Tag Archive | "7-inch"

Windows 10 should have a ‘disable desktop’ option.

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For those of us that respect the flexibility of a fully functioning desktop PC in the palm of one’s hand the information, just a tweet, that Windows 10 tablet products under 8-inches will not have desktop capability is bad news. But there are advantages to using an RT-only setup on Windows.

There are few sub 8-inch tablets around that will be affected so the new restrictions won’t affect many people but take a look at the industry-focused, Core-i5 Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1. This is a product that relies on the desktop for Win32 desktop apps. I’ve seen others industry-focused solutions at 7-inches too. As CPU sizes fall and efficiency increases we’re able to do more and more on the low-end tablet PCs. I’ve demonstrated docked solutions many times and without a desktop all that functionality and flexibility is lost. Do you really want a full-HD screen where you can’t run a full edition of the Chrome Browser. I still use Windows Live Gallery, Putty, Audacity and many of my benchmarking apps are Win32 apps. There are a large number of Win32 apps out there that are finger-focused too. Having a desktop option means having flexibility and that’s what many people enjoy about small-screen Windows tablets. But the desktop is old, boring, insecure and heavyweight. Isn’t it time to turn it off on consumer touch tablets or to, at least, having the option?

In essence, RT on X86 (via a disabled desktop) is not a bad thing. By reducing Windows to the ‘RT hypervisor’ means that you get a more efficient and more secure environment without the shock of an unusable touch-desktop and desktop settings screen. ‘RT’ mode would be great for 8-inch and 10-inch tablets with 1GB too as it frees up RAM and reduces hardware requirements.  There’s even a case for disabling the desktop in larger devices. As 12.5 and 13.3-inch devices get smaller and lighter there’s a growing market for big-screen readers. Windows desktop the OS can be smaller meaning that the mainboard requirements (and cost and size) fall for these consumer-centric devices.  The old issue of having a restricted choice of Modern applications is falling away and will get a big boost from the new set of ‘RT’ apps that Microsoft will introduce in Windows 10. Office is a good example.

Update: As suggested in the comments, if you support this option, go to Uservoice and add your vote. Here.

Of course the best option would be to have a choice, at least for desktop-class processors. This is the option that those devices need:

 The question of having a desktop or not having a desktop remains open in my opinion. There are very good cases for removing it and not just on 7-inch devices. The brief information from the Microsoft tweet didn’t exactly cover all cases either so we can’t draw any conclusions as to what will really happen after feedback. What about fresh Windows 10 installs or installs that use an external display, installs that trick the OS into thinking the screen size is more than 8-inches. At least we know that existing Windows devices will get an update to Windows 10 with the desktop… “Folks asking about updating 7″ *existing* devices to Win10 — you keep your desktop, you get continuum. Go try it yourself now,” is what we saw in a follow-up tweet indicating, to me, that this is just a move by Microsoft to make it easier, and cheaper, for consumer-focused tablet manufacturers. Specialist devices like the Panasonic Toughpad might get the full-fat image installed and we’ll probably find work-around. RT-only mode is important for security, efficiency, standby features and for promoting Universal apps too but please, Microsoft, let us have the choice.

Huawei MediaPad 7 Honeycomb Tablet Review [video]

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I recently got my hands on a trial Huawei MediaPad 7 and over the last week I have been using it instead of my Eee Pad Transformer to see how it stacks up in the workplace.

The screen is one of the Huawei MediPad 7’s strongest features. It’s a 7” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1280×800 and is IPS. It’s bright and produces colors well and is perfect for photos and videos but is also great for reading text. E-books look fantastic and the text jumps off the “page”.

Build quality

Firstly I am impressed with the look and feel of the MediaPad 7 and it seems to be very well made. The materials are first rate and the fit and finish equal to any other high grade tablet I’ve used. The device feels solid in the hand and it’s ergonomically easy to hold. The MediaPad7 feels a bit heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (380g vs. 391g) and this may have an impact if you intend to carry it around a lot or hold it for extended periods while reading or watching videos.

