Archive for October, 2009

By October 25, 2009 Read More →

Acer Aspire Revo Review

As Matt said in his unboxing, the Acer Aspire Revo is an ultra small form factor PC. It’s a combination of the Intel N230 CPU and the NVidia 9400M GPU, offering high video performance in this small package.


You can see Matt’s unboxing here.

So let’s see what happen when we put this little box through it’s paces.

What’s in the box

The box that we received was an engineering sample so it’s not actually what is in the final product, but what we are told is in the box is…

Aspire Revo PC
Power cable

No confirmation on cables yet, but I suspect a VGA cable would be included.

Acer Aspire Revo Specification:

  • Acer Aspire Revo Ultra Small Form Factor PC
  • Processor : Intel® AtomT 230 processor 1.66gHz
  • Hard Drive : 160GB Serial ATA ( Serial ATA-300 ) or 8GB SSD
  • Operating System : Linux or Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Chipset : NVIDIA® IONT chipset
  • Graphics : nVidia GeForce 9400 up to 896MB
  • System Memory : 1GB or 2GB / 4GB (Max)
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • Four-in-one card reader
  • High definition headphone and microphone jacks
  • DC-in jack
  • Ethernet port
  • D-Sub VGA port
  • HDMI port
  • eSATA port
  • Network adapter – Ethernet, Fast Ethernet; Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless LAN 802.11 b/g/Draft-N
  • Dimensions (WxDxH) 18.0 x 3.0 x 18.0 cm


I’m not sure that there is strictly a ‘front’ on the Revo, so I’ll just go around the sides starting with what I think of as the front.


Connections left to right – eSATA, Mic, Stereo out, Memory card reader. On the ‘right’ corner you can see the power button and a USB socket below it.


and on the next side around there is another USB socket and some ventilation holes.


Around the ‘back’ is where most of the connections are.

Left to right -  4 USB sockets, RJ45 network, HDMI, VGA, Power and finally the Kensington lock.

There’s nothing much to see on the bottom – just the slot for the base.


Once you get your hands on it, the first thing that you notice about the Acer Aspire Revo is the fact that it’s not square – it’s tilted slightly. If you use the included stand then the case leans forwards, which is an odd choice as it makes the connections on the front slightly less comfortable to access. It’s not a huge lean, but it’s enough that you notice it – especially if you are wanting to frequently use the sockets on the front.

Another orientation, and one of the more common images that you’ll see on the web when you search for Acer Aspire Revo, is where the Revo is mounted on the back of a monitor. I’ve not actually seen the mounting kit, but it certainly offers an interesting location for the PC – depending how you then use the PC.

If you are going to be using it with a separate wireless keyboard and mouse and never need access to the connections or power button then mounting on the back of the monitor would be fine. If you actually want to use the enclosed wired keyboard and mouse, want regular use to the USB sockets or to attach an external drive, and want to be able to use the power button then it’s less desirable to mount on the back where you’d be forever ‘groping’ around the back of the screen. So I guess it depends on your planned use.

The last orientation is to place the Acer Aspire Revo flat on the surface – but then the labels next to the sockets are all upside down.

This suggests that the labels have been designed with the attachment to the back of a screen as the primary usage of the Revo.

Though this arrangement would seem to make the power less easily accessible.

So all in all I’m not entirely sure which way the box is designed to be used, nothing seems quite right for everything.

Anyway, after the inital look around the case I hooked the unit up to an HDTV using a standard HDMI cable.

The system we had to test had 2GB memory and the 160GB SATA drive and 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium. Of this 2GB of memory it appears that 256MB is shared to the graphics card as the OS only shows 1.75GB of memory installed.

Booting the system from cold you are booted by a loud whirring, which I can only guess to be a fan – this stops after a couple of seconds, and whilst I never had it actually turn on whilst using the system, it does occur every start up for a few seconds.

So, first boot takes you into the Windows Vista setup screens where you enter your country, time and user information etc. All straight forward stuff, then it asked me if I wanted McAfee Internet Security. Happy to be offered the choice I said No – but it later turned out that it had installed it anyway :S

Then Windows went into a performance check, which took quite a while – the first warning sign of things to come. Then the system rebooted and despite detecting the HDTV as being 1920×1080 it set the desktop to 1024×768 – frustrating and odd, but no big thing to change later.

