This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Intel.
As I mentioned previously, I was recently given the opportunity to participate in a BlogHer review program under the title "Do More, Faster." I said yes because, hello! Doing more? Doing it faster? Now that's the way to speak to a workaholic's heart.
By the way, Girlfriday and I joke — and by "joke" I mean laugh uneasily at how very much it isn't actually a joke — about our Workaholia: both a place AND a mental condition!
What the review entailed was assessing a laptop computer powered with the Intel Core™ i5 processor with its Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, and an Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi) adaptor that would use my HDTV as a monitor.
Or, in layman's terms: A spiffy new laptop computer with a speedy processor and the ability to watch stuff from my computer, wirelessly, on my much larger television.
This was a well-timed opportunity for me, for two reasons: First, I'd been in the market for a new laptop. Second, I've been doing a lot of traveling lately, which always makes it difficult to keep Dramabeans going because it's just that much slower and clunkier working away from home on a setup that is less than optimized for prime working conditions. I mentioned the workaholia, right?
The computer I was provided was a laptop furnished with an Intel® i5™ processor. Basically, what makes this different from, say, the laptop I've been using whenever I'm on the road is that it reportedly boasts twice the processing power of other computers, thereby speeding up performance and saving me time.
Did it live up to that promise? I can't put a mathematical number to it, but yes, it was much faster, and yes, it was noticeable.
One thing I hate doing when away from home is recapping. Watching a 1.5 GB video on a small screen while writing notes, taking screencaps, and working with blogging software is just not that pleasant on my laptop, which by the way is a fine notebook and not some ancient relic from Ye Olde Days of Computing Yore, or as you might know them, the days before the members of FT Island were born. But my old laptop IS slower than my desktop, and it's frustrating to know that a task is taking 20% longer than it would on a different machine.
(I give the figure 20% from personal experience: For two miserable weeks last summer, my desktop computer died and I had to get by using borrowed goods, and I found that the exact same work took about 20% longer than normal, purely because the computer I was using was less powerful than the one that had died. Yeah, that sucked and I'm never doing that again.) So to be able to cut that lag down was highly appreciated.
But processor speed aside, by far my favorite aspect of this machine is the capacity to hook it up, wirelessly, to my television. (As you can see above.) As I'm sure some of you know, watching dramas on a computer screen is a much different experience than watching it on a television screen.
The Intel® Core™ i5 processor supports Wireless Display, or WiDi. I hooked up an adapter to the TV, and when I turned on my computer's WiDi feature, the two were instantly connected. With this feature, after downloading a file to my laptop, I can watch on my television with a button click. And with subtitles, if I wanted.
THIS IS AWESOME.
No, this is beyond awesome. All of a sudden, I was able to burn through so many more dramas than I'd normally have time for, because I could set them to play on my television, then go about my other work as it played in the background. As a K-drama blogger, I feel an obligation to watch things that I normally wouldn't bother watching, and to be up-to-date on what's going on even if it's a show I'm not recapping. But on the other side of that coin, I don't have unlimited time in which to watch stuff I'm not really into. So the WiDi feature is a huge timesaver for me, because I can watch something without it taking up all my computer screen space as I work on something else.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I can actually already watch K-drama files on my TV using a different constellation of gadgetry. Example: I can do this via my Blu-Ray DVD player with Netflix capability, because that player can also connect to my computer's hard drive and perform a similar function.
However, I will note that this WiDi technology yields better results: The Blu-Ray/Netflix setup works most of the time, but sometimes the connection cuts out mid-episode, or there's a lag interrupting playback. This sucks because it doesn't remember where I left off, then I have to fast-forward to get back to where I was before it cut out.
The WiDi reads off my laptop, so I can skip backward and forward easily. And, to my surprise, the picture quality is noticeably sharper — I don't know why, I tried playing the same episodes on both setups and it's a much clearer picture — which is a nice bonus.
Last but not least, this is a nifty feature for working on team projects. Rather than huddling around one computer screen, I was able to work on my laptop and have the screen show on my television, enabling me and others to see the same picture as I typed in Word. (Pictured above: My computer screen, open to Dramabeans, pictured on my TV.) You can accomplish this via VGA or HDMI cable hookup so this functionality isn't exclusive to the WiDi, and in fact that's what I have done in the past.
There are two key advantages with this setup, though: First, it's wireless. Second, it plays sound! When using VGA or HDMI cables, you only get the image on your TV screen, which means that if I wanted to show a Youtube video to other people, we'd get to see, but not hear, it. No such problem here.
To win a $250 Best Buy gift card: Leave a comment below explaining what you'd like to do faster, given the possibility. Me? I wish I could watch dramas faster — to somehow compress all that comprehension into less than that full hour. For now, I'll settle for writing 'em up faster.
To enter for a chance to win 1 of 4 laptops being given away by BlogHer: Leave a comment at this BlogHer.com exclusive offers page.
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
- Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
- Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
- Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
- Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.
Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 22, 2010.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.