Merry Christmas from lgpOnTheMove

It's that special time of the year again where lgpOnTheMove is sharing the Christmas spirit. I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a safe, fun-filled happy holidays.

For those of you lucky enough to have a brand-new notebook sitting under the tree, I'm guessing your Christmas just got extra special.

Stay tuned for more great notebook news and reviews coming in 2013.

Tech Tips - doing the SSD upgrade

Solid State Drives (SSD's) have become perhaps the most significant component to enter the PC hardware market over the last 5 years. It's no denying their overwhelming appeal - they boost performance, use less power and suffer none of the drawbacks of mechanical disks. From $300 netbooks to $30,000 rackmount servers, SSD's are making a presence everywhere.

While expensive back in 2008, this year has seen an unprecedented fall in SSD prices to levels far below $1/GB, and in some cases approaching fifty cents per gigabyte. Notebook and netbook users long wishing to upgrade their factory hard drives can now make that jump and enjoy all the benefits of SSD's... without breaking the bank! Read on to see how I upgrade my HP 210 Mini netbook and install a Samsung 840 series SSD.

The Best of 2012

I don't know why, but I'm finding it a little hard to put together my best-of list for 2012. The year has definitely shown progress, built largely on the efforts seen in 2011. There's certainly options out there for notebook fans, slate shoppers and even the netbook die-hards such as myself.

The issue perhaps is not so much as picking my favorite items, but more trying to figure out how 2013 will unfold as far as changes go given the shifts observed during 2012. With that pondering thought in my mind, however, let me present my top picks for the year.

Quick Look - Google Nexus 7

It was back in 2010 that I looked at the original Samsung Galaxy Tab and had my first exposure to Android. The $650 7" slate may have found over 1.5 million fans, yet I returned mine in utter frustration due to a lack of video playback and video streaming ability, among it's other notable drawbacks.

Fast-forward two years and I now have one of the latest 7" Android slates, the Google Nexus 7, in my capable hands. Has Asus improved on the hardware and Android improved enough to make me ditch my Windows netbook? Let's take a look!

Accessory Corner - Buffalo LinkStation Duo NAS

Network-attached storage (NAS) isn't one of the first things that would admittedly come to mind when discussing notebook accessories. Yet investing in a good NAS solution can bring much-useful benefits to your notebook, netbook, smartphone and slate, both at home and on the go.

I've been a big fan of Buffalo's products, having owned an external 3.5" USB drive for several years. The LinkStation Duo LS-WX6.0TL/R1 is a 2-drive NAS box offering 6TB of storage. Priced at a very affordable $379, what can this compact desktop solution do for your various mobile gadgets? Quite a lot, as I have come to find out.

Gadgets Galore on the way to lgpOnTheMove

I've just today successfully managed to force Newegg to initiate a shipment from three separate warehouses across the country, the first batch of which is due to arrive Friday. That doesn't include a fourth trip I'm making to my local Staples first thing in the morning for a popular 7" tablet that I have found an awesome deal on.

Definitely lots of action happening here at lgpOnTheMove, so stay tuned for some great articles in the coming weeks!

First Impressions - Alienware M18x notebook

This review comes down as a first here at lgpOnTheMove for many reasons. It's my first look at Alienware. It's my first 18.4" notebook. It's my first exposure to Ivy Bridge + Kepler. And it's my first notebook priced above $3000. But more than all of those, it's the first time I have been so excited about getting my hands on a notebook since my review of the Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q708 - an impressive and very high-end 17" notebook that I would later go on to own and keep.

Granted, I'm still using my X305 even after 3 years, and am still very happy with it - as the saying goes, you DO get what you pay for. But is it just possible, given today's void in the high-end notebook space by the likes of HP and Toshiba, that something out there could pique even my specific interest and lay claim to the notebook performance crown? Alienware's 18.4" M18x is a veritable behemoth brimming with speed and power, alongside a feature set models from other manufacturers fail to even come close to. Has Dell done it's homework? Let's take a look!

Glamor Shots - Alienware M18x notebook

Thank the folks at Dell for making this happen, but I am FINALLY able to present here on lgpOnTheMove a laptop from Alienware! The 18.4" M18x R2 encompasses the pinnacle of what notebook builders in 2012 can create, in both features and unbridled performance. Commanding a starting MSRP of $1999, and going well north of $5000 fully loaded, this is a piece of mobile tech only those with deep pockets can ever realistically think about owning, never mind be able to appreciate it's potential.

