The Huawei Mediapad X2 is an excellent Android tablet, and that includes the price. In Europe you can pick this up for €289 or for €330 with LTE, and that includes sales taxes. I had it for just a few days while I did a Notebookcheck video so I wasn’t able to test things like screen mirroring, encryption, MHL, OTG or some of the newer aspects of Android but what I did see was an excellent screen, great design, long battery life, processing and GPU power, AC WiFi and, something that’s always on my list for a good tablet, great speakers. It’s as good as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 and the Ipad Mini in my opinion but the price makes it stand out. 330-euro for 16 GB storage and LTE. I’d love one, thank-you.
In Oct 2010 I was fortunate enough to get one of the first Galaxy Tabs in Europe. The review video (and live review video) was done quickly and has since amassed over 280000 views. Today I posted a video overview of the Galaxy Tab S2 (8.0 and 9.7-inch) and it’s incredible to see how much has changed. We are talking good productivity levels, fast ‘real’ web and high-end connectivity that beats most of the Windows tables out there. The LTE 32GB version launched for €500 in Europe but is already below €450 now. That sounds like a lot but I paid 799 Euros for the first 3G Galaxy Tab! It was worth it then because it was one of the first ‘mobile internet’ tablets that really worked for me but having tested the Galaxy Tab S2 I’m sure that I would get €450 of value out of it. Here’s a summary of why I think it’s one of the best options out there for most people. My video review for Notebookcheck is embedded below.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8.0 next to the original Galaxy Tab from 2010.
Remember the revolutionary HP note-taking device teased back in June? It’s just been launched in the USA and it’s called the HP Envy 8 Note. It’s an 8-inch Windows 10 tablet with digitizer layer, unique HP note-taking software and a big keyboard that acts as a cover.
HP Envy 8 Note
A 1920 x 1200 screen, Atom X5 CPU and stylish design set it apart from other 8-inch tablets although if you choose the keyboard you’ll end up carrying something completely unique in the market today. Acer tried it with the W3 a few years back but this looks better executed.
While the package price of $429 (available November 9th in the USA) seems attractive you need to note that at that price its only coming with the Atom X5 8300 and 2GB of RAM. You’ll be able to buy the tablet and pen for $329 though. There’s a Verizon LTE option which, according to the press release, seems to be included in the setup but will need a contract to use. That’s obviously going to be different if the HP Envy 8 Note reaches other countries. As an upgrade from the HP Stream 8 with Datapass this could be a good option, especially if we see other configurations.
The keyboard is netbook style but has 1.5 mm key travel, soft rear, pen holder and tablet holder. It’s a Bluetooth keyboard so don’t expect an expansion or extra battery to be included. Unfortunately we don’t have a weight for the keyboard yet but a total tablet+keyboard weight of well under 1 KG / 2.2 pounds isn’t unreasonable.
There’s a MicroSD card slot, micro SIM slot and audio headset port. The HDMI port that some are looking for, is missing and the Micro USB charge port only supports USB 2.0.
I bought a Thinkpad 8 last week. Why? This high-end Windows 8 tablet with LTE and 4GB got an update to the Z3795 CPU, has much improved performance over the original and was retailing in the UK for an absolute bargain price. Since I bought it I’ve done a lot of testing and a lot of travelling with it. I’ve also treated it to a hard case and a USB 3.0 OTG adaptor which says a lot about how I plan to use it.
For those of us that respect the flexibility of a fully functioning desktop PC in the palm of one’s hand the information, just a tweet, that Windows 10 tablet products under 8-inches will not have desktop capability is bad news. But there are advantages to using an RT-only setup on Windows.
