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Eee PC 900

After selling our previous laptop Compaq Presario V3000 (AMD Turion 64 X2 1.6Ghz), we decided to buy a simple "netbook" as a replacement. We need a netbook which is easy to carry aound for checking our webmails, post some blogs etc. Browsing through the range of laptops offered at eSquare, Gadgetzone and PC Depot, we came across a budget netbook Eee PC 900 which is around RM1199~RM1250 range.

Eee PC is a budget laptop from Asus which define the 'netbook' range back in 2007 when they first launched 7" Eee PC and took the world by storm. Now, you can find Eee PC with a variety of "flavors" ranging from 7" to 10".

Eee PC 900 comes with 9" screen with resolution of 1024x600. The storage media is 30GB HDD (which many retailers claimed is SSD but is actually a Seagate Lyrion 3600rpm hard disk). You can't trust the retailers on this as they didn't verify the model number of the storage media. It would be wonderful if the Asus includes 30GB SSD instead, but no, not this time.

Eee PC 900 is equipped with meagre Celeron-M 900Mhz which is just enough to run Windows XP. We have installed Windows XP on this machine and it runs without problems. The start up time is quite slow, and you'll need to wait more than a minute before you can actually do anything productive. We suspect that the slow HDD is the culprit as we have plug in 2GB of RAM for this machine. No, it has to be the hard disk, followed by the bus speed and processor speed.

9" screen is the bare minimum for us. 7" is just too small to browse the websites comfortably. 10" would be perfect but you'll need to fork out extra RM400 for it. Of course you'll get some performance improvement if you opt for Atom N270 variants. But with recent economic slowdown every penny counts.

The WiFi and touch pad is good on Eee PC 900... especially the touch pad with multi-touch ability like the iPhone's. The keyboard is not as good as the regular notebook keyboard. Another thing is the netbook is generating a lot of heat for its size. Not sure whether it is common for all the Eee PC.

Overall, we'd give 6.5 out of 10...just average, but that's okay, for it is cheap enough to justify the slight inconveniences. :)

Apple Store in Malaysia

If you pay attention to the news recently, you'll know that Apple just opened an online store in Malaysia! Now you can shop for your favourite iPods and get it delivered to your doorstep within 2-3 days. What's more, Apple is offering free engraving for your iPod so that you'll have your personalized message permanently printed on the back of your iPod. Cool huh?

As much as we'd like to see iPhone for sale in Malaysia, but nope...iPhone is still not available in the store yet. You'll still need to get overseas unlocked set if you want to buy it in Malaysia. Not that it is difficult to get... with the help of lelong and mudah, you can basically get your iPhone anytime. But hey, why buy outside if you can directly from Apple.

Windows 7

Before we even settled down with Windows Vista, Microsoft now planning for another OS release by end of next year. Yes, the Windows 7. Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advancements in touch, speech, and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, and kernel improvements. Microsoft also claimed that Windows 7 will run on any PC and work with any program that works today with Windows Vista. You can get the latest info from Microsoft website.

While all these looks spectacular on paper, whether or not Microsoft will be able pull it off this time remains to be seen. We all know how resource hungry is the Windows Vista...heck, the lappy with Windows Vista I'm using now has 4GB of RAM installed with Core 2 Duo processor! Hopefully we don't need another upgrade next year on our hardware...
Though there is a pre-beta version floating around on the net, we don't feel the urge to try out yet...

Playstation Store now on PSP

With latest PSP firmware update ver 5.01, we can now signup and access Playstation Store on our o'PSP :) hurray, right? Well, not exactly...after signing up a new user using Malaysian contact info and address, we were greeted by a simple message from Sony that Playstation Store is not available in our region yet. Duh! why let us sign up then when we can't access the store?

Then, I remembered that I had previously created a Playstation Store account in Hong Kong when I got myself a I key in the username and password and viola.. I am now able to access Playstation Store! Why Malaysia always lack behind on stuff like this!?

Like PS3, Playstation Store allows you to purchase a game online (according to region, of course!) though your WiFi connection. You can browse the games available using the simple user interface and download different contents for your PSP. The best thing is, there are some Trial version of PSP games available for download, how cool.

You can also download Themes to change the look of your background and XMB for free..

Though the concept is great, the interface and implementation still not as good as the iTunes store. This will probably change with future firmware upgrades but lack of convenient user input method for PSP may mar the user experience with the Playstation Store. :P

Nintendo DSi

Nintendo DSi hit the shelves recently in Japan and took the country by storm, selling over 171000 units in the first two days! The new DSi is 12% thinner than the DS Lite and a larger screen (3.25inch compared to 3inch). There is also a SDHC slot for external storage of photos, downloaded software and AAC audios.