Personally I like the smaller form factor but with a high resolution screen and the 7″ size if you don’t have good eyesight you may struggle with the MediaPad 7.

The Cracked Screen

I found out the hard way that the MediaPad doesn’t have Gorilla Glass screen as unfortunately my Son dropped the tablet and it landed screen first and slid a bit. It scratched badly and has a crack running edge to edge across the top of the screen. And this from a drop onto a wood floor from a height of less than 2 feet!  I’d highly recommend a screen protector and a case as the first accessories you buy. Personally I don’t like screen protectors and haven’t fitted any of my devices with one and the Eee Pad, for example, hasn’t got a scratch on it. I don’t know whether it was just bad luck or a soft screen but this scratching is the worst I’ve ever had on a tablet or phone screen and it didn’t take that much of a fall. YMMV as it could also have been a freaky perfect storm of impact and angle.

Cameras

Moving on to the device, I tested the cameras and I was pleasantly surprised by the rear facing camera.  It’s a 5 megapixel camera and just using the standard Android camera interface it handles low light well and the image looked nice and crisp. This photo of a teddy Bear was taken in the middle of the loungeroom with filtered light from a window about 10 feet away and there’s little grain in the image. The front facing camera is 1.3 megapixels and also handled room-only lighting easily. Under low light the MediaPad 7 performed as well as any of the other Android cameras I’ve tested and so would be fine for video conferencing or VOIP calls.

Test image from Huawei Mediapad camera

Keyboards and Mice 

Periperals like my portable Bluetooth keyboard and mice setup worked fine. I couldn’t connect any USB devices or drives because the MediaPad 7 doesn’t have a full-sized USB port, so this was untested.

Battery life

Huawei claims 6 hours for the battery and this feels right to me. I didn’t run any formal benchmarks on the battery but I could easily get through the day and night using it and have 25% left in the battery when I plugged it in at night. I had WiFi and Bluetoth on, auto brightness, and default screen time-out and sleep settings. My ‘all day’ is from 7 am to midnight usually. The MediaPad 7 will do well for active all-day use.

Overall

I liked the Huawei MediaPad 7. Cracked screen aside, the Medipad 7 is well made, fast, has a great screen, and is very portable. With the right accessories, like a good case and a keyboard, it could work OK in an enterprise environment (of course with the standard Android limitations) but the lack of a full size USB port hamstrings the MediaPad 7 for enterprise work. This may be the tradeoff you have to make to get a 7″ form-factor so you need to asses whether the ability to connect drives or peripherals via USB is a real need for you. I prefer the 10″ screen tablets for work but a 7″ is great for portability and as a quick around-the-house consumption device. I’d consider the Huawei MediPad 7 if it’s priced correctly — stay tuned for pricing announcements which should be coming soon from Huawei.

Video

Huawei MediaPad 7" Honeycomb Tablet Hands-on

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I managed to get a Huawei Mediapad for a few weeks to trial. I only managed to get a few hours in with the device today and snap off a couple of low res pictures from my phone but I’ll follow up with an in-depth overview and some high quality photos in a few days. In the meantime if you have any tests you want me to run on the Huawei MediaPad leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

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Before I give you a few quick thoughts, you can find full specs at the Huawei MediaPad tracking page in our mobile device database.

I compared it to an iPad 2 and like the Galaxy Tab found it to be roughly half the size of the Apple unit. The unit is pocketable, just, but cargo pant-pocketable none the less.

The screen is great — sharp, bright, and very responsive. The device itself is nicely built and feels solid in the hand. The Huawei MediaPad is heavier than the Galaxy Tab but it feels like the same form factor so if you are happy with the size and feel of the Galaxy Tab you’ll likely be happy with the MediaPad too.

I don’t have a lot of apps installed yet and not a lot of media on it to slow it down but I was pleasantly surprised by how fast it is. Everything is snappy and very responsive. Apps open fast, media plays almost instantly and overall the processor doesn’t seem to struggle with anything.

