Alienware OptX AW2210: 22-inch LCD Monitor

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Alienware: Let’s get one fact out of the way before I begin: almost all 22-inch LCD monitors are in fact 21.5-inch. Okay, now let’s get down to business. Alienware’s OptX AW2210 is a 1080p 22-inch LCD monitor and that means the resolution is 1920×1080–not that great for gaming since most games that I know support 1920 x 1200, a bit more vertical pixels. I’m sure the newest games also support 1920×1080 but good luck finding support from older games.

Alienware decided to go with non-glossy anti-glare with the AW2210 and I think they made the right decision. I don’t like glare, but that’s just my preference… and Alienware’s. Brightness is an industry average of 300 cd/m2. Now dynamic contrast ratio is rated at 80,000:1, but don’t let that huge number fool you: it means almost nothing. Why? Because the backlight is made up of your typical CCFL tubes and the incredibly high contrast ratio is achieved by modulating the entire backlight not portions of it like you do with a LED backlight with local dimming. Sure dark scenes will look darker and bright scenes will look brighter. But don’t expect a sunset or a sunrise to look any better.

Response time is a super-fast 2ms gray-to-gray thanks to the TN panel technology. Gamers will like it but gamers will also realize that monitors like this one need 120Hz or better for fast-action to look even better. With nice wide viewing angle film the viewing angles are a respectable 170/160 degrees. Color gamut is 85 percent NTSC thanks to improved phosphors in the CCFL tubes. Connections are a plenty: two HDMI, one DVI, and a USB hub with 4 ports. It would have been nice to add a composite and VGA connections.

Like all monitors should be the AW2210 is height adjustable. I’m not sure if you can rotate it though: let me know if swivel equals rotate. Alienware did put in a final touch on the 22-incher: the OSD buttons use capacitive touch sensors. Is the AW2210 worth US$290 that Alienware is asking? I’m not sure. What do you think?

HP LE1901w LE2201w: 19-inch 22-inch Eco Friendly LCD Monitors

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The HP LE2201w 22-inch LCD monitor is pictured above. Nothing much to look at, but I like it that way: simple. There is also the 19-inch version: LE1901w. Both of these monitors are billed as “Eco-Friendly” by HP. But, before I get into the merits of how eco-friendly these monitors really are, let’s look at some basic specifications for the 22-incher:

LE2201w Technical Specifications

  • Size/Display Technology: 22-inch TN TFT LCD
  • Resolution: 1680×1050
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Response Time: 5ms
  • Viewing Angles: 160/160
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Connections: VGA (15-pin D-sub)
  • Mount: VESA 100mm x 100mm

Now, let’s find out why these are called eco-friendly. First, these monitors consume less power. How? The optical film stack was improved to increase light transmittance. In other words, more light from the backlight can get through to you. There are two things you can do with better light transmittance. Use the same backlight to get more brightness. Or, and this is what HP did, you can reduce the brightness coming about of the backlight and maintain the same level of brightness that gets to you. The backlight is of the CCFL variety so there’s already a knock on its eco-friendly claim but the number of CCFL tubes has been reduced by half. The best option would have been a LED backlight, but that would also cost considerably more. So there is about half as much mercury in the LE2201w (and LE1901w) compared to other same-sized monitors. The backlight consumes the most power in a monitor and by reducing the light output the overall power consumption has been reduced by 40 percent.

The LE2201w consumes 30 watts when in operation and less than 2 watts in standby. The slightly smaller LE1901w consumes 23 watts when being used and less than 2 watts in standby. I would have liked to have seen standby power consumption closer to zero. These monitors are geared toward businesses and businesses will be happy with much lower electricity bills. Have a look at this calculation: 8 hours per day and 5 days per week equals to roughly 2000 hours per year. The LE191w provides about a 14 watt savings translating to 29,120 watt savings per year. Depending on how much energy costs in your area, the savings could be significant.

Corning Expects 100 Percent Growth in Second Quarter

On June 30, 2009, Corning‘s CFO James Flaws updated the company’s guidance for second quarter sequential LCD glass volume growth. The company increased its expectations for second quarter LCD glass volume shipments from an original guidance of 50 percent, to a previously upgraded guidance of 75 percent or higher to now 100 percent for its wholly owned businesses. That means that Samsung Corning Precision Glass (SCP) is not included in that equation and is expected to grow 50 percent sequentially in the second quarter. The reason for the smaller growth is because SCP’s volume did not decline as much as the company’s wholly owned business in the first quarter. SCP mainly supplies to Samsung with smaller volumes going to LG Display. The company’s utilization rates are now at close to 100 percent. Asahi Glass Co., Corning’s major competitor, has also increased its utilization rates to 100 percent.

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iPhone 3GS Overheating

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Over one million iPhone 3GS have been sold in the opening three days. I’m sure there are millions more customers that are enjoying super speeds, great photo and video capabilities and the upgraded GPS thanks to the integrated magnetometer. But a few owners are not very happy at all. For some the iPhone 3GS seems to be heating up, enough to change the color of the white iPhone 3GS to something a bit less cool: brown.

The likely culprit? Faulty battery cells. Because these batteries are mass manufactured the problems that are being seen by some of the users can affect a lot more. Look at the picture of white iPhone 3GS and you can see the brown outline where the battery is located.

No one should take faulty batteries lightly. If you are experiencing your iPhone 3GS running extpremely hot, make sure to take it to the nearest Apple store and let them know and ask for a replacement. In the long run a hot-running iPhone 3GS will completely fail: battery overheats, produces gas, battery expands, expansion puts pressure on adjacent components, components get damaged, iPhone fails.

