Dell Refreshes XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook With Better Hardware

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 07:09 AM |
Tagged: xps 12 ultrabook, windows 8, ultrabook, tablet, dell

Dell has announced that within the next few weeks, it will be unleashing a refreshed version of the XPS 12 convertible ultrabook (tablet/notebook). Although the base price will be increased by $100, the refreshed tablet features Intel’s latest Fourth Generation Core “Haswell” processor, a NFC radio, and a larger battery.

Specifically, Dell will be releasing at least three new XPS 12 SKUs. The lowest-end refreshed model includes an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This ultrabook/tablet SKU has an MSRP of $1,199 and is an update to the original base model with an MSRP of $1,099.

Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook.jpg

Dell's XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook (Tablet)

Beyond the starter version, users can upgrade the CPU and memory to an Intel Core i5-4500U and 8GB of DDR3 for $200 more ($1,399 MSRP).

Finally, users can take the $1,399 model and upgrade the storage to a 512GB solid state drive (SSD). This version of the XPS 12 has a MSRP of $1,999.

Dell claims that the updated ultrabook has up to 1.6-times the performance and 2.5 hours more battery life (8 hours, 43 minutes) thanks to the move to Haswell CPUs and a larger 50Wh battery respectively.  Of course, the original XPS 12 used Ivy Bridge CPUs and 47Wh batteries. The new models have started shipping and will be available for purchase around the end of July.

Source: Dell
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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As headlines mount championing the supposed shift toward tablets for the average consumer, PC manufacturers continue to devise clever hybrid solutions to try and lure those who are on the fence toward more traditional machines.  Along with last year’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 and ThinkPad Twist, Lenovo shortly thereafter launched the smallest of the bunch, an 11.6” convertible tablet PC with a 5-point touch 720p IPS display.

Unlike its newer, more powerful counterpart, the Yoga 11S, it runs Windows RT and features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-Core system on a chip (SoC).  There are pros and cons to this configuration in contrast to the 11S.  For starters, the lower-voltage, fanless design of the 11 guarantees superior battery life (something which we’ll cover in detail in just a bit).  It’s also consequently (slightly) smaller and lighter than the 11S, which gains a hair on height and weighs around a quarter pound more.  But, as you’re probably aware, Windows RT also doesn’t qualify as a fully-functional version of Windows—and, in fact, the Yoga 11’s versatility is constrained by the relatively meager selection of apps available on the Windows Store.  The other obvious difference is architecture and chipset, where the Yoga 11’s phone- and tablet-grade ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra 3 is replaced on the 11S by Intel Core Ivy Bridge ULV processors.

But let’s forget about that for a moment.  What it all boils down to is that these two machines, while similar in terms of design, are different enough (both in terms of specs and price) to warrant a choice between them based on your intended use.  The IdeaPad Yoga 11 configuration we reviewed can currently be found for around $570 at retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.  In terms of its innards:

specs_0.png

If it looks an awful lot like the specs of your latest smartphone, that’s probably because it is.  The Yoga 11 banks on the fact that such ARM-based SoCs have become powerful enough to run a modern personal computer comfortably—and by combining the strengths of an efficient, low-power chipset with the body of a notebook, it reaps benefits from both categories.  Of course, there are trade-offs involved, starting with the 2 GB memory ceiling of the chipset and extending to the aforementioned limitations of Windows RT.  So the ultimate question is, once those trade-offs are considered, is the Yoga 11 still worth the investment?

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Tegra 3 notebook!!

Computex 2013: Sony Unveils New Haswell-Powered VAIO Duo 13 Tablet and VAIO Pro 11" and 13" Ultrabooks

Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 5, 2013 - 09:53 AM |
Tagged: vaio pro, vaio duo 13, vaio, tablet, sony, computex 2013, computex

Tablets and ultrabooks are proving popular devices at Computex, and Sony recently joined the release party with three new Haswell-powered VAIO notebooks. The VAIO Pro 11 and VAIO Pro 13 are thin and light laptops while the VAIO Duo 13 is the company's first Haswell-powered convertible tablet (slider style).

All three new mobile devices share Full HD 1920 x 1080 Bravia Triluminos touchscreen displays, ClearAudio+ sound, Haswell processors, and respectable battery life.

