The 'Book Review

$249 MacBook Air Knockoff, ExpressCard SSD Boosts MacBook Pro, Enterprise SSD, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.01.29

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

News & Opinion

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

MacBook Air Knockoff with Apple Logo Sells for $249

MIC Gadget reports that the Chinese are proving once again how creative they can be in making knockoffs. There's a really cool-looking MacBook Air wannabe featuring a glowing Apple logo with different color Apples. "Apple fanboys might love this," suggests the author.

Editor's note: Speaking as a veteran fanboy, these rigs look mighty attractive aesthetically. Check out the pictures (many) in the article linked below.

Unfortunately, these are not Macs; they have generic PC netbook guts with 1.66 GHz Atom N280 processors, 1 GB of RAM, 160 GB hard drive, a 3-cell battery, 2 USB ports, HDMI out, ethernet, microphone and speaker jacks, 802.11n WiFi, a chiclet keyboard (just like real MacBooks, but you can choose a white or black keyboard), big touchpads, and a 13.3" (1280 x 800) LED backlit screen, run Windows XP or Linux, can be upgraded to 2 GB RAM, 320 GB hard drive, and a SD Card slot BTO, and sell for an easy-to-take equivalent of roughly $249. Your editor would buy one in a heartbeat.

The article says MacBook Air knockoffs are available for sale everywhere in Shenzhen. cm

Other editor's note: If anyone would like to donate one of these to Low End Mac.... ;-)

The MacBook Air 'Delay'

Cnet's Brooke Crothers observes that Apple rumors can be stubborn things. Repeated often enough, they become stubborn facts. Crothers notes that it's been more than a year since the last refresh of the MacBook Air.*

What's going on? The theory goes that the new MacBook Air, which has always used a special power-frugal version of a standard Intel processor, has been delayed due to an Intel chip shipment snafu.

It's an intriguing rumor, says Crothers, except that power-efficient versions of new Intel processors always ship later than standard models.

* Editor's note: According to my records, the MacBook Air was updated in June 2009, somewhat short of "more than a year" - dk

ExpressCard SSD Boosts MacBook Pro

LogicalVue's Paul Lefebvre says he's always looking for ways to get more speed out of his MacBook Pro. He recently installed a FileMate SolidGo 48 GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD from Tiger Direct ($140), although it appears that Tiger Direct is now out of stock.

Anyway, Lefebvre says he's very pleased with the SolidGo's performance, which he describes as "amazingly fast," with apps starting in just one bounce, the system booting incredibly fast, and everything just seeming "snappier" overall, although the case feels a lot hotter.

Lefebvre contends that SSDs are the future of storage, and if you have a MacBook Pro with an ExpressCard slot, getting an ExpressCard SSD is a low-cost way to get in on the fun - a lot easier than installing an expensive 2.5" SSD as a replacement for the internal hard drive.

Purchase Link: Amazon.com currently has the FileMate SolidGo 48 GB ExpressCard Ultra SSD in stock for $144.99 shipped - very competitive!

Fastest Text Input: Laptop, iPhone, Pen, Palm, or Newton?

Gizmodo's Dan Nosowitz reports:

"In this totally unscientific but reasonably fair test, one man writes a long paragraph on several different devices (including pen and paper) to test speed. The results may surprise and anger you."

Editor's note: No surprise - a real keyboard wins hands down. One discovery is that the positively ancient Newton MessagePad (Nosowitz doesn't say which model) is 25% faster than Palm's Graffiti. dk

Products & Services

Mercury Extreme Enterprise 2.5" SATA SSD

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) announced the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD as the fastest, most reliable, and longest endurance 2.5" SATA Solid State Drive (SSD) available on the market for Macs and PCs in single or multiple drive use including all RAID configurations. Designed and made in the US from imported parts, the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD is available for immediate ordering in capacities up to 200 GB priced starting at $229.99.

Immediately Available for Macs and PCs

Mercury Extreme Enterprise 2.5 inch SATA SSD BenchmarksThe new OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD is available immediately in three bare drive configurations that are compatible with Mac and PC computers that can utilize a 2.5" SATA 1.5/3.0 Gb/s drive:

  • 50 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD with Five Year Warranty $229.99
  • 100 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD with Five Year Warranty $399.99
  • 200 GB OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD with Five Year Warranty $779.99

With heavy ordering volume expected, OWC is planning same day shipping of Extreme SSD orders to begin on/around Friday, January 29th.

