I have a Surface Pro 4 with Core i5, Type Cover keyboard and docking station with me now and I’ve just finished the first of a set of videos for Notebookcheck (see it in the Surface Pro 4 review here) and come away, as you’d probably expect, impressed. One of the first things I did, however, was to put the new Type Cover keyboard on my Surface Pro 3. The ‘upgrade’ is significant and is one of a number of considerations to be made if you’re thinking of making the jump from Pro 3 to Pro 4.
I recently bought the Lenovo Thinkpad 8 Windows tablet, but not the Thinkpad 8 that was launched in early 2014. The latest version has the high-end Z3795 (Baytrail-T) CPU, 4GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, LTE and runs a 64-bit version of Windows. CPU and disk performance are well above what you’ll find in the early versions. It also has USB 3.0 support which sets it apart from nearly all 8-inch Windows tablets. It all adds up to the lightest, most powerful, portable and flexible desktop PC that I’ve ever used. The best UMPC to date and one that can do real multi-channel full-HD video editing. Update: While writing this article I updated the Thinkpad 8 to Windows 10. See below.
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.
I’ve just completed a detailed review of the Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130. This is the Atom-based version (there’s a Core-based version too) and it comes with 4GB of RAM, a full USB 3.0 port and the high-end, full 64-bit Z3795 CPU. The difference in usability between this and 2GB Z3745-style Windows 8 tablets was marked. Here’s a summary.
Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130 Z3795-9356
The Dell Venue range all have good screens with some of the blackest blacks in the Windows tablet market. The 5130 here has an impressively high max brightness too so the contrast is way over 1000:1. The 11. 8-inch 1920 x 1080 screen punches, but it’s also heavy and I found the 770 grams to be too heavy, especially as it’s a very wide tablet.
The 8.9-inch category looks like it’s going to be popular in 2015. Both ASUS and Toshiba have announced interesting products and in Germany we see that Odys are now offering a really interesting sub-500 gram option for a great price. The Odys Wintab 9 Plus 3G includes an HDMI port, separate USB and charging port, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of SSD and there’s a 3G modem thrown into the mix. A free year of Office 365 rounds-out what could be a great ultra-mobile PC package.
Odys have a number of Windows tablets in the market in Germany and the new 9 Plus continues their trend of low-cost solutions. By adding the 3G it makes it more interesting for ultra-mobile fans and because this is a 9-inch tablet it has enough space around the frame for an HDMI port, a micro_USB port (OTG and charging capable) and a full-size USB port. The official specifications don’t mention the full-size USB port but it’s clear to see on the images.
In an unboxing video by InstantMobile (German) you’ll also see the full USB port and an included USB OTB cable which is always good to have shipped with an OTG-capable device. First impressions includes comments on the brightness (acceptable) and the aluminium rear cover. The HDMI port is a mini (not micro) port. Charging time is said to be around 6 hours which certainly isn’t quick for a 24Wh battery. There’s no GPS module inside. InstantMobile have also made a video focusing on gaming, Royal Revolt included.
The ASUS T90 Chi is a slightly smaller and much lighter solution in the 8.9-inch tablet space and it comes with a matching keyboard but at a street price of €199, with 3G, the Odys Wintab 9 Plus is a unique and well-specified ultra-mobile. We’ll keep an eye out for this model in other countries and if you spot it, possibly under another brand, please let us know. In the meantime we’ve put a request out to Odys for a review sample. Full specifications and more are available in our database.
Update: The Pipo W6 3G looks very similar although there’s no full-size USB port and the port layout is slightly different.
I’ve tested this before but it needs to be done again. A sub-$200 8-inch Windows 8 tablet with external Full-HD screen, Gigabit Ethernet, a 256GB SSD, external sound module and USB keyboard and mouse all driven over one UBS 2.0 link. I’m using the HP Stream 8 here.
Belkin DisplayLink and HP Stream 8
Here’s the display set-up I’m working with now. IE11 (Modern) on the left with Bing News on the right on the main screen. On the tablet screen I have Tweetium running.
I’ve just bought a HP Stream 8 with 3G and the first video and first-impressions are ready for you. The video is below and if you’re interested in a truly mobile PC (that is a handheld PC with mobile internet) then you’ll need to watch this and think about this new class of sub-$200 3G-enabled Windows tablets. It’s an incredible deal when you think about it because it was only a few years ago when we were forced to pay many hundreds of dollars more for a 3G/4G-enabled PC. Manufacturers only had cellular options on business-class devices and those options were always $100 or more. The HP Stream 8 not only has 3G included but includes a small amount of data free every month. 200MB goes quickly on a PC but you can add more or put your own SIM card in and really start to enjoy the benefits of Connected Standby. Using a Skype-in number, this tablet could be a phone. Using a turn-by-turn navigation program, an always-online navigation unit. It’s a mobile hotspot, a great social networking tool and when Windows 10 launches there’ll be a whole new life injected into it. It comes with one year of Office365 Personal, 1TB of OneDrive (1 year uploading, always available) and 60 Skype call-out minutes per month.
Lenovo has made an interesting move to segment their Yoga 11 and Yoga 13 models. The Yoga 13 is an Ultrabook convertible proper while the Yoga 11 is going to be an ARM-based device that runs Windows RT. If the convertible Yoga 13 form-factor interests you, the Yoga 11 might be a desirable Ultrabook alternative for those looking for a more portable package with even longer battery life (and probably lower cost). Lenovo still hasn’t announced a release date or price for the Yoga 11 but full official specifications are now available. Photos on Lenovo’s website show what could be a micro SIM card slot for 3G/4G.