With only 2/9 touch PCs updated here, 1 installing as I write, 1 downloading and 5 failures that need re-trying I suspect that there’s quite a bit of throttling and control going on by Microsoft today. I’m behind 1 IP address and after trying concurrent installs I’ve dropped back to a one-at-a-time method and it seems to be working now. I advise you do the same if you have multiple PCs
The Dell Venue 11 Pro, Lenovo Miix 2 10 and Acer W510 have updated successfully and all three are booting to Modern, as expected. Non-touch PCs will now boot to desktop.
I’m not a fan of integrating the mouse controls on the Modern UI but because they are hidden when using touch, it’s not an issue. The start-screen search box is a good idea. A Control Panel shortcut now appears in the Modern ‘Change PC Settings’ menu and you can pin Modern apps to the desktop taskbar – a first step in cross-environment integration but remember there’s no floating Windows Store apps in the desktop yet and no changes to the Start Menu. They are coming in a future update. Newly installed apps are easier to find in the Modern apps list now.
For those of us lucky enough to have Connected Standby-capable devices, you won’t see the Power icon on the Start screen.
Just in case you think it’s not worth updating because you’re on a tablet, think again. If you don’t update you’ll eventually lose the ability to update in the future. This update is obligatory.
A new ‘Disk Space’ menu item is a good start in providing users with 16, 32 and 64GB SSDs easier ways to control disk usage but there’s a lot more that could go in there. A shortcut to the ‘Disk Cleanup’ option for a start.
Here’s a video update from my home office this morning. Let us know what your experience was in the comments below and if you’ve had problems, let us know which device it was.
In our fifth 8-inch Windows Tablet review we’re taking a look at the Acer Iconia W4. Acer were the first to bring an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet to the market but the W3 really wasn’t at all an impressive device. The W4, however, looks a whole lot better and performs a whole lot better thanks to the upgrade from Clovertrail to Baytrail. We’ve also got 3G on board which makes it one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets to have the feature. Read-on for the full Acer Iconia W4-821P 3G 32GB review.
Although Intel are updating the current Baytrail D/M range, we’re looking forward to a 14m version and an all-round update for Windows tablets and mobile PCs. That update was previously thought to be CherryTrail but it turns out that Braswell is in the mix too.
At IDF in Shenzen Intel announced Braswell for ‘Entry Systems.’ Given that the presentation was given by Intel’s PC Client Group this means that it’s likely be the replacement for Baytrail-M and D that we see in low-cost PCs and tablets today. E.g. the Medion Akoya P2212T
Braswell is a 14nm product presumably using the Airmont Core although this wasn’t confirmed in the IDF presentation. Coverage of Braswell in the press release was very brief…
In a brief preview of Intel’s future roadmap for PCs and mobile devices, Skaugen said the effort to bring innovation to the value space will continue in earnest with the next-generation 14nm SoC, code-named Braswell.
In his presentation, Kirk Skaugen had this to say.
“Today I want to announce the codename of the next generation Atom microarchitecture-based PC called Braswell. It will be a leading 14nm nanometer technology delivering an even lower bill of materials cost and higher performance.” We assume Kirk meant SoC and not PC in that announcement.
Braswell may also be targeted for Chromebooks
Braswell’s size, highly-integrated design and efficiency will allow manufacturers to produce lower cost devices by reducing design time, bill of materials and the size of the battery needed.
CherryTrail-T remains the ‘high-end’ of the next generation Windows CPUs and we’re likely to see this on tablets at the start of 2015 with a few products possibly making it to market for the December holiday period.
The Pen-wars are hotting-up! Wacom have been a leading light in the area of digitizers and active pen input for a while but N-Trig are working hard on making up the difference. The DuoSense solution on the newly launched Intel Education Tablet includes advanced palm rejection and 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Unfortunately for us here at Windows-focused UMPCPortal this ruggedized 10-inch tablet is running Android but as with the 12-inch Samsung Galaxy Note Pro it gives us something to think about. If you’re creating specialized software for a specialized audience, does it matter what the OS is as long as the software matches the requirements of the user?
The Intel Education Tablet runs on Android* 4.2 and has kid-friendly features such as rubber bumpers on the sides making it easier for small hands to hold, a power button that resists accidental pushes and a stylus with a realistic pen-like grip. Powered by a dual-core Intel® Atom™ processor Z2520, the 10-inch tablet has front- and rear-facing cameras and optional 3G support, and provides an average 12 hours of battery life2 to keep up with student learning all through the day.