If the pricing comes in at the right level, I think this device will sell very well.


Chippy is also looking forward to the Huawei MediaPad, and is actually considering trading up his much-used and loved Galaxy Tab for it. Though the tab has treated him well for over a year, Chippy says that he’s overdue for the benefits of Honeycomb in a 7″ form-factor. The upcoming dual-core Galaxy Tab Plus is likely to be a potent competitor to the Huawei MediaPad, especially when it comes to availability.

Huawei MediaPad Visits the FCC

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Pocketables points out that the Huawei MediaPad, which Chippy plans on purchasing, has made its way through the FCC, likely on it’s way to a US release.

After skimming the relevant FCC documents, it appears as though this is a WiFi-only version of the MediaPad, though Pocketables thinks we may see a carrier-tied version of the Huawei MediaPad at some point.

The Huawei MediaPad has already been made available for sale in a number of other countries and is one of only a few 7″ Honeycomb tablets yet available or announced. Others include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 (and Galaxy Tab 7 Plus), the Toshiba Thrive 7, Acer’s Iconia Tab A100, and a few lesser known tablets.

Toshiba Thrive 7 Launching in Early December With HD Display [Photos]

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Toshiba is announcing the Thrive 7 today, a 7″ Honeycomb tablet which is the second addition to the Thrive series. Toshiba described the Thrive 7 as a smaller version of the Thrive 10 and it will feature that same grip-friendly back. The Thrive 10 is a ‘utility’ tablet of sorts, featuring a range of full-sized ports. I was hoping that the Thrive 7 would retain these full-sized ports, but unfortunately they had to be shrunk to their smaller counterparts in order to fit inside of the Thrive 7.

While other 7″ Honeycomb tablets have so far been released with 1024×600 screens, the Thrive 7 has been fitted with a 1280×800 LED backlit display. Honeycomb 3.2 is installed out of the box.

The Thrive 7 uses that familiar Nvidia Tegra 2 platform that most Honeycomb tablets are using today, which means you’ll find a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM inside. As for ports, the tablet hides micro-HDMI, mini-USB, and MicroSD away underneath a dust-cover. I thought an error had been made when I heard mention of mini-USB (instead of micro), but we’ve double checked and it is confirmed that the Thrive 7 has a mini-USB port instead of micro-USB. Why Toshiba went with mini-USB instead of micro-USB is unclear. However, you will be able to charge through the mini-USB port, or through the docking connector on the bottom. I think I speak for most of us when I say it would have been awesome to see full-sized HDMI/USB/SD on the Thrive 7, but I suppose they couldn’t cram all of that in the chassis of the 7″ form-factor.

In addition to the aforementioned ports, you’ll find a volume rocker, lock/power button, and rotation-lock switch on the Thrive 7, just like the Thrive 10. There’s also a 2MP front facing camera and a 5MP rear sensor.

At 11mm thick and 399 grams, the Thrive 7 won’t be the thinnest or lightest tablet on the market, but it’s trimmed way down compared to the Thrive 10 which is 16mm thick and weighs in at 725 grams. 16/32GB capacities will be offered. Though the Thrive 7 is focused on mobility, Toshiba says it has no plans at the moment for a 3G version of the unit.

Toshiba will be offering a range of cases for the tablet, including one which will allow the device to be propped up in both landscape and portrait modes. To make use of the docking connector (not found on the Thrive 10), Toshiba is readying a sort of multimedia dock which will play nicely with a Bluetooth keyboard that will also be offered with the device.

Pricing will be revealed closer to launch, which is planned for early December.

Galaxy Tab 7.7 Moves Through FCC, Eradicates Reports That it Wouldn’t Reach the US

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samsung galaxy tab 7.7Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Tab 7.7 was announced at IFA 2011 at the very beginning of this month. Many were excited to hear about the high density Super AMOLED Plus display and the 1.4GHz dual-core CPU. Given the excitement, and the popularity of the original Galaxy Tab 7 in the US, it’s surprising that we saw reports that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 might not become available in the US. Fortunately, we can now say with confidence that the Galaxy Tab 7.7 will be reaching US shores, thanks to the FCC.

