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Lenovo, HP, Kingston, Nokia
Lenovo has taken the gloves off in the All-in-One computing class with the introduction of the IdeaCentre A720. The 27" screen has a 720p webcam embedded and is less than an inch thick. This may not seem like a big deal but when you find out the screen also has 10-point multi-touch capabilities and you get to experience its amazing viewing angles, it makes an impression on you.
With the A720 completely flat it provides the perfect interface for multiple users to use the computer at the same time. Lenovo used a game to demo the 10-point multi-touch technology. The game was quick and responsive to the touch commands of both users and left the door wide open to future applications that could be developed for or improved by this tech.
Ultrabooks are the hot ticket at CES this year and we got some hands-on time with two of HP's new units, the Folio 13 and the Envy 14 Spectre. The Folio is more of a business-oriented product with a focus on adding more ports which ultimately increases the overall weight to around 3 pounds total. Users can expect up to 9.25 of battery life from the Folio according to HP. The Folio felt extremely solid in our hands, something we can't say the same about from some other manufacturer's offerings. The Folio is available for purchase now.
The Envy 14 Spectre was announced just days ago here at CES and features a Corning Gorilla Glass top, palm rest and screen. In addition to the scratch resistant properties, HP touted the glass palm rest as a useful barrier against heat transfer. We noted that HP reduced the size of the screen bezel in order to fit the larger 14" screen in a smaller than normal space.
Fans of HP's Radiance Display will be happy to know that it has returned on the Spectre 14 with a 1600 x 900 resolution. The Spectre felt equally as solid as the Folio when handled although the glass surface on the outside is a massive fingerprint magnet. Other standard features include 4GB of RAM, 9 hours of battery life, HDMI / Mini Displayport and Beats Audio with an analog volume dial that allows more precise control of volume levels. Units start at $1399 for a base model and will be available beginning February 8.
Sennheiser showed us the HD 700 headset, the younger brother of the HD 800. Priced at $999 and introduced at CES, these will likely be limited to serious audiophiles only but judging from how they felt in our hands, the price could very well be worth it if you enjoy quality music. The HD 700s feature a 40mm vented transducer that reduce distortion. We were told this results in a "warmer sound with more fun in the bass" compared to the HD 800s. Look for the HD 700s to launch in March.
Designed for Apple products late last year, Kingston's Wi-Drive offers wireless storage for files or to stream media like music, videos and movies. They are available currently in 16 and 32 GB models with a 64 GB unit coming in Q1.
The unit features dual antennas so you can connect wirelessly to it and have it connect to a wireless router, which keeps your device on the Internet during use. When plugged in, it will show up as a standard jump drive. It supports up to three devices streaming simultaneously for up to four hours before a recharge is needed.
There is a free app that can be downloaded to access the device for Apple, Android, and now the Kindle Fire. To demonstrate the app, The Simpson's Movie was played on an iPhone while Transformers was being streamed to an iPad. Larger file size movies (such as Transformers) took about 20-30 seconds to buffer, but then it can be fast-forwarded without requiring more buffering later. The demo we were shown worked flawlessly on both devices simultaneously. Video files are handled using the native iPad/iPhone video player, meaning it supports all formats that iOS does on those devices. The music player is built in and plays any format that doesn't have DRM. Music can stream in the background (at least on the iPad demo we were shown) while multitasking.
Nokia was showing off their Lumia phones, the 710, 800, and the much anticipated 900. The 900 is a big brother to the 800, with the same 1.4 GHz single-core processor and 8 MP camera. Moving from the 800 to the 900, you get a screen upgrade from 3.7" to 4.3" as well as the addition of a front-facing camera.
Other than those two major upgrades, the Lumia 900 is basically the same phone as the 800. The 900 has the same sturdy feel and snappy response time as its predecessor, and handles all features of Windows Phone beautifully.