Categories
Tech

My search for a gaming laptop has finally ended + UMPC collection

Ever since I moved to Korea, I’ve been missing my PS3/PS4 and all the gaming sessions I used to have with my friends back in SF. Here, everyone is busy and no one has time to just come over and play a few games. So I’ve been left to my PC games. Unfortunately my main laptop (a Thinkpad X240) comes with a woefully inadequate integrated Intel graphics card for gaming. Thus this whole year I’ve been searching for the right gaming laptop. Something that would play dota, I recently started getting into the dota championships and found out you can go to rivalry.gg/matches/dota-2-betting and bet on your favorite dota teams.

And I think I’ve finally found it. I was looking for a 17inch gaming laptop, preferably with Nvidia Gsync, so I did a few hours of research to dig into all these laptops, and found all the issues:

Razer Blade Pro: Thin and great design, but has heating issues, like other thin gaming laptops, plus too expensive.
Aorus X7 Pro: Very powerful for its size including SLI graphics, but again, seems to have heating issues, and too expensive.
Alienware 17: this was one of the strongest contenders because it had a good display, good design, price is reasonable, sound is good, except it was missing Nvidia Gsync… and that may seem like a small picky issue, but it matters when all these laptops are so close in competition. Oh, and the RAM maxes out at 16GB. Hmm.. not that futureproof.
MSI Dominator GT72: Also a very strong contender, good keyboard and speakers and Gsync, but has some minor heating issues and display is not that great.
Lenovo Y70: Cheap, but the GPU is a generation behind, plus no Gsync, so nay.
Acer V Nitro: Cheap, thin, good design, but just not powerful enough, and no Gsync either.
HP Omen: I appreciate HP for making a thin, light gaming laptop, but no 17 inch screen size and lack of expandable RAM is a no no.
Sager NP9773: Sager/Clevo/Gigabyte laptops have incredible specs including a full desktop processor, but the build quality of the chassis is just mediocre.
Boutique makers (OriginPC,Maingear,Puget,FalconNW,AVADirect,Digital Storm,Cyberpower,Ironside,etc) are nice and you can customize literally everything, but the prices are outrageous and they use modified Clevo/Gigabyte chassis, so similar mediocre build quality.

So… notice that I’m leaving one major PC manufacturer from this list. In the end, I decided on:

Asus ROG G751
Asus ROG G751

Yes, the Asus ROG G751. Why? Because all the reviews I read of this laptop seemed to indicate little to no weaknesses at all. Great cooling, no heat issues, great display (w/Gsync), great keyboard, great design. Everything is good, except for mediocre speakers and the bulk (8.6lbs), but thats to be expected of gaming laptops anyway. I do also have a Creative E5 USB DAC/Amp and Sound Blaster Roar 2 speakers, so sound shouldn’t be an issue.

All in all, the Asus seems to be a perfect gaming laptop.
On a side note, my UMPC collection is almost complete.

So far I have:
-Sony Vaio UX280 – Win XP
-Sony Vaio P – Win 10
-Fujitsu U820 – Win 7
-Fujitsu UH900 – Win 10
-Open Pandora – Linux
-OQO Model 2 – Win XP
-Toshiba Libretto W100 – Win 7
-HTC Shift X9500 – Win XP
-Samsung Q1UP – Win XP
-Viliv S5 – Win XP
-Vulcan Flipstart – Win XP

Non-UMPC:
Dell E4200 – Win Vista
Fujitsu P1630 – Win 7
HP Envy 14 Beats – Win 10
Lenovo Flex 20 – Win 8
Razer Edge Pro – Win 8
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14 – Win 10
Lenovo Thinkpad X240 – Win 7
Asus ROG G751 – Win 10
Mac Mini – OS X Yosemite

Total: 6 Win XP, 1 Vista, 4 Win 7, 2 Win 8, 5 Win 10, 1 OS X, 1 Linux

All of these I reviewed on my youtube, and all of them run some version of Windows XP or Vista or 7. I am closing in on getting a Vulcan Flipstart (after months of scouring eBay). Then I’ll only be missing a few, the Asus R50A (hard to find), and a few other Korean/Japanese ones, Gigabyte M705, Wibrain, Raon Digital Everun, Hanbit Pepperpad, Kojinsha, Sharp D4, etc.
But I can say now I have the vast majority of UMPCs in my collection 🙂

edit: I now have the Vulcan Flipstart in my collection which runs Windows XP and is the only UMPC with less than 1GB that I have which means it will stay on Windows XP :). Review will come up eventually.

Fun fact: All of the UMPCs I listed above all come with 1GB of RAM or more, so they can all potentially run Windows 10 (provided I can find working drivers of course). I’m probably going to upgrade all the Atom UMPCs which run Vista to Win 7, and keep the rest (A110/Via/Core Solo) on Win XP. I might upgrade some of them to Windows 10 if the drivers for Win 7 work for them.

