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Pc magazine 2010-01

  1. 1. TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE AWARDSJANUARY 2010MotoroladroidVerizon’s Bestsmartphonehow to BuildYour ownGaming Pc 6 People and 10 Technologies That Led the Tech Revolution
  2. 2. JANUARY 2010 vol. 29 No. 1 44 CovER SToRY BEST Of ThE DECADE In this decade-ending blockbuster, we explore the people and technologies that defined the first ten years of the 21st Century. Come see how different 2009 looks from 1999.PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010 Photos: (middle row, far leff and right) Getty Images
  3. 3. 14 25 22 FIRSt lOOKS letteRS4 CONSUMEr ELECTrONICS 5 fEEDbACk Droid phones Apple tV tech NewS Vizio VF551XVt 7 frONT SIDE Pc Mag’s annual technical carMD excellence Award winners; Plus Quick looks a motorized skateboard; fitness22 hArDWArE gear for the road. hP Pavilion 6267c-b Apple iMac 27-inch OPINIONS (core 2 Duo) 2 fIrST WOrD: epson PictureMate charm LANCE ULANOff Plus Quick looks 38 JOhN C. DvOrAk28 bUSINESS 40 SASChA SEGAN hP Proliant Ml330 42 DAN COSTA G6 Server Outright (Sept 2009) SOlUtIONS hP ProBook 5310m 68 bUILD A GAMING PC we show you how to build a solid,32 SOfTWArE midrange gaming box for less than Microsoft Office 2010 Beta $1,700. Google chrome OS 74 SECUrITy Panda cloud Antivirus Account controls in windows 7. Free edition 78 TECh TIPS Plus Quick looks Sorting contacts in windows Mail,80 ThE bEST STUff recording voiceovers, and more.PC Magazine Digital Edition, ISSN 0888-8507, is published monthly at $24.97 for one year. Ziff Davis Media Inc., 28 east 28th Street, New York NY 10016-7940. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION
  4. 4. fIrsT WOrD LANCE uLANOffThe Word on Chrome OSO nce upon a time, Google’s you have a favorite drawing or scrapbook- Chrome operating system was ing application, you might as well throw an exciting idea that offered far it out if you plan on devoting your life to more questions than answers. Chrome. On the other hand, it’s likely that But now we now know much you’ve started using more and more cloud-more about what the company is working based applications to get work done.on and have even seen the OS in action. ChrOME Os usEs PArTs Of ThE ChrOMEBasically, there are some important things brOWsEr. If you like Google’s upstartyou need to know about the Google Chrome browser, you may love the Chrome OS.operating system. They look almost exactly the same, though IT’s NOT AvAILAbLE yET. So far, Google has Chrome OS does add a number of impor-launched only the open-source develop- tant, OS–like features.ment project. This means developers and yOu’LL GET EAsy ACCEss TO APPs. A Webthird-party partners (including hardware browser lets you add shortcuts to Web sitesmanufacturers) can download, compile, and on the toolbar, but it isn’t particularly goodinstall the code. Most important, they can at giving instant access to applications.change and enhance it. All those changes Google Chrome OS tries to address thiscould pour back into what will become the by adding a “Tabs” feature. These are per-first shipping product late next year. The sistent tabs that keep your favorite Apps arest of us will have to wait until then. click away. EvEry APP IN ChrOME Is A WEb APP. This ChrOME WILL ALWAys bE uP TO DATE.means there are literally no desktop apps. Microsoft always recommends you turn onGoogle execs reiterated this point by add- Windows Update, but not everyone does.ing, “third party apps will work as long as In Chrome, there is no choice. If you’re cur-they’re Web applications.” This fact could— rently running the Chrome browser, thisand maybe should—scare you. All the appli- shouldn’t surprise you. It always polls forcation CDs you currently have sitting on new versions and updates on its own, asshelves are useless with the Chrome OS. If well. PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  5. 5. What you see now probably doesn’t represent what the shipping product will look like in 2010. ChrOME WILL rEPAIr ITsELf. Google says app in an additional 3 seconds.its primary goals for the Chrome OS are ChrOME WILL NOT ruN ON ANy PC. Sorry,speed, simplicity, and security. To achieve but if you were planning on converting allthat last part, the Chrome OS will do some- your existing systems to the Google Chromething never seen before in a desktop oper- OS, you’re out of luck. Google is targeting aating system: It will, if it needs to, re-image very specific kind of computer. In fact, evenitself. If the OS detects a malware infection though Google expressed great love foror even just a bad bit, it will get an updated all the world’s netbooks, the company hasversion of the OS from the cloud and rein- concerns about the current crop of small,stall it. Thankfully, this will not blow away affordable laptops. Google execs said theyyour data and settings, because they’re all want to see netbooks with 100 percent key-stored in the cloud. boards and larger screens. They said they yOur DATA Is IN ThE CLOuD. Chrome OS also want to focus on 802.11n connectivity.will not store any of your data locally. As Google does believe that its operating sys-long as you’re online, it will constantly cache tem will eventually run on more powerfulyour data and settings in the cloud. All of desktops and laptops, but not in 2010.that information is, by default, encrypted. ChrOME WILL WOrk OffLINE—sOrT Of.There is a benefit here. If your computer is Google has made some vague promisesstolen, or even if you want to upgrade, you about “exposing offline capabilities” anddon’t have to back up or migrate a thing. supporting some offline storage. The com-You’ll have all your data as soon as you sync pany also talked about the ability to playup your new computer. The concern, obvi- offline media and games. There’s more, likeously, is what happens when you don’t have the fact that whatever you see now prob-online access—cross-country flight, any- ably doesn’t represent what the shippingone? product will look like in 2010, and the fact ThErE Is NO hArD DrIvE. Chrome OS will that Google doesn’t seem to have a hard-not run on spinning hard drives. Google ware driver plan. But these are the earlyexecs say they’re working with OEMS to cre- days. I expect we’ll learn a dozen or moreate the ultimate reference design for Chrome key points when we finally download andOS machines. Part of that is flash or Solid compile the code in PC Labs. I have to say,State storage. A key benefit is speed. During I’m looking forward to it.Google’s demonstration of early code, the FOllOW me On TWiTTer! Catch the chief’scompany showed a machine booting to the comments on the latest tech developments atlog-on screen in 7 seconds and launching an twitter.com/Lanceulanoff. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION
  6. 6. ® www.pcmag.comEditor-in-ChiEf, pC magazinE nEtwork Lance UlanoffEditor Stephanie ChangdirECtor of onLinE ContEnt, EXECUtiVE prodUCEr Vicki B. JacobsonEXECUtiVE EditorDan Costaart dirECtor Richard J. DemlerEditoriaL prodUCtion dirECtor Nicholas CosmopC Labs dirECtor, managing Editor (Laptops, dEsktops) Laarni Almendrala Ragazamanaging Editors Sean Carroll (software, security, Internet), Eric Griffith (business, networking), Tony Hoffman (printers, scanners),Matthew Murray (ExtremeTech), Sascha Segan (mobile), Wendy Sheehan Donnell (consumer electronics)sEnior Editors Brian Heater (PCMag.com), Carol Mangis (blogs, community), Erik Rhey (Digital Edition)pC Labs LEad anaLysts Cisco Cheng (laptops), Tim Gideon (consumer electronics), Samara Lynn (business, networking), Michael Muchmore (soft-ware), Neil J. Rubenking (security), Joel Santo Domingo (desktops), M. David Stone (printers, scanners)anaLysts Dan Evans (DIY, hardware), PJ Jacobowitz (consumer electronics)inVEntory ControL Coordinator Nicole Grahamstaff photographEr Scott SchedivypCmag.Com managEr, onLinE prodUCtion Yun-San TsaiprodUCErs Mark Lamorgese, Whitney A. ReynoldsnEws Editor Mark HachmannEws rEportEr Chloe Albanesiusstaff Editors Jennifer Bergen (blogs), Gregg Binder (printers, scanners), Zachary Honig (consumer electronics), Errol Pierre-Louis (software,security, Internet)assistant Editor Sean Ludwig (mobile)CommErCE prodUCErs Iman Edwards, Arielle RochetteUtiLity program managEr Tim SmithCrEatiVE dirECtor Chris Phillips prodUCtion artist Guyang ChenContribUting Editors