I've heard a lot of really bad-sounding audio products over the years, but most of them were so awful they suffered a natural and well-deserved "death." Take for example the $499 Gateway KAS-103 home theater in a box system that debuted in 2003. I had the "pleasure" of reviewing this attractive system, but it sounded so bad I was duty bound to try another sample, which was equally dreadful. There was absolutely no blend between the sound of the subwoofer and the tiny satellite speakers, the high levels of background static were impossible to ignore, … Read more
Yesterday I mentioned that I use a desktop replacement (or "big honkin' laptop") as my primary PC. Machines like these used to cost a small fortune--or, if they were more affordable, come with weak hardware. No more.
Staples has the Toshiba Satellite L775D-S7222 17.3-inch laptop for $479.90 shipped, plus sales tax in some states. That may not seem like such a big deal--I've featured similarly priced desktop replacements in the past--until you see the specs.
The Satellite is a quad-core (!) PC powered by AMD's A6-3400M processor, which features an onboard Radeon HD 6250M graphics … Read more
All the excitement these days may be centered around supersmall laptops, from ultraportable to ultrathin to ultrabook, but there's still a place for PCs on the opposite end of the spectrum. There are few things more fun for a laptop reviewer than unpacking and setting up a massive 17- or 18-inch desktop replacement laptop. To be fair, many of these systems hardly qualify to be called laptops at all; some are so massive, and have such poor battery life, that you'll essentially set them up once and never move them again.
We've had a bit of a … Read more
In stark counterpoint to small, fast systems like the MacBook Air, big-screened, heavy, packed-to-the-gills desktop-alternative laptops are still alive and well, although sometimes a little hard to justify. Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops has been a well-known example of that type of massive machine for years, and 2011's update to the Qosmio largely continues the trend with a new design. The $1,899 Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is bulky, heavy (8 pounds), and expensive, but it's also got top-of-the-line features. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 graphics, and dual hard drives with a … Read more
Apparently a batch of the 1TB Seagate hard drives that shipped with iMac systems between May and July of 2011 may fail under certain conditions, and as a precaution Apple has started up a replacement program for the affected iMac systems. The Macs will be either the 21.5-inch or 27-inch models, provided they have been configured with the 1TB drives; other drive configurations such as the 2TB or SSD options are not affected.
If you have purchased one of these iMac configurations, Apple will likely contact you regarding the drive replacement, provided you gave a valid e-mail address when … Read more
Apple has started replacing the bottom case of MacBooks sold over the last year and a half.
According to the company, some MacBooks have a problem in which the rubber surface on the bottom of MacBooks separates from the underside of the computer. The issue affects MacBooks shipped between October 2009 and April 2011.
Apple is offering three free ways to fix the problem.
Apple said that it will replace the bottom case on affected MacBooks at the Genius Bar at any of its retail stores. In addition, consumers can choose to work with an Apple authorized service provider to … Read more
Sometimes I wonder just how much cheaper laptops can get. I mean, I can recall a time when if you wanted a desktop replacement, a system with a big screen and keyboard, you could plan on spending at least $1,000.
Today, Radio Shack is offering a refurbished HP G72-B63NR 17.3-inch laptop for $349.97, plus sales tax in most states and $6 for shipping.
That is just plain unreal, people. (It's also just plain online: this deal isn't available in stores--though you can save the six bucks on shipping by opting for free ship-to-store.)
The G72 … Read more
Looking for a fun and unusual way to trick out your iPhone 4? Repair-guide site iFixit now sells an iPhone 4 Transparent Rear Panel for $29.95.
Made of clear glass, this replacement back cover reveals all the inner workings of your device. Actually, it reveals mostly battery, but it's still pretty cool if you're into that whole "naked" look.
The panel consists of a camera lens, flash diffuser, and bezel. To install it, you simply remove the two screws from the bottom of your iPhone, pop the old panel off, place the new one, and restore the screws.
The only potential problem is if you have the newer pentalobe screws, in which case you should consider tossing iFixit's $14.95 pentalobe screwdriver into your cart. (Better yet, grab one on eBay for as little as $2.29 shipped.)
One other caveat: the Transparent Rear Panel is compatible with only the GSM (i.e. AT&T) versions of the iPhone 4, meaning Verizon iPhone owners are outta luck. "We have nothing against the Verizon users," says the iFixit blog. "Apple chose to modify the rear panel layout for the Verizon version, and sadly our panel can only fit GSM iPhone 4 units."
What do you think of the Transparent Rear Panel? Cool way to make your iPhone stand out from the crowd, or painful reminder that the iPhone looks a lot sexier with its clothes on?… Read more
This awkwardly named utility (now known as "Better Rename" in the Mac App Store) can be extremely useful in some very specific situations. Anyone who needs to rename large batches of files on a daily basis--especially Web developers and anybody working with lots of photos or audio files--should definitely check out A Better Finder Rename. Most of what this app does can also be done with the Finder and Automator, but nowhere near as quickly nor as easily.
ABFR offers a huge number of renaming options, everything from modifying text and adding sequence numbers to changing formats and … Read more
Are you the proud owner of a new iPad 2? Let's talk warranty.
Apple backs the tablet for a year, of course, and for $79 you can add an AppleCare Protection Plan that extends the coverage to two years.
However, neither policy covers the most likely scenario: accidental damage. I'm talking dropping the iPad in the bathtub, rolling over it with the car (don't laugh--it happens), getting sand in the dock connector, spilling your coffee on it, and so on.
Enter SquareTrade, which offers an extended warranty that includes "accidental damage from handling" (or ADH). … Read more