Friday, November 5, 2010

USB 3.0: Speed To Burn - Not!

I know there are computer users for whom the prospect of substantially faster file transfers to an external hard drive will hold great appeal, who might have eagerly awaited the advent of USB 3.0, the new much faster computer peripheral connection standard.

People who want to speed wholesale synchs to their large-capacity digital music players, for example, or small business users who want to cut the wait time for nightly backups to go across.

But me? Most of the time, I'm not too fussed about having to wait for transfers over a slow old USB 2.0 connection. I'll just go make a cup of tea or read a book while I wait. So it was probably preordained I would be underwhelmed by my first experience of USB 3.0. And so it was.

The LaCie Rikiki and Minimus drives I reviewed recently for Small Business Computing (here) look fabulous (if you care about that) and they work well in almost every respect. But are they way faster than USB 2.0 drives? Nah. Or at least, not when tested using a laptop or desktop add-on USB 3.0 port.

It might be a different story with a native (i.e. built-in) USB 3.0 port - a LaCie technician suggested it would be - but I remain underwhelmed. In my tests, file transfer speeds were barely twice as fast as with USB 2.0. That's a long way from the hyped 10-times increase.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The (HP) Envy Of All The Other Kids?

If you're looking for a wow-them-in-the-boardroom small business laptop, something comparable to an Apple MacBook Pro without the premium price tag and unfamiliar interface, check out Hewlett-Packard's Envy 14. I just reviewed it for Small Business Computing.

It's a sweet-looking notebook that packs a lot of power. The one I reviewed - with an Intel i5 processor and fabulous upgraded LED screen - sells for well over $1,000, but it's still substantially less expensive than a MacBook Pro 13 with comparable features, and less expensive still than a MacBook Pro 15.

I wasn't crazy about the ergonomics - keyboard or touchpad - but most users probably aren't as fussy as I am, and even I could probably adjust with time. If you've thought of making the switch to Mac for a MacBook Pro but just can't bring yourself to do it, this might be the solution.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Print From iPad? There Are Apps For That

If you're considering a tablet as your mobile computer but need to be able to print, don't strike Apple's iPad off your list. Although the iPad has no native print capability yet (it's coming), there are apps that let you print some kinds of documents.

I reviewed four of them recently for Enterprise Mobile Today. The article will post in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, check out the best of the bunch, PrintCentral from Eurosmartz.