Gadget and app reviews from AccountingWEB gadget devotees including executive peripherals editor Nigel Harris and community correspondent Rachael Power.
Laptops to die for
Laptops may be seen as a dull slab of plastic and circuitry thanks to years of executive or business class designs; you know the sort of thing I mean (you may even be reading this on such a boring looking device right now). Believe it or not, there are more desirable looking machines out there, if you’re willing to part with some extra cash. Such laptops are offer high-end performance and outlandish design details, and are truly some of the most unique looking bits of technology on the market.
And here are some of the ones that have caught my eye.
Top of the tree has to be the Alienware M17x. Alienware has always been known for its high-end performance and unique designs, and the M17x is no different. The brand was purchased by Dell back in 2006, but that hasn’t stopped the subsidiary from continuing its heritage. The base price for this extraterrestrial machine is a shade under £1,700 – but by the time you max out the customisable parts under the casing, it ramps up to an eye-watering £4,500+. Put simply, the M17x could probably eradicate humanity if it ever became sentient, whilst its red LED lit keyboard harks back to the 1982 flick, Tron.
Apple Macbook Pro
Let’s not forget that Apple does more than just iPods and iPhones. Having a received an update earlier in the year, the Macbook Pro once again offers the very best from the House of Jobs. Design and high-level form factors have dominated Apple’s approach to computing for years – certainly since the company’s resurgence in 1997 – and the Macbook Pro is no different. There’s an argument the natural habitat for Macbook owners is a Starbucks (as they type away on a debut novel), but that’s not fair...I’m pretty sure they’re found in equal measure at Costa too!
Sony Vaio AW series
Perhaps the closest series of Windows PCs to Apple’s output (as far as the premium price is concerned), the AW series of Vaio notebooks from Sony is a behemoth. The notebook has a gigantic 18” screen, comes with Blu-ray, and Dolby sound – it’s practically a walking cinema, which makes it a little impractical for users on the move. Thankfully this is a dream list and not a selection of the most portable PCs on the market. Anyway, back to the Vaio. Perhaps the closest looking model to the standard executive laptop, the AW nevertheless has enough detailing to lift it out of the glum boxes normally found on trains during the commute.
Ok, so it may not have the Apple chic (and associated smugness) and Asus may be better known for its range of netbooks, but the Taiwanese company’s UX50 laptop is quite possibly one of the slickest we’ve seen for quite some time. Glossy and shiny to the point it may actually slip out of your hands, the UX50 follows a form factor that will appeal to many. Ambient lighting for comfortable typing, a spaced out keyboard similar to Apple and Sony Vaio, and a case that would give most size zero models a run for their money, means the laptop packs a lot of style into its feature set.
Toshiba Qosimo X300-14U
No doubt a close college buddy of Alienware’s M17x, the Qosimo X300-14U from Toshiba is another high-end laptop that could rival Skynet. Its red case (with flaming detail), smooth lines, and rude-boy Harman Kardon speakers would make the cover of ‘Max Power: Laptops’ magazine regularly - and that’s before you take a look what’s hiding under the chassis. Like its Dell counterpart, the Qosimo isn’t cheap (£2,700), but it’s geared up to be a heavyweight rig and PC gaming machine (and we’re talking more Crysis than Solitaire).
Despite the fact that some of the notebooks in our list require a mortgage (we’re looking at you, M17x and Qosimo), sometimes that little extra investment makes all the difference. Plus, any accountant carrying one of the five models would help tear down the stereotypical perceptions of the sector!