Sony VAIO Duo 13 Slider Tablet.jpg

The VAIO Duo 13 is a 13" notebook that can be converted into a slate tablet by sliding the screen forward and having it lay on top of the keyboard. The keyboard is back-lit and sits above a tiny trackpad that is much wider than it is tall. Other features include a stylus, 8MP camera with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software called CamScanner, and a claimed 15 hour battery life according to Sony and as tested by MobileMark 2007.

Internal specifications match those of the VAIO Pro series, with a dual core 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 128GB SSD, and a beefy 6,320 mAh battery.
Aside from the small trackpad, this looks like a solid device that matches Intel's "It's a laptop when you need it; it's a tablet when you want it” mantra. At the very least, it looks like a worthy (and improved) successor to the company's existing VAIO Duo 11 convertible tablet.

The VAIO Duo 13 will be available for purchase in Carbon Black or Carbon White later this month for $1,399.

Sony has also announced two new thin-and-light ultraportable VAIO Pro notebooks. As the product names suggest, they are 11” and 13” ultrabooks.

The VAIO Pro 11 weighs in at an ultra-light 1.92 pounds (0.87kg) and offers up a 1920 x 1080 display, backlight keyboard, trackpad (again, rather tiny), and decent internals.
Specifically, the base model Pro 11 notebook is powered by an Intel 4th Generation Core i5-4200U (dual core at 1.6GHz) processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. For a bit more, you can upgrade to a Core i7-4500U and a 256GB SSD. The base model has an MSRP of $1,150.00 USD.

Sony VIAO Pro Ultrabook.jpg

Sony's VAIO Pro 13 steps up to a larger 13” display (albeit still 1080p). The larger form factor is still only 2.33 pounds (1.06kg), however which is nice to see. The base model contains a Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD. Users can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD, however. The MSRP for the base model is $1,250.00 USD.

For only $100 over the base VAIO Pro 11, you can get a larger screen and faster storage drive which is pretty good. Judging by the reviews,  such as this one by The Verge, the Pro 13 is the one to get as the Pro 11 is almost too small with a hard-to-read screen and cramped keyboard. On the other hand, if you need portability however, it is hard to beat the Haswell-powered Pro 11.

Both the VAIO Pro 11 and VAIO Pro 13 will be available later this month for $1,150 and $1,250 respectively.

What do you think about Sony's new offerings? Any Duo 11 users out there wishing for a larger form factor?

Source: Sony

Computex 2013: Acer Liquid S1 Is a Quad Core 5.7" Phablet With 2,400mAh Battery

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 06:36 AM |
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, phablet, mediatek, liquid s1, computex 2013, computex, android 4.2.2, acer

During Computex Acer announced its new Liquid S1 smartphone. In fact, the term smartphone may not be enough to do the nearly tablet-sized 5.7” Liquid S1 justice, and Acer has even dubbed it a “phablet”.

On the outside, the Acer Liquid S1 has a massive 5.7” touchscreen with 720p resoultion surrounded by an aluminum side grip and a front 24mm and 8MP rear camera. The smartphone/tablet/phablet (heh) weighs in at 195g.

Acer Liquid S1 PhoneTablet.jpg

The new mobile device is powered by a quad core MediaTek SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and a 2,400mAh battery that Acer claims will last “all day.” The Liquid S1 runs Android 4.2.2, and offers a stock experience apart from Acer's multitasking Float UI and Cloud Docs document software. Other features include DTS StudioSound audio, dual SIM card slots, and a microSD card support (maximum of 32GB).

Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G radios as well as wireless display and wireless printing technology.

The Liquid S1 smartphone will be available in either matte black or white across Asia and Europe for 329 Euros. It is set for release sometime in the third quarter of this year (Q3'13). US users wanting a large smartphone (or small tablet) will need to either import the Acer model or look elsewhere as the company has not yet expanded its mobile offerings to this side of the pond, excluding laptops of course.

