I took a look at the Lenovo Miix 300 after it launched at MWC on Sunday and I was impressed to see such good specifications for a $149 Windows 8 tablet. There are a few things missing though.
I took a look at the Lenovo Miix 300 after it launched at MWC on Sunday and I was impressed to see such good specifications for a $149 Windows 8 tablet. There are a few things missing though.
I’m testing a new 10-inch detachable. The MSI MSI S100 is typical. The specifications might sound a bit netbook-y but these 2-in-1’s offer much more than the classic netbook. They’re more powerful, lighter and have longer battery life. There’s a touchscreen, smooth full HD platback and battery life that we could only dream of back in the day. There’s one problem that didn’t get solved though because the keyboards and screens are still too small for everyday productivity use. As there are low-priced options in the 11.6-laptop category now it leaves the 10-inch detachables to focus on mobility and tablet usage and it turns out to be an ideal combination for many scenarios from sofa-buddy to travelling-buddy.is one of a number of products in this expanding class and at $299 with a 10-inch screen and running an Atom CPU this
The ASUS Transformer Book T100 was one of the first successful devices in this category and it was a popular choice all the way from November 2013 through 2014. Versions included models with an extra hard drive, CPU variants, reduced RAM and various colours. There were even models selling with Windows 8.1 Pro which shows how wide the customer-base is. Prices for a 32GB/2GB are well under $300 now but at CES in January ASUS launched a new model with a Full HD display, USB 3.0, faster processor and a slimmer design. It will slot in above the existing and pricing will start at $399. Meanwhile at the other end of the scale there are 10-inch Windows tablets with keyboard cases for under $200.
The happy owner of an early Acer W510 since 2012. It came with a keyboard that included an extra battery so as a video playback device it was superb and it still does duty on long journeys the car. I also have the Lenovo and as it came with Office 2013 it gets used for school homework via an HDMI-connected screen and USB-connected keyboard and mouse. The keyboard that comes with the Miix 10 isn’t good though. The MSI S100 that I’m reviewing for Notebookcheck is a better option for typing than the and the pricing on the 64GB version is under $300 making it very attractive.wasn’t the first 10-inch detachable – I’ve been a very
Read more of my comments about 2-in-1 PCs in this Intel IQ article
Other options in the space include the Acer Switch 10, the HP Pavilion X2 10 (which is on offer at Amazon USA now for under $250) and the uniquely-designed full-HD one with a big 35Wh battery – the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10. You’ll also find low-cost options under less well-known brands.
It’s a tablet, first, and when it only weighs 1.2lb it’s OK to hold for extended periods, to play accelerometer-driven games and to waste time watching YouTube videos or browsing the uch-improved Windows Store. The keyboard (sometimes with case) brings in a ‘stand’ mode and that great for seat-back videos. The Atom platforms inside these tablets all have no problem with 1080p videos, even at high bitrates. As a ‘newspaper’ or book the tablet weights are still a little heavy but they do make great sofa-buddies. And of course there’s the keyboard itself which introduces a traditional method of input and mouse control. Some of the keyboards are even good enough for long sessions of typing.
When it comes to work you’ll want to be sure that you only buy a product with 2 GB of RAM. 1 GB RAM might be enough for a good demonstration, some benchmarks or working on Windows Store apps but it’s not good enough for extended use, even with multiple tabs under Chrome. As for storage, 32GB is manageable but you’ll need to do your housekeeping. I can’t recommend 16GB of storage for any use cases at all.
If you’re looking at Microsoft Office usage, which is certainly possible, then try to ensure that the SSD speeds are good. The important figure to watch out for in reviews is the 4K write speed. Anything around 8-10 MB/s is good. Anything under 4Mb/s should be avoided for Office usage. Rotating hard disks are not recommended.
The Lenovo Miix 2 10 has a slightly more powerful processor (like the new ASUSChi) than some of the other models in the low-cost 10-inch range and having switched between the Miix 2 10 and tablets using the lower-powered processor I can say that there’s a noticeable difference. The SSD on the Miix 2 is good too but that keyboard prevents me from recommending it as the best all-round solution in this category.