Source: Wired

Philips 22-inch Brilliance LCD Monitor

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Pocket-lint: Philips just launched its Brilliance LCD monitor. The 22-inch LCD monitor sports the company’s PowerSensor technology, which is marketing-speak for a proximity sensor that sense whether or not you’re sitting in front of the monitor. If the Brilliance monitor senses you’re not in front of it it will immediately dim its brightness resulting in a 50 percent power reduction. Come back, sit down and the monitor will come back to life. This feature is hardware driven so no need to tinker around with whatever settings in the operating system. All monitors (including TVs!) should have this feature. Price for the 22-inch is £170 or about US$280, which is quite expensive (normally you can get a 22-inch LCD monitor for less than US$200) but hopefully the smaller energy bill will offset it in the mid- to long-term. For commercial deployments Philips’ Brilliance monitor should be on the short list if you’re trying to cut energy costs.

Sharp LCD Panels Banned from US Import

Sharp‘s LCD panels are banned from being imported into the US. The US International Trade Commission issued a ruling that bans the importation of Sharp LCD panels. Why? Sharp LCD panels allegedly infringe one of Samsung‘s wide viewing angle patents. Both Samsung and Sharp use a base technology called VA or Vertical Alignment for their higher-end wide viewing angle LCDs. Samsung’s version is called PVA for Patterned Vertical Alignment and Sharp’s is called ASV for Advanced Super View.

Because Sharp is heavily vertically integrated most of its AQUOS line of LCD TVs use its own LCD panels. This ban will most likely affect many other brands that make use of Sharp’s LCD panels. The ban is subject to review by President Obama and the case can be appealed.

If this ban is enforced Sharp’s performance in the US will be significantly affected. With demand already down considerably from a year ago most LCD TV brands are doing all they can to incentivize customers to purchase LCD TVs. But if Sharp can’t even get its LCD TVs inside the US border it will be at a huge disadvantage. Most likely Sharp will appeal right away. Manufacturing plants in Mexico as well as in China might experience a build up of LCD TV inventory made with Sharp LCD panels.

Source: Los Angeles Times

LED TV?

According to Samsung, its “LED TV” is “a whole new species of television”. Well, sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but it isn’t really a LED TV and it really isn’t a whole new species of television. Samsung’s LED TV is really a LCD TV. To be more specific, it is a LCD TV with a LED edge-lit backlight that allows for thinner designs. Is this a whole new species? Hardly. Notebooks have had edge-lit LED backlights for a while now. The challenge was to control the light coming out of a row of edge-lit LEDs and spread it across a large LCD. That rather old-ish technology is now being incorporated into LCD TVs. So, no, it’s not a new species let alone a new technology. I’m afraid Samsung is confusing the consumer and getting dangerously close to false advertising. If you look at its website for televisions, “LED TV” is a separate category along with LCD TV and Plasma TV leading viewers to believe that it is not a LCD TV. Not good.

Lenovo ThinkPad T400s: Thin 14.1-inch Notebook PC

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Lenovo‘s ThinkPad T400s is a 14.1-inch notebook PC that is just 0.83-inch thick and includes an optical drive: DVD burner or Blu-ray player. A couple of notables: the delete and escape keys have been enlarged. According to David Hill, a Lenovo designer responsible for the X300 and the T400s, we use the delete key about 700 times per week. I guess we make a lot of mistakes! The good folks at Lenovo also built in mute buttons for the mic and speakers making it more convenient for those that use VoIP. But more importantly, I’m wondering about the 14.1-inch LCD.

Lenovo states that it has a LED backlight but not much else. In my opinion, even more important than the backspace, escape keys and mute buttons is the LCD. No matter what we’re doing we’re staring into the LCD as long as we’re on the computer. The LCD doesn’t have to be professional-caliber since most T400s users will be using Office applications instead of PhotoShop, but I hope the LCD is not of the crappy kind. Want more effective presentations? Make colors pop and viewable at an angle! To do that you’ll need a decent LCD. I now expect better LCDs in notebook PCs. Do you? You should.

via Engadget

The iPhone is Winning

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Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning. With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.

That’s from Steve Jobs, Apple‘s CEO. Welcome back Steve! Apple announced on June 22, 2009 that the company had sold more than one million iPhone 3GS models through Sunday, June 21, the third day after its launch. The iPhone 3GS is twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, has a longer battery life and a much improved camera that can also take video. It also has a lot more capacity: 16GB and 32GB–more than some netbooks out there. It took a lot longer for T-Mobile’s G1 smartphone to get to the million mark–I believe it was around six months. Palm’s Pre is considered to be a success, and I agree, but the numbers pale in comparison: analysts put it at 100,000 unit sales. I don’t know the exact timeframe for those sales but I assume they were during the weekend that it launched. Apple’s iPhone franchise is a winner and sales growth does not seem to be slowing down. Unfortunately, I will be waiting until June 2010 to get my next iPhone. Do you own an iPhone 3G? Are you getting the 3GS?

AU Optronics Considers Investing US$3 Billion on G8.5 LCD Manufacturing Plant

Taiwan’s largest LCD manufacturer AU Optronics (AUO) will be looking carefully at the LCD market for the next two to three months to decide whether or not to invest US$3 billion in a G8.5 TFT LCD fab. AUO already has the land where the massive manufacturing plant will be built. If AUO decides to go ahead and invest in a G8.5 fab operations will commence some time in 2011. According to Andrew Tang, assistant vice president of Taiwan International Securities, AUO is considering the investment to meet the demand for LCD TV panels from China and to improve its competitiveness. Samsung and LG Display, the top LCD producers, already have G8 plants. Continue reading →