As is always the case here on lgpOnTheMove, feel free to feast your eyes below on some high-resolution images of this impressive and expensive beast. If you like what you see here then you will want to stay tuned for the full review that goes live next week!

lgpOnTheMove on Hiatus

Blogger's recent update of their CMS interface is wonderful - it's also making me spend more time learning to find where things are again. Other than that small nag, I've had a few other issues crop up pushing back my articles yet again.

No need to fear. I've just today secured the hardware for a MONSTER notebook review (emphasis on the word monster) so make sure to check back next month for some very exclusive lgpOnTheMove eye-candy. Other work I have planned is still in the pipeline, so I should be ready with that in the coming weeks as well.

Off the Beaten Track - when Free Opinion collides with Censorship

One of the great things about the world wide web is that it has always been open to everybody and free to use. Because of this, the internet has become for millions around the world the venue to express themselves, share information and use as a versatile learning/research tool.

Being familiar with life in a country under staunch communist dictatorship, however, I also know very well what it means to not have that freedom and face censorship. It becomes ironic then, that in a society that preaches freedom of opinion and free press, websites should moderate reader feedback and enforce a policy of publishing only select information. Websites that by virtue rely on readership and depend heavily on page views for ad revenue.

Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - the Ultimate Gear Bag

Despite what many mobile workers would believe, achieving maximum productivity doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing  maximum mobility, or vice-versa for that matter. I admit it's taken a while for me to get this article together, but I think I can comfortably come forward with what I consider is the best mobile productivity solution yet. Working as a mobile road warrior, and given the extensive time I've spent with the gear you will see me show here, I have managed to put together an undeniably potent gadget arsenal that is as small and light as can be.

Indeed, it's quite possible to maximize your work capability away from the office, without lugging around a 20lb roller case, skimping on functionality or running out of battery power. The gear bag you are about to see here demonstrates a no-compromise approach to getting virtually any kind of PC task done, anywhere you happen to be, without impacting your mobility whatsoever.

First Impressions - HP dm1-4170us notebook

It seems I owe my readers an apology of sorts as I'm not usually this late to the party. The good news is I have finally secured an 11.6" notebook sporting Intel's ULV Sandy Bridge. Released back in December of 2011, HP's Pavilion dm1-4170us is the spiritual successor to both the aging AMD Brazos and award-winning Nile-based dm1z I checked out first in 2010.

With netbooks in 2012 on the verge of extinction, ultrabooks stealing the limelight and slates flooding the consumer market, can die-hard netbook fans find refuge in the 11.6" form-factor? More relevant, can Intel's much-touted ULV parts deliver the goods and kick AMD to the curb? Read on to get my take on this latest ultra-portable.

Glamor Shots - HP dm1-4170us notebook

Finally, some new pics to share with you! It's been a long time coming for me to get my hands on a ULV Sandy Bridge notebook, but HP's 11.6" Pavilion dm1-4170us is definitely an interesting proposition, and well worth the wait. How well does it perform? Stay tuned next week for a full review here on lgpOnTheMove.

Tech Tips - Folding@home on your Notebook

Notebooks have become useful today for all kinds of purposes, never mind becoming the main machine in lieu of the desktop for many professionals and enthusiasts. Yet even with the impressive capabilities today's processors and mobile graphics can deliver, there's one task out there your notebook can do that helps everybody, in ways you might have never imagined.

Folding@home is a project started by the Pande group at Stanford University. Intended initially for helping accelerate protein folding simulations for biomedical research, the project today spans numerous laboratories from around the world with the ultimate goal of finding cures for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, mad cow and diabetes. As long as your notebook meets a few key requirements, it's a relatively simple affair to set up Folding@home, letting you join the fight against these debilitating and deadly illnesses.

lgpOnTheMove on hiatus

A bunch of family birthdays this month (along with some great southern California weather) have successfully gotten me away from blogging here. No need to worry, though. I've got more than a few articles coming once I get back, including a svelte new notebook I'm putting through it's paces as I write this. So stay tuned during June for further updates here on lgpOnTheMove.

