Asus PadFone X review

July 12, 2014

For $199 on contract with AT&T, the Asus PadFone X is a phone, a tablet, and even a netbook (with the optional $99 Bluetooth keyboard dock). It boasts flagship specs — with a beautiful 5-inch 1080p IPS display, solid 13 megapixel camera, and responsive Snapdragon 800 — and comes with a 9-inch tablet dock that extends battery life. The design is forgettable, and there are some usability quirks, but the price is right. Here’s my video review.


Unboxing the Acer Aspire 1410

November 20, 2009

Although my notebook of choice (and primary computer) is my MacBook Air, I sometimes prefer something smaller and cheaper to hit the road with… Enter the netbook!

Read the rest of this entry »


Tasty bits – CES 2009

January 18, 2009

Palm Pre

While I was frolicking all over Macworld in San Francisco, some interesting stuff was revealed at CES in Las Vegas.

Here’s my list of tasty bits from CES, devices that I’m interested in playing with:

- Palm Pre:
There are no ifs or buts about it – the Palm Pre is an amazing device! It features a 3.1″ HVGA capacitive touch screen (with mutitouch), a 3 megapixel camera (with LED flash), 8 GB of built-in flash storage (with USB mass storage), a QWERTY keyboard, 3G, WiFi, GPS, and full Bluetooth (with A2DP & DUN).

But the hardware is only half the battle – as I recently mentioned in my podcast with Matt Bennett, the software Palm created, WebOS, is just as promising, with an intuitive UI and clever integration with popular online services… Robert Scoble is right: watch out Nokia, this may just be Palm’s comeback, and may just be Sprint’s salvation.

Of course I’m looking forward to the unlocked GSM version with 3G :)

- OQO model 2+:
What’s not to be excited about? Take the already awesome OQO Model 02, replace the crappy VIA C7-M with a perky Intel Atom CPU, replace the EVDO modem with a global EVDO/HSDPA modem (optional), replace the active digitizer with a passive touch screen, replace the TFT display with an OLED display (optional), double the RAM, and lower the price… Want!

- Sony VAIO P The anti-netbook:
Sure it’s not for everyone, but it’s shiny and tiny and yummy! Just don’t call it a netbook… Have I mentioned it’s super sexy?

- Novatel MiFi:
A credit card-sized mobile wireless router with integrated 3G… Oh yes, I’m in love!

- MSI XSlim 320:
The MacBook Air of the netbook world – I’m intrigued.

- Asus Eee Keyboard:
Now I can relive my Sinclair QL days – perfect :)


2nd anniversary

November 22, 2008

tnkgrl Mobile is 2 years old today!

It’s been a great 2nd year. I’ve looked at a lot of devices, both short and long term, like the Nokia N95-3, Apple MacBook Air, Nokia N82, Apple iPhone 3G, Nokia E71 and HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1.

I’ve hacked the Asus 701 (Eee), the Vulcan Flipstart, the MacBook Air SuperDrive, and the Acer Aspire One. There’s even been some crazy adventures

But I’m planning to bring you a lot more goodness – in fact, Matthew Bennett and I are starting a weekly podcast. So come back soon and come back often :)


Inside the Asus 901 (Eee)

August 18, 2008

Since I have an Asus 901 (Eee) on loan for a couple more days, I’ve cracked it open. Here are is some pictures pr0n :)

There are several boards inside, a 1 GB DDR2 SoDimm, a 4 GB mini PCIe SSD, an 8 GB mini PCIe SSD (16 GB on the linux version), a mini PCIe WiFi card, and a Bluetooh module.

Like the Acer Aspire One, there’s also a 40-pin ZIF connector (unused here) compatible with most 1.8″ PATA hard drives, and there’s a missing mini PCIe connector and SIM holder on the motherboard for 3G.

I went ahead and temporarily connected 1.8″ PATA hard drive to the ZIF connector. The thin (5 mm) hard drive fits in a dedicated opening in the bottom casing of the Eee, but requires the removal of the 8 GB mini PCIe SSD. This worked fine, but the 4 GB mini PCIe SSD became the IDE slave device.