One of the big considerations for 2015 is Windows 10 and the boost it will bring to the Microsoft Store. Universal apps that run across a unified phone and PC store are going to change the way developers look at the platform and Microsoft will give it a big boost with a new range of included apps that include Office. These apps are likely to be more optimised than their desktop cousins and touch will be available as a ‘first-class’ input method. We expect to see a new range of exciting apps appearing through 2015 that will add to the, already improved, choice in the Microsoft Store.
For content creators there are definitely limits to the current Atom-based tablets. You’ll be able to run up a desktop video editing app but the experience won’t be very smooth. Simple 720p editing via something like Movie Creator Beta or Movie Edit Touch 2 which should be enough for social sharing. Simple photo editing is also no problem along with photo management and of course, creating documents, blogs, spreadsheets and presentations is always possible either with supplied Office software or with online offerings like Google docs. If you’re into more demanding creative apps, take a look at the Core-M range of mobile PC solutions.
Music library management is best done online due to space limitations and both Google and Microsoft offer ‘lockers’ for your music. Free storage often comes with the product and Office 356 licences come with 1 year of 1TB upload capability.
Casual gaming on Windows 8 is akin to what you’ll find on a smartphone but slightly more immersive due to the larger screen size. It’s nothing compared to desktop gaming with the latest 3D graphical games of course but there’s a lot of fun to be had. You’ll see a wide range in the Windows Store now. Starting with word games like the evergreen Wordament is no problem. Jetpack Joyride, a casual run-and-jump game is smooth on these low-end processors and if you’ve got yourself a 64GB SSD there’s enough space for a suite of the more detailed games. It’s not impossible to play some desktop games although the choice is going to be very restricted. Minecraft isn’t much fun and WoW only works on low settings, if you can find the space to install it. [Install WoW with an external SSD – Video]
Security and privacy are an important consideration and Windows 8.1 offers a range of security and privacy features. We always advise people to add the HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger extensions to the Chrome browser and if possible add a power-on password via the BIOS. We also advise the use of a Microsoft account because on some devices it enables disk encryption. It also provides online password management, 2-stage authentication, login location-tracking and more. For a full review of the Windows 8 tablet security features, see this detailed analysis.
Battery life is important and those of you thinking about the 2-3 hours we used to get out of a 1KG netbook are going to be surprised. You’ll get about 5 hours of working time, 7 hours of light usage, from most of the 1.1-1.2 pound tablets out there. The HP, one of the cheapest, has a 35Wh battery that might even get you up to 9 hours in some cases and don’t forget that they all support Connected Standby so you can run Windows Store apps in the background while the tablet is off. That’s 15 hours or more of music streaming or Skype standby. Versions with 3G should even allow you to use a Skype-in number for phone connectivity.
With prices on these low-cost 2-in-1 Windows tablets coming down every week and with more products filling the market there’s an incredibly rich mobile PC sector growing here. 10-inch 2-in-1’s are the perfect companion for out-of-office periods when productivity might be required but where entertainment and social networking, photos, videos and gaming are the number 1 thought. The quality and number of apps in the Windows Store has improved greatly and in some cases you’re buying an app that works across both phone and PCs. That feature is going to become even more prominent as Windows 10 for phones and PCs nears and as Universal apps create ecosystem for phone, tablet, laptop and desktop.
These new 2-in-1 PCs might be priced like netbooks and have specifications that sound like netbooks but they aren’t anything like them. The product and operating system has matured and there’s a lot of exciting flexibility and mobility across work, play and communications scenarios.
So what’s my favourite 10-inch 2-in-1 right now? The HPhas to be the best value at its current $240 price but the ASUS Chi has to be the most desirable. With the higher-power processor, USB 3.0, full HD display and amazing design, it just might be worth the higher price. I should have some more hands-on with it soon and my finger is already hovering over the pre-order button at Amazon Germany.
The MSI S100 is being reviewed for Notebookcheck.net
It was last September when myscreen went blank and never came back. I was gutted; Not only because it was my favourite PC but because I was half-way through reporting on the IFA trade-show and I had a flight to the IDF conference 2 days later. Thanks to Intel Germany I flew out with a and the more I use this incredibly well-designed tablet PC, the more I like it. It’s not my main PC though and I thought I would take the time to explain where the fits into the life of someone who is literally surrounded by touch-screen tablets, laptops and mini PCs. The has taken on the important role of being my hot-desking PC.
