Categories
General

Why are business laptops so expensive?

I haven’t bought a consumer class laptops since 2007. Business laptops are the way to go and I’m happy to pay a premium for it.

Why?

Because they are built better, last longer, come with a better warranty, had fingerprint sensors long before consumer laptops got them recently, a lot of them were tested under different temperature/dust/humidity conditions, and on top of that they don’t attract a lot of attention. What do you think a thief will notice more? A giant gaming grade laptop with cool looking fans and RGB lighting or a plain looking Dell Latitude or Lenovo ThinkPad? They probably have no idea that the business laptop costs more than the gaming one did usually.

Business laptops also (though they are becoming more similar to consumer laptops these days) offer more functional features, like TPM, Smart carder readers, WWAN capability, removable batteries, a variety of ports, easy access to replace RAM or HDD, etc.

Also, as a bonus they usually omit the bloatware or spyware that usually come with consumer laptops (those are there usually because a third party company paid the OEM to install those on the computer so that the OEM can give a discount to the end user)

That’s why its more expensive.

Categories
Tech

June 2017 Gadget update

Every 6 months I do an update on the state of my gadgets and what I use

Computers

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga (2017) – replaced my 2015 ThinkPad Yoga 14

This is my main laptop now and replaces my Thinkpad X240, and Thinkpad Yoga 14. A light, convertible laptop, weighs only 2.8lbs (substantially lighter than the Yoga 14 which I previously had), docks with a one link dock connector and wireless dock, has that traditional Thinkpad robust build quality and great trackpoint keyboard, and is convertible which means I can watch movies in 4 different modes, and comes with a gorgeous 1440p OLED screen to boot. It loses the dedicated graphics (Nvidia 840M) of the Yoga 14 but improves on it everywhere else including ports, display and weight. Compared to the X240, it loses the VGA, full size SD and Ethernet ports but is much lighter, has a much better display, and is convertible.

Dell Latitude 7370 (2016) – replaced my 2016 Vaio S

This is my main portable laptop (yes the X1 Yoga is portable too but it has a lot of sensitive data that I would rather not take on travels). It replaces my Vaio S, and is basically the fanless, futureproof version of the Vaio. Compared to the Vaio, it has thinner bezels on the display, loses two USB3 ports, VGA, full size SD and Ethernet (legacy ports), but gains microSD and 2 USB-C (more futureproof ports).

Alienware 15 R3 (2016) – replaced my 2011 HP Envy Beats, 2015 Asus ROG G751

This is my main gaming and VR computer now, replacing my aging HP Envy Beats 14 and hefty Asus G751. I decided I wanted a 15 inch because of its lightness and portability, yet its still powerful enough to have a GTX 1070, power my Oculus Rift (VR ready), hooks up to my external monitor, plays all the latest games, and looks great at home on a laptop stand.

Macbook Pro 13 (2016)replaced my 2012 Mac Mini
My replacement for my Mac Mini as a programming/entertainment computer. It’s light (3lbs) and runs macOS making it great for development and the lack of ports is made up by my Dell USB-C Dock at home.

Tablets/Phones
iPad Air (2013)

The iPad Air is my go to tablet for surfing, gaming, music or reading. Has been since 2013.

iPhone SE (2016) – replaced my 2013 iPhone 5S

The iPhone SE is my main video recorder, which I use on occasion to record videos, mainly because my model is a 64GB one that can store more videos. Plus love the small size which is what cameraphones should be! light and small. It replaces my aging iPhone 5S.

Google Pixel (2016) – replaced my 2014 Sony Xperia Z3C
The Google Pixel is my main phone now. It has a great camera as well, and is generally just a fast and capable phone all around. It replaces my Kyocera Duraforce Pro and Sony Xperia Z3C as my main Android device.

BlackBerry KeyOne (2017) – replaced my 2015 Blackberry Priv

The BlackBerry KeyOne replaces my Blackberry Priv as my secondary phone and video call device, has a way better keyboard and gets wayyyy better battery life to boot.

