The weekly gadget review at Ubergizmo

By January 21, 2008

This week, Atelier reviews what is trendy on the web magazine of our great expert contributor. is dedicated to consumer electronics news and reviews. (click pictures to enlarge) Apple Macbook Air Yes, the rumors were

true, Apple has launched the Macbook Air, an ultra-light 13.3” laptop that does not have an optical drive. This will give Sony much needed competition in the uber-thin laptop category. In this post, we will tell you if the SSD upgrade makes sense and we compare this laptop to the Sony Vaio TZ to see if Steve Jobs is overselling the MacBook Air, or not. Click on the title to see the full post. Form Factor 0.16 to 0.76 x 12.8 x 8.94 inches (0.4 to 1.94 x 32.5 x 22.7 cm) 3lbs (1.36 kg) The Specs 1.6 – 1.8Ghz Intel Core 2 1.3.3 widescreen LED 1280x800 pixel 2GB of RAM 80GB HDD or 64GB SSD Optional external optical drive Integrated Intel Graphics Steve Job’s comparison with the Vaio TZ is not really fair because that one includes an optical drive. I like the better display on the Vaio, but the display size is a little detrimental to the keyboard ergonomics. It is pointless to argue on the details, both laptops will offer a similar experience, but I think that Apple wins on the cool factor and on the price. Honestly, at somewhat equal configuration, the Vaio TZ is just too expensive, by a large margin. The Macbook Air wins. Should you get the SSD version? Solid state drives (SSD) are cool these days, but should you get one? In theory, they do have some benefits: Battery life improvement Better shock resistance Faster handling of many small files (seek time) However, I don't know anyone who “needs” to spend $1299 on a 64GB SSD (and a slightly faster CPU) to reach the grand price of $3100. Honestly, you won't even feel the CPU difference. Now, I do know a lot of people who “want” an SSD. You got it: “need” and “want” are two different things. I would not recommend this upgrade. Design Compromises I started by writing “design flaws”, but the points below aren’t flaws, they are compromises. I’m talking about the fact that the battery is sealed and about the concealed ports (USB, micro-DVI…). The sealed battery might be an issue in the long run, when it will hold less and less power or if it dies. Update: The MacBook Air battery costs $129 and Apple will change it for you - hopefully right away, but I don't know for sure. I don’t yet know what Apple’s policy about this (will they change it for you?), but this is something that buyers should look into. Conclusion I welcome the entry of Apple in the super-thin laptop category because it will put pressure on Sony to get their act together and stop the overpricing of their Vaio line of laptops. Even at $1800, it is difficult to find an equivalent sub-notebook that is cheaper, even from Asus (U1 Series, S6FM Series). For windows users, I bet that it’s possible to install XP or Vista, but we should see the first test pop up on the web soon. We will keep you posted. Do you you want/need this laptop, why? What’s your take on it and what else would you like to know about it? MacBook Air Battery Replacement A Cinch  Wile everyone thought that the MacBook Air battery replacement process would be complicated, AppleInsider thinks otherwise. They claim that there is no need for special tools or knowledge if you want to swap out the MacBook Air's battery. All you need to do is uncover the MacBook Air's bottom cover, unscrew the battery from the chassis and unplug it from the circuit board with a tug. It is not soldered onto the board like many believed. From the sounds of it, it will probably take less than three minutes to perform this little operation. You could, of course, settle for Apple's $129 MacBook Air Out-of-Warranty Battery Replacement Program that requires approximately 5 days to complete. Panasonic 103-inch HDTV: 15 units sold in 2007  Last year at CES, the top Plasma manufacturer claimed that they were selling their 103-inch “by the hundreds” … at a $80 000 to $50000 price tag since its launch in 2006, I can imagine why the real number is only 15 units for 2007. One customer from the Middle East got five of them! In my opinion, the world's largest commercially available TV is more of a marketing investment than a real source of revenues for Panasonic, a bit like Formula1 cars for automotive manufacturers. That’s why they did it again by releasing a 150-inch this year. Transcend 32GB 133X CompactFlash Card  Transcend takes the spotlight again with its 32GB 133X CompactFlash Card, making it the largest ever for a device in its class. While you drool over the specifications below, there isn't any official word with regards to the price and availability of this 32GB monster. Serious shutterbugs will definitely be aiming to lay their hands on one of these babies though. High-speed 133X performance Dual channel flash interface CF Type I Supports IDE PIO mode 6 and Ultra DMA mode 4 Read/write speeds up to 45MB/16MB per second Fully complies with the new CF 4.1 standard Hardware ECC (Error Correction Code) ATA interface Low power consumption Multi-platform compatibility RoHS Compliant Lifetime Warranty iPhone Gets Diamond Case  They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend, and apparently the same holds for an iPhone case with this sample from Case-Mate. Handcrafted with 42 pieces of diamonds encrusted in 18-carat gold, this Diamond Case will hit your bank account for massive damage - to the tune of $20,000 more like it. Of course, those with a whole lot less money can always settle for the limited edition $90 carbon-fiber case. Contact Lens with Display  Who would've thought that the realm of science fiction has been blurred with a group of University of Washington engineers having successfully developed contact lenses that are capable of displaying various details such as the number of an incoming call on your cell phone. The display is superimposed on the outside world, and with further maturity of the technology, it can be used by drivers to view the display speed of the vehicle or even by pilots to see the plane's condition when flying. I'm more excited about the use for this in a video game than anything else since we already have dashboards in the respective cockpits on both car and plane. Web surfing on this would be interesting too, but don't get caught with your pants down (literally or otherwise) while surfing for off limits websites during office hours. Lotus Notes heading for iPhone  Looks like Lotus Notes will soon hold the honor of being the first official iPhone third party application, with folks at IBM saying that "we have a lot in common [with Apple]. We're going to cross-pollinate." The inclusion of Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony would definitely make the Mac more of a threat to Microsoft Office, and with the iPhone picking up all this productivity software, it can finally rest easy the next time someone refers to it as being a smartphone. Word on the street has it that a formal announcement is in the works really soon. Find all the sources, and discover more consumer electronics news and reviews at   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, write us at

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