Don’t miss this. Must read
As I noted earlier, my Vista Media Center experiences are not that good to write home about. But things are changing. I was finally able to narrow down the problems to the NVIDIA drivers used with my graphics card. The latest NVIDIA drivers for Vista have vastly improved the performance on my pretty low end graphics card. The stutters have almost vanished. The one place where video still stutters is when I expand my 4:3 SDTV feed to the panaromic 16:10 mode using the media center’s zoom functionality.
The audio driver for my motherboard is still in beta. Once a final version for those drivers are available, I think all the problems will vanish. I am saving some money for my Home Premium upgrade.
Now that Vista is officially available for atleast two weeks, as we expected, the net is now full of articles and advices on whether you should upgrade or wait for some more time. Most of the advice come from people who have never used Vista for more than a few hours. It is all based on their past observations, which need not be correct all the time.
Here is my take on upgrading to Vista, which is based on my experience of trying it out in trial mode on various PCs for the last 2 months. Now, it is largely dependent on what sort of hardware you have. If you are using a laptop, you may want to wait. I observed that the power management functionality, even though claimed to have been improved by Microsoft, is very poor. The laptops I tested always ran hot and the whirring of the fan could be heard 90% of the times. When the machine is idle and there are no applications open, the fan was inactive. The moment you launch an application, no matter how small it is, the fan just kicks in, even if you have set the power management to “Save Battery”. All in all, I was pretty scared to run the laptops for long hours as it may cause damage due to the raising temperatures.
If you have an NVIDIA graphics card on your PC or laptop, just do not upgrade now. NVIDIA drivers are still in their early stages with even the latest beta versions exhibiting several issues. I am not a great gamer, but the MCE performance with the default drivers shipped with Vista leave a lot to be desired. I finally traced the stutter issues that I faced on Vista MCE to the NVIDIA 6200 graphics card that I used in my media center desktop. Updating to the latest beta drivers improved the performance a little, but the stutter has not vanished completely.
On the other hand, if you have a hardware that is atleast one year old, the drivers shipped with Vista are pretty stable. Some of the older desktops (upgraded to 1 GB RAM) exhibited good stability and performed well. Almost all hardware was detected and proper drivers were available.
In short, you can take the Vista plunge if you have a older hardware upgraded with enough RAM (read: atleast 1 GB). Just make sure that you are not using NVIDIA graphics card for now. Laptop users can wait for a little longer time so that some fixes are available for the power management issues. You don’t want to burn your lap, right? If you assembled a PC with the latest hardware, you may want to play the waiting game till your manufacturer(s) provide you with polished drivers for all your hardware bits.
Also note that this article is purely based on the hardware point of view. Vista definitely has more features and applications than XP worthy enough for an upgrade – but just make sure your hardware is ready for enjoying all the new features of Vista.
Though the most number of new devices announced at the 3GSM were running Windows Mobile, the whole range of phones – right from the Toshiba’s G900 to HTC Vox are all looking dull, boring and very predictable. They differ just in screensize and the application processor they are running. Suddenly Windows Mobile devices started looking less appealing.
Not for long. Enter the old war horse, i-mate. The Dubai based company has become an OEM (in that they no longer procure their devices from ODMs like HTC or Techfaith) and started manufacturing devices to their own specifications and design. And the first range of mobile devices called ‘Ultimate’ look very appealing. These mobiles will be sporting the recently launched Windows Mobile 6 and comes in five different form factors.
I especially like the flip phone – the model which will be called the 8150. After carrying bulky Windows Mobile devices like the Krome Spy and O2 Mini S for long time, a flip form factor is a welcome change. While the above devices only exist on paper today, i-mate says that these will be launched in Q2 2007, which means they are only a couple of months away from seeing their light of the day. Welcome back i-mate to the Windows Mobile club. We almost wrote you off after you broke your ties with HTC!
More pictures at Engadget.
It is that time of the year again! With a flurry of new mobile device announcements expected to come in the next few days from 3GSM congress happening at Barcelona, Spain, all your taste sensors have to work over time! One another device, probably ‘the star of 3GSM 2007′ is the Nokia E90. A new arrival in the venerable communicator series of Nokia, the E90 is a world class business phone with an impressive array of features. This one can truly be called a Nokia Multimedia Computer!
Boy, did Nokia miss a thing? The final price may even be cheaper than an exorbitantly priced, often compared and 6-months-to-go cellular phone!
Hands on from Engadget here.
A very detailed review from My Symbian here.
Frankly speaking, I am not all that excited about iPhone. Lack of 3G and lack of an SDK for 3rd party developers really put me off. It will be a year before it reaches this country and by that time, there will be the likes of Nokia N95, Sony Ericsson W880i and a couple of Windows Mobile 6 based phones with 3G, GPS etc., waiting to greet the lesser capable iPhone. And mobile phones in India are not operator subsidized, which means the iPhone will be prized anywhere near a whopping $1000.
On my current drool list is the recently unofficially unveiled Samsung F700. HSDPA, a big screen anda 5 megapixel camera means we have a winner already. Things unknown are the OS it is running and the base chipset platform (CPU is undoubtedly Samsung’s). Hope it is not running an obscure Samsung OS.
From the looks of it, I get a feeling that the UI is based on Adobe Flash (Similar to the recently unveiled LG Prada). All other unknowns will get cleared when Sammy officially unveils this beauty at 3GSM 2007, starting Monday.
More pictures at Engadget.