Dell XPS 1530 Review

by Jerry Jackson

Dell made a serious effort in 2007 to listen to customer feedback criticizing Dell’s older, thick and heavy laptops. The result was the amazingly thin and light XPS M1330, one of the sexiest looking notebooks of 2007. The new Dell XPS M1530 is an impressive 15.4″ screen notebook designed similar to (just larger than) the very successful 13-inch XPS M1330.

Dell XPS M1530

Buying Choices for the Dell XPS M1530 (Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 1.66GHz, 160GB HDD, 2GB RAM)

Dell, Inc. | $1,274.00

73.9% of people recommend this product – view 69 opinions | rate product

Our pre-production XPS M1530 is equipped with the following specs:
15.4-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) CCFL glossy screen
“Crimson” red paint (also available in “Tuxedo” black or “Alpine” white)
2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, Santa Rosa chipset (up to 2.4GHz available)
2GB DDR2-667 SDRAM (up to 4GB DDR2 SDRAM available)
160GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD (32GB SSD drive available)
Slot-loading dual-layer DVD±RW drive
NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3
WWAN option for Verizon
Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n (Intel 4965), Bluetooth option
Integrated 2.0 megapixel webcam
HDMI, VGA, S-Video, Firewire/1394, three USB 2.0 ports, integrated media reader (MS, SD, xD), fingerprint reader
Media Center remote located in ExpressCard slot
Windows Vista Home Premium
Dimensions (with 6-cell battery): 14.06″ x 10.34″ x 0.93″ – 1.38″
Weight starts at 5.9 pounds with 6-cell battery (6.29 pounds with 9-cell)

Build and Design

The Dell XPS M1330 has received high praise for its design and feature set in a 13.3″ portable form factor, but the most popular selling laptops are in the 15.4″ screen size. Dell, being in the business of selling more laptops and making customers happy, figured it would be wise to offer something that’s larger and appeals to more people. And that’s exactly what the M1530 is — a larger version of the M1330.

As we said in our First Look article, it’s as if Dell put the M1330 on steroids and the M1530 is the end result — the laptop size increased proportionally and it’s also more powerful in its new form. The design and look is mostly the same, the keyboard feels the same, the touch sensitive controls are replicated and for the most part the ports are the same (though you do get an extra USB 2.0 port on the M1530). That said, when we compare the M1530 and the M1330 side by side we can’t help but think the design of the M1530 is “overweight” in comparison.

Above view of Dell XPS M1530xps1530

There are some notable differences other than size between the M1530 and M1330 however. The M1530 can be configured with a more powerful Nvidia 8600M GT graphics card for boosted gaming performance over the XPS M1330 that only offers up to the Nvidia 8400M GS. The M1530 also offers up to a 2.80GHz Intel T7800 processor, whereas the XPS M1330 tops out at an Intel T7500 2.2GHz processor. Obviously if you’re all about the performance metrics and don’t carry a laptop around much, the XPS M1530 is a better fit for you.

Some people might wonder if they should go for the Dell Inspiron 1520 15.4″ notebook or the Dell XPS M1530 15.4″. After all, they’re both consumer notebooks from the same company that can be configured similarly, so what’s the point? For one, the XPS M1530 is way more eye catching in terms of design than the Inspiron 1520. The barrel hinge, dropdown screen and sloping look of the M1530 is just cool. Second, the XPS M1530 weighs just 5.9 lbs with a standard 6-cell battery and just 6 lbs and 4.6 ounces (6.29 lbs) with its 9-cell battery. The Inspiron 1520 weighs more than 7 lbs with the 6-cell battery. Other benefits of the XPS M1530 notebook include a sleeker slot loading optical drive, touch sensitive light-up buttons, dedicated XPS tech support, media remote control and thinner profile.

Screen

Another difference that should be mentioned is that currently the M1530 is offered with only a standard 15.4″ widescreen XGA (1280 x 800) display, while the XPS M1330 has the option for a thinner and more power efficient LED backlit display. Dell says the XPS M1530 should be available next year with different resolution screens … including LED backlight options.

Even though some will be a little put out by the lack of LED backlighting being offered on the M1530 initially, the standard CCFL display is still gorgeously bright and flawless. Plus you get a higher 2.0MP web cam with the standard thicker CCFL screen, whereas with a thinner LED screen only a VGA resolution cam can be fitted.

