Remember the Sony Vaio E? When we reviewed it earlier this year, we were quite excited about Sony's more budget-priced multimedia Vaio, both because it had a Core i3 processor and optional Blu-ray. We'll admit it. We were also a little intrigued by the Vaio E's optional neon colors and funky neon keyboard skins.
The only problem? The E was limited to a 15-inch screen size. That's been remedied with new Vaio EA and EC models, in 14 and 17.3 inches, respectively.
One of the most hyped features of the new iPhone, known as iPhone 4, is the new screen. Apple bombastically calls it the Retina display, citing a host of improvements over the current screen, which has gone three years without a major update. But what does it all mean?
Judging from the specs alone, the new screen will look better than before. That's a good thing by objective standards, and we'll get into the improvements below, but first a word of caution about relying on published specs when it comes to screens in general.
Improvements, especially resolution, tend to have diminishing returns--it's really tough to see the difference between same-sized 1080p and 720p TVs with moving video, for example. The way a manufacturer implements the technology, for aspects like color reproduction, reflectivity, and gamma, can have a larger impact on image quality than any published specs. Finally, the content, the viewing environment, and even your own visual acuity all affect how an image will look to you on the new iPhone 4's screen.
960x640 resolution: This is the native resolution of the Retina display, which crams 614,400 pixels onto a 3.5-inch diagonal screen (326 pixels per inch). That's four times as many pixels as the current iPhone, which has a 320x480 native resolution on the same-sized screen (163 PPI), and significantly more than newer competitors like the Motorola Droid (854x480, 265 PPI) and the Nexus One (800x480, 252 PPI), for example. As Jobs pointed out, 300 PPI is typically regarded as the limit of useful pixel density, and the iPhone 4's mark of 326 is among the best available on any display.
Text, especially smaller fonts, should appear sharper and less pixelated when you look closely in a side-by-side comparison between the old and new iPhones. The difference with photos will be a lot more subtle, on the other hand, while the difference with moving video might not be visible at all. It's simply easier to see differences in resolution with black-and-white, line-based material, especially when it's not moving. In any case, you'll have to look closely to see them. Compared with other screens with higher pixel densities than the current iPhone, the differences in detail will be even smaller.
We say "should" because material that's not designed for the higher resolution--Jobs said the new iPhone iOS 4 would be, and encouraged App designers to update to higher rez--has to be scaled to fit the pixels.… Read more
The PixelQi screen is one of the most exciting developments in display technology since LED-backlit panels. To be clear, it is not simply an e-ink screen with backlights. Instead, the new panels are based on the same conventional liquid crystal display used by current laptops and monitors.
The main difference is that PixelQi models have an outdoor-readable mode that turns the backlight off. This not only reduces power consumption, the fast LCD refresh rate also allows for video playback, unlike e-ink devices.
Every now and then, people report that their MacBook or MacBook Pro's screen has turned blank. Sometimes this happens in the middle of working, but other times when the screen will not turn on after a restart or when waking from sleep. There are several reasons as to why this can happen, some of which are software-related, and others that have to do with the hardware.… Read more
This is really impressive. While most companies are happy to produce flexible displays, Toshiba is going a step further by making use of the bending action to initiate zoom features.
The prototype shown on the Computex show floor is an 8.4-inch 800x600-pixel panel that can be bent to a curvature radius of 50mm (about 2 inches). What's surprising is that this unit has a thin, 0.4mm LED edge light to illuminate the display. We can't wait for the first consumer hardware to sport this unique technology.
It's always a bit hard to tell just from gazing at CPU specs what exactly we'll see in coming laptops, but Intel's leaked road map of upcoming laptop processors, which provides information on products through 2011, does provide a few hints and interesting notes.
Intel's various geographic code names and ultra-detailed spec charts can get a little sleep-inducing for the average consumer. To boil it down, here are the points that seem most eye-opening, and that could truly pave the way for some cooler laptops down the road.
Things to be excited about in 2010:Dual-core … Read more
Hulu on an iPad? How about Photoshop, or FarmVille? While all of these are technically possible thanks to the Air Display app, they're not all recommended, or even viable. But yes, they can be done. So can using the iPad as a wireless tablet interface for graphic or music applications.
You will, however, need a Mac running close by.
Many owners of iPads, myself included, have noticed how the device actually works quite nicely as a "second screen" when placed next to a home computer. Air Display takes the metaphor literally, by enabling the iPad to become an extended desktop display for your Mac.
Air Display works over local Wi-Fi, with the aid of software that's installed on any Intel Mac with OS X 10.6 or later (Windows support, says maker Avatron, is "coming soon") and toggled via a toolbar. The setup is dead simple: First, launch Air Display on the iPad. Then, enabling Air Display on the Mac shows a list of whatever iPads happen to be on the same local network (odds are, just the one you're using, unless you're at an Apple Store). Click the name of your iPad, and you're set.
The extended display activated fairly quickly, and worked just like a second monitor does: We were able to drag any window on our Mac onto the iPad. While the reaction time was quick, unlike the several-second lag that occurs on Intel Wireless Display-enabled computers, there was a noticeable framerate drop on secondary display functions. On version 1.0, the image sometimes broke up or clipped oddly as well--the technology at work is not unlike what enables you to use your computer remotely via VNC.
There is a nice surprise, however: Touch-screen controls do work. We could tap to click links in Safari and to browse, although the mouse cursor tended to leap from point to point instead of smoothly dragging. We even were able to drag a window and highlight text, though that was a bit hit-or-miss. Continuous motions such as drawing on-screen work better. Still, even in its first release, touch works nearly as well as any Windows 7 tablet PC we've seen. And, windows had the sense to auto-expand to fill the iPad's screen space properly--maximizing anything from Safari to GarageBand was easy to do whether we were in landscape or portrait mode.
Well, so now that the iPad can be a Mac extension, what exactly would we do with it?
Our first instinct was to load up Hulu, of course.… Read more