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.
In the category that we like to call ultraslates (tablets based on an Ultrabook platform) we’ve got a new entrant today. The Gigabyte S1185 is an 11.6” full-HD tablet running Windows 8. Gigabyte have not made a formal announcement on their site or social media channels yet but some details are out there in CES-land. Interestingly the image shows a USB-attached keyboard which is not what we expected when we read ‘magnetic keyboard.’
The original keyboard image has been removed as it was from a different device. We’ll update when we have new info.
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.
Intel could, according to Xbitlabs, release a new set of low-TDP Ivy Bridge CPUs next year that will help tablet and Ultrabook designers make products thinner, cooler and quieter. TDPs will be brought down from 17W to 10W by limiting clockrate and Turbo features. The process is going to make it very difficult for a customer (and for us analysts) to determine performance based on a i3/i5/i7 part number but are also likely to be there to let Intel feed-in lower price CPUs for tablets and low-cost Ultrabooks. There’s a little trickery involved here as designers already have options for locking-down TDPs although the new parts extend that capability down to tablet designs and make it simpler for manufacturers. The new parts seem good candidates for the Surface Pro for which we don’t have a Core i5 model number yet.
Base frequencies and Turbo features are changed in all of the new CPUs. We don’t expect any changes to the Core architecture.
Want to know the performance characteristics of the Microsoft Surface Pro? Read on.
Microsoft Surface Pro details [here] have been revealed to the point where I now have a very good idea of how it will perform. We all know It will be using a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 ultra mobile processor and because the device design will be very mobile-focused we know that there’s a very close similarity to Ultrabooks. Importantly we know that there’s a 42Wh battery inside which gives us all the information we need to determine battery life under a number of conditions.
It looks great and is likely to come at a great price but the ASUS Vivo Tab isn’t quite the ASUS Transformer Book as although it runs a full WIndows 8 build, it’s a low-power (and probably lower cost) Intel Atom-based tablet with docking keyboard.
Information on the ASUS Vivo Tab is coming in from all angles at the moment as it’s just been announced at a press conference. There will be a “RT’ ARM-based version too and there’s talk of a pen-capable display.
I wrote about the Ultrabook ‘project’ yesterday. That is, everything that is being done by Intel and partners across the world to create the best Ultrabook for the future. At meetings next week, Intel and partners will be meeting with the same aim – making the Ultrabook.
In a report at Digitimes, details on the Taiwanese leg of the Ultrabook Ecosystem Symposium have been revealed. According to another report, there’s a repeat of the event in China on August 2nd.
I call the Samsung XE700 an Ultraslate. It’s effectively an Ultrabook in a tablet form factor and it comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and a docking station. It’s one of the most flexible, usable tablets I’ve seen in a long time and it’s also a design milestone. This is the first time I’ve seen desktop-class computing in under 1KG of tablet with a decent (for tablet PCs) battery life. It’s a 2011 design too which means with Ivy Bridge, those designs can move forward with smaller, lighter form facts and/or longer battery life. Once you’ve got all the electronics in the screen you can do some very cool designs including ones with detachable keyboards. Intel CFO Stacy Smith reveals in a video by The Street (below) that he’s seen such a design. We’re wondering if it’s this Compal design that we saw at CES.
Ultrabooks are all about getting full computing power in a lightweight, stylish and long-battery life solution. Core i3, i5 and i7 ‘ultra low voltage’ platforms are the core of these systems but there are a few non-ultrabook solutions that use this platform and still provide a thin and light solution. One of them is a true alternative. It’s a tablet/docking station combo that I’ve written about before. The Samsung Series 7 XE700 and today the prices are looking a lot better than they did a month ago.
Prefer your Ultrabook in two separate parts for portability between big-screen desks? Fancy being ahead of the curve on touch-enabled Ultrabooks? The Samsung Series 7 Slate (XE700) is a tablet you need to pay attention too. After months of waiting (we did our first tests on this back in September) it’s shipping and you can expect a range of reports from various sites next week.
In this article I put a case forward for the Ultrabook. It follows a similar article in which I put forward an argument against the Ultrabook. You can’t say we’re not assessing all angles on Utrabooknews!
The Ultrabook project, a three-stage plan by Intel to change they way that laptops are designed and manufactured, is now producing its first products and already we’re seeing combinations of weight, price and power that have never been seen in the industry before; Truly ground-breaking notebooks. Early reviews have been very good and despite the expensive changes in design and manufacturing, the price points are competitive.
I’ll talk more about todays Ultrabook products further on in this article but first lets talk about why the Ultrabook project, over 3 years, is advantageous for everyone.
More important than the initial products is the massive change that is being asked of the laptop industry to move to ultra-efficient electronic designs [the battery companies are going to hate this part of the equation. Environmentalists will love it.], sealed unit and single board production by choosing and tightly integrating components and processes. As the change in the laptop continues the result will be advantages for all parts of the industry – a move towards solid state storage, smaller batteries, lower part counts and lower shipping weights. Windows 8 will combine to bring a scenario where the laptop covers a wider range of usage scenarios than ever before. Style included – Dont forget that very important style element for the mature markets.