Source: HEXUS

Samsung's take on the Surface Pro, the ATIV Smart PC 500T

Subject: Motherboards | February 18, 2013 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, ATIV Smart PC 500T, Surface Pro, tablet

Samsung has produced a Surface Pro tablet they call the ATIV Smart PC 500T, which comes paired with a keyboard/docking station.  Powered by an 1.5GHz Atom Z2760 and 2GB of DDR2-800 with a 64GB e.MMC iNAND SSD for storage the device the performance will beat a WinRT tablet but it is not going to compete with a laptop.  Strangely one of the most advertised features, the S Pen, was not present in the Canadian package so it is not included in this review.  Silent PC Review noticed that Samsung are working on the 500T's page, though they do not know if it was to correct the erroneous text stating the S Pen comes with the basic model or simpy to give time to have S Pens shipped and attached.  The 11.6" 1366 x 768 screen was washed out in comparison to the Microsoft Surface Pro and it did not seem as sturdy as the Microsoft product either.  Check out the full review to get a better idea how this tablet performs.

SPCR_ativ13.jpg

"Windows 8 is making possible a new class of mobile convertibles that flip between tablet and notebook. The Samsung ATIC Smart PC 500T is one example, based around a new Atom core and built around a big (for tablets) 11.6" screen, but there's an Ivy Bridge upgrade available in the 700T. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Surface Pro shows us a different vision of the convertible."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Video Perspective: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Preview

Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2013 - 11:43 AM |
Tagged: z2760, video, Thinkpad, tablet 2, tablet, Lenovo, clovertrail, atom z2760, atom

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 just arrived at our office this week and before our full review we wanted to show our readers a quick overview on the design, features, accessories and performance of this 1.3 lbs Intel Atom Z2760 based computer.  Running a full version of Windows 8 Pro, and not the somewhat limited Windows RT found on the MS Surface and ASUS VivoTab RT, the Tablet 2 (horrible name not withstanding) looks to be a pretty interesting device for users that want x86 compatibility and mobility.

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Enjoy the video preview below!

 

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NVIDIA to start producing tablets and smartphones for white-labeling

Subject: Mobile | January 28, 2013 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: white label, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, shield, nvidia, cell phone

If you thought that NVIDIA's entry into the world of the mobile entertainment and gaming device market was odd with the announcement of the Shield Android-powered unit, we have some more rumors sneaking up from Droidlife.com about a possible move to develop and manufacture cell phones and tablets as well. 

nvidia_ces.jpg

While many SoC vendors often create proof of concept designs based around their own chips, none of the major players are in the business of building devices meant to find their way into consumers hands.  NVIDIA appears to be taking a page from its own book in the world of retail graphics cards and is planning on producing nearly complete cell phones and tablets to be rebranded and sold directly to consumers.  PC users are used to this practice already and you can see if happen with ever nearly every GPU launch - graphics cards that have the same specs and design with only a different sticker on the cooler. 

The process of white labeling is very frequent in today's laptop designs as well and it is how companies like AVADirect, MAINGEAR and iBuyPower are able to produce and sell custom notebooks. 

From what is in the report, NVIDIA has their eyes set on both tablets and smartphones, with plans to start designing and creating their devices around May or June of this very year. If all goes according to plan, we will begin to see a ton of cheap (but not any less in quality terms) 7-10″ tablets hitting the market, all running NVIDIA chipsets.

If this process does take hold in the mid-2013 time frame you can start to expect a lot of low cost options based on Tegra SoCs to hit in the holiday time frame.  There are concerns to be dealt with though if in fact NVIDIA attempt the white label move.  First, there is potential for "cheap" products, and by that I mean cheaply built, ruining the Tegra name and brand that NVIDIA has been building over the last few years.  Also, NVIDIA could offend and upset other vendors like Samsung and ASUS with whom they depend on to make the "high-end" products that many enthusiasts lust over. 

tegra2.jpg

As a small player though (in terms of pure sell through) NVIDIA is looking for anyway it can to improve its market share and starting up a white label market for smartphones and tablets is definitely something that could open up new opportunities. 

CES 2013: MSI Slidebook S20 to Debut This Month for $1299

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2013 - 02:37 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, slider s20, slidebook, msi, ces 2013, CES

MSI first showed off its Slider S20 Windows 8 convertible tablet with slider hinge at Computex, and now it is making a new showing at this year’s CES. It has updated specifications, a slightly tweaked name, and an official release date later this month. The Slider S20 is now known as the Slidebook S20 and is classified as a convertible ultrabook.

