It had to happen on #13 right? On my recent 14-day tour of IFA and IDF (Berlin, San Francisco) I prepared myself with four devices. One Windows laptop. One Chromebook. One smartphone and one featurephone. What I didn’t plan for was a total failure of the main Windows laptop. Chromebooks don’t work as a fallback laptop.
Everything had gone very smoothly with my Haswell-based Ultrabook. The platform has great battery life (in this case, all-day working without a charge) and 1080p video editing and rendering for my (admittedly basic) YouTube videos. Photo editing (for blogs) is easy and there’s enough space in a 128GB SSD for a two-week session. When your Ultrabook fails, however, you’ll need a backup. I’m usually equipped with a second, lower-powered Windows laptop or tablet but this time I only had the Lenovo N20p Chromebook. While that has battery life, a quality browser, good WiFi and a keyboard that won’t drive me crazy it can’t handle video editing. When you’re producing up to 15 videos for YouTube per day you need local processing. Lesson learnt. A Chromebook is not a fallback solution.
Toshiba have just launched two low-cost 11.6-inch Windows laptops that hit the same price brackets as their new Chromebook 2 which tells us one thing – no-one really knows how the $200-$300 Windows vs Chromebook market is going to play-out. Do they have overlapping audiences or are they well separated? The Toshiba Satellite CL 10-B is obviously targeted at this market with a specification list that only differs from Chromebooks by virtue of the fact that it runs Windows. 11.6-inch, Baytrail-M, small SSD. The Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 adds a 360-degree hinge. I took a look at both of these Windows laptops at IFA and here are two video overviews.
This basic Windows laptop is going to be a ‘sub 300’ product says Toshiba and we’ve subsequently heard that it will launch at 260 Euros. It still might be able to compete against the cheaper ASUS Eeebook X205 because in my opinion it’s slightly better built than the X205 and has a better keyboard but it could also have upgrade possibilities as it’s based on the SATA-capable Baytrail-M platform. With a battery capacity of 26Wh (unconfirmed) a TFT screen with a 1366×768 resolution, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage it’s got baseline specifications. Weght:1300 grams.
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11
The Satellite Radius adds a 360-degree rotating screen to the mix. It’s still a non-IPS screen and the specifications are much the same as the CL-10B apart from a larger battery and a 500GB drive. Of course the weight and price is higher. Price will play a major role in the success of the Radius 11 as it’s competing against the Lenovo Yoga 2 11 and other low-cost Yoga-like hybrids. Weight: 1500 grams.
Seconds after I made this video at an IFA press event this ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi was taken away. it shouldn’t have been there but my video camera had already been rolling.
The ASUS Transformer Book Chi has a really lightweight screen but it’s quite wide. The keyboard is great and the hinge and dock seem high quality. The casing too. I’ll jut leave you to enjoy the video…
Intel just announced, or rather, just launched Core M. 8 products were highlighted.
On the slide: Acer Aspire Switch 12, ASUS Transformer Book T300FA, HP Envy x2, ASUS Transformer T300 Chi, Lenovo Thinkpad Helix 2, ASUS Zenbook UX305, Wistron N-Midas.
Update: I had seconds to get pics of the 8 Core M laptops before they were pulled off the stage. Can you match the devices to the product names?!
Core, at 4.5W TDP is going to enable fanless computing and finally, thin and light powerful tablets.
In my opinion we’ve just entered a more difficult world of performance testing as from what I’ve seen, 50% of the performance of this platform relies on Turbo Boost which hinges on thermal design. I look forward to going deep and getting hands-on ASAP!
Here’s the Lenovo Helix 2 that I had hands-on with earlier today. (For Notebookcheck.net)
I’ll try and track down the other devices after the keynnote.
This is the competition for 8-inch Windows tablets in the consumer space, and it’s good. Thin, fast, full HD and coming with an LTE voice and data option for an extra 50 Euros. The Lenovo Tab S8 runs Android KitKat on an Intel Atom Z3745 quad-core CPU.
I had an overnight session with the Lenovo Tab S8 before the Lenovo press event at IFA today and I was really impressed with the value-for-money. Like Windows 8 tablets it’s not something you’ll slip into your pocket but it’s thinner and lighter than any Windows 8 tablet. The Full HD screen looks bright and punchy and there’s a familiar user interface.
In terms of performance browsing felt really fast although it seems it’s attributable to the LTE I was using at the time. A Peacekeeper score of 1055 is slightly less than we see on Windows and that could be due to browser capabilities although I did use Chrome for the test. Sunspider came in at 668 ms and the Octane Score was 5406.