The Surface Pro 3 is a powerful lightweight Windows tablet PC with touch and digitizer but I find myself loving the Surface Pro 3 simply because it’s a lightweight mobile PC that I can dock at home and in my co-working office [A big shout out to my Coworking Bonn buddies] and one that I can use for meetings, in the coffee shop and in the bus home if I need to. Apart from the lack of 3G/4G the Surface Pro 3 is one of the most ultra-mobile, work-anywhere PCs I’ve ever used.
Let me start by reviewing the Type Cover keyboard. This bouncy slice of mechanics feels strange, unlike any keyboard I’ve ever used and yet it’s productive. It has a backlight too! It snaps willingly to the tablet and is the perfect demonstration of how a tablet can turn into a laptop. Almost. The biggest issue with this setup is the area required to hold it stable. A laptop requires the area under keyboard; The Surface Pro requires an extra 200 mm behind it for the stand. It’s this huge area that will cut your productivity over a standard laptop if you rely on ‘lap-toping.’ I tried it for a few keynotes and press events and wasn’t happy with stability. Despite that the stand is worth having and after 4 months using the stand I don’t have any sign that the mechanics are wearing out.
The Surface Pro 3 is an expensive hot-desker. $780 buys you a Core i3, 64GB, digitizer-capable tablet but if you don’t need the pen-layer you might not be getting best value for your money. Prices for Ultrabooks have come down recently and a when I look at devices like the Dell XPS 13 (2015 version with Broadwell) I see more battery life, a bigger screen, a better keyboard and more processing power for the same money and just 10% more weight. The Core-M mobile PCs are looking good too. The Lenovoand ASUS are around the same weight and the Acer is entering the market at just $699. There’s no digitizer on the Acer and it’s not as powerful as the Surface Pro 3 but it’s much cheaper and arguably more suited to being docked as you can use the Bluetooth keyboard and pointer. Many of these Core M options are fanless too and that makes a difference in a quiet office.
The Surface Pro 3 isn’t loud in normal use but I occasionally hear the sound of a working background process or a heavyweight web page. When I’m rendering my 1080p videos the fan gets almost embarrassingly loud in my co-working office but one can’t moan when it crunches through transcoding with such speed. Quick Sync has come a long way since I first tested it with a 1st-generation Ultrabook in 2011. Handbrake (with Quick Sync support) can now crunch a 1080p 50 FPS 30Mbps file down to 720p at over 200 frames per second!
At this point I should note that I don’t have a digitizer pen but as I have other devices with a digitizer I know that I rarely use such a feature. The only time I really wanted a pen was when I was using the Surface Pro 3 as a whiteboard over Miracast to an Actiontec receiver on a projector. It would have been nice to use One Note as a whiteboard but as it turned out, my finger wasn’t bad either.
While I’m normally mains-power connected I have had reason to worry about battery life. The Intel Developer Forum proved to me that you won’t get through a day without a charger and that, unfortunately, adds weight to the overall package. This is significant as the Ultrabook I was using previously could get through a day meaning that the 1.4KG was all I needed. 200 grams of power supply brings the total tablet/type-cover/power weight to 1.3KG. Looking at the ‘powercfg’ battery report I see that the battery hasn’t worn in the last 4 months at all which indicates that Microsoft have used a good quality battery.
The port choice on the Surface Pro 3 needs consideration. A Mini-DisplayPort is provided for video output and although DP is generally the most flexible it’s not that common to find it on mainstream monitors or projectors. I’m using a DisplayLink video connection (over USB 3.0 via the docking station) which solves that problem but it reduces the quality of graphics and video playback and requires some work from the CPU. That’s not an issue for office-usage but it needs to be mentioned. The docking station also solves the issue of available USB ports. One port isn’t enough for hot-desking if you don’t have a USB hub or USB docking station. Finally there’s the issue of using a MicroSD card slot if your camera uses SD cards. Again, a USB adaptor is required.
