This week's gadget is a magnetic convertible laptop called the Acer Aspire Switch 10. It's a clever notebook and tablet combined in one flexible device. It's powered by an Intel Atom “Bay Trail-T” quad-core processor. The Switch ships with Windows 8.1 and will be available toward the end of May or early June for a MSRP of $379.00. Visit Acer's website for details.
This week's gadget is the Galaxy Gear Fit, a new fitness band that you can wear and get fitness information based on your heart rate, pedometer steps, and more. It has a curved Super AMOLED screen that's bright enough to read outdoors, and you can pair it with your Samsung Galaxy phone via Bluetooth. It'll even tell you when you get an email or text message. It'll tell you someone is calling when you're paired to the phone.
Sam built a "replicator" tower for making copies of DVDs and CDs. He's having trouble with it not starting up, so he replaced the motherboard controller, the power supply, and all the outlets. Leo says it could be that the drive cables may be flipped. The chatroom says that the case could have a faulty power switch.
This week's gadgets come from Satechi and include the Smart Monitor Stand F1 with four USB 2.0 Ports and Headphone/Microphone Ports in the front, making it easy to plug in when you need to, rather than reach behind your computer. It's aluminum alloy legs can support devices up to 22 lbs according to Satechi. Also included in the box are 2 audio cables - 1 for microphone, 1 for headphones, and a USB cable, provided to connect your computer to the F1 Stand. It costs $39.99.
Jeff is having trouble with his Dell XPS laptop because he can only get an hour and a half of battery life. Leo says that the XPS is considered a "desktop replacement," and an hour and a half really isn't that unusual. It's likely that if he looks for the "fudge words" in the ad, he'll see that his mileage may vary. That's why Leo advises never to buy a new piece of hardware without reading legitimate reviews. An ad is always going to stetch the details.
JR's mom wants a laptop to write her memoirs, but she's not very computer savvy. Leo says that at 76, a laptop may be more problematic because of the small screen. A large desktop screen could be more beneficial. She also wants to dictate, but Leo says that Voice dictation is only about 90% accurate and that means she'll still have to go through and fix it all. Leo says that recording it and then having it transcribed is a better option, especially for someone who has trouble typing. She also wants a printer.
Maria wants to get a Mac because of its security benefits, but she needs to use Microsoft Office. Leo says that Mac supports Office, and although it's more expensive, a quality PC will cost about the same anyway. Another idea is the Google Chromebook, with costs ranging from about $200 to $500. She can then use Google Docs which is just as good as Microsoft Office and she wouldn't have to buy it. A great choice, but it's a very simple computer.
JR has been a Linux guy for about 20 years exclusively. He's building a new computer with a fixed budget. Leo recommends going to PC Perspective's website and on the menu bar they have the HWLeaderboard. The Hardware Leaderboard lays out price ranges for building your own PC and what components you should get.
If he sticks with Linux, the issue will be drivers. The good news is that Steam is using Linux for their Steam Machines and as such, Linux support is growing.
The Giz Wiz is back and this week he brings along the PowerPot, a camping stove pot that you boil water in and will charge your smart phone at the same time! It contains a lightweight thermoelectric generator that converts heat into DC electrical power. The company says their 5 volt PowerPot will charge cell phones, GPS units, iPods, and lithium ion batteries, or will run speakers, lights, fans, and other low-power USB appliances. It comes with 3 feet of heat resistant cable. $149.00