Tag Archive | "ifa"

Acer W3 Screen Test

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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 UMPC 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.

Cedar Trail – GMA3600 Handles 27Mbps, Blu-Ray

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cedar trail videoI 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,  (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.

1KG Media Blogging Kit goes to IDF

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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.

You can read about my experience with the kit here. Be sure to stay tuned to Ben and myself via twitter and the site while we are at IFA too.

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.

Samsung Series 7 Slate PC Hands-On Images

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You’ve seen the hands-on video and the blinding speeds of the CPU and disk of the Samsung Slate PC but you still might be hungry for more. I am!  The Samsung Series 7 Slate PC is a seriously impressive bit of engineering and proof that Core i5 can be designed into a chassis of under 900gm. The Slate PC will come with dock and keyboard for an estimated 1100 Euro entry-level price. It’s basically an Ultrabook without a keyboard but for many, this modular approach with attention to pen and finger touch details could be exactly what they’ve been looking for. I’m certainly taking a closer look at this one myself and hope to have a review device as soon as it’s available.

Review: The 700gm Mobile Reporting and Blogging Kit

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700gm turned into about 1.2kg last week as I tested a smartphone and tablet combination for content creation. I used the Samsung Galaxy Tab for writing the text, staying connected on social networks and I also used it as the ‘business grade’ 3G connection via a T-Mobile true day-flat option.
The Nokia N8 performed camera, video and video editing duties as well as back-up Twitter client and of course, mobile phone.

The extra weight came from two changes to the kit. Firstly, a bag. Yes, I’m sorry bit I’m not the sort of person that wears cargo pants and it was way too warm for a jacket. The 200gm Galaxy Tab on a few evening occasions. The Variotek power pack details are here. (aff.)

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When I look back at my content I see that YouTube and Twitter became my main delivery channel with some posts being made around the 30 videos that i took. It’s a similar story for most bloggers – getting videos on to YouTube is critical for revenue generation. Without it many of us product bloggers wouldn’t exist. Recording in a relatively low bitrate at 480p was a major advantage and I would do it again although there’s something  in my head that tells me I really could record in 720p and use an Intel Sandy Bridge based device to do super quick conversion to 480p. The Samsung Series 7 tablet has got me excited to test that possibility. Maybe I’ll look into that soon. Hardware image stabilization is also something I need to look into. I suspect I won’t be using the N8 for much longer despite it being connected. Having said that, the quality of the videos was, I think, acceptable to most YouTube viewers. Product hands-on at press events is normally a chaotic experience anyway so while it didn’t please me to be posting wobbly videos that weren’t always in focus, YouTube viewing stats show that it worked from a business perspective. Your recommendations for an ultralight compact with good low-light performance, 720p video with hard and software stabilization are gratefully received.

I struggled to post many images despite being very happy with the quality and that was due to a silly process at our blogs that I’m going to have to change. We use Gallery2 which doesn’t have much support through Android apps! Writing was kept to a lower level than would have been if I had been using a laptop. I had some help from Ben on press day and was grateful for that.

I want to have a little moan about sharing on the Nokia N8 because its near-useless. Why Nokia don’t have a way to share videos to YouTube is something I don’t understand for such a video-focused camera. The YouTube site link is difficult and annoying to use. Sharing is such a second-thought on Symbian.

As for the Galaxy Tab, everything went well, as long as I remembered to reboot once per day. I’m noticing that the Tab slows down excessively when pushed hard. Google Maps is especially problematic although I was grateful for cached maps when traveling the underground train system.

Screen brightness in the Galaxy Tab 7 could be a lot better in daylight. After getting hands-on with the gorgeous Galaxy Tab 7.7 I see how much better it can be. Bonus points go to the YouTube app for being very robust for uploads. It handled switches from WiFi to 3g without dropping the upload. Minus points go to the built in gallery. I used Fishbowl as a replacement gallery. Battery life under full use is about 6hrs so I was nearly out of juice a few times on long days. You need to keep an eye on settings and apps to get the best it of it but I don’t want to complain because most phones would only last half the time given the same scenarios. All in all it was a great performance from the Galaxy Tab. If only it had a decent camera and a video editing app. That’s something that might be interesting to look at on the Tab 7.7 although I know already that it doesn’t have continuous auto focus.

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One area where I had a problem was system admin. Both command-line and web back-end work was next-to impossible. There really is only one way to fix that – a notebook. It doesn’t requires processing power but it does need a keyboard and a quality browser. How do you fix that? I don’t think you can without adding a netbook. That’s 1kg added! Oh, and remote desktop was not an option either. . .

The connectivity at IFA was the worst I’ve ever experienced at a European trade show. The press room WiFi and wired connections were overloaded when needed and the 3G from both Telefonica’s O2 and a €5 per day T-Mobile connection were useless for any image or video uploading. This was a major issue and highlights the growing problem of overcrowding on 3G. How to fix? Jump to WiMax where possible. It’s on my list now.

There’s one other thing to mention – respect. I simply looked like an amateur. It’s a bigger problem than you think because PR people tend to have an eye-out for big cameras, lights and 2-men recording teams. My week was successful though so I guess I managed to ignore or work-around that issue.