The screen on our pre-production unit looks flawless from straight on and the horizontal viewing angles are great. Upper vertical viewing angles are good, but colors did begin to invert at lower viewing angles when the screen is tilted back.

xps1

Keyboard, Touchpad and Media Controls

The keyboard on the XPS M1530 is fairly similar to the XPS M1330, with obvious reasons. The keyboard is firm with virtually no flex and the keys have excellent travel and cushion. The XPS M1530 is really quite a pleasure to type on. The only complaint I have for the keyboard is that if your fingernails are slightly long they might get caught under the keys, this shouldn’t be a problem for most males though.

xps2

The touchpad works well enough, though it’s seems a little on the small side given the size of the notebook. The mouse buttons have excellent travel and cushion, though I did feel like they made a bit too much of a “clicking” sound when pressed. The good news with the touchpad is that it’s responsive, has dedicated scroll areas and the textured feel is good.

 

A series of touch-sensitive media buttons with blue LED backlights are located above the keyboard similar to the buttons on the M1330. One nice feature about the media buttons is that the blue LEDs only stay lit for a fraction of a second after being pressed, so they won’t distract you by staying lit all the time.

Dell also includes a Media Center remote control that fits neatly into the ExpressCard slot on the side of the notebook. This is a great accessory for presentations or if you want to control a DVD from across the room.

Included remote with XPS M1530 

Ports and Features

The port selection of the M1530 is resonably good for a notebook of this size. Here’s a quick rundown of what you get:

Front profile view: Microphone in, dual headphone out, and memory card reader. (view large image)

Left side: DC power jack, two USB ports, VGA out, Ethernet/LAN, HDMI, and FireWire. (view large image)

Right side: ExpressCard slot, WiFi on/off, WiFi catcher, slot-loading optical drive, USB port, S-Video out, and Kensington lock slot. (view large image)

Back profile view of the XPS M1530: no ports here. (view large image)

The built-in HDMI is a very nice thing to have for those that want digital video output, S-Video is also there for the more old-fashioned approach to that. With FireWire, three USB ports, a media card reader, two headphone jacks, microphone jack, ExpressCard slot and Ethernet port you’re well equipped ports wise.

I was a bit let down by the fact the M1530 only includes three USB ports since most 15.4″ notebooks have four. However, the multiple video-out options and overall thin design make the lack of USB ports “somewhat” understandable.

Some of our editorial staff are huge fans of slot-loading drives and while I think these drives look amazing, I’m not entirely sold on the technology. Slot loading drives don’t like small DVDs or CDs like those you sometimes receive with hardware drivers or in the mail. Another issue is that slot-loading drives tend to be a bit more noisy than traditional tray-type drives (more on that later in this review).

Speakers

The speaker quality was “acceptable” for a notebook without a built-in subwoofer. Based on the M1330 that one of our editors owns I would suspect that the speakers in the M1530 are the exact same part as the speakers used in the M1330.

The speakers for the M1530 are located at the top of the keyboard area above the media buttons. There’s not much to write home about the speakers, they get loud enough with minimal distortion, but the sound is slightly tinny as is the case with nearly all laptop speakers.

Performance and Benchmarks

Without any tweaks to drivers or removal of software, the machine performed very well — the 2.20GHz Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB card will satisfy most gamers with exception to those more hard core, and will certainly please the average PC user. The 3DMark benchmarks might look unusually high at first glance, but the Nvidia 8600M GT card in the M1530 uses GDDR3 RAM instead of the more common GDDR2.

Frame rates for games like the Crysis demo and Call of Duty 4 were all quite playable and smooth with a few moments of lag during Crysis.

Game Average Frame Rate (FPS)
Crysis ~20
Call of Duty 4 ~40

Of course, the M1530 is also available with Nvidia 8400M GS graphics for those customers who don’t care about playing the latest games.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi.