Sony Walkman A17 (2017) – replaced my 2015 Pioneer XDP

The Sony Walkman has replaced my Pioneer XDP, since its much lighter and more portable. It doesn’t sound *quite* as good as the Pioneer, but it’s 80% as good and still much better sounding than most smartphones (with the exception of a few like the HTC 10). The Pioneer is more like the old HDD players like the iPod Classic and Creative Zen Vision – stores more music and plays videos, but big and bulky. The Sony Walkman is a small flash based player like the iPod Nano and Zune HD. They both have their uses.

Huawei Watch (2016) – replaced my 2012 Seiko Kinetic, 2016 Orient Sun&Moon

Now with the Android Wear 2 update, Huawei watch is awesome and is definitely my main watch now. It replaces my Seiko Kinetic (quartz) and Orient Sun & Moon (mechanical) which I used before.

Music

Generally I prefer using speakers at home and headphones on the go. I rarely use headphones at home. The advantages of speakers – everyone can hear it, higher fidelity and larger drivers, but usually also more expensive and not as portable.

Razer Hammerhead BT (2017)

Razer Hammerhead BT

These are very convenient bluetooth earphones for mostly working out where the wires getting in the way would be troublesome.

Fender FXA3 (2016) – replaces 2014 Master&Dynamic ME03

The Fender FXA3s are my main earphones for traveling and studying.

Denon Music Master MM400 (2016) – replaces 2014 Sennheiser Momentum

This is my main headphone that I use at work to listen to music and for conference calls.

Absolutely the best over ear headphones I’ve ever had, these now have replaced my Sennheiser Momentums which were falling apart as well. I use it with my Creative SoundBlaster E5s at work for the extra oomph!

Creative SoundBlasterX Katana (2017) – replaces 2015 Creative T4W

Now used as my computer speakers for my Alienware. It’s the first soundbar designed specifically for computer use. RGB lighting, bluetooth, 7.1 virtual surround and a bunch of other options – what’s not to love?

Klipsch Promedia 2.1 (2016) – replaces 2015 Klipsch R-4B Soundbar

Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 Klipsch Pro Media 2.1

Absolutely fantastic computer speakers. Now using it for my TV and gaming systems since I found it has better bass than my Klipsch R-4B. The bass and overall sound quality is fantastic. Replaces my non-functioning Creative T4Ws which shorted out :(, and the Samsung and Klipsch soundbars that I used before.

Klipsch the Three (2017)

This speaker is really cool and retro looking especially with the Ebony wood finish, and pairs well with my Google Home (using Chromecast audio) and my Fluance record player to play some nice vintage tunes!

Bose SoundLink Revolve (2017) – replaces 2015 Creative Soundblaster Roar 2

This speaker replaces my Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 as a portable outdoor (splash proof!) speaker, also pairs very well with my Macbook.

Yamaha TSX-B72 (2017)

This is my alarm clock radio that I use by my bedside to wake me up each morning 🙂 and yes it has bluetooth and can charge my phone too. It replaces my Sony BSP60 bluetooth alarm speakers those ones are a little complicated to operate and I just wanted a simple vintage looking alarm clock radio.

Cameras

Nikon D5100 (2013)
My DSLR camera for serious video making. I usually pair it with my Samyang T1.5 24mm cinema prime lens.

Sony Action Camera AS300 (2016) – replaces 2014 GoPro Hero3+
Replaces my Sony Music Video recorder and GoPro Hero 3 as both my action camera and my wide angle camera that I can use for blogging, travel videos, action videos, etc and has optical image stabilization which no other action camera has! Also waterproof/dustproof as well and quite small, making it great for situations where my Osmo+ would be too heavy.

DJI OSMO+ (2016) – replaces 2015 DJI Osmo
My go to camera for taking cinematic walking shots, travel video, and completely replaces any camcorder. The Plus model now has optical zoom capabilities with it too.