Helen Bradley, John R. Delaney, Richard V. Dragan, John C. Dvorak, Craig Ellison, Galen Fott, Bill Howard, Don Labriola,Jamie Lendino, Jim Louderback, Bill Machrone, Edward Mendelson, Jan Ozer, Neil Randall, Matthew D. Sarrel, Larry Seltzer Kenneth J. Detlet 212-503-5252ViCE prEsidEnt, digitaL saLEsViCE prEsidEnt, markEting James Selden 212-503-4689markEting managEr Lindsay Garrison 212-503-5270wEb dEsignEr Yoland OuiyaadVErtising offiCE 28 E. 28th St., New York, NY 10016-7940; phone, 800-336-2423, 212-503-3500; fax, 212-503-5000For advertising information go to www.pcmagmedia.comziff daVis mEdia inC.ChiEf EXECUtiVE offiCEr Jason Young Neil GlassChiEf finanCiaL offiCEr and sEnior ViCE prEsidEntChiEf opErating offiCEr Steve SuttonsEnior ViCE prEsidEnt Lance Ulanoff (Content, PC Magazine Network)gEnEraL CoUnsEL Stephen HicksViCE prEsidEnt James Selden (Marketing and Sales Development, Consumer/Small-Business Group)EXECUtiVE dirECtor Larry Chevres (Internet Technology)dirECtor Nyasha Bass (Licensing)thE indEpEndEnt gUidE PC Magazine is the Independent Guide to Technology. Our The following are registered trademarks of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.: i-Bench,mission is to test and review computer- and Internet-related products and services and NetBench, PC DIRECT, PC Labs, PC MAGAZINE, PC MAGAZINE AWARD FOR TECHNICALreport fairly and objectively on the results. Our editors do not invest in firms whose products EXCELLENCE, PC MAGAZINE EDITORS’ CHOICE, PC MagNet, ServerBench, WinBench,or services we review, nor do we accept travel tickets or other gifts of value from such firms. Winstone, Ziff Davis Media’s corporate logo, and PCMAG.com. The following are trademarksExcept where noted, PC Magazine reviews are of products and services that are currently of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.: After Hours, CPUmark, EasyComputing, ExtremeTech,available. Our reviews are written without regard to advertising or business relationships with First Looks, First Looks Plus, i-Bench, Lab Notes, Lab Tales, PC Bench, PC Labs Scorecard,any vendor. PC Magazine At Home, PC Magazine CD, Front Side, PC Magazine Extra, PC Magazine Mar- ketlink, PC Solutions, PC Tech, Power Programming, Quick Clips, ScreenDemos, SMB Boothow to ContaCt thE Editors We welcome comments from readers. Send your com- Camp, Tech Notes, and WinDrain. Other trademarks and trade names used throughout thements to Internet address pcmag@pcmag.com or to PC Magazine, 28 E. 28th St., New York, publication are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2008 Ziff Davis Publish-NY 10016-7940. Please include a daytime telephone number. PC Magazine’s general number ing Holdings Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission isis 212-503-3500. The West Coast Operations number is 415-547-8000. We cannot look up prohibited.stories from past issues, recommend products, or diagnose problems with your PC by phone.An index of past issues is at www.pcmag.com/previous_issues. 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  7. 7. Feed LETTErSFeedWindows 7 Over Snow Leopard Yes, this is a shame, but what would youIn regard to Lance Ulanoff’s piece, “Windows rather do: pay a few hundred to install Win7 vs. Mac Snow Leopard: The Great Debate,” 7 or pay over a thousand to buy a newI have several thoughts. First, 64-bit oper- Mac? Talk about leaving users behind.ating systems are still not widely used, so —”Truetech”no point arguing which system does it bet-ter. Same goes for Hyper-Threading, which Symantec Slipping on Customer Servicealso is not yet widely used. And, yes, there Thanks to Neil J. Rubenking for stating outare those big yummy icons on Mac. But boo loud in his article, “Symantec Support Gonehoo, the icons on Windows 7 aren’t as big as Rogue” what I’ve been finding over the pastours! What are we, 3 years old, that we need four months: Symantec’s customer assis-kindergarten jumbo icons? tance currently merits an “F” grade. Windows 7’s UI is a big improvement on It pains me to say that, because I haveXP and Vista’s, and many users are quite found the most recent version of Nortonhappy with its simplicity and user-friendly Internet Security to be a great program. Butdesign. True, Time Machine on Macs is a unfortunately, the off-shore customer ser-great program that works really well. Win- vice reps—just don’t know that program—ordows Backup is pretty Spartan, but who the other Symantec programs--well enoughcares when there are a plethora of free to provide helpful assistance. Most recently,backup programs Windows users can have, a rep couldn’t figure out for me how toversus the few backup programs avail- exclude programs from the NIS scan. I foundable for Maccies who don’t like using Time the solution during a telephone chat sessionMachine? with the rep, and basically taught that rep Finally, Apple’s claim that Microsoft has how to do it.left XP users behind is idiotic. XP has run Even Symantec’s quality control seemsits course, it’s now a legacy OS, and unfor- affected. I have received no fewer thantunately, Microsoft simply couldn’t make it three quality control questionnaires follow-compatible enough to upgrade smoothly. ing my last chat session with Symantec. Ithow to contact us We welcome your comments and suggestions. When sending e-mail toFeedback, please state in the subject line which article or column prompted your response.E-mail pcmag@pcmag.com. All letters become the property of PC Magazine and are subject toediting. We regret that we cannot answer letters individually. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION
  8. 8. fEEDbACkis sad, and a disservice to Symantec’s cus- be spending money on hardware and soft-tomers. And enough to make one recon- ware that just sits there waiting to be calledsider whether freeware is the better way to on and then isn’t.go.—“Rufustel” Fundamentally, however, Google is after the brainshare that will be released whenGoogle’s Game Plan all those millions of PC users are no longerAfter reading Matthew Murray’s piece trolling for the next PC killer app or per-“Does Chrome OS Spell the End of Desk- formance boost. To what end? Google hastop PCs?” I think anything other than a Web made the Internet more than a method ofOS wouldn’t be accepted from Google. interconnection. It’s now an agora, a mar-The company has a plan. The thing about ketplace where what is wanted is beingits plans is that they tend to work out. Put- defined. The best place to build and defineting everything ever written on the Web is content for this marketplace is in the rough-literally changing the value landscape for and-tumble of that marketplace, not oncomputing. Who else is doing that? It’s true your PC, the 21st century equivalent of thethat with a Google OS netbook you won’t mud hut.—“Cpenoi”
  9. 9. Front What’s New from the World of TechThe 2009TechnicalExcellenceAwardsPC Mag editors andanalysts choose the mostinnovative technologyachievements of 2009. INTEL’s LIGhTPEAk For the past 26 years, PC matrix behemoth that made printing afford- Mag has taken this time able). These milestones have long been of year to put aside the surpassed, but traces of these innovations rush of press releases, are still with us. In our opinion, the list below mountains of marketing will leave similar traces 25 years from now. hype, and legion of prod-uct launches to focus on the technologies LightPeakthat really mattered in 2009. And this year, We have written a lot about the advantageswe found some really cool stuff. of fiber-optic cable to provide high-speed When we first started handing out TechEx data and video to the home, but engineersawards in 1985, the recipients included revo- at Intel are working on bringing those blaz-lutionary products like the Javelin spread- ing speeds all the way to your PC. As demon-sheet, Trailblazer Modem (9,600 bits per strated at IDF this year, LightPeak transmitssecond!), and the IBM ProPrinter (the dot- data at 10 gigabits per second and has the JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION
