Merry Christmas from lgpOnTheMove

Yep, it's Christmas, and with temps in LA at 85 degrees on December 25th, Santa Claus may be hanging out at the beach today after doing his rounds - hooray for winter!

But in the true Christmas spirit, I would like to wish all my readers here at lgpOnTheMove a very Merry Christmas and a fun-filled happy holidays. And if it's a brand-new notebook sitting under that tree running Windows 7, you may have just saved yourself too.

Stay tuned for more great notebook news and reviews for 2014!

The Best of 2013

This year has been a very different one compared to all others I've covered here on lgpOnTheMove. The notebook landscape has changed dramatically, not only due to hardware and software advances, but from the onslaught of devices from other product categories. This was to be expected given hardware first seen in 2012, and should continue into 2014 as well.

While I haven't managed to personally look at even a fraction of what manufacturers have teased consumers with this year, I can pretty much lay down my recommendations based on what I've researched and read up on over these last 12 months. Let's take a look at the changes that have taken place this year, along with some of the newest gadgets worthy of mention.

Accessory Corner - Netgear D6200 Wireless AC Modem Router

Modem routers remain appealing devices for users looking to get maximum versatility and features when it comes to harnessing their internet connection. Not only does it give DSL jockeys a single device, but offers upgrades and connectivity that would otherwise require three or four separate pieces of hardware.

Netgear's D6200 is their latest variant in the DSL modem/wireless router offering. Armed with the newest 802.11ac wifi standard capable of 866Mbps throughput, it promises the fastest wireless speeds for the latest notebooks and mobile devices. Read on to see how it performs, and why I may consider keeping this.

Off the Beaten Track - a Desktop Renaissance or Notebook Demise?

Notebooks have become a real drag recently - there's just nothing exciting out there that would really tickle my fancy. My enthusiasm for working with the devices has for the first time in many years hit an all-time low. While I have no reason to abandon notebooks entirely, or cease coverage here on lgpOnTheMove, this major downer IS heavily influencing my thoughts about my next big hardware purchase. A purchase which may just be a build-it-yourself desktop come Christmas 2013.

What would compel me to dump my Toshiba Qosmio X305 in favor of my own-assembled box? The arguments in favor are plenty. Yet as much as I've enjoyed my notebook, it's now time to look for something new. With nothing on the notebook landscape from manufacturers worthy as a replacement for my X305, my focus for a no-nonsense work tool has for the first time shifted back to the desktop.

lgpOnTheMove on hiatus

Waiting for hardware announcements to trickle down into actually-shipping products can be like watching paint dry. Combine that with my less-than-spectacular experience recently with Toshiba's Qosmio X70 notebook, and you can guess why things have slowed down to a crawl here at lgpOnTheMove.

Sure, there's new stuff being released in the coming weeks like Microsoft's Surface refresh with Windows 8.1, which I'm hoping to get my hands on before Christmas hits. On the notebook front, however, I see very few things right now to excite me, making me seriously reconsider what my next hardware purchase will be. Time for me to hang 10 for the time being.

Wish List - Building the Ultimate Slate

If there was ever a year to mark a spurt in slate innovation, then 2013 has to be that year. With Microsoft's anticipated release later this year of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 along with Intel's just-announced low-voltage Haswell parts, those in the know are probably waiting to see just when (and not if) the "next big thing" is coming.

My experience with various slates of recent has shown me that they continue to progress. While still focused primarily on content consumption, devices such as the Surface RT and Surface PRO can tackle productivity in a way that would render even a netbook or notebook obsolete. Given my stubborn insistence on keeping my 10" netbook, is there a recipe for a perfect slate that could satisfy those such as myself who have been holding out all this time? Read on for my thoughts.

Second Take - Google Nexus 7

Last year I had probably my first acceptable experience with an Android slate, the Nexus 7. Google and Asus addressed much of what was lacking in the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, and had I been in the market for a 7" Android slate, would have more than likely made the purchase.

Move forward to 2013 and we now have Google's refresh sporting the same exact name, but with some key upgrades to both hardware and software. Is the design and feature set still as attractive to me? Let's take a quick look.

