Category Archives: Review

More Essential Travel Gear

If I could only bring two things with me when I travel, it would be the iPod touch and Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC3 QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones.

The Audio Technica ATH-ANC3 ear buds does a great job at canceling 80% of the ambient noise around you. As for the other 20%, whatever you’re listening to should take care of that. I brought these along with my trip to China. They dramatically cut down the engine noise on the plane while producing great sound quality. Best of all, it’s not that expensive.

The Details:

The unit comes with a carrying case, 0.5 meter extension cable, airplane audio adapter, and different size ear cups. The airplane adapter comes in handy for viewing in-flight movies without having to use the sucky supplied headphones. The unit is powered by one AAA battery and is good for about 40 hours of use. The control/battery unit has an on/off switch and a monitor button. When pressed and held down, the monitor button will bypass the noise cancellation if you need to. That is a nice feature for me when I needed to talk to a flight attendant.

The Form Factor:

They’re ear buds. You don’t have to carry these ginormous headphones to get get great audio quality. I used to carry around a set of Sennheiser HD280. They were big, clunky, and took up too much room. I love how the Audio Technica were so easy to pack and carry.

The Price:

Believe it or not, these are about $60. They are well worth the money for what they do and how well they pack. Of course, here’s an Amazon.com product link.

Travel Gear: Apple Ipod Touch 32GB 3G

I love it when a gadget does more than just one thing.  This is especially nice and important when traveling.  When I’m traveling, I’m looking to pack light while getting all my needs met.  For me, I’m turned to the Apple iPod Touch for my upcoming trip to China.  When people hear iPod, they think music player.  Yes, the it can do that, but it can do a lot more.

Apple iPod Touch 32GB 3G

I needed something that can surf the web and do emails without the bulk of a laptop.  Sure, I could bring my netbook, but that’s 4 pounds of extra weight in my backpack.  In addition, the iPod also takes notes, keeps time in multiple time zones, tracks my itinerary, and more.  Oh yes, it also plays music and video for the long plane ride.

I’m not an Apple fan, but I have to admit it when they make a good product.  I wished it had a camera.  There are rumors that the next iPod Touch will have a camera.

I call it the Swiss Army Knife of gadgets.

You can pick his up at Amazon.com for about $270 + Free Shipping.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector Review

belkin-mini-surge-protector

If you know a road warrior or are one, you need to consider adding the Belkin Mini Surge Protector to your road gear.  Most of my gadgets recharge with a usb plug.  I’m always trying to cut down on all the AC adapters I bring with me.  With the Belkin Mini Surge Protector, I can just carry it and a usb cable.

belkin-mini-surge-protector-usb-ports

Ever waited at an airport while searching for more than one outlet?  It seems that I always need to charge my laptop and my phone at the same time.  Now I can.  Oh, the surge protection is nice too.  You can’t be too sure what kind of outlets you’ll encounter in the wild.

belkin-mini-surge-protector-front

belkin-mini-surge-protector-plug

The Belkin Mini Surge Protector also makes a good present too.  At around $20, it cost you an arm and a leg to get your geek a present.

Amazon.com currently has the Belkin Mini Surge Protector for a little under $20.  Click here to go to the product page.

12 Inch Netbooks – Samsung NC20 vs. Acer Aspire One 751H

There’s so many netbooks out there that I can’t keep up with it anymore.  It seems like with every passing day, somebody has a new netbook out.  I’m focusing on 12 inch netbooks today.  Yes, you can get a 12 inch notebook, but depending on your needs, you might not need a full notebook.

I’ll cover the Samsung NC20 and the Acer Aspire One 751h series.  The Acer isn’t exactly a 12 inch model, but 11.6″ is  close enough.

Samsung NC20

Samsung NC20

  • VIA Nano U2250 (1.3+ GHz)
  • On board graphic processor with shared memory
  • 12.1″ WXGA Screen 1280 x 800
  • 1GB Memory
  • 160 GB Hard drive
  • Built-in 1.3 Megapixel Web cam
  • 802.11b/g wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • 3 USB ports
  • SD Card Slot
  • 6 Cell Battery
  • 3.3 lbs.
  • Windows XP Home

Amazon.com Price $499

Acer Aspire One 751h

Acer Aspire One 751H

  • Intel Atom Z520 (1.33 GHz)
  • 11.6″ WXGA Screen 1366 x 768
  • Intel GMA 500 Graphic processor with shared memory
  • 1 or 2 GB memory
  • 160 or 250 GB Hard drive
  • Built-in web cam
  • 802.11b/g wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • 3 USB ports
  • SD Card Slot
  • 6 Cell Battery
  • 2.97 lbs.
  • Windows XP or Vista

Amazon.com $399 with the lower options with XP.

