Tag Archive | "budget"

Windows 10 should have a ‘disable desktop’ option.

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stream7_galleryZoom_img1For 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:

start

 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.

Budget Windows 8 Tablets work well in ‘RT Mode’

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I’m testing a Point of View Mobii Wintab 800W budget Windows 8 tablet and it’s been a tough, slow process. The Wintab 800W is built on Intel’s low-cost reference platform that you’re going to see in a lot of $99 Windows tablet offers this quarter so what you see here applies to many other models. The issue is that with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage you simply can’t approach them as Windows PCs. Working in the desktop means running out of RAM and disk space quickly. Even Chrome is going to take up over 1GB  of disk space after you start using all the features and you’ll end up with this very quickly…

An empty disk on a 16GB Windows 8 tablet

An empty disk on a 16GB Windows 8 tablet

I’m testing the PoV Wintab for Notebookcheck and the process we use for benchmarking is focused on desktop apps. In some extra testing I focused on the RT / Modern ui of built-in apps and Store apps and the results were completely different. Turn off automatic Windows Updates (it’s a security risk but you can selectively download the security patches if you want them) and refrain from installing desktop apps. Switch to RT mode / Start Screen and everything suddenly becomes smooth and trouble-free. These budget Windows 8 tablets are, effectively, RT tablets. Advanced users will probably want to remove the recovery partition (5GB) and experiment and I’m sure that those users will be able to squeeze some impressive usage out of these tablets but for normal users, don’t bother.

Point of View low-cost  16/1 Windows tablet.

Point of View low-cost 16/1 Windows tablet.

My guide to surviving with 32GB of storage applies to 16GB tablets too so if you want to experiment, take a look here.

So here’s the video demo. In it you’ll see browsing with smooth zoom, music playing in Connected Standby, a 33 Mbps 2K video playing, maps and other apps running. In fact, everything a normal user would need is here. It’s an X86 Windows RT tablet.

 

The full review will be linked here when available. (Notebookcheck.net)

Acer Aspire E11 / ES1 $200 Netbook first impressions + Video

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Acer Aspire E11

The Acer Aspire E11 (ES1 in some areas) is one of a new-wave of 200-euro / dollar Windows netbooks entering the market as both a response to low-cost Chromebooks and  part of a continuing drive to cut the cost of entry-level laptops. It’s made possible by a low-cost Intel System on Chip and tight motherboard integration, low-cost storage and the removal of the fan. Just 32GB of SSD storage is offered so there are some limits to how you can use the ES1. Look at it as a cloud-computer though (100GB of free One Drive is included) and it’s easy to see how it might fit into schools, bedrooms and living rooms in many houses across the world. The Acer Es1 can boot Linux too so if you feel like trying  XBMC , Tails, Ubuntu or other distros, you can. A full unboxing and test video is embedded below, after my words on the first 48 hours with the Acer Aspire E11 ES1-111M.

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Toshiba Satellite U940 Review (U945 in the USA)

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Toshiba U940 U945 (25)

When I first had hands-on with the Toshiba U940 I was a little worried that it might be built too cheaply. The casing and styling weren’t exactly top-of-the-range but it turns out that Toshiba have put together quite an honest package here. Don’t judge an Ultrabook by the cover because the Toshiba U940 has some unique features and good all-round performance. Read-on to find out more.

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The $499 Ultrabook is Available Today at Walmart

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Acer S3

[US-focused post]

Yesterday I predicted that the $499 Ultrabook would appear this weekend. It has! The Acer S3 is available for $499 at Walmart stores today.

Update: There’s a Windows 8 Ivy Ultrabook available for $489.

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German Supermarket offers Medion S4216 Ultrabook for €599, A Lesson in Mainstream Marketing

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Aldi Ultrabook

On the morning of the 22.11.2012 Aldi Sud in Germany is probably going to sell over ten thousand Ultrabooks. The new Medion AKOYA S4216 (MD 99080) includes a 1TB SSD-supported hard drive and a removable DVD that can be replaced with an included extra battery. We highlighted the Medion S4211 recently and the S4216 is exactly the Ultrabook variant we were expecting. Yours, if you’re in Germany and standing in line, for €599

Update: Medion Akoya S4216 Specs now in the database. We’ll add info links, videos and reviews as we find them so keep it bookmarked!