Wish List - the $10,000 notebook

It's pretty easy these days to walk into an Apple or Sony store and drop $2000 on a notebook, or for that matter, get online and configure an Alienware M18x running a cool five grand. Even the most extravagant systems seen from Clevo in the last few years have only been able to peak $8000, yet stuffed with arguably the most cutting-edge internals.

High-end mobile hardware has never come cheap, that is fact. But even seasoned enthusiasts may get serious sticker shock to know that today's most expensive (and powerful) notebook now breaks the 10K barrier. Read on to get a taste of not only what you can get for that gangsta-roll of Franklins, but see who makes this 5-digit rarity.

Accessory Corner - Netgear DGND3700 wireless Modem Router

Modem routers have become fairly common place these last few years for DSL users. The convenience of having two devices in one does more than just reduce desk clutter, but can streamline installation. For users looking to go wireless for the first time, add NAS capability or just breathe new life into their boring DSL connection, a high-end modem router can be a very attractive solution.

In my case, my 8-year-old Speedstream 5100 finally bit the dust two weeks ago. Obviously, it was time for an equipment upgrade, and I had no intention of buying a bare modem. I had reviewed the Netgear DGND3300 modem router back in 2010 and found it to be a very versatile device, minus it's several shortcomings. Does Netgear's latest offering bring anything new to the table? Let's take a look!

Tech Tips - Getting the Most out of your UPS

Buying a UPS may seem like a solution useful only for more serious desktop PC's, given their dependence on AC to run. Many will in fact question why the need would be for people using a notebook to even consider such a purchase. Let me give you a hint - it's NOT for plugging in your notebook!

Quite the contrary, investing in a UPS has far greater benefits for things you use inside the home such as your notebook accessories. Yet it's only when you're using these accessories with your notebook that the real value of a UPS suddenly become fully understandable. Read on to get an insight on my experience using a UPS for so many years, and how having one can save your bacon too.

Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - All-Day Power

Working on the move outside of the office presents a challenge when it comes to powering your mobile tech gadgets. And it becomes even more daunting for folks that need to have all-day power for their devices. Smartphone users in particular know that feeling of sitting down for dinner after 6PM only to have their critical handheld die on them because it has been exhausted throughout the day.

For devices with non-user-replaceable batteries such as the iPhone, it can indeed be difficult to get your work done beyond the regular 9-5. But just because you're on the go and nowhere near an outlet, it doesn't mean you have to be without juice and interrupt your work. As you'll see in this installment of Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior, you can easily keep all your devices running way beyond your evening dinner, all with the help of just one compact and lightweight battery.

Confessions of an Audiophile - Logitech Z305 notebook speaker

I'll admit I've been very happy with the speakers on my HP 210 Mini netbook, never mind the 4.1 harman/kardon arrangement on my larger Toshiba Qosmio X305. Of course, there's no reason why I cannot improve the experience, hence my recent purchase of the Logitech Z305 notebook speaker. Attaching to the top of your notebook or netbook's LCD display, the Z305 speaker bar gives the impression of some very decent audio potential. Want an easy way to improve the sound on your netbook or ultrabook? Read on to find out just how well this modern audio accessory performs.

Tech Tips - LCD Screen Replacements

Having your opinion respected has it's benefits when it comes to article suggestions - I received a question from a reader the other week asking if I had gone ahead and upgraded the display on my X305 notebook. How do you upgrade the display on a notebook you ask? Good question. I remember when writing my review of the Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q708 that the initial $4000 asking price was far too steep. Toshiba should have included a 1920x1200 display for that kind of money, rather than stick with a then-ubiquitous 1680x1050 panel. I even remember going online and searching for 17" WUXGA screen replacements for the X305, only to come up with nothing.

Was I disappointed? Initially yes, but I haven't bothered to search since, and it hasn't been on my list of priorities. Is it worth upgrading your notebook's display for more resolution? Do older notebooks qualify? What if you're looking for an IPS display? Several online vendors today offer notebook LCD screen replacements, but before you grab for your wallet, it's worth getting familiar with the pros and cons of such an undertaking.

Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - Staying Connected

EDITOR'S NOTE: For today's modern workforce, spending your 9-5 in a cubicle no longer makes practical sense. With the productivity and connectivity mobile tech provides, 1 in 5 workers are now able to make a living outside the traditional office environment. This new series of articles on lgpOnTheMove caters specifically to the hard-core mobile worker who is always on the go. You'll find tips, tricks, advice and proven, hands-on examples of how to not only stay useful while on the road, but create a no-compromise ultimate mobility solution.