Update:  Looks like Amazon just removed the XP model from their site.  However, newegg.com has it in stock.

Newegg.com $350 with the lower options with XP.

Amazon.com $380 + Free Shipping with the higher options with Vista.

With the Acer, I highly suggest you get the XP model because netbooks are just not strong enough to run Vista.  On that note, some full size notebooks are not strong enough to run Vista.  My desktop with an Intel Q9650 Quad core didn’t like Vista.  Bottom line, don’t get Vista.  I’m not sure what manufacturers are thinking when they put Vista on a netbook.  Sure, it’ll run, but you don’t power for anything else.

Of these two netbooks, the Acer is the slower model.  The Atom Z520 is newer than the standard Atom N270/N280, but the N-series CPU has more power.  Between the Samsung NC20 and the Acer Aspire One, the Samsung NC20 with the VIA Nano CPU is faster.  However, both models still struggle to play HD video.  Don’t even think about playing high quality Youtube videos.

The Samsung is more expensive than the Acer.  But for the extra $100, the NC20 offer a better a build quality.  My major complaints with most netbooks is that it feels like a toy.  These two netbooks are not full desktop or notebook replacements.  Instead, they are good for light duty office tasks and light internet use while mobile.  If you rely heavily on your computer for work or play, it’s best to get something with more power and a dedicated graphic option.

Apricorn DriveWire – USB to SATA adapter

If you own a computer without an optical drive or have many internal hard drives gathering dust, the Apricorn DriveWire might just be the little tool you need.

It’s basically an adapter for all your internal drives, IDE and SATA, and converts them to connect via USB.  Power comes from an external power brick with a molex adapter.

It costs about the same as a good external enclosure and much easier to use.  Everything is straight forward with no complicated drivers to install.  I think the hardest thing about this adapter is to be really careful when using the Sata connection.  If feels like you can snap it off if you bend the connection while connecting or disconnecting from a drive.

What you’ll also get in the box is a CD with an imaging program.  Basically it’s a re-branded copy of Acronis True Image.  Before I forget, you also get the standard USB cable.  You can never have enough USB cables.  🙂

If you own a netbook, you need this little gadget.  Why?  I used this to clone the hard drive when I swapped to the Western Digital Scorpio Black drive.  I also used it to clone my hard drive prior to the swap.  Yes, I reformatted again and went with an image of the old drive.

Now, I use the Apricorn DriveWire to connecto to a DVD writer whenever I need to burn something out or install something from a disc.

It’s about $40.  You can pick it up at Amazon.com of course.  Click here for the product link.

Review: Circity City Closing and Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

I couldn’t resist scavenging the remains of Circuit City.  Everything in the store is now 30 to 50% off.  That’s pretty good for electronics and computer accessories.  I wouldn’t recommend buying high ticket items like flat screen TVs or computers/laptops.  The reason is that all sales are final.  A busted 46 inch LCD TV is probably going be more hassle to deal.  In my opinion, it’s not worth the extra 10% off the marked up price.

There nothing worth while left.  95% of the laptops are gone.  All the good digitial cameras are gone.  My friend told me he picked up a Canon G10 for $350.  That’s not a bad price for the G10 that normally retails close to $500.

I didn’t mind walking out of the store emptied handed.  However, out of the corner of my eye, buried under some  laptop cases, I found 5 Logitech G5 Laser Mouse in perfect condition.  Of course, there was no price.  This was the mouse I was looking at to replace my very old Microsoft Basic wireless mouse.  This was rated as teh best gaming mouse.  A clerk told me it was $35.99.  A quick check at Newegg on my Blackberry confirmed that this was the best price.  Newegg is currently selling this sucker at $49.99, or Amazon $47.99.

The Logitech G5 is a great mouse.  I’ve been a fan of Logitech for a long time.  I absolutely love the Logitech VX Revolution Notebook Mouse.  The G5 has some features not commonly found on your average mouse.

