Macworld Offers Full Review of Santa Rosa-Based MacBook Pro Laptops

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Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2007, 08:54
Category: Review

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Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops have been out for a few weeks now and, true to form, have become the tech maven’s objects of desire. Macworld’s Henry Norr recently sat down with the new laptops, the magazine putting them through their paces and discovering the better ends of Intel’s new Santa Rosa hardware architecture, which was used in the creation of the new units.
The review highlights the better points of the new laptops such as improved display technologies, brisk speeds, upgraded RAM capacities and improved frame rates on many games. Norr also brings up shortcomings such as slower frame rates than the previous generation of MacBook Pro on Unreal Tournament 2004, only modest gains on battery life improvement and current lack of PCMCIA and eSATA ports.
For the full review, click here.
If you’ve picked up one of the new MacBook Pros and have feedback about it, let us know.

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REVIEW: Future Sonics Atrio Earphones

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 11:02
Category: Review
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Like you, I’m an iPod lover.
I find that there are two main applications where I use my iPod with earphones: doing yard work or while working out at the gym. When I’m in my vehicle, I connect my iPod to an Alpine iDA-X001 head unit via a docking cable in the center console. When I’m at home my iPod is usually attached to one of a few speaker systems that I use.
That being said, I’ve been testing Atrio series (US$199) headphones from the gang at Future Sonics. You’ll recall that I’ve been a huge fan of their FS1s and especially their SoftWear custom fit sleeves, so expectations for the new ‘phones are high.
More than three years of R&D went into developing the Atrio and it shows in the sound quality. The tag line for the Atrios is “bigger sound at lower volume” and it’s true. The benefit with higher quality earphones is that they sound better at a lower volume than a cheaper earphone at a higher volume, which saves your hearing. You shouldn’t have to crank the volume all the way up to enjoy your music. It’s better to invest in a quality pair of earphones and listen to your music at a lower volume.
More after the jump…

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First Impressions: Apple TV

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 09:39
Category: Review

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With Apple TV mania at its zenith, PowerPage associate editor, Philadelphia PowerBook Users Group co-creator and Emmy award winning NFL videographer Rob Parker sped out to the King of Prussia Apple Store location to snag a unit.
Here are his first impressions:
I’m a gadget freak and I usually buy cool new stuff immediately after it becomes available. Apple TV is just this kind of toy. However, it has limitations that I decided I wasn’t willing to deal with. I did want to see one in the flesh though so I headed to the King of Prussia Apple Store to see what’s up.
The Hardware:
Apple TV is supremely thin and attractive. I personally would rather it be a little thicker and include a DVD player. While the Apple TV’s chipset and QuickTime itself is capable of 5.1 surround sound, the unit is currently not able to do it. Let’s hope for some improvements in version 2.0. The two store units on display were connected via HDMI to a pair of Sony 32-inch HD LCD Televisions. Both units were noticeably hot. And by that I mean that you could iron your boxers or make a nice panini between them. Where’s my spray starch?
Click the jump for the full story…

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Review: No Love for the iLuv

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Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 00:00
Category: Review

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As an iPod with Video owner, it doesn’t take long to realize that watching a full-length movie on that tiny screen just isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it draws attention from my kids’ friends (and mine too). And, in a pinch, it does the trick. But after a year with it, mainly what I’ve found is it’s simply an easier way to carry around movies and TV shows to watch someplace else (of course, besides a music player). Where I used to carry around 20+ DVDs, I now simply plug my iPod with Video into the video-in of most TVs (using Apple’s iPod AV cable – $19) and off I go. My kids love it, especially in the van using the built-in video player.
This past weekend, while shopping for myself for my big 4-0, I happened across the Sonic Impact SI5 at the Apple Store. Basically, the SI5 looks like a portable DVD player, but the iPod sits in a tray to play the movies. For $200 it plays the movies, but little else. So I went searching for other options when I came across the iLuv Portable iPod player AND DVD player.
I picked it up at Micro Center for under $150. I thought “what a great idea – a portable DVD player AND a large 7″ screen for my iPod.” I unpacked it, excitedly thinking I could get caught up on some last-season episodes of Lost before this season starts in February.
Click the jump for the full review…

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REVIEW: Micromat TechTool Protege

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Date: Monday, January 29th, 2007, 10:24
Category: Review

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Like many of you, I’ve done Macintosh support for years. In fact, I used to support several newspapers in Philadelphia and was the guy that arrived on site with two bags. One bag contained a bootable SCSI hard drive with the latest version of the Mac OS installed and every conceivable recovery, repair and diagnostic tool under the sun installed. The other bag contained my PowerBook and a selection of tools.
With this setup I could diagnose and fix most Mac problems on the spot, the problem was that it was heavy and, well, SCSI. Enough said. Today, I don’t do as much field support, but still carry a bootable Firewire hard drive and the original silk-screened Mac OS DVDs that came with my machine.
There’s a new tool that I’ve been using that has the potential to save me the hassle of carrying around that external hard drive: The TechTool Protege from Micromat.
Read more…