MSI Slidebook S20.jpg

The Tech Report goes hands-on with the Slidebook S20.

The Slidebook S20 is a convertible tablet where the display can slide upwards to reveal a physical keyboard. Then, the display can swivel upwards to act as a notebook. The display is an 11.6” IPS display with a resolution of 1920x1080 and 10 point multi-touch input. It has a single horizontal hinge to attach the display to the keyboard instead of the traditional single-point swivel hinge on tablets like the Dell Latitude XT series. The Slidebook S20 measures .8” thin and is estimated to be around 2.5 lbs.

Internal specifications include an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. Further, the system runs the full version of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

The S20 tablet features a mini HDMI video output, two USB 3.0 ports, a single headphone jack, and a DC input jack on the right side. The left side of the tablet includes an Ethernet jack and the back edge of the tablet includes a volume rocker and orientation switch.

According to MSI, the Slidebook S20 will be available later this month for $1299 with 8GB of RAM. It is a neat form factor and the sliding hinge should make the S20 fairly sturdy. Even so, it does lack a touchpad and the price ended up being higher than the rumored sub-$1000 mark that I was hoping for. I do worry that the S20’s keyboard will suffer the same fate as other smartphones, where the top row of keys will be difficult to hit as the display is positioned right up against them. (At least the number keys are cushioned by the F1-12 keys, so it is less of an issue heh.)

MSI shows off the Slidebook S20.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Laptop Mag

CES 2013: Panasonic Unveils Two New Ruggedized Toughpad Tablets Running Windows 8 and Android

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2013 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: CES, windows 8, toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, Android, ces 2013

Panasonic is continuing to branch out from ruggedized notebooks into the world of tablets, and this time around the company is releasing two new ruggedized tablets that succeed the current-generation FZ-A1. The new Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 will run Windows 8 Pro while the JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and use ARM hardware.

-toughpad-fz-g1-2.jpg

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 packs some respectable hardware for this type of ruggedized product. A dual core (with HyperThreading for four total threads) Intel Core i5-3437U processor running at 1.9GHz base/2.9GHz turbo, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to a 256GB SSD comprise the basic internal specifications. On the outside is a 10.1” touchscreen with active digitizer along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, microSDXC, RJ45, and serial ports. The FZ-G1 can also host a dedicated GPS and tap into Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. The tablet is rated for various Mil-spec standards such that it can survive harsh working environments of industrial, military, public safety, et al jobs. The tablet does not come cheap though, as the ruggedized form factor comes at a high price – starting at $2,899 for the base model. Still, it is interesting to see that tablets are even being embraced in roles that ruggedized notebooks have long dominated. Notably, Panasonic has stated that it hopes to capture 50% of the ruggedized tablet market by 2015.

Processor Intel Core-i5 3437U @ 1.9GHz (2.9GHz turbo)
Memory 4-8GB
Storage 128-256GB SSD
Display 10.1" touchscreen w/ active digitizer @ 1920x1200
IO Full size: USB 3.0, HDMI, micro SDXC (optional), USB 2.0, LAN, and serial port or dedicated GPS.
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE or 3G
Dimensions 10.6" x 7.4" x 0.75"
Weight 2.43 lbs
OS Windows 8 Pro
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 4' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

While the FZ-G1 runs Windows and has x86-64 hardware, the Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1 is smaller and goes with ARM internals and Google’s Android mobile OS. This 7” tablet maintains the same MIL-spec ratings as its bigger sibling, but weighs half as much. The JT-B1 features a 7” touchscreen with a resolution of 1024x600, a front and rear camera, and a micro USB port on the outside. Internally, the JT-B1 tablet includes a dual core TI OMAP 4660 (similar to the SoC used in Amazon’s Kindle HD tablets) running at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB ROM for storage, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular radios.

toughpad-jt-b1.jpg

The Panasonic JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and has a starting price of $1,199 making it only viable for the specialized industries that need such a ruggedized device--it is no Nexus 7 (but that’s a good thing for certain jobs).

