Introduction and Design
It seems like only yesterday (okay, last month) that we were testing the IdeaPad Yoga 11, which was certainly an interesting device. That’s primarily because of what it represents: namely, the slow merging of the tablet and notebook markets. You’ve probably heard people proclaiming the death of the PC as we know it. Not so fast—while it’s true that tablets have eaten into the sales of what were previously low-powered notebooks and now-extinct netbooks, there is still no way to replace the utility of a physical keyboard and the sensibility of a mouse cursor. Touch-centric devices are hard to beat when entertainment and education are the focus of a purchase, but as long as productivity matters, we aren’t likely to see traditional means of input and a range of connectivity options disappear anytime soon.
The IdeaPad Yoga 11 leaned so heavily in the direction of tablet design that it arguably was more tablet than notebook. That is, it featured a tablet-grade SOC (the nVidia Tegra 3) as opposed to a standard Intel or AMD CPU, an 11” display, and a phenomenal battery life that can only be compared to the likes of other ARM-based tablets. But, of course, with those allegiances come necessary concessions, not least of which is the inability to run x86 applications and the consequential half-baked experiment that is Windows RT.
Fortunately, there’s always room for compromise, and for those of us searching for something closer to a notebook than the original Yoga 11, we’re now afforded the option of the 11S. Apart from being nearly identical in terms of form factor, the $999 (as configured) Yoga 11S adopts a standard x86 chipset with Intel ULV CPUs, which allows it to run full-blown Windows 8. That positions it squarely in-between the larger x86 Yoga 13 and the ARM-based Yoga 11, which makes it an ideal candidate for someone hoping for the best of both worlds. But can it survive the transition, or do its compromises outstrip its gains?
Our Yoga 11S came equipped with a fairly standard configuration:
Unless you’re comparing to the Yoga 11’s specs, not much about this stands out. The Core i5-3339Y is the first thing that jumps out at you; in exchange for the nVidia Tegra 3 ARM-based SOC of the original Yoga 11, it’s a much more powerful chip with a 13W TDP and (thanks to its x86 architecture) the ability to run Windows 8 and standard Windows applications. Next on the list is the included 8 GB of DDR3 RAM—versus just 2 GB on the Yoga 11. Finally, there’s USB 3.0 and a much larger SSD (256 GB vs. 64 GB)—all valuable additions. One thing that hasn’t changed, meanwhile, is the battery size. Surely you’re wondering how this will affect the longevity of the notebook under typical usage. Patience; we’ll get to that in a bit! First, let’s talk about the general design of the notebook.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 16, 2013 - 07:09 AM | Tim Verry
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'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.
Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2013 - 03:31 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: yoga 11, video, ultrabook, podcast, MacBook Air, haswell, gtx 760
PC Perspective Podcast #257 - 06/27/2013
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Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2013 - 12:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, u430 touch, u330 touch, sshd, Lenovo, haswell
Lenovo recently unveiled a n umber of new laptops and tablets running Microsoft's latest touch-friendly operating system. New devices include the Lenovo Mix convertible tablet, three new S-series laptops, and two new U-series ultrabooks.
The Lenovo Mix is the company's latest convertible. Primarily a tablet, the 10.1" device comes with a detachable AccuType keyboard case. It weighs 1.2 pounds and is a mere 0.4" thick.
Boasting a 10 hour battery life, the Lenovo Mix features a dual core Intel Atom processor, 64GB internal flash storage, microSD card support, and Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and (optional) 3G+GPS radios. The main attraction is a 10.1" IPS display with a resolution of 1366x768.
The Lenovo Mix will be available later this summer with a starting price of $500.
Lenovo S210, S400, and S500
In addition to the convertible tablet, Lenovo is also releasing three new S-series laptops. These new Windows 8 machines start at 3 pounds and 0.8" thick. They all feature a "tactile metallic finish," Dolby Advanced Audio v2 certification, and pre-installed Lenovo software such as Lenovo Companion, Lenovo Support, Lenovo Cloud.
The Lenovo S210 is a 11.6" laptop that supports Intel's Ivy Bridge Core i3 processors. Moving up from there, the Lenovo S400 is a 14" laptop and the S500 is a 15.6" laptop. Both the S400 and S500 support Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
All three Lenovo S-series laptops will be available for purchase later this summer. The laptops have a starting price of $429 for the S210, $499 for the S400, and $579 for the S500.
Lenovo U330 Touch and U430 Touch
Lenovo is also releasing two new ultrabook-class ultra-portable laptops. The Lenovo U330 is a 13.3" machine and the Lenovo U430 is a 14" thin-and-light. The laptops use a metal chassis, start at 3.7 pounds and 0.74" thick. Users will be able to interact with the ultrabook using voice or motion controls as well as the multi-touch touchpad and 10-point capacitive multi-touch