Tag Archive | "docking station"

Hands-On and Report – Intel’s Clovertrail Tablets at MWC

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I’ve finally had good hands-on time with every Clovertrail tablet, hybrid and convertible out there today. There are only 11 so it wasn’t too difficult but it’s a good position to be in. Which one is the best? Which one has the best docking keyboard? Which one is the best value? Which on is the best for YOU?

At MWC this week I took videos of the final seven Clovertrail-based Windows tablets and the results are below. I’ve outlined the targe customers and put some thoughts down about what’s the best Clovertrail Windows 8 tablet or hybrid.

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Dell Latitude 10 ‘Essentials’ has Flexible Accessory Range

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It was spotted at CES last week but Dell’s PR company in Germany have just sent us official information on the new Dell Latitude 10 in ‘basic’ configuration form. It might be ‘basic’ but the accessory range make it appear very flexible.

Dell Latitude 10_1 prevDell Latitude 10_2 prevDell Latitude 10_3 prev

The Latitude 10 in ‘standard’ configuration has been around on the Clovertrail platform since late 2012 and comes with a digitizer layer. The ‘basic’ Latitude 10 doesn’t have the digitizer layer (and a few more features, see below) but the price goes right down to $499 Euros (post tax. We believe you’ll see this for $499 pre-tax in the USA.)

While there’s no docking keyboard for the latitude 10, it does have a range of interesting accessories. The keyboard case/stand reminds us of those we saw with the Samsung Q1 back in 2007. The docking port, looks something like OQO would have produced back in the same timeframe!

Corning Gorilla Glass and a magnesium frame ensure that the Dell Latitude 10 is relatively rugged even in this basic version; There’s no change here compared to the high-end Latitude 10.

Other differences between the ‘essentials’ and standard Latitude 10: No removable battery (and no extended battery.) No LED flash. No micro-USB for charging. No micro-HDMI. No TPM.No UMTS option.

The docking station offers USB ports (1Xfront, 3Xrear), headphones, HDMI and Ethernet. We’re not sure if these services are offered through USB converters in the docking station. (E.g. via a DisplayLink adaptor for the HDMI.) The KeyFolio Expert case offers a Kensington Bluetooth keyboard but, as far as we can see, no mouse so you’ll have to rely on the touschscreen. Without the digitizer pen, that could be a little tricky for some operations.

Weight of the tablet is 649gm. Screen is 1366×768 10” and there are 32GB and 64GB storage options. (64GB is 50 euro extra and available now in Germany.)

Via Dell Germany. More information here.

Samsung ATIV SmartPC 500T Keyboard Dock Review

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Hector, a UMPCPortal reader, has sent us a review of the Samsung Ativ PC 500T keyboard dock. Don’t forget to subscribe to Hectors YouTube channel here. Follow him on Twitter here and check out his blog here. Thanks Hector!

 

The Samsung ATIV XE500T has been somewhat a bit hard to find in-stock, that goes for other Clover Trail devices that we were supposed to see released in October. I was able to get a hold of the ATIV keyboard dock which again  has been in short supply at the moment. The keyboard dock works great, but not without some cons. Read-on for the review, images and a review video.

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Eee Pad Transformer Trips Up in Productivity Scenarios.

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UMPCs, we’re not shy to say, are still important. They’re becoming more important too as people realise that there is a life for devices between 4 and 10 inches. UMPCs offer something that you can rely on to give you a high quality work and web experiences with the minimum of brick walls and maximum compatibility and flexibility.

Unfortunately for pro-mobile fans, the number of true UMPCs has dropped to near-zero with only large-screen windows tablets getting any sort of attention. It’s the Android and IOS tablets that are getting the lions share of attention and development funds though and we are now in a position where we need to keep an eye on the desktop and mobile worlds for solutions that could satisfy our needs.

I’ve done extensive testing and research on the smartbook market over that last 18 months with devices like the Compaq Airlife 100 and Toshiba AC100 but I haven’t found anything that I could call pro-quality. While the industrial designs and computing hardware reach acceptable levels, the immature operating systems and applications truly limit capability and introduce inefficiencies and risk.