Next I connected the 8 GB SSD from my Acer Aspire One to the ZIF connector, and kept the 8 GB mini PCIe SSD in place. Once again, the 4 GB mini PCIe SSD became the IDE slave device, but the existing 8 GB mini PCEi SSD was disabled…

I hope this info is useful to some people out there!


Unboxing the Acer Aspire One

August 10, 2008

I’ve been eying the Acer Aspire One for a while now, because it’s one of the few netbooks equipped with both a 9″ 1024×600 pixel screen and a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU that’s true to the original spirit of netbooks, i.e. affordable, small, light, SSD, Linux, and mod-friendly.

I learned from my experience with the Asus 701 (Eee) that the 7″ 800×480 pixel screen was too small and that the underclocked 900 MHz Celeron CPU was too lethargic. But I liked the sub-$400 price, sub-3 lbs weight and hack-appeal of the original Eee :)

I was disappointed with the HP 2133 (Mini-Note), because of the price, weight and the limited mod-appeal. Built-in Bluetooth was nice and the keyboard was fantastic, but the 9″ 1280×768 pixel screen was too good for my eyes (resolution-wise), the Via C7-M CPU was too inconsistent (performance-wise), and the 120 GB HD was overkill…

I’m really enjoying the Asus 901 (Eee), with its 9″ 1024×600 pixel screen, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU, 12 GB SSD, built-in Bluetooth, multitouch trackpad, and hack-friendly design – but the price is too high!

So today I picked up my Acer Aspire One – I got the A110 model in fabulous Sapphire Blue (512 MB RAM, 8 GB SSD, 3-cell battery, Limpus Linux). Take a look at the unboxing pictures.

I’m very impressed so far. The SSD uses a 40-pin ZIF connector compatible with most 1.8″ PATA hard drives, and there’s a missing mini PCIe connector and SIM holder on the motherboard for 3G. But first, I’ll be upgrading the RAM and adding internal Bluetooth.

It’s just so, so, so hack-elicious :)

Update: I’ve cracked it open, upgraded the RAM to 1.5 GB, and located an additional USB port and power on the motherboard for Bluetooth.


The Asus 901 (Eee) is here

August 6, 2008

The same brave soul who lent me his Vulcan Flipstart a few weeks ago let me borrow his Asus 901 (Eee).

Check out the pictures!

Since I’m no stranger to modding the old Eee, I’m eager to find out how much the new Eee can be hacked…

Thanks to this article, I already know that there’s a 40-pin ZIF connector on the motherboard for a 1.8″ PATA hard drive. I also know that there’s a missing mini PCIe connector and SIM holder on the motherboard. But is that all?

Stay tuned for more Asus 901 (Eee) pr0n goodness.


Life with the HP Mini-Note

May 18, 2008

I’m sitting on the patio at Cafe Flore in the Castro on this balmy spring evening (70 degrees at 11 PM) in San Francisco, blogging on my HP 2133 (Mini-Note) instead of my MacBook Air – oh the things I do for my dear readers :)

Now that I’ve played with my Mini-Note for a couple weeks, I’m really not quite as excited about it as I’d like to be. Here’s a summary of my experience so far…

Pros:
– Small
– Über sexy anodized aluminum
– Nice build quality
– Great keyboard
– Good screen resolution (almost too good?)
– Integrated Bluetooth
– Lots of memory and storage

Cons:
– Too heavy for its size (> 3 lbs)
– Bulky 6-cell battery and AC adapter
– Screen too dim at times (and no LED backlight?)
– Small trackpad (and horrible buttons)
– Fan is almost always running
– Overly sensitive accelerometer
– Poor video performance

I’m still running Windows XP Pro, now with the official drivers – I’ve also upgraded to XP SP3.

The screen resolution is good but possibly too good for my eyes. As a result, I’ve set the screen to 144 dpi (150% original size), which is a definite improvement.

I’ve downloaded the official SuSE Linux disk image, and I may be taking it for a spin very soon.

Overall, the Mini-Note is a nice machine with good features for the money, but I’m not sure it’s the right machine for me.

