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HP Envy 8 Note. Tablet, Pen , Keyboard and LTE

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

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.

HP Envy Note 8 2

Source: HP and Notebookcheck

Lenovo Thinkpad 8 (high-end UMPC) review.

The Lenovo Thinkpad 8, FROM 2014, turned out to be one of the best UMPCs of it’s time, and with a 1920×1200 display and USB 3.0, quite unique. An update to the range saw the original Z3770 processor being replaced with a Z3795 CPU (1.59 Ghz – 2.39 Ghz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD and a true 64-bit Windows Pro build. The improvements in performance are easy to measure.

Read the full story

Pantech Breakout Gallery and Initial Impressions

The Pantech Breakout is being billed by Verizon as a good choice for those looking to make their first step up from a dumbphone to a smartphone. Thanks to an impressive build-quality, built-in 4G LTE, and a tempting $99 on-contract price tag, it’s hard to argue.

When I got the Pantech Breakout out of the its box, I was immediately impressed with the build-quality. This is my first experience with a Pantech handset, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting this level of hardware detail from a $99 phone. The phone is completely plastic, save the screen, but they’ve textured the plastic in a number of ways that makes it feel way more solid than if it were nothing but smooth glossy plastic, like most of Samsung Galaxy S phones. The careful texturing even makes the phone feel more rugged than it probably is. I must say that I prefer some attention to detail on the case of the Pantech Breakout over a phone like the Samsung Nexus S [review], which was actually rather boring on the outside thanks to it’s smooth glossy plastic.

The 4G LTE speeds on the Pantech Breakout are as high performing as ever. This is the same 4G LTE connection that I was able to play multiplayer Halo Reach on without much issue (something I never would be able to do on a 3G network).

The only early issue I have wit the Pantech Breakout is the keyboard which has some responsiveness issues. By default, the phone uses Swype for input, but I’m not the biggest Swype fan so I tend to go with the default Android keyboard. Unfortunately the default keyboard seems to hang from time to time. Even though it will eventually get all of the input, it’s jarring to be tapping away when suddenly the haptic feedback stops for a few seconds, only to catch up after a brief pause. This may be fixable and I’m still looking into it. Otherwise, the device has been rather impressive given the pricetag.

With that said, I’ve got a Pantech Breakout gallery for you, and we’ll have more coverage soon:

45 Mbps LTE Demonstrated in Cologne Germany


Thanks to (Deutsche) Telekom in Germany we had a nice hands-on with the first LTE service here in Koeln (Cologne.)  At 80 euro per month this is clearly a premium service but if you can justify it in and around Koeln, its a super high speed service. We measured 45Mbps this evening!
This is obviously the first phase; more devices and tariff options will feed in and it goes hand-in-hand with rollouts from other service providers and in other European countries which we’ll be happy to test and happy to see competition from.
Just one point of note here, the service is currently offered via a USB stick only. As we looked across our table we counted 12 devices. Only two of them were PC’s capable of taking a USB stick!

LG Revolution Unboxing and Flash Test (it handles 720p!) [video]

We’ve got the LG Revolution on hand and have prepared an unboxing video for you which also features a flash test. I’m happy to report (and somewhat impressed) that the LG Revolution has so far handled YouTube 720p flash video quite well. This surprised me because the Revolution is using a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU as opposed to Nvidia’s Tegra. Have a look below:

Verizon’s 4G LTE: A Capable Gaming Connection?


If you’ve been following Carrypad for some time, you are likely to have seen some hints of gaming in my work. Specifically, such hints usually take the form of any one of the games from the Halo series. I’ve been playing these games (made by Bungie) for nearly 10 years.

While evaluating the HTC Thunderbolt [tracking page], Verizon’s first 4G LTE phone, I’ve been intrigued by it’s mobile hotspot capability with regards to using it for real-time multiplayer gaming. This post is to talk about whether or not the Thunderbolt capable of providing a 4G connection that can result in smooth competitive multiplayer gaming.

I’ll be using the latest Halo game, Halo Reach, as my example for this post as I have lengthy experience with how the game ‘feels’ while playing multiplayer on various connections.

There’s nothing more frustrating than dying because your connection is worse than another player’s, or because your connection dropped some vital packets on the way to the host.