Honeycomb, the tablet-oriented version of the Android system is the next-in-line for major testing and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer is the ideal product to test it with.

Image via Laptopmag

Although I haven’t yet been able to get hold of a Transformer as my Amazon UK order was delayed to June, I have been carefully reading between the lines of the many reviews that are out there. I’m trying to get a feel for web experience, applications, keyboard usage, connectivity and battery life along with an idea about how those ‘HD’ apps are coming on.

So far, I am not seeing an acceptable solution being presented.

While a lot of reviewers seem impressed with the price and design of the tablet, keyboard and docking feature, the battery life and general usability of Honeycomb, there seem to be issues with Web (once again, not the full desktop internet experience) performance and applications. It’s the latter that concerns me the most as it will take the longest to fix and relies on a healthy Honeycomb ecosystem to even seed. I’m also not so impressed with the price.  It may be cheaper than other tablet options but it’s still an inflated price for what you’re getting. Finally, at 1.3KG, it weighs 130gm more than the Aspire One 522 that i’m using right now that has nearly double the CPU processing power and 3D graphics that just don’t compare along with an OS developed for professional use and a huge range of professional software available.

Keyboard – Good ID

In general, the keyboard and mousepad are getting good reports. A good level of mousepad/OS integration ensures that the unit is not relying on touch input when docked. The battery in the keyboard unit is used to recharge the tablet battery (a very inefficient, but cheap, way of using an extended battery) and the USB ports are of limited use. Mass storage and external mice are supported but don’t exptect to be able to plug in a webcam, usb headset or many other common USB accessories that ‘just work’ under Windows.

Battery Life – So-So.

In total, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer returns around 9hrs in tablet mode. Some reviews are reporting down to 6hrs. Usage in docked mode is going to depend on whether you dock the device when the tablet is fully charged as the battery in the docking station will try to re-charge the battery in the tablet while also powering the system. The battery to battery re-charge process is going to cost 20-30% of energy. From results I’ve seen the maximum you can expect from the docked unit is about 16hrs which, with a 48wh battery, shows that ARM-based devices ultimately rely on screen, wifi and engineering to get the best out of them, just like X86-based devices. I haven’t seen any screen-off, wifi on figures yet (always-on mode) but am hoping for at least 4 days. If the Transformer is very well engineered, that figure should go up to the 7-10 days range. ElectricPig indicates that the Transformer loses about 10% of battery with Wifi on in a screen-off, syncing on scenario. Assuming that’s about 10hrs of idle, it indicates a reasonable always-on, Wi-Fi connected capability of about 4 days (tablet only) or about 6 days (tablet and dock.)  That beats the Toshiba AC100 my a big margin.

Web Experience – Not FIE

Tabbed browsing is nice, but many reviewers are focusing on this , and the Flash 10.2 experience as a big step forward. For productivity users, these are entry-level features. While thre aren’t too many details in the reviews I’ve seen so far there are indications that the quality of the browsing experience is compromised. I’m particularly interested to hear how Google Docs works with the keyboard. AnandTech reports ”occasional issues’ that include a poorly formated Reddit front page.

Applications – Back to the Smartphone

As I mentioned above, this is the major issue for Android Smartbooks and it’s not one that manufacturers can solve. It will only resolve itself when Honeycomb gets traction, proves numbers and drives teams to develop quality software over a period of months. At the current rate of change in software, we’don’t expect Honeycomb to offer anything like a serious 3rd party productivity application range until at least late in 2011.

Other issues to consider.

  • No 3G / 4G
  • No VGA output (for projectors, monitor compatibility)
  • Video playback not smooth (as reported by a number of website reviews.)
  • Some reviews are reporting speed slow-down after a couple of hours of use.

Sidenote: The Anandtech review is an interesting read that explores the idea of continuous client and smartphone-based modular solutions.

Summary.