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced (2017) – replaces 2015 DJI Phantom 3
Replaces my DJI Phantom 3, better sensors, obstacle avoiding, takes better night shots etc

Other
Other laptops: Asus G751 (secondary gaming laptop and workstation), HP Revolve 810 G2 (secondary Win7 laptop and secondary convertible), Thinkpad X240 (still only laptop I have with hot swappable battery and mobile broadband), GPD Pocket (mini netbook)
Video game systems: New Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PSTV, Nvidia Shield Pro, GPD Win
Displays: Mobile Monitor 2 Go, Dell 24″ Gsync 1ms 144hz infinityedge monitor, Royole Moon, Avegant Glyph, DJI Goggles
Storage: 1 Synology DS412+, 2 Synology DS416j, 1 Synology 416slim (20TB all in RAID 1)

Laptop collection (one for each size)
11.6″ 1366×768 – HP Elitebook Revolve 810 – 4th gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD, 3lbs, Win 7, 6 ports: 2 USB3, DP, Ethernet, microSD, headphone
12.5″ 1366×768 – Lenovo Thinkpad X240 – 4th gen Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3.5lbs, Win 7, 7 ports: 2 USB3, miniDP, VGA, Ethernet, SD, headphone
13.3″ 3200×1800 – Dell Latitude 7370 – 6th gen Core m7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2.5lbs, Win 10, 6 ports: 1 USB3, 2 USBC, microHDMI, microSD, headphone
13.3″ 2560×1600 – Apple Macbook Pro 13 – 6th gen Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 3lbs, macOS, 3 ports: 2 USBC, headphone
14.1″ 2560×1440 – Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga – 6th gen Core i7, 8GB RAM, 180GB SSD, 2.8lbs, Win 10, 7 ports: 3 USB3, miniDP, HDMI, microSD, headphone
15.6″ 1920×1080 – Alienware 15 – 6th gen Core i7 quad, Nvidia GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, 7lbs, Win 10, 8 ports: 2 USB3, 2 USBC, HDMI, miniDP, Ethernet, headphone
17″ 1920×1080 – Asus G751 – 4th gen Core i7 quad, Nvidia GTX 970M, 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 9lbs, Win 10, 10 ports: 4 USB3, SD, VGA, miniDP, HDMI, Ethernet, headphone/mic

Categories
Tech

I collect small gadgets

If you have read my previous posts, like this one, or my other gadget collection posts, you would know that I love collecting gadgets. In fact I should probably be a full time reviewer from the number of gadgets I collect.

I love collecting small electronic devices, with these criteria:
-The device should be usable for many years. It should not rely on any data servers that might be outdated. For example, the Tmobile Sidekick relied on Danger’s servers for data, else it was a paperweight. I want devices that are just as usable 10 years ago as now.
-It should be really portable, and the screen size <= 7 inches. 7 inches is probably the maximum.
-weighs under 2lbs
-It should have something special or unique about it, either hardware wise and/or software wise. For example, if the tablet looks just like any other tablet out there, then its not going to be as desirable as say, a tablet that can turn into a laptop or has a slide out keyboard.
-Unique software is always a plus. For example, if the device runs Maemo, or Linux or MeeGo or Firefox OS.
-Reasonably obscure and rare. So, an iPhone wouldn’t really score as high as a Nokia N9 for example.