On getting to the desktop the system then did some additional installs of Acer applications, then does a clean up of the installation tools. All this takes about half an hour. Then the system reboots itself again.

So from out of the box to actually being able to use the PC is about an hour all told. Not exactly out of the box usable.

After all this I could finally change the screen resolution to the correct one and start to look at the system.

The 160GB hard drive is split into two 80GB partitions for reason, the first now has 36.3GB free after the OS and all the other applications, the second is completely blank.

A cold boot took 1 minute 40 seconds – twice as long as my old laptop running XP. Part of the reason for this boot time is the OS, but part of it is the hard drive as I would come to discover.

A quick look around the installed apps shows the same apps as I’ve seen previously on Acer machines including a backup tool that wants to take a DVD backup of your boot system – though I’m not sure exactly how you do that when the system has no optical drive.

Like so many PC’s these days, the Microsoft Office 60 Day Trial is installed – but because I’d not yet plugged the network cable in or setup the wireless network, I discovered something I’d not realised before. You actually need an internet connection to activate the demo. I’m not sure how many people don’t have internet connections these days, but it does seem odd that trial software would require it.

A quick run of the Windows Experience Index tool returned a score of 3.0, placing it right in the middle of the ratings system. Usually 4.0 is what is recommended for HD playback, but this is where graphics chipset in this little package comes into it’s own.

The NVidia 9400M is a very capable ‘mobile’ chipset – and it’s main selling point in the Revo it’s ability to push fullscreen 1080p video, and juding by on all the video I chucked at it that’s no overstatement. Fullscreen playback of full HD video ran without problem – definitely not something all these ‘low power consumption’ PC’s can claim.

What puzzles me with this push towards promoting the Revo as being 1080p capable is that no effort appears to have been made to make the sound output capabilities as tempting for videophiles. If you want to run HD video then surely you are going to be looking for 5.1 or optical output.

This leads me to suspect that the system is mainly aimed at people wanting to watch web video, not home theatre setups.

After having a wander around the system I decided to do the ‘right thing’ and get all the Windows Updates that the system required – getting the advised ones only this weighed in at 100MB, not huge if you have a decent internet connection so I started that running.

And here is where I found the thing that was going to turn me off this system.

Downloading the 100MB took less than 10 minutes – waiting for the system to install them took another hour. This lead me to look into what might be causing the slow performance and the obvious candidate was the hard drive (Hitachi HTS543216L9A).

A quick search on Google finds that the drive is a 5400rpm laptop drive with a quoted seek time of 12ms – though some test sites claim it’s more like 19ms.

Whichever the seek time number you choose from above, for a home PC I’m used to running with drive that are 7200rpm and around 8ms seek time, and the difference certainly explains the sluggishness that I mentioned above.

So whilst the GPU is very capable of throwing lots of video at the screen, the harddrive is less capable of moving data around.

The harddrive really is the achilles heel of the system as it stands – and running Vista is certainly not helping things either. It would certainly be interested in seeing if the system is any better running Windows 7.

Unfortunately I couldn’t test the keyboard and mouse that are in the final box product as they weren’t in our engineering sample.


  • 1080p video playback
  • small form factor
  • low power consumption


  • poor hard drive speed
  • design quirks could be very annoying in daily use


I have to say that when Matt asked me to review this I was intrigued to see what the ‘new’ wave of Intel processors combined with the new graphics chip would be capable of.

The graphics chip did indeed deliver on it’s promise of 1080p performance, but elsewhere things aren’t quite so impressive. Out of the box you are looking at 2 hours of setup time to get the system full installed and patched up with the latest Windows updates, and getting on for 2 minutes of boot time each time you start the PC up.

The Acer Aspire Revo is a curious thing then. It’s the lower power chipsets, drives etc designed originally for laptop usage repurposed into a small factor desktop PC – then to boost it’s video performance over the first wave of such PC’s it’s had the NVidia 9400M GPU inserted, but no efforts to improve the sound output to match this video performance.