With all these improvement, we definitely can't wait to get our hands on it, right? right? Well, hold on for a sec, because DSi won't be available outside Japan till next year. Also, The DSi is currently incompatible with flash carts like the R4 and Edge4DS, so you'll be out in the cold if you want to play homebrews on it.

Nintendo DS Lite vs PSP-2000

Recently, Sony and Nintendo rolled out their new portable gaming console for another fight. Sony launched their PSP-3000 while Nintendo with DSi. Both devices sporting several enhancement over their predecessor with an intent to dominate the portable gaming market. While we wait for the drama to unfold on these two devices, lets us see what has become of PSP-2000 and DS-Lite respectively.

Nintendo DS-Lite is a cute little portable gaming devices with 2 LCD screen, touch screen, built in mic and WiFi. Though the screen size is smaller than PSP, the dual LCD screens made up with high brightness and touch screen that revolutionize the portable gaming. The main selling point of this device is on the innovative games churning out for Nintendo DS. Titles like Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, The World Ends With You, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Nintendogs etc. are really innovative and fully utilize the features on this device.

When the Nintendo DS first launched, there are only few games available and they are only sold with GBA cartridges, which turned off our appetite for this device. However, after a series of awesome games starts flooding the market, DS immediately captured the heart of people around the world. Moreover, you can now use Micro-SD cards on this device with the help of an adapter, like R4 or Edge4DS. With these adapter and custom software, you can even listen to your favourite MP3/4 on DS!

On the other hand, PSP has been our companion for some time now. The unit is slick and beautiful. The enormous screen and nice 3D graphics made our jaw dropped when we first saw it. Titles like Lumines, Burnout, God of War, CC:FF7, Patapon, Metal Gear Acid were our favourites (and still is). However, most of the games on PSP is ported from PS2 and lacked originality and innovation like DS (which explains why DS outsold PSP). There is nothing wrong with the is damn powerful device. What they need is actually more innovative titles for PSP.

Recently, not much interesting title available for PSP and we find ourselves reaching more for the DS-Lite than the PSP :P. We think that if Sony wants to increase their market share, they should focus more on the games than on the hardware now...

Nokia E71

I finally got my hands on the highly rated Nokia E71. :) The unit I got is white in color(though I prefer black), but nevertheless, the phone still looks slick and sophisticated.

As the successor of Nokia's qwerty mobile phone E61/E61i, E71 sports a smaller screen 2.36" to compared to previous 2.8" to reduce the overall size of this phone but fortunately, the screen looks bright and sharp. Nokia also increase in the camera's megapixel to 3.2M with LED flash. That means you can now take decent picture with this baby. Of course you can't compare it with 5 megapixels N82 with Carl-Zeiss lens & Xenon flash but if you just want to snap some photos of your work stuff, this should be sufficient. :P

The best feature I'm in love with so far is the built-in GPS. The GPS locking is very fast and the application is very easy to use, especially if you install the Garmin GMobile XT. The map is accurate most of the time, and you are able to search places around you like restaurants, shopping etc. Very helpful stuff if you travel to places that you're not familiar with. The Nokia Maps is good also but the voice navigation is only free for 3 months...and I've compared both Garmin and Nokia maps, I say the Garmin map is more updated than the Nokia's.

There are tons of software and games that you can purchase and download from the Nokia Download apps, similar to iPhone's AppStore, but the user interface is of course no where near the iPhone. However, the good thing about Nokia Symbian phone is that you can multitask several application without any problems whereas if you're using iPhone, you can only open and close one app at a time. Also, symbian apps takes much less space than iPhone and you rarely have to download any app more than 2MB in size. In iPhone however, you could easily hit over 2oMB for one app, especially the games.

One free app that is particularly useful is Advanced Call Manager which you can download from Nokia's website. It allows you to filter calls and sms, divert calls and more.

The Nokia E71 comes with QuickOffice ver 4.1.35 which is really helpful if you want to carry the documents with you. The Nokia PC Suite 7 is now quite convenient to use now and connecting to your E71 via bluetooth is a breeze. One thing that Nokia is good at is the connectivity. The E71 sports almost all technology you can think of, all bundled into the size of iPhone.

Is E71 worth it? You bet. With the price that is much lower than the current iPhone 3G in Malaysia, you can always consider the Nokia E71....or maybe wait for Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, right? :)