With that in mind, let’s look at the some of these devices:

Casio BE300 (2001)

Casio BE300 Pocket manager
Casio BE300 Pocket manager

Price: $65 on eBay
Device type: Palm sized PC
Special features: touchscreen, special build of Windows CE 3, easily hackable
OS: Modified Windows CE 3.0
related: Casio Cassiopeia Pocket PCs, HP Jornada Pocket PCs

Sony Clie UX50 (2003)

Sony UX50
Sony UX50

Price: $50 on eBay
Device type: PDA
Special features: touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates
OS: Palm OS 5.4
related: Sony CLIE PDAs, HP iPAQ Pocket PCs, Palm PDAs, Handheld PCs

Psion Netbook Pro (2003)

Psion Netbook Pro
Psion Netbook Pro

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special Features: the original and first netbook ever, runs Windows CE .NET
OS: Windows CE 4.2 .NET
Related: HP Jornada Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Psion handheld pcs, Sony CLIE PDAs

Sharp Zaurus C1000 (2004)

Sharp Zaurus C1000
Sharp Zaurus C1000

Price: $200 on ebay
Device type: Handheld PC
Special features: one of the last handheld pcs, runs linux, unavailable in USA, touch screen, camera, keyboard, screen rotates, last Zaurus made
OS: Linux
Related: Psion Handheld PCs, NEC Handheld PCs, Toshiba Libretto Handheld PCs

Nokia N95 (2006)

Nokia N95
Nokia N95

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: dual slider, camera, one of the greatest non touchscreen phones
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia E series, Sony Ericsson walkman & cybershot phones

Sony Vaio UX (2006)

Sony Vaio UX
Sony Vaio UX

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: most powerful UMPC ever, slide out keyboard, touch screen, runs full Windows
OS: Windows XP
Related: OQO model 2, Samsung Q1, Viliv S5, Vulcan flipstart

Philips PMC 7230 (2006)

Philips PMC7230
Philips PMC7230

Price: $90 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: last Media Center OS PMP, has kickstand, built in TV recording abilities
OS: Media Center OS
Related: Creative Zen Portable Media center, iRiver PMC

Creative Zen Vision M (2006)

Creative Zen Vision M
Creative Zen Vision M

Price: $60 on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: The last hard drive based mp3 player from Creative, one of the most best mp3 players ever, touch strip, plays many video/audio formats, FM radio recording and voice recording
OS: Creative OS
Related: Apple iPod, Archos PMPs, Cowon PMPs, iRiver PMPs

Nokia E90 Communicator (2007)

Nokia E90 Communicator
Nokia E90 Communicator

Price: $100 on ebay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: the last communicator made, dual screens, dual touchpad and keyboard
OS: Symbian
Related: Nokia N series

Nokia N810 (2008)

Nokia N810
Nokia N810

Price: $50 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: slide out keyboard, runs Maemo, pre-Android tablet
OS: Maemo
Related: Sony Mylo 2

Archos 5 (2008)

Archos 5
Archos 5

Price: $200 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: the last PMP with DVR recording capability, plays many video/audio formats, touchscreen, can go on internet, can be GPS and FM radio
OS: Archos OS
Related: Apple iPod, iRiver PMPs, Cowon PMPs, Creative Zen Vision W

HP iPAQ 210 (2008)

HP iPAQ 210
HP iPAQ 210

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: Pocket PC
Special features: touchscreen, one of the last and best Pocket PCs, last iPAQ made
OS: Windows Mobile 6
Related: Dell Axim pocket pc, Palm Treo pocket pc

Microsoft Zune HD (2009)

MS Zune HD
MS Zune HD

Price: $60 used on eBay
Device type: PMP
Special features: Last Zune model, multi touch screen, can go on internet, inspired Windows 7 Phone OS
OS: Zune OS
Related: Apple iPod Nano

Fujitsu UH900 (2010)

Fujitsu UH900
Fujitsu UH900

Price: $500 used on eBay
Device type: netbook
Special features: smallest and best netbook, runs full windows, 2 usb ports, 2gb ram and SSD, multitouch high res screen
OS: Windows 7
Related: Sony Vaio P series, Asus EEE PCs, Viliv S7/N5

Toshiba Libretto W100 (2010)

Toshiba Libretto W100
Toshiba Libretto W100

Price: $700 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: Last Libretto PC made, one of the last UMPCs, dual 7inch touchscreens, virtual keyboard
OS: Windows 8
Related: Netbooks, Fujitsu LOOX, Fujitsu Stylistic