  10. 10. frONTsIDE MICrOsOfT’s PrOjECT NATALpotential to scale to 100 Gbps over the next That box includes an RGB camera, infrareddecade. To put that in perspective, at 10 depth sensor, microphone, and processor.Gbps you could transfer a full-length Blu-ray With this device in place, Natal can interpretmovie in less than 30 seconds. LightPeak can a wide variety of inputs, including gestures,support multiple I/O protocols and could facial recognition, and voice commands.be used for everything from simple periph- Although camera-enabled entertainmenteral access to high-speed data connections. systems date back to the Sony EyeToy, NatalAlthough still expensive, LightPeak taps the is far more than a toy. It can map the humanextraordinary capacity of optical communi- body with as many as 48 skeletal framecations and could leap-frog more conven- points, a level of detail that offers developerstional connections in the next few years. unprecedented flexibility in building every- thing from sports games to first-personProject Natal shooters. Natal won’t be available until laterWe got our first glimpse of Microsoft’s Proj- this year, but game developers are alreadyect Natal at the 2009 E3 show. Natal isn’t a building applications.single technology,but rather a collec- Nvidia Geforce 3Dtion of them inside a NvIDIA’s GEfOrCE Creating a truly three-small box that con- 3D vIsION dimensional display hasnects to your Xbox been a goal of the film,and sits below your television, and PC indus-TV, much like the try since their inception, butsensor on a Nintendo Wii. Nvidia’s GeForce 3D Vision shows PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  11. 11. just how close we are. It isn’t TouchTec Glovesseamless yet, however. You Anyone who has tried tostill need to wear the $200 use an iPod with gloves onstereoscopic glasses, and will appreciate the inven-you also have to use a newer tion of Jerry Leto, foundergraphics card and watch on of TouchTec. Althougha 120-Hz capable display. capacitive screens are moreThe “active shutter” lenses sensitive and responsivesynchronize with your dis- than resistive touch screens,play so that each eye gets they’re no good when used60-Hz worth of images. with non-conducting mate-Once you put those pieces in rials, like the cloth of yourplace, the results are pretty TOUChTEC CAPACITIvE gloves. Leto found a solu-impressive. Best of all, there GLOvEs tion by imbuing fabric withare more than 300 games nanoparticles that let youthat support 3D vision right now, including operate an ATM, iPhone, or other touchCall of Duty and World of Warcraft. screen without removing your glove. The gloves come at a hefty price premium nowXerox silver Ink Printable Electronics ($185), but in a few years we will be sur-There are a lot of challenges in developing prised when a fabric doesn’t work with aprintable circuits. One of the most basic is capacitive touch screen.that conductive metals melt at about 1,000degrees Celsius, and the plastic sheets ideal honda stride Management Assistfor holding them melt at around 150 degrees When it to comes to robots, many of us tendC. This year, Xerox cleared that hurdle by to focus on the futuristic and cool (Asimo)developing a silver-based ink that can be or the cute and useless (Pleo), ignoring theprinted on plastic, paper, or a range of other fact that robotics will have a meaningfulsurfaces. Soon we may be able to print elec- impact on our everyday lives. And as Hon-tronic devices for a much lower cost, open- da’s Stride Management Assist and Body-ing up a huge range of new applications. As weight Support Assist show, that impact isPC Labs’ printer analyst David Stone puts it: not far off. These prototypes aren’t designed“If you can print the RFID on packaging as to replace the function of standing or walk-easily as printing a bar code, you can replace ing, but could help an individual move morebar codes with RFID tags. This could mean easily or lift heavier objects. The 5.6-poundgoing through a checkout counter becomes Stride Assist device contains a CPU and bat-as easy as walking past an RFID reader to tery pack and straps around your waist. It’sregister everything in your cart.” connected to braces that fasten to your legs JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 9
  12. 12. frONTsIDEand assist your movement. has been available overseasWhen PC Mag editor-in- since last year, its U.S. debutchief Lance Ulanoff tested was in 2009—and it wasthe system he reported, “I an impressive one. With-could see how this [technol- out additional spectrum toogy] might perform a dual deploy a truly 4G network,purpose, assisting the infirm like WiMaxor LTE, T-Mobileand helping the able-bodied is using HSPA+ to wring asbecome better walkers.” much performance out of its existing 3G network. MobileMPEG surround products managing editorCurrently the vast majority Sascha Segan tested HSPA+of TV broadcasts and Inter- in Philadelphia, and he saysnet radio stations use stereo that “speeds went wild.audio encoding, because it My little laptop stick gavetakes too much bandwidth repeated results up to 3.6to send true 5.1 surround hONDA sTrIDE AssIsT megabits per second.” Thesound. Fraunhofer Insti- technology is just in Phila-tute’s new audio codex, MPEG Surround, delphia; expect more cities to light up soon.could change that. In fact, the companyhas demonstrated full 5.1 channel sound WiTricity resonant Magnetic Couplingin as little as 48 kilobits per second. At the Magnetic induction isn’t new—it’s what2009 CES show, PC Labs audio analyst Tim high-end electric toothbrushes use toGideon said that “It was virtually impos- charge up without wires. But those tooth-sible to hear the difference between MPEG brushes need to be within millimeters toSurround and the original surround-sound power up. The Boston-based firm WiTric-recordings.” Not only could MPEG Surround ity can do the same thing over several feetchange the way music is heard, but it also and power everything from a light bulb, arepresents a boon for streaming TV firms, cell phone, or even a HDTV. The secret tolike Hulu and Netflix. WiTricity’s technology is the use of reso- nant magnetic coupling, which occurs whenT-Mobile hsPA+ two objects exchange energy by varying orATT and Verizon are in a very public debate oscillating magnetic fields. The end resultover who has the biggest 3G network, but is power transferred much more efficientlyif you want to test out the fastest 3G net- than wires, and without the environmentalwork, you need to visit Philadelphia and log hazards of using a disposable battery.on to T-Mobile’s HSPA+. Although HSPA+ —Dan Costa and PC Mag staff10 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  13. 13. BEST of our BlogS @WOrk Square: Lets Businesses Accept Credit Card Payment by Phone Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, recently unveiled a new startup called Square—a mobile payment system that enables users to process credit card transitions by phone. The service requires no contractsGEArLOG or fees, giving many smallMotorized Skateboarding is Not a Crime businesses that previouslyIf you’re looking to score some big points with your kids or just find didn’t have the hardware oran interesting new way to tear your meniscus, then this gadget is funds to accept credit cardfor you. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling a motorized skateboard payments the ability to do so.($599.95 direct) that can travel at up to 19 miles per hour. The gadget All that’s needed is a small,is powered by a 36-volt battery, and its 600-watt motor reaches top simple device that plugs intospeed in only 4 seconds. It even has enough horsepower to propel the audio jack of almost anyyou uphill. The rider controls acceleration and braking with a wire- phone. —Errol Pierre-Louisless trigger remote. The rechargeable battery lasts about 10 miles.The skateboard weighs 40 pounds and can handle riders up to 225pounds.—Troy Dreier GOODCLEANTECh Use the Sun to Know When It’s Sunny Oregon Scientific has released the +ECO Solar Weather Sta- tion ($99.99 list) for monitoring inside and outside condi- tions. It comes with a detachable solar panel for powering up the rechargeable battery. The weather station lets you know indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, as well as shows a graphic of the day’s forecast. It also includes an alarm with snooze.—TD BEST of ThE InTErnET CULINAry CULTUrE GOOGLE DICTIONAry NEIGhbOrGOODs Culinary Culture is a social The search giant is taking on NeighborGoods is a Web network featuring a vibrant, language with Google Diction- service designed to help active community of food ary, a fairly comprehensive you share things with your lovers, a social calendar of resource featuring translations neighbors, rent things to food events submitted by between English and 28 other them, or just sell them out- users, restaurant and market languages, synonyms, related right. NeighborGoods is in reviews, and even a database phrases, and definitions from private beta at the moment, of user-submitted recipes. other online sources.—Brian but it is accepting requests for —Alan Henry Heater invites.—AH JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 11