The press contact for N-Trig tells me that this new generation of their DuoSense technology can exceed that of a competitor in terms of “accuracy, pressure sensitivity, continuity, linearity and overall user experience” so naturally I’ve asked to be kept updated on upcoming products. DuoSense has already been seen on some Sony products and the Vaio Duo 13 we tested at Ultrabooknews was in general a pretty good experience.
Now that a few days have passed since Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 2 it’s time for me to give some thought to the product and its target market. Why? Because it confuses me.
The Surface Pro 2 is a productive tablet with a detachable keyboard but at 10-inches it’s not ideal for that. Maybe it’s more focused on all-day mobility? Oh wait, there’s a docking station so it’s both? But it’s damn expensive! Have Microsoft tried too hard to cover all bases and compromised on all of them? `Where exactly is Microsoft going with an expensive 10-incher and why haven’t they addressed the small screen tablet market with Surface?
Windows 8.1 Preview was announced and released at Microsoft’s BUILD event this week and I’ve been testing it on an Acer Iconia W5 Clovertrail based tablet similar to the W3, 8-inch devices that were given out to around 3000 people at the event. I’ve also upgraded an Ivy Bridge Ultrabook and an AMD Temash subnotebook, all with touch but it’s the tablets that get the most out of the changes in the upgrade. Keyboard changes, windowing changes, 3G connected standby support, new Windows 8 applications and a range of application upgrades. If you’re on a non-touch laptop and spend most of your time in Windows 8 desktop, don’t bother with the upgrade yet as there are bugs but if you’ve got an Acer Iconia W5 or one of the other supported Windows 8 tablets or hybrids and you’re not using it for production purposes I would definitely recommend upgrading.
Microsoft have announced a focus on small Windows tablets, a Windows 8.1 preview download and have detailed changes for small screens. Changes include a new keyboard with gesture features, new Windowing for the Metro UI, layout changes (see right) and more. Here’s a few of the key features that have just been announced.
Take another look though, ignore some of the news articles riding on the back of the headline PR and you’ll see something interesting. Firstly there’s no obvious consideration of PC evolution into the tablet market. Secondly, there’s a huge opportunity opening up in the 8-13â€ segment. As tablet users start to prefer those smaller, cheaper tablet devices, more value and capability is needed in the larger screen segment.
The Acer Iconia Tab has been here for over a month now. Bought as a Clovertrail test device it has turned into a surprisingly usable and flexible ultra-mobile PC. The Acer W510 might be using the same Atom core as netbooks did but the package here is far more than that both in terms of computing and usage flexibility. Read on for the full review of the Acer Iconia W510 and a summary of where this ground-breaking style of smart and ultra mobile PC fits into the market.
I’ve never been a big fan of tablet PCs. A UMPC with 5-7â€ screen, yes but the classic tablet pc with digitizer and 11.6 or greater screen size was too awkward for me, Too heavy to hold in one hand, with poor battery life andÂ screen input limited to a pen with a focus on handwriting, was far from my idea of fun or productivity. The Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx, an 11.6â€ tablet PC is a completely different story however and is easily the best 11.6â€ tablet PC I’ve used, and that includes the original Samsung XE700, a well-crafted tablet PC with Core CPU and a digitizer. The Lenovo Ideatab runs Windows on an Intel Atom platform.
Now I’m not saying that the Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx is the best 11.6â€ tablet and I know there’s a huge difference between this and a pro-level Core-based tablet with Digitizer and handwriting input. I must also say that I haven’t fully tested any of the new Core-based Win 8 tablets yet but the Lynx is working well for me and I feel it hits a very nice sweet-spot in the market. Weight, size, price, features, touch, OS. The Lynx is well-balanced and while it’s not going to be a winning consumer tablet, I bet it finds a lot of friends. The Lynx I have here is the 64GB/2GB model which is retailing in my locale for 55o Euro. I only picked it up yesterday but I’ve given it some serious testing over the last 24hrs.
The 11.6â€ tablet designÂ is very much a productivity-first design, especially when you can add a comfortable keyboard to the mix. At 635gm (1.4 pounds) it’s light enough to serve as a consumption device too though. In portrait mode it really feels like you’ve got the future of the newspaper in your hand. Seriously, if 11.6″ tablets hit 500gm I bet we’ll have another hot segment on our hands. This is the coffee-table tablet!
