The 'Book Review

42 Reasons a Netbooks Is Better than an iPad, Hard Drive Upgrade Value, Faster Netbooks, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.02.05

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Does Upgrading Your Notebook Hard Drive Make Sense?

Tom's Hardware's Patrick Schmid and Achim Roos say:

"We recently looked at the impact of a hard drive upgrade on a desktop PC to find out whether or not it's worth replacing a three-year-old disk with a brand new one. Our scenario involved the now-common choice of upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7, and starting over with new storage at the same time. We found small benefits on the power consumption side and more noticeable increases on the performance side."

42 Reasons Netbooks Are Better Than the iPad

PC Mag's Cisco Cheng has compiled a list of 42 reasons why he thinks netbooks give the iPad a run for its money. I don't agree with him on all points, but he makes some good ones, such as the fact that while the base iPad's $500 price-of-entry still being more expensive than the $200 to $400 netbooks typically cost.

Cheng has actually constructed a compelling argument as to why the iPad isn't going to displace the notebook - netbook, conventional PC laptop, or Apple's own MacBooks - anytime soon

10 Things Netbooks Do Better Than an iPad

Cnet's Scott Stein says that netbooks are no iPads, but indeed they're often more, observing that while the iPad wins out on some functions, such as video playback quality, there are still a great many things that a small laptop can do that an iPad simply can't, such as multitasking, video chat with webcams (the iPad has none), running Flash, running a full-fledged operating system that can be used for programming or modification, uploading photos from a camera without mucking about with a USB adapter dongle (most netbooks have 2 or even 3 USB ports), store more than 64 GB of data (with even the most basic netbooks these days shipping with 160 GB hard drives), playing Facebook and other browser games (no Flash, again), swapping batteries (of course you can't do that on the latest Apple laptops either), optical drives either built in or peripherally connectable via USB, real keyboards (iPad's optional keyboard dock can't be used for lap typing), and hardware upgradability - especially for RAM and data drive capacity.

Why Apple's iPad Cannot Compete with Netbooks

Seeking Alpha's Bruce Everiss says that while Steve Jobs pours ridicule on netbooks, saying: "They're slow, they have low quality displays . . . They're not better at laptops than anything, they're just cheaper", he has news for Apple. Even after the iPad launch, he thinks his Acer Aspire One netbook is a better ownership proposition, which is not what he was expecting.

Everiss criticizes Apple's marketing strategy of planned obsolescence, reminiscent of Detroit carmakers in the 1950s and 1960s with product lines updated regularly with features held back to make the next model more appealing, inducing many customers upgrade every year.

In the case of the iPad, Everiss cites the lack of an OLED display, with Apple using instead an IPS (In Plane Switching) LCD, which provides a wide viewing angle and good colours but switches very slowly, producing motion blur, which is not good for games, and using a lot more electricity, resulting in shortened battery life.

There's no camera, no significant horsepower advantage over Intel's Atom netbook processor, no removable battery, no multitasking, no Flash, no Skype, no USB or FireWire ports (his Aspire has three USB ports), storage capacity limited to a maximum 64 GB flash drive while netbooks come with bigger hard drives and memory expansion, no (portable) mechanical keyboard, and no open platform operating system.

Tech Trends

Netbooks to See Speed Boost Later This Year

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Expect to see Atom-based netbooks speed up a little in the latter half of the year when Intel releases upgraded Atom CPUs able to talk to faster memory than the current lot can manage.

"Today's top-of-the-line netbook Atom, the 1.66 GHz N450, connects to DDR 2 RAM through its built-in memory controller. Later this year, Intel will release the N455, which will hook up to DDR 3 memory.

"DDR 2 runs at up to 800 MHz. DDR 3 can clock at more than double that frequency."

Products & Services

nCard: Highest Wireless Speeds Possible with Older MacBooks and Mac minis

PR: QuickerTek announces the new nCard for first, second, and third generation MacBook, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini computers (this upgrade excludes the unibody's and the Mac mini-middle 2009 models). This new nCard installs into the internal AirPort card slot. The installation itself is no more complex than upgrading the memory. This new, more powerful version of our nCard is priced the same at $89.95 for the MacBook and MacBook Pro, and $179.95 do it yourself Mac mini kit.

Imagine using your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or Mac mini with any wireless network. The wireless benefits of higher transmit power and higher receiver sensitivity means greater networking performance. You gain complete compatibility with all 802.11a/b/g/n networks which include all Apple AirPort Base Stations, D link, Linksys, Belkin, and virtually all other wireless network hardware.

Installing the QuickerTek nCardThe new nCard from QuickerTek maximizes your wireless experience, where ever you find yourself. You always have the highest wireless speed without any extra work - up to 300 megabits per second when using 802.11a - 5.8 GHz.


  • MacBook - all 2006-2009 models (no unibody)
  • MacBook Pro - all 2006-2008 models (no unibody)
  • Mac mini - all 2006-early 2009 (nothing after mid 2009)

Like most QuickerTek products, the nCard is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. This card can be purchased from QuickerTek's web store or from a reseller.

New djay Keyboard Covers Transform MacBooks into Fully Interactive DJ Controllers

PR: algoriddim , a leader in next-generation music software for the Mac, and KB Covers, announced the release of the djay Keyboard Cover, which converts any US MacBook, MacBook Air, or unibody MacBook Pro into fun, fully interactive DJ controllers. Already known to professionals and novices alike for its exciting visual interface, simple controls and seamless integration with any iTunes library, djay's many features are now even easier to learn through the keyboard cover's straightforward display of program shortcuts and commands.

djay Keyboard CoverDeveloped in conjunction with KB Covers, a leading provider of the finest quality keyboard covers for Apple/Mac desktop and laptop computers, the djay Keyboard Cover enables users to spend less time learning controls and more time having fun mixing their own music. Each button is clearly coded with symbols and colors to help identify key functions and distinguish between djay's extensive shortcuts for both the left and right turntables.

"The djay Keyboard Cover gives users the power to play and mix songs faster than they've ever experienced, plus it protects the keyboard from any accidental spill," said Greg Sad, marketing director of KB Covers. "Our mission is to create truly interactive reference tools for the latest and greatest Mac applications, and when we heard about the capabilities of djay, we knew we could provide DJs everywhere with a must-have accessory."

Consisting of soft, ultra-thin silicone, the djay Keyboard Cover has a smooth texture that won't slip off the keyboard and is nonrestrictive to regular typing. It also helps to safeguard the MacBook from dirt, spills, wear and tear, allowing the user to protect their equipment while they mix music in their home, at a party or in a nightclub.

"We're very excited to be continually expanding djay's lineup of accessories," said Karim Morsy, CEO of algoriddim. "djay already provides the user with a truly fun and addictive musical experience, but for the many fans who want a more tactile mixing experience, or wish to learn djay's controls faster, we teamed with KB Covers to create the djay Keyboard Cover. It is now easier than ever to master the program's commands and reach a new level of interactivity with your own music, and we can't wait to hear what users think."

For more information about djay, the djay Keyboard Cover or other available accessories, please visit The djay Keyboard Cover is available for purchase online at the KB Covers store and in select music/audio resellers for $29.95, and beginning today through December 31, 2010, any online customer can enter the code "DJAY10" at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

Bargain 'Books

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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