HP Sprout and the Dremel Idea Builder; an artistic pair

Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2015 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: touchscreen, sprout, scanner, Realsense 3D, idea builder, hp, dremel, 3d printer

HP's Sprout is a 23" 1080p touchscreen all-in-one PC powered by a Core-i7 4790S and a GT 745A, fairly run of the mill as far as that form factor goes, but it also includes the so called HP Illuminator.  That device is part of the stand and sits above the top of the screen, it has a DLP projector paired with an Intel RealSense 3D camera as well as a more traditional 14.6MP camera.  The DLP projector is used to project a virtual workspace onto a 20-point capacitive touch mat placed in in front of the Sprout, not only increasing the area you have to work in but offering some unique interface options.

With the RealSense camera you can easily scan 3D objects and save them as .obj files which makes the partnership with Dremel make more sense, scan a real life object and then start printing it from their 3D printer, the Idea Creator.  The touch mat will also work with the Adonit Jot Pro stylus included with the system for those who prefer to use one when creating and can also help with creating in so called blended reality.  MAKE has a video of the device that will have you making 3D objects like you were a Dimac master named Barry.  For our overseas readers, if you happen to have an HP store somewhere near you then you can pop in and try the Sprout to see if it is as impressive as it sounds. 

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"It’s a powerful concept, and today at MakerCon, HP’s Sprout division (a MakerCon and Maker Faire sponsor) announced a partnership with Dremel to help move toward a full-cycle approach. Dremel’s 3D printer, the thousand-dollar Idea Builder, was featured in Make:‘s 3D printing issue last year, and performed well."

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Thermaltake Launches New Fan Controller With Touchscreen

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 20, 2015 - 11:50 PM |
Tagged: touchscreen, thermaltake, fan controller, bling, 5.25-inch bay

Looking to ditch that DVD drive that hasn't powered up in three years for something with a bit more bling? Thermaltake is hoping that you will look no further than their new Commander FT fan controller. Slotting into a 5.25-inch drive bay, the Commander FT is dominated by a large 5.5-inch touchscreen display and allows you to control up to five case fans.

Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Installed In Mid-Tower PC Case.jpg

The Commander FT is a five channel, 50W design (10W per channel) design powered by a single Molex connector. Fan support includes 3-pin or 4-pin (PWM) fans. The touch panel is laid out with large on screen buttons. The capacitive screen shows temperature and fan RPM speeds and allows users to engage automatic or manual control modes. Thermaltake includes two automatic presets called performance and silent which perform how one would expect – the performance mode ramps all connected fans to their highest speeds while the silent mode keeps fans spinning as slowly as possible while keeping the case temperature in check. When it comes to manual mode, users can choose individual fan channels and adjust their speeds using an on-screen slider.

Although it is not the most powerful fan controller (only 10W/channel) on the market, it sure looks sharp. If you are looking for a high end fan controller, the Commander FT will be available soon for $37 from online retailers (such as Newegg). 

Source: Thermaltake
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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A little over a year ago, we posted our review of the Lenovo Y500, which was a gaming notebook that leveraged not one, but two discrete video adapters (2 x NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M in SLI, to be exact) to achieve respectable gaming performance at a reasonable price point (around $1,200 at the time of the review).

Well—take away nearly a pound of weight (to 5.7 lbs), slim the case down to around an inch thick, update the chipset, and remove one video card, and you’ve got the Lenovo Y50 Touch, which ought to be able to improve upon the Y500 in nearly every area if the specifications add up to typical results. Here’s the full list of what our review unit includes:

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While the GTX 860M (2 GB) is a far cry from, say, the GTX 880M (8 GB) we had the pleasure of testing in MSI’s GT70 2PE, it’s still a very capable card that should provide satisfactory results without breaking the bank (or the back). The rest of the spec sheet is conventional fare for a budget gaming notebook, with the only other surprise being the inclusion of a touchscreen—an option which replaces the traditional matte LCD panel in the standard Y50.