Videos:

Categories
General

Gadgets in Korea (May 2015)

Here’s my tech gadgets as of present (Apr 2015):

Computers
Lenovo Thinkpad X240

The Thinkpad X240 is my ultraportable/business/everyday use laptop when I need to study or travel. 20 hours of battery life. MIL-STD spec tested, spill resistant keyboard, fingerprint reader, 4G LTE capable, etc its the ultimate portable notebook.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRZ3VYaiuJk

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14

This is my gaming and entertainment laptop now. A dedicated graphics card, convertible, weighs only 4lbs, docks with a one link dock connector, and mostly importantly its the only convertible/hybrid laptop (as of March 2015) with a dedicated graphics card, which means I can use it for gaming and watching movies in 4 different modes with a wireless controller and wireless speakers. Why don’t more hybrid laptops come with a dedicated card?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jfc-WXDt8Jo

Tablets/Phones
iPad Air

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

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtpXyh542L4

iPhone 5S

iPhone5S Gold
2013 iPhone5S Gold

The iPhone 5S is my main camera and video recorder. No other smartphones (except the iPhone 6/6+) can beat its camera.

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

Sony Xperia Z3C
Sony Xperia Z3C

The Sony Xperia Z3C is my main Korea phone, mp3 player and messenger device.

Blackberry Passport

The Blackberry Passport is the phone I use in Canada/US and its a great phone for web browsing/surfing, and document editing as well.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd-tb8qQWAw

Meta M1

The Meta M1 is my go to smartwatch now. It displays everything I need, Stocks, Weather, Time Zones, Music Player, Timer, Game Scores, Notifications. And it does so while being simple and having no app store, which I think is unnecessary for a watch.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-omHdshnmJo

Gaming

OpenPandora
For playing DOS games

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBEEMYmqxHM

New Nintendo 3DS

For playing Nintendo Games

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcfZbkm_CZo

Sony PS Vita

For playing JRPGs

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWD3YqPrTMo

Nvidia Shield

The Nvidia Shield is my emulator console and also doubles as a game stream capable tablet for my PC! Video here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qnc8GjUmd68

Music

Bose Quietcomfort 25

Bose QC 25
Bose QC 25

My travel/work/study headphones. Great sound and top of the class noise cancelling.

Bose Soundlink Mini

Bose SoundLink Mini
Bose SoundLink Mini

My go to speakers for playing anything around the house and pretty portable as well.

Cameras
Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100
Nikon D5100

My DSLR camera for serious video making. Works great with many lenses.

Sony Music Video Recorder

Sony music video recorder
Sony music video recorder

This camera is mainly used for casual recording video blogs, music videos and video reviews. Basically my youtube camera now.

other gadgets (not commonly used)
GoPro Hero3 Silver
Sennheiser Momentum
Mac Mini (2012)

Categories
Tech

Coolest and Most interesting PCs of the past decade

Yup! It’s another gadget article! This time we’re gonna look at the coolest computers that have come out over the past decade (2004-2014), as PCs come in many different shapes and sizes. Of particular interest to me are PCs that are quirky or unique in some way, as Handheld PCs and Ultra Mobile PCs interest me greatly, being very niche devices. That said, a lot of people may not know some of these PCs exist, which is the purpose of this article to provide some rare PCs that have been available.

Sony P series (2009)

Sony Vaio P series
Sony Vaio P series

This is a Handheld PC from Sony that weighs only 1.4lbs, has the potential to have up to 256GB SSD, a single core Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM, and 8″ 1600×768 screen.

Samsung Q1 (2006)

Samsung Q1
Samsung Q1

This is the first UMPC that came out. UMPCs are like small PDA sized devices that run full blown windows, this one comes with up to Intel Core Solo 1.33GHz processor, split keyboard, 2GB RAM, 60GB HDD, SD card slot, 1024×600 screen, and weighs 1.72lbs.

OQO Model 02 (2007)

OQO Model 2
OQO Model 2

This is another UMPC thats pretty cool. Runs on a VIA 1.6Ghz CPU, 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, 5″ 800×480 OLED screen, only weighs 0.91lbs, and runs full blown Windows Vista, has a built in keyboard and comes with a docking station as well.

Dell XPS M2010 (2006)

Dell XPS M2010
Dell XPS M2010

This is Dell’s discontinued 20″ desktop-replacement “laptop”, and the form factor was pretty darn cool. It came with a Core Duo 2.16Ghz processor, 2GB RAM, ATI X1800 GPU, 2 100GB HDDs in RAID 0 configuration, and also came with a Media center remote and detachable keyboard. Did I mention this thing has a handle on it??