Connector labels oriented for what seems like the least likely usage of the PC, a fussy power button (possibly because our test unit was an engineering sample, but still), the strange forward lean in vertical orientation.

So whilst its video performance is better than the previous generation of low power desktops, everything else feels the same, if not a slight step back in some regards.

As a general desktop PC for doing lots of regular work on then the Acer Aspire Revo is possibly the wrong choice – if you just want to mount it on the back of a spare monitor for browsing the web then it’s probably fine, though definitely not the cheapest way to do this.

Review by: Iain

Posted in: Reviews
By October 24, 2009 Read More →

Samsung Pixon12 unboxing video

We reviewed the original Samsung Pixon (M8800) back in December 2008. At the time the Pixon was one of a new breed of mobile phones to have decent built in cameras and was among the first to have an 8 megapixel shooter.


The Samsung Pixon12


The first Pixon was quite successful and did indeed have a really decent camera, hoping to build upon that success Samsung have released their newest camera phone, the Pixon12. Samsung say that the Pixon12 is the first camera phone in the world to have a 12 megapixel camera, better than many dedicated digital point and shoot cameras on the market today.

So the question for me is does such a combination work or does bolting a 12 megapixel digital camera on to a mobile phone end up compromising both? James will be reviewing the Samsung Pixon12 over the next week and will certainly be putting it through its paces as both a mobile phone and a camera. We’ll have some sample photos for you too!

Have a look at my unboxing video below for a quick tour of the handset and the user interface and then pop back later for the full review.


Samsung Pixon12 unboxing video


EDIT: The Samsung Pixon12 review is now live on site.


Samsung Pixon12 specification:

  • Display – AMOLED, 16M colours, 3.1"
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 (Quad-Band)
  • 3G: 900/2100 HSDPA (Dual-Band)
  • Connectivity – microUSB
  • TV Out
  • Bluetooth (2.1)
  • WiFi
  • MicroSD
  • Camera – 12 Megapixel resolution
  • Xenon Flash
  • 5 x Digital Zoom
  • Auto Focus
  • Brightness Adjust
  • Video- Hi-Resolution DVD Video Recording 30fps Video Recording (720 x 480)
  • Supported formats: MP4, 3GP, H.264, H.263, DivX & XviD
  • FM Stereo Radio (RDS)
  • Windows Media Player Sync
  • DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine)
  • Battery – Capacity: 1000 mAh
  • Dimensions – 107.9 x 53 x 13.8 mm
  • Weight – 119g with battery



Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
By October 23, 2009 Read More →

Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1) unboxing video

So the other day we spoke about the Acer F900 being comparable to the HTC Touch HD and now the Acer neoTouch S200 (aka Acer F1) has landed on my desk I’m wondering what to compare this to? I suppose you could think of it as being Acer’s answer to both the Touch HD or maybe even the Toshiba TG01, especially when you take the 1gHz CPU in to account and that the screen is just a few fractions of an inch smaller than its Toshiba counterpart.

The Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1)

The Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1)


The Acer neoTouch is another one of the devices launched recently to have Windows Mobile 6.5, there aren’t too many handsets available at the moment shipping with WM 6.5. Those of you familiar with the Acer F900 that we reviewed recently will see that the neoTouch bares more than a passing resemblance to the earlier handset. We’ll be putting the neoTouch to task over the next week or so and the review will be here for you shortly.

For now, have a look at the unboxing video below for a quick tour of the handset and the user interface.


Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1) unboxing video


Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1) specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Qualcomm 8250 1 GHz CPU
  • RAM – 256MB
  • ROM – 512MB
  • 3.8 inch WVGA 480×800 touchscreen display
  • Quad-band GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • HSPA 900, 1900, 2100 (download 7.2 Mbps / upload 5.76 Mbps)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 EDR
  • miniUSB
  • A-GPS
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • MicroSD card (support up to 32GB)
  • 5 megapixel Autofocus camera with LED Flash
  • Talk Time – 5 Hours (manufactures approximation)  
  • Standby Time – 400 Hours (manufactures approximation)  
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion 1350 mAh battery
  • Dimensions – 118.6 x 63 x 12mm 
  • Weight – 130 grams with battery
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Motion Accelerometer
  • Proximity Sensor

Designed for high quality media entertainment the Acer neoTouch S200 (Acer F1) benefits from a Qualcomm 8250 1GHz processor.  This extraordinarily fast processor is able to deal with the demands of the latest applications and media.  The 3.8” WVGA screen provides vibrant and bright photos, while enhancing any application, particularly video playback.