  14. 14. frONTsIDEConnected TravelerStay Fit on theRoadThe right tech gear can helpyou stick to your fitnessgoals in 2010.It’s hard to stay in shape while traveling. Fast 2food is often the only food available and sit-ting on a plane for five hours certainly won’tstrengthen your core. Many hotels don’thave a fitness center or pool—just vending 1machines. So if you’re one of the millions ofAmericans who make a New Year’s resolu-tion to improve your fitness level, don’t let abusy travel schedule get in the way. With thehelp of some affordable technology, you cankeep your promise to be totally cut by swim-suit season. If you already have an iPod or iPhone, getthe most out of it. There are a slew of fitnessapps for iPhone, including ifitness ($1.99direct), which lets you record and followworkout info, track your body weight, setup custom workouts, and more. There’s also can give real-time feedback thanks to therunkeeper for recording your runs via GPS wireless transmitter and receiver. And if you(Free; Pro version, $9.99 direct) and fit- want to work out to your favorite jams with-view ($5.99 direct), where you can record out those little earbuds getting in the way,and crunch the numbers on many types of you can always plug your iPod into a por-workouts. And iPod users can tap into the table, battery-powered speaker, such as the[1] Nike + iPod sport kit ($29.99 direct) to [2] iLuv isP100 ($34.99 direct).turn their iPods into a personal trainer that Along with cable TV and on-demand12 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  15. 15. 34 6 5movies, many hotel chains (such as Best list) for a no-mercy approach.Western, Marriott, and Embassy Suites) For true gearheads, sometimes it takesoffer game consoles for check-out or as in- serious hardware to get motivated. Forroom amenities. So why not take along your example, the [6] Polar fT ($20 list) showscopy of [3] Wii fit Plus ($99.99 list), or you your heart rate and whether you’re hittingcan try [4] yourself!fitness for the Xbox your target fitness “zones.” Finally, the []or PlayStation 2 ($39.99 list). In case you bodyMedia GoWear fit (armband, display,can’t get your hands on a game console, and 12-month subscription $249.90 direct)you could always commandeer your kid’s will track your calories burned to adjustNintendo DS and load a copy of [5] jillian your workouts to your weight-loss goals.Michaels fitness Ultimatum 2010 ($19.99 —Erik Rhey JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 13
  16. 16. 14222832 INSIDE CONsuMEr ELECTrONICs HArDWArE BusINEss sOFTWArE FirstHEAD-TO-HEADBattle of the DroidsI f someone has mentioned the word 5.9 ounces. The front consists of a bright, “droid” recently and you think R2D2 rich 3.7-inch LCD capacitive touch screen or C3PO, you haven’t been paying (which can display the full width of desk- attention. The hottest smartphones top Web pages). Below the huge screen are to hit the scene recently are “Droids” four light-up, touch-sensitive buttons. Theor phones that run Google’s Android mobile whole effect feels pleasantly expensive, butOS. The claims are that Droid phones are also rather masculine. Slide the screen tofaster, more responsive, and feature the the right to reveal the first real disappoint-“Google experience.” We tested the first ment, the Droid’s keyboard. The QWERTYAndroid 2.0 phones out of the gate from keys are a little too small, a bit too flat, and aMotorola and an Android 1.5 phone from touch too tight to put this in the first rank ofHTC (with HTC add-ons). Read on to see keyboards.how these two phones fared in a head-to- Running Android 2.0 (including thehead showdown in PC Labs. “Google Experience”), the Droid is reliant on the curiosity and tech-savvy of its cus-Droid by Motorola (Verizon Wireless) tomers to customize their phones. With thatThe Motorola Droid is the first truly lust- said, Android supports Microsoft Exchange,worthy smartphone from Verizon, and it puts as well as a more flexible camera app, bet-all other Google Android phones to shame. ter software keyboards, better browsing,Motorola may have stinted on a few of the and multitouch. Motorola’s Droid is also thebasics in its quest for mind-blowing power. fastest Android phone, with an ARM Cor-But the first Android 2.0 phone is definitely tex-A8 processor. I ran four publicly avail-the most advanced and exciting device con- able Android benchmarks and found thatnecting to Verizon today. on pure CPU measures, the Droid was about The Droid is a big, industrial contraption at twice as fast as the Samsung Moment, which4.5 by 2.3 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and a hefty until now was the fastest Android phone14 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION jAnUARY 2010 Product name in rED indicates Editors’ Choice.
  17. 17. our ratINgS kEy: l l l l l EXCELLENT l l l l m VErY GOOD l l l m m GOOD l l m m m FAIr l m m m m POOrDroid by Motorola(Verizon Wireless)With two-year contract,$199.99 list and upLl l l mPrOs Best screen we’ve everseen. Excellent Web browser.Very fast and powerful. Greatbattery life. First Google MapsNavigation device.CONs Not a great voicephone. Physical keyboard ismediocre. No easy way tosync with PCs.CLICK HErE FOr MOrEavailable. The Droid was faster on memory voice quality, music syncing, and handlingand file system tests, too. However, the fast Exchange calendars, the Droid is Verizon’sprocessor also made it more frustrating future (with the Android platform superiorwhen programs (such as the camera app) to the staid Windows Mobile), and thus alsowould occasionally freeze or crash. Also, the earns an Editors’ Choice.Droid is not the greatest voice phone, withcalls sounding acceptable but somewhat HTC Droid Eris (Verizon Wireless)muffled and compressed. But it did get an Want a Verizon Droid, but, you know, withamazing 7 hours, 7 minutes of talk time, one less Droid? The HTC Droid Eris is Verizon’sof the longest results we’ve ever seen for a slightly watered-down Droid: slimmer,Verizon phone. lighter and less powerful, but still a good Although our current Verizon smartphone smartphone.EC, the HTC Imagio, beats the Droid on The Eris is a 4.4- by 2.1- by 0.5-inch (HWD) jAnUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 15
  18. 18. FIrsT LOOKs CONsuMEr ELECTrONICs HtC Droid Eris (Verizon Wireless) With two-year contract, $99.99 list and up ll l h m PrOs Polished interface. Good call quality. Has multi- touch pinch-to-zoom. Supports all Android apps. CONs Poor camera. Poor video playback. Slower and lower resolution than the Motorola Droid. CLICK HErE FOr MOrE extensions. HTC brings a lot of Android 2.0’s advances to version 1.5 of the OS, but they do things a little bit differently. The Droid Eris has seven home screen panels, with some great widgets, such as a big clock, e-mail, and Twitter viewers (more robust than the Motorola Droid). The Droid Eris actually feels as if it has a slightly more finished interface than does the Motorola Droid, because HTC designs better icons and widgets than Google does. But while it’s faster than the Sprint HTC Hero because of firmware fixes, it’s still much slower on vari- ous benchmarks because its 528 MHz ARM11 processor doesn’t match up to the Cortex-soft-touch black slab that weighs 4.2 A8 in the Motorola Droid. I was happy withounces. The front of the phone is domi- the Eris’s stability, though. It didn’t crashnated by a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen; while I was testing it, and apps stayed up tobelow it, you’ll find a trackball for navigation date, even if the interface was occasionally aand a range of physical buttons, including little sluggish. Also, the Eris is a better voicepick-up and hang-up buttons. There’s no phone than the Motorola Droid, but its videophysical keyboard. Instead, you rely on two playback was largely inferior. Even thoughvery good virtual keyboards. The Droid Eris the Eris costs $100 less than the Motorolamight share a name and 12,000 applications Droid, Motorola wins with its bigger screen,with the Motorola Droid, but as soon as you better multimedia abilities, and most impor-turn it on, you know it’s different. Whereas tant, its much faster processor. Simply put,the Motorola phone runs Android 2.0, the the Eris is a good device, but the MotorolaDroid Eris runs Version 1.5 with HTC’s Sense Droid is a great one.—Sascha Segan16 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION jAnUARY 2010