Sony Vaio Multi Flip (2014)

Sony Vaio Multi Flip
Sony Vaio Multi Flip

There’s a lot of Windows 8 convertible ultrabooks out there, and this is one of the coolest. It looks like the evolution of the Vaio Duo series. Intel Core i7 1.8Ghz, 12GB RAM, 2880×1620 resolution, Geforce GT 735M, 1TB HDD, has a multitouch screen and weighs 5 pounds. The coolest part of this notebook is that the screen flips into three configurations: presentation mode (reversed), normal mode, and tablet mode.

Asus Taichi 31 (2013)

Asus Taichi 31
Asus Taichi 31

It’s an ultrabook that has two screens. Two. Screens. The one on the inside is non touch and the lid itself is a touch screen. They can be dual-screened or mirrored for presentations too. Comes with Core i5 1.7Ghz, 4GB RAM, 2 13.3″ 1920×1080 FHD screens, 256GB SSD, and weighs 3.4lbs.

Asus Lamborghini VX7 (2011)

Asus Lamborghini
Asus Lamborghini

Now this looks like a high performance machine! Looks like a car… performs like one too: Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GTX 460M graphics, FHD display, 16GB RAM and a whopping 8.4lbs.

Asus NX90 (2010)

Asus NX90
Asus NX90

Asus just doesn’t stop with the cool looking PCs. This one is designed with audio in mind, with massive Bang and Olufsen powered speakers attached to it. It also comes with the Core i7 processor, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Nvidia GT 335M GPU, FHD 18.4″ display, and weighs a massive 9.7lbs. For a multimedia laptop though, can’t get better than this.

Asus U43 (2010)

Asus U43
Asus U43

What’s next Asus? How about a PC made with Bamboo? Like a high end piece of furniture? This elegant notebook comes with a Core i5 processor, 6GB RAM, Nvidia 310M GPU, 14″ 720p display, and weighs 5lbs.

Sony UX Micro PC (2006)

Sony Vaio UX
Sony Vaio UX

Sony’s VAIO series of PCs are very diverse, and this is Sony’s UMPC entry. It came with Core 2 Solo 1.2Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 48 GB SSD, 4.5″ 1024×768 screen, a keyboard, a fingerprint reader, weighed around 1.2lbs and ran full blown Windows Vista. This was probably the most powerful UMPC out there at the time.

Dell Adamo XPS (2010)

Dell Adamo XPS
Dell Adamo XPS

Well Dell makes some pretty cool laptops too. This one is only 10mm thin, and fits the keyboard inside the display when closed, which acts as a stand as well. It came with a 1.4Ghz Core Duo, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 13.4″ 720p display, and weighed 3.2lbs.

Razer Edge Pro (2013)

Razer Edge Pro
Razer Edge Pro

This is probably the most powerful “tablet” I’ve seen yet. Razer made a tablet (actually a full PC) that could play heavy games with a proprietary controller joystick that attaches to it. The specs? HD display, 8GB RAM, Core i7 1.9Ghz CPU, Nvidia GT 640M GPU, 256GB SSD, and weighs 2.1lbs. Have you ever seen a tablet that had that kind of specs??

Lenovo Horizon (2013)

Lenovo Horizon
Lenovo Horizon

Yes, this is a PC!! Actually its a 27″ table-top PC that you can either use flat on a table to play party games, or as a massive desktop computer. The specs? 27″ FHD resolution display, 1.8Ghz Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GT620M GPU, 1TB HDD, and weighs a massive 15.7lbs.

Panasonic Toughbook 19 (2012)

Panasonic Toughbook 19
Panasonic Toughbook 19

Panasonic Toughbooks are renowned as incredibly durable laptops. They are military spec tested and they look like a tank. Fully rugged, 10″ swivel screen, Wacom stylus, Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, fingerprint reader and weighs about 5.1lbs. You will not find a tougher looking notebook than this.

Fujitsu ST5100 (2006)

Fujitsu Stylistic
Fujitsu Stylistic

Fujitsu makes some very interesting looking laptops and tablets. In fact they were one of the first to make slate tablet PCs. This one came with Core 2 Duo CPU, 10.4″ 1024×768 display, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, fingerprint reader and weighed 3.5lbs.

Fujitsu Lifebook U810 (2007)

Fujitsu U810
Fujitsu U810

This is a UMPC/Handheld PC from Fujitsu, slightly smaller than the Sony P series, but also a convertible tablet that has a digitizer and fingerprint reader as well (!). It comes with an Intel A110 processor, 1GB RAM, 40GB HDD, 5.6″ screen, a webcam, and weighs 1.5lbs.

Pepperpad 3 (2007)

Pepper pad 3
Pepper pad 3

This is a UMPC made by a korean company that has a split screen keyboard, 800×480 7″ screen, 30GB HDD, 256MB RAM/ROM, AMD CPU Geode processor.

