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Back to School Laptops-The Best of the Best!

Hey there Student’s!…With the back-to-school season upon us, many laptop and desktop shoppers are looking for a new system suitable for dorm room living or high school homework. We’ve hit the well-stocked store shelves of brick-and-mortar retail stores to find boxed versions of popular PCs, from entry-level systems starting at less than $300, to $1,000-plus high-end multimedia and gaming rigs.

These specific retail models are similar to those you’d be able to configure online from companies such as Dell and HP, but they may have slightly different names and features. Also worth noting, thanks to frequent retail discounts, they can sometimes be a better deal than buying directly from a PC maker.

Buying a laptop for school requires us to take into consideration a few simple facts. They are:

  • Your laptop will be with you for two to four years.
  • You will tote your laptop around like one of Paris Hilton’s hairless dogs.
  • Your laptop will get beaten up a bit more than those selfsame dogs.

With these things in mind, we now have to find a laptop that is low-priced yet high in quality. This rules out a number of very cheap models and every expensive, bulky models. In short, students need a laptop that will still look good after two years and will still work after six months. A tall order indeed.

Here’s a List of Some Laptops that you must buy for your children or for your own use also:

ASUS Eee PC 1215N– about $500 This, the latest in the ASUS Eee line, has Optimus graphics and a high-powered Atom processor. This 3.2-pound notebook is thin enough to slip into a backpack but lacks an optical drive – a minor concern for some students. Yes, it’s a netbook, but ASUS built their recently fortune on netbooks so I’m willing to give this a pass. It’s definitely not for games or video editing, but it will work just fine as a text editing, web surfing, IMing machine. It also has HD video playback on the 12.1-inch screen.

See  [Product Page]

Samsung N150 – About $350 –If you’re a literature major eating Ramen or you want a little notebook to use in class, the N150 is a safe bet. The 10.5-inch laptop runs Windows 7 Starter (you’re probably going to want to upgrade) and it will run most office applications without any problems. Just don’t plan on doing any high-resolution image editing and you’ll be fine.

See  [Product Page]

Dell XPS 16 – $949 – If there’s a laptop line suited for students it’s the Dell’s        Studio brand. These small laptops are designed for a few simple purposes –    multimedia, video, etc. – but the XPS 16 is the only one designed for (ssssshhhhh)  gaming. The 15.6-inch screen displays full HD graphics powered by an ATI  Mobility Radeon HD 565v graphics chip. Whether you’re going to be dropping  heavy duty science in Chemistry class or dropping rockets in Modern Warfare, this is the laptop for you.

See [Product Page]

MacBook – $999 – Call us fanbois all you want but a MacBook is the perfect laptop for most students. Thanks to lots of battery life, plenty of power, and compatibility with almost anything you can throw at it, a standard MacBook is fast becoming the de facto notebook on many campuses. While Windows 7 is a great OS, I suspect the average computer user will have very little trouble switching and as long as you maintain regular back ups there is little that you can do to this thing that will fold, mutilate, or spindle your data. ………………See [Product Page]

Alienware M11x – $1150 – A few years ago, Alienware laptops were so expensive – and so large – that it was ludicrous to consider them as viable school computers. However, with the advent of cheaper chip technologies and a number of improvements to portability, I’m pleased to report the M11x is a great smaller notebook with lots of staying power. Devin reviewed this laptop in April so check out his comments. This is a “heavy hitter” with lots of processor power but it’s a bit on the heavier side. We’re big fans, but check it out in the store before committing to a purchase………………..See [Product Page].

I highly approve. This list is the kind of thing I would look for and will be my go to list in about a year when I’m off to college. It’s short and sweet, giving a few best-of-the-best options, one for each category. Love it. Great work!—-Say’s one of the critics.

Thanks to John

Vogel’s Mounting Solution for iPad on the move

Vogel’s introduces a mounting solution for iPad for use at home, at work and on the move. Vogel’s Mount & Cover System® for the iPad is a unique system for mounting Apple’s highly successful tablet – on the wall, in the car, and on your desk or table. Because the iPad is such a compelling device, you want it to be accessible everywhere. The Vogel’s Mount & Cover System, drawing on Vogel’s proven experience in secure mounting systems, lets you safely mount your iPad wherever you need it.

