Always Free To Place a Hit On Someone
To clone your old hard disk, you’ll need software such as Paragon Hard Disk Manager, which will make a copy of the old drive, then create a bootable CD or thumbdrive for the new machine that can be used to image its contents onto the new disk.When it comes to exotic, “out there” technology, there isn’t much that comes close to Panasonic’s new Toughpad 4K UT-MB5. Targeting architects, designers, photographers and businesses in need of a swanky presentation tool, it’s an enormous 20in tablet with a 4K display that displays pin-sharp images at A3 size, while also offering a degree of portability.
In reality, the Toughpad is less of a tablet than it is an all-in-one PC. Although there’s a battery inside, it’s small (3,180mAh) and doesn’t give you much runtime; in our light-use test the Toughpad lasted a mere 1hr 35mins. The device itself is also too heavy and unwieldy to be hefted far from its home on your desk or in the boardroom. The docking station – which features three USB 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and an HDMI output – is an essential accessory, but we were surprised to find it’s a £239 inc VAT optional extra.Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 review
The Toughpad’s pixel-packed 3,840 x 2,560 IPS panel is the star of the show, though, and that’s clearly where the majority of your money is going. With a contrast ratio of 860:1, images are dynamic and contrast is superb. On greyscale fades, the screen shows up a clear difference between black and even the darkest shades of grey, and it’s just as accomplished at distinguishing between the lightest of greys and white. It’s bright, too, with the LED backlight topping out at a respectable 301cd/m², but the screen’s real strength (aside from its eye-popping resolution) is its colour accuracy.Tested with our X-Rite i1Display 2 colorimeter, the Toughpad achieved an average Delta E score of 1.4 and maximum score of 3.5. The panel also covered every inch of the sRGB colour gamut, and served up rich, saturated hues and natural-looking skin tones in every one of our test images. Panasonic supplied a series of short videos to showcase the tablet’s 4K capabilities, and without exception they looked absolutely sumptuous.
The only caveat is that the high pixel density does mean buttons and menus on some legacy apps may be unusably small, if they haven’t been redeveloped with high-resolution displays in mind. With that in mind, if you do have any mission-critical software you plan to run on the Toughpad, it’s well worth seeing if you can try one before you splash out.People talk about Net Neutrality a lot. The fear is that a two-tier (or four-tier or six tier...) internet will develop once the floodgates are open, so that internet businesses can develop cosy preferential relationships with their most profitable partners, relegating all others to less well serviced, lesser performing backwaters that don't get the offers or find themselves cut out of all sensible forms of communication.The Net Neutrality headline assumes this isn't the case at the moment, and the current level playing field has to be protected and fought over and upheld, even as a basic human right.I have to say: I suspect the fuss about Net Neutrality is actually the end of a process of segregation, not the beginning. It's the final move in a separation of web users into Businesses and Consumers, which has been going on for years.For example: today, I needed to place an urgent order for memory. Project to finish, want to get delivery ASAP by paying for it, need to make sure the order is sensibly expedited. So I went to the Crucial UK website. It has done me proud on a number of occasions, even with obscure memory types for peculiar, outdated machines, and has a well-regarded ability to narrow down on the right kind of memory for the machine you identify. Which on this occasion, it did: except that apparently, having forgot which of my passwords I should be entering, it immediately fired me off a password reset email.The instant he thinks he's got Joe Public on the line, that's it: game over.Which did not arrive. Many other emails did - even password resets from other sites during the same time - so I thought it was unlikely this was my problem.
The checkout page shows a Freephone number above the password entry box, so I rang it. Four times.On the last time, I left my Skype Out session running, as the Crucial phone system played me those we value your patience announcements - bizarrely, cycling the recorded voices through a range of accents, genders, ages and moods. After some 20 minutes a human appeared. I explained that I wanted to place a next-day delivery order, and that I had not received my password reset email. Oh yes, said my handler, I see your account. You are actually a consumer, so I will put you through to the consumer helpdesk - and instantly I was back on hold.Now, when I signed up as a customer, about ten website designs ago, I don't remember being asked what kind of customer I was. As I recall, those 20 or more orders ago, I was making a small-scale speculative purchase of a simple bit of laptop memory, for my personal system. So if crucial.com ever did ask me, I would have said home/private user.On this occasion, though, I wanted big fat server RAM and lots of it. But that was of no interest to the man in the Business to Business department, on its phones. The instant he thinks he's got Joe Public on the line, that's it: game over. No idea that consumers change status, no oversight of the amount I've spent with his company over the years, no inclination to help. Are you just a user? Goodbye then.The cloud lesson that Amazon teaches us, which is that, overwhelmingly, business users experiment first using private single-person credentials and identity, evidently has no traction within Crucial's call centre.Of course, when this happens, all one can do as a business is make a commercial decision, which is whether one's time is better spent sitting on hold with this type of customer service attitude, or whether it's quicker, safer and cleaner to go find a competitor.
