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Samsung ships compact Q20 Centrino notebook

Plus: SanDisk slims its Cruzer Flash drives

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Notebooks

Samsung has expanded its range of Centrino-based notebooks, with the new Q20 series of compact machines and the X05, a low-cost alternative to the company's X10 notebook.

The Q20 family comprises the TEC 1100 and TLC 1200, powered by 1.1GHz and 1.2GHz Low-voltage Pentium M processors, respectively. The 1100 ships with a 40GB hard drive and 256MB of DDR SDRAM, while the 1200 contains 60GB of hard disk storage and 512MB of RAM. Both offer two USB 2.0 ports, one 1394 connector and a three-in-one Memory Stick, SD card and MultiMedia Card slot. Their 12.1in LCD screens are driven by Intel's Extreme Graphics 2 engine integrated into the Centrino 855GM chipset.

Connectivity is provided by built-in 10/100Mbps Ethernet, 56Kbps modem and 802.11b WLAN adaptor.

What really differentiates the machines are their size: 1.9cm thick and 27 x 23cm when closed. Both weigh 1.29kg (2.8lbs). The downside is that there's no optical storage built-in - you need Samsung's optional SliceDock add-on for that.

The 1200 retails for £1599 ($2581), the 1100 for £1399 ($2258). Prices exclude UK sales tax.

The X05, meanwhile, also comes in two versions: the XTC 1400 and XTC 1500. Both ship with low-power 14.1in displays, again powered by Intel's Extreme Graphics 2. Wired, wireless and analog communications are built in too, as are USB, 1394 and S-Video ports.

The 1400 is powered by a 1.4GHz Pentium M, the 1500 by a 1.5GHz version of the chip. The machines contain 30GB and 40GB hard drives, and 256MB and 512MB of DDR SDRAM, respectively. Both feature DVD/CD-RW combo optical drives.

Samsung claims a 4.5-hour battery life for each notebook, rather more than the Q20 battery's three-hour lifespan - and that's without an optical drive and a lower-voltage CPU.

X05 prices start at £1099 ($1774) excluding UK sales tax.

Flash Storage

SanDisk has announced its latest entry into the crowded Flash drive market: Cruzer Mini.

Crowded it may be, but according to market watcher NPD Techworld, some 171,000 USB Flash drives were sold through US retail channels last May, together amounting to sales in order of $11 million. So it's not hard to see why world+dog wants to be a part of it.

Available in two sizes - 128MB and 256MB, retailing in the US for $49.99 and $79.99, respectively - the Cruzer Mini is almost identical to other such products from no-name suppliers and big brands alike.

SanDisk's product supports Hi-speed USB 2.0 - ie. it's a genuine USB 2.0 device. It's also rather slimmer than previous generations of Cruzer and "does not block most other USB ports when plugged in", which would have been a problem with older versions, by the look of them. SanDisk doesn't say whether it bundles a USB extension cable just in case. ®

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