Sony released 11- and 13-inch Vaio Pro ultraportable PCs, and they were reviewed this past week with considerably different results in two different tech media outlets. This one of the first ultraportables released using just-launched fourth-generation Intel Haswell processors, which are expected to bump battery life over third-generation Intel chips by 50% or more on laptops, tablets and convertible Windows 8 PCs.
The Verge rated the 13-inch Vaio Pro a seven rating out of 10 and sounded even more negative about the 11-inch model, while CNET gave the 11-inch ultraportable four out of five stars.
“Sony's close, but the Vaio Pro 13 lacks the polish required to really take on the Air,” says The Verge. “For $1,249, I want a computer that doesn't feel like it would break in a stiff breeze, and one without the jumpy trackpad that sometimes makes me wish for a stiff breeze.”
Then The Verge review panned the 11-model of the Vaio Pro. “The 11-inch model is worse” says The Verge. “The even-smaller, even-thinner body only exacerbates the build quality problems, and coupled with a touchscreen that's probably too high-res for this screen size, it just falters. Battery life is great, but performance lags a bit behind the larger counterpart — and when the 13-inch Pro is so thin and light anyway, it's hard to think of a reason to buy the 11-inch model unless you're desperately trying to save $100. If that's the case, you're probably better off just looking elsewhere, or saving another $150 and buying the 11-inch Air.”
In contrast, in a review headlined, “Lighter-Than-Air Ultrabook Winner,” CNET said of the Vaio Pro 11: “The superthin, superlight Sony Vaio Pro 11 is everything we expect from an excellent ultrabook.”
This reviewer used to be a big fan of Sony Vaio laptops and I owned several over the past decade. Over the last few years, however, I had to send in three Sony Vaio Z laptops for repair or replacement because the processors overheated and the computers would spontaneously shut down. The last ugly episode occurred this past February and it took Sony six weeks to decide to replace the machine. Moreover, the company repeatedly failed to respond to emails and calls requesting information about the status of the repair or provided incorrect information, telling me at one point a replacement unit was shipped out when it had not been.
In contrast, by the way, I recently bought a desktop computer from Dell and received great customer service, including surprising follow-ups after my purchase to make sure my new computer was received and then make sure it worked right.
67% Off A 64GB Encrypted USB Drive At An Amazon One-Day Sale
Monday, June 03, 2013 16:37
Advisors need to take data security seriously, and here’s a nice deal that might help with that: Amazon is having a one-day sales on an encrypted 64GB USB thumb drive. Best Buy is selling the same USB drive for $89.99 that's just $32.99 at Amazon for today only.
Editor's Note: This was posted Monday and it was suppsoed to be a one-day deal On Tuesday, however, Amazon raised the price to $39.94, which is still less than half what you'd pay elsewhere.
The SanDisk Cruzer 64 GB USB flash drive with password protection and 128-bit AES encryption can be used by advisors to store passwords and sensitive personal data.
If you your computer hard drive is not encrypted, you can store client information to this USB drive. It’s a convenient alternative and 64GB is enough to store more than 30,000 songs or 1,830 photos using a 10 megapixel camera to shoot raw uncompressed image files.
This model of the SanDisk Cruzer is bargain priced probably because it is USB 2.0 and not 3.0. USB 3.0 drives read data in a third to a quarter of the time of a USB 2.0 drive. A 64GB USB 3.0 drive is priced at $69.64.
At $39.95, it’s a few dollars less expensive than a Logitech Anywhere MX mouse, but you don’t need to plug a USB receive into your computer to make it work. The Sculpt Comfort uses Bluetooth to connect.
The big news here is that the mouse is optimized to work with Windows 8 devices. For instance, it has four way scrolling so you can scroll across your start screen easily and see all of your apps. This mouse could be a big help to anyone using Windows 8 without a non-touch computer, since it provides improved navigation control from the mouse.
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix—The Most Powerful Convertible Yet—Now Available; Could Be The Only Computer Most Advisors Need
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 15:27
The long-awaited ThinkPad Helix from Lenovo finally was available for sale yesterday at Lenovo.com. This is a convertible—a laptop and tablet in one—that packs more processor power and much longer battery life than previous convertibles.
For most advisors, this could be the only computer you need. It will replace your iPad with the Windows 8 touch interface, which is integrated with Microsoft Office. While you won’t have as many apps to choose from, most of the important ones advisors need are available and the Microsoft app store is growing fast.
The Helix will also replace your current desktop or laptop computer—assuming you don’t edit videos or photos all the time, in which case you’d probably prefer a more powerful convertible. If you’re a heavy content producer—editing video and photos is part of your work—you may want to hold off on Helix. Intel’s Haswell processor debuts in early June and will offer a quad-core processor, which can better handle editing videos and pictures and is expected to offer significantly improved battery life.
A Helix customized with the top processor—a two-core Intel i7 3667U chip—along with 8GB of RAM and a 180 GB solid state drive storage, costs about $3300 plus tax. That includes a three-year onsite service agreement and accidental damage or loss coverage as well as Microsoft Office Professional and Adobe Acrobat Professional, which allows you to create and edit PDFs.
The i7 3667U Intel processor has two cores, which is like having two separate processors. It also four threads, which means it can simultaneously process four instructions from a single software program. In contrast, the new Haswell chips will have up to four cores and eight threads. That makes a big difference if you edit videos or photos. For an advisor who produces elaborate Excel spreadsheets and then formats them in PowerPoint for client presentations and newsletters, a Helix should give you sufficient processing power. But if you are creating webinars and then converting them into videos to post on your website, the Haswell chip is worth waiting for.
I used a two-core processor for editing videos for about two years and, the more video work I did, the more I found it frustratingly slow and prone to crashes. I switched to an eight-core desktop computer and video editing is now faster and I can’t recall a crash.
It’s unclear when laptop-tablet convertibles equipped with Haswell chip will be released. It’s been reported that it won’t be until the end of the year, but other reports say it could be this summer.