Just because you don’t want to throw all your money at the latest so-called “top-of-the-line” gadgets doesn’t mean you have to go sifting through the bargain bin filled with last year’s leftovers. Here’s a look at some recently-released primo products that will also save you a few bucks.
DESKTOPS: THE MAGIC MONEY SAVER
The HP Pavilion 23 All-in-One starts at $650 and is available with your choice of the latest Intel or AMD processors. The 23-inch 1080p full HD display rests in an easel-like design that makes it easy to adjust for your use. HP exclusive features include Magic Canvas, which lets you shift side-to-side from your home screen (just like on your smartphone) to give you extra room for photos, videos, notes and other applications. Meanwhile, the HP LinkUp makes it easy to access your laptop’s content right on your desktop.
TABLETS: THE NEXT BEST THING
Google’s Nexus 7 ($199) is not the first budget tablet to hit the market (see the Kindle Fire or Galaxy Tab), but it may be the best. It runs on Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android, which includes improvements to multi- tasking with apps and smarter, expanded notifications that let you see more of an email as well as share images and email groups without having to open an app. It also features a more easily customizable home screen. The Nexus 7 was made with the revamped Google Play in mind— more movies, music, books and games all on a 7-inch, 1280-by- 800 high-resolution display.
MEDIA STREAMERS: GOOGLE LOVERS REJOICE
Sure the VIZIO Co-Star ($99) costs the same as other popular media streamers such as Ruku and Apple TV, but this is the only one that offers Google TV at half the price. Connect it to your HDTV and you can choose from live TV or streaming entertain- ment; perform searches that provide results from live TV, the web and apps; browse the Internet via Google Chrome; and access your favorite apps on a much bigger screen. The Co-Star also comes with a two-sided remote with a QWERTY keyboard.
ULTRABOOKS: THE ULTRA-AFFORDABLE OPTION
This new style of laptops is called “Ultrabooks” for a reason: They are ultraportable thanks to a sleek design, and ultrafast with instant boot-up speeds—perfect for the always-on-the-go businessperson. The Lenovo IdeaPad U310, however, boasts a feature that many other ultrabooks can’t—it’s ultra-affordable. While similarly styled laptops can cost over $1,000, the IdeaPad U310 starts at $799 with a 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3317U Processor and a 500GB hard drive. Not the top specs out there, but still a good deal.
SMARTPHONES: A SMALL PRICE FOR ACTION
Motorola christened its newly available smartphone features as SMARTACTIONS. It may not be the most clever name but they do help make the Atrix HD ($99 w/ 2-year contract with AT&T) smarter than, well, your average smartphone. The SMARTACTIONS app automatically detects your situation and offers up practical suggestions such as the Drive Smart rule (which enables hands free communications and sets the phone to auto-reply to text messages), the Meeting Rule (which silences the phone while still letting pre-designated VIP callers through), and the Battery Extender rule (which is fairly self-explanatory).