The Fastest, Most Reliable Long Term Performance Available

Ordinary SSDs offer fast read/write performance during first initial uses, but then experience significant write speed degradation over repeated usage. The OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD with its SandForce Processor is able to provide sustained and consistent read and write times over 260 MB/s with 0.1 ms latency and experience virtually no reduction in data transfer rate over the five year warranty life of the drive. This type of consistent, long term performance makes the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD able to withstand demanding, mission critical enterprise level deployment, but the drive is also priced affordably so consumers can add the pinnacle of internal drive performance to their Mac or PC for near instantaneous data access.

OWC_SSD_Benchmark_Proven_Performance.gif

Up to 100x Greater Data Protection

Utilizing SandForce DuraClass Technology, the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD is able to provide up to 100x higher data protection than provided by ordinary SSDs as well as leading enterprise class Hard Disk Drives. By combining the highest level of Error Correction Code (ECC) and SandForce RAISE™ (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology, the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD provides RAID like data protection and reliability without loss of transfer speed due to parity.

Up to 8.5x Longer Use Hours

With several DuraClass technologies working in tandem, the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD employs ultra-efficient block management, state-of-the-art wear leveling, and intelligent "recycling" for advanced free space management. These operational efficiencies enables the OWC Mercury Extreme Enterprise SSD to deliver best in class performance for 10 million operating hours . . . up to 8.5x longer use hours than ordinary SSDs.

First SSD Worthy of the OWC Name

For the past 12 months, OWC engineers were driven to create a SSD that would continue the tradition of unrivaled performance and reliability established by the Mercury Elite hard drive based storage line. Until the recent introduction of the SandForce Processor, none of the SSD products OWC considered for development could offer that same consistent performance track record synonymous with its Elite-AL line. To remain the choice of A/V, digital photography, music, and graphics professionals' data storage and backup, OWC knew it had to be patient and wait for just the right technology to enhance its highest quality components and manufacturing processes in order to deliver the best SSD on the market.

"With over 21 years of high performance memory and storage product development experience, we weren't going to bring a SSD to market until we had a solution that would be worthy of wearing the OWC name," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "Over one million customers around the world have come to expect the highest level of performance, quality, and reliability from us. And our customers expect those products to be real and shipping, not just preannounced, so they can immediately begin enjoying newfound performance," continued O'Connor. "From faster boot times, app loading, and overall system responsiveness, our new SSD drive will make any Mac or PC better than new."

The Fin for Polycarbonate Unibody MacBook

PR: Premier provider of high-quality stands for Apple's MacBook line of computers, Fins-Up, LLC, has announced the availability of the Fin for Apple's Polycarbonate Unibody MacBook. Designed and manufactured to exacting standards exclusively for Apple's MacBook line of laptop computers, the Fin is constructed from durable 100% aircraft-grade aluminum.

The FinThe Fin boasts a beautiful powder coated finish which perfectly matches the MacBook line. The Fin easily attaches to the MacBook and sports equally easy removal. When installed, the Fin tilts the MacBook to a perfect ergonomic angle for typing and screen viewing. The Fin also serves as a convenient handle that not only makes carrying the MacBook easier, but aides with the insertion and retrieval of the MacBook from computer bags. And when installed, the Fin provides beneficial heat dissipation for the MacBook, helping to increase product longevity in the process.

"We're very excited to bring the Fin for the MacBook 13" Polycarbonate unibody enclosure model to MacBook users around the world," said Tim Trombly, founder and CEO of Fins-Up, LLC. "The Fin is really three superior products in one: a stand, handle and cooling system that perfectly blends with the MacBook to add to its overall form and function. Moreover, the price point we've set means everyone can easily afford a Fin of their own."

Priced at $39.95, the Fin is available for all of the MacBook/MacBook Pro unibody enclosure models, MacBook Pro 15", MacBook Pro 17" non-unibody enclosure models, and MacBook 13" (black and white) models. Visit Fins-Up online for complete details as well as to purchase directly.

V7 Laptop Security Locks

PR: V7, the exclusive house brand for Ingram Micro Inc. and provider of premier computer accessories worldwide, today introduced its new line of laptop security locks to the US market starting at $24.99.