The Shame File - Toshiba Qosmio X70 notebook

Regular readers here will notice I have somewhat of an attachment to Toshiba's Qosmio line of notebooks, not surprising since I've been a happy owner of a X305 since 2009. It's a fantastic gaming and productivity workhorse, never mind it's impressive audiophile underpinnings.

Of course, it's been a while since I looked at the X775 model, and Toshiba has in that time made not one but two refreshes. The latest Qosmio X70 offers up Intel's newest Core i7 Haswell quad core alongside nVidia's most recent GK106 silicon dubbed GTX770M. Does the solution impress? More important perhaps, what in the world would compel me to relegate Toshiba to my Shame File? Read on for the entire story!

Glamor Shots - Toshiba Qosmio X70 notebook

Once again I have the pleasure of looking at another one of Toshiba's flagship Qosmio notebooks here on lgpOnTheMove. The just-released X70 continues where the X875 model left off, offering the latest Intel Haswell quad-core processor along with a new mobile GPU and various other tweaks.

Go ahead and browse over the various images I have here, and make sure to come back next week for a very different kind of review!

Tech Tips - 50 Things You Can Do with a Surface RT

Long-time critics of slates such as myself will tell you that they fail to provide a suitable productivity experience, based largely on the limitations inherent in a smartphone OS. On the other hand, many proponents will argue that the overhead of a full desktop OS is not necessary to carry around with you all the time. With the plethora of keyboard case accessories available for so many slates on the market today, one still has to question if turning a slate into a notebook replacement is indeed a viable proposition, or just armchair experts blowing smoke.

My recent detailed look at the Microsoft Surface RT showed that you can indeed make a workable compromise between a plain slate running a crippled smartphone OS versus a full-blown netbook such as my HP 210 Mini. To illustrate just how well Microsoft thought out their first-ever venture into the slate market, I've put together a list of 50 things that you can do today with a Surface RT slate.

Help Support lgpOnTheMove

I'm not ashamed to ask for money - corporate America takes it from me every day! For those not aware, lgpOnTheMove is a project that I am doing in my free time and do not get paid for. Yes, I do run ads on my site, but that revenue has been next to nothing despite an increase in page views. I need your continued support!

Fortunately, Blogger allows me to do just that. lgpOnTheMove now has a support button for donations and contributions. Using PayPal, you can send money my way to help support my efforts here and continue the flow of articles and hardware reviews.

For the more fortunate out there, a minimum donation of $5 will be much appreciated, while $10 or more will go a long way. Of course, PayPal does charge a fee for this, so a few bucks do end up going their way too. All contributions are welcome.

You can find the PayPal button by scrolling down the page, it's located underneath my Subscribe link to the right.

Accessory Corner - Netgear R6200 and A6200 Dual Band Combo

Hard to believe how fast time flies, but it's been almost THREE YEARS since I looked at Netgear's N300 modem-router and USB adapter combo here on lgpOnTheMove. In that time, Netgear have made quite a few changes to their product lineup, most notably the addition of 802.11ac equipment.

The R6200 wireless router and A6200 wireless USB adapter make for a sweet combination, providing connection speeds well in excess of 800Mbps for netbooks/notebooks. Should you be interested in upgrading to this latest wireless standard? Read on for a detailed look.

First Impressions - Microsoft Surface Pro

Having been so impressed after my experience with the Surface RT, it was with great anticipation that I took to putting the higher-end Surface Pro under my detailed scrutiny. Microsoft's flagship slate takes a jab where no other slate has gone before, marrying a full Windows 8 touch-optimized x64 OS with today's most cutting-edge mobile PC hardware crammed inside an incredibly svelte form-factor.

Does it succeed when so other similar attempts in the past have failed? More importantly, can it truly replace a Windows 7 netbook/notebook? Hang on to your wallet, because it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - Surviving the Coffee Shop

Coffee shops have become synonymous for being sought-after work venues for the mobile road warrior. It's easy to understand their appeal - you can sit down with a laptop, log-on to free wifi and enjoy a good hot coffee as well. They also make convenient locations to meet with coworkers and clients.

