The lightest 10-inch 2-in-1 comes in at just 772 grams (1.7 pounds) including the keyboard. There’s a high-brightness 2K resolution screen, the latest 8-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, it’s waterproof, can run Office, has disk encryption, and should last you all day long. It’s the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet, running Android. I looked at it while I was at MWC and I’m looking at it again now because the first set of reviews are very positive and the prices seem good. It sounds like the dream ultra-mobile PC.
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?
Three of the hottest convertibles around at the moment are all available with full Core i5 processors. They’re netbook size and weight but offer laptop-class processing with 5+hrs of battery life. I’ve analysed the Sony Vaio Tap 11, Microsoft Surface Pro and Dell Venue 11 Pro and written an article over at Ultrabooknews that highlights the prices and specification differences. Of course if you’re interested in lower-cost and good-enough processing power you can get the Dell Venue 11 Pro in a Baytrail version which is thinner and lighter that its bigger brother. It goes head-to-head with the ASUS Transformer T100 which is doing well in the sales charts. All are available to order at Amazon.com right now. Latest prices shown below.
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I’ve got a Sony VAIO Pro 13 here thanks to Intel. It’s the lightest touch-enabled 13.3-inch Ultrabook there is and at 1KG / 2.2 pounds it beats all of the the 2-in-1 options. This isn’t a cheap subnotebook but it’s got enough power to be a desktop PC for most people.
If there’s one device in the market that messes with my head it’s the Sony Vaio Tap 11. It’s a 11.6-inch tablet built on an Ultrabook platform so I write about it at Ultrabooknews. It’s also a 780gm Windows tablet running core so therefore an Ultra Mobile PC! Argh!
Pricing for the Tap 11 makes the issue even harder because it starts at a tempting 799 Euros.
The key thing here is that the Vaio Tap 11 is lighter which helps in a lot of consumer tablet scenarios. I’ve had the 760 gram 11.6-inch Samsung ATIV 500T for a while so I know it’s a comfortable tablet in sofa-mode. In addition the 11.6-inch screen will aid productivity.
Sorry for the two-site switch everybody!
Our UMPCPortal forum is alive again! I’m slowly promoting and linking-in. Feel free to head over and start a discussion. It’s Tapatalk enabled too so you can access it easily, and ad-free, on your mobile devices.
The Sony Vaio Tap 11 has got an 11.6” screen which really puts it outside the ‘handheld WIndows’ category. On the other hand it weighs only 780gm, comes with a super light, but very usable keyboard, offers full Core-level performance and has a digitizer. It is, in my opinion, a benchmark for 2013 and 2014 Haswell-based tablets.
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 AirPlayÂ receiverÂ 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 AirPlayÂ receiver!
Back during CES, Sony was showing off a hybrid tablet with Windows 8. This was a sliding design that could function as a tablet with the screen down, or the screen could slide up screen up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard.
We’ve seen a similar approach from Samsung, but despite an official press release about the product, it never made it to market (perhaps they were waiting for Windows 8?). Asus launched the Eee Pad SliderÂ last year usingÂ the same concept but with the Android and ARM platform instead of Windows. The Asus Slider was highly anticipated, but didn’t seem to make a major splash within the Android market.
Sony’s conceptÂ hybridÂ device was decidedly a prototype as shown off at CES, but a purportedly leaked advertisement, Â spotted by Pocket Now, shows a very similar device that looks much closer to aÂ retailÂ launch. The ad also places the hybrid tablet under the U-series, which Sony has always reserved for it’s most portable computers. Cousin of the U-series is the UX-series under which Sony offered it venerable UX UMPC.
In the ad you can see a USB port on the right side of the device, a front facing camera at the top right of the bezel, a home button of sorts on the left side of the bezel, mouse buttons in front of the keyboard (with the middle key likely for scrolling), and a nub-mouse in the center of the keyboard.
Prior to Windows 8 I would have been less enthusiastic about a hybrid device from Sony, but now that Windows 8 has a chance of providing a good tablet experience, the hybrid design is much more appealing. Hopefully we’ll hear more about this device as Windows 8 gets closer to retail launch.
Thanks to Al Sutton of Funky Android at Droidcon NL in Holland this week I got a lot of hands-on time with a retail version of the Sony Tablet P that has just arrived on the shelves in the UK. It’s the Psion 5-like dual-screen Android clamshell that I found quite exciting at IFA in Sept. It may look strange but there’s some nice mobile usability features tucked inside. Sony have done a reasonable job of optimizing Sony apps and gaming capabilities for the screen but there are some issues with standard apps and text input which mean the Sony Tablet P may only be interesting for people wanting the Sony media and gaming experience.
