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Technology Today  - December 2011
by Robert Sanborn

It is that time of year to think of the computer products that will make life easier for you. I know CES is just around the corner but put these items on your wish list and you will find that life with computers gets easier. What will be exciting about notebooks this year is the new category called the "Ultrabook". Think of it as one of those miserable Netbooks on steroids with more power, better graphics, and great battery life. The Asus Zenbook is the best of the bunch. About $1200.

Asus Zenbook


If you have to have a tablet computer, then you have just lots of choices, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is one of the best Android tablets around. Surf, read email, play, videos, and more. Get the 32GB version. About $600. Galaxy Tab 10.1


Apple iPhone 4S Smartphones are it and what rules the roost in the USA is the Apple iPhone 4S. It does everything a tablet does and also gives you directions with built in GPS and a terrific camera. Watch those data minutes and read the fine print from the phone provider. About $200.


There is nothing that kills your computer experience more than having a dead hard drive or one wiped out by malware. Back it up and the Seagate GoFlex Ultra external drive is the way to go. Just do it. Available in nearly every computer store. About $100. Seagate Goflex Ultra


Kaspersky Pure If you have the backup, then you need the Internet security package and the best rated one is Kaspersky Pure Total Security. Good for three computers, great protection against nearly everything, and a bargain for those of you that shell out money everytime you get hit. Available in nearly every computer store. About $45.


A computer sitting near your desk does not have to sound like a wind tunnel and quiet computing is a reality beginning with the Antec Mini P180 Tower. A small form factor desktop computer that is truly silent. Add the green power supply and you have the makings of a good looking, fast, quiet computer. About $200. Antec Mini P180


Power Protection for your wide screen television is a must and the best way to do that is with Monster Cable's Powercenter 3 outlet surge protector. This plugs into a double wall outlet and gives you protection for the television, cablebox, and the cable coming in. About $50.


When it comes time for a new monitor to go with that computer or to upgrade, you still can't beat the Samsung brand and this one, the Samsung B2430H at 24 inches is a great one to go with. Normal 16:9 widescreen view, razor sharp graphics, and a great contrast ratio makes it one of the best. About $270. Samsung BH2430


Skype is the latest way to connect with friends and family all over the world for next to nothing. To make that connection easier, you need a video camera and microphone and the Blue Microphones Eyeball 2.0 Web cam is what you need. decent video but the sound you get with the microphone makes all the world difference when talking to someone. About $65.


Something for the road. While a bit expensive, The Escort Passport iQ combines the best of radar detection with an excellent GPS and what is even better, you can update the maps and database that includes everything from attractions to state parks to restaurants. almost weekly, I get an email that tells me what states have been updated. About $650. Escort Passport IQ


Panasonic FZ150 I have spent a ton of time researching superzoom digital cameras and this Panasonic FZ150 is the best of the bunch. Great pictures, terrific features, and a range that is hard to beat. Fun to use, great quality, and a long term keeper. About $499.


I mentioned the Apple iPhone 4S above and if you want to go with a Windows Smartphone, then the Samsung Focus S is your best bet. Full of the same kinds of features, maybe not as many apps, but if you want a preview of Windows 8, then this is the phone to go with. The same caveats about phone service expenses apply here as well. About $200. Samsung Focus S

Robert Sanborn
robert@pcll.com

 

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