Vulcan Flipstart (2007)

Vulcan Flipstart
Vulcan Flipstart

I know a lot of PCs in this post are Handheld or UMPCs, but they are all very unique and niche PCs so I want to cover this one as well. The Vulcan Flipstart has a 5.6-inch screen with 1024×600 resolution, a 30GB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi, bluetooth, VGA webcam, Pentium M ULV processor running at 1.1 GHz, and 512MB RAM. Curiously, this unit has a small screen on the lid when closed, that displays PIM information like Calendar, time, email, etc.

Flybook VM (2008)

Flybook VM
Flybook VM

Manufactured by a company called Dialogue Technology, the Flybook VM has a unique design that allows the screen panel to be lifted up, swung forward, and tilted into a more ergonomic position, or used in a traditional position. It came with a 12″ screen, 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 80GB HDD, a DVD burner, a sim card reader, fingerprint reader, webcam, and weighs 3.5lbs.

Toshiba Libretto W100 (2010)

Toshiba Libretto W100
Toshiba Libretto W100

This is one of the most unique netbooks I’ve seen. A 62B SSD, low voltage Pentium processor, 2GB RAM, netbook specs but has a unique dual 7″ touch screen display with a virtual keyboard and a clamshell form factor. This is the last Libretto Toshiba ever released, and in limited quantities.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (2014)

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

As of Sept 2014, the best convertible ultrabook on the market. Weighing only 2.6lbs, with new Core M processors, 8GB RAM, 3200×1800 display, 256+GB SSD, a gold color option, and a unique watchband hinge that allows it to be ultra thin, this is how ultrabooks look in the future.

Alienware M11x (2010)

Alienware M11x
Alienware M11x

I put this one here only because its the smallest gaming laptop that has been released recently (barring the Razer Edge Pro). Yes, it’s an 11″ gaming laptop with all the fancy AlienwareFX lights, with an 1.3Ghz Core 2 duo, 4GB RAM, 11.6″ 720p display, 160GB HDD, Nvidia GT 335M GPU and weighs 4.4lbs. It’s an ultraportable gaming laptop.

Asus EeePC T91 (2009)

Asus EEEPC T91
Asus EEEPC T91

Asus’ EeePC’s started the netbook trend, and this one is the original convertible netbook. 8.9″ touch screen, 1.33Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, and weighing 2lbs put its in the standard netbook/UMPC territory.

Wibrain B (2008)

Wibrain B
Wibrain B

Can I say UMPC’s look cool? Yes they come in all sorts of flavors, but most of them didn’t catch on because they were too expensive and too underpowered. This one had looks like an oversized Sony PSP, had a 4.8″ screen, a 1.2Ghz Via processor, 30GB HDD, only 512MB RAM, and weighed 1.2lbs.

Viliv N5

Viliv N5
Viliv N5

Similar to the Fujitsu Lifebook U810 and U900, Viliv makes quite a few UMPC/Netbooks (you can also check out the S5 and the S7, and this one is the lightest of the lot, weighing a mere 0.85lbs!! It had an Intel Atom 1.33Ghz CPU, 64GB SSD, 1GB RAM, and 4.8″ touch screen.

OLPC XO-1 (2007)

OLPC XO-1
OLPC XO-1

The OLPC Project, or the One Laptop Per Child Project, was designed to provide a cheap computer to children in developing countries. They were powered by a 433Mhz AMD CPU, 256MB RAM, 1GB Flash disk space, 7.5″ LCD display, and averaged 3 hours of battery life. They had a handle, could be rotated into ‘e-book’ mode as a convertible laptop, and can be powered by a hand-crank generator. Unfortunately, they still ended up costing $200, more than the $100 target price, with specs that are lower than the average netbook.

Asus W5fe (2007)

Asus W5fe
Asus W5fe

I swear Asus and Sony make the coolest laptops. This one has a second display on the lid of the notebook that displays PIM information making using of Windows Vista “Slideshow” feature. It came with a Core 2 Duo processor, Intel GMA 950 (infamous integrated graphics), 12.1″ 1280×800 display, webcam, and weighed 4.2lbs.

Acer Aspire R7 (2014)

Acer Aspire R7
Acer Aspire R7

What an interesting laptop. Can be an ultrabook, a tablet, an Easel, a Star-trek enterprise mode… quite a versatile machine. Similar to a cross between a Sony Vaio Duo and a Sony Vaio Multi Flip… specs are 15.4″ 1080p screen, core i5 processor, SSD and HDD options and 6GB of RAM, and weighs a relatively heavy 5.2lbs.

Asus Transformer Trio (2014)

Asus Transformer Book Trio
Asus Transformer Book Trio

A 3 in one computer! It runs Android on the display which can also become a tablet, and the keyboard itself is a core i5 PC with 500GB HDD. So it’s actually two computers in one! That’s pretty cool, I think. The keyboard can also hook up with another monitor to become a desktop as well.