For smartphone and tablet users, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer must appear quite exciting. It did for me too but I knew there would be issues. The issues of application availability will haunt every attempt at an Android productivity device for at least the next 6 months, probably longer, but if manufacturers fail to capitalise on battery life possibilities and if Google can’t update Honeycomb to finally support a Chrome-like internet experience, there will be limited reason to accept these attempts into the realms of profesional environments and little enthusiasm for creating rich, high quality, professional applications. The few points mentioned above are obvious failings but there are other hidden items that will rise to the surface as people truly start to try these devices out for productivity. Think about multi-user capability for example. Disk encryption, memory upgrade, VGA ports and 3G support are just a few more to consider.

I’m disappointed in the battery life reports, video playback issues, weight and web experience that I’m reading about so far. So much so that i”ve decided to skip the Eee Pad Transformer. I will try to get hold of a review sample but it won’t be something I’ll take on board into my work life. Like the Airlife, AC100, Atrix and other attempts, there’s so much missing, so many brick-walls, so few applications that I don’t expect any major progress until later in the year. The Transformer proves the point that Honeycomb can move in the right direction and as a tablet device, it may well be good value but for pro-mobile users, I’m not recommending it.

Caveat -These thoughts based on my experience with smartbooks, my own hands-on with the Transformer, feedback from contacts and information available in the public domain. Find full reviews of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer in our product page. Reader, owner feedback is encouraged below.

Acer Iconia Tab W500 – Specs Look Good. Weight and Battery Life Don’t

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The product page for the Acer Iconia Tab W500 is now live and populated with links, specs, gallery and videos.

Acer Iconia Tab W500

I’ve been through the details with a fine toothcomb and on one had I’m quite excited about a sub 1KG tablet with an acceptable CPU, good GPU, hi-res wide-view screen, UMTS and docking station for 599 Euro (current average online prices, Germany) but when you look at the weight / battery life ratio, it isn’t that good. Acer have only managed to squeeze in a 36Wh battery which means you’re looking at 3-4hrs usable battery life. Add the dock (which doesn’t look like it’s built for the road!) and you’re up over 1.5KG.

Taken as a tablet only, it actually looks like an interesting proposition. With CPU power up at the top end of the netbook range and GPU that blows away anything based purely on Intel netbook platforms it should perform smoothly. 2GB of RAM and Windows Home Premium give it media serving capability. Throw in the UMTS/HSDPA and it gets even more exciting.

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See the W500 gallery for more.

At the end of the day, and specifications list, I’ve a feeling that this is going to work well as a hot-desking solution. It should serve well as a home desktop for anyone not getting involved with hundreds of browser tabs or video editing and the grab-and-go capability means it can be used in a more casual manner now and again. It looks fun too!

For UMPC fans though, it’s just too heavy. An upgraded 1.25KG Asus 1015PN with 6hr battery would be a much better choice for true mobile computing.

Gigabyte S1080 Windows Tablet with Docking Ports. Hands-on Video.

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SONY DSC Gigabyte launched a new Tablet PC at CES that we haven’t reported on yet. My fellow MeetMobility podcaster Sascha of Netbooknews has just had hands-on today so it’s worth plugging his video and talking a little about the device.

Firstly, we’re talking about 10” capacitive touchscreen tablet at 900gm running Windows 7 on a netbook platform with the N570 (2×1.66Ghz) CPU. Usefully, there’s a built-in mouse area and left-and-right mouse buttons which is perfect for two-handed use. Unfortunately, there’s no digitiser so you’re left with a slight mismatch between the pen-focused Windows 7 and the finger-focused touchscreen. It’s something we’ve seen in a few devices recently and we don’t like the trend. HP have it right with the dual-mode 500 Slate as do Lenovo and Motion Computing.

