The Acer Aspire 5755 notebook – Anything new to aspire to?

Acer have come up with yet another new notebook, which, like its every successor to date, claims to adapt to users’ evolving needs. The Acer Aspire 5755 is, according to the company, the model of perfection being “perfect for unforgettable entertainment, perfect for everyday computing, perfect for smooth multitasking.”

Acer-5755

Although I have to admit, I am a fan of Acer Aspire notebooks, with my Acer Aspire One being my faithful companion since 2008, so perhaps I should be a little less sceptical about the ‘perfection’ claims of Acer Aspire’s latest family member.

With Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, the Aspire 5755 apparently provides advanced graphic capabilities for ‘smoother’ content creation. Being part of the second generation Intel Core processor family, Aspire’s latest model provides ‘dynamic’ processing power for the run-of-the-mill but high in demand applications, such as social networking, videos, movies, gaming, music and photos.

Possessing high-definition CineCrystal LED backlit displays the Aspire 5755 promises to present striking 720p visuals in 16:9 aspect ratio. Whilst, by featuring an HDMI port, users can take the HD experience of their new notebook and put it on a larger screen, to enjoy the crystal clear visuals on a larger screen. Not only this, but users can take advantage of the notebook’s optional Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) and view their favourite movies, photos, online TV and video on their own TV with superior sound and image clarity.

And sound quality and superiority has seemingly not been sufficed by an emphasis on creating stunning visuals and image quality, as in featuring Dolby Advanced Audio v2 and professionally tuned surround sound via PC speakers, headphones or home theatre system, users can watch movies, play games and listen to music with a superior sound quality.

Memory is one of the primary concerns of laptop and notebook consumers and therefore needs to be touched upon in a review. The Aspire 5755 seems to tick all the boxes in the memory stakes, offering up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, a large capacity of hard disks with up to 1TB of capacity and a multi-in-1 card reader that supports the latest high-capacity storage media for easy transfer, sharing and storage of files.

The LG verdict? Promising, although retailing at £899, perhaps I will have to scuffle along with my Acer Aspire One a little longer whilst I save up.

Review: Bright Light Ranger and Eton Scorpion

If you go camping, boating or fishing, or indeed need a light at the bottom of the garden, the low-energy ultra-bright LED Bright Light Ranger lamp has been designed for you.

Bright-Light-Ranger

Now don’t think this a torch that you can slip in your pocket – it’s a bigger piece of kit – around the size of a portable DVD drive – and quite weighty. However, it does send out a decent wide angle beam that can cover a 40-square metre area and offers 12 hours from a single charge.

The lamp boasts 12 Power LEDs, which are brighter than ordinary LEDs, and should the light die at a vital moment you have several choices for charging – you can plug it into the mains to get juice into the rechargeable battery, use a 12V car socket, or in a real emergency, use the wind-up handle, which fits neatly into the side of the body.

Nowadays, we come to expect gear designed for use outdoors to have a rubberised body, which the Bright Light Ranger doesn’t have. It does feel pretty sturdy, but I’m not sure how much hard use it would survive – if you’re outside camping, or in a stables or boating environment, things tend to get a bit of a bashing.

It’s not cheap at £89.99, but it does do a better job than most of the camping lanterns I’ve tried over recent years, and as an emergency power source – you might even keep it to use if there’s a power cut at home, it’s probably worth a punt. Yours from www.nevadaradio.co.uk

Also aimed at the outside user is the Eton Scorpion, a solar powered radio, mobile phone charger, LED flashlight and bottle opener! That might give you a clue to the type of user it is aimed at – it would be great for campers and festival goers.

Eton-Scorpion

The good-looking gadget fits in the hand, although it’s quite chunky and comes in either black and bright orange or black and vibrant green. Its body is rubberised to withstand knocks and shocks and it has a carabineer clip so that you can hook it to a tent, line or wire.