  19. 19. FIRsT LOOKs CONsUMER ELECTRONICs Apple TV $229 directApple TV Ll l l m PROs Basically, an iPod for your HDTV. Easy-Apple TV to-use, efficient, attractive interface. Streams iTunes content from up to six computers. Gives you the ability to rent and purchase contentF from the sofa without a computer. Integrates YouTube, Flickr, and Internet Radio. or the second time since its CONs Requires a widescreen HDTV. No access introduction in 2007, the Apple to App Store (yet). Bundled bare-bones remote TV has undergone a soft- could be improved. ware-only facelift. The latest 3.0 update includes a snazzy of older televisions: Apple TV only worksredesign of the user interface and some fun with widescreen, flat-panel HDTVs.new features, like Internet Radio. The basic The best parts of this update are the over-concept remains unchanged: It plays iTunes all redesign of the menus and the inclusionand iPhoto content on your HDTV, including of Internet Radio. From the main screen tostandard- and high-definition movies and TV the Settings sub-menus, the new interface isshows. You can stream wired or wirelessly a breeze to navigate with the remote. Videofrom your PC’s iTunes library or download looks fantastic for the most part, especiallycontent directly from iTunes to the 160GB when you opt to view HD, rather than stan-hard drive. Add to this integrated YouTube, dard-definition video.Flickr, and MobileMe support, and Apple TV The latest improvements are welcomeis a compelling purchase. additions for current Apple TV owners. With the 3.0 update, the hardware has And for those who might be consideringremained unchanged. The slick 1.1-by-7.7- this media extender, the inclusion of Inter-by-7.7-inch (HWD) silver box is mostly net Radio and ability to work with iTunesunadorned. Since everything is transferred 9’s features give you more bang for yourto the device over your network, there’s no buck.—Tim Gideonslot for DVDs or CDs. A note to the owners CLICK HERE FOR MORE JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 17
  20. 20. FIRsT LOOKs CONsUMER ELECTRONICsVizio VF551XVTVizio’sBig-ScreenBargain Best known for its rock-bottom prices on HDTVs, Vizio continues to deliver the latest technology Vizio VF551XVT affordably with the VF551XVT. $2,199 direct Ll l l m This 55-inch LCD model features PROs Very attractive price for a large-screen,LED backlighting and 240-MHz technology LED-backlit LCD HDTV. 240-MHz technologyfor about the same price others charge for a reduces motion blur. Accurate colors. Robust port selection. Low power consumption.40-inch LCD. This HDTV is very energy effi- CONs Uninspired design. Narrow viewing-anglecient and picture quality is generally good, performance. Some noticeable artifacts inalthough the panel does produce some 1080p content.background noise and has a minor viewingangle flaw. Also, it’s not the prettiest or the change in backlighting can be distract-slimmest TV you’ll find, but a very attractive ing. Other advanced settings include Colorprice makes up for all that. Temperature and Smooth Motion, which At a depth of 5 inches, the VF551XVT may uses 240-MHz technology to combat blur-seem thick for an LED-backlit HDTV, but ring and other motion errors. The VF551XVTthat’s because it uses Vizio’s TruLED back- turned in an average contrast ratio of 1173:1.lighting technology. There is an obtrusive Colors were accurate and flesh tones werespeaker bar under the massive 1,920-by- natural looking after some tweaking. My1,080–pixel LCD panel, but it delivers very biggest gripe was that during scenes withgood audio quality. Connectivity options very light or white backgrounds, there wereare plentiful, including five HDMI ports, a noticeable artifacts in the lighter fields. The15-pin PC (VGA) connector, mini audio port, VF551XVT has its flaws, but it offers plentyUSB, composite and component video, and of ports and cutting-edge technology at astereo audio ports. very aggressive price—without boosting With Smart Dimming enabled, the panel your electric bill.—John Delaneydelivered very deep blacks, but the subtle CLICK HERE FOR MORE18 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  21. 21. FIRsT LOOKs CONsUMER ELECTRONICsCarMDPlay Doctor with Your CarH ow would you know whether CarMD your mechanic or dealership $98.99 direct Ll l m m were taking you for a ride? PROs Simple to use. Now you can find out with Pulls up engine code CarMD, a handheld diagnostic information, esti- mated repair costs,tool that plugs into your car’s computer sys- service bulletins,tem, reads engine codes, and lets you diag- and safety recalls. Works with all 1996-nose potential problems before you hit the and-newer cars andrepair shop. It also displays technical service trucks. Bundledbulletins and safety recalls for your car. software compatible with PCs and Macs. CarMD works with all 1996 and newer cars CONs Doesn’t actu-and trucks with the requisite, government- ally clear enginemandated On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) codes. Requires $20-per-year fee forport (usually found under the dashboard). unlimited reports.CarMD also offers access to its database, Technical service bulletins cost extra.which contains thousands of real-life fixesfrom ASE certified technicians. It can gen-erate an online diagnostic report with esti- tus window with three tabs: My Summary,mated repair costs, even broken down by My Diagnosis, and Staying Healthy. Whenparts and labor or by region. In general, the I tested with an older Volkswagen Golf, itdevice covers only certain powertrain and caught many issues but missed a mass air-electrical problems. flow sensor we intentionally disconnected. The CarMD handheld feels like a large but Overall, my biggest annoyances withlightweight cell phone. It’s constructed from CarMD are that you can’t clear the codescheap-feeling silver plastic, with a non-back- after a reading (your dealer or mechaniclit LCD readout and three LED lights—green, must do it) and you’re limited to three carsyellow, and red, which are there to indicate and six reports per month. Also, the com-whether or not your car will pass inspection. pany charges a restocking fee if you returnWhen I plugged CarMD into my computer the device. In the end, CarMD was fun, but itafter taking readings from a 2005 Mini Coo- is too expensive and limited for the averageper, the software immediately identified the consumer.—Jamie Lendinocar make and model and displayed a sta- CLICK HERE FOR MORE JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 19
  22. 22. QuICk LOOks CONsuMEr ELECTrONICs SMARTPHONES GPS PROJECTORS RIM BlackBerry Bold Doro PhoneEasy TomTom XXL 540-S Optoma PK102 Pico 9700 (T-Mobile) 410gsm $299.99 direct Pocket Projector $199.99 direct $50 direct $250 street Ll l l m Ll l h m Ll l h m Ll l l m • Excellent form factor • Excellent keys • Big 5-inch screen • Extremely portable • Razor-sharp screen • Elegant design • Responsive interface at 4.4 ounces • Wi-Fi calling • Easy to use • Fast boot-up and lock-in • Connects to both PROS • Good keyboard • Good voice quality • Accurate directions computers and video • Solid call quality • Affordable • Easy POI searches devices • Browser still needs help • Somewhat difficult • No real-time traffic • Low brightness limits • Not a big jump up from to set up reporting useful image size earlier models • Dated map graphics • Volume is far too low to CONS be useful • No audio output If you prefer your smart- The PhoneEasy 410gsm The XXL 540-S isn’t the Small and light, the PK102 phones to be evolutionary, is an excellent, affordable flashiest device on the can show video but is best BOTTOM LINE not revolutionary, the Bold option for older folks and market, but it offers a large for displaying business 9700 is the one for you. technophobes who want a screen and comprehensive presentations and photos. simple voice phone. routing at a reasonable price. T-Mobile; 2.4-inch, 360-by- 2.0-inch, 176-by-220 color Automobile GPS; 5-inch DLP engine; 3:2 aspect 480 screen; 3.2MP camera; screen; Bluetooth; 3.8 by touch screen; turn-by-turn; ratio; 2000:1 contrast ratio; Bluetooth; 4.3 by 2.4 by 0.5 2 by 0.7 inches (HWD); 3D view; 3.5 by 5.2 by 0.9 11 ANSI lumens bright- inches (HWD); 4.3 ounces. 