Interestingly though, the device isn’t aimed at vertical markets. The press-release from Gigabyte (Jan 6th) sates: “The S1080 is designed to be the ultimate mobile device to fit the demanding needs of consumers who need a high-performing multitasking Slate that offers the full productivity of a PC,” OK, taken from that angle, they might have it right. There’s a suite of overlay software and, i’m pleased to say, provision for a docking port that looks, based on the size of those connectors, to offer serious connectivity. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a PCI-Express slot in the docking station. Gigabyte are no stranger to the idea of PCI Express but it has far more value on a powered docking station. Later in the press release, Gigabyte allude to a more professional customer: “The large hard drive also makes it the perfect device to load custom business and enterprise applications"

We seem to have an interesting product here for either consumer or enterprise markets…until we look at battery life which brings a huge question mark to the table. N570 at 900gm means max 30Wh battery and that means 3-4hrs in my opinion. I’ve tested the 1KG N350 (Samsung, also dual-core Atom) and that didn’t get much past 4hrs. Still, with the dock in use, this could be something for hot-desking and hot couching! I’m looking over at the Fujitsu U820 that is powering this post and thinking, hmm, upgrade time? A 10” screen next to my desktop screen would certainly be more useful on my desk than the 5.6”-er I’ve got here. Let’s hope for 2GB and Windows Home Premium and the possibility to swap the HDD for an SSD.

Here’s the video from Netbooknews.

via – Netbooknews

Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock Review

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Dock in action _2_ Sometimes we’re lucky in Europe, sometimes not. With the Galaxy Tab we’re generally lucky because Germany was one of the first countries to get mass-market availability. It’s also one of the first places to get the Galaxy Tab HDMI Docking Station. Model number: ECR-D980

Recommended price is 49,90 Euros but let me just say this now – don’t buy it for that price. Not only is it available for much less (I bought it for 36 Euro) but it simply isn’t worth 50 Euro. It’s nothing much more than a stand and a break-out cable and once you’ve bought the HDMI cable to go with it, you’re looking at a lot of money just to get the digital video signal from one connector to another.

Yes, there’s no HDMI cable included which completely caught me off-guard. I ended up heading out to the local electronics shop where, of course, the lowest cost cable was out of stock. I paid 29 Euro for a mini HDMI to HDMI cable which is again, too much. The other thing you’ll need is the power cable from your original Galaxy Tab because again, it’s not provided and you need it to activate the HDMI port. That means if you want to charge the Tab somewhere other than the dock or use the cable for PC connectivity, you need to remove it from the dock. A royal pain in the arse and certainly not user friendly. The other cable problem has to do with the original USB cable. It’s all of about 50cm long and just doesn’t reach to most plug locations. Samsung have not thought this one through.

One more thing, there’s no 3.5mm audio cable proved either but I guess that won’t surprise you now.

As you’ll see in the images, there are just the three ports on the dock. Mini HDMI, 3.5mm audio and the power cable input. Analogue video is not exposed on the docking port so you’ll have to buy another cable for that (17 Euro street price) which means you’ll have to remove the device from the dock, stop charging and connect the A/V breakout cable. Again, not elegant. The build quality is good and the base-located speaker openings are routed well.

Galaxy Tab Dock Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock (4) Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock (3)

Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock (12) Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock (8) Galaxy Tab HDMI Dock (11)

You can also flip the Tab into landscape mode and use the dock as a stand…

hdmi dock as stand (1)

More images in the Gallery.

Video Playback

Once you’ve got over the cable issue and got things connected up, you’ll see various output styles that depend on device orientation and application control. For example, the home screen flips to fill the screen when you put the device in landscape mode. YouTube plays in full-screen regardless of device orientation. Games, such as Asphalt 5 HD, only show in landscape mode and video playback through the local video player or through the DLNA ‘AllShare’ player always show in full-screen.

I tested the output on two devices. One, an LG digital TV, the other, an LG monitor (both 1080p capable) and got two different results in terms of quality. It also highlighted some audio issues that you need to be aware of.