I could use the Surface Pro as my only PC and it makes a fantastic hot-desking solution if you’re prepared to set up a USB 3.0 dock or DisplayPort screen and USB hub but there are two major considerations. 1) The Surface Pro 3 isn’t the best hot-desking solution at the price. Many Ultrabooks would be better as they would offer a better keyboard experience, more ports and larger battery life for a similar weight. The new Dell XPS 13 2015 is the one to watch. 2) The surface Pro 3 isn’t the best casual tablet. It’s too heavy and large.
Where the Surface Pro 3 shines is in flexibility and quality. The Surface Pro 3’s digitizer enables annotations, hover-actions, projected white-board and a digital canvas and there are times when I really wish I had the stylus. [I don’t have it because the SP3 was given to me by Intel without the stylus.] The Surface Pro 3 can handle 1080p video editing. The Surface Pro 3 is a quiet desktop. The Surface Pro 3 can be used in more places than the average laptop. Finally, the Surface Pro 3’s quality is always a pleasure to have to the point where I’m proud to be using it in my co-working space and whenever i’m on the road. It will be my working ‘laptop’ when i’m at MWC and CeBIT in March.
Alternatively, without the docking station and monitor I would use a mini USB 2.0 hub, USB Gigabit Ethernet adaptor and a cheap laptop stand.
I’ve written about future Surface Pro platforms before where I highlighted a number of routes to the next Surface Pro products. A smaller, lighter, fanless Surface Pro is possible with Intel Core M or there’s the possibility to improve the SP3 all-round by using a fanless Skylake platform later in 2015. Having a fanless option with wireless charging and WiGi would showcase Skylake well and I think this is the most likely scenario for Surface Pro 4. The Skylake option is something that could be demonstrated in Q3 for Q4 availability. Here’s a rundown of the options.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 information including videos, articles, gallery and specifications available here.
I’m testing a Point of Viewbudget Windows 8 tablet and it’s been a tough, slow process. The Wintab 800W is built on Intel’s low-cost reference platform that you’re going to see in a lot of $99 Windows tablet offers this quarter so what you see here applies to many other models. The issue is that with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage you simply can’t approach them as Windows PCs. Working in the desktop means running out of RAM and disk space quickly. Even Chrome is going to take up over 1GB of disk space after you start using all the features and you’ll end up with this very quickly…
I’m testing the PoV Wintab for Notebookcheck and the process we use for benchmarking is focused on desktop apps. In some extra testing I focused on the RT / Modern ui of built-in apps and Store apps and the results were completely different. Turn off automatic Windows Updates (it’s a security risk but you can selectively download the security patches if you want them) and refrain from installing desktop apps. Switch to RT mode / Start Screen and everything suddenly becomes smooth and trouble-free. These budget Windows 8 tablets are, effectively, RT tablets. Advanced users will probably want to remove the recovery partition (5GB) and experiment and I’m sure that those users will be able to squeeze some impressive usage out of these tablets but for normal users, don’t bother.
My guide to surviving with 32GB of storage applies to 16GB tablets too so if you want to experiment, take a look here.
So here’s the video demo. In it you’ll see browsing with smooth zoom, music playing in Connected Standby, a 33 Mbps 2K video playing, maps and other apps running. In fact, everything a normal user would need is here. It’s an X86 Windows RT tablet.
The full review will be linked here when available. (Notebookcheck.net)
The updated Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet range is now available in three versions and two of those are running Windows. The unique design offers something special for the portrait hand-holder and, some might say “at last” a built-in stand on a small Windows tablet. The two Yoga 2 tablets are running on the Baytrail-T platform (we’re not expecting any performance increases over theand ) and come with full HD displays.
0.94 pounds for the Lenovo Tablet 2 8 isn’t the lightest but you do get a huge 24 Wh battery that should give you at least 10 hours of video playback. An 8-megapixel rear camera, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage should be enough to keep Windows 8.1 (and a Windows 10 upgrade in 2015) running smoothly.
Starting price: $299
The Lenovooffers the same design characteristics in a 10-inch format. The battery size gets bumped up by 50% to 35 Wh. Weight is 1.39 pounds. There’s a micro-HDMI port on the 10-inch version and an optional keyboard that you can see in the image above.
