We review the Asus S6 notebook this month, which is covered in a fine skin of textured leather, reminiscent of a pair of boots, or a pet iguana. Would you buy such a laptop? In the Lab, we discovered that it’s a relatively powerful ultraportable. Can it make the grade as a business workhorse? See our full review in the magazine.
In this month’s issue, our Intelligent Home feature is a glimpse into the future of home automation and its exciting possibilities.
You'll be delighted to see that we're now running a brand-new DVD disc, containing some of the latest Microsoft beta versions of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Defender, a new anti-spyware tool from the software heavyweight. We've also got a giant 1.4GB demo of the new game Dark Messiah of Might & Magic, and the disc is loaded with all the programs from our Free Software feature, covering the very finest in applications available for absolutely nothing.
Of course, in PC Authority we always deliver a flood of top quality labs reviews and group tests. We’ve reviewed five hot new notebooks, from Asus, BenQ, HP and Apple Computer. We’ve also reviewed a selection of Core 2 PCs, which are stupendously fast and amazing good value. We also have exclusive coverage of Sony’s first digital SLR camera, which is quite impressive for their first foray into this field.
If you have any comments or requests for your magazine, PC Authority, go ahead and drop us an email. We're always listening.
What's on the DVD?
You'll be delighted to see that we're now running a brand-new DVD disc, containing some of the latest Microsoft beta versions of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Defender, a new anti-spyware tool from the software heavyweight. We've also got a giant 1.4GB demo of the new game "Dark Messiah of Might & Magic", and the disc is loaded with all the programs from our Free Software feature, covering the very finest in applications available for absolutely nothing. Microsoft Betas:
---------------------------Windows Defender Beta 2
Spyware protection direct from the makers of Windows -- Windows Defender is a free anti-spyware tool from Microsoft. Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it's detected, and a new streamlined interface that minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive.Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3
Tabbed browsing has arrived! Evaluate Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 and explore the improvements made to the user interface, security, and the development platform. Windows Explorer 7 Beta 3 provides a more personalized, productive and safer browsing experience for users and a richer, more compatible platform for developers and IT administrators.Full Version Software:
----------------------------------Paragon Partition Manager 2005
Create, resize, merge and move partitions with this industrial-strength disk utility. Partitioning your hard drive is an invaluable way to optimise the use of disk space, improve performance, or create a dual-boot PC so you can install another operating system. Just don’t use Windows own partition tools to do the job, as they're destructive, wiping the data from whatever drive you’re working on. You're much better off using a safe alternative like Paragon Partition Manager 2005.
Save 20% off your next Paragon product!
Partition Manager 2005 is only one of many drive-related Paragon products. The range also includes Drive Backup, a powerful disk imaging and cloning tool, that also supports differential backups to improve performance. CD-ROM Emulator can create virtual CD and DVD drives, then mount them with disk images so you don't have to keep swapping (and perhaps damaging) the real disks. And Disk Wiper securely erases files so they can't be undeleted later. Prices start around $32 and there's a 20% discount available if you order within 7 days of registering Partition Manager 2005. See your registration email for the promotional code.Games:
---------------------------Dark Messiah of Might and Magic single player demo
This game pits the forces of good and evil against each other in a vivid world bristling with swords & sorcery. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic is a first-person shooter game set in the popular Might & Magic universe, which has spawned many turn-based strategy role-playing games. For the first time, this world is brought to life in an action-oriented game where all action occurs in realtime and one second can cause you to be sandwiched between a fireball and a dragon. This is the single-player demo, allowing you to sample the story-based adventure and play through some of the experience of the full game. As a massive 1.5 gigabyte file, we've saved you the considerable inconvenience of downloading this giant demo.Darkstar One demo