The radio picked up a decent signal in our village, which from I know doesn’t benefit from the best reception, and the torch is a really useful addition. The charger managed to power up an iPhone, and if you run out of juice you can use the solar panel, DC adaptor or the crank dynamo in an emergency. The only not-so-rugged part of the unit is the rubber cover for the power and headphone ports, which I suspect would easily get pulled off with continued use.

It’s a nifty, good looking and fun piece of kit for the traveller – and you can always do with an extra bottle opener! Priced at £49.99 from www.etoncorp.co.uk

First look at the Acer GN245HQ 3D monitor

Acer-Monitor

The great thing about being an early adopter is that you are never short of a few friends wanting to coming over and gaze at your shiny new gadget. Dinner party conversation invariably leads to talk about a new app and how it’s ‘changed my life’, only to find another one the following week that supersedes everything that went before it. That’s technology for you. The trouble is, more often than not, it can be too complicated or a little niche for many people. Thankfully, with 3D we don’t have that problem, simply because you can don a pair of specs and just sit back and enjoy the view without having to know anything about pixel size, nano transistors or micro biology.

So, news that Acer’s world first foray into NVIDIA HDMI 3D with the GN245HQ monitor will be very welcome indeed, because it will show just what the NVIDIA 3D stereoscopic technology is capable of. Its built-in 3D Vision IR emitter will support both DL DVI for frame sequential stereo 3D as long as you have a set top box to capture 3D broadcasting, as well as HDMI 1.4a for consumer electronic devices that support stereo 3D such as blu-ray disc players, 3D cameras and HDMI 3D game consoles getting you up close and personal and putting you right in there with all the action.

The 24-inch GN245HQ offers up to 100 million:1 contrast, full HD (1920×1080) resolution; a 23.6? LED backlit panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio; a 120Hz refresh rate which is essential for creating 3D effects in the first place giving a lightning fast response time of just 2ms without all that annoying flicker that befalls lower refresh rates.

It is an effective and elegant package for enhanced home entertainment, particularly as NVIDIA 3D glasses with their advanced active shutter 3D technology are included too.

Acer, not just content with cutting edge design, also takes a nod in the direction of friendly eco aware manufacturing as the GN245HQ is mercury free and has in the region of 68% energy saving in its LED backlighting technology.

Is this another step towards blurring the lines of PC and TV display? Only time will tell, but this monitor will certainly provide another topic around the dinner table and give you that instant wow factor too.

Out mid March 2011 £419.99 including VAT and a 2 year warranty.

Three blinding mice

Miss a mouse when you’re using a notebook or laptop? Cherry has just released three mice into the world – all of them wireless – to help anyone on the go work just a little bit easier.

Cherry-Mice

First out of the cage is the Life Nano, a wireless laser mouse, which features a plug-in nano USB receiver – it’s so small in facet that it can stay tidily stored in the laptop when it’s closed. Aimed at the business user, the Life Nano offers 2.4GHz wireless technology up to 5m, which makes it ideal for presentations. Its plug and play set up should make life simpler as well. An energy saving on/off switch aims to save power when it’s not being used, and it is sleek and glossy in its black overcoat. Designed for right-hander, it costs £24.99.

For working on the go, the Passenger is a mini optical house that has a speedy 1000 dpi scanning resolution and a nifty insertable receiver. Wireless, with a range of 1.2m, it also features an intelligent power concept (apparently) to save on battery life. It has a three-button, symmetrical design which is suitable for both lefties and rightist and comes in black with a blue scroll wheel or in a white-and-silver colour scheme. For sale at around £17.99.

And bringing up the rear is an optical wireless mouse called Azuro, which unsurprisingly comes in a dark blue colour. With a range of 10m, it offers usability straight out of the box with plug and play, and offers two scanning resolutions – 500 dpi and 1000 dpi. It also has forward and back buttons for web browsing, and a red LED warns when the battery is getting low. Users can also assign different keys on the mouse to specific functions, using the free Keym@an for Windows software from the Cherry website. The Azuro costs £14.99.

The three mice are available from the likes of Dabs, E-Buyer, and Amazon.