Connectivity has become prime to providing an ideal mobile work environment. It doesn't matter if you provide lip service all day for clients on your cellphone, handle 100+ emails or need to video conference every morning half-way across the globe - it's your connectivity that will either make or break your day. With more ways now than ever to get both voice and data working for you, it's only fitting that I show how you too can hit the road without sacrificing anything when it comes to staying connected.

Accessory Corner - Clear Apollo 4G mobile hotspot

It's been close to a year since I first looked at Clearwire's 4G WiMax service and tested their first mobile hotspot. My unfortunate experience with their device and service, however, left me feeling extremely disappointed, especially when you understand my desire to not only enjoy unlimited mobile broadband, but make the dream of having internet everywhere a reality.

Fast forward 12 months to today, and I now have their newest mobile hotspot, the Apollo 4G, under my scrutiny. Does the newer hardware improve the user experience? And has Clear been able to take advantage of the last 12 months to make improvements to their wireless internet service? Read on to see how the company fares this time around!

Wish List - Hot Gear for 2012

Once again 2012 is set to bring a slew of exciting new hardware for mobile tech enthusiasts. CES 2012 already gave me a good indication of just some of the products due to hit shelves later this year. Look hard enough, though, and you can already find sprinklings of as-yet-unseen gadgets already appearing, or set to go on sale very soon.

Notebooks in particular are due for some major improvements this year thanks to the continued efforts of Intel, AMD and nVidia. If the arrival of mobile Sandy Bridge hasn't yet convinced you to upgrade that Core 2 Duo clunker you've been using since 2008, here's a few more reasons why you should seriously consider upgrading in 2012.

Thank You to All my Readers!!!

I found this just today when checking my site's rankings. Given my site's modest following, this is a very respectable result and I feel good knowing that my efforts here on lgpOnTheMove are being rewarded so highly by my audience.

A big thank you to everybody following lgpOnTheMove! Your feedback and support is much appreciated.

On Location - CES 2012

Las Vegas saw plenty of action again as the Consumer Electronics Show went into full swing this week in the Nevada desert, with tons of new mobile gadgets and companies there to show off their wares for 2012. Eager to build on my first experience from last year, I spent considerable time covering the exhibit floor looking at devices and meeting with both manufacturers and vendors.

While not everything at the show was being "on show", I managed to get a good indication of what users will be seeing later on in the year, and in some cases as soon as a few weeks. Slates continue to be a major theme as they were last year, but there were just as many new notebooks to show off as well. Read on to see everything I was able to find!

My CES 2012 Gear Bag

Less than 1 week left before I get behind the wheel again for sin city. This year I'll be traveling light, taking merely my HP 210 Mini netbook, HTC Touch Pro 2 smartphone and Energizer XP8000 battery pack. New in my gear bag this year is the Apollo 4G mobile hotspot from Clear (review coming on lgpOnTheMove soon), giving me always-on connectivity wherever my feet happen to take me.

Housing all this gear will be my versatile Solo TCA511-4 netbook case. Considering how much smaller this is than the gear bag CES hands out to press attendees, I may actually walk the show floor with the Solo. I'll have no problems snapping photos with the Touch Pro 2. Blogging and posting images will be child's play with the 210 Mini. And with the XP8000 riding on my belt with plenty of juice on tap, I've got all-day power for running both my smartphone and fast 4G hotspot.

Off the Beaten Track - why Mobile Broadband in the U.S. Still Sucks

Nobody can deny that over the last 2-3 years, mobile tech has changed more dramatically than at any other time. The advent of slates flooding the consumer market along with the explosion of smartphone use has pushed mobile data demands into the mainstream. Now more than ever, data is king! It's no longer a matter of choosing how many minutes you need when shopping for a wireless plan, but how much data you get and how you want to use it.

Ideally, consumers welcome choice. But die-hard mobile data users, business users, enthusiasts and a large chunk of consumers who have previously enjoyed unlimited data are left out in the cold. For them, choice simply doesn't exist, facing either a monopoly of one carrier or going without service at all. Put simply, mobile broadband in the U.S. still sucks!