After I had tested the N570-based S1080 tablet yesterday I had a great discussion with Gigabyte about mobile video editing. Gigabyte have always explored new features and pushed the boundaries in some way another so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when the representative told me I should wait for Computex to see the T20xx range of devices that will come with the latest, Sandy Bridge versions of Intel’s Core i3 or i5 CPUs. I understood that they would be convertible too.
That’s going to be something to test as soon as possible because if they manage it, we could have another low-cost power-option on our hands. If they manage to get some decent battery life out of it and keep it under 1.5KG too, it’s going to be very interesting indeed. I sincerely hope that the rep knew what he was talking about and can’t wait to hear more.
Computex starts on May 31st and we’re planning to be there.
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 10â€ 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: â€œThe 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,â€ 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: â€œThe 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 marketsâ€¦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 10â€ screen next to my desktop screen would certainly be more useful on my desk than the 5.6â€-er I’ve got here. Let’s hope for 2GB and Windows Home Premium and the possibility to swap the HDD for an SSD.
Me and chippy mentioned on Twitter just the other day that more power was needed from netbook based systems and Gigabyte may have just come up with the goods in their T1000 series refresh.
The T1005M comes packing Intels newest Atom processor, the N550. Its a 1.5GHz dual-core chip with 512KB of L2 cache, DDR3 support and hyperthreading to get you multitaskers moving along nicely.
Other specifications from this convertible netbook include, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 320GB hard drive, WiFi 80211b/g/n, Bluetooth, 2x USB 2.0, Windows 7 Home Premium and a 10.1â€ capacitive multi-touch display running at 1366 x 768 pixels resolution. What is also notable is the inclusion of one USB 3.0 port and optional inbuilt HSDPA.
Based on these specifications I think we have found chippy a new convertible, assuming he’s willing to stump up the $798 USD premium.
The unit weighs 3.3 pounds, measures in at 10.4â€ x 8.4â€ x 1.6â€ and comes with a 6 cell, 41Whr, 7650mAh battery.
Gigabytes T1005M is already available in Australia, although curiously the retailer is showing the product as discontinued. When it will grace European and US shores is yet unknown but watch this space.
The Viliv S10, Lenovo S10-3T and Gigabyte T1000 sit in the 1.2-1.5KG bracket and are therefore just outside the range that we normally focus on here at UMPCPortal but given the multiple usage scenarios offered by the touch-capable convertible form-factor they are still worth looking at.
The four interesting models in the 10â€ screen size range right now are:
Viliv S10 â€“ 1GB RAM, Multitouch (1366×768) Z530 1.6Ghz Windows 7 Home PremiumÂ 32GB SSD. 779 Euro (expected)
Lenovo S10-3T â€“ 1GB RAM, Multitouch (1024Ã—600) N450 1.6Ghz Windows 7 Home Premium 449 Euro
Gigabyte Touchnote â€“ 2GB RAM, Single Touch N280 1.6Ghz (1366Ã—768) Windows 7 Starter, 569 Euro
ASUS T101 MT â€“ 2GB RAM, Multitouch (1024Ã—600), N450 1.6Ghz CPU, Win 7 Home Premium. 320GN HDD. 499 Euro
I’ve talked about the relative pricing of the four devices here but what about the features? Sascha got to play with the S10-3T, the T1000 and the S10 at CeBIT last week and here’s his hand-on video. [S10 appears later in the video here.] You can see how slim the S10 is compared to the other two devices.Viliv have done an excellent job with size, weight and styling. â€œThey are kinda bulkyâ€ says Sascha as he holds the Viliv S10 and points to the other two devices!
Hop over to JKK movile to see some pics of the new Gigabyte T1000P.
Basically we’re looking at an updated version of the T1028X with Pinetrail and a Multitouch screen. This will go head to head with the Viliv S10, Asus T101H, Lenovo S10-3T.
It’s a shame they didnt take the chance to update the design but at least all the upgrade ports and 3G antenna will still be there. This is a big advantage for people wanting to upgrade with 3G modem, SSD and 2GB RAM.