Darkstar One is a game that is primarily story-based and therefore pre-defined; however, it also offers a fantastic amount of freedom of choice for the players. The story-based missions gradually lead the player deeper into the galaxy to new races, new technologies and ever stronger opponents. More and more solar systems will become available and may be visited. The artifacts of an ancient race, which are hidden in these solar systems, are essential to upgrade the player ship - the Darkstar One itself.MP3 Samples:
-------------------------Album by Goyte -- Like Drawing Blood
This Australian musician has created a popular album almost entirely on computer. Quickly rising to national radio exposure and an iTunes listing before his 25th birthday, Melbourne artist Gotye has a charming mix of pop and electronic styles. Sample hi entire album on the disc and see the 'regulars' section of the DVD interface for an interview about his compositions on computer.Linux:
-------------------------Ubuntu 6.06 "Dapper Drake" Live CD image
Ubuntu is a free, open source operating system that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should "Just Work", TM) and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Gnome release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD. Ubuntu is easy to use. Create a CD image with Deep Burner (a program for Windows, also featured on this disc) and burn it yourself using a CD Burner drive. Editorial:
Colour Laser Printers Feature: additional graphs
Real World Benchmarks explained
Tutorial: Burning a CD from an ISO fileFreeware:
AbiWord (word processor)
Ad-Aware SE Personal (anti-spyware)
Ambient Design ArtRage (graphics)
Apache HTTP Server (web server)
Audacity (audio editing)
AVG Free Edition (anti-virus)
DeepBurner (disc creator)
FoxEditor (HTML editor)
LP Recorder 6 (audio recording)
Mozilla Firefox (web browser)
Mozilla Thunderbird (email client)
OpenOffice (office productivity)
PDFCreator (document output)
SpamBayes (spam filter)
The GIMP (graphics editor)
Zone Labs ZoneAlarm (firewall)Windows:
Ad-aware SE Personal 1.06
Adobe Reader 7.0.8
AVG Anti-Virus 7.1.405 Free Edition
EditPad Pro 6.0.3
Google Desktop Search 4
NOD32 AntiVirus System 2.5 9 (Win9x)
NOD 32 Antivirus System 2.5 (WinXP)
Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4
True Launch Bar 4.0
WinRAR 3.60 beta 8
Crazy Browser 3.0 Beta 2
MSN Messenger 7.0 (Win98/ME)
MSN Messenger 8.0
Portable Firefox 220.127.116.11
Remote Administrator 2.2
ServerQuery 1.94.02 Beta
Trillian Basic 3.1Patches/Updates:
Ad-aware reference file
ATI Catalyst 6.2 driver suite (98/ME)
ATI Catalyst 6.7 Control Center Package (XP)
AVG Free Edition Updates
Norton AntiVirus definitions update
NVIDIA Forceware drivers 81.98 (Win 95/98/ME)
NVIDIA Forceware drivers 91.31 (Win2000/XP)
Spybot Search & Destroy Update
VIA HyperionPro drivers 5.09A
A laptop of luxury, but practicality suffers and you pay a hefty premium.
It’s expensive, but Baddog’s Lanbox comes with personality and outstanding support.
Good features, good quality and good value - it’s also the fastest ultraportable we’ve seen.
Bring PC-based intelligence and automation to your home with this complete guide. It's cheap and easy to now have the 'Jetsons' house.
Some interesting new features, but they’re too niche to justify the price.
Luxurious extras and design make this a highly desirable machine. It’s ideal if space is at a premium at home.
With the free products on our new cover DVD, you need never buy software again. So why do we still keep paying?
Reasonable performance, great features and good battery life all make this a decent business ultraportable. But Lenovo’s X60 is better.
More GTA sandbox action, set down south of the border. That means Cuba, not Victoria.
Microsoft prepares to march into Adobe territory with its forthcoming suite of graphics and web development software.
Good features for the price. It’s just not very exciting.
For: Uses the Doom 3 engine so it'll run smoothly and look nice. Attempts to be original.
Against: Fails to be original. Succeeds at being a funless parody of the genrel imparts no sense of achievement.
Not flawless, but Sony’s debut DSLR impresses with a 10.2-megapixel resolution and built-in anti-shake.
HD camcorders enter the mainstream once and for all. With image quality like this, there’s little reason to spend more.
What happens when multiple-core processors are no longer sufficient for our demands? Stuart Andrews looks at the future of CPUs.
The FF1 is well featured and comes with some useful accessories. Picture quality isn’t perfect, but it still has a range of practical uses.
At Microsoft’s grand unveiling of Office Beta 2, Vista and Longhorn, we ask why it’s being so bullish about this release.
With free video services like MSN and Skype, you’re missing out if you don’t have a webcam.
A good attempt at all-in-one system security, fully integrated into the OS.
Scanning, site blocking and alerts improved over version 6.