At first, you’ll notice the black and blue pattern reminiscent of cracked skin with a blue background.  It has commons buttons that you’re used to:  right click, left click, scroll wheel, left right scroll tilt, 2 thumb buttons (back and forward), and 2 buttons that changes the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly.  The last two buttons are located behind the scroll wheel.  You can toggle the sensitivity of the mouse up and down between 400, 800, and 2000 dpi.  It’s very accurate and precise.  The USB cord is wraped like a nylon cord.  It’s more sturdy and stiff.

The last part of this mouse is that you can adjust the weight of the mouse to fit your preference.  The mouse comes with a weight try and 16 circular weights, 8 4.5g and 8 1.7g in a nice tin box.  You have to start using the mouse in order to figure out what your preference will be.  Here are a few unboxing pictures.

Logitech G5 Laser Mouse
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

New Product: Western Digital TV HD Media Player

I’m a big fan of media players because I watch a lot of Anime.  No, I don’t like to dress up as my favorite characters.  Anime to me is like a good sitcom or primetime TV.  Anyways, I always want to watch my anime on the big LCD TV instead of my computer monitor.  I have a Pioneer DVD player that can play files on a USB drive.  However, it cannot play high resolution files.

Finally, Western Digital has a solution.  Meet the Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player.

WD TV HD Media Player Box

Here’s how it works.  You connect this Media Player to your TV via HDMI cable.  Then you connect a USB drive or portable hard drive like a Western Digital Passport drive to the media player.  The WD TV HD then plays your high-def video or anime on your big screen LCD TV.

WD TV HD Media Player

This makes it really easy to get your media on your TV.  You can also share your pictures on the media player too.  This makes the perfect Christmas present for the geek in your life that has everything.  It’s only $120 with Free Shipping at Buy.com.

WD TV HD Media PlayerWD TV HD Media Player

Review – Canon SD880 IS

After using the Canon SD880IS, I have to say that I am extremely impressed by this digital camera. My previous camera was a Canon SD600.  It’s very capable and took great pictures, but didn’t impress me.  It was felt too small and light in my hand.  The other reason is that it didn’t have an image stabalization system.  I have really shakey hands.

Canon SD880IS Digital Camera

Of course, with most modern Canon models, Image stabalization comes standard like power windows in a new car.  The size of the Canon SD880IS feels right too.  It’s significantly bigger than the SD600 while only weighing slightly more.  The large 3 inch LCD is about the size of my old SD600.

The SD880IS has all the controls located on the right side of the camera.  The send picture to printer button can be reassigned to something else, i.e. LCD off.  There are very few manual controls, but that is to be expected in a point and shoot.  If are an avid photographer and want full manual controls, I would suggest getting a digital SLR, the Nikon D90 or the Canon XSI.  But as far as point and shoots go, the Canon SD880IS is at the top of the list as far as features and perforamnce.  The breath-taking 3 inch LCD is the biggest feature people will notice first.  With such a big LCD, there’s no room for a viewfinder, but who uses a viewfinder on a digital camera anyways.  Okay, the viewfinder has a place for when the battery is running low and the LCD goes off.  As far as I can tell, the battery life on the SD880 is pretty good.  I’ve taken over 300 shots on one charge and still going.

Canon SD880 IS Box Content

Normally, Canon like to have a switch to toggle between camera, video, and play mode.  The SD880IS is a little different.  The switch toggles between camera, scan, and video mode.  There is a dedicated play button to review all your pictures.  The addition of a scroll wheel is a nice to scroll through all your pictures in a hurry.

Picture quality is outstanding.  I wouldn’t expect anything less in that department.  The SD880IS has the brand new DIGIC 4 processor, 4X optical zoom, capable of widescreen photos, and much more.  The icing on the cake for me is that it’s made in Japan.  It’s very rare to have electronics made in Japan now.

Now for the cons, if you can even call it that.  There’s only one thing that I can fault the SD880 and that is the LCD.  It’s large, which is good.  But a large LCD can get scratched really easily.  But a simple fix would be to get a screen protector at your local Wal-Mart or Target.  The screen is supposedly coated with a tough anti-scratch material, but I’m not will to test that out.

Currently $260 with Free Shipping at Amazon with free 4GB Kingston SD Card.

I recommend it.  Click here to go the Amazon Product Page.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Hot Keys

I cannot believe that I have not mention the Eee PC’s hot keys.  There are four Hot Keys to adjust the backlight, change the resolution, adjust the “Super Hybrid Engine”, and Skype.

