Thanks TCL for your support and an interesting set of TV products. At IFA2015 last week I got up-close with a huge 110-inch 4K display, a 4K monitor with colors that were stunning and three 65-inch curved monitors showing 12K video content. Video below.
IFA 2015 was as fun and as busy as ever. I managed to get quality hands-on time with a lot of new ultramobile PCs (mostly without the pressure of press-event chaos) and had some great conversations, both public and private, with companies working in the sector. Thanks to Intel for their blogging facilities and an amazing party, Acer for the bright and spacious video-friendly booth and Microsoft for a good evening of networking. Having said that, I didn’t see what I wanted to see.
IFA 2015 has brought us a range of new and upgraded convertible PCs but the one that I’ve had at the top of my list for a while is the Acer Switch 11V which seems to offer just the right balance of features for a Core M 2-in-1. The problem is that Lenovo are launching the Miix 700 which might be an even better option because it uses the latest Core M generation. The Acer Switch 11V has taken so long to get to market that it’s still using the first generation. Acer might need to adjust some pricing on the 11V if they want to see it compete successfully.
Acer have done a reasonable job of keeping the looks and plastics from feeling cheap but the Switch 11V isn’t a style-statement. Inside you’ll find a ‘proper’ SSD connected via a SATA port. Speeds aren’t known at this stage but expect it to outperform something like the Surface 3. The performance of the Switch 11V can’t be determined by Core M model number because, as with all Core M builds, it depends on how well the Acer engineers have designed the internal airflow and heat-sinking. A full test will be needed to determine that.
I liked the keyboard but the trackpad needs longer term testing before it can be evaluated.
A 28 Wh battery inside the Acer Switch 11V is a little small when you compare it to the 41 Wh of the Lenovo Miix 700 and that’s going to really affect battery life. If you’re looking for an all-day battery-powered mobile PC solution the Switch 11V isn’t it.
Take a look at the video to get a good overview of the Acer Aspire Switch 11V.
There’s no name for this product but given the history of Toshiba Write tablets it could be that this is going to launch as the Toshiba Write convertible. It was teased on stage at the Microsoft press event here at IFA a short while ago and it we’re told that information will be available over the coming weeks.
Toshiba pen-enabled 2-in-1
The tablet looks incredibly thin and we were led to believe that it’s based on a Core m processor. The rest is speculation based on what we see here. 12.5-inch screen?
We’ll have to wait and see what Toshiba launch over the coming weeks but the question is, why not now?
The Toshiba Satellite Click 10 follows in the footsteps of the Click 9, the unique netbook-style 2-in-1 with the big battery life. Like the Click 9 the Click 10 has a battery in both the tablet and keyboard but by keeping the weight down to 1.1 KG Toshiba have created the best battery:KG ratio in the 10-inch dockable tablet market. How’s the rest of this ultramobile PC though?
The Acer Cloudbook 11 CB3-111-C670 Windows 10 laptop is available at a price of just $169. If you want the more sensible 32 GB version you’re still only looking at $189. For a laptop that runs a new Braswell processor and weighs just 2.54 pounds you can’t ignore it. So I didn’t, as I passed through the Acer booth at IFA 2015. I was particularly interested in testing the keyboard.
The Acer Aspire Switch 10V takes the new 11V design and shrinks it down a little to make an overall improvement on the original Switch 10. There’s an Atom X5 (Z8300) on the inside along with a Full HD screen. Hands-on video at the base of this article.
Acer launched a new Chromebook at IFA today. The Chromebook R11 is a lightweight 11.6-inch convertible with a good keyboard and large touchpad. The 1366 x 768 screen is entry-level but the Braswell processor should offer quite a bit more than the ASUS Chromebook Flip that it will compete with. Hands-on video below.
Look at the keyboard. Look at the keyboard! The new Miix 700 tablet is a 12-inch tablet running on the new Core m processor. It’s targeted directly at the Surface 3 and Pro 3 audience but might be a better fit than either of them.
I’m here in Berlin for 5 days covering what’s usually the most interesting consumer technology show of the year. IFA 2015 opens on Thursday but before it does there are two days of press events to get through. Here’s a rundown of events, technologies and manufacturers.
The IFA 2015 kit-list.
My kit comprises the Surface Pro 3 (long-term loan from Intel. Full review here. Watch out for bargains as the Surface Pro 4 gets nearer.) running Windows 10. I’ve got the Lumia 830 smartphone (long-term loan from Microsoft with original OS) as my notifications and chat tool but it will also be used for quick videos, social media pics and map/transit information.
I have a Lenovo Thinkpad 8 tablet as a backup PC but that will stay in my room. A USB power-pack and a MiFi unit will be serving roaming WiFi when needed.
The camera is still the excellent Panasonic Lumix FZ150 bridge camera with a low-cost wired lapel mic and CN-160 dimmable lighting unit which mounts on the hotshoe.
Apart from the Surface Pro 3,5 this isn’t a high-end set of equipment but it’s well-tested now and reasonably mobile. Unfortunately I’ll need to take the charger for the Surface Pro 3 along with mini USB hub and SD card adapter. The Surface Pro 4 needs a full SD card slot and 8 hours battery life!
Full HD video editing will be done with Cyberlink Power Director 12 which I’ve always got on well with and always seen excellent rendering speed through its support of Intel Quick Sync video encoding hardware. It’s not expensive and it can do more than I need it to do.
The IFA watch-list
I won’t be covering smart watches, smartphones or smart home equipment for my site so I’ve got a short list of devices to watch out for. The main focus for me will be around Core M and Atom X5 / X7 tablets, 2-in-1 and ultrabooks. The ASUS Zenbook UX305, for example, could get a Core M Skylake update. We might see an updated T100 Chi, and of course I’m looking forward to getting hands-on with the already popular Asus Transformer Book T100HA.
Lenovo will have a set up updates and the Lenovo Yoga 900 is hotly anticipated. An updated Thinkpad 8 with Atom X7 would be nice to see too. Speaking of Lenovo, what about that Archos Flip? Is it really a Yoga 2 11?
HP should have a few Skylake laptops and 2-in-1’s and I’ll be looking out for the Spectre X2 and Pavilion X360. The Dell XPS 13 will need a Skylake update if it’s to stay up in the list of top Ultrabooks too.
Toshiba are usually strong at IFA but I have no tips on their ultramobile products yet.
Microsoft has planned an event here but I’m not sure what to expect there. I’m certainly not expecting Surface Pro 4!
Get early notifications!
Early notifications will come though my Twitter account @chippy and videos will go up on my YouTube channel before they get posted here. Subscribe at YouTube and turn on notifications to be the first to see them.
A full week before we expect Intel’s Skylake 6th-generation processors to officially launch there’s a signal that Lenovo will be launching a new Yoga 900 with Skylake architecture inside. Unlike the Yoga 3 Pro from 2014 it will have a full-fat Ultrabook-style processor. Core i5 and i7 should offer significant performance improvements over the previous generation Yoga 3 Pro.