Starting price: $399
The Yoga 2 tablet design is going to be good for hand-holding in portrait mode and the stand mode, as we know from convertibles like the Lenovo Flex 10, is a great option for coffee-shop or breakfast browsing but the design could hinder portrait mode thumbing, at least on the 8-inch version. If the speakers are high quality the 10-inch version could make a great all-round holiday / weekender PC and something to consider when looking at the Acer Switch 10 with the full HD screen.
The new Yoga 2 tablet 10 with the Bluetooth keyboard cover (
it’s unclear if this is part of th Update: It’s included with the 10-inch version.) could combine to make a very lightweight and low-cost full-HD mobile PC option. Keep your fingers crossed for a quality keyboard experience.
If the build quality is there and the early reviews are good these two models could stand, if you’ll excuse the pun, well ahead of the basic Windows tablet crowd as we move towards Christmas 2014. Don’t forget that they’re very likely to get a free Windows 10 upgrade in 2015 too!
The HPand HP have been launched and the cheapest version will cost just $99.Both models come with just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage . That’s all I’m going to tell you right now.
What can I say? Having had a bad experience with 1GB RAM on the Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 I just can’t get excited. I’m also confused about why manufacturers think this is a good idea? The platforms are likely to have been developed, tested and approved by Intel leaving HP and others to build the casing but there are major issues that will affect user perception of Windows tablets. Windows Desktop will slow down to a crawl after you’ve opened a number of browser tabs and a few apps as the Pagefile works overtime to switch data to and from memory. 16GB of SSD becomes a major issue after a short time unless you know all the tricks that can help keep it in order. Without a microSD slot though some of the tricks won’t even be possible.
Thank goodness there’s a 1280×800 screen with wide viewing angles on both of these tablets but that’s not enough for me to recommend them. Yet…
Windows does need a cheap tablet option but it won’t happen with Windows 8.1. Late today Microsoft will be talking about Windows 9 and we hope to see better support for small form factor devices and low-end platforms. The ability to turn off the desktop and have an RT-style default might be a help too and if we could just have support for Windows Phone 8 apps, that could solve the problem. The Cortana assistant and a notification center will help too. Windows 9 should be a free upgrade on small-form-factor devices (it’s already free) so here’s hoping.
Until then, unless you have a specific need, a specific single task or RT-based need, be careful with these low-end Windows 8.1 tablets.
Mike Cane often highlights low-cost Windows tablet news on his blog.
HP Stream 7 site at HP.com
Hands-on with the Liliputing.and Stream 7 by
In an Intel-led Core M benchmarking meeting today I saw a set of controlled benchmarks from a 6W TDP Core M product. The tests were performed in an 685 gram 12.5-inch Llama Mountain reference tablet with a machined aluminum rear casing that is optimal for this design. We also saw a copper-based rear casing that can handle a lot more thermal energy but you won’t see that happening in consumer products. The benchmark scores we saw were more than I had expected.
Over at Ultrabooknews: Intel Core M Overview, benchmarks and product Previews
Three benchmarks were run, once, on a rested system in a warm room.
Sunspider: 119ms at
2.8 2.6 Ghz. ( with Core i5 is 113ms at 2.4Ghz Turbo)
3DMark Icestorm unlimited: 48230
Cinebench R11.5 – 2.65 (with Core i5: 2.77)
Note that these are the scores from a high-end 6W TDP Core M 5Y70. The 4.5W TDP Core M SoCs won’t perform this well and in a product with a less-than-perfect thermal design there could be heat issues that prevent Turbo Boost reaching these high levels.
GPU performance needs to be further tested and long-term gaming could impact Turbo Boost capability.
This is the best you’ll see from Core M at
2.8 2.6 Ghz but it’s important to remember that this is best-of-Core M right now. I’m going to be pushing to get the new Lenovo Helix 2 in for testing so at that point we’ll get our first real-product results.
Tip: Check out the Surface Pro 3 review at Notebookcheck.net for a controlled set of performance figures.
Disclaimer: Intel have paid for my attendance at IDF this year.