The configuration we received has already been slightly updated to include a CPU that’s a nudge better than the i7-4700HQ: the i7-4710HQ (which gains it 100 MHz in Turbo Boost clock rate). Otherwise, the specs are identical, and the street price is very close to that of the Y500 we originally reviewed: $1,139. Currently, an extra 10 bucks will also score you an external DVD+/-RW drive, and just 90 bucks more will boost your GTX 860M’s VRAM to 4 GB (from 2 GB) and your system RAM to 16 GB from 8 GB. That’s really not a bad deal at all.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo Y50 Touch Gaming Notebook!!

The abysmal adoption rate of desktop and mobile touchscreens

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: win 8, dell, Samsung, LG, Lenovo, hp, touchscreen, IDC

The International Data Corporation's latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Monitor Tracker shows that there were a mere 32.5 million touchscreen monitors shipped in Q2 2014, which accounts for 0.4% of the discrete monitors sold.  This may have been a direct influence on the pitiful market penetration of Win 8 in SMB and Enterprise, as the much touted touchscreen support was meaningless to their users interaction with computers.  The mobile side is a bit better but not much; DisplaySearch pegs the percentage of laptops with a touchscreen sold in 2013 was about 11% with a predicted 40% share by 2017 which still falls short of representing half of the market.  You can pop by The Register for a link to some of the findings.

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"Market monitor IDC's latest word on monitors goes some way to explaining limp enthusiasm for Windows 8: people just aren't buying touch-screen monitors.

Windows 8's user interface was designed to work on mouse-driven and poke-enabled devices. It's racked up plenty of sales, but not much love."

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Source: The Register

Touchscreen laptops fail to attract anything but fingerprints

Subject: General Tech | December 12, 2013 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: win 8.1, touchscreen, notebook, fail

It is going to be hard for Microsoft to flog its new OS when notebook manufactures are not interested in selling touchscreen notebooks.  Apparently the idea of greasy fingers obscuring your view of Metro just hasn't caught on as was predicted by the GUI geniuses behind Win8.  Though DigiTimes does not specify which vendors are abandoning touchscreens, first tier vendors include all of the names you are familiar with.  The decision is financial, not spiteful, as a touchscreen does add around 10% to the cost of producing a notebook and as no one is buying them it is foolish to continue to produce them.

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"Some first-tier notebook brand vendors have recently adjusted their notebook roadmaps for 2014 and will delay the releases of touchscreen conventional notebooks to focus on non-touchscreen models, which have a pricing advantage, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

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Source: DigiTimes
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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Contortionist PCs are a big deal these days as convertible models take the stage to help bridge the gap between notebook and tablet. But not everyone wants to drop a grand on a convertible, and not everyone wants a 12-inch notebook, either. Meanwhile, these same people may not wish to blow their cash on an underpowered (and far less capable) Chromebook or tablet. It’s for these folks that Lenovo has introduced the IdeaPad Flex 14 Ultrabook, which occupies a valuable middle ground between the extremes.

The Flex 14 looks an awful lot like a Yoga at first glance, with the same sort of acrobatic design and a thoroughly IdeaPad styling (Lenovo calls it a “dual-mode notebook”). The specs are also similar to that of the x86 Yoga, though with the larger size (and later launch), the Flex also manages to assemble a slightly more powerful configuration:

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The biggest internal differences here are the i5-4200U CPU, which is a 1.6 GHz Haswell model with a TDP of 15 W and the ability to Turbo Boost (versus the Yoga 11S’ i5-3339Y, which is Ivy Bridge with a marginally lower TDP of 13 W and no Turbo Boost), the integrated graphics improvements that follow with the newer CPU, and a few more ports made possible by the larger chassis. Well, and the regression to a TN panel from the Yoga 11S’ much-appreciated IPS display, which is a bummer. Externally, your wallet will also appreciate a $250 drop in price: our model, as configured here, retails for just $749 (versus the $999 Yoga 11S we reviewed a few months back).

You can actually score a Flex 14 for as low as $429 (as of this writing), by the way, but if you’re after any sort of respectable configuration, that price quickly climbs above the $500 mark. Ours is the least expensive option currently available with both a solid-state drive and an i5 CPU.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14!!!

