Tag Archive | "mobile PC"

Deal: Acer Switch 10E is just $239 in US.

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I scored this 8/10 when I reviewed it at Notebookcheck recently. The Acer Switch 10E didn’t excite me when I unboxed it but it turned out to be a good little convertible tablet. It was $279 when I reviewed it but it’s on offer now for just $239. That’s a great deal.

Update 23 August : “Currently unavailable.”

Acer Switch 10E on offer at $239 (Amazon.com)

The low-resolution touchscreen is a good IPS panel with surprisingly high brightness and reasonable color range and accuracy, the keyboard is solid and usable and the battery life is also OK. I just voted it my #1 travel PC!

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 extended review and tips. It’s still worth it!

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After six months with the Surface Pro 3 I felt inspired to write a detailed review, and that says a lot about the product.

Surface Pro 3, and pen, review.

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Acer Switch 12. Order for $649 in US, see reviews from elsewhere

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The Acer Aspire Switch 12 – a Core M-based 2-in-1 laptop – is coming, and it starts at just $649.  Promotional and hands-on videos are starting to appear in YouTube.

There’s one device I didn’t manage to get a good hands-on with at IDF and IFA last year and that’s the Acer Aspire Switch 12. I wish I had because I’m intrigued having read one of the first reviews, watched a number of videos and having just drafted a piece on hot-desking with the Surface Pro 3.  The Switch 12 weighs 1.4KG in total which is above our 1.3KG limit here but as the keyboard is removable there’s an operating weight of well under 1300 grams. Still, you’re unlikely to be carrying this without the keyboard so it sits on the borderline.

Acer Aspire Switch 12 is available.

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Select YOUR best ultra-mobile PC

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The new features on the product database are going to help you select YOUR ultra-mobile PC.

Select your perfect mobile PC

 

Despite tech websites telling you what THEY think is the best solution for your needs it’s still up to you to know what you want and to sort through all those lists to see if a product matches your requirements. Now, instead of starting with someone else’s top 10 you can make your own.

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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 thoughts and videos. (P.S. I’ve ordered one)

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I can’t get the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 off my mind.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (4)

What has the Surface Pro 3, the Flex 10 and the Samsung Q1u got in common? A stand! The Lenovo Yoga tablet 2 8 (and 10-inch) has a stand too and at under 1 pound / 426 grams it’s the lightest self-standing PC in the world. That makes it interesting for me, especially as it’s got a 1920×1200 screen, a big battery, an LTE option and a starting price of just $299 (dual-band WiFi version.) According to a retailer in Germany that has it up for pre-order there’s a digital compass and GPS. This is too good. I hope not though because I’ve just ordered it. I’m expecting an early November delivery.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 specs and more information.

The other interesting aspect here is the battery. This isn’t the lightest 8-inch Windows PC because it’s got a huge 24Wh battery inside. In comparison to the Lenovo Miix 2 8, which is one of the lightest, it’s got 35% more capacity. [The capacity is quoted at 6500 mAh. We can assume that it’s based on a 3.7V battery. Anything else would be too much for this weight.]

Take a look at some of the images and imagine the use cases here. Bluetooth keyboard, kitchen, seat-back, car, armchair…

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (5)Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (6)

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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (3)

Wolfson® Master HiFi™ audio processing and Dolby® surround sound

Don’t forget that Lenovo are touting good speakers too so the Yoga Tablet 2 8 could end up being your hotel-room best friend.

The camera could be the best camera yet on a Windows tablet…8MP rear camera with f2.2 wide-aperture lens, advanced glare-reducing glass and a BSI 2 sensor.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (Windows) issues.

Here are the trade-offs you’ll have to consider. 1) It’s not the lightest. The Dell Venue 8 Pro remains the best ‘reader’ Windows tablet on the market. 2) The stand/battery might improve the portrait reading experience but it might cause problems when thumb-typing. 3) There’s no HDMI port. You’ll get Miracast for video-mirroring but it’s not good enough for an interactive experience in my opinion. DisplayLink over USB 2.0 works for basic office use though. 4) The SoC isn’t going to be any more powerful than those of the first-generation Baytrail tablets although there’s a possibility that the eMMC could be faster as it is on the Toshiba Encore 2 8 tablet. 5) Still no USB 3.0 and the charge+data issue remains. There may be hacks for the latter issue.

If you’re not feeling it for the Yoga tablet 2 yet, take a look at this video from Mobilegeeks. I’ll add more to this playlist.

4 weeks to wait for my hands-on. Can you wait that long or are you pre-ordering?

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 specs and information in our database here.

2007 UMPC Back In Service thanks to Uniqueness

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My Samsung Q1b, a 2007-era ultra mobile PC based on a VIA C7 CPU and including 3G was one of my most mobile UMPCs. I used it, without plugging it in to mains power, for 10 days. This 7-inch 800×480 resistive touch-screen PC weighing 770gm and including just 512MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive cost me over €1100. Battery life was around 3hrs. Today I found another use for it as an analogue audio recorder.