"The V7 Laptop Security Locks are the ideal choice for both commercial and consumer applications to help ensure the security of valuable hardware and data"

With an estimated 1,000 laptops stolen each day, and the value of lost data per device estimated to be anywhere between $50,000 and $1 million,1 laptop security is a leading concern for consumers and business people at home, in the office or on the road.

The V7 Laptop Security Locks offer a simple and cost-effective way to secure a laptop or desktop PC, monitor or projector with a built-in lock slot. Offered in a combination or keyed option, the security locks feature 5 feet (1.5 meters) of cable made of galvanized steel wire core with a plastic scratch-resistant jacket for enhanced durability and protection.

"The V7 Laptop Security Locks are the ideal choice for both commercial and consumer applications to help ensure the security of valuable hardware and data," said Robert Forster, director of product marketing for Ingram Micro's Private Label division. "End-users and customers of value-added resellers alike will find peace of mind in the security, quality and cost savings of these products, fully backed by Ingram Micro's powerful distribution network and reputation for service."

With a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $24.99, the V7 Combination Laptop Security Lock (model # SLC500-8N) features 10,000 personalized combination codes that users can change at any time. Available at $34.99 MSRP, the V7 Keyed Laptop Security Lock (model # SLK500-8N) includes two identical keys for convenience. Each lock features a sleek, silver design with black security cable appropriate for workplace or home.

Manufactured by Kensington and featuring its patented computer security lock technology, the V7 locks are compatible with all Kensington Security Slots and fit virtually all notebook computers manufactured today.

All V7 Laptop Security Locks come with a lifetime warranty and are offered exclusively through Ingram Micro's global distribution network.

For more information on these and other V7 products, visit V7-world.com or call (800) 456-8000 to speak to an Ingram Micro sales representative.

BookBook Hardback Leather Case for MacBook and MacBook Pro

BookBook Hardback Leather CasePR: BookBook is a one-of-a-kind, hardback leather case designed exclusively for MacBook and MacBook Pro. Available in Classic Black or Vibrant Red, BookBook brings three levels of security to your prized Mac. First, the hardback cover and spine provide solid protection from the rigors of the road. Second, the vintage book design disguises MacBook for superior security. And third, the stylish case protects you from being like everyone else because BookBook is totally original, just like you.

Hardback cover softens the blows.

BookBook Hardback Leather CaseProtecting your MacBook is a top priority and it's job one for BookBook. Slip your Mac inside the velvety soft, padded interior. Zip it closed and your baby is nestled between two tough, rigid leather hardback covers for a solid level of impact absorbing protection. The rigid spine serves as crush protection for an additional line of defense. BookBook creates a hardback book structure that safeguards your MacBook like few other cases can. Far better than any floppy neoprene bag ever will.

The real story. No two are alike.

Each BookBook is brought to life with hand craftsmanship and distressing, ensuring no two are exactly alike. From dual zippers with leather pulls, that at first glance look like bookmarks, to the sturdy reinforced hardback covers, BookBook is a vintage work of art built to protect modern day Macs. Along with classic looks, BookBook was designed to use as a traditional sleeve or to work while connected via elastic corner clips. Those dual zippers give you the option to charge your MacBook while it safely stays inside BookBook. This case is designed with good looks and smart functionality, cover to cover.

BookBook is the perfect disguise.

BookBook Hardback Leather CaseOne of the neatest features of BookBook is the stealthy security it delivers. Tucked inside BookBook, no one will ever see your MacBook, even when it's right under their nose. Sitting on a coffee table, dorm room or desk, BookBook looks like a vintage piece of literature, not an expensive laptop. It's a great disguise and a simple way to reduce the risk of your MacBook getting stolen.

What is the benefit to keeping your MacBook in BookBook?

Chances are, a big part of your life - photos, music, work, school work and other important documents - is stored on your MacBook. It's critical to protect it as best you can. BookBook is a hardback case with a leather spine that offers superior protection as you shuttle your 13" MacBook/MacBook Pro or 15" MacBook Pro from place to place.

How is BookBook different from other cases?

BookBook Hardback Leather CaseAlong with a totally unique look, BookBook protects your MacBook in three ways. First, its hardback sides with reinforced corners protect from impacts encountered on your daily commute. Second, the vintage designed spine provide crush protection. Third, BookBook disguises your MacBook from being seen. Safely stowed inside, your MacBook looks like a vintage book left on a desk or table, reducing the odds of someone stealing it.