If you’re at IFA for the last day of the event today, please keep your eyes out for a brown Gigabyte T1028G. It was stolen from the Netbooknews team as they waited around in a press area yesterday. More important than the hardware is the valuable video and image content on it. Many hours of work have been lost.
Sascha shares the details in a German-language post at netbooknews.de but the important thing is that if you see a Touchnote (they are easy to spot as they are brown and there aren’t many of them around) at or around IFA in Berlin, give @sascha_p a ping on twitter and let him know the details.
Liliputing and Netbooknews.com both have Gigabyte Touchnote T1028X’s in their hands and videos and first thoughts are starting to appear.
Certainly the price is the main point of note with the T1028X. It looks like a netbook but has a low-end notebook price. In reality, it isn’t really a netbook. With the touch-capable high-res screen, convertible form factor, upgradeability, smart manager and gesture software, multi-touch mousepad, fast SATA drive, N280 CPU and pre-wired 3G antenna you’re getting way more than with the average netbook. Gigabyte would have done well to at least make the device look a bit more stylish though. There are more stylish options out there and if you’re going to spend money like that, you want something to show off right?
Here is the initial hands-on from Liliputing.
Expect a Touchnote T1028X video from Netbooknews.com in the next few days. I’ve spoken to Sascha already and he seems to really like it so far.
You still get the ExpressCard/34 slot, the fast 160GB SATA drive, the battery meter (check battery levels when turned off) and the built-in 3G antenna and easy access to RAM but there’s one other feature too. Increased screen contrast. The T1028M has a slightly milky finish to the screen when you’re in bright ambient light so if the increased contrast is significant then it will work well for video fans and outdoor fans. I’ve seen the T1028X in flesh but it was on a stand at Computex. I didn’t notice any difference but I didn’t really take the time to compare with the T1028M. I have a few pics here.
At 622 Euros, its not a cheap netbook but to be honest, it’s not really a netbook. With the upgrade capability (I have 3G with excellent reception and a Runcore SATA drive in my T1028M) and the touchscreen features you really get far more than any other netbook out there.
Have you bought a T1028X? What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear them. Were you waiting for the ASUS T101H?!
Footnote: Despite having written a lot about the T1028M, I have never written a full review. Would people be interested in a full review of the T1028M based on long-term usage or would you prefer that I get hold of a T1028X and do a quick review and live session?
The Gigabyte Touchnote T1028M [details] is a great convertible netbook. I’ve been using one as my main laptop for nearly 4 months now and I’m very very happy with it. Of course I’ve retro-fitted one of the new Runcore Pro IV SSD drives and added a 3G modem which connects to the pre-wired antenna turning it into more than your average netbook but even without the SSD and 3G it’s a great convertible netbook. The only niggle I have is with the 3hr battery life. My Ultimate Netbook U20 battery pack does a good job of back-up power duties but to make things a little more compact I bought the 6-cell battery pack option.
At 68 Euros plus tax, I wasn’t too exited about the price but it turns out that its more than just another 2 cells. The 6 cell pack has 170% the capacity of the standard battery and is returning 5.5 to 6hrs on-net working time. As I write this I have over 2hrs left with 36% battery remaining with the Wifi on and the backlight at 70%. With the standard battery as a spare, I have a full day’s computing available without having to worry about mains power.
The sizing is good too with no noticeable increase in height and only a small section jutting out from the rear.
Unfortunately the 6-cell sticks out too far for it to fit into the supplied case but if you attach the standard cell and put the 6-cell in the case pocket you’ve got up to 9 hours of netbooking! Total weight of the T1028M with the 6-cell attached is 1450gm. (3lb 3oz)
If you’ve got the M912 or T1028M and need enough battery power for a full days work, the extended battery is the answer.
With the addition of the extended battery on the Touchnote I’ve run out of ideas for improvement. I honestly can’t think of anything that I don’t like about the device now. Agreed, it’s cost me way way more than any netbook available but there’s nothing out there that comes close. The T101H would be the only competitor but there’s still no word of a release date for that. If you’re waiting for the T101H, you might want to take a closer look at the T1028. (Note: The high-end version, T1028X, with the N280 and 1366×768 screen is available in the U.S. from the 2nd August)