As a gamer, having a high-quality internet connection is absolutely vital for competitive multiplayer gaming. What do I mean by ‘high-quality’? In the world of real-time competitive multiplayer gaming, super high-speed connections will not give you the edge. Low latency, low packet loss, and low jitter are often much more important than having huge bandwidth. Even the host of the game (the machine that is sending all of the information around to each individual client) needs a relatively small portion of bandwidth to host a well performing multiplayer match, as long as they keep the aforementioned parts in check.

Let’s briefly define what we’re talking about:

  • Bandwidth Available download/upload speed
  • Latency (also known as Ping) How long it takes for information to be transmitted to and from another machine
  • Packet Loss How much of the information that gets sent actually reaches the destination
  • Jitter Average change in latency over a period of time

Verizon’s 4G LTE service easily has the first bullet covered. The Thunderbolt rips data right out of the air at an impressive rate. I’m currently seeing 18mbps download and 21mbps upload which is absolutely overkill for most gaming scenarios (or any other scenarios for that matter).

Fortunately, Verizon’s 4G is also upping the ‘quality’ end of the connection (latency, packet-loss, and jitter). They are approaching quality levels that would, not so long ago, be considered unthinkable for a mobile data connection.

I connected to the Xbox 360 through a WiFi adapter and was able to connect to Xbox Live and play several games of Halo Reach.

reach_10490_FullFor the most part, the Thunderbolt’s 4G connection was sufficient for competitive gameplay. It felt like being connected to a dedicated home connection, which is very impressive considering that you are getting quality that rivals a direct connection, and speed that outpaces it.

Home Connection 4G Mobile Hotspot
Bandwidth 13.55 mbps / 4.18 mbps (down/up) 20.89 mbps / 5.42 mbps (up/down)
Latency 32 ms 65 ms
Packet Loss 0% 0%
Jitter 30 ms 10 ms


As you can see, the numbers are quite competitive, that is… most of the time. I have to mention that while the Thunderbolt’s 4G connection can get the job done for gaming, it does occasionally crap out in short bursts and greatly impact gameplay. From years of play, I can tell you that it feels like a packet-loss situation when this happens. It’s unclear to me whether this is a result of the 4G connection itself being unable to communication for brief periods of time, or perhaps it’s the fault of the Mobile Hotspot app that may be locking up from time to time.

The Thunderbolt’s connection might have double the latency as my home connection, but if you look at the handy chart below (well, actually the second one down), you’ll find that it’s still within an acceptable range for close-quarters competitive, and even tournament quality gameplay. Long range tournament quality gameplay has an even larger tolerance for latency, so we’re definitely in the clear there.

Jitter on the Thunderbolt’s 4G is also impressively low. The 10ms figure up there means that the latency won’t fluctuate by more than 10ms on average, which is very useful for having consistent and quality gameplay without the connection impacting your ability to play.

There’s also one piece to the puzzle that I haven’t yet talked about, and that’s NAT (Network Access Translation). The NAT has 3 possible states, Open, Moderate, and Strict. For many games, Halo Reach in particular, you’ll need an Open NAT to have the best online experience. This chart shows how peers on a network can/cannot communicate to one another based on their NAT setting:


To Open To Moderate To Strict
From Open Yes Yes Yes
From Moderate Yes Yes No
From Strict Yes No No

Unfortunately, the connection from the Thunderbolt has a NAT status that is set to moderate. While not an absolute roadblock to gaming online, when it comes to Halo Reach, this limits the pool of players that you have to match with, resulting in longer times waiting to enter games. Players with incompatible NATs also cannot communicate via in-game voice-chat. There are some advanced settings within the Thunderbolt’s Mobile Hotspot app, but none that I could find that would change the NAT configuration.