Compatibility

  • 13" MacBook
  • 13" MacBook Pro
  • 15" MacBook Pro

Can you use BookBook with MacBook Air?

Dimensionally MacBook Air will fit inside BookBook with some wiggle room. You can use this extra space for documents, folders, and other paperwork that travels with your MacBook Air.

Key Features:

  • A totally unique, handmade case designed for MacBook and MacBook Pro
  • Hardback cover and spine offers the superior protection of an actual hardback book
  • Vintage design offers stealthy security

$79.99

BambooBook Case for 13" MacBook Pro

BambooBook Case for 13 inch MacBook ProPR: High-tech electronics and quality hardwoods have been combined in luxury automobiles for years. Skydda Design thought Apple Computers sleek new MacBook Pro deserved the same treatment. The BambooBook is manufactured of exotic bamboo and lined with plush, padded suede fabric. Its brushed metal hardware and contoured shape perfectly compliment the fine aesthetics of the MacBook Pro - a case to transport and protect your MacBook Pro that is its equal in elegance and design.

Work Inside Your Case

Thanks to the BambooBook s innovative design, you'll retain full operation of your MacBook Pro without having to remove it from the case. Just set it down on your desk, open the lid and you re ready to go.

If you're one of those folks who take the word "laptop" literally, you'll love how cool and comfortably the BambooBook sits on your lap. You can even plug in your computer's AC adaptor and access your USB port while working within the case. The BambooBook incorporates a unique combination of beauty and function.

Whether you re waiting to board a flight or sipping a cup of coffee at your local Starbucks, just open the BambooBook, lift the lid of your MacBook Pro, and voilà!, your computer is ready to use This unique feature sets the BambooBook apart from most other computer cases on the market.

BambooBook Case for 13 inch MacBook ProSkydda says extensive testing has revealed that the MacBook Pro does not run hot even after continuous use in the BambooBook, so you don t have to worry about your computer overheating. And, no more sweaty thighs; the BambooBook feels cool, comfortable and secure on your lap.

To protect the BambooBook s polished hardwood finish while traveling, Skydda have designed a stylish, formfitting vinyl cover that is included with your case purchase. The cover zips around each side of the case up to the handle for easy access to your BambooBook, and it even has a pocket to conveniently store your AC adaptor, iPhone and other accessories.

BambooBook Case for 13 inch MacBook ProOur planet's ecosystem is of great concern to us all. Apple has worked hard to protect the environment by eliminating many of the toxins that are commonly used in computer manufacturing. The MacBook Pro's recyclable, arsenic-free glass and mercury-free LED helped it to earn the highest rating of EPEAT Gold, making it the greenest computer on the market.

Green Bamboo

Unlike other hardwoods that take several decades to reach maturity, bamboo matures in three years, regenerates without need for replanting and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides. Furthermore, bamboo has a warm, attractive grain that is harder than maple yet 30% lighter. Protect the environment and do it in style. Go green with a BambooBook from Skydda Design.

The BambooBook's hardwood exterior and padded interior provide maximum protection for your computer. Drop tests from a height of five feet onto a stone floor resulted in minor bruises to the BambooBook, whereas the MacBook Pro was free from any damage. Skydda Design s BambooBook is excellent insurance for the protection of your MacBook Pro.

BambooBook Case for 13 inch MacBook ProThe BambooBook, like the MacBook Pro, is a marvel of fine craftsmanship and innovative engineering. Measuring just 1-5/8" X 14-3/8" X 11", the streamlined BambooBook is not much larger than most of today's laptops. As Apple sets itself apart as the most progressive manufacturer of computers in the world, the MacBook Pro has become the laptop of choice for discerning computer users. The BambooBook by Skydda Design is intended to be its perfect match.

BambooBook Features

  • Custom made for the MacBook Pro 13"
  • Hardwood case provides maximum protection for your computer
  • Option to use your computer without having to remove it from the case
  • Premium bamboo exterior and plush, suede fabric interior
  • Comfortable rubber handle with steel expansion inserts
  • Contoured shape and brushed metal hardware match the MacBook Pro
  • Formfitting cover to protect your case and carry accessories
  • Environmentally friendly product

Compatibility: The BambooBook is designed for the 13" MacBook Pro it will also fit the MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)

Introductory Price: $119

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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