For more details head to www.cherry.co.uk

HP TouchSmart610: Multitouch All-In-One PC

Since the launch of the iPhone, PCs have been comparatively boring. Their designs are dull, you can’t rotate them around and poking the screen just leaves dirty marks. Not anymore – HP noticed this desktop short-coming and created the TouchSmart610. It’s interesting to look at, moves in two directions and has multi-touch compatibility. But, and this is the big question – why?

HP-Touchsmart

No-one doubts that computer’s stats. The 23-inch, 1920×1080 (Full HD) screen is impressive, especially with the LED backlight. And the screen’s ability to recline 60 degrees, tilt 5 degrees forward and swivel back on itself is unique to the 610.

It’s not let down by poor internals, either. The TouchSmart can be configured with either Intel or AMD processors, RAM runs up to 16GB, a potential terabyte of storage (or a 160GB SSD version) and a Blu-ray drive.

And there’s also plenty-o’-extras, including a 1.3 megapixel camera and Beats Audio speakers, offering possibly the best sound available in a home desktop.

So why are we feeling a little cynical? Well, the problem is application. It’s a bit hard to know what the computer will be used for. The two variations, 610 and 9300 Elite Business, have decidedly different markets – and only one makes much sense.

The 610 aims at home users, with TouchSmart software, some media manager and the inclusion of strategy game R.U.S.E. The problem is that the screen is a bit too small to replace a TV, the touchscreen useless for the majority of games and the swivel function almost pointless. It’ll be great for ergonomics, but we can’t see much regular use otherwise.

For business, however, the purpose of the 9300 is much clearer. In showrooms, for example, an employee could tap away at a computer, then swivel it around for a client to interact with it via touch. PC sharing will be a lot easier and – and this is important – seem much more professional. The 9300 also boosts the webcam to 2 megapixels (why?), but loses Beats Audio (makes sense).

If you’re a home user who needs flexible ergonomics and has trouble with mouse-and-keyboard input, then the HP is the only PC for you. Otherwise, we’re open to comments suggesting other home-uses. Business customers, however, look this way.

Packard Bell’s HD LED TV: “Actually I preferred to be called Maestro”

Packard Bell, the highly regarded Taiwanese electronics company, have launched their stylish Maestro TV. This HD LED-backlit set is likely to become a focal point of lounges throughout the UK.

Owners of old-style box televisions may be interested to hear that the Maestro measures just 19mm in width. Movie lovers can experience all of their favourite flicks on the 16:9 widescreen and sports fans will enjoy seeing tackles and slams in glorious HD.

Packard-Bell-Maestro

The dynamic contrast peaks at an impressive 12,000,000:1 and the digital HDMI™ connectivity allows the Maestro to become an integrated part of any hi tech entertainment system.

Packard Bell were keen to ensure that the TV was user friendly, which is why they kitted it out with 2 HDMI connectors and 1 USB connector. You will also discover a coixal connector for digital sound, SCART, VGA, PC and Audio-in and component connectors at the back of the Maestro.

This television has extremely advanced screen technology, combined with a 5mms response time, ideal for all of your gaming needs. It may be a struggle to keep children away from this exciting gadget.

You may not believe the sound quality produced by the 2X5 watt built in speakers, which allow for a fully immersive music experience.

Those people who want to show off their wedding and holiday piccies will be interested to hear that the Maestro can be connected to cameras and DVD players. If you’ve decided to hit the town for an all night party then you can record your favorite programmes using a 32GB USB key.

Those individuals who take their environmental responsibilities seriously may be interested to hear that the mercury-free LED panel uses 68% less energy than old CCFL panels. The Maestro is also fully compliant with Energy 5.0 saving standards.

This impressive new TV is currently on sale at the relatively inexpensive price of £250.

