Archive for November, 2011
The 11.6” Samsung 900X1B, the 1KG sibling to the 13” 900X3A that we tested a while back, arrived today and I’ve had a solid afternoon of testing, and enjoying, this pre-Ultrabook. I won’t call it an Ultrabook alternative because just like the Apple MacBook Air it pre-dates the Ultrabook launch but uses the same design principles…and it’s just as good. With an 11.6” screen it obviously goes up against the Asus UX21 and Apple MacBook Air. Here are some first impressions, relatively detailed, that might help you raise or lower the 900X1B on your list.
Announcement: I’ll be sitting down in the studio to do some detailed review work on the Samsung 900X1B on Saturday 3rd Dec. You can tune in, ask questions and steer the testing on Saturday 3rd Dec at 2100 MEZ/CET (Your timezone details here.) I’ll be live for about 2 hours so please, drop in and join-in on Ultrabooknews.com/live . Follow @ultrabooknews on Twitter for reminders.
Acer’s Jim Wong has told media in Taiwan that Ultrabooks are on track and prices will fall, potentially to $499 in 2013.
Acer had planned to ship, that’s ship, 250000 to 300000 units of the Acer Aspire S3 this year and expect to achieve that target. It’s a slightly veiled shout of confidence to the media but even shipping a third of a million devices requires a lot of risk-taking and investment.
We love Ultrabooks but we also love the competition from other parts of the notebook industry. Lower prices, faster processors, bigger batteries, discreet graphics and other features give the consumer a choice and challenge the designers of future Ultrabooks. There are some devices that are closer (MacBook Air, Series 9) than others (DM1, SH771) but we can’t ignore them.
Available with Core i3 (1.3Ghz non-Turbo) and Core i5 (1.6Ghz, Turbo-enabled) the Samsung 900X1B (Series 9 range) is a stylish alternative to the ASUS UX21. It’s been around for a few months and in theory, it’s not an Intel Ultrabook but apart from slightly slower quick-boot and a missing TPM module (we are told) it’s an Ultrabook! Later this week we’ll be testing it and comparing it to our ASUS UX21 experiences.
I often refer to the Sandy Bridge platform as an HDR Computing platform that can span multiple mobile usage scenarios but how about adding that platform to a product that covers every angle in terms of hardware too? The Gigabyte T1132N might just be that device.
Forget Ultrabook looks but do think about flexibility and expandability.
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I think it’s going to take me a while to work out the reason why this rather akward and cumbersome looking docking solution port is being considered for Ultrabooks. A common docking standard could be a good move though.
We know already that the 2012 Ultrabook platform will include support for Thunderbolt and that it is going to make a great single-plug docking system given a Thunderbolt station or hub. Ok, the price of the Thunderbolt hub/station or a Thunderbolt monitor is going to be expensive to start with but that price will come down if it is well adopted which it look like it could be. In the meantime we’ll have HDMI to carry the digital a/v and if you want a mouse, the usb port making a maximum of two connectors.
The new solution shown via VR-Zone is a single package, dual connector solution for Thunderbolt and additional ports.
Along with three other models, the Core i7 variant of the Z830 has surfaced for order in the U.S, with a fingerprint reader but no 256GB SSD option yet.
Following previous announcements in Europe that appear to have held back the Core i7 version of the Toshiba Z830 [seen in testing results] from the shelves, it’s good to know it’s actually available in the U.S.with a max 6GB RAM. It’s dissapointing not to see a 256GB SSD storage option as that could have been a way round the relatively slow 128GB drive. Toshiba doesn’t, as far as we know, have a 256GB in their ‘value’ SSD range so it could have come from a faster family of SSDs. We’ll keep an eye out for that.
‘HDR mobile computing’ is how I would neatly define the Ultrabook category. These surprisingly powerful laptops can work as efficiently as a netbook and then when you need the power, kick-in cores, turbo and other special features to give you a truly all-round solution that includes video editing, gaming and care-free desktop-style working. The Asus UX21 is one of the lightest, smallest and yet, most powerful of the Ultrabooks, at least in the Core i7 1.8Ghz version we have here. We’re impressed with what’s inside and with its weight and style but there are a couple of potential showstoppers for some people. Read-on to find out more in our detailed multimedia review of the ASUS Zenbook UX21E. Thanks ASUS Germany for the review sample.
Thanks to everyone that joined in the live testing session yesterday evening. It was totally worth the effort because we uncovered a few more nuggets of information and a lot of data on gaming as well as confirming battery life and performance. The videos are embedded at the bottom of this article.
The bad news first. During the evening we experienced two power-downs on removing / inserting the power plug while we were in a game. It was an instant-off situation [see it on the live video here.]. Apparently others have experienced this too. I testing today, I experienced an instant shut-off while World Of Warcraft was loading (on battery mode.)
Update: Session is finished now. A report
will go up soon. is now available.
I think I’m right in saying that this is the first ever Ultrabook live review and Q&A. It happens tonight, here on Ultrabooknews.com/live
It starts at about 2100 GMT+1 (Berlin time. Your local time here)
We’ll be spending 2 hours (yes, it’s going to get detailed) testing the UX21 and we’ll include battery life testing, video video editing, gaming, web, usability and a whole lot more. There will be a chat session (already open at Ultrabooknews.com/live if you want to log in and start talking) and I’ll take general Ultrabook or UX21 questions and guidance from you. Some of the session (not all of it) will be recorded and posted tomorrow. You’ll need a flash-enabled browser and about 1mbps of bandwidth to join-in.
See you later. In the meantime, here’s a teaser and a bit of World of Warcraft on the UX21…