Google has officially launched the Pixel C, a 10.1-inch Android tablet running on a Tegra X1 platform. They’ve also developed a magnetically attachable Bluetooth keyboard and the combo is said to offer a “great touch typing experience.” The price is extremely high for a 10-inch dockable though.
I’ve been writing a Windows 10 upgrade guide for the Acer Iconia Tab W4, a decent early Baytrail-era 8-inch tablet with HDMI and, in my case, 3G. It’s relatively stable with Windows 10 10130 as most hardware seems to be functioning and the important tablet UI elements are there. It was difficult to get to this point though because the ISO I downloaded was an older version. Microsoft have now pushed build 10130 ISO up to the Windows 10 Insider Preview download page so you can now install from a tablet-friendly version of Windows 10 and won’t have to wait hours for all the updates.
Installing Windows 10…
Update: Version 10134 is (unofficially) available now too but you might want to stick to official versions for the best experience.
Going into this review I had a very clear idea of what it was that I wanted out of the Yoga. I wanted something with great battery life, lightweight, moderate computing power and good “lapability”. I hate that word but it does cover that attribute quite well. Those of you who have read my first impressions will know that I was pretty chuffed with the device from the get go. Now a week later have things changed or am I am still in the honeymoon period? Read on to find out more.
I’ve just completed a full in-depth review of the Dell Venue 10 Pro for Notebookcheck. You’ll find thousands of words, lots of pics and many test results here but if you’re looking for my a summary opinion on the Dell Venue 10 Pro, read on.
Dell Venue 10 Pro 5055
The Venue 10 Pro 2-in-1 is available as a 1366 x 768 tablet but I reviewed the more interesting full HD version with docking keyboard and was very impressed with the build quality and features. It’s clearly for business and education and sacrifices some style to provide a full size USB port, 32 Wh battery and a rubber surround on the casing. The keyboard is great (no battery in this one) and the screen brightness is impressive. I also tested a rubber case for the tablet which gave the device more bulk but increased ruggedness and grip.
The Dell Venue 10 Pro has some issues though and the one you just can’t ignore is the 1.5 year old Atom CPU design. Dell didn’t even chose the high-end version of the CPU – the Z3795 – that you find in other business focused offerings like the HP Elitepad, Fujitsu Stylistic, Lenovo Thinkpad and even the Dell Venue 11 Pro. Instead you get the common-or-garden Z3735 which didn’t even outperform a 2014 Lenovo Miix 2 10 that I’ve had for a while. The Z3795 is not only more powerful (with similar CPU performance to the new Surface 3) but it also enables 64-bit operating systems which helps IT departments keep images down to a minimum and enables a range of Linux-based OS alternatives.
Venue 10 Pro tablet, keyboard and cover.
There are some good security option on the Dell Venue 10 Pro though. I enabled Bitlocker file encryption by using a Microsoft account and noticed that there are BIOS options to disable ports, cameras and features. Where businesses are looking for a data-collection device to use with in-house software, the Dell Venue 10 Pro could be a good value option. Security, screen and ruggedness are top-notch for the price.
Total weight is a little on the heavy side and the ‘docked’ thickness is way more than you’ll get with even a Surface Pro 3 and keyboard but you do get a nice keyboard and touchpad and it’s no bigger than a netbook from a few years ago. The 32 Wh battery is worth having too although my review device had lost 16% of its capacity already. Watch out for battery wear if you buy a Venue 10 Pro and return it if you reach 10% wear in 6 months.
If Dell upgrade the Venue 10 Pro with an Atom X7 CPU and a slightly faster eMMC disk then we’ve got a winner on our hands but in its current form it’s a product for vertical markets. Maybe that’s why we’re not seeing it in retail channels yet.
At an event in China today Ramos introduced three Windows 8.1 tablets. Two of these we’ve seen before but one is new. There’s also some information about the dual OS ability of the i10 pro.
We’re expecting variants of these device specifications to appear over time but for today Ramos have pitched three devices are three different segments. The 8-inch i8 Pro runs the Z7340D CPU and comes with the basic Windows 8.1 tablet specifications. There’s a GPS on board but we’re expecting this to be a low-cost Windows 8 tablet. No availability or price has been given but when we spoke to Ramos last week they were indicating that it would come ‘next’ after the i10 pro.
The Ramo i10 Pro is shown with 3G specifications and is the model with the Dual OS feature. Android 4.2.2 is on board with Windows 8.1. The FullHD screen sits above the same basic Windows tablet specifications of Z3740D, 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD. Some talk of 64-bit Windows in some sources leads us to believe that the CPU might get upgraded to the Baytrail-CR variants when they’re fully available. The i10 Pro will be available in 5 colours.
The 3G function is enabled with the Ultrastick 3G SD card from Huawei which we understand is bundled with the i10 Pro. Clearly that might not be the case in other regions.
Indications are that this is a dual-boot solution as we saw demonstrated at CeBIT although final confirmation has been given. A dual-boot solution might not cut across the Google Play non-fragmentation agreement but we wait to see just how much more than basic Android this build is.
The i10 Pro will be available in China from the 25th of March for 2699 Yuan which is $433. Our hands-on video is below.
The new model we haven’t seen before is the i10 Note which offers Windows 8.1 on a 1280×800 screen but with a pen. It’s not clear if this is a capacitive-only pen. Indications are that the product is still in development.
We’ll update you as soon as we have new information. We’ve already contacted Ramos for a review device.
After all the Clovertrail testing last week the plans to take a consumer tablet to MWC took a turn at the last minute. The Fujitsu Q702 turned up for testing and it bumped itself to the top of the list based on some amazing specs; the first and most important of which is a total 70Wh battery with 44Wh of that as a replaceable in the base. Hot-swap goodness!
Depending on your stance, this Fujitu Q702 is either a 11.6â€ ultra mobile PC â€“ a tablet that weighs 850gm and includes a full Core i5 platform, or an Ultrabook when docked.
At 1700 Euro this is not something you buy without thought but here are a few things that might tempt you.
Â Matt capacitive display with digitizer and pen (stowed on base)
3G (Sierra Wireless Gobi with GPS)
Fingerprint reader, VPro and TPM
Full SD, Full Gig E. Full HDMI, Full VGA, Four USB ports
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 ultra mobile PC 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!
The Verge have just posted a very interesting and detailed hands-on with the Microsoft Surface Pro. I sent out my Surface Pro Performance Preview late last year but this hands-on, by Tom Warren, is worth taking a close look at too because it covers more than just the internals. You can read my thoughts below or just jump to The Verge.
Competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro (and 4 other Core-based dockables,) the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro / 700T / XE700 hasn’t exactly got the market to itself but given Samsung’s history of making tablets we think they have a good chance of being one of the most popular brands in the category and when Samsung posts details about what’s going inside the SmartPC Pro you get the impression they have some confidence too.
Check out some of the key features inside the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro below and read-on for information on the first owner-feedback.
Although there are a number of slider and rotating screen Ultrabooks out there it’s the dockable slates that seem to interest the readers here the most. The Samsung XE700 / Smart PC Pro is available in a number of location now but it’s the Acer Iconia W700 that get’s the first round of reviews. Laptop Magazine and CNet have published their thoughts so make sure you read these to get a feel for weight, battery life, performance and features for this new phase of Window Tablet PCs.
According to a couple of online source the HP Envy x2 should start shipping soon. An offer starting in Japan today promises delivery starting from the 27th December (some reports say 21st) and in Germany a couple of retailers have listed the same timeframe.