3.8 ounces. inches (HWD); 8.9 ounces. ness; 0.7 by 2 by 4.2 inches SPECS (HWD); 4.4 ounces. Product name in RED indicates Editors’ Choice.20 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  23. 23. DIGITAL CAMERAS MEDIA EXTENDERS GAMES DIGITAL PHOTO FRAMESPanasonic Lumix Logitech Squeezebox DJ Hero (PS3) HP DreamScreen 100DMC-GF1 Radio $119.99 list $249.99 direct$899.95 direct $199.99 directLl l l m Ll l m m Ll l l m Ll l m m• More compact than • Color display • Simple interface • Sexy design a D-SLR • Easy to operate • Diverse song catalog • Good image quality• Fast focusing speeds • Streams Internet radio • Effectively teaches the • Intuitive user interface• Extremely sharp images • Incorporates apps like basics of DJing • Simple network configura-• HD video capture Facebook and Amazon tion• Built-in flash• Noisy images at ISO • Set-up can be a hassle • Multitasking can be • Pricey 1600 and higher • Wi-Fi signal can be easily difficult • UI is very sluggish• No optical viewfinder lost • No break between songs • Limited video playback• No optical image stabiliza- • Weak sound quality support tion with 20mm lens • Remote not included • Networking software does not support MacsThe most promising Micro The Squeezebox line of Though it can be difficult Despite a slow interface andFour Thirds camera yet, streaming devices keeps to truly master the skills of some less-than-useful ap-DMC-GF1 offers a D-SLR getting better, but the turntablism, once you get plications, the DreamScreenexperience in a body not Squeezebox Radio is not the the hang of it, DJ Hero can 100 does a nice job of dis-much bigger than a super- strongest here. be addictive. playing photos and videos.zoom.Micro Four Thirds camera; Internet radio playback; Turntable included. 10.2-inch screen; Com-12.1MP; 4,000 by 3,000 802.11g Wi-Fi; Ethernet; pactFlash, Memory Stickmaximum resolution; 3-inch AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, Pro, xD-Picture Card, andLCD; HD video capture; 2.8 FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, Secure Digital High Capacityby 4.7 by 1.4 inches (HWD); WMA file support; 5.1 by memory supported.12.2 ounces. 8.7 by 5.0 inches (HWD). Visit pcmag.com for the full reviews of these and other consumer electronics products. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 21
  24. 24. fIrsT LOOks HArDwArEHP Pavilion p6267c-bA StylishQuad-CoreDesktop HP’s quad-core–powered Pavil- ion p6267c-b delivers impressive multimedia power and big screen goodness at a very reasonable price. For under a grand, you get8GB of system memory, a nice-size harddrive, a beautiful 25-inch LCD monitor, andWindows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). There’seven a dedicated graphics card, albeit a low-end one. On the outside, there’s nothing to distin-guish the p6267c-b from its siblings, the drive with LightScribe-labeling capabilities.p6207c-b and p6247c-b, as they all use the In typical HP fashion, unfortunately, this sys-same sleek-looking matte black chassis with tem is burdened with bloatware.a silver-framed piano black front panel. A 15- On our benchmarks, the p6267c-b man-in-1 card reader and two optical drive bays aged to edge past the Dell Inspiron 545sit above a 3.5-inch expansion bay. Around (our budget desktop EC) on most tests. Itsback are four additional USB ports, a giga- PCMark Vantage score of 6,500 was almostbit Ethernet port, and a FireWire port. 2,000 points higher than the 545 (4,529) The bright 25-inch HP 2509m LCD moni- and was 32 percent faster than the Lenovotor included in this bundle has a 1,920-by- IdeaCentre K220 (4,922). It finished our1,080 native resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. Windows Media Encoder test in 41 seconds,You also get a multi-format recordable DVD which was only 1 second faster than the DellI sPECs 2.5-GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 processor; 8GB SDRAM; 750GB hard drive; ATI Radeon HD 4350 graphics; dual-layer DVD±RW drive; 25-inch widescreen LCD; Windows 7 Home Premium.22 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  25. 25. HP Pavilion p6267c-b $999.99 list Ll l l m PrOs Good performance on productivity apps. Spacious hard drive. Comes with 25-inch LCD monitor. Lots of memory. CONs Lacks a Blu-ray drive. So-so graphics performance. Bloatware.545 and 5 seconds faster than the Lenovo So even with the bloatware, the p6267c-bK220. Although the p6267c-b comes with delivers more bang for your buck, especiallyan ATI Radeon HD 4350 discrete graphics for workers with multimedia tasks, thuscard, it managed a paltry 16.5 frames per earning our Editors’ Choice for value desk-second (fps) on our Crysis 3D test, proving tops.—John Delaneyit is by no means meant for serious gaming. CLICk HErE fOr MOrEPErfOrMANCE TEsTsL High scores are best. M Low scores are best. PcMark 3DMark WinDoWs MeDia PHotosHoPc s4Bold type denotes first place. Vantage* L Vantage* L encoDer M min:sec cineBencH r10 L M min:sec HP Pavilion p6267c-b 6,500 5,496 0:41 10,640 1:35 Dell Inspiron 545 4,529 n/a 0:42 11,121 1:30 Lenovo IdeaCentre K220 4,922 2,793 0:46 10,171 1:42 Product name in RED indicates editors’ choice. n/a—not applicable: the product could not complete the test, or the test was not compatible. * test was run at the default resolution of 1,24 by 768. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 23
  26. 26. FIRst LOOKs HARDwAREApple iMac 27-inch (Core 2 Duo)Apple’sBig-ScreenBeauty When it comes to the all-in-one desktop market, the Apple iMac is the standard bearer. And, like any other industry-leading prod- Apple iMac 27-inch (Core 2 Duo) uct, this makes it a target for all of $1,699 list Ll l l mApple’s competitors. So Apple has again PROs Continues design dominance. Wirelessupdated the iMac with a wider screen, even keyboard. Wireless Magic Mouse. Mini Dis-more aluminum-replacing plastic, and a playPort input. Better screen resolution than a 1080p HDTV. EPEAT Gold and Energy Star 5.0.couple of neat new features. Not to mention COns Card reader is SD-only. No eSATA.its huge 27-inch screen. With a little tweak- Requires third-party adapter for HDMI or DVIing, this desktop could replace the TV in input. No Blu-ray option.your den, kitchen, or bedroom. Upon close inspection, you’ll notice the Energy Star 5.0 ratings, as well as company“Jay Leno chin” is slimmer, and this model recycling programs and energy efficiency.comes with a wireless mouse and keyboard. This system performed well, though it’sThe base iMacs (both 21.5-inch and 27-inch) not significantly faster than the previousnow have 3.06-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo proces- iMac (Nvidia GT130). This model scored asors, upgradeable to 3.33 GHz. HD videos good 1:57 on the Photoshop CS4 test andlook great on the backlit LCD, and the sys- proved to be fast at 3D and day-to-daytem is powerful enough to play 1080p videos tasks, with high marks on PCMark Vantagesmoothly. With the Mini DisplayPort you can and 3DMark Vantage. Basically, this iMacconnect another display, or with an adapter, is a class-defining product, with a hugea Blu-ray player, satellite/cable box, or game screen, beautiful design, and serious power.console. This model also snags our Green- —Joel Santo DomingoTech Approved stamp for EPEAT Gold and CLICK HERE FOR MOREI sPECs 3.06-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E7600 processor, 4GB SDRAM; 1TB SATA hard drive; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card, dual-layer DVD±RW drive, integrated 27-inch widescreen monitor, Mac OS X 10.6.24 PC MAGAZInE DIGItAL EDItIOn JANUARY 2010