I think the upcoming Asus 901 (Eee), with its Intel Atom CPU, integrated Bluetooth, multitouch trackpad, and more manageable 1024×600 pixel screen resolution, may be a better choice for me.

Besides, I already know from my Asus 701 (Eee) that I’m comfortable with the smaller keyboard.

I’ll keep you posted!


Tasty bits – CTIA and beyond

April 27, 2008

Wait! Did two months of tasty bits just go by, CTIA and all? Hmmm yes…

HP 2133 (Mini-Note):
HP 2133 Mini-Note UMPC Reviewed (Verdict: Rich Man's Eee PC)
Lightning Review: HP 2133 Mini-Note
HP Mini-Note 2133 officially official, reviewed
HP Mini-Note gets unboxed, causes extreme jealousy
jkOnTheRun review- hands on with the HP Mini-Note UMPC

Asus 701/900 (Eee):
Video Hands on With the 8.9-inch Asus Eee PC 900
Asus Eee PC 900 Hits U.S. May 12 for $549
1.2 GHz Pentium M in your Eee PC? No problem
Hands-on with the 9-inch Eee PC
ASUS' 9-inch Eee PC, now with living pixels!
Eee PC 900 gets dissected, looks about the same as the Eee PC 700

Nokia N810:
Android on the N810: Working on it!
Nokia Internet Tablets to get Ubuntu and Qt ports
Nokia's N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition gets official

Nokia N95:
8 GB North American Model N95 available: $779 online
North American Nokia N95 8GB (Nokia N95-4) Unboxing

Nokia N82:
All About Symbian Review: Long term battle: Nokia N95, N95 8GB and N82
Nokia N82 gets blacked out for retail

Other Nokia:
Eight useful codes for S60 devices
10 Awesome Applications for Symbian Phones
Your S60 smartphone as a drum machine!
WalkingHotSpot trial available for download
Nokia E71 Pops up Down Under
FCC Gives Nokia 6220 Classic the Nod
T-Mobile’s new mystery 3G Nokia handset outted
Nokia secretly shows E71 at Mobile Wor… er, in Sydney
Google gets even chummier with S60, releases search app
S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 gets broken down to the nitty gritty
Nokia N96 gets in-depth review months ahead of release
Things may be looking brighter for Nokia N96, Xenon flash in the works?
Nokia readies iPhone-ish "Tube," disses Apple's sales
Nokia E71 sneaks into the wild once again
Exclusive: latest update on the hotly anticipated Nokia Tube
The Nokia Guide: Getting the most out of your Nseries’ camera

Apple iPhone:
iPhone Pwnage Tool Getting Public Release Tomorrow; Unsigned Firmware Support For All
iPhone to Support GPS, Stereo Bluetooth, Nike+, Battle Hackers
iPhone firmware 2.0? You’re damn right we got it!
Nike+ going WiFi and 3G, headed to iPhone
The second-gen iPhone: 3G, GPS, only slightly thicker – Engadget
Touchpad turns your iPhone into a remote trackpad
Palm emulated on the iPhone: finally we can leave that IIIc at home
Easy 1.1.4 jailbreaking with iNdependence, Ziphone, and… iTunes?
iPhone PwnageTool released!
3G iPhone rumors building up steam
iPhone gets VoIP and chat options thanks to Fring
iPhone firmware hints strengthen case for GPS support
iPhone feature rumor round-up: Jabber and iTunes control
Flickr Find: Lilliputian iPhone unboxing
Twinkle: location-aware Twittter client for iPhone
iPhone video recorder with audio support debuts

Sony Ericsson:
Sony Ericsson's X1 reviewed
XPERIA X1 white paper reveals yet more details
Is this Sony Ericsson's P5 or "Paris"?
Specs revealed of the real (or fake) Sony Ericsson "Paris"
Another shot of Sony Ericsson's Paris?
Yet another convincing Sony Ericsson Paris pic — open, this time

LG:
LG KG750 Is Sleek of Line, High (Five) of Megapixels, Shoots DivX, Called Secret
Live Pics: MediaFLO for AT&T on the LG Vu and Samsung Access
LG Vu further slides into view
Hands-on with the LG Vu
Thin is in: LG shares a glimpse of its 5 megapixel hottie phone