The LG digital TV worked well and seemed to display in a ‘native’ resolution although there were a few lines missing at the top and bottom of the screen. If the monitor has 1080 vertical resolution and the Tab, 1024, why are there lines missing? There’s some overscan or scaling issue here on my TV. Playback of videos from the local storage was great and a 1080p trailer played just beautifully although without sound due to the lack of AC3 down-conversion. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. Google Earth was fun too although the up-scaling from 1024×600 definitely shows up on-screen! I even tried a racing game. By holding the dock and device in landscape mode you can use the Tab as a controller and watch it on the screen. It’s fun but not that practical with two cables hanging out of the back. Roll-on wireless HDMI because that game/controller scenario could really be something special.

On the second screen, an LG monitor, I got poor results. The screen showed the Tab as a 1080i input at 30fps but the resolution was very poor indeed. The home screen and browser text was pixelated and ugly; The scaling on this device just didn’t work-out, even after checking monitor configuration. For reference, the display is an LG W2261VP as seen here on Amazon. Interestingly, when I played out a 1080p video, the quality was perfect as on the LG TV.

Audio playback

Audio is presented in digital format over the HDMI cable so you have the opportunity to break that out from your TV or HiFi system if supported but it it would have been nice to see an S/PDIF or TOSLINK connector for direct routing to a Hi-Fi system. Sure, many A/V Amps have HDMI inputs now but many (including mine) still use dedicated digital audio connectors. On my LG TV the digital audio pass-through worked and allowed me to connect my home Hi-Fi through an optical digital link.

In the monitor configuration mentioned above you need to be careful about audio because although an analogue audio out put is provided on the dock, this is disabled when HDMI is working. If you are using a monitor without audio subsystem and speakers, you need to make sure that monitor can decode the audio to an analogue audio port or pass it through to another digital audio port.  With a TV, you’ll probably be OK. At least you’ll have built-in speakers and you’re likely to have a digital audio pass-through too.

Multi-channel audio

I experienced a problem with digital audio when you get to surround-sound tracks like AC3 WMA multi-channel or DTS. The Galaxy Tab does not decode these tracks to a stereo track for playback, either on-board or through the HDMI port. It would be OK if the raw digital audio track was simply passed through to the HDMI cable but doesn’t appear to be. There’s no way at all to get a surround soundtrack to an external decoder and this is something that could catch a lot of people out.  The only hope here is that Samsung include this in the next firmware or that I’m an idiot and have missed some configuration somewhere. [It could be that my TV is not passing through the raw digital stream to my Hi-Fi. Let me know if you have a the dock and have success with raw multi-channel digital audio pass-through]

Powerpoint Presentation

The ThinkFree Office presentation software outputs in landscape mode only which means that although the HDMI output is always full-screen, you’ll have to rotate the HDMI dock through 90 degrees for on-Tab viewing. I tested a demo presentation with an image and default transition and although the transition wasn’t smooth (see performance issue below) it was acceptable and interesting to see. A downloaded PPT with no transitions, worked well.

Bedside dock problem

The main reason for me buying the dock (apart from testing it for Carrypad) was to use it as a bedside dock. It would be an easy way to charge and an easy way to bring my media server content up to the TV I occasionally use. I also wanted to hook up some mini speakers for music. The problem is that as long as the HDMI cable is connected and there is some form of connection at the other end, the backlight stays on. If your TV completely disconnects the HDMI (and any terminating resistance I that I suspect is being detected) then it might work for you because unplugging the HDMI cable turns the backlight off but if you’re not lucky, the backlight stays on. Even at low levels it’s too much for many people and in my situation, i’ll have to leave the HDMI cable disconnected until needed. That’s not what I call user-friendly! A ‘bedside’ app that fixed these problems would be perfect. Timed profiles, easy access to alarms, backlight off (or very low-light clock) and other features would make it perfect.

Performance issues

Plugging in the HDMI cable affects performance. It’s easy to see. The UI goes choppy and things take longer to operate. For video playback, the Galaxy Tab screen is frozen so there’s no real issue there but you’ll notice it in mirrored-screen scenarios. Although this is a noticeable issue, it hasn’t affected the way I wanted to use the dock for A/V operations. If you’re thinking of anything like PowerPoint presentations (from ThinkFree Office for example)  then there is a slight smoothness hit.