Dell Venue Pro (2011)

Dell Venue Pro
Dell Venue Pro

Price: $40 on eBay
Device type: Smartphone
Special features: Dell’s last smartphone, multitouch screen, slide out keyboard, one of only 2 windows phones to have a keyboard
OS: Windows 7 Phone
Related: HTC 7 Pro

HP Pre 3 (2011)

HP Pre 3
HP Pre 3

Price: $80 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: slider, camera, keyboard, the last phone to use WebOS
OS: WebOS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Nokia N9 (2011)

Nokia N9
Nokia N9

Price: $100 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, camera, only phone to run MeeGo
OS: MeeGo
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Sony Tablet P (2011)

Sony Tablet P
Sony Tablet P

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special features: the only tablet that can be folded, dual screens, multi touch screen
OS: Android 3.1
Related: Apple iPad, other Android tablets

Pandora console (2012)

OpenPandora Console
OpenPandora Console

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: UMPC
Special features: combination game console/pda/umpc hybrid
OS: Linux
Related: Pepperpad 3, GCW Zero, GP2X Caanoo

Samsung Galaxy Golden (2013)

Samsung Galaxy Golden
Samsung Galaxy Golden

Price: $600 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special Features: dual screens, flip phone form factor, phone keypad
OS: Android 4.2
Related: LG Wine Smart

Nvidia Shield Portable (2013)

Nvidia Shield Portable
Nvidia Shield Portable

Price: $130 used on eBay
Device type: tablet
Special Features: combination game console/tablet, built in controller, multi touch screen, game streaming from PC
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Wikipad, Archos gamepad 2, Sony Xperia Play

Blackberry Passport (2014)

Blackberry Passport
Blackberry Passport

Price: $500 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: Square form factor, gesture enabled keyboard
OS: Blackberry OS 10
Related: Apple iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry Classic

Amazon Fire Phone (2014)

Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon Fire Phone

Price: $200 on eBay
Device type: smartphone
Special features: multi touch screen, dynamic 3D perspective, Firefly, Mayday, runs Fire OS
OS: Fire OS
Related: Blackberry, iPhone, Android phones

Neptune Pine (2015)

Neptune Pine
Neptune Pine

Price: $300 on eBay
Device type: smartphone/smartwatch
Special features: Smallest phone/tablet to run full Android, touchscreen, camera
OS: Android 4.2
Related: Moto 360, Apple Watch

I’ll have pictures and video up soon for these gadgets, as I own most of them. Stay tuned!

Edit: review is up!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UdDM83Spm0

Second edit

One of my pipe dreams is to build one of those old school like UMPC devices except with modern components. The problem with new tablets these days is that they still can’t match up with the old UMPC form factor – like the old OQO model 2 or Sony Vaio UX, its just cool to have a 5inch Windows PC with keyboard in the palm of your hand.
Its fully possible to build a much slimmer, much faster PC, with better battery life these days using modern components. Unfortunately with Windows 8 tablets, there’s still no tablet thats 8″ and below and has full USB and keyboard support. You can use bluetooth sure, but thats not the same. That’s 2 devices you have to carry. I’m talking about one device. If I build a device it would have the following components:
-5″ IPS FHD capacitative touch display (1080p)
-a sliding keyboard form factor a la the OQO model 2 / Sony Vaio UX or a convertible display a la the Sony Clie UX-50 or Fujitsu U820
-an HD front camera for web conferencing
-an 8MP back camera for pictures
-micro-HDMI output
-miniUSB for charging
-SD card reader
-2 USB 3.0 slots
-Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac wireless
-fingerprint reader for security
This won’t be a tablet.. its a full PC running Windows 8.1
Running internally:
-Intel broadwell processor ensuring its fanless – speed should be ~1.3-1.6Ghz
-4GB RAM
-256GB SSD
…I’m sure if Lenovo can make a fanless 13″ convertible, then they can make this.