It's spring and the gadgets are coming. HP has finally released the HD-screen version of the 2140, and I want it. I've got a 2133 right now, as long-time readers might remember; it's by far the best notebook on the market in terms of build quality, and has an excellent keyboard that I have typed very long texts on. The trouble with the 2133 is its dog-slow CPU. The 2140 has an Atom CPU, which means it's faster and lasts longer on the same battery. It also has a larger screen, in the same outer casing. Up until now the screen they offered was a meager 1024x576, but the new one is 1366x768 (same pixel count as the 2133, but 10.1" instead of 8.9").
I just tried the configurator on HP's website and a 2140 with the HD screen, six-cell battery, 2gb RAM and a 7200rpm hard drive came out to $684 (sans Windows). That's less than I paid for my 2133 a year ago, and it's the top hardware they have. The 2140 is even available in Estonia; let's hope they get the HD model in stock soon.
Meanwhile, I keep drooling over cameras. The Sigma SP2 is what compact cameras should have become ages ago: a really good sensor in a small body. It has no optical zoom, but it shoots in RAW mode, so at 14mp you can just crop to taste. Still, it costs $649, and ultimately I don't need all those megapixels; what compact cameras really need is a very, very good 2mp sensor. (How many photos have you printed in poster-size, in your life?)
This should appear in Europe soonish as the Canon 500D. It's the 50D's sensor in a 450D body. Desirable for a second, but ultimately I will probably have to wait for Micro Four Thirds cameras to drop in price. I need a tilt-screen, and the entire SLR concept is useless for digital cameras; its point was to show the same image in the viewfinder that would be captured on film, but now you can just export the signal from the sensor to the LCD, before it gets captured in full detail. Micro Four Thirds keeps the high-quality sensor and swapping optics of DSLRs, without the extraneous bullshit, and in a smaller package. Since there are companies making adapters that let you fit standard Nikon/Canon lenses to MFC bodies, that's definitely the way to go. Until then, there are things my Canon SX10 can do that I still haven't learned to use properly.
By the way: the keyboard on my N85 broke and became unglued. Apparently it's a common problem, a design flaw. I like the hardware on the N85, but the build quality is atrocious compared to the 6500C I had before, and the phone itself is a lot more expensive. So while I'm waiting for Tele2 and Nokia's warranty to get back to me, I've ordered an Ericsson T39 off eBay. 344 EEK including shipping, and two batteries. It's old, and it's eminently cool.
A tale of two countries
5 weeks ago