  27. 27. FIRsT LOOKs HARDwAREEpson PictureMate CharmPortablePhoto PrinterChamp The ninth model in Epson’s Pic- tureMate line, the Charm isn’t very different from the previous- generation models. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Picture-Mate printers have been consistent Editors’Choice material since the first generationin 2004. The Charm is just one more Edi- Epson PictureMate Charmtors’ Choice variation on a winning family of $149.99 direct Ll l l hsmall-format dedicated photo printers. PROs Fast. Low price per photo. High-quality In some ways, the Charm takes a step back 4-by-6-inch output. Long-lived photos.from the previous generation’s more attrac- CONs Can’t print from USB memory keys.tive features. For example, the Charm’s 2.5- Relatively big and heavy.inch LCD is smaller than previous models’3.6 inches. And the Charm doesn’t let you The Charm’s speed printing a 4-by-6-print from a USB memory key, as previous inch photo averaged 41 seconds, consider-models did. On the other hand, the Charm ably faster than most of its competition (atkicks up the level of photo quality by a small, 1 minute or more). Although not pro photobut noticeable, notch. lab quality, the Charm’s output is better than Physically, the Charm is similar to earlier you’d get from your local drugstore. And thePictureMates, with a lunch-pail design—a cost per glossy photo comes out to a very5.7- by 9.1- by 6.7-inch (HWD) and 7.9-pound reasonable 25.3 cents. This combination ofwhite box with a handle on it. As options, fast speed, low cost per page, and high-qual-you can add a rechargeable battery or Blue- ity prints puts the Charm way out in front oftooth adapter. The menu and front-panel its competition, and earns it a spot as Edi-controls are easy to use and entirely self - tors’ Choice. —M. David Stoneexplanatory. CLICK HERE FOR MORE JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 25
  28. 28. QuICk LOOks HARDWARE DESKTOPS LAPTOPS Asus Eee Top ET2002 MSI Wind Top AE2010 Acer Aspire AS8940-6865 Sony VAIO $599 list $650 list $1,400 street VGN-NW270F/S $799.98 list Ll l h m Ll l m m Ll l l m Ll l l m • Wireless keyboard and • All-in-one touchscreen PC • Affordable • Blu-ray player in an mouse • VESA mount and wall • Gorgeous 18.4-inch $800 system • Dual core Atom processor mount adapters included widescreen • Big, wide display PROS • HDMI In • VGA in and out • 1080p resolution • Unique design • eSATA port • Very good gaming scores • Comfortable keyboard • Blu-Ray included and touchpad • No touch screen • Touch sensitivity is finicky • Ugly on the outside • Mediocre battery life • Smaller hard drive and • Only 60-day • Small battery • Display falls short of memory than rival subscription to 1080p resolution CONS • Can’t run 3D benchmarks Norton Internet Security • Lid and screen are a bit at standard settings • Pricey for a nettop too flexible • Lots of bloatware • Low-resolution Webcam Asus carries its netbook The touch-sensitive AE2010 The AS8940-6865 has the With its unique design and success into this attractive, is a decent system, but performance and feature Blu-ray player, the VFN- BOTTOM LINE dual-core nettop all-in-one, Windows Vista and lots of goods, delivered to you at NW270F/S is an affordable but it’s not enough to usurp bloatware bring its scores an affordable price. entertainment laptop that our current nettop EC. down. pulls double duty as a workhorse machine. 1.6-GHz Intel Core Atom 1.5-GHz AMD Athlon X2 1.6-GHz Intel Core i7- 2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 330 processor; 2GB 3250e processor; 4GB 720QM processor; 4GB T6600 processor; 4GB SDRAM; 320GB SATA hard SDRAM; 320GB SATA hard SDRAM; 500GB hard drive; SDRAM; 320GB hard drive; drive; nVidia ION graphics; drive; ATI Radeon HD 3200 nVidia GeForce GTS 250M 15.5-inch display; Intel SPECS DVD±RW drive; 20-inch integrated graphics; 20- graphics; 18.4-inch display; GMA 4500MHD graphics; widescreen; Windows 7 inch widescreen; Windows 9.1 pounds; 66-Wh battery; 5.6 pounds; 6-cell battery; Home Premium. Vista Home Premium. Windows 7 Home Premium Windows 7 Home Premium. 64-bit. Product name in RED indicates Editors’ Choice..26 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  29. 29. NETBOOKS SCANNERSDell Inspiron 1750 HP Mini 110-1134CL Nokia Booklet 3G Epson Perfection V600(2211MBU) $349 direct $600 street Photo$729.98 list $249.99 directLl l h m Ll l h m Ll l m m Ll l l m• Huge 17.3-inch display • Attractive design • Luxurious design • High-quality scans• Thin and light for desktop • Lightweight • Lightweight • Fully automatic mode for replacement • Comfortable keyboard • Embedded 3G easy scanning• Pleasing design • Just over 7 hours of battery • HDMI-Out • Scans both 35mm and• Respectable battery life life • Great battery life medium-format film• Spacious hard drive• Display falls short of 1080p • Mouse buttons are awk- • Overpriced • Scans only four 35mm• No HDMI port or Blu-ray ward • Slow-spinning hard drive slides at a time support • Thicker than most net- • Crippling performance • Weak on office tasks• No 802.11n Wi-Fi books scores• Graphics limits perfor- • Battery bulges from the • No easy way to upgrade mance back of the system memoryA basic, low-cost desktop The 110-1134CL’s attrac- Although it’s the most The Epson Perfection V600replacement, the 1750 pairs tive design and spruced-up luxurious netbook to date, Photo offers high-qualitya huge display with main- feature set is now bundled the Booklet 3G is tough scans for prints and bothstream components for big- with a longer running six- to recommend given its 35mm and medium-formatscreen bargain hunters. cell battery. bloated price and lackluster film, plus an exceptionally performance. easy-to-use scan utility.2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 1.6-GHz Intel Atom Z530 Flatbed scanner; 6,400-pixelT6600 processor; 4GB processor; 1GB SDRAM; processor; 1GB SDRAM; maximum optical resolution;SDRAM; 500GB hard drive; 160GB hard drive; 10.1- 120GB hard drive; Intel GMA USB connection; reflective17.3-inch display; Intel inch display; Intel GMA 950 500 graphics; 10.1-inch and transparency scanning;GMA 4500MHD graphics; graphics; 2.7 pounds; 6-cell display; 2.7 pounds 57-Wh 4.6 by 11 by 19 (HWD);6.7 pounds; 6-cell battery; battery; Windows 7 Starter battery; Windows 7 Home 9.0 pounds.Windows 7 Home Premium. Edition. Premium (32-bit). Visit pcmag.com for the full reviews of these and scores of other hardware products. JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 27
  30. 30. fIrsT LOOks BUsINEssHP ProLiant ML330 G6HP Serves UpGreat PerformanceT here’s nothing pretty about card in the ML330 can connect up to eight HP servers from the outside, SAS (serial-attached SCSI) ports with a but once you open them maximum of 12 drives. The card supports up, you will be smitten by RAID 0, 1, 5, and optional 6. the solid engineering. HP Management-software installation iscertainly sets the server bar high. The HP straightforward. The Smart Array Configu-ProLiant ML330 G6 is a newcomer in the ration utility does what you would expect,venerable ProLiant line, and it proved to be creating logical drives and managing thea solid all-around tower server, with ample controller card. If you have to troubleshootspace for extra hardware. the card or the drives, the diagnostic report- As tower servers go, the ProLiant ML330 ing provides lots of information on both theis one of the largest for the SMB. But it can drives and controller. The other major util-still fit well in a small office, and you won’t ity is HP Insight Diagnostics, which is Webknow it’s there because it runs quiet, with based. Insight is comparable to the Systemthree fans to cool the box. HP also sells feature in the Windows Control Panel, exceptthe ML330 in a 2U case, which is similar in that you can compare different server con-size to the ProLiant DL380 G5, our Editors’ figurations and even view the logical drives.Choice pick from last year. This model has The System Management tool, which is simi-all the classic characteristics you expect, lar to the Insight tool, takes managementsuch as a roomy case with three PCIe2 slots one step further by providing visibility of all(one is taken by the RAID card), enough Web enabled HP system tools.room at the front for non-RAID configured The ML330 scored 5,430 with Geek-SATA hard drives under the vertically ori- bench 2.1 64-bit, a benchmark for measur-ented RAID drive bay, and space for two ing processor and memory performance. Itmore optical drives. The P410 controller scored 10,975 on Cinebench with the mul-I sPECs 2.13-GHz Intel Xeon E5506 processor; 8GB SDRAM; three 250GB SATA hard drives; DVD drive; two Gigabit Ethernet ports; four USB 2.0 ports; legacy VGA and PS/2 ports.28 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  31. 31. HP ProLiant ML330 G6 $2,624 direct ll l l m PrOs Lots of room for expansion in case. Performance is excellent. Runs cool and quiet. CONs Case is a little big if space is tight.tiple CPUs (cores) turned on. According to are running the latest Exchange 2010, somedesktop analyst Joel Santo Domingo, that other database intensive server app, or justtest was on a par with quad-core processor need a dedicated Web server, the ML330systems—a very good score. can be adapted to any solution. No mat- In a nutshell, the ML330 is a great general- ter what the setup, I highly recommend it.purpose server that fits nicely in a small- —Mario Morejonoffice network environment. Whether you CLICk HErE fOr MOrE JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 29