Engadget dug up the FCC filing, and while not much detail is revealed, we can see some simple diagrams (click through to Engadget to see), along with the the logo that will be printed on the back of the device, which indicates that the particular model going through the FCC is WiFi-only. Separate testing will need to be done on a model that features WLAN connectivity.

The original report of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (and the Galaxy Note) not coming to the US came from GottaBeMobile. The information came from a Samsung representative who said that there were “no plans” for launching the Tab 7.7 (and the Galaxy Note) in the US. It’s understandable how this could have been interpreted as Samsung effectively saying that these devices wouldn’t be coming to the US, but it seems clear in hindsight that the rep was referring to the fact that US plans were not yet made, finalized, or otherwise ready to be commented on. Saying that there a “no plans” is a pretty silly way to say that if you ask me!

Miscommunication is never fun, but I’m happy that it was merely that, rather than Samsung actually deciding not to launch both the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note in the states.

Though the Galaxy Note hasn’t yet cropped up in the FCC, we’ve been expecting to see it in the US at some point, and the Galaxy Tab 7.7 filing gives us confidence that it will eventually become available in the region..

Galaxy Tab 7.7 Hands-On Images

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We were lucky! Thousands that turned up to see the Galaxy Tab 7.7 at IFA were disappointed to find out that it had been removed from IFA.

We’ve got a good hands-on video up already but here are some images to add to that.

You can also find full specs, stats, links, and more on the Galaxy Tab 7.7 tracking page in our mobile device database.

[Updated] Exclusive: AndyPad to Offer Official Android Market Access, Launches Tomorrow

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andppadproimage

Update: There’s been an important new development to this story. See here.

Tomorrow (September 1st) the AndyPad and AndyPad Pro, new low-cost entries into the Android tablet world, are launching. The devices are already attractive thanks to their low price and now they’ve become a much more serious contender thanks to official Android Market access, a fact which Verticool (the company behind the AndyPad) has shared exclusively with Carrypad.

The AndyPad will run you €129 ($186 USD) and feature a 7” resistive touchscreen @ 800×480, a front camera, 8GB of storage, and Android 2.3. Full specs here.

The AndyPad Pro gives you a more modern tablet experience with a 7” capacitive touchscreen @ 1024×600, front and rear cameras, 16GB of storage, bluetooth, and Android 2.3 as well for €179 ($258). Full specs here.

Both devices are WiFi-only and have a 1.2GHz Cortex A8 CPU which Verticool says will 1080p output through HDMI.

The inclusion of official Android Market access means that users of the AndyPad and AndyPad Pro will be able to use many of the great Google applications that make Android… well… Android. Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and more should all make an appearance on the device. You’ll also be able to download apps from the Market as you see fit so you’ll be able to get your fill of Angry Birds, or any of the other 250,000+ available applications.

Acer Iconia Tab A100 Now Available Starting at $329–First 7” Honeycomb Tablet

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iconia tab a100The wait is officially over. Today, Acer announced that the Acer Iconia Tab 100, the first 7” Honeycomb tablet, is available in the US today and will be coming to Canada next month. It haven’t yet found it officially listed for sale on the site of any major retailers (or even on Acer’s own site), but I’d expect it to start popping up later today

We’ve actually known pretty much all there is to know about the Iconia A100 for some time now, other then when it would be launched. Right a the end of the July, we covered a story by Engadget that indicated that the A100 would be available in August, and it seems that they were right on the money.

Speaking of money; it was unclear which capacity the $300 price-point that we heard originally was intended for. Now we’ve got that information officially. Acer is offering an 8GB and 16GB variant of the device. The 8GB has an MSRP of $329 USD and though $329 USD is only $324 CAD, Acer lists the CAD MSRP as $349. For the 16GB version, the MSRP is $349 USD and $399 CAD.