Samsung:
Samsung-built, Google-branded Android phones due later this year?
Rumored Prada II specs surface in purported leaked press release

Motorola:
T-Mobile considering Motorola Z10 for 3G launch?
Motorola’s 2008 Roadmap Revealed
Spy shots of the Motorola ZN5
Motorola's ZN5 gets clearer, Kodak co-branding and all

Android:
Android gets handled, now with Street View
T-Mobile confirms it'll have an Android device sometime this year

Other:
Meizu M8, Something You Burn in a Paper Bag on Someone's Porch
T-Mobile's 3G Network Rolling Out May in NYC, Coincides With 3G HTC Touch Dual?
Sharp-Willcom D4 UMPC With Intel Atom Centrino, Vista Hits the States on June 20th
Crowded Ultraportable Party Gets Dissected
Meizu prototype caught in the flesh at CeBIT, we handle it
Meizu M8 interface gets tweaked once again. A few pixels to the left, please?
Meizu's M8 gets more UI tweaks for its music player
More MID videos: IdeaPad U8 and Aigo
Mozilla Mobile shows 5.9x performance increase on ARM device
Opera Mini 4.1 beta released- good gets better
Sharp Willcom D4: Vista in your hand for $1,526
Life with the MacBook Air


Tasty bits – CES to 3GSM

February 7, 2008

It’s been a busy month full of tasty bits, with CES and MacWorld wrapped up, and 3GSM coming up.

Asus 701 (Eee):
WiMax-Enabled Asus Eee PC Confirmed
Ten-Mod Eee PC Stomps Competition, Still Room For More
Asus press event summary: WiMAX, Eee PCs, and R50A
How to: boost the display resolution on an Asus Eee PC

Nokia N810:
Hook a USB device to your Nokia N810 thanks to USB-On-The-Go
Nokia E90 vs N810: Part 1 – head to head
Nokia E90 vs N810: Part 2 – GPS, Apps, Web and Multimedia

Nokia N95:
Nokia N95 makes a nice GPS receiver for Nokia N800
Nokia N95 8GB Wireless Sharing in Action
Nokia N95 8GB with US 3G passes FCC

Nokia N82:
Nokia N82 – part 1 – The Physical, the Camera
Nokia N82 – part 2 – GPS, Applications and Performance
Nokia N82 Smartphone Reviewed In Depth (Verdict: High-end Hotness)

More Nokia:
Flip Silent for S60: Silence Calls by Flipping your Phone
Sh-sh-shake it Like a Polaroid Picture!
Nokia E90 Communicator review: Gear Diary
First glimpse inside Nokia S60 Touch. Going beyond Multi-Touch

Apple iPhone:
iPhone 1.1.3 Jailbreak Has Issues With GPS, Official SDK?
Makayama Adds Voice Recognition to the iPhone
iPhoneCam streams video from your iPhone over WiFi
iTransmogrify brings more flash content to the iPhone
Etymotic hf2 headset for the iPhone
Pocketguitar for the iPhone lets you strum on the multitouch
1.1.3 iPhone jailbreak goes LIVE

LG:
LG Viewty hands-on
LG’s HSDPA ultraportable runs Vista on Silverthorne
LG shows a KS20 clone with WiMAX
LG’s silver Prada gets a new on-screen QWERTY

Samsung:
S60 powered Samsung G810 to be announced at MWC?
Samsung i900 to take on LG KS20?

Other:
WiBrain B1-H UMPC
UMPC & MID trio: LimePC comes in three sizes
BlackBerry 8xxx = BlackBerry 9000?
Hands-on with Mio’s dual-front GPS phone concept
Hands-on with the WiBrain B1 UMPC
iriver 3-inch touchscreen “GSM phone” headed for the States
Skyfire browser for Windows Mobile is game changing, does Flash
Garmin gets official with its nuvifone
Modu mystery unravelled, look ma, a modular handset
A Tale of 40 Follow-ups (and a LimePC video)


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