Would I do it again? I’m going to IDF next week where there will also be a lot of news. It will be detailed though and could require more than just a quick video. I know how huge the keynote hall is too so a camera with a big lens can be helpful. I also know, however, that there are PCs available for use. I feel good about this week so I’ve decided to go for the 1kg again next week. Being at an Intel conferences with an ARM-based reporting kit could be fun too. In the meantime, I’m going to do more research on using a real camera with a Sandy-Bridge based editing device because it’s only the video quality of the N8 that worries me.

It can be done. There’s no need for huge devices and heavy, battery-eating equipment when reporting. Whether it works for you depends on a number of things. Do you need a keyboard? Is the quality good enough? Do you need a full browser or large screen?

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

Samsung Galaxy Note Hands-On Images

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It’s photo upload time here at Carrypad. We’re sorting through all the images we took at IFA and getting them uploaded for you. You can find hands-on images of the Samsung Galaxy Note below. If you’d prefer video, we’ve got you covered on that front as well with a Galaxy Note hands-on video right here.

Also see official specs, links, stats, and more on the Galaxy Note tracking page in our mobile device database.

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.

Samsung Series 7 Slate PC Tablet Breaks 100K in CrystalMark (Includes Testing Notes)

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In 5.5 years of testing, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a sub-1kg device break 100,000 in the CrystalMark test. The Series 7 Tablet is a serious bit of kit and really showcase just what Windows 7 tablet features can do.

It boots in under 20 seconds, plays 720p without pushing the CPU above 5% and due to the very very fast ssd, starts programs in the blink of an eye

Samsung Series 7 Slate PC CrystalMark Results

To put these figures into perspective, just remember that the average netbook turns in a score of about 20k. A high end netbook, just 30k. The CPU alone in this Sandy-Bridge-based device is about 5x as powerful as a netbook CPU and these CrystalMark scores don’t even test advanced graphics features and the Intel Quick Sync video hardware.

As for battery life, I’m estimating a 36-40Wh battery in this. Due to the heat and the software and testing that has been done on the device here I can’t get it to idle properly but I an tell you that Samsungs Series 9 ultralight which uses the same platform, can idle down to under 5w. That would allow this Slate to run for 9 hours. I’m estimating basic WiFi usage scenarios to be around 4hrs with video editing pushing it down to under 3. Its a high-dynamic range device, that’s for sure.

One USB 3, BT3+HS, a Trusted Platform module, 6-axis accelerometer micro SD, micro hdmi and headphones output are included. Screen viewing angles are good on the 1366×768 display. The fan is on in this 25+ degree room but its not too noisy. I have to get within 10cm to hear it above the ambient noise (relatively quiet demo area.)

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If you’re looking for a serious tablet, don’t buy until you’ve tested the Series 7.

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

Viewsonic Viewpad 10 Pro with Windows + Android – Hands On

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A little hands-on with the Viewpad 10 Pro for you here. Key features are the battery life (which we’re unable to confirm) and the Android OS (2.x) through the Bluestacks Android host environment that runs within Windows allowing you to switch environments in around a second. Take note that it’s the open-source version of Android so you won’t get any Google-specific features. Given that limitation and thru Windows 7 OS, this is obviously not for your average consumer but it could be interesting for a number of niche markets where business proceses are straddling or migrating between the two operating systems.

Pricing is keen. $649 for the 2GB Windows Home Premium version for example although quite a bit removed from the low-cost 10″ Android space. This is a Windows 7 tablet first and foremost though so you should probably treat Bluestacks as a bonus.

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[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

Samsung Series 7 Slate PC Hands-On Video

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The Windows Tablet PC reputation never really earned anything through the cheap netbook-based versions that hit the market over the last few years. Low power processors, lack of docking stations and capacitive touch layers that prevent anyone from taking advantage of the natural input features. The Samsung Series 7 Slate should fix that!

It’s the first Sandy Bridge (2nd generation Core i5) tablet PC I’ve ever tried and wow, she flies. The digitiser works well and the Slate will be delivered with a dock and keyboard as part of the package. It weighs less than a kilo and Samsung tell me it will return up to 7hrs battery life. Ok, lets take the 30% ‘marketing markup’ off that and call it 5hrs. That’s usable although I know from my work with Ultrabooks that you can easily get carried away and kill the battery in half that time.

I like it a lot, just like I like Ultrabooks a lot. They fit in nicely above consumer tablet and smartphone usage scenarios that are eating into the reasons you might buy a netbook and they truly negate the need for a desktop. This mobile/desktop usage scenario certainly helps to justify the price which, as can be expected, is going to around the same 1000-1100 € or $ level as Ultrabooks.

There’s another Series 7 Slate article over at Ultrabooknews.

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

Sony Tablet S and Tablet P Hands-on at IFA

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Following the annoucenement here at IFA I managed to get some hands-on with the Sony Tablet P and Tablet S.

Sony announces Tablet S and P at IFA – Video

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‘Proving that it’s not who makes it first but who makes it better’

Kazuo Hirai announced two tablets at their IFA press conference today. We were at the announcement and watched the presentation.

Availability IN Europe should later this month and the prices were announced as follows.

Tablet S €479 (9.4″ Tablet)

Tablet P €599 (Dual screen)

‘Tablets that fit in the hand and in the pocket’

Offering Sony Playstation compatibility, film and music stores this is something quite unique, especially for Europe. The prices are obviously set to be competitive and to bring as many people.into those stores as possible.

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]



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