Tag Archive | "MWC15"

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and Keyboard – Ultra mobile Android productivity, at a price.

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Launched at MWC last week was the latest Sony Xperia Z4 10-inch tablet. Ignore the internal specifications for a moment and consider that this rugged, waterproof tablet weighs under 800 grams, with the keyboard. With Android 5.0’s security features and knowing that Microsoft Office is available we can’t ignore it as an ultra mobile PC. I took a closer look at it and spoke to Nicole Scott of Mobilegeeks about it on the video embedded below.

Nicole Scott of Mobilegeeks with the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

 

 

The tablet is incredibly light for a 10-incher. 389 grams includes a 22 Wh battery, an impressive 2K screen and 3GB of RAM. Add the keyboard, a Bluetooth and NFC-enabled 383 gram unit and you’ve got 772 grams in total. Add about 30 grams for an LTE-enabled unit. Battery life on the keyboard is one month when typing for 2 hours per day.

Of course there are questions over how ‘productive’ you can be on Android but one must remember that Microsoft Office is now available and in some cases there are apps available on Android that you won’t find on Windows. Gaming will be a lot of fun too. There’s a decent 8 MP camera on the back and that’s something we don’t see on the 10-inch Windows tablets because they’re mostly for the low-cost market.

Battery life for the unit is said to be 10 hours video playback. Expect 6-8 hours of work and a few days active-standby.

While testing the keyboard I felt like I was back in the netbook years. It’s a little cramped compared when compared to even the $200 11.6-inch Windows and Chrome OS laptops. This isn’t an all-day keyboard but there’s a multi-touch, clickable touchpad and the quality seems good enough for emails, blog articles, note-taking and efficient use of social networks.

27 GB of usable internal storage means you’ll be able to manage a holiday’s worth of snaps and videos and the IP65 and IP68 ratings for water and dust resistance will help on the beach while you’re out there. Be careful though because this isn’t a cheap bundle at all.

The keyboard, I’m told, is going to cost $180. I had to ask again but I got the same answer. That is a crazy price for a keyboard and it makes me wonder whether the Microsoft universal folding Bluetooth keyboard (my test here) might be a better choice but as it doesn’t protect the screen in transport it’s not really a substitute. It’s certainly a lot lighter though. As for the price of the tablet…559 Euro for a WiFi-only model. You can get a tablet/keyboard bundle for 659 Euro.  (via Sony France.)

Having a waterproof tablet is a big advantage and Android is really coming along in terms of productivity. I like the camera and screen and I suspect the Snapdragon 810 will be powerful but with devices like the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10 with Windows at 369 Euros, there’s much better value around if you don’t need Z4-levels of ruggedness. If you need Android, why not go for the Yoga 2 10 Android version which is even cheaper?

Sony Xperia Z4 tablet keyboard is $180

HP Spectre X360. Inside and out a craft Ultrabook

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HP Spectre X360

 

HP launched the Spectre X360 at MWC and as I’m here working with MobileGeeks I’ve had a chance to get some hands-on and look at the internals. It’s a beautifully crafted Ultrabook convertible from both perspectives and the big battery is going to give it battery life in the 8-10 hours range which means it’s a competitor to the current belle-of-the-ball, the Dell XPS 13.

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Microsoft flappy-keyboard looks like a wallet. I love it!

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The new Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is tiny and desirable, but pricey. Here’s my hands-on thoughts and video.

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If there’s one sub-thread that has existed throughout the last 9 years of UMPCPortal it has to be mobile keyboards. PDAs generated a reasonable market for folding, rolling, laser-projected and even fabric keyboards but it hasn’t been until recently that the market picked up again with practical engineering, materials and features. I run a Microsoft Wedge keyboard across a number of tablets and am currently typing this article on a Type Cover with a Surface Pro 3. It’s that Type Cover technology that appears in one of the lightest keyboards I’ve seen since my all-time favorite, the Samsung Q1 UMPC keyboard. The Microsoft universal folding keyboard is incredibly light and although it has a slightly split keyboard I like the layout.

 

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The key sizes are slightly smaller than you get on a Type Cover but not by much and there’s dual Bluetooth connectivity option for switching between two devices. My guess is 120 grams in weight but I could be wrong. Microsoft haven’t made the weight official yet.

What Microsoft have declared is an integrated a battery that lasts for three months, auto-shutdown on close, a spill-resistant design and a total height, when folded, of 11.5mm. Naturally, the Bluetooth HID profile support means it’s going to work across many, many devices and that includes some of those old PDAs!

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There’s a problem though. Where simple portable Bluetooth keyboards start at around $20, this one is going to set you back just under $100. That’s more than a low-cost Windows 8, 8-inch tablet PC!

Microsoft have a sales page up now. It’s ‘Coming Soon.’

Mobile Kit at MWC15 with Mobilegeeks

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I’m at Mobile World Congress this week where I’m expecting to learn something new about wearable and to get the latest update on smartphones and consumer technology. I’m also focusing on client device security.

I’m here with Mobilegeeks.com so you won’t see much from me at UMPCPortal but I do plan to write at least two reports this week and to track down any mobile PC news. No doubt I’ll get hands-on with a few low-cost Windows tablets too!

One of the reports will be around the smartphone and the progress it is making towards being the ‘only device’ you need. I’ll be looking at developments in processing power, in operating system and peripheral flexibility, security and productivity apps.

The second report may take longer to research but I’m planning something around the progress in wearable computing technology. Processing power, battery life and connectivity are my main focus there.

HP Stream 8 with Datapass

Mobile Kit.

I have three computing devices with me this week with a total weight under 2 KG. The Surface Pro 3 (with backlit but not very accurate keyboard) is my main PC and will be used for image management and video production. I have a Lumia 830 with me as a phone (mid-range but with optical image stabilizer. I’m really happy with it.) and I’m also using an HP Stream 8 with HSPA+ (3G) data roaming via the included HP Datapass service. I’ll connect a USB power pack and use it as a hotspot in Connected Standby mode. With 2GB of additional roaming data costing just 20 Euro, it’s not a bad deal and far less hassle than tracking down and buying a local SIM card.

Stay with me @chippy and @mobilegeekscom for updates during the week.

The Lucky 13 Security Checklist. Prepare your Windows PC for better on-the-road security and privacy.

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I’m preparing to go to Mobile World Congress where one of my worries will be security and privacy. To that end I’ve hardened my Windows build and written it up below as a checklist of tasks that I urge you to look at and consider, especially if you’re connecting to unknown hotspots.

The checklist has evolved from work I did training journalists in Ukraine, work I’ve done here on Windows 8 tablet security and work I’ve done on Clean Computing with Chromebooks which, interestingly, would have a checklist just half as long as this. Points 1-7 don’t apply to a Chromebook. Unfortunately I’ll be needing video editing and gallery management tools in Barcelona so I can’t use a Chromebook as my main PC there.

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