In my case, I told the hapless lady in the consumer helpline this story: not that I expected much to come of it.Perhaps, on the other hand, a blog about the general issue of consumers-as-irritant, might have a bit more impact. What do you think?Google has been pushing into laptops with its Chrome OS, with a generation of Chromebooks from Lenovo, Asus and Acer recently revealed for as little as $329 (£195).The Archos ArcBook, however, runs Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot.It has a 10.1in touchscreen with 1,024 x 600 resolution, and a full keyboard with Android shortcut keys to make navigating the mobile OS easier. The ArcBook weighs in at 1.28kg. Archos promises ten hours of battery life.To make work possible, it comes with Office Suite Pro 6 preloaded, and also includes full access to the Google Play store.You may have noticed the latest review up on the PC Pro homepage, of HP's Pavilion HDX9320EA laptop. A gloriously over the top machine, with oodles of style and a price tag that's certainly not as high as we expected when it was crane-lifted out of the box.But is it actually a laptop? Could it feasibly be argued that this leviathan will comfortably sit on the average lap? At some point a desktop replacement becomes, well, just a desktop by another name.The HP weighs 7kg on its own, and a back-breaking 8.2kg when you chuck in the power brick too. Add the fact that none of the major UK bag makers produce anything to fit such a beast and I'd argue the HP Dragon is actually not much of a portable at all.Yes, you could tuck it under one arm (if you're a freakish giant like our very own Mike Jennings) but that's hardly feasible on public transport. Which limits you to car journeys - a mode of travel which is equally hospitable to desktop PCs and their multiple peripherals - and use around the home.
I like the HP, I really do, and I can see the appeal in a sense - Mike would argue that it's great to be able to play a game upstairs with the power of a PC, then sling it on the coffee table while the football's on, all before sitting down to a movie in HD on the huge 20in screen.Power, clarity and flexibility in one versatile package - perhaps it belongs more in the lifestyle PC category with the wonderful Dell XPS One (right) than it does with other laptops. (In fact, Dell has form in this area - remember the XPS M2010?)But if it was my wallet involved in the decision, my hard-earned pennies being slapped down, would I really choose such a form-factor for myself?In a word, no. I'd spend the same amount on a desktop and monitor, and I'd probably get more from my investment. Look at the A List. I could save £150+ and get the Cyberpower Gamer Ultra M2 Quad, with its awesome graphics, huge hard disk and 22in TFT.
Not portable enough? How about the Shuttle XPC P2 3500G (left), with its huge hard disk, strong graphics and tiny size? With the £200+ saved I could take my pick of the best 22in TFTs out there.In fact, there are all manner of alternatives I'd go for before I'd buy the HP, and all of them fall firmly into traditional laptop or desktop categories.The HP Pavilion HDX9320EA is undoubtedly a fine machine, and I won't deny it's fully deserving of its Recommended award. But I'd beg HP, Dell and anyone else who's listening: for the sake of our spines, let's stop at 20in, hey? Please?Toshiba has launched a USB-powered secondary screen for laptops that's designed to give mobile workers extra screen space.The 14in LCD screen offers a resolution of 1,366 x 768, and is powered solely from a USB 2 port, allowing mobile workers to use the second screen on trains, in cafes or anywhere where power sockets are scarce.The screen weighs 795g - which is marginally heavier than the iPad 2 - and comes with its own carry case, which doubles as an adjustable stand.
As it's powered purely by the USB bus, brightness is restricted to a relatively dim 220cd/m2, with a claimed contrast ratio of 400:1. The display has a claimed response rate of 16ms.Toshiba has yet to confirm the price of the portable screen, but it will have to be priced competitively to ward off competition from tablets, which can be used as secondary screens with apps such as Air Display - although this does require both laptop and tablet to be connected to a Wi-Fi connection.The 14in LCD screen offers a resolution of 1,366 x 768, and is powered solely from a USB 2 port, allowing mobile workers to use the second screen on trains, in cafes or anywhere where power sockets are scarce.The screen weighs 795g - which is marginally heavier than the iPad 2 - and comes with its own carry case, which doubles as an adjustable stand.
As it's powered purely by the USB bus, brightness is restricted to a relatively dim 220cd/m2, with a claimed contrast ratio of 400:1. The display has a claimed response rate of 16ms.Toshiba has yet to confirm the price of the portable screen, but it will have to be priced competitively to ward off competition from tablets, which can be used as secondary screens with apps such as Air Display - although this does require both laptop and tablet to be connected to a Wi-Fi connection.This is according to a survey commissioned by Intel, which asked 3,000 SMBs with fewer than 250 employees about how they use technology.