Dec 302008
 
The Acer Aspire One: a seriously impressive little computer for connectivity on the go

The netbook space is getting a bit crowded these days.

What began with ASUS and its iconic EeePC now includes offerings from a host of major and not-so-major manufacturers like Acer, Dell, Samsung, Lenovo, HP, Medion and others eager to tap into the burgeoning popularity of the tiny, lightweight laptop.

Latest figures show that the netbook market overall grew by more than 160% in the third quarter of this year, bucking an overall dismal trend in the general PC market. With it’s Aspire One, Acer has leapfrogged ASUS to take the market leader’s position in this lucrative space, with a third quarter market share of 38.3%. So how does this most diminutive of laptops shape up? Lets take a closer look. Continue reading »

Nov 202008
 

Flip Video Mino

I recently reviewed the Flip Video Mino over on the Gadget Republic website.

While I’m much more of a still photographer kind of guy, the small size, ease of use and sheer convenience of the Flip was great. And shooting at 640×480 @ 30 frames per second, the video quality was surprisingly good from such a tiny device.

I gave the Flip Video 4 out of 5 stars. Here’s a very brief summary of the review:

Rating: 4/5

We liked: Compact size, competitive price, ease of use
We didn’t like: Touch sensitive controls occasionally stick, software glitch on review model, USB attachment can be awkward, no image stabilising
Summary: The “must-have” gadget for social networking videophiles….

Don’t forget to check out the full review over on Gadget Republic.

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Nov 192008
 

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I Like: Sleek design, intuitive interface, ease of use, WiFi, third party applications, price.

I Don’t Like: Slightly ropey video, mediocre camera (but hey, this is telephone), doesn’t charge through the USB connector.

Verdict: A very capable business phone ideal for busy people who still believe cameras are the best tools for taking photographs.

I finally did it: I upgraded my phone….

After bricking my HP iPAQ by putting it through the washing machine (my fault… allegedly… for not emptying my pockets :-(), I decided to use a back-up phone (… trust me, you don’t want to know) until my contract with O2 ran out.

My plan: to switch to Meteor and avail of the great offer they had on the Nokia N95 8GB.

In the end the switch from O2 to Meteor was a painless, even pleasant experience… which I guess is something of of a novelty when you’re dealing with a mobile phone operator. If the service so far from Meteor is anything to go by it’s a switch I should have made a long time ago.

But enough about networks… this is a phone review.

Anyway – after uhmming and ahing about the Nokia N95 8GB for what seemed an eternity, I finally decided that I didn’t really need to pay a premium for all that memory and a fancy camera, when all I really wanted was something with WiFi that would run third party business applications, could access the internet and e-mail. I also wanted something that’s often overlooked when examining the whiz-bang feature sets of contemporary phones: a unit that would work well as an ordinary telephone.

So I opted for the N51 – a smartphone running the same Symbian operating system as the N95, but just… wait for it… €49 on Meteor’s cheapest €20/month contract.

It’s a sleek, slim phone with a metal chassis that feels solid and business like in your hands. It seems to do pretty much everything an N95 can do, just without the huge memory (soon remedied by slipping the MicroSD card from the dead HP iPaq into my new phone), and the 5 Megapixal camera (but, hey, I have a camera for taking photographs).

To date the phone has been superb, performing everything I’ve asked of it admirably. For me the killer feature has to be the ability to take Skype calls over WiFi using Fring (I use a SkypeIn number for business calls, and can now pick them up even when I’m not on my computer).

I also love the fact I can monitor and update my Twitter account from the phone either on the web, or, much more user friendly, via an assortment of mobile apps… my current favourite being Twibble.

All in all the E51 is a streamlined business phone that still offers plenty of bells and whistles in a really sleek and compact package. Crucially, it performs the fundamentals extremely well, and the Symbian operating system seems a lot more stable than Windows Mobile 6, which was running on the HP iPaq.

Would I recommend this phone… you bet I would!

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Nov 112008
 

GadgetRepublic.com, a new tech-review site, and sister-site to the excellent technology news site SiliconRepublic.com, launched yesterday and I have to say that it looks very promising.

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Gadget Republic is edited by award winning technology journalist Marie Boran of Siliconrepublic.com, so the standard of the reviews on the site, as you would expect, is very high. They’re well written, insightful and hit that elusive balance between personal opinion and technical expertise perfectly.

This is a great resource for anyone looking to keep abreast of what’s hot and what’s not on the tech-gadget front; if you’re anything like me you’ll be adding Gadget Republic to your feed reader pronto.

Congratulations to Marie and the team at SiliconRepublic.com on a job well done… I look forward to reading many a great review on the site.