The Vogel mount system quite eliminates the need of an iPad stand as it sticks the iPad firmly on any surface. You may hang the iPad to a wall, or stick it on a table surface and even rotate it 360 degrees, so there’s no need for a stand to prop it up. Unlike with the stand, you don’t have to hold the iPad in your hand. You can stick the iPad to a slew of places like maybe on your mirror to simultaneously work and also dress up in the morning. If travelling, stick it to the back surface of the seat ahead for easier viewing. Similarly you can mount the iPad to almost about any surface, you can think of. The Vogel kit will include a WallMount and BaseCover system, which has a protective cover for iPad and a special handles like WallMount, TabletMount, or CarMount. The Vogel iPad accessories will start selling in the by earlier 2011 for about $101.

For the best seat on the road

The CarMount is securely attached to the headrest of the driver’s or passenger’s seat, ready for the iPad to be attached.

With one simple click, you can mount the iPad with BaseCover onto the CarMount.

Back seat travelers have a great view of the display and can easily control the iPad, to make every journey a pleasure.

For any position: portrait or landscape

As part of the Mount & Cover System, Vogel’s have also developed the TableStand, for free-standing support of the iPad. With the TableStand the iPad can be placed in either portrait or landscape position, on a table, bookshelf or desk, for viewing your favorite photos, movies or TV shows.

For easy viewing

Vogel’s WallMount is part of the Mount & Cover System. It is a discrete and stylishly designed button that can be screwed onto almost any surface. An iPad with BaseCover can then be easily clicked onto the WallMount, so it hangs safely in place, ready for viewing films, photos, recipes, or for other applications. Once mounted, the iPad can be freely rotated through 360 degrees, and the locking system ensures stable and secure support. And unmounting the iPad is just as easy. The WallMount can be attached to any suitable wall. With just one screw, the WallMount is held securely in place. Thanks to the flexibility of the BaseCover and WallMount, you can use your iPad wherever you like, as an alarm clock in the bedroom, as a music player or digital photo display in the living room or as a cookbook in the kitchen. Turn the iPad freely to position it in portrait or landscape mode on the WallMount.

Support and protection for your iPad

Vogel’s BaseCover is the heart of the Mount & Cover system. The BaseCover offers all round protection for the iPad and comes with the special aluminium connector (patent pending), that enables the iPad to be easily mounted onto a range of different mounts and supports such as the WallMount, the Table Stand and the CarMount.

The BaseCover design and special tactile coating adds minimal additional bulk to the iPad, whilst making it extremely comfortable to hold.

The BaseCover can also be reversed to protect the front of your iPad, and the side buttons, when travelling.

The BaseCover ships as standard with one WallMount in the box. Additional WallMounts can be purchased separately.

Via Technabob

XtremeMac Incharge Duo for iPod for US$59.99

XtremeMac has come to the rescue with the new InCharge Duo for iPad (US$59.99), a dual dock that not only provides the necessary 2.1 amps to charge the iPad, but can charge an iPhone or iPod with Dock Connector at the same time.Since your iPad has such good battery life, you can also use the InCharge Duo to charge up any combination of other iDevices while you’re using the iPad.

Over the past couple of weeks, two companies have finally evolved the increasingly me-too “iPad stand” category into its natural successor — the iPad dock, combining the prop-up benefits of the many stands we’ve reviewed with the electronic charging components of classic iPod and iPhone docks. But these companies have both gone further, offering multi-device charging stations with room for an iPad in back and at least one iPod or iPhone in front. One of the options is XtremeMac’s InCharge Duo for iPad, while the other is iHome’s iB969 Charging Station for iPod, iPhone + iPad.

The InCharge Duo looks much nicer than some dual chargers I’ve seen and used. It would be perfect for use in a bedroom, as the LEDs are dim enough that they won’t keep anyone but the most severe insomniac awake. It’s a sleek dark grey unit with a tiny logo on the front and two small LEDs that provide charge status.

According to some reviews:

Of the two designs, the one we were at first most inclined to prefer was InCharge Duo, which has a more compact form factor and streamlined design. Measuring 5.5” deep by 4.5” wide and around 0.75” tall in its basic form, InCharge Duo is a black and gray plastic, dual-device charging station with two swappable top plates, a wall adapter, and five universal dock inserts in the package. With the basic plate installed, you have two universal iPod/iPhone wells capable of recharging both devices while inside or outside of most cases, but you can swap the back dock to the iPad-specific plate for full-speed 2.1-Amp charging of a single iPad, standing vertically either alone or behind a smaller Apple device.