Off the top of my head I think this is the lightest 10-inch 2-in-1 PC that I’ve ever seen. The HP Pavilion X2 is a Baytrail-T quad-core tablet with a 1280×800 screen and a 34Wh battery which is going to give you a reasonable battery life. There’s a full-size USB port, MicroHDMI, MicroSD and charging port and the keyboard isn’t bad either. This ultra mobile PC will launch at $330. My tip: A version might be available with 1GB RAM. Avoid that and go for 2GB RAM and 32GB storage. Total weight: 800 grams, 1.75 pounds.
More images here.
I’m not one to pass on rumours but I have always believed, since I tested the Switch 10, that an 11.6-inch version would be even better. An article at TabTec takes some previously unseen model numbers and predicts that an 11.6-inch Acer Switch, the SW5-111 and SW5-171, will arrive at IFA.
There’s literally no more information other than the new model numbers that were found on an Acer website but if you follow Acer’s model numbers it would make sense that an SW5-111 would be an 11.6-inch with Atom/Celeron and that the 171 would be running a Core CPU (I’d guess at a Haswell Y-series.) They would be a natural replacement for the Acer Aspire P3 range which runs on 2nd-generation Core.
If an 11.6-inch Acer Switch 11 to be launched there would need to be some improvements over the Switch 10 to make it interesting. A Full-HD screen, larger battery (or additional battery in keyboard) would be the first on the list. A good price would be expected too.
I’m at IFA (from 3rd Sept) so will be able to being you some more information then, unless Acer launches the Switch 11 beforehand.
Looking for a sub $200 Tablet PC option? The Toshiba WT8 is $193 at Amazon.com today but the newer, lighter Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 is $192. This Windows with Bing PC arrives for testing tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. What features have been stripped out of this Bing version of Windows? Is the new platform better? Is there significantly more available storage space or is this 1GB RAM limit going to negate any of the potential improvements? With the original Windows 8.1 8-inch tablets also at the $200-$220 mark, why bother with the Encore 2?
Two important things to note about Windows with Bing are that 1) You don’t get an Office Home and Student license and 2) There’s only single language support. The latter may not affect many people (except myself – someone that relies on this for purchasing tablets in Germany and switching them to the English language) and the former is offset by a one Year Office 365 Personal license. You get Ooutlook included in that and you also get, in theory, 1TB of free online storage for the year. There may be other changes too.
There’s a 5.0MP auto-focus rear camera which could be useful if it’s as good as the one on the original WT8, microSD support up to 128GB and stereo speakers. As with the WT8 there’s no HDMI so you’ll need Miracast or DLNA support to stream movies to a bigger screen.
If the Toshiba Encore 2 wants to be a competitor in the western market for tablet PCs it needs to beat the class-leading Dell Notebookcheck and the price drops to $175 or less then it could be worth a closer look.in features or undercut it by a big margin. This launch price isn’t enough to convince me but if the device checks out in my review for
I was very sad to read news on Friday that Lenovo was getting out of the small screen tablet market. It turns out, however, that it’s not true. Lenovo issued a press release yesterday stating that they “are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business.” In addition to that they stated that they will have a new 8-inch and a new 10-inch Windows tablet ready for the holidays.
This is great news because it supports my theory that 8-inch Windows tablets haven’t done badly at all. While I believe that the innovation will be focused in the 10-13-inch tablet space over the next years the Dellpopularity, recent announcements from Microsoft and my own experience tells me that the 8-inch tablets aren’t bad at all. At $225 the Dell Venue 8 Pro is an absolutely brilliant tablet and as I cycle through them in my daily use, I can’t say that any of them are bad.
While new models are in the pipleline Lenovo did say that theis now longer for sale in the US. The is out of stock right now too so let’s hope we get that one back on the shelves soon.
Info via GigaOM
What a pleasure it was to test and review the Acer Aspire Switch 10 for Notebookcheck.net over the last three weeks. The Acer is a low-cost 2-in-1 that’s up against a product that has been selling like hot-cakes and yet it pulls through.
It’s cheap and capable and it’s a great showcase for Windows 8 and Intel’s Baytrail-T processor