Asus Eee PC 1000H Hot Keys

I have the backlight setting at the dimmest to maximize battery life.  So that button rarely gets used.  If you use the button to change the resolution on the Eee PC, everything looks ugly.  It stretches the display to 1024×768.  I prefer the native resolution at 1024×600, so that button is rarely used.  I removed Skype from the system because I don’t use Skype.  This is very handy if you are a Skype user.

So now that leaves the “Super Hybrid Engine” button.  This button is a little more interesting.  It toggles between Eco mode, High Performance mode, and Super Performance mode.

In Eco mode, the Atom process is throttled back to 1.2 GHz to save and extended the life of your battery.  The lag is hardly noticeable when running single applications and doing simple tasks.  In my experience, I only ran into a little lag with watching videos online (YouTube).

In High Performance mode, the CPU is running at the normal 1.6 GHz.  The performance increase is noticible when multi-tasking.  I normally shift into this mode when using Works, Firefox, and listening to music.

In Super Performance mode, the Atom CPU is overclocked to 1.8 GHz.  There is no lag in this mode and applications launch almost instantly.  I only recommend using this mode if you are plugged into a socket.  Battery life dramatically goes down in this mode.  The little system fan is constantly running to help cool the CPU under load.

The hot keys are really easy to forget, but their function is tremendously convenient.  I would play around and customize your Eee PC 1000H to fit your needs.

Top 5 Reasons to Get an Asus Eee PC 1000H

It’s been a couple of weeks of owning the Asus Eee PC 1000H and I have nothing but good things to say.

Here’s 5 reasons to own this little netbook.

1.  Bigger Keyboard and Screen is awesome and usable compared to the first Eee PC.

2.  6 hours of computing from the 6 cell battery.

3.  Intel Atom CPU runs quiet, cool, and zippy.  Diablo 2 is no problem.

4.  Easy upgrade.  Memory, hard drive, and wireless card is all located on the bottom panel.

5.  Multi-touch trackpad.  Use two fingers to scroll.

No cons yet.

Essential Free Software for your PC Part 1.

1.  Mozilla Firefox.

Popmonkeys Free Software

Internet Explorer is the default web browser installed on every Windows machine.  I hate it.  I don’t use it at all because it has so many security issues and it’s slow.  Instead, Mozilla Firefox 3 is a great free alternative to IE.  It has security issues too, but far less than IE.  It’s also faster when surfing the web.

Get Firefox

2.  Comodo Firewall

Popmonkeys Free Software

Firewalls are another essential security software you must have.  It acts like a bouncer between your computer and everyone else on the internet.  Infected machines often have viruses or worms that need to go online.  A firewall can prevent them from dialing their mother ship as well as stop the mother ship from dialing in.  Comodo is a great free firewall that is relative small and light compared to Zone Alarm.  Sure, Windows has a “built-in” firewall, but again, I don’t like it.

Get Comodo Free Firewall

3.  AVG – Anti Virus

Popmonkeys Free Software

Continuing the security theme, you will also need some sort of anti-virus program scanning and looking out for your computer.  There’s always Norton, but that’s so old and bulky.  It completely takes over your system.  If you have installed it, try uninstalling it.  You’ll have a difficult time removing it completely.  Instead, try the free Anti-virus program from AVG.  You get basic virus protection as well as email scan, link scan and other useful features for, that’s right, free.

Get AVG

4.  CD Burner XP

Popmonkeys Free Software

Does your new PC come with one of those fancy shmancy DVD burners?  It should.  It’s standard and if you didn’t get one, go back and demand it.  Well, for those that have them, what program do you use to create your CD/DVDs?  Well CD Burner XP is a nice lightweight program that can tackle disc creation like those other programs you have to purchase.

Get CD Burner XP

5.  Spyware Blaster

Now that you have all that security software and Firefox configured the way you like it, you might want to check out Spyware Blaster.  Basically it prevents spyware from installing on your machine from a malcious website you might have visited.  Of course, there are many options available to you when you’re talking about spyware.  Other than Spyware Blaster, you might want to look into Lavasoft Adaware (Download.com Link) and Spybot Search and Destroy.  Of course, these 3 options are free.

Get Spyware Blaster

More Free Software later.

Creative Zen 8GB – Ipod Alternative

If you’re like me, I’m not an iPod Fan.  I’m not sure what it is, but I always look elsewhere for my portable audio needs.  I also don’t like how the iPod goes obsolete so quickly.  There’s a new iPod every couple of months.

So I always turn to Creative to deliver functional players with outstanding sound quality.  Meet the Creative Zen.

