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Well, it’s Friday afternoon again, and time for your weekly dose of what’s going on in our labs. We’ve got a sleek, sexy new Sony laptop to look at and some further notes on the printer yield test that Labs Analyst Brian Neil has been toiling over for the past couple weeks. We’ll also find out why Lead Audio and Video Analyst Tim Gideon didn’t quite fall for the iLuv Multimedia System for the iPod.
Deets and pics after the break.
Lead Laptop Analyst Cisco Cheng’s been testing Sony’s newest TZ series ultraportable laptop, and it’s quite a looker. It has a flat Macbook-style raised keyboard, which as Cisco pointed out, is a Sony original design. The fun doesn’t stop there though; the TZ also sports a complete carbon fiber housing, a wafer-thin 11-inch backlit LED, and a built-in optical drive, all in a tiny package less than an inch thick and only 2.65 pounds. Sony even managed to integrate the EVDO antenna into that super-slim screen.
But not all is wine and roses with this little lappie. Cisco says that the processor is sluggish, and that’s not all.
“It’s an ultra-low voltage processor,” says Cisco, so performance isn’t the best. “On top of that, they put in a gig of RAM,” which isn’t really ideal for running Vista. “A lot of things are really slow on this laptop,” he says, “nothing that can’t be fixed with a RAM upgrade.”
But with a laptop that starts at $2,300, you don’t exactly want to think about upgrades before you even get it out of the box. Still, it’s got a snazzy design going for it. If you travel a lot and don’t do a ton of multimedia computing, this might be a good option, particularly if you like people ogling your gear. Sony claims a hefty 7.5 hours of battery life from this bad boy too, and if you have even more money to throw at it, a version with a 32GB solid state Flash hard drive is available. That’ll only set you back a grand more. For more Sony goodness (hopefully less expensive), be sure to check Brian Heater’s recap of the “Holiday in July” press event.
OK, enough with the sticker shock. Although he’d probably rather be fondling the Sony laptop, Labs Analyst Brian Neil is still toiling away on the printer yield test. With six printers going at once, he’s testing to make sure those ink cartridges we love to hate actually deliver the printed pages they claim. And things aren’t exactly going smoothly: One of the HP printers is giving him trouble.
“If you see any discrepancies, like these black streaks [on the pages from the HP printer], you have to stop it,” says Brian. He’s been running around between printers so much, he says he won’t have to go to the gym later. Brian’s headed into the home stretch though–this is the beginning of the third and final week of the yield test. Next week we’ll have some results, and hopefully Brian will have something less tedious to test.
Lead Audio and Video Analyst Tim Gideon’s checking out the Cowon iAudio7 media player, and despite its touted 60-hour battery life and ability to play XviD video on a tiny 1.3 inch screen, he doesn’t seem overly thrilled with it. He is still testing, though: Be sure to check PCMag.com in the coming week for his full review.
Unfortunately, Cowon isn’t the only company to disappoint Tim lately. “I finished the iLuv dock,” says Tim. “I don’t love the iLuv [iPod multimedia Bluetooth speaker] dock. I’m not really in a space right now where I’m reviewing products that I love, sadly.”
He says the iLuv dock tries to do too many things, and typical of most multifunction devices, it’s a jack of all trades, master of none. But for some multifunction devices that actually sing, be sure to hit up PCMag’s roundup of the Top 10 Coolest Combo Devices, written by the Weird Hunter herself, Jennifer DeLeo.
Last, Lead Mobile Phone Analyst Sacha Segan is working from home today after breaking his toe on his baby gate. He’d probably be safer in the labs, where there are plenty of dangling wires and precariously stacked gear but no hazardous child-safety devices. He’s working through the pain, though: With his foot propped on his desk, he’s searching for ten great iPhone apps. As soon as he finds them, they’ll be posted on PCMag.com.
That’s it for this week, folks. But after another seven days of tedious work and sizzling summer weather, I’ll be back to assuage your gadget needs and shine a flickering light on the goings on in our labs. It kind of makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? No? Well then, just remind yourself that the Simpsons Movie comes out next week, and Harry Potter madness is in full swing tonight. If neither of those events piques your interest, you might want to check your geek credentials and make sure you’re in the right place. In case you’re confused, this is Gearlog, not Math 020.
Post by Matt Safford
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