buy

HP 2133 (KX870) – $849
Click image for more info or to buy
Other models available direct from HP

Everex Cloudbook (www.everex.com)

The Cloudbook has a 7 inch screen, weighs only 2 pounds, has a 5 hour battery life for surfing the web, sending email, blogging, IM, Skype, and computing. Based on the latest gOS Rocket operating system, the ultra-mobile Everex PC comes with popular applications from Google, Mozilla, Skype, OpenOffice.org and more. Also 512MB RAM (memory), 30GB Hard Disk (storage), wired and wireless (WiFi) Internet, 2 USB ports, 4-in1 Media Card Reader, webcam, headphone/line-out and microphone/line-in connections, and stereo speaker. Price: $349 at Walmart.com.

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New Computers for K-12, pt. 1

A 2003 U.S. Census survey found that among school children, ages 3 to 17, 14% didn’t have computer access at home or at school, and similarly 44% didn’t have Internet access. Among students ages 15 to 17, 5% hadn’t used a computer, and 20% hadn’t used the Internet.


Since then, more schools have adopted one to one computing programs to provide each student with their own portable computer for use at home and school.

The computer of choice for function, portability, and low cost has been the “ultra-mobile pc” platform. Ultra-mobile PCs began appearing in 2006. These PCs are:

  • about the size of a large paperback book
  • smaller than the typical laptop
  • screens are 7 to 9 inches wide
  • weighs less than 3 pounds
  • shockproof to withstand drops and bumps

In January 2008, the third generation of ultra-mobile PCs began to appear. Many of these run on either Windows or Linux, have wireless Internet access, and word processing and spreadsheet applications (like Excel). Many sell for less than $390.

Intel Classmate
(www.classmatepc.com)

This computer is designed with students up to age 14 in mind. It has WiFi (wireless Internet), a water-resistant keyboard, a built in microphone, and an optional digital camera. It also has a special feature called “mesh networking” that allows it to connect to other Classmate PCs within 300 feet. This allows students to work together on projects and share information. Price: About $350. View photo gallery

Asus Eee PC (usa.asus.com)

Asus’s entry into the ultra-mobile PC market is available in 5 different models ranging from $300 to $550. This shock-proof device has a screen that measures 7 inches wide, and it is preloaded with either Windows or Linux, WiFi, 3 USB ports, built-in card reader, speakers, and microphone. Some models include a camera. Available in white, blue, black, pink, and green.

Linux models:

  • 2G Surf: 7 inch screen, wireless and wired Internet, 512 MB RAM (memory), 2 GB storage, weighs 2 pounds with battery.
  • 4G: Same as the 4G Surf below, plus a webcam.
  • 4G Surf: Same as 2G Surf with 4 GB storage.
  • PC 900: 8.9 inch screen, 1 GB RAM (memory), 20 GB storage, webcam, and weighs 2.18 pounds with battery.

Windows models include the PC 900, and the 4G with specifications as shown above.

Check back in the next few days for additional information and models in the ultra-mobile PC line. All the models discussed are ideal for school students. As always, comment or ask questions with the links below, and subscribe by email or RSS news feed.


Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, Black

Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, Black