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…
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.
You’ve seen the hands-on video and the blinding speeds of the CPU and disk of the Samsung Slate PCÂ but you still might be hungry for more. I am! Â 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.
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 “>Jack Wolfskin body bag (aff.) that I’ve been using for four years (Now available as the ‘Subway’) did the job nicely and gave me a little space for bits and pieces picked up during the day.
The second weight addition came from a power-pack. Even on the journey up to IFA I experienced problems with battery life on the N8 so after getting caught short on the Samsung booth I quickly picked up an 18Wh USB power pack that was more than enough to keep the N8 topped up. It even managed to trickle charge the Galaxy Tab on a few evening occasions. The Variotek power pack details are here. (aff.)
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 somethingÂ 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.
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 â‚¬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 ]