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After trying 5 different laptops, a tablet PC and a USB audio device I finally found out that the Q1b has stereo line-in recording capability via the mic-in port. All the other devices I tested had mono inputs. A quick download of Audacity and I was recording some cable radio for in-car use during a multi-country trip at the weekend.

Going back to using XP was a shock and having to use the pen on an 800×480 screen was very awkward. The Tablet Input Panel felt basic in comparison with what we’ve got today but there were a few surprises. Firefox was still fast, accessing network drives not a problem and Audacity (an older version I had installed) was working fine.

Crystalmark scores were around 12K for this ultra mobile PC compared to around 50K for the latest Atom tablets but the ‘low’ performance is more than enough for this audio task.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy one of these at all but it goes to show that there are unique features in every device and some that you just have to keep a hold of.

Do you have an old PC you’re still using because it has a unique feature that you just can’t find anywhere else?

Acer W3-810 8-Inch Windows 8 Tablet Appears for £469 in UK. New Pics. Specifications.

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Acer Iconia W310

Rumors started in April about this 8-inch Windows tablet but today we’re pretty happy to see it in a reputable retail channel in the UK. The Acer Iconia W3-810 is listed with 2GB RAM, 64GB storage in silver for £469 which, after removing tax, is the equivalent of about the same in dollars. Littlewoods, the online supplier, say they can deliver this by 17 June.

A full specifications list is not available yet but from the images it appears to be the tablet only and not including the interesting docking keyboard.

A 32GB version of the Acer Iconia W3 had shortly appeared on Amazon.com for $379 until it was removed.

Acer Iconia W3-810 Specifications, based on leaked info are as follows:

  • CPU: Intel Clovertrail Z2670 (2×1.8Ghz)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB
  • Screen: 1280×800
  • Camera: Rear-2MP, Front-2MP
  • Micro SD Slot
  • HDMI out (we suspect micro HDMI)
  • micro USB (host capability unknown)
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 4.0+EDR
  • 2-Cell Li-Polymer (3500 mAh) Battery (25Wh)
  • Size: 218.9 mm x 134.8 mm x 11.43 mm
  • Weight: 500 grams

Acer Iconia W310 (1)Acer Iconia W310 (2)
Click to see large images

We’re expecting this to launch at Computex in a few hours after this posting so check back at UMPCPortal for more info.

Source: Littlewoods.

How to Turn Your UMPC into a DIY AirPlay Receiver

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My Sony Vaio UX180 ultra mobile PC spent many years as the center of my mobile world. However, since the rise of the consumer smartphone, it hasn’t seen much field use lately. While the latest mobile devices are wonderful in many ways, they still lack the amazing software/hardware compatibility which comes with a full-fledged Windows-running x86 PC. I hung onto the UX180 knowing that it would be able to fill some role at some point down the road thanks to that compatibility. A few days ago I finally uncovered the perfect role for it — my UX180 is now back in active duty as an AirPlay receiver and it gladly plays my music, videos, and photos to my big stereo system and big TV. Here’s how you can turn your old ultra mobile PC into an AirPlay receiver!

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The Amazing Open Pandora Story Continues

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phoca_thumb_l_PandoraFront

The Open Pandora project has been an amazing project to follow. We first reported on the product, an OMAP-based Linux mini-laptop primarily focused on gaming emulation (but kitted out with some interesting features for anyone interesting in mobile computing) in Dec 2007 and in the last 4 years the product has gone through some amazing ups and downs with spec changes, production issues and community financing but it looks like they’ve made a break-through and that Open Pandoras will be shipping soon.

Update: The first devices off the production line are now being shipped. [9th March 2012]

pandoraThe story would make a great book. We saw an update in Dec 2008 showing a prototype build and an Angstrom OS build and after a year of refinements it finally went into limited production in May 2010. 4000 units should have been produced before Feb 2011 but it didn’t happen.  “[The production company] communication has been terrible, the missed all the deadlines they set themselves and they have a failure rate of at least 25%.”

On 12 July 2011 ‘EvilDragon’ the lead developer for the project wrote a post entitled ‘A fresh new start’ explaining how production was being stopped as a result of problems with the Texas-based production company. The search started for a new production company and by 27th of the same month they had found a candidate. Soon after, 70 investors had stepped forward and pledged nearly half a million Euros. Contracts were prepared and pre-orders started again.

The next months updates are worth reading in full over at the Openpandora news forum. There’s snow, hacking, sad news about a community member, delivery problems, contracts and more. It’s an amazing story that ends up with this fantastic post and video entitled “100% success.”

 

What a joy to watch.

The OpenPandora story isn’t over yet though. Mass production is due to start next month and after 4 years of waiting, the specifications don’t look as good as they used to. There’s software to write too. What you’ve got here though is an open-source, very efficient  handheld PC with a strong community behind it. It’s also a bit of history.

In support of the Open Pandora project I’ve put in an order and  I’ll do my best to give it airtime on UMPCPortal when it arrives. You can place a pre-order here. I’m sure there are many readers here who already have their orders in.

Check out the Pandora Rebirth competition too. Apps for prizes and follow OpenPandora on Twitter here. We have a specification page here.