The Acer neoTouch benefits from the latest Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, which enhances interaction between user and device.  It provides widgets for customising the device specific to your requirements and includes the new version of Internet Explorer, which enables more tasks to be performed at one time.

EDIT: Our Acer neoTouch review is now online for your reading pleasure!



Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Videos/Unboxings
By October 23, 2009 Read More →

HTC HD2 Discount

Our friends at Devicewire have kindly just let us know off a promo offer they have on the HTC HD2 and also the car mount.




If you are planning to get the HTC HD2, for this weekend only, you can get an extra £5.00 off the phone and also the car mount just by using the following code when you order.

Promo code : HD2TAM

This device is going to be extremely popular so get your pre-orders in quick. You know you want to!

Buy HD2

Buy Car Mount


Posted by: James

Posted in: News
By October 23, 2009 Read More →

More HTC HD2 rumours

Ok, so many of you are emailing me with questions about the HTC HD2 and telling me what you’ve heard about its upcoming launch I thought I would condense the latest that we’ve heard in to one post.


Let’s start with what we are hearing from the retailers. Both Clove Technology and Devicewire advise us that they have been told that the HD2 will start shipping on the 11th November. This will probably mean that they will have stock either on the 10th or 11th November for shipping to customers on the 11th November. These devices will of course be the SIM-free unlocked versions of the HD2 and will cost in the region of £500 at launch. See Below.


On to the networks then. Several emails from T-Mobile customers say that they’ve been told by various account managers that the HTC HD2 is will be in stock from the 5th November and will commence shipping on that date. I suspect that stock will be limited initially.

There are also various rumours about the HD2 availability on O2. The O2 Forums are full of discussion about the imminent launch. We’ve been told that we could see the device start shipping as early as the end of October to the first few days of November.

Personally, reading between all of the rumours, I suspect that the SIM-free and the network locked versions will be launched on the same day and that HTC will control when they can officially go on sale and I think that will be the 2nd week in November.


Now if you are particularly impatient (like me!) or just want to make sure that you will receive your new HTC HD2 on the day it’s launched then you can pre-order it from one of the companies below.


Clove Technology – HTC HD2 handset only price £504.85 inc VAT + delivery.

Super E Trader – HTC HD2 handset only price £499.99 inc VAT + delivery or £529.99 for a bundle with Case, Screen Protectors and 8GB Memory card. – HTC HD2 handset only price £499.99 inc VAT and free delivery.

eXpansys – HTC HD2 handset only price £499.99 inc VAT + delivery with £30 of eXpansys discount vouchers.


I suspect that there will be limited numbers of the HTC HD2 available initially so if you really want it on launch day I strongly suggest that you pre-order!


EDIT: Our extensive HTC HD2 review is now live on site.


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Rumours
By October 23, 2009 Read More →

Carphone Warehouse in Nokia grey-market tangle


Carphone sold large volumes of Nokia 5530 into grey market after miscalculating sales on August exclusive. Significant numbers traded back into UK, disrupting official Nokia distribution channels

Carphone Warehouse is being investigated by Nokia UK for facilitating the export of large volumes of its Nokia 5530 Xpress Music handset, intended for Carphone’s UK retail channels, into overseas markets. The Nokia 5530 originally went on sale in Carphone in the UK on August 11 on a six-week exclusive, and Carphone’s onward trade of the device is likely to have breached the terms of its exclusivity deal with Nokia UK. Carphone is understood to have purchased around 130,000 units from Nokia UK as part of the original deal. More than half were offered to the UK trade at rock-bottom prices, explicitly for export outside of Europe, Mobile News understands.