Obviously the clamshell form factor brings a natural screen protector into play which improves ruggedness. There’s also an interesting 12wh removable battery, a fantastic screen, a fast processor, Honeycomb build (with possible, not promised, upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich) and a useful 5-row on screen keyboard.
In terms of size and weight it feels a little bit dense but it’s about the same weight as a Samsung Galaxy Tab. It fits into most pockets for short term transport but it’s very thick indeed. Its design certainly doesn’t shout ‘manly’ either.
Although there’s a gap between the screens I found myself ignoring it when reading content. It was great to see a full readable version of Carrypad across the screens and the Tablet P could make an interesting page-per-view reading device. The split screens bring a little issue when dragging across two screens. When the contact is lost the dragged item gets dropped.
Thumbing is possible in portrait or landscape but I didn’t find it as easy as the Galaxy Tab in portrait mode and the sharp corners dig into your hand. Angling the screen closer to 90 degrees allows a level of table-toppecking but there’s no haptics and its a little hit-and-miss. You certainly won’t enjoy inputting large amounts of text in this way. Again, I find a 7″ portaint-mode Thumbing experience to be much more comfortable.
I tested a number of apps and was impressed with the amounts of content being presented to me but many apps default into a single screen view. Using Honeycomb’s stretch feature apps are encouraged to spread across with screens. This isn’t always successful though. Google Reader refused to expand and crashed at every attempt. I saw other apps doing this too. This is a critical problem.
Having a removeable battery is a real advantage to the ultra-mobile user. Battery life looked, after a few hours of testing, very similar to that of the Galaxy Tab 7 – 6hrs screen-on usage over an active period of 12 hrs. It’s not quite all-day capable if you’re relying on this for some productivity.
The Sony Tablet P is not phone-capable but 3G version (4Gb storage) is just under 500 UK pounds
Speaker quality is very poor
Brightness and viewing angles on screen areÂ excellent
No games tested – this is a key feature of the device.
Content catalogue not available from on this UK model tested in NL – This is another key feature of the device.
The Sony Tablet P is an interesting mobile device with some unique and useful features but text input was a little clumsy due to an uncomfortable thumbing grip and lack of haptics. Desktop-pecking is possible, but not efficient. Â It seems that gaming could be the only serious unique feature here and I haven’t tested it. If that part of the device works well it’s the entertainment user that is the only type of user that really needs to take a close look at the Sony Tablet P. The reading experience was good and the Tablet P is easy to hold but the weight needs to come down a bit to match some of the best reader-capable tablets. Others looking for a more mobile all-round Android experience may find more pleasure in the Samsung Galaxy Note or 7″ Android slates.
Though Sony’s Tablet S has been known about for months now, today they finally unveiled official specifications for the device. While weight isn’t the spec that everyone jumps at immediately, it’s certainly an important factor for a large 10â€ tablet. Sony says that their Tablet S is just 595 grams, which makes it the second lightest of the top 12 tablets, right between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Apple iPad 2 (with the Tab 10.1 being the lightest) â€“ quite impressive considering that the Tablet S design isn’t as thin as many of the other tablets on the market because of it’s interesting folded shape, though it should count itself lucky to be considered a 10″ tablet when the screen is actually only 9.4″. Have a look at how the top 12 ten inch-category tablets compare:
I would love to be able to say that tablets are getting lighter as time goes on, but as you can see, there are four Honeycomb tablets that were released after the first (the Xoom) that are actually heavier (though the Eee Pad Slider sort of has an excuse!).
The Tablet S is only about 1% lighter than the iPad 2, but Sony designed it with that funky shape specifically to make it feel lighter in one hand by grouping the weight on one side and reducing leverage again your hand. I’d be curious to see how much torque the iPad 2 puts on a hand vs. the Tablet S.
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Following the official unveiling of the Tablet P and Tablet S (formerly the S1 and S2) at IFA this morning, Sony now has official pricing and release dates available online. Right now you can go to SonyStyle.com and pre-order the Tablet S (the single-screened one) in its 16GB flavor starting at $499 (to match the iPad 2, no doubt), while the 32GB version goes for $599.
Sony is running a promotion through October 1st which will provide you with $100 off of the Tablet S if you’re willing to trade in an old tablet.
On this page you can enter your old tablet’s details and see if Sony considers it valid for the promotion. At the moment, Sony lists the following tablet manufacturers as those which would be valid:
Once you select a brand you need to specify the model, so not every old tablet may work, but it won’t hurt to give it a try if you want to trade up to a newer device.
Pre-ordering reveals that the device will become available on September 16th, a little more than two weeks away. It’s nice to finally see Sony get their tablets to market, but I don’t think they represent the bar the Sony had once set for handheld devices.
The dual-screened Tablet S is not immediately available for pre-order alongside the Tablet P, and the release date has not been indicated on Sony’s site.
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