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz)
41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s
Samsung Q35 (Core 2 Duo T5600 @ 1.83GHz) 46.274s
Samsung R20 (Core Duo T2250 @ 1.73GHz) 47.563s

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks

HDTune results:

 

Heat and Noise

The XPS M1530 does a reasonable job keeping heat under control. The system fan and heatsinks in the M1530 do a great job managing heat when the system is under load … as we discovered when we ran multiple benchmarks back to back. The CPU temperature peaked at only 58 degrees Celsius during multiple 3DMark06 tests. The fan moved a significant amount of hot air but the noise was reasonably low and wasn’t noticeable over background noise most of the time. However, when the fan was at the highest setting we did record the volume of the noise at 53-56dB from about two inches away from the fan exhaust.

Unfortunately, noise was something of an issue with the M1530. The slot-loading optical drive was quite loud during Windows startup, inserting a disk, or ejecting a disk. The sound is something like a small power drill muffled under a pillow. That said, the optical drive produces acceptable noise levels when a disk is spinning in the drive.

The real noise issue involved the hard drive. Because of the way the hard drive is mounted to the case (and due to the thin metals used) the spinning/scratching noise of the Hitachi-brand hard drive was magnified under the left palm rest. The hard drive noise was so loud that I was able to hear the hard drive making scratching noises from two feet away even while playing music at a resonable volume over the built-in speakers. That’s just too loud.

Battery Life

The 9-cell extended-life battery provides excellent battery life for the M1530. With Vista’s power management running in “high performance” mode, screen brightness set to maximum and wireless on, the 9-cell battery delivered more than 3 hours and 30 minutes of battery life. We’re certain that the 9-cell battery could deliver more than 4 hours of life with the notebook set to “balanced” or “power saver” mode and the screen brightness turned down.

One thing to mention is that with the 9-cell battery in you get an overall greater slope to the keyboard, we actually like this for ergonomics, it feels more comfortable for typing.

The 9-cell battery adds almost another 0.75″ to the back. (view large image)

Dell also included a standard 6-cell battery with our pre-production review unit. Unfortunately, the standard 6-cell battery had been abused (cracked) before we received the unit, so we decided to play it safe and did not conduct tests with the 6-cell battery.

All new Nokia N96

Nokia N96 Pictures

The N96 is pretty similar to the Symbian 60-powered N95 we’ve all come to recognize as Nokia’s 5MP GPS finest, but with 16GB of internal memory and a 2.8-inch screen. Check out full specifications of Nokia N96 after the jump .

 