These low initial prices are great as we’ll likely see them come down further relatively soon.

Another good thing is that the Iconia A100 will be shipped with the latest Honeycomb 3.2 installed, which means that, at least for now, customers will be able to enjoy the latest and great version of the OS and not have to worry about whether or not they’ll receive timely updates… yet.

Joanna Stern has some hands-on photos and early impressions over at This is My Next. She’s already reporting some unstable software on the device, which will hopefully get cleared up soon.

I’m still concerned as to whether or not Acer is lying again about the 1080p support on the A100, as they did with the Iconia A500. At launch, Acer claimed that the A500 would be able to do 1080p output even though it actually couldn’t. They promised an update that was supposed to hit in June to include the functionality, but that never came, and to my knowledge, still hasn’t. The press release for the A100 claims 1080p output capability, just like the A500 situation. Time will tell whether or not they are lying again.

Swing by our Acer Iconia Tab A100 forum for discussion, and if you missed it, you can find full product specs, links, and more on the Iconia Tab A100 tracking page in our database.

HTC Flyer (Retail Version) Overview and Unboxing Video

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Don’t forget that we’re doing a Live Review of the Flyer on Wednesday evening at 2100 CEST (your timezone here) where we do a detailed, 2hr review of the HTC Flyer with you in the chat session asking questions and steering the testing. It’s free, fun, detailed and interactive and likely to give you all the answers you need.

In the meantime, here’s the unboxing and overview video. I’ve got no comments at the moment apart from saying that the start-up sequence was smooth and that I’m a little bit underwhelmed by the pen input. Annotations seem OK but this is nothing that competes with the pen input capabilities of Windows 7, even on mobile PC devices.

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Here’s the unboxing video…

HTC Flyer Arrived. Live Review Details.

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The HTC Flyer I ordered on Friday has literally just arrived at the door and Im looking forward to ripping this open and seeing how it compares to the Galaxy Tab which is currently the most popular 7″ tablet on the market and has been a very good companion to me for over 6 months now. Expect an unboxing video soon. The Live Review will be held on Wednesday evening at 2100 CEST (Berlin.)

In terms of features, there are definitely a few to talk about and some that are unique to the Flyer ensuring at least some sales. The #1 feature is the digitizer input layer and active pen that integrates with a special input mode on the Flyer. Annotations and notes.made though this layer can be captured into the Evernote cloud storage, OCR and search application. It’s a well known and well trusted application and the integration will carry a lot of value. I hope a full Evernote license is included for offline notes.

There’s also the 1.5Ghz CPU to consider. It should provide a noticeable jump in performance over the Galaxy Tab.

There are two major issues to consider and either of these could be show-stoppers. Firstly, assuming you want to use a 7″ tablet for pen input (something I’ve never been a big fan of over the years that I’ve been reporting about tablets) you’ve got to remember to take the pen with you. There’s no integrated.storage which is really quite an issue. I’ll have to test that all-important palm rejection too.

Then there’s the price. As i write this, the Flyer 16Gb WiFi version is €499. The Galaxy Tab WiFi is available for €269. This issue will reduce over time as margins reduce but it may never catch up with the price of the Tab due to the screen technology used. You’ve got to be a pen-input fan that remembers to take the pen or someone that really really needs the extra CPU power.

Or are the other features worth considering? It’s true that not many tablets offer video content for download and streaming so HTC Watch will be an important service to check out. If the content and price is good, it’s a great feature. OnLive-CloudGaming is also a feature to check out. Dual-location on-frame buttons (that enable and disable depending on rotation) Skype video and HTC Sense are also unique features.I’ll also be interested in the ‘HD’ video recording  support and other hidden features that are sure to crop up.

On the downside, it looks like there’s no voice stack (I assume that includes SMS, MMS and Video calling (over UMTS) support. Its something I use a lot on the Galaxy Tab thatnks to Multi-SIM. I get the same number on my Tab and my smartphone.