There are few sub 8-inch tablets around that will be affected so the new restrictions won’t affect many people but take a look at the industry-focused, Core-i5 Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1. This is a product that relies on the desktop for Win32 desktop apps. I’ve seen others industry-focused solutions at 7-inches too. As CPU sizes fall and efficiency increases we’re able to do more and more on the low-end tablet PCs. I’ve demonstrated docked solutions many times and without a desktop all that functionality and flexibility is lost. Do you really want a full-HD screen where you can’t run a full edition of the Chrome Browser. I still use Windows Live Gallery, Putty, Audacity and many of my benchmarking apps are Win32 apps. There are a large number of Win32 apps out there that are finger-focused too. Having a desktop option means having flexibility and that’s what many people enjoy about small-screen Windows tablets. But the desktop is old, boring, insecure and heavyweight. Isn’t it time to turn it off on consumer touch tablets or to, at least, having the option?
In essence, RT on X86 (via a disabled desktop) is not a bad thing. By reducing Windows to the ‘RT hypervisor’ means that you get a more efficient and more secure environment without the shock of an unusable touch-desktop and desktop settings screen. ‘RT’ mode would be great for 8-inch and 10-inch tablets with 1GB too as it frees up RAM and reduces hardware requirements. There’s even a case for disabling the desktop in larger devices. As 12.5 and 13.3-inch devices get smaller and lighter there’s a growing market for big-screen readers. Windows desktop the OS can be smaller meaning that the mainboard requirements (and cost and size) fall for these consumer-centric devices. The old issue of having a restricted choice of Modern applications is falling away and will get a big boost from the new set of ‘RT’ apps that Microsoft will introduce in Windows 10. Office is a good example.
Update: As suggested in the comments, if you support this option, go to Uservoice and add your vote. Here.
Of course the best option would be to have a choice, at least for desktop-class processors. This is the option that those devices need:
The question of having a desktop or not having a desktop remains open in my opinion. There are very good cases for removing it and not just on 7-inch devices. The brief information from the Microsoft tweet didn’t exactly cover all cases either so we can’t draw any conclusions as to what will really happen after feedback. What about fresh Windows 10 installs or installs that use an external display, installs that trick the OS into thinking the screen size is more than 8-inches. At least we know that existing Windows devices will get an update to Windows 10 with the desktop… “Folks asking about updating 7″ *existing* devices to Win10 — you keep your desktop, you get continuum. Go try it yourself now,” is what we saw in a follow-up tweet indicating, to me, that this is just a move by Microsoft to make it easier, and cheaper, for consumer-focused tablet manufacturers. Specialist devices like the Panasonic Toughpad might get the full-fat image installed and we’ll probably find work-around. RT-only mode is important for security, efficiency, standby features and for promoting Universal apps too but please, Microsoft, let us have the choice.
Pen-driven tablets; They’ve been a staple of the pro-mobile market for many years for some very good reasons and Toshiba just might have the right idea with their new Encore 2 Write 8 and Write 10 tablets. The new tablets use Wacom technology to address a number of important digitizer features that recent tablets have lacked.
Wacom, pressure sensitivity, responsiveness and hover are critical when it comes to quality digitizer input. The ASUS Vivotab Note 8 had a good go at it but it wasn’t perfect. The Surface Pro tablets do a better job but they’re expensive. At $349 for an 8-inch tablet and $399 for a 10-inch tablet the new Encore 2 Write products are unique, if everything works as it should. Hands-on at CES seem to indicate that it does.
Is the ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi more than the sum of it’s parts or is it just a bluetooth keyboard and standard Windows tablet?
ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi Back
ASUS have created waves with their Transformer Book T90 Chi. Most hands-on reports I’ve read so far are very positive and it appears to be rapidly gaining fans in comment sections across the web. It might be because it’s loosely associated with Intel Core M (only the T300 has core M, the T90 Chi uses that ‘classic’ Baytrail-T platform) or that it looks svelte. It might be because of the price or it might be because it looks like a very cute mini laptop.
I’m testing a Point of View Mobii Wintab 800W budget 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…
An empty disk on a 16GB Windows 8 tablet
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.
Point of View low-cost 16/1 Windows tablet.
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.
I can’t get the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 off my mind.