Nokia N96 Pictures

Supported networks

  • UMTS networks (WCDMA 2100/850; HSDPA)
  • Quad-band operation in GSM 850/900/1800/1900 networks (EDGE)
  • Automatic frequency band and mode switching
  • DVB-H, class C, 470-750 MHz
Dimensions
  • Volume: 92 cm 3
  • Weight: 125 g
  • Length: 103 mm
  • Width: 55 mm
  • Depth: 18 mm (places to 20 mm)
Memory
  • 16 GB of internal flash memory, memory expansion via hot-swappable microSD memory cards
  • Approximate storage capacity is 16 GB disk space:
  • – Video: 40 hours
  • – Music: 12,000 songs
  • 128 Mbytes of RAM, 256 Mbytes of system memory (operating system plus dynamic memory for user data)
Operating Hours
  • Battery: Nokia Battery BL-5F, 950 mAh
  • Talk time: GSM: up to 220 min; UMTS: Up to 150 min
  • Stand-by Time: GSM: Up to 220 hours; UMTS up to 200 hours
  • Video playback: Up to 5 hours (in offline mode)
  • Music playback: Up to 14 hours (in offline mode)
  • TV Play: Up to 4 hours (DVB-H)
Display and user interface
  • QVGA TFT display with a 6.1 inch diagonal display (2.8 inches) and 16.7 million colours at a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels
  • User interface: S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 2
  • Active standby mode, multimedia menu
Data transfer
  • In UMTS networks (WCDMA 2100/850) are both voice and data connections possible (packet switched connections to max. 3.6 Mbit / s (download) or 384 kbps (upload), circuit connections to max. 64 Kbps –
  • Dual Transfer Mode (DTM) for the simultaneous use of voice and packet data connections in GSM / EDGE networks. Class A, multi-slot Class 11, max. Data transmission speed to Herunter-/Hochladen: 177.6 / 118.4 kbps
  • EGPRS Class B, multi-slot Class 32, max. Data transmission speed to Herunter-/Hochladen: 296/177, 6 kbps
  • GPRS Class B, multi-slot Class 32, max. Data transmission speed to Herunter-/Hochladen: 107/64, 2 kbit / s
Video Center
  • Video Center: Central application for video experiences
  • Access to the recent play videos and simple continuation of play
  • My Videos: collection of videos stored in the device
  • Access to Internet video, compatible with news feeds and video podcasts, updates and downloads directly over the cellular network
  • Catalog for new Internet video
Video codecs and formats
  • MPEG-4 Part 2 (H.263/SP), up to VGA at 30 frames / s codec with hardware acceleration, max. QVGA on the screen of the device, max. SDTV on TV Output
  • MPEG-4 Part 10 (H.264/SP), up to VGA at 30 frames / s codec with hardware acceleration, max. QVGA on the screen of the device, max. SDTV on TV Output
  • Windows Media Video (WMV9), up to CIF / QVGA at 30 frames / s codec with hardware acceleration, max. QVGA on the screen of the device, max. SDTV on TV Output
  • Real Video (QCIF) with 30 frames / s
  • Support for Flash movies in Internet Browser
  • Digital rights management: OMA DRM 1, OMA DRM 2, WM DRM (Windows Media DRM)
Live TV
  • DVB-H-based mobile TV with integrated antenna
  • DVB-H, class C, 470-750 MHz
  • Access to videos on the browser
  • Downloading, streaming and playback during download
  • Support for Flash movies
Music
  • Digital music player – support for MP3, AAC, eAAC +, WMA and album cover
  • Editing and sharing playlists
  • Equalizer and visualization of sounds
  • Online search and purchase music tracks in Nokia Music Store – with support for WM DRM-protected files (Windows Media DRM)
Radio
  • FM stereo radio (87,5-108 MHz) with support for RDS; possibility for the use of the VHF radios in offline mode
  • Nokia Internet Radio
Main Camera
  • Up to 5 megapixels (2,592 x 1,944 pixels)
  • Optics by Carl Zeiss
  • Autofocus, automatic exposure control
  • Aperture: F2.8
  • Focal Length: 5.2 mm
  • Focus range: 10 cm to infinity
  • Two flashlights (LED), video light, lighting-support autofocus and recording progress indicator
Second Camera
  • VGA (640 x 480 pixels)
Video recording function
  • Video recording in MPEG-4 format, with up to VGA 30 frames / s
  • Digital video stabilization
  • Video clip length: Depends on available space
  • Video File Format: MP4 (standard), 3GPP (for MMS messages)
  • Program settings for automatic, a video light, white balance and color mood
Photography
  • Photo Resolution: Up to 5 megapixels (2,592 x 1,944 pixels)
  • Format for photographs: JPEG / EXIF
  • Details on the recording location: Automatic recording of information on location in the image file
  • Program settings for automatic, flash, serial shots, self-timer, color humor, white balance, contrast, exposure correction, help
Discover
  • Digital maps and navigation
  • Integrated GPS module with support for A-GPS (Assisted GPS)
  • Nokia Maps application
  • Free downloadable maps for more than 150 countries, millions of locations, location details and satellite images **
  • To purchase upgrades available multimedia travel guides and navigation services for the car navigation Sprachgestützte
  • For pedestrians: Special optimized for pedestrian navigation with Directions
E-mail and Messaging
  • Easy-to-use e-mail client with support for attachments (photos, videos, music files, and text documents)
  • Support for e-mail protocols SMTP, IMAP4 and POP3, as well as for MMS and SMS messages Common SMS-/MMS-Editor
  • Compatible with Nokia Wireless Keyboard SU-8W (optional)
Mobile Internet Access
  • Nokia Web Browser with Mini Map function, visual history display, support for HTML and JavaScript, Flash Lite 3.0, and for Flash videos
  • Support for news feeds (RSS)
Connection options
  • WLAN (IEEE802.11 g / b) with support for UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
  • USB 2.0 micro-USB port (Type B)
  • 3.5-mm jack for connecting a standard headphone and TV output for connecting a TV for playback of photos and videos (PAL / NTSC)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with support for stereo audio transmission (Bluetooth profile “Advanced Audio Distribution (A2DP), and EDR (Enhanced Data Rates)
  • Use of Nokia PC Suite for Nseries devices (PC software), in conjunction with Bluetooth wireless connections or cable connections to the USB port compatible PCs
Standard package
  • Nokia N96
  • Nokia battery BL-5F
  • Nokia data cable CA-101
  • Nokia video output cable, CA-75U
  • Nokia Stereo Headset-HS-45, with remote AD-54
  • Nokia cigarette lighter charger cable DC-4
  • Nokia compact AC-5E