The thing that is a bit upsetting to me is that using a mobile data connection for competitive gaming should have been possible for a long time. On certain carriers, and in certain places, 3G connections have the bandwidth to support competitive multiplayer gaming, but they’ve never had the quality necessary. There’s really no reason that 3G connections can’t have high-quality characteristics, but it seems that the current fad in mobile data is to shove bandwidth that we don’t really need down our throats, when perhaps their time would be better used improving the quality of their existing data infrastructure. Have a look at this chart from Halo Reach’s Lead Networking Engineer, David Aldridge:

250 kbps …………………………………………. Minimum total upstream for the host of a solid 16 player game
675 kbps …………………………………………. Maximum total upstream bandwidth use from a single peer
45 kbps …………………………………………… Maximum bandwidth sent to one client from a host
1 kbps ……………………………………………. Host upstream required to replicate one biped to one client at
combat quality
10hz ………………………………………………. Minimum packet rate for solid gameplay
100ms/200ms ……………………………………. Maximum latency for close-quarters gameplay for tournament/
133ms/300ms ……………………………………. Maximum latency for ranged gameplay for tournament/casual


If you compare this to my chart of tests above, it’s clear to see that bandwidth is not the problem, it’s the quality that is important here. A 3G connection from Verizon could easily serve as the host to a 16 player match of Halo Reach in terms of bandwidth, but cannot keep up with the ping or jitter necessary to support competitive gameplay conditions.

Either way, Verizon’s 4G connection does have what it takes for real-time competitive gaming, though you may occasionally experience bursts of poor quality which will result in awful gameplay. There’s also the fact that the moderate NAT setting will impact your online experience. As a serious gamer, I wouldn’t rely on the Thunderbolt’s connection for gaming use, but it certainly makes an excellent backup connection if your console can connect with WiFi to the Thunderbolt’s 4G hotspot, and would presumably let games online in places that you normally wouldn’t be able to (in the car?).

1Gbps Mobile Networks Move Closer with EU Funding.

HSPA has already rolled out deep into the heart of Europe with countries like Germany, UK, France, Sweden and Finland already having a huge coverage of multi-megabit up and download speeds available to customers. The next stage, starting commercially in 2010, is LTE. Long Term Evolution. Where UMTS and HSPA were 3G technologies, LTE is 4G and will bring theoretical speeds way above what most people even get on their DSL and cable connections today. More importantly it lowers the cost for carriers by introducing new protocols and technologies that can carry more data and make transporting it more energy efficiently, both through the air and on the cables that run back to the data centres.

LTE isn’t the latest technology though. Carriers are already thinking about the next generation beyond the next generation in LTE Advanced. All we need to know at the moment is that it can provide data rates beyond what you could imaging using. Imagine a whole family’s media needs, from interactive HDTV through internet, telephony, security and control, all travelling over the air into a Mifi-sized set-top box. It may be 10-20 years away but this is what cable and DSL providers are going to have to fight with. The wireless, mobile personal, pocketable media box is coming!


The EU has further underpinned their commitment to the technology (the EU has already agreed that LTE, not Wimax, will be the technology that is used across the member states. That’s 27 countries with 500 million people) by announcing some early funding for LTE Advanced research.

As of 1 January 2010, the EU will invest € 18 million into research that will underpin next generation 4G mobile networks. The European Commission just decided to start the process of funding research on Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology, that will offer mobile internet speeds up to a hundred times faster than current 3G networks. LTE is becoming the industry’s first choice for next generation mobile networks, also thanks to substantial EU research funding since 2004. 25 years ago, Europe already made the GSM standard the backbone of modern mobile telephony. Based on Europe’s joint research and the strength of the EU’s single market, the GSM standard is today used by 80% of the world’s mobile networks. LTE promises to be a similar success as EU-funded research continues to bring cutting-edge technology to the daily lives of Europeans.

It’s not a huge amount of money but it’s a great start and a confidence boost for everyone working in the European mobile technology sector.

Read through the press release and you’ll find some interesting info.

  • LTE is expected to be commercially available in Sweden and Norway in the first half of 2010
  • By 2013, operators worldwide are expected to invest nearly 6 billion Euros ( $8.6 billion) in LTE equipment, according to market analysts.
  • Overall, in 2007-2013 the EU will invest more than 700 million Euro into research on future networks, half of which will be allocated to wireless technologies contributing to development of 4G and beyond 4G networks.
  • EU research on networks of the future and LTE:
  • EU-funded project Wireless World Initiative New Radio (WINNER):

EU Press release.

For more technical reading and discussion on the subject of European 3G and 4G mobile networks, check out Mobile Society.

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