We looked at the Archos G9 Turbo devices just a few months ago, and came away . . . impressed. Lofty promises of being “the world’s fastest tablets” haunted Archos to some extent, because the claims were made about a SKU that would take a nearly 8 months to finally see the light of day. In the interim, NVIDIA released its Tegra 3 SoC, in the ASUS Transformer Prime, and brought quad-core tablets into the conversation. We couldn’t quibble too much with Archos claims, though. Through some impressive refinement of the software, their two 1.5 GHz A9 cores were able to outperform almost every other Android tablet on the market, and even the aging SGX540 accompanying those cores found it still had legs (once it was properly clocked). While Archos had gotten the hardware and software right, they’d not done so well in design. The G9s were pedestrian at best. Dark grey, large bezels, plump and plain, these weren’t going to ever be described as pretty. Two out of three ain’t bad, and with pricing that undercut much of the competition, at the expense of refinement, it wasn’t hard to recommend to the media hungry tablet buyer.
Solid internals, and software gets you most of the way there, but what do you do for the follow up? In Archos case they made it prettier. Say hello, to the Archos 101 XS.
NZXT recently released the Switch 810, a new high-end full tower model they proudly had on display at CES at the same time they were seeding samples to reviewers. It's a looker to be sure, but NZXT's engineers also played a lot with the insides of the enclosure, and what they've put together is a chassis with a remarkable number of uncommon features designed to appeal to enthusiasts who want to maximize both the utility of their machines along with the control they have over that utility. It looks great on paper and great on display, but how does it work in practice?
Reviewing the Dell Studio XPS 7100 recently seemed like a reasonable enough move: we felt it was competitive with rolling your own machine at that price, or at least an excellent alternative to building one for friends or family and fielding their tech support questions. But what can you get at a much lower price? Acer has certainly produced solid bargains in the notebook space, but how do they fare in the desktop space? We review their M3400 tower to find out.
There's an age-old battle between form and function. Some users will give up performance and features for a devices that looks cool, while for others the benchmarks are all that really matters. The ASUS U33Jc doesn't totally eschew function, with plenty of high-end features, but it does pay more than lip service to aesthetics by placing bamboo surfaces on the top panel and palm rest. The result is a unique look with an organic vibe that is sure to turn a few heads.