Nokia N96 Photos

 

Nokia N96 Photos

Nokia N96 Photos

Women’s attractiveness judged by software

According to Haaretz, an Israeli team of computer scientists has developed a software that ranks facial attractiveness of women. Instead of identifying basic facial characteristics, this software has been designed to make aesthetic judgments — after training. The lead researcher said this program ‘constitutes a substantial advance in the development of artificial intelligence.’ It is interesting to note that the researchers focused on women only. Apparently, men’ faces are more difficult to grade. But read more…

Rating women faces

The picture on the left shows how the system is initially calibrated: “Facial coordinates with hair and skin sample regions as represented by the facial feature extractor. Coordinates are used for calculating geometric features and asymmetry. Sample regions are used for extracting color values and smoothness.” (Credit: Amit Kagian, Tel Aviv University, Israel).

This software has been developed by Amit Kagian, a Tel Aviv University (TAU) student, for his master’s thesis in computer science. He has been supervised by Gideon Dror, an associate professor in computer science at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo and Eytan Ruppin, a TAU professor who manages the Complex Network Systems Lab.

Here are some details about how the software was tested. “In the first stage, 30 human participants were asked to rate from 1-7 the beauty of several dozen pictures. Participants did not say why they ranked certain faces as more beautiful than others. The pictures were then processed and mathematically mapped. ‘We came up with 98 numbers that represent the geometric shape of the face, as well as characteristics like hair color, smoothness of skin and facial symmetry,’ Kagian explains. Participants’ rankings of the pictures were also input in the computer.”

But what was the second stage? “‘We input new pictures of faces into the computer and it graded them based on the information it had.’ Human subjects were then asked to rank the new pictures too. ‘The computer produced impressive results: the rankings were very similar to the rankings people gave.’ According to Kagian, the key achievement is that the computer operated according to certain perceptions of beauty that were not input into it, but learned by processing the data it received.”

For more information, the researchers published their latest results in Vision Research, an Elsevier journal, under the name “A machine learning predictor of facial attractiveness revealing human-like psychophysical biases” (Volume 48, Issue 2, January 2008, Pages 235-243).

Here is a link to the abstract. “Recent psychological studies have strongly suggested that humans share common visual preferences for facial attractiveness. Here, we present a learning model that automatically extracts measurements of facial features from raw images and obtains human-level performance in predicting facial attractiveness ratings. The machine’s ratings are highly correlated with mean human ratings, markedly improving on recent machine learning studies of this task. Simulated psychophysical experiments with virtually manipulated images reveal preferences in the machine’s judgments that are remarkably similar to those of humans.” And here is a link to the full paper (PDF format, 10 pages, 625 KB).

And here is a paragraph excerpted from the conclusions. “Our analysis has revealed that symmetry is strongly related to the attractiveness of averaged faces, but is definitely not the only factor in the equation since about half of the image-features relate to the ratings of averaged composites in a similar manner as the symmetry measure. This suggests that a general movement of features toward attractiveness, rather than a simple increase in symmetry, is responsible for the attractiveness of averaged faces.”

The same researchers presented their previous results at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference held in Vancouver, Canada, on December 4-9, 2006. Here is a link to
this presentation called “A Humanlike Predictor of Facial Attractiveness” (PDF format, 8 pages, 78 KB). Here is the first paragraph. “This work presents a method for estimating human facial attractiveness, based on supervised learning techniques. Numerous facial features that describe facial geometry, color and texture, combined with an average human attractiveness score for each facial image, are used to train various predictors. Facial attractiveness ratings produced by the final predictor are found to be highly correlated with human ratings, markedly improving previous machine learning achievements. Simulated psychophysical experiments with virtually manipulated images reveal preferences in the machine’s judgments which are remarkably similar to those of humans.”