But coffee shops also present a challenge for people seeking to get real work done, especially folks who must conduct business outside the office. Many entrepreneurs or start-ups that lack physical office space also turn to the corner caffeine house, as do tech enthusiasts and geeks escaping the home with their latest mobile gadgets. Combined with the crowd of bona-fide coffee lovers, is it possible to make the coffee shop work session an enjoyable and successful experience? Read on for some proven tips and advice!

First Impressions - Microsoft Surface RT

In a first here at lgpOnTheMove, I felt it's now time to put Microsoft's Surface RT under a bit of detailed scrutiny. After all, Microsoft has never been a company famous for hardware, yet it's answer to the iPad and Android alternatives comes in the form of a very unique and, some may say, compelling product.

With the company trailing behind in the tablet market, both on the hardware and software front, can the Surface RT capture users with it's blend of Windows OS running on ARM and product design? Are the features of the Surface RT good enough to make it a viable work tool and netbook replacement, aside from content consumption? Read on as I explore these aspects and more.

First Impressions - HP Elitebook 2170p notebook

It's no accident 11.6" notebooks (or netbooks depending on your viewpoint) have been improving greatly over the years. Since my first exposure to AMD's Nile effort in 2010, followed by Intel's response with ULV Sandy Bridge 15 months later, each newer iteration has afforded consumers improved CPU/GPU performance along with a longer stretch in battery life.

Introduced during 2012, Intel's ULV Ivy Bridge is currently the top-of-the-line solution for maximizing battery life with performance. While finding a consumer 11.6" notebook has been tough given the focus on ultrabooks and slates of recent, HP had no hesitation creating a business-class 11.6" notebook with this sought-after platform. Does the Elitebook 2170p manage to tick all the boxes? Let's take a look!

Tech Tips - Blogging with the Surface RT

Professional writers and bloggers looking for a no-nonsense work tool need look no further than Microsoft's Surface RT. The $499 $299 slate delivers a comparable typing experience to using Word on a notebook, yet does so at a size/weight that makes it more portable than even a svelte netbook.

The secret to the Surface RT slate's amazing capability lies not only in part to the Windows RT OS, but the slate's ability to pair and work with both keyboards and pointing devices. Full desktop browser support also means you can forgo those watered-down blogging apps, allowing native access to your site's content management system. Watch as I show how you can effortlessly create and publish a complete article with Blogger's web interface using the Surface RT paired with just the Type Cover keyboard attachment and my Logitech M570 wireless trackball.

Glamor Shots - HP Elitebook 2170p notebook

OK - so I'm bad at keeping secrets! Regular readers here at lgpOnTheMove will know I've had my eye on HP's 11.6" ULV Ivy Bridge notebook ever since learning about it's release in the second half of 2012. The Elitebook 2170p caters to a very specific niche, namely the sub-13" enterprise notebook user.

While it's clear 10" netbooks are done for 2013, 11.6" form-factors continue to thrive this year alongside negating all the performance drawbacks of Intel's Atom. Feel free to take a closer look as I show you around this compact and very lightweight notebook, and make sure to check back next week for the full review.

On Location - CES 2013

As seems to be turning into a common jaunt for me now, I'm yet again beginning the new year in Las Vegas marching through the halls at CES. 2013 introduces yet more flashy devices and new technology for consumers to drool over, never mind the endless armada of accessory bling and sometimes questionable vaporware.

This year continues the slate attack, fueled primarily by Windows 8. But while MS was absent from the show this year, advances from companies such as Intel made certain that new devices would be on display for both notebook and slate aficionados alike. With the show winding down for another year and the 150,000-or-so attendees leaving sin city in the dust, I can again look back on the week's events.

Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - Navigating CES

For anybody who has ever visited or worked a convention, you will know that there are certain unwritten rules to follow in order to make your experience a success. Love or hate the job, conventions are now the prime stage for companies to show off their latest product announcements, give press attendees exclusive hands-on access, and present some excellent networking opportunities.

Navigating CES in Las Vegas is no different. With show number three now on my schedule, here are some essential tips and proven advice for folks thinking about heading out to the neon mirage in the Nevada desert this week.