The 8MP camera my not be up to the standards of the latest smartphones but it’s not bad and it beats most Windows 8 tablet cameras I’ve tested. There’s an FM radio and, in the LTE version, voice calling, SMS and of course, data. The dual front-facing speakers are loud and clear.
There’s no HDMI port but you’ve got the standard MicroSD, MicroUSB and headset ports.
There’s no substitute for a full review to find out if the Lenovo Tab S8 is as good as it seems but when it comes to consumers, maybe that’s not the point. The specs are good, it looks good, Android is good and when that full HD screen is popping at the local mall it’s going to look irresistible at $199. The jump to LTE at 250 is something I’m considering myself given that there are few Windows LTE options available and none at this price.
While ‘adventurers’ know and care about the difference between Windows and Android when it comes to your average consumer, the Lenovo Tab S8 is going to be a lot more appealing. Here’s my Lenovo Tab 8 image gallery. The video is embedded below…
I’ve been using the Mobile Reporting Kit V12 over the last 5 days and it’s been working well. The challenge was to work through a day without any cables. No charging! The Harris Beach Ultrabook, Nokia Lumia 925 plus a backup phone (Nokia 808) and a camera (Lumix FZ150) worked together to give me my best mobile media studio yet.
Have you been thinking about the Acer Iconia W3 since the price was reduced? A full Windows 8 tablet with a full Web experience, flexible connectivity and a weight of just 540 gram / 1.2lb? I have. At $299 it’s a ultra mobile PC at almost giveaway pricing. It even comes with a Microsoft Office license!
The problem is that the screen is cheap. The viewing angles are tight, there’s a mesh-like layer which reduces clarity and it’s only 1280×800 in resolution.
I had a chance to get the W3 in my hands last week and took four photos that show the viewing angle problem. It is, in my opinion, a real problem for usage in landscape mode. At video-viewing distances, not a major issue but for reading, it’s pretty horrible. In portrait mode, however, it’s not an issue, and that’s how I’d be using the W3 most of the time if I had it because thumbing across the bottom is way easier in this mode.
The choice is up to you though. If you want a UMPC, this is your only choice below 10-inches until the Lenovo Miix 8 or other small formfactor Win 8 tablets appear.
Personally I’m sticking with the Acer W510 that I’ve grown used to and am very close with now. Along with a cheap ASUS Fonepad I’ve got it covers all angles. I would, however, be interested in a lighter 10-inch tablet/2-in-1 with 3G and Windows 8.1. Perhaps later in the year!
Note: I’m on tour at IFA (Berlin) and Intel’s Developer Conference (San Francisco) next week. I’ll bring you any UMPC-related information I uncover.
I remember physically sighing when Intel announced a dual-core Atom as the answer to video playback issues on the netbook. It’s not that way to do it at all which is why I’m very please to have confirmation that Cedar Trail, the latest netbook platform, will have hardware decoding support. The GMA3600 graphics core is based on PowerVR technology from Imagination and while I didn’t get full specs,Â (it’s said to be SGX 545 at 400Mhz) I did get visual confirmation.
In the video below you see up to 23Mbps of H.264 and 4.5Mbps of DTS-HD audio being decoded with a Cedar Trail CPU level of under 20%. It’s a Blu-Ray disk that’s being used as the source. The player is Cyberlink PowerDVD I think. For reference, the Menlow platform used the GMA500, the Oaktrail platform uses the GMA600. Medfield and Clover Trail graphics units are unknown to me at this point but I do know that Clover Trail is supposed to be more powerful than Medfield.
There are no hardware encoding capabilities in Cedar Trail.
At IFA last week I took the brave step of leaving my PC at home. For someone whos job it is to create content for websites and YouTube it wasn’t something that was easy to achieve but over the last year I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with my Galaxy Tab and Nokia N8 as an unbeatable combination for when I’m mobile.
I sacrifice a bit of quality to improved battery life, speed and sharing. It worked out well and I’m doing it again next we at the Intel Developers Forum where Ben and I will be from Monday to Thursday.
The quality of media created when mobile has improved a lot over the years and I’m sure that I’ll have to take steps to keep up but what I find interesting is that tablets and smartphones are leading in terms of quality. PCs just aren’t keeping up. Apps, location, sharing, always-on, cameras and mobile connectivity are often better on these mobile devices. There will always be times when I want to put my bum on a seat and work with multiple windows and multiple media sources to create higher quality content, but not when I’m on the road.