Is Atom good enough for the job of productivity? It depends on your definition of productivity but it’s fair to say that it’s not going to be good enough for most people as a daily drive for office-type activites. For me, however, there’s an exciting mix of capability here. As a blogger that writes, and writes, and edits sub-2MB images with the occasional YouTube video edit in 720p, this could really work for me, especially given the battery life and always-on capability. I’d add HSPDA for my ideal mobile blogging setup and a full-size SD card slot would be a dream but this could work out better than a 10â€ Windows 8 device. I can think of a lot more customers that would get good value out of the Lynx too, not least the long-distance traveler; Having Windows behind the entertaining Metro/Modern/Win 8 Store is perfect for that scenario.
Here’s how I’m using it right now (see image) because I haven’t got the keyboard dock yet. That comes next week.
Here’s a rundown of the device itself.
Screen. Bright, not incredibly punchy in terms of color but is IPS which is a must on a tablet. 1366×768 is OK for me but I know that many would expect more. For reading, there would be an advantage with 1600×900 of course.
Build. Strong. No flex. No creaks. Plastic back feels a bit cheap. One thing I must point out is that the edges are not smoothly chamfered which could have given the use a more comfortable experience. If the Lynx was any heavier it would have been a serious negative point.
Ports/features: No rear cam. Micro ports could be a pain (usb, hdmi, sd on the tablet.) Speakers are loud, not brilliant quality. Dual-array mic.Â There’s a micro-USB to USB converter included and you can plug in a micro-USB charger which seems strange considering it’s a host port. Check out the unboxing video, below,Â for a closer look at the ports.
Software: Apart from a Norton package (removed immediately) and a Sugar Sync service (Acer cloud sync) it’s refreshingly free of additional software.
As for performance, you shouldn’t expect much difference between Clovertrail tablets due to the high level of integration inside – due to Connected Standby requirements. (Always on.) The Lenovo Ideatab Lynx does, however, beat the Acer W510 on PCMark7 purely because the eMMC write speeds are a little faster. On every other benchmark the two devices were almost exactly the same. The WiFi appears very slightly weaker on the Lynx which is a disappointment. It has the same Broadcom WiFi chipset as the Acer but I was hoping for better antenna design. In general the WiFi is relatively weak.
All Clovertrail Windows 8 tablets are always-on capable but this one has a nice little trick because the micro USB port on the underside can be used to charge the device. This also serves as the docking port so clearly the dock will charge the tablet whenever it is connected â€“ a battery-to-battery charging setup that wastes quite a bit of energy. I’ve just connected in a pocket USB charger which can deliver 1000mA and the device is just managing to charge at a very very slow rate. I doubt it’s pulling the full 1A available. This is the first time I’ve ever charged a PC from a smartphone power pack. You can also see I’m using a Bluetooth keyboard. Total cost was about 55 Euro for the charger and keyboard. The Lenovo Lynx keyboard costs 155 Euro! One other advantage to this charging setup is the extremely small and light charger which delivers 5.2V up to 2000ma, similar to some tablet chargers. I love this idea of Micro-USB charging.
I’m not sure you’d need this charger during a full day out though because battery life is as good as I’ve seen on the Acer W510. I’m sitting here typing with WiFi on, Bluetooth on and screen-on in about 2.5W of usage â€“ enough for about 10 hours typing from the tablet battery alone. Based on what I’ve measured on Clovertrail before, you’ll struggle to get less than 6hrs battery life from the tablet. Video playback with WiFi off should run for over 10hrs if I have my maths right.
A quick word on Clovertrail performance now. It’s Atom, as we know it. It’s not a powerful compute platform but it returns a full and accurate web experience faster than most Android tablets. The graphics performance has been pumped up a little over previous generatios too; I was surprised how smooth a game of Reckless Racing was from the Windows 8 store. Audio playback and video playback hardware is included along with accelerated video encode. You’ll get about 2X the render performance that you saw on Netbooks which brings short 720p clips into scope at around 1X real-time rendering.
The SSD is not a SATA drive on any of the Clovertrail tablets as Clovertrail only supports eMMC which is usually soldered-on just as it is on Android tablets and the iPad speeds aren’t stellar but it’s acceptable, rugged, silent and efficient. 75MB max read, 33MB max write (sequential.) Oh, on noise â€“ there isn’t any. No fan here!
I’ll leave it there for now and hand-over to you for questions. The keyboard dock will arrive some time next week and I’m really looking forward to that because if the keyboard is typical Lenovo style, I’m going to get on very well with it!
Here’s something very interesting. Up until now we’ve only seen Clovertrail based tablets and docking stations. The LG H160 is a slider we spotted a while back when it was shown at a South Korean trade show. It is planned to be presented at CES this week which might mean it’s coming stateside.