Asus UL20FT-A1 Reviewed (LAPTOP Magazine)

Mark Spoonauer has put together a review for LAPTOP Magazine of the fairly recent Asus UL20FT-A1 from ASUSTek. It’s a 12.1-inch ultraportable laptop with a 720p display – 1366×768 LED backlit display, and it does come with an HDMI port.

While it lacks an internal optical drive and is very lightweight, it’s not quite a netbook. It’s got some influences that you might be able to trace to netbooks, but it’s powered by an Intel Core i3-330UM running at 1.2GHz, which puts it into the class of small laptops/ultraportables. It’s not quite a full CULV – it’s more of a low-voltage CPU. It outperformed the Asus Eee PC 1215N by quite a bit, and while it may not seem fair to compare it to an Atom-powered netbook, the 1215N is sporting a dual-core clocked at a much higher speed, and it’s within $130 or so of the UL20FT-A1’s price of $629. It was also compared to the Toshiba T215D (AMD Athlon II Neo) , the ThinkPad X100e (also an AMD CPU), and the more expensive Acer Aspire 1830t.

The review mentions that when it comes to graphics performance, the 1215N does easily beat the UL20FT, in some cases doubling its score, and in the end they would consider the 1215N over the UL20FT.

Read: LAPTOP Magazine

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Acer Aspire One Dual-Core AOD255 (D255) with Android Video

A few sites have popped up with hands-on previews and videos of the upcoming dual-core Acer Aspire One AOD255 (D255). These were for the most part running the dual-core 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550, a new CPU that made it’s debut back in August, where Acer was listed as one of the first companies to be rolling out netbooks with the N550.

One interesting thing, some of these were dual-booting both Microsoft Windows 7 as well as Google’s Android 1.6. The responses to Android were lukewarm, to say the least. Android 1.6 is a touch-enabled and fairly touch-centric OS, and the AOD255 does not have a touchscreen option, leading to navigation issues. Whether this would be improved with Android 2.2, I’m not sure. It was running a version of Firefox called Shiretoko, but there were issues with multi-tasking and switching between apps.

Specifications of some of the D255s previewed:
– 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 (other CPUs will be available)
– Dual-boot between Windows 7 Starter and Google Android 1.6

UMPC Portal has included some benchmarks, including multimedia benchmarks, and CrystalMark, and LAPTOP Magazine posted the video shown above.

LAPTOP Magazine

For a full (as of now) listing of models in the AOD255 line, see the Acer Aspire One AOD255 Models & Configurations page.

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HP Mini 5103 Dual-Core and Touchscreen Review (jkOnTheRun)

Lost in the hoopla of ASUS releasing the 12.1-inch Eee PC 1215N, as well as other netbooks that were recently released with dual-core Intel Atom CPUs, earlier this month HP updated it the 10.1-inch HP Mini 5103 netbook with a dual-core option and a new color option for its metal case (Espresso). I believe the Bluetooth 3.0 HS option is new. The dual-core information actually leaked out right before HP announced it.

I find the 5103 very nice looking and with the dual-core Atom option, and it’s definitely worth considering, especially with the 720p HD option. It doesn’t fall under HP’s Home and Home Office division, but under the business/enterprise division instead, and that could be why it doesn’t have an HDMI port. Yet it comes with a Broadcom HD video decoder Card that supports 720p video (which the HD 1366×768 display supports) or 1080p (which the VGA port does not support – 1680×1050). It’s an odd thing, but it already has the slot that can accept the video decoder – it also accepts a mobile broadband card internally in place of the video decoder.

At the beginning of the month, James Kendrick at jkOnTheRun published a review of not only the dual-core Intel Atom option, but with the capacitive touchscreen option as well. He views the touchscreen option the same way I do – on a non-convertible laptop or netbook, it’s not very useful since it’s a bit awkward to take your hands off the keyboard to use. He was able to get around 7.5 hours with the 6-cell battery option in real-world use and was impressed with the performance.

Read: jkOnTheRun

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More Information on AMD Ontario and Zacate APUs, Availability

A few weeks ago, there was word that AMD would be demonstrating its AMD Fusion platform at IFA in Berlin, and they have now done so. The Fusion APUs that were demonstrated will be competing with Intel’s Pineview Atom platform. The graphics portion of the Fusion platform should be quite a bit better than the integrated graphics of Pineview, and it supports DirectX 11 as well as an on-die Unified Video Decoder (UVD). The UVD portion is basically dedicated hardware video acceleration (including HD 1080p).

The important news: Netbooks/Laptops based on AMD Fusion should be available in the first quarter of 2011. AMD’s official blog states that AMD will be ramping up production in 2010.

Just to get some terms out of the way, AMD refers to the basis for the AMD Fusion platform as an APU. APU stands for Accelerated Processing Unit. Think CPU (Central Processing Unit), only now it has the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) built into it. The codename for the overall platform, and not just netbooks/laptops but desktops as well, is called “Brazos”. The APUs that are a subset of “Brazos”, that I’m interested in are called “Ontario” and “Zacate”. Both have two CPU cores, and the CPU cores are known as “Bobcat”. Confused yet?

Ontario is the one I’m most interested in. It is the APU that is targeted towards the low-voltage/low-power netbook and small form factor (SFF) desktop market. The “Zacate” APU is clocked higher, both on the CPU and on the GPU cores, and is targeted towards higher-performance ultraportables, including ultrathin, and mainstream and “value” notebooks, as well as desktops/all-in-ones. There is an even higher-performance APU, the Llano, but not much information is known about it.

Ontario specifications:
– 2x Bobcat CPU cores + GPU
– 512 KB L2 per CPU core
– CPU cores each clocked between 1GHz and 1.2GHz
– GPU core clocked at around 500MHz, supports DirectX 11
– 9 Watts TDP (Thermal Design Power)

Zacate specifications:
– 2x Bobcat CPU cores + GPU
– CPU cores clocked at 1.6GH
– GPU core clocked at around 750MHz (or lower), supports DirectX 11
– 18 Watts TDP

Read: about Ontario/Zacate – Bobcat CPUs

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eLocity A7 Touchscreen Tablet Available for Pre-Order at Amazon

I just got a notice that the new eLocity A7 7-inch touchscreen tablet running Google’s Android 2.2 is available for pre-order. It’s an exclusive. It’s interesting because it’s going to be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad, and it’s basically running the same hardware as the Asus Eee Pad that was mentioned back in April.

It’s being referred to as an “Internet Tablet”, but it falls somewhere between an iPhone or Android-based phone, and the iPad. It does run Android apps – the manufacturer refers to over 75,000 apps. I’m surprised it only has 4GB of storage, however it does have an internal Micro Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) slot which you can use to expand the on-board storage to 36GB. It also supports external USB flash drives up to 64GB in size. It supports quite a few video codecs, and with the 1080p HDMI port, you can connect to an HDTV and play them through there.

One selling point – the default browser for Android supports Flash. It mentions an unlocked card slot, which sounds like you can buy existing data service through various cell/mobile phone providers, for on-the-go internet access.

– Powered by Android 2.2 OS
– 7-inch 800×480 touchscreen
– NVIDIA Tegra II T-20, 1GHZ, 1MB L2
– 1080P support through HDMI output
– 512MB DDR2 RAM
– 802.11b/g with Bluetooth Wireless
– 4GB internal storage, SDHC slot, USB 2.0 connection for additional storage
– 1.3MP Web Camera
– 8.2 x 4.8 x 0.5 inches
– 1.02 pounds

eLocity A7 Touchscreen 7-Inch Android 2.2 Tablet (Black) – $369.99 ($429.99 regularly)

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