What has the Surface Pro 3, the Flex 10 and the Samsung Q1u got in common? A stand! The Lenovo Yoga tablet 2 8 (and 10-inch) has a stand too and at under 1 pound / 426 grams it’s the lightest self-standing PC in the world. That makes it interesting for me, especially as it’s got a 1920×1200 screen, a big battery, an LTE option and a starting price of just $299 (dual-band WiFi version.) According to a retailer in Germany that has it up for pre-order there’s a digital compass and GPS. This is too good. I hope not though because I’ve just ordered it. I’m expecting an early November delivery.
The other interesting aspect here is the battery. This isn’t the lightest 8-inch Windows PC because it’s got a huge 24Wh battery inside. In comparison to the Lenovo Miix 2 8, which is one of the lightest, it’s got 35% more capacity. [The capacity is quoted at 6500 mAh. We can assume that it’s based on a 3.7V battery. Anything else would be too much for this weight.]
Take a look at some of the images and imagine the use cases here. Bluetooth keyboard, kitchen, seat-back, car, armchair…
Wolfson® Master HiFi™ audio processing and Dolby® surround sound
Don’t forget that Lenovo are touting good speakers too so the Yoga Tablet 2 8 could end up being your hotel-room best friend.
The camera could be the best camera yet on a Windows tablet…8MP rear camera with f2.2 wide-aperture lens, advanced glare-reducing glass and a BSI 2 sensor.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 (Windows) issues.
Here are the trade-offs you’ll have to consider. 1) It’s not the lightest. The Dell Venue 8 Pro remains the best ‘reader’ Windows tablet on the market. 2) The stand/battery might improve the portrait reading experience but it might cause problems when thumb-typing. 3) There’s no HDMI port. You’ll get Miracast for video-mirroring but it’s not good enough for an interactive experience in my opinion. DisplayLink over USB 2.0 works for basic office use though. 4) The SoC isn’t going to be any more powerful than those of the first-generation Baytrail tablets although there’s a possibility that the eMMC could be faster as it is on the Toshiba Encore 2 8 tablet. 5) Still no USB 3.0 and the charge+data issue remains. There may be hacks for the latter issue.
If you’re not feeling it for the Yoga tablet 2 yet, take a look at this video from Mobilegeeks. I’ll add more to this playlist.
4 weeks to wait for my hands-on. Can you wait that long or are you pre-ordering?
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8 specs and information in our database here.
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 the Miix 2 8 and Miix 2 10) 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 Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10 offers 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
YOGA TABLET 2 (8″ Windows) Specs
Processor: Intel® Atom™ Z3745 Processor
Operating System:Windows 8.1 with Bing for Small Tablets
Memory:RAM: 2GB LPDDR3
Storage: Up to 32GB EMMC
Supporting Micro SD card up to 64GB
Display:Size: 8″ Full HD (1920 x 1200) IPS display Capacitive touchscreen, 10-point multitouch
Weight: 0.94 lbs
Audio: 2x Front large-chamber speakers
Wolfson® Master Hi-Fi™ Codec
Battery Type : Li-ion, 6400 mAh
Usage Time : Up to 15 hours
Standby Time : Up to 14 days
Integrated Cameras: Rear: 8MP f2.2 Auto-focus. Front: 1.6MP HD
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!
I was asked for my opinion on the price of the Dell Venue 8 7000 just after it was announced and all I could think of was the nice looking Lenovo Tab S8 which is very similar, for about $199. After handling the Dell Venue 8 7000 I now see a product worth much more than that. The amazing OLED 2K screen is punchy and sharp. The 6mm thin design is light and stylish and the 3 additional Realsense snapshot cameras offer some interesting options for photographers. In this video you’ll see some of those features being demonstrated.
After talking to a number of people about the Dell Venue 8 700 I know know the following.
It will be available in November.
There will be an LTE version. (Intel 7260)
It runs on Merrifield (Intel |Z35xx-series)
The screen is 2K resolution OLED
The base configuration will be 2GB RAM and 16GB storage
An SDK will be released but it’s looking like early 2015 before developers can create apps
Youll find out more in the video after the images…