As you can see, there some shared words between these two works. The figure above is featured in both papers.

Finally, why did the researchers limit themselves to women? Haaretz says men’s faces are more difficult to rank.

Sources: Ofri Ilani, Haaretz, Israel, March 21, 2008; and various websites

You’ll find related stories by following the links below.

Roland Piquepaille lives in Paris, France, and he spent most of his career in software, mainly for high performance computing and visualization companies. For disclosures on Roland’s industry affiliations, click here.

3 Great Laptops Under Rs 40,000

Laptops today are universally becoming the first choice for anyone looking to upgrade. Rapidly falling prices, increased performance levels, and almost complete packages of multimedia and smooth multitasking are some of the reasons for this. Keeping these factors in mind, we decided to look around and shortlist three models that we think represent great VFM within the very price-sensitive market segment of under Rs 40,000. Here are our choices.

Compaq Presario C740TU

HP has to be commended for maintaining a clear differentiation in its product range. While the HP brand of laptops caters to the value and performance markets, the Compaq brand has been used to address the needs of the budget and ultra-value markets.

The Compaq Presario C740TU that we have chosen is currently one of the best VFM models available. It offers an Intel C2D T5450 processor which is clocked at 1.67 GHz, 512 MB RAM (upgradeable to 1 GB for an additional cost of Rs 1,450), a 15.4 inch LCD panel, 160 GB of HDD space and 3 USB slots. Its current street price is around Rs 34,000.

Though most users will today balk at the sparse amount of RAM being offered, please note that the laptop can be easily upgraded, inexpensively. The OS offered is Windows Visa Basic. A 1-year warranty is offered through Compaq’s service centers.

Watch out for a review of this laptop, which will come up pretty soon. In the meantime you can check out a detailed specification list here.

Acer Aspire 2920N

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Acer has appeared on this lineup. Acer’s last few releases have been driving this segment very hard, with products like its 4520 model, which did exceedingly well and was well appreciated.

This time around too the company had some of the best options available in this price bracket. One of these models is the Acer 2920N. It is perhaps one of the cheapest 12.1 inch laptops available now. It offers an Intel C2D T5450 processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB storage and 3 USB slots. These are healthy specifications, and a price tag of just Rs 37,000 makes it a great portable choice for anyone who is looking for crunching power and portability .

You can see a detailed specification sheet here.

Dell Inspiron 1525

Dell is a natural choice here. Not only does the company offer some great VFM products in almost all price brackets, it’s made a mark with its excellent after-sales service. The Inspiron 1525 is the updated version of the popular 1520 model and offers a significantly improved design.

It packs in an Intel C2D T5450 processor clocked at 1.67 GHz, 1GB of RAM, a 15.4 inch LCD panel with a native resolution of 1280×800, 160GB of HDD space, and 3 USB slots. Its current street price is around Rs 33,500 and it can be customized to add 250GB of storage if you’re willing to pay around Rs 3,000 more.

Head here for further details.

– article from tech2.com

Garmin Announces GPS-Ready Handset

Garmin Ltd., the leading maker of satellite-powered navigational devices, is getting into the wireless phone business with the launch of the nüvifone, a handset that incorporates GPS.

“This is the breakthrough product that cellphone and GPS users around the world have been longing for – a single device that does it all,” said Cliff Pemble, the company’s president and COO. “We believe nüvifone will change the way people view converged devices in future.”

The all-touchscreen device is claimed to be the first of its kind to integrate premium 3.5G mobile phone capability with an Internet browser, data connectivity, personal messaging, and personal navigation functions in one device.

Personal messaging functions include email, text, and instant messaging. Also available is access to Garmin Online, which offers constantly-updating information such as real-time traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, news reports, and weather forecasts.

The nüvifone is Garmin’s first device to include Google local search capability, which harnesses the vast point of interest information available from the Internet.

The built-in camera will allow individuals to take a picture that will automatically be tagged with the exact latitude and longitude of where the image was taken. The device also provides direct access to millions of geo-located landmark and sightseeing photographs available via Google’s Panoramio picture sharing site.

Garmin anticipates that the nüvifone will be available in the third quarter of 2008. Specific details about pricing and sales partners haven’t been announced yet. For more information, please visit the official website.