Stories by Darren Gladstone

Intel's Core 2 Extreme mobile chips: a new speed king

How do you define "Extreme"? How about as a high-velocity, quad-core processor packed into a mobile platform? That's what Intel announced this afternoon at the Intel Developers Forum. Heretofore known as Core 2 Extreme, the cat (or chips) are now officially out of the bag.

Acer Aspire One mini-laptop

Asus, watch your back. Oh, sure, the Eee PCs are cheap and tiny, but they've got serious competition waiting in the wings. <a href="">Acer</a>'s Aspire One is priced as low as US$400 for the Linux version, but it weighs in with enough features to make me consider leaving my high-end portable on the sidelines.

HP TouchSmart IQ506 desktop PC

The Hewlett-Packard TouchSmart IQ506 may be worthy of the Jetsons' household. This all-in-one desktop PC is all screen--22 inches of 1650-by-1080-resolution display, with a laptop's guts hiding inside. Though the TouchSmart (US$1500 as of 6/25/08) isn't a powerhouse desktop machine meant to run graphics-intensive games or to crunch supercomputer-level data, it is a centerpiece system with a multitouch screen that makes you realize you're playing with a PC that's slightlyahead of its time.

Mid-year mini-laptops under scrutiny

A new breed of extremely small and light (just under one lkilo) laptop has emerged just in time for winter travel. Called mobile Internet devices (MIDs), and also known as mini-laptops, mini-notebooks, or mini-notes, these lightweight laptops are practically naked, stripped of all extraneous features. And starting at around US$400, they're far cheaper than other mobile PCs.

HTC Touch Dual smartphone

When HTC released the <a href=",141781/article.html">Touch</a> last year, Windows Mobile had an imperfect champion. It was no <a href=",545-page,1-bid,0/video.html">iPhone</a> killer, but it was certainly ready to put out a hit on Apple's handset. Ultimately, though we liked the HTC phone's first take, we found a couple of minor issues that kept it from scoring high. Enter the Touch Dual, a quad-band GSM phone that adds a slide-out keypad and other improvements on its predecessor.

Lenovo's Bright Idea: The IdeaPad U110

Business notebook maker, Lenovo, finally releases a laptop with some sex appeal. In fact, the supersvelte IdeaPad U110 is about as flashy as ultraportable PCs get. Somewhere between the fire engine red, laser-etched lid and rugged rubbery base coating of our review model, the U110 becomes a bonafide <a href=",143727/article.html">MacBook Air</a> rival.

Network storage for home and office

<a href=""> </a>Network-attached storage (NAS) used to be an arcane and pricey option for sharing files via a home or office network. But now, the latest drives are packed with tools that make adding a NAS device easy for anyone without a degree in information technology. That's good news for consumers: Networked homes are more and more common, and more and more devices can connect with computers and with network-attached storage (TiVos stream music, game consoles can read video files--the list goes on).

Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 laptop

Lenovo's <a href="">ThinkPad line</a> is synonymous with business class, but the company's newer IdeaPad series tries to fly coach. In fact, Lenovo's sub-US$1000 IdeaPad Y510 vaults into the upper reaches of our most recent all-purpose laptops chart, largely on the strength of its design smarts.

Fujitsu LifeBook A6120 laptop

The Fujitsu LifeBook A6120 is a good performer, carries a reasonable price tag, and comes with most of the features you'd expect from a well-rounded machine -- except good battery life.

First look: Nvidia 9800 GTX

<a href=""> </a>Nvidia launches yet another new graphics card Tuesday. Nope, this is not an April Fools joke. It was only a week or so back that Nvidia released its double-decker <a href=",143541/article.html">GeForce 9800 GX2</a> for the few who could afford a US$650 graphics card. That two-fer mashes two graphics processing units onto the same silicon. The 9800 GTX is the official one-GPU flavor and--as one might expect--it costs about half the price.

Ultralight laptops

The ultralight laptops in our roundup compete with Apple's MacBook Air (in dimensions, if not in style). While we admire the MacBook Air's form and the engineering achievement it presents, it isn't the only worthy ultralight laptop, and it may not be the most practical. In our tests it earned poor scores for performance and features.