Is there enough to entices people here? As time goes by and the price comes down into the same range as the Galaxy Tab and Acer Iconia Tab A100, I think there will.

Stay tuned here for the unboxing or subscribe to Twitter, RSS Facebook, or YouTube for notifications.

Blackberry Playbook Quick Impressions

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I managed to get a few hours hands on with the Blackberry Playbook [tracking page] today. First impression out of the box was: Wow, it’s tiny.

Laptopmag has done a comprehensive review of the device and they are pretty much on the money with their assessment. I didn’t experience any of the software issues they had though except for the slowness to rotate the screen when I turned the device.

The form factor is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and as you can see in the picture it’s roughly half the size of the ipad 2.

I actually found the square design refreshing and it definitely looked and felt different to the other rounded edge tablets. The unit felt solid and well built. The PlayBook has a soft-touch almost rubberised back and this gives a nice grippy surface to hold onto. It was easy to hold in one hand and light enough to do so for an extended period of time. The Playbook measures 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches, and is thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Tab but is slightly heavier.

It has a 7 inch display but interestingly the bezel forms part of the touch sensitive surface of the screen and allows gestures that make the tablet do things. For example you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to return to the home screen. The gestures were easy to learn and remember, and I picked them up and was using them naturally very quickly.

There’s a 3-megpaixel camera above the screen, along with a notification LED. There’s also a 5-megapixel camera on the back and the quality from both was very good. Two small slots on each side of the display are the speakers and they were surprisingly good in the quiet room.

The top of the PlayBook has a power button and volume controls with a Play/Pause button as well – a neat feature for media. A headphone jack is on the top right.

The device also has a micro-USB port which allows connection to a PC as a hard drive for file sharing. This worked as advertised and almost made up for the lack of a full sized USB port. As long as you have the cable it will be pretty easy to get files onto the device. A micro-HDMI (D-port), and charging contacts for an optional charging dock (no extra ports on the dock) are located on the bottom edge. The unit will charge from the supplied adapter or via USB when plugged into a computer.

Output from the HDMI was good and allowed full HDMI mirroring as well as presenting mode which meant you could be sending an image, slideshow or video to an external monitor while using the tablet for other tasks.

An interesting option in the settings was for the power management. This affected the multi-tasking capability. The options are Showcase, Default and Paused. On the homescreen if you swiped to switch between apps the running apps became smaller windows. Each app continues to run in these windows demonstrating that the OS is multi-tasking these apps and switching between them was ast and smooth. In the showcase power setting the apps still operated in the windows and this was demonstrated by showing a video still playing in the smaller window and while flicking the app selector left and right. This is obviously the most power hungry setting. In Default mode the setting employs smarter power management and in paused mode every app pauses it’s behaviour automatically when you navigate to another app.

Connecting to the Blackberry phone was simple and I tested out the Blackberry Bridge function as well as 3G tethering. The Playbook is WiFi-only and therefore doesn’t have a 3G capability without tethering to your Blackberry phone. Using the browser over a 3G tether was slow and even with a good 3G signal it then had to travel over Bluetooth which may be the bottleneck. Accessing email, files, and calendar functions over the bridge connection was easy but when opening larger files I really felt the slowness as it could take 20-30 seconds to open a 3MB PDF. I think I would use the bridge connection for email as having a larger screen and big on screen keyboard is much better than the small phone screen but for reading larger word documents or PDF files I would have to download them before attempting to read as otherwise it was just painful waiting for the pages to render.

The RIM sales represtative also mentioned that they will definitely be releasing a 10 inch version within months and hinted at some special features on it but refused to reveal what. While I prefer the small, pocketable size of a 7 inch device I know guys in my organisation prefer a 10 inch screen so the playbook 7 inch will not get a lot of interest from my co-workers. I feel that RIM has realised this barrier to entry in the enterprise business market and that’s why they are releasing a 10 inch version.

Overall the Tablet was well made, had lots of processing power and felt like a well rounded unit with a good mix of features.