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Review: Newsfire

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Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 12:28
Category: Review

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They were talking about how RSS would change the world a few years back. Now it was actually time to download and use one for daily work.
Newsfire by David Watanabe is perhaps one of the best RSS readers available for both the novice and advanced user. Combining the better elements of a standard reader with a decidedly Mac interface, Newsfire catches the eye with a clear, focused appearance. Move the mouse over a story link and a nice highlighting feature helps further distinguish what you’re visually sorting through.
Hunting down RSS links has never been anyone’s idea of fun and Newsfire handles this in the background. Type in the basic web address for a site you want to follow up on and the program hunts down the necessary RSS subscription address information, then adds it to the list of sites to follow.
Not a bad feature in the least and Newsfire takes the technical work out of setting something useful up.
Click the jump for the full review…

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Review: Wrappers MacBook Sleeve

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Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007, 00:32
Category: Review

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When I picked up my new MacBook this past fall, there was a mix of joy and anticipation running through the air. My trusty iBook G4, which had been with me through thick and thin, had gone belly-up and as I opened the box for the MacBook, I both missed the iBook G4 and felt like I didn’t really deserve this beautiful new computer, even if the iBook G4′s logic board failed to recognize any hard drive installed in the unit and I needed a portable machine nonetheless.
As the weeks went by, I tried to keep the MacBook pristine. Never one to cover a laptop in protective and way-cool band stickers, the best I could do was keep the keyboard lining in place so the keys didn’t track up the screen and place the laptop in my old laptop bag where I hoped for the best. This worked to a certain extent, but a laptop bag contains everything else needed to get through a given day and little scratches began to appear around the top and bottom.
When Jason sent me a Wrappers review unit, I wasn’t sure what to think. The cover looked like a sock (my friends have called it a “MacBook cozy”), but felt padded and reassuring without being bulky.
Click the jump for the full review…

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Matias Now Selling USB 2.0 Keyboard

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Date: Wednesday, January 10th, 2007, 12:33
Category: Hardware

Canadian hardware firm Matias has released a keyboard with two USB 2.0 ports built into it as opposed to the standard USB 1.1 ports generally included with a keyboard.

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The keyboard ships in both black and white, is compatible with both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X and is available throughout retail electronics stores as well as online for $29.95.
If you have any comments or feedback about this, let us know.

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MWSF07: Other World Computing, Atrionix, Debut ModBook at Expo

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Date: Tuesday, January 9th, 2007, 19:41
Category: Hardware

San Francisco — Axiotron and Other World Computing have unveiled the long-anticipated ModBook, the first Macintosh laptop modified to use a tablet interface.

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The unit, which was created by Axiotron and is being distributed within the U.S. by Other World Computing is tentatively priced at $2,279 and ships as a do-it-yourself kit that adds a true pen input, 13.3″ widescreen LCD and optional Global Positioning System within a toughened satin chrome-plated magnesium casing.
For the full article as well as a picture gallery of the mobbed unveiling, check out the jump…

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17″ MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Wins in Macworld Review

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Date: Thursday, December 28th, 2006, 08:10
Category: Review

A full review over at Macworld News put the 17″ MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo laptop through its paces with Henry Norr liking what he found.
Apple’s 17″ laptops, long the lusted-after portable of choice, have been on the market for two years now and an overhaul was in the works. In this case, the company stuck to a classic design and included a 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, replacing the retired 2.16 GHz Intel Core duo processor, included a standard two gigabytes of RAM and beefed up the hard drive from 120 gigabytes to 160 gigabytes. Maximum RAM capacity has been raised from two gigabytes to three gigabytes, albeit with only two memory slots, raising the memory via a one gigabyte RAM chip and a two gigabyte RAM chip becomes an expensive proposition – about $575 through Apple and more through third party vendors.
The review is more than happy with the usual features on the laptop such as the beautiful screen, meaty ATI Radeon X1600 with 256 MB of VRAM, iSight, AirPort Exreme, BlueTooth, ExpressCard, gigabit Ethernet, DVI-out port, illuminated keyboard and MagSafe power adapter.
Norr and the Macworld Lab found the 17″ MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo to actually be a bit slower than its 15″ counterpart on some tasks such as unzipping an archive, running Unreal Tournament and some Photoshop CS2 tasks but performed speedily nonetheless and roundly beat the fastest PowerBook G4 laptops.
For the full review and details, click here.
If you’ve had any experiences, positive or negative, regarding your 17″ MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, let us know.

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