Creative Zen Portable Audio Player

Pros:

  • Thin and Lightweight
  • Built in FM Turner
  • 30 hour audio playback
  • SDHC expandable Memory Slot
  • Video Playback
  • Photo viewer

Cons:

  • Dust and fingerprint magnet
  • No included case

These come in 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32GB varieties.  Prices range from $70 for the 2GB to over $200 for the 32GB model.  The 8 GB is my recommendation for most people.  You can always add a cheap SDHC card if you need more space.  The 8GB is currently $115 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com.

Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y510

I never had the intention of reviewing the IdeaPad from Lenovo.   Reason is that I would always recommend a ThinkPad.  When I met my college buddy for lunch today, he was carrying one of these around.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y510

Specs:

Intel Pentium Dual Core T2390 (1.86GHz)
3GB DDR2 Memory
160GB Hard drive
DL DVD Burner
15.4″ WXGA Screen (1280×800)
6.4 lbs.
4 hours battery life
Wifi, 10/100 LAN, 56K Modem
6-in-1 Card reader
Windows Vista Home Premium

Price at Newegg.com is $599.99 after $50 Mail in Rebate (Expire 10/2008), with Free Shipping.  You really can’t beat this price for such a quality laptop.  It definitely has more style than the more conservative and business-like ThinkPad.

This particular laptop is good for light use.  The processor is on the slow side but is more than adequate for web browsing, emailing, Microsoft Office, and other light use.  Don’t expect to edit photos on this machine.  You’ll need something with more power.

For $799.99 after $100 Mail in rebate and free shipping, you get the exact same notebook with a Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 (2.0 GHz) CPU, 250 GB Hard Drive, .  This has more muscle for all your picture and video needs.  The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510-5132U is available here.

-Monkey

Laptops for Students

When I was in school, not too long ago, laptops were pretty expensive.   They were huge, heavy, didn’t last more than 3 hours.  I also hear from many people that their laptopsare not durable.  Most say the life of their laptops is about 1 year…maybe 2.  That’s why I buy business laptops.

Pros

  • The build quality is better.  It has to stand all that traveling and abuse.
  • The warranty is usually longer than consumer laptops.
  • You won’t need a new one in a couple of years.

Cons

  • They more expensive.  But it’ll last longer.
  • They not very visually appealing.  It’s a computer, not an accessory.

Here are 3 recommendations for three different students.

1.   Take notes, surf the web, emails, writing papers, music, youtube, and very portable 9 inch screen.

The Asus Eee 901 will do the job.  It’s just about $550 everywhere.  Click here to get Free Shipping on this product from Buy.com.

2.  I want the same thing as #1 but a little faster with a bigger screen.

I recommend the Lenovo Thinkpad X61s.  It has a 12.1 inch screen and the Lenovo Thinkpad legendary build quality. This cost $1,165.99.  It more expensive but will last a while.  My 4 year old Thinkpad is still my daily computer.  Click here to get Free Shipping on this laptop at Buy.com

3.  I want to play games on my computer.

To me, gaming on a laptop is the toughest thing you can do to a laptop.  To play games, the computer has to work very hard.  The Acer TravelMate 5720-6370 has an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 HT Video Card.  This will cost you $1,315 and Free Shipping at Buy.com.  The downside of this system is that it will get hot and the battery won’t last longer than 3 hours.

acer-travelmate-5270-6370

MSI Wind

The MSI Wind is no where in sight.  A lucky few already had their’s shipped.  However, for the rest of us, we have to wait because it is not available at major retailers.  But I think waiting may be the better option at this point.  The current units are being shipped with a 3-cell battery.  The new Intel Atom CPU consumes less power, but with the puny 3-cell battery, you’re looking at 3 hours of up time.

I would wait a month for the unit to ship with the 6-cell battery, good for at least 5 hours of up time.

Features:

  • 10″ WSVGA LCD 1024×600 (LED Backlight)
  • Intel Atom N270 CPU 1.6 GHz
  • Intel GMA950 Integrated Graphics
  • 1 GB DDR2 667 MHz memory
  • 80GB Hard Drive 2.5″ SATA
  • 10/100 LAN & Built in 802.11b/g WLAN & Bluetooth
  • 4 in 1 Card Reader
  • 1.3 MP Webcam
  • 3 USB 2.0 Ports
  • 1 VGA port
  • 1 Mic in, 1 Headphone out
  • 10.23″(L) x 7.08″(D) x 0.748″~1.24″(H)

-Monkey

Gadget Review Part 2: Asus Eee PC

I’ve been using an Asus Eee PC 4G for a few months now.  I originally bought it to be a companion PC for my work laptop.  I don’t like to mix business and personal.