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Vivobook S200. This popular ultrathin is not an Ultrabook. But that’s good!

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S200

As I checked the list of top selling laptops at Amazon.com again this morning I noted that the ASUS Vivobook X202 touchscreen ultrathin, an Ultrabook-a-like for most consumers, was at position 10 for the second day running. Note, that we’re talking about the laptop category best-sellers list that includes two cheap Chromebooks, a couple of Apple laptops and a clutch of value laptops. Later this morning I picked up on a full review of the ASUS S200, the European version of the X202, and it gets a lot of praise. In our own ranking system, based on visitor view numbers, the X202 / S200 is #11 out of over 100 Ultrathins.  This ultrathin is on target to be the big hit this season and that’s something Intel need to take a close look at. It sounds bad. It’s not.

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ASUS VivoBook S400 Looking Popular, Now in Database

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We’ve just added the ASUS VivoBook S400 to the database (The 84th Ultrabook) and I note that it’s already quite the popular product. At around $700 for a touchscreen 14.1”-er, it’s not too surprising although for that price you’re not getting best-of-specs!

ASUS Vivobook S400CA

1366×768 resolution is almost a budget laptop specification and the hybrid hard drive won’t be as fast as an SSD. The weight is not exactly class-leading either but you do get a free RAM slot inside. We’re still trying to track down information on the battery capacity for you.

Given the current spec list and ASUS’ reputation this could be a really great entry point into some Touch Windows 8 productivity and fun.

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ASUS S46 and S56 Low Cost Ultrabooks Coming with Windows 8 and Nvidia GT635M

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While we continue to track down information on the ASUS U500 and Transformer Book, Vivo Book or whatever else the new Win 8 laptops might be called on October 23rd, here’s some info on ASUS S-Series S46 and S56. [For info on the S200 Touch, see here.] The four variants cover 14 and 15.6 screens with built-in and discreet graphics options. All variants have the same 1366×768 resolution and an optical drive.

All ASUS ultrabooks and ultrathins are listed here.

ASUS S46ASUS S56

  • ASUS S46CA – 14”, Intel HD4000 Graphics
  • ASUS S46CM – 14”, Nvidia GT635M Graphics
  • ASUS S56CA – 15.6”, Intel HD4000 Graphics
  • ASUS S56CM – 15.6”. Nvidia GT635M Graphics

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Toshiba Announces Budget and Slider Ultrabooks for Windows 8

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Toshiba formerly announced two new Ultrabooks this morning, taking their total number of individual designs to 5 – a figure that tells us that manufacturers are totally on board with the Ultrabook idea.

The Toshiba Sattelite U920T (U925T in the USA) is the slider device we previewed a few days ago. It’s going to be available some time in the fourth quarter. The second is the Toshiba Sattelite U940 (again, expect U945 in the USA.) As you’d expect, both are WIndows 8 models.

toshiba-u920tToshiba Settelite U940

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Six Ultrabooks Under $700, Three Ivy Bridge.

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Intel recently said that Ultrabook prices will reach $699 later this year. At that point there was already one model at that price and we were predicting $599 offers by the end of the year. Just a few weeks later there are 6 models available under $700 at Amazon.com with two offering Core i5 Ivy Bridge platforms and one offer right down at $650. If you’re getting ready for a back-to-school purchase, take a closer look at these.

700 dollar ultrabooks

Our number one bargain today is the Ivy Bridge Core i5 version of the Samsung Series 5. This is a great offer on a solid Ultrabook and we don’t think you’ll find a better offer in the USA today although if you want the same CPU and a DVD drive, the Acer Timeline U M5 is on offer too.

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Aspire Aspire Timeline M5. Bang-for-buck Ultrabook getting Good Reviews

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On an earnings call yesterday, Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, told journalists that Ultrabooks would reach $699 by ‘fall’ – Q4 of this year. Does he not read Ultrabooknews? Ultrabooks are already selling for under $699. Take the Acer Aspire Timeline M5 for example.

Aspire Timeline M5

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