  32. 32. FIRSt LOOKS BUSInESS Outright (September 2009) Free Ll l h m PROS Clean, simple interface. Excellent integration with re- lated services. Estimates Federal taxes due. Downloads credit card transactions. Can’t beat the price of free. COnS No state tax tracking. No export to tax prep solutions. No electronic tax payments. Outright (September 2009) Maximize Deductions and Accounting Time O utright does three things, for from your business credit card, as well as free, within an extraordinarily from PayPal, Expensify, and eBay. clean, understandable inter- Basically, your information lands in one face: It tracks income and of two places: your income register or expenses, creates reports, and your expense register. Click on the Income uses that data to give you an estimate of tab to see what’s been brought in, and what you might owe in taxes. Though you the Expenses tab displays downloaded can enter some data manually, Outright is expenses—and you can add your own. The Web-based, so there’s no software to install. Taxes page calculates the tax impact of your Also, it imports data from FreshBooks income and expenses. (invoices), Shoeboxed (receipts and busi- I haven’t run into another financial appli- ness card management), and oDesk (pay- cation that handles accounting like Outright tracking for remote contractors). does, with this level of skill, usability, and Setup of Outright is as simple as clicking elegance. It’s still young, and still lacking in the Settings link and following the instruc- some capabilities. But its innovation, secu- tions for integrating external data. Outright rity, and simplicity make Outright a good will download current information on a set choice for the self-employed and very small schedule. The site has added a crucial ele- businesses.—Kathy Yakal ment: the ability to download transactions CLICK HERE FOR MORE30 PC MAGAZInE DIGItAL EDItIOn JANUARY 2010
  33. 33. FIRst LOOKs BUsInEssHP ProBook 5310mThin isProBook’sBusiness The HP ProBook 5310m is evi- dence that small businesses are ready to embrace modern times. HP The 5310m sheds the optical drive ProBook 5310m $899 direct and VGA port, which would have Ll l l m otherwise made the design thick PROs Luxuriously thin. Very lightweight. and conservative. The result is a Amazing typing and navigating experience. Great battery life on a 41-Wh battery. Inexpen- luxuriously thin ultraportable with- sive. HP Quick tools are nice add-ons. Environ- out the sticker shock. And it’s quite mentally friendly. the performer, too. That’s why it COns 8-cell battery isn’t available yet.earns our Editors’ Choice. The 5310m’s design is strikingly similar to The 5310m’s 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo proces-that of the HP Mini 5101—a netbook—except sor emphasizes both speed and energyits footprint is significantly larger, measuring efficiency. This system achieved impressive13 by 8.7 by 0.8 inches (HWD) and weigh- performance scores, with video encodinging 3.6 pounds. Brushed aluminum metals and Cinebench R10 scores easily beatinggive the 5310m a striking, modern look. The out the ThinkPad X301. And on MobileMark13.1-inch widescreen is the perfect size for 2007 tests, it lasted a respectable 5 hours 18maximizing productivity, and the typing minutes. The 5310m also earned our Green-and navigating experience easily rivals that Tech Approved seal for EPEAT Gold, Energyof the Lenovo ThinkPad X301. You also get Star 5.0, and RoHS certifications, amonga webcam, three USB ports, Gigabit Ether- other factors. In short, the 5310m is for busi-net, an SD/MMC slot, and various wireless ness professionals who are always thinkingoptions, including 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and moving forward.—Cisco Chengand options for mobile broadband. CLICK HERE FOR MOREI sPECs 2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 processor; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM; 320GB hard drive; Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics; 13.1-inch widescreen; Broadcom AGN Wi-Fi; 3.8 pounds; 41-Wh battery; Windows 7 Pro (32-bit). JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZInE DIGItAL EDItIOn 31
  34. 34. fIrsT LOOks sOfTWArEMicrosoft Office 2010 BetaOffice Gets a Tune-UM icrosoft Office 2010 has application. A nifty animated splash screen now gone public in a reduces the boredom of waiting for the app freely downloadable beta to start, and, even in beta, Office 2010 feels version, meaning anyone slightly snappier than Office 2007. When can try out time-limited you launch an application, the first thingversions of the next generation of Word, you notice is that the blindingly blue-tonedExcel, PowerPoint, Outlook and the rest of background that the previous Office ver-the growing Office family. After a few days sion used by default has been replaced byof intense testing, I’m deeply impressed a restful gray-toned background. The rib-by the many ways Microsoft has improved bon is less distracting to look at becauseon the solid foundation of Office 2007. If Microsoft ditched the boxes that used toyou’re used to Office 2007, you’ll need no surround many icons and groups of icons.help using Office 2010. Old features remain The traditional File menu tab has also beenwhere they were, although some are now restored, with a “Backstage” view wheredisplayed on spacious menus with lots of you can access file-management options,explanatory text instead of the cramped including export to PDF and privacy optionsmenus found in Office 2007. to remove metadata and revisions before Here’s what it’s like to run an Office 2010 saving a file.32 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION JANUARY 2010
  35. 35. Microsoft Office 2010 Beta Free Not rated PrOs More informative, con- sistent interface. Improved navigation. Improved image- enhancement and typographic tools. Tighter OneNote inte- gration. No additional learn- ing required because the new features are so smoothly slot- ted in. 64-bit support enables gigantic spreadsheets. CONs Not a compelling up- grade for Office 2007 users.Up Picture-editing options available in most like the stack of section headings in Word’s Office apps include a new “remove back- new Navigation Pane. PowerPoint’s big new ground” feature, as well as blurs and pastels. feature takes advantage of today’s power- And there’s an easy-to-use Insert Screenshot ful computers by embedding impressive selection. A welcome new feature in Word, video-editing features directly into slides. Excel, and PowerPoint lets you recover a And Outlook finally gets the Ribbon inter- document you closed without saving. face throughout, as well as the same clearer, As far as specific apps go, Word improve- less-boxy look that’s improved the rest of ments include new typographic features the suite. that support graphic refinements and the My overall judgment on the beta version is new Navigation Pane, which automatically that it’s terrific but not essential for anyone displays the sections of a document as a already running Office 2007. If you’re still vertical stack of boxes. Excel innovations using Office 2003, however, I strongly rec- are “Sparklines,” which display in a tiny ommend you upgrade to Office 2010 when graphic image the data in a range of cells it becomes available. In the meantime, try anywhere else in a worksheet and Slicer, a downloading the beta of Office 2010 and Pivot Table feature that displays a summary give it a try.—Edward Mendelson view of a Pivot Table in a chart that looks CLICk HErE fOr MOrE JANUARY 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 33