Remote PMP using DLNA

If you have the mini-HDMI cable though and are confident that you have content in the right format and a TV that will work then the dock could make a really nice and good-value remote video playback unit. I’ve been testing out various DLNA solutions and although Windows Vista media server doesn’t work and Twonky Media Server (on Vista) isn’t working 100% with the Tab,  I’ve been getting better results from a pure Windows 7 solution although not without the occasional problem. In a working set-up it makes quite a tidy remote media player using the provided ‘AllShare’ application. Note that large libraries take a long time to show on the AllShare application and don’t appear to be cached for future use.

Dock in action (9) Dock in action (4) Dock in action (11)

Dock in action (2) Dock in action Dock in action (1)

Click to enlarge. More images in the Gallery.

Round-Up

For most people, I don’t think the HDMI dock is worth it. If it was 30 euro with a cable then, yes. If it was 35 Euro with a cable and power adapter – a must-buy but I’d recommend waiting for price drops or and aftermarket solution before going ahead unless you have a specific need that is covered above.

However well it works out though, I’ll probably always be reminded of the poor power cable solution and that 20 euro HDMI cable I had to buy and when those surround-soundtracks don’t play, I’ll be annoyed all over again. The HDMI dock hasn’t really worked out for me yet. Be careful when you make your purchase because it might not work out for you too.

Jumper JK01-TT, Win 7 Tablet, Netbook platform.

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jumper-jk01-ttAs the rumours surrounding the HP Windows 7 tablet continue to swirl and with no official response on the matter, no one is quite sure if the project is dead or not.  For those who like the form factor and who aren’t interested in owning an Apple iPad, the Jumper JK01-TT may be of interest.

It’s a 10.1 inch tablet running Windows 7 and sports a 1024 x 600 multitouch display. The JK01-TT is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. It comes loaded with WiFi, 3G, USB, 4 in 1 card reader, 2MP webcam, accelerometer with autorotation and a 3000mAh battery.

I would estimate a possible 2 – 3 hours run time if you’re lucky but given its 1.2kg weight and slim dimensions (11.4” x 5.9” x 0.8”) it does make for a small, full-featured tablet.

As an added bonus the Jumper JK01-TT ships with a docking station, wireless mouse / keyboard and is available at Ownta costing €556.92

[image courtesy of Ownta via Liliputing]

The Secret Life of a Desktop UMPC.

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It’s been about 2-weeks since I last used my daily desktop PC and 2-weeks since I’ve heard that horrible background noise of fan and disk. For the last two weeks I’ve been using a silent, modular, ‘grab and go’ solution based on the Fujitsu U820 UMPC and it’s working out very well indeed. You won’t find many solutions like this out there because this is one of the secrets of the UMPC world that marketing teams and board members get scared about – a multi-scenario device!

U820dock2

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Archos 5 Mini-Video/USB Dock and Firmware 1.3

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archos5dockWhat a hectic few hours!  I’ve had DHL at the door with the Archos 5 Mini Dock, a tweet from Pocketables alerting me that the new firmware is available and the whole lot has been captured in a video. I’ll say no more than this:

  • Mini-dock = Bargain!
  • YouTube HD on TV = Fantastic!
  • IR RF keyboard and mouse = Total TV laziness.
  • Mini keyboard and mouse = Mini ‘Web’ PC under 500gm and 300 Euro!

It looks like some hard drives with no external power won’t work but I tested a few USB SD-card adaptors and it worked fine. Questions remain over 3G sticks.

As for the firmware, there are a lot of improvements. Check the updates page for details.

More images in the gallery.

More information about the Archos 5 Internet Tablet here.

Update: TV interference is purely due to trying to record a CRT. For a better look at TV-out put using an HDMI dock, Check out Charbax’s video here.

Archos 5 Mini Dock Overview

Help your UMPCPortal! Buy the Archos 5 Mini-Dock through our affiliates.

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Fujitsu Loox U/B50N UMPC as Grab-and-Go, Windows 7 Desktop.