Acer AT58 LED TV: Pininfarina and Acer combine

Okay, I have to admit that I had to go and Google Pininfarina when I first read the latest press release from Acer. If you are more au fait with Italian car designers, skip this paragraph and go straight to the next. For the rest of you, the company is a hugely influential car designer, which was founded eighty years ago and has worked with car manufacturers including Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Volvo, Peugeot, Rolls-Royce – in fact pretty much every car manufacturer on the planet has used the design team at Pininfarina at some time or another.

acer-pininfarina

Lesson over… Once I realised how famous Pininfarina was, I was slightly more excited about Acer’s latest release, which informed me that it had a hand in the design of the Acer AT58 LED TV.

Designers have made their mark by softening right angles and straight lines, which apparently enables the TV to blend in more with its surroundings (ie your living room), as well as adding a retro touch in the shape of slightly curved edges that remind us of the first TVs we used to watch as children. It also has an ultra-thin silhouette, a transparent frame and a glossy pedestal.

But of course, looks aren’t everything, so the new ACER TVs have backlit LED panels for more vivid images, while still offering an energy saving of 68% over traditional LCD monitors. The 20in TV has an HD ready resolution, while that is upped to full HD on the 23in, 27in, 32in and 42in screens.

InfinContrast technology helps to improve contrast and detail, offering a better image quality, especially in darker and lighter scenes.

But the fun doesn’t stop at films and TV shows. The TVs house a number of ports offering the user the opportunity to view multimedia content stored on portable devices, and HDMI connections for games consoles, MP3 players and so on.

And as a final nod in the looks department, the 23in TV is available in white and black – all the others come in any colour, as Henry Ford would have said, as long as it’s black.

The Aspire AT58 series 20” and 23” models will be available from mid October priced £229.99 (20in) £269.99 (23in) and £279.99 (white 23”). The 27in and 32in TVs will be available in November followed by the 32in and 42in models in December.

More information here.

Latest Gadgets round up: John Lewis’ top tips, TomTom Yoda and a USB powerbank

Some awesome things make their way into the Latest Gadgets inbox. Here are just a few.

John Lewis invited us to take a look at their Christmas range, despite the blazing heat. There was even a fake snow machine battling valiantly to create atmosphere. Being one of the larger combined online and Bricks & Mortar retailers, John Lewis have a reasonable insight into the gadget market and have a lot of customers that self-identify as “early adopters”. Big trends identified were All in One desktops, personalized Netbooks and tablet PCs. No surprises there. They also pointed to 3D gaming as the driving force behind the purchase of 3D TVs before showing us a demonstration of some 3D gaming on the PS3, which has stealthily built up a massive installed base of PS3 owners, all capable of playing back 3D content. We were also shown a Samsung LED 9000, which has a touch screen remote, DLNA access and an app store, with acess to LoveFilm, YouTube and the BBC iPlayer. John Lewis also added to the unstoppable force that is the Apple rumour mill (based on industry rumblings) by speculating that the new iPod Touch may have a rear and front facing camera and incorpotate Apple’s FaceTime video calling protocol. Time will tell.

Remember the Darth Vader-voiced TomTom that we had a look at? Well TomTom have released one voiced by Yoda. I won’t repeat my “path to the dark side” remarks from earlier by they are still valid. Whilst we are remembering things, cast your mind back to the ezbox digital freeview set-top box. We liked it then and now we like it even more. They did a nifty little firmware update and now it can playback *.avi files via a USB – not bad for a £35 box.

WorldCard Mobile have released a complementary app called “Worldcard Contact”, which combines all of your contacts with images of business cards taken from the built-in iPhone camera. Worldcard Mobile, their other app, uses OCR and you can access this from inside of Worldcard Contacts, to save this card info with image and text. Not bad but surely it would have been better albeit less lucrative to just combine them into one app? Here’s a link.

One day solar panels will become commonplace, but until that day Conceptronic’s lightweight Universal USB Power Bank is the handy travel companion, which can be used to re-charge a range of devices (it comes with different heads). It charges via USB and can power a PSP, mobile phone, MP3/MP4 player, iPod or iPhone when you’ve been caught short. Available in two models, the 1500mAh (RRP: £43.90) and 2200mAh (RRP: £52.90) the larger of which can charge two devices at the same time.
Pick one up from www.anand.co.uk