Initially, we really liked the way XtremeMac designed InCharge Duo: it has two small lights in front of its iPod/iPhone dock to indicate charging status, looks nice, and doesn’t consume a lot of space. The docks both work as expected, with the front one quickly recharging smaller devices and the rear one offering 2.1-Amp full-speed iPad refueling. The unit has no other frills, such as computer/iTunes synchronization or audio-out, but as a bedside charging station, it just makes a lot of sense.

Except for one thing: iPad case compatibility. With the iPad plate on, encased iPads generally won’t work; only if you pull the plate off and take your chances with a physically unsupported but encased iPad might you see that charging’s taking place, albeit without InCharge Duo’s indicator light illuminating properly. Most cases we tried didn’t work at all with InCharge Duo, but certain thin shells did—a shame because this would have been much easier to recommend if the dock could accommodate iPads that were protected. The idea of having to pull a case on and off for recharging is a deal-breaker for us because of the inconvenience factor, but those who don’t use cases will feel otherwise.

iHome’s IB969 takes a very different approach to iPad and multi-device charging—one that’s initially less appealing but turns out to be more practical. Like XtremeMac, iHome has packaged a wall adapter and two iPhone/iPod universal docks inside a black and gray plastic shell, here finished with a metallic gunmetal and soft touch rubber look rather than the matte plastics used in InCharge Duo. This dock is considerably larger, measuring 9” wide by 6.9” deep by nearly 2” tall, including a chunky plastic iPad holder that bulges out of the otherwise ingot-like device. Also inside the box are twin mini-USB to USB cables and a foreign-looking USB to power adapter that turns out to be for Sony’s Reader devices, plus a mini-USB to micro-USB adapter, and two iPhone 3G/3GS-compatible universal dock inserts. Flip iB969 upside down and there are two USB ports on the bottom, ready to connect to the included USB cables or whichever other device-specific ones you may want or need to self-supply.

The net effect of receiving all this stuff in the box, then sorting through it, is to tell a tale of a dock that seems to have originally been designed somewhat questionably for iPod, iPhone, and a Sony Reader to hang out together—a product iHome is incidentally releasing separately as the iB967—then hastily redesigned with a non-electronic iPad tray for the iB969. There are a lot of cables here, three separate oddball switches on the iB969 for different purposes, and a big rubber surface in front of the twin iPod/iPhone docks for the Sony Reader of all things to rest on.

As it turns out, there’s a good reason to bother: despite some initial setup complexity, iB969 turns out to be a really nice nightstand option for multi-device users—a place to drop an iPhone or iPod, an iPad, and your glasses, car keys, or whatever other electronic device you might want to charge at the same time. On one hand, iHome puts iPad users at a disadvantage relative to InCharge Duo by forcing them to supply their own Dock Connector to USB charging cable, which is length-managed by clips under iB969, then fed through the rear plastic tray for connection to the iPad’s bottom. But this approach lets iB969 do something InCharge Duo doesn’t: you can mount your iPad vertically or horizontally in the tray. And because the tray is large enough to accommodate encased iPads, it works under a variety of circumstances XtremeMac’s dock can’t handle. Inside a case, outside a case, upside down, on its right, on its left, or even backwards—the iPad can be placed any way that works for you.It’s also a more powerful charging station. We had an iPad fully charging via the rear 2.1-Amp charger while two iPods or an iPod and iPhone fully charged in the docks in front; 4 total Amps of power can be divided amongst the four total ports if you desire, except that only one port offers high-speed iPad charging. By comparison with InCharge Duo, iB969 is ready to refuel a bunch of devices at once, albeit with only a single very bright blue light on its top surface to indicate that it’s being used for any form of charging. Two of the switches on the unit are on its bottom, letting you toggle the hidden USB ports for Apple and non-Apple device charging; the other one is on the top, letting you switch iB969 into a syncing mode so that the connected devices can interact with iTunes on a Mac or PC using one of the included cables and an outgoing mini-USB port on the unit’s back.

Thank you Jeremy Horwitz

via Tuaw

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