Right off the bat, I complained about the tiny keyboard.  I have fat fingers.  Then there’s the tiny screen, 7 inches.  It’s hard to view web pages at 800×480 resolution.  Everything involved scrolling on the tiny track pad.  But it served its purpose.  It was small, lightweight, and handled the job of basic computing.

So what now?  I’m tired of squinting to read the screen.  I’m tired of mashing 3 tiny keys under my finger.  I think I’ll be upgrading to the MSI Wind.  After all, I got my economic stimulus rebate and I have to spend it right?  More about the MSI Wind later.

-Monkey

Gadget Review: Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle is a good gadget for geeks that love to read.  You can even get RSS feeds on this through the built-in Wireless EVDO network.  Oh, here’s the kicker, you don’t have to pay for the connection.  The Kindle comes with the service straight out of the box courtesy of Amazon.  If you’re a die hard geek and want to spurlge, this is the gadget for you.

Pros:

  • Lightweight means very portable
  • Clear text
  • Carry your whole library with you without the bulk
  • Built in connectivity – Shop for books right on the Kindle
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • It cost $369
  • You still have to pay for the books (about $10 each)

Click here to check out the Kindle at Amazon.com

-Monkey

Best External Hard Drive

How to choose the best external hard drive for you. Click on the picture to go to the product page on Buy.com.

Basic

If you just need more storage, a simple drive is for you.
I recommend the Western Digital 500GB My Book drive. I have one of these personally.
Western Digital 500GB My Book Essential II USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

It features a USB 2.0 port and no fuss set up.  $108 and Free Shipping

Intermediate

If you are an intermediate user that works with large images and need to connect via FireWire, USB, or eSATA, than this drive is for you.
Western Digital 750GB My Book Home Edition - Triple Interface (USB 2.0, eSATA & FireWire 400) External Hard Drive

It features 3 types of connections, eSATA, USB 2.0, and Firewire.   $170 and Free Shipping

Advance

If you have media or files you want to share with other computers in the house, than the Buffalo LinkStation is for you.
Buffalo 750GB LinkStation Live Multimedia Storage Server - 7200 RPM, SATA, DLNA Certified - Network Hard Drive

This drive features 2 USB ports and a network port. The drive connects to your network like any computer, most likely through a free port on your router. Any file on the drive can be shared to any computer on the network. It’s that simple.

I really trust Buffalo drives. I have one as my main back up drive.  $222 and Free Shipping

Buy a new Laptop

I own many computers. I like computers. So when it’s time to buy a computer, my family and friends ask me. I always ask two questions: What is your budget and what will you do with it?

If people ask me which laptop they should buy, I normally don’t recommend the Eee because Linux is not right for everyone.

Honestly, you can go really far for $600, about the price of the 9 inch Eee PC. I would definitely take a look at Toshiba in that price range. You can get an Intel dual core processor with at least 1 GB of memory. You’ll definitely get a 15.4 inch wide screen display. If you want to splurge, get an entry level Apple Macbook for about $1100. Software will be more expensive.

If you’re looking for something lightweight, look for a laptop with a screen size of 14.1 inches or less. It will be a little more expensive due to the miniature size.

Again, the Eee PC and all it’s competitors might be a little too under-powered if you’re looking for a regular laptop.

If you are just looking to do email, browse the web, type up a light document, the Asus EEE PC 900 might be right for you. It’s runs Windows XP, 8.9 inch screen, and cost about $550. Don’t expect to edit your pictures because the processor is only a 900 Mhz Intel Celeron. You’re not going to multi-task or play any games.

Reliable Hard Drives

I’m really paranoid about my external drives ever since my Seagate FreeAgent drive died – only 2 months old.

I have a WD MyBook 500 GB drive. I nicknamed it Darth Vader because it’s all black and shiny. It’s my back drive for music, pictures, and video.

My primary drive is the Buffalo 500GB DriveStation. It’s actually a very nice drive. The Seagate started up every time my computer booted up. I have to turn it off every single time. But the Buffalo drive has a switch. Very nice since I don’t access the drive that much. Also, it has a firewire port. Very nice since I also have a Mac Mini. My only complaint is that it can be a little loud, especially since it is right next to my monitor.

Highly recommended.

Popmonkeys