Posted in: Phones
By October 22, 2009 Read More →

Reebook iSprint for iPhone released

New era comes: free games sponsored by big corporations as a way of marketing through apps! iSprint is a nice game for your fingers that is free thanks to Reebook – a company that makes sport shoes.

So, ready, steady:

Posted in: Phones
By October 22, 2009 Read More →

Carphone’s £9.50 promotion is ‘fastest selling prepay handset ever’


Forget the Pre and the iPhone, here is what everyone it buying!!

Carphone Warehouse’s Alcatel OT-203 was its fastest selling prepay handset ever, the retailer reported this week. The £9.50 Alcatel promotion, with £10 free credit, was sold in partnership with The Sun newspaper. It went on sale on 14 October and was available to customers who had collected four tokens from The Sun.
Carphone said it sold 14,000 handsets in the opening two hours of trading, with queues forming outside stores in Liverpool and Glasgow. In total, 47,000 phones were sold over the three day promotion, making the Alcatel OT-203 the fastest selling prepay handset in the company’s history. Carphone added that it expects the phone will be the top selling prepay device across the industry for the week.
Carphone CEO Andrew Harrison said: ‘The speed at which this handset flew out of our stores was simply staggering.
‘We saw an extra 100,000 customers over the three days the promotion ran, which just goes to prove that customers still love brilliant value handsets.
‘We shouldn’t forget that for every customer who wants an iPhone, there is another customer looking for the best value on the high street.’

[source Mobile Magazine]

Posted in: Phones
By October 22, 2009 Read More →

eXpansys THURSDAY deals 22nd October

This week the eXpansys deals are being offered on Thursday! You must use the links below in order to get the special pricing.


image Samsung i8000 Omnia II – Windows Phone 6.5

Normally £434.99 Now £399.99 Save £35




image Sony Ericsson Aino 8MP Camera

Normally £424.99 Now £374.99 Save £50




image HTC Tattoo with £20 eXpansys Vouchers

Normally £279.99 Now £269.99 Save £10




image Traxdata HDMI TV Media Player Includes FREE 2GB USB Flash Drive

Normally £49.99 Now £44.99 Save £5




image CGCL USB Digital Microscope MAN101

Normally £49.99 Now £39.99 Save £10




image Plantronics DSP-400 USB Headset – Stereo Sound

Normally £44.99 Now £29.99 Save £15




image MWg 700 Series Portable USB Keyboard

Normally £19.99 Now £9.99 Save £10




image Premier Systems Travel iPod Speakers 2-Pack

Normally £5.99 Now £2.99 Save £3




These deals are available on Thursday the 22nd October 2009 between 11am and 5pm by following the links above only. Normal pricing will apply outside of these hours*. *Voucher codes do not apply with these deals. Limited to 2 units per customer, available while stocks last.


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Deals & Offers
By October 21, 2009 Read More →

Blackberry Bold 9700 coming to Orange

RIM officially announced the Blackberry 9700 today and not long after Orange UK sent out a Tweet that it will soon be available. Cool!

BB 9700

Blackberry Bold 9700


The Blackberry Bold 9700 (also being called the Bold 2) will more than likely be one of the best selling devices in the world over the next twelve months. If you have not heard of it yet you will be impressed with its specs.

Although the 9700 is a Bold it is the size of the Curve 8900 which will please a lot of users. However unlike the Curve this hot new device will support 3G (about time too!)

Also new to the Bold 9700 will be the trackpad replacing the standard trackball. I used the trackpad on the recently released Curve 8520 and found it a real pleasure to use.

In addition to the 1GB of storage on board the Bold 9700 RIM have upped the ROM to 256 compared with 128 on the Bold 9000. Although a smaller device the 9700 retains the same screen resolution as the original Bold so screen quality will be as good.

Of course it comes with all the usual stuff such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, A-GPS and a 3.5mm headset jack so I think this new offering will be around for some time.

Its the new Daddy in the Blackberry camp!

EDIT: Check out the Blackberry 9700 unboxing video that we’ve just uploaded too.


Posted by: James

Posted in: News