XPPhone V2 Coming With Intel Inside. Enjoy the Press Release

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It looks like the XPPhone guys are at it again with their ultra-converged solutions. This time a 4.8″ mini slate ‘phone’ running on a 1.6Ghz Atom platform.

Not much information is given in the press release regarding specifications but given that all the Images are renders, this is likely to be something for 2012, and a rather niche market given that the weight and active standby time on this ‘phone’ is going to be restrictive.

We doubt its a Medfield phone but we’ll keep an eye on this one as a Viliv S5 alternative. In the meantime, enjoy the press release!

http://en.xpphone.com/news/kuaibao/114.html

Buyers Guide – CCC 2011 #4 The Mobile IT Manager

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It looks like we’ve hit another 7” requirement with very few solutions. Any more of these requests and i’m going to go out there and make my own ultra mobile PC and sell it to you all!

Mike contacted me to see if he could get some suggestions for an extremely mobile computer. It’s one that needs a full MS office suite and also needs to do duty as a support system in a light aircraft.

Here’s the breakdown.

·As an IT manager I use the MS Office suite, MS Project, MS Visio, and Firefox to do my job.

· I also travel by small plane for work and I need a unit that runs Windows so that I can use my flight navigation software (www.anywheremap.com)

·The yoke (steering wheel of the plane) can only accommodate a unit with an 8.9 inch screen without blocking critical flight instruments – 7 inches provides the best fit

·When I land at the local airport I often use a car GPS for street navigation.

·I don’t use my computers for gaming or video editing, but I do need to have reasonably snappy performance in the office environment.

 

That’s a clear requirement. 7”, Windows and wallop! right into the no-devices zone.

I initially thought about leading with a device that had GPS installed but that can be problematic. In my car there’s a UV filter on the screen and it kills reception. Where reception is critical, a well-positioned GPS puck is going to be the answer. Bluetooth isn’t the most reliable of connectivity mechanisms but once set-up, it does work.

Now that we don’t need the built-in GPS, we’ve widened our scope ….

I’m looking at the Libretto W100/W105 as I did in the last CCC. Mike is in situations where power is likely to be available and in the plane he can use a power brick. Do they have cigarette lighters in small planes though?! As with our previous CCC, there’s also the Q1 Ultra Premium (2nd-hand) and the Viliv S7 convertible. It’s got a faster SSD, good battery life and is available with 3G. It might not have the oomph to run Windows 7 though. The same goes for the Viliv X70 EX

It’s the Windows requirement I want to get right in the suggestion though. A ultra mobile PC running Windows 7 really needs a fast SSD, a 1.6Ghz CPU and, preferably, 2GB RAM.  It’s why I keep thinking about the Libretto W100 but then there’s the screen area to think about on that. It could be too big!

I’ve got three more to offer-up though. (Click images for more info)

HP Slate 500. 8.9” screen. 1.8ghz CPU. SSD.  Includes dual-layer screen. The HP 500 does seem to be satisfying most people that buy it. At 1.8Ghz it’s got just enough more than a 1.5Ghz Z-series Atom, along with an SSD, to make Windows 7 work smoothly. Here are some more thoughts on the HP Slate 500.

Panasonic CF-U1. It’s an expensive rugged 7”-er ($2K entry price) but it’s a seriously good bit of kit.  It only has a 7” screen but it’s a fairly bulky 7” device.

Netbook Navigator Nav 7 (or even Nav 9). I heard from Netbook Navigator yesterday that the Nav 7 is about ready to launch and I’ve just put all the details of this one in the database. Obviously you’ll need to wait for some reviews before committing but it certainly looks compact enough. Unfortunately there’s no docking station or VGA / HDMI out but from your email, Mike, I see you’ve been using a USB-based docking station anyway. This might work for you. I’ll be writing more about the Nav 7 in an upcoming article. [Available here when posted]

So, Mike. What do you think? Will an 8.9” device work for you (HP Slate 500) or are you determined to go for a 7” device? Are you OK without VGA? Do you want laptop-style processing power?

Chime-in with comments people. Mike needs help!

Our Mobile Computing Forums are Back!

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We had so many problems with the UMPCPortal forum earlier this year that I eventually had to close the forum for new registrations. After some thought we decided to completely re-build the site on a new system and today we’re readyto announce our new mobile computing forum! It’s clean, fast and has all the features you expect.

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We’ve moved the new forum over to MeetMobility.com and expanded it to cover the segments that match our three main websites.

All the accounts and the 37000 posts from UMPCPortal have been migrated (all the way back to Origami in 2006!) and those that were regular members should be able to log right into the new forum and get going. Some users (those with 5 posts or less) will find themselves as ‘banned’ users. Contact us via the link at the bottom of the forum and we’ll get you up and running in no time. Unfortunately we had to lock out thousands of spam accounts and ‘real’ users will have got caught up in that process.

Forum pro’s might notice that some features aren’t enabled or optimised. We’re still tweaking the set-up so don’t hesitate to give us feedback and tips. Vbulletin is a new process for us.

We hope you get stuck in and enjoy the forums. Ben and myself are looking forward to mobile computing chat with you there.