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After a very successful and stress-free install of Windows 7 on the U/B50N (U820, U2010) UMPC yesterday, I’m now giving it a full test as a desktop PC with full size monitor and keyboard. Using the dock, the screen keyboard, mouse and power can be left plugged in and I can grab the UMPC whenever I need to take Twhirl to the kitchen!

The Loox was already an impressive device but with Windows 7 it’s working so much better. Quick, clean, enjoyable. Not as fast as XP but the trade-off is worth it now. Battery life appears to be better. It ranges from under 5W (wifi-on, screen on, idle = 4hrs) drain through 7W (average Wifi browsing = 3hrs) up to 10W (2hrs) if it’s pushed for videos. Boot time is about 60 seconds until fingerprint swipe and another 30 seconds on top until it’s stable. Far better than Vista was. All touch features are working including floating tip and the on screen keyboard is great in portrait sofa-surfing mode! Even the fingerprint reader is working for Windows login. There’s no audio output on the dock which is a little annoying but USB audio dongles are dirt cheap and there’s always the A2DP route so it’s not a major hassle. With the 1.6Ghz processor (1GB RAM) it’s fast enough for my journalistic and social networking activities although there’s clearly room for improvement in disk speed. A fast 64GB SSD would make this almost unbeatable. (The 2Ghz version with an SSD will be the ultimate grab and go desktop!)

This isn’t a cheap setup by any means but it’s one of the best engineered, multi-scenario UMPC packages you can buy. From tablet to thumbing to table-top and desktop. It’s up there with the 1.8Ghz OQO 2+ and docking station setup I tested. I’m enjoying the U/B50N so much that when I’ve completed the Viliv S5 review (that I’m supposed to be doing right now!) I’ll schedule a full review of this.  When the UMID Mbook goes back to Mobilx this week, the U/B50N will become my main UMPC. Thanks very much to Conics for the long-term loan of the U/B50N. It’s been a pleasure but I really can’t stop thinking about the 2Ghz version you have!

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End of day update:

This is very cool to work with. I always like a dual-screen setup and theres a great feeling of efficiency here but don’t expect this setup to be without limits. I put the Fuji into high-power mode (no speed stepping) and the fan got annoying (in my silent, out of town room while I was concentrating on an article) and there were one or two stutters too many. I think, however, these are coming from my RF keyboard and mouse rahter than the UMPC. I need another session with a hard-wired keyboard.mouse. If you need ONE PC for mobility and desktop and you want to use it a lot, i.e. you need quality, this is probably in the top three with the Sony UX and OQO. I dare say the 2Ghz with SSD and windows 7 will be the ultimate one-pc setup.

Dynadock could turn your UMPC into a desktop.

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dynadock

I’m a big fan of using UMPCs as desktops. In my normal daily work there’s nothing that I can’t do on my UMPC and with the future looking good for more powerful devices, even normal desktop users should be able to run their daily work on a UMPC but it doesn’t work if you keep having to plug cables in and out all over the place. A simple, single cable or docking port solution is what’s needed. The i7210, OQO and M704 all have nice docking stations but many other UMPCs, including my current Q1 Ultra, don’t.

A recent article by Jenn over at Pocketables made me give the universal USB docking station idea a second thought and this review of the Toshiba Dynadock now has me hovering over the order button. It supports multi-view via ‘DisplayLink’ technology, there’s a DVI-out version, ethernet, USB ports, headphone and mic ports a digital audio out port and even a serial port and the only thing you have to plug into the UMPC is a single USB cable.

An analogue, TV-out port would have been better than a serial port but for desktop operations and even in ‘set-top-box’ situations, the Dynadock looks perfect. Some video limitations mean that you won’t be able to run HD720 videos smoothly but for most people with UMPCs, that wouldn’t have been an expectation anyway.

Pricing for the DVI version runs to $180 but the analogue, VGA version is $150 but the street price (e.g. Amazon.com – right) is down to a very reasonable $107 for some models as I write this.

Check out the review at Trusted Reviews.

Via Engadget.



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