Acer Launches Veriton Z Series AIO Desktops For Business Users

Subject: Systems | July 21, 2013 - 12:36 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7, veriton z, touchscreen, AIO, acer

Acer has launched two new Veriton Z Series All In One (AIO) desktops aimed at commercial customers and fitted with 19.5” touchscreens. The two Veriton Z2640G are Energy Star 5.2 rated and have VESA mounting points.

On the outside, the Veriton Z AIO desktops have a large 19.5” touchscreen display with a (disappointing) resolution of 1600 x 900 and a 5ms response time. Other features include two speakers, a built-in microphone, and a 2MP 1080p webcam that can swivel 180-degrees. External IO includes a DVD SuperMulti optical drive, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one HDMI video output.

Acer Launches 20-inch Veriton Z2640G.jpg

The two Veriton Z SKUs differ on the internal specifications and are the Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X and the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X desktops. The former features a dual core Intel Celeron 1007U processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive. On the other hand, the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has a dual core Intel Pentium 2117U CPU clocked at 1.8GHz, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM (16GB maximum), and a 500GB 7200 RPM mechanical hard drive.

Both Veriton Z series models also incorporate Acer’s “Dust Defender” technology, screw-less covers and modular components. Using the bundled stand, the display can tilt from 6 to 60-degrees. The systems will come pre-loaded with either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional (depending on user choice). The Veriton Z2640G is aimed at business, education, and government customers.

Both AIO Veriton Z desktops come with a one year warranty and will be available soon from resellers and channel partners. The Veriton Z2640G-UC1007X has an estimated sales price (ESP) of $539 while the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X has an ESP of $599. Except for the display resolution, the Veriton Z2640G AIO looks to be a decent business machine.

Source: Acer
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:

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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: Acer announces Aspire S7 touchscreen 11-in and 13.3-in Ultrabooks

Subject: Mobile | June 4, 2012 - 12:49 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, computex, touchscreen, s7, aspire, acer

In what will likely be the first of dozens of such exposes this week, Acer has just announced a pair of Ultrabooks that will fall under the new Aspire S7 brand in both 11-in and 13.3-in screen sizes.  According to a post at Engadget, the new Ultrabooks are actually touch enabled and will support being laid completely flat with a 180 degree hinge. 

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While other details on the specifications seem to be missing from the Computex announcement, we can assume these are going to be Intel Ivy Bridge based designs.  The screens are being called "full HD" which indicates a 1080p resolution that would really help the S7 stand out from other current Ultrabooks (as well as raise the price). 

Battery life is claimed at 9 hours on the 11-in model and 12 hours on the 13.3-in model, though all such claims should be tested before you plop down cash on a preorder. 

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Can someone please explain how laying down a notebook flat is helpful?

The Ultrabook is less than 13mm thick and the chassis is built with a unibody aluminum design which should immediately draw comparisons to the Apple Macbook Pro.  A backlit keyboard and a glass lid on the 13-in model round out our known information on the Aspire S7 but don't expect availability until we see Windows 8 ship sometime this fall.

Source: Engadget

Attack of the 65" tablet

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2011 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: touchscreen, Android

Check out what MAKE:Blog found!  A 65" tablet-like Android powered touch screen prototype from ARDIC Technology out of Turkey.  It is still a prototype so it will not hit the market any time soon, nor does it have a price tag yet.  The display uses a docked Android tablet for connectivity but once connected you interface solely through the large touchscreen.  Watch the video for the biggest fruit ninja game you've ever seen.

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"The folks at Ardic Technologies in Istanbul seem to have developed a prototype for the ultimate tablet user experience. Isn’t this what we all secretly wish our handsets and tablets would do out of the box? Didn’t you expect you’d be able to smoothly transition from mobile device to a massive touchscreen effortlessly, like ten years ago? In any case, if Ardic can get their device to market, they’ll have one of the nicer presentation tools out there. I imagine this would go well with some of the newer apps from Adobe and Autodesk."

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Source: MAKE:Blog