Processor TI OMAP 4460 @ 1.5GHz (dual core)
Memory 1GB
Storage 16GB ROM
Display 7" touchscreen @ 1024x600
IO Micro USB, Front 1.3MP webcam, rear 13MP autofocus camera with LED flash
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE and 3G
Dimensions 8.7"x 5.1" x 0.7"
Weight 1.2 lbs
OS Android 4.0
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 5' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

Both of the Panasonic Toughpads will be available later this year. The FZ-G1 will be available in March for $2,899 and the JT-B1 will be available in February for $1,199. You can find the full press release over at Engadget.

Tablet Pricing (base) Availability
Panasonic FZ-G1 $2,899 March
Panasonic JT-B1 $1,199 February

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

CES 2013: Vizio Shows Off 7-inch and 10.1-inch Tablet, Will Compete With Nexus 10 and Kindle HD 7

Subject: Mobile | January 7, 2013 - 10:43 AM |
Tagged: vizio, tegra 3, tablet, ces 2013, CES

In addition to the AMD-powered tablet running Windows 8 that Vizio showed off earlier this week, the company is showing off two new ARM-based tablets running Android at CES. Vizio has reportedly listened to feedback from users as well as completed internal testing to arrive at a new tablet form factor that is lighter and thinner. In contrast to the previous-generation design, the two new Vizio tablets will be 7-inches and 10.1-inches respectively.

Both tablets feature an IPS display, rounded corners, and a back panel that is covered with a soft-to-the-touch material. Also, both tablets have a similar color scheme and logo placement.

Vizio 7-inch tablet.jpg

While the exterior design is similar between the two devices, the internal specifications differ significantly. The 7-inch tablet is much smaller and has been optimized for portrait viewing. According to Vizio, the tablet is light enough to hold in one hand comfortably. Along the edges, it offers micro USB, a headphone jack, and volume controls. It has a front-facing 1.2MP webcam and an IPS display (non-laminated) with a resolution of 1280 x 800. A Vizio logo and speaker bar adorn the underside of the device.

Internal specifications include a NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, 16GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microphone, and the Android 4.2 operating system. There is no word yet on the amount of RAM or how much the tablet weighs.

Meanwhile, the 10.1-inch Vizio tablet is matched to compete with Google’s Nexus 10. The Vizio tablet features a laminated IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, front and rear-facing cameras, speakers, and micro USB, HDMI, and headphone connectors. Internally, the 10.1-inch tablet uses NVIDIA’s latest Tegra 4 System on a Chip (SoC), which should push it above the performance of the Nexus 10 -- and (hopefully) provide the computing power necessary to smoothly push all the pixels on the high resolution display. Other hardware specs that Vizio has shared includes 32GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The tablet will ship with Android 4.2 as well.

Notably, Vizio has opted to provide a completely stock Android 4.2 operating system with its new tablets sans any skins or bloat-ware. Both tablets are expected sometime this year, with The Verge claiming the 7-inch model’s release date being within the first half of 2013. Allegedly, the tablets are noticeably lighter than the current (and, granted, older) crop of competing tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets. It will be interesting to see how well the Tegra 4 chip handles the 2560 x 1600 display with the Android UI, movies, and 3D games.

For comparison, the Kindle Fire HD 7” is running a dual core OMAP 4460 SoC at 1.2GHz and the Nexus 10 is running a dual core Samsung Exynos 5250 chip at 1.7GHz. It is somewhat of a tossup with the 7” Vizio tablet and Tegra 3 as it will depend on the task and how well multi-core/multithreading is handled in the particular piece of software. The comparison between the Exynos 5250 and Tegra 4 will be interesting though, as it reminds me of the early Intel Core days where debates would be waged over the faster clocked E6600 versus the slower Q6600 and the merits of dual vs quad core on the OSes and games of the time. I’m interested to see some independent benchmarks of Tegra 4 versus Tegra 3 and A6X-powered devices in particular though (to see if it lives up to NVIDIA's claims).

Besides the unknown Tegra 4 improvements, current unknowns on the two tablets include pricing, availability, battery life, amount of RAM, and the SoC clockspeeds.

What do you think of the redesigned Vizio tablets from what we know so far? Did the company get it right this time around with its re-engineered stock devices?

For more information, The Verge has managed to grab some hands-on videos of the two Vizio tablets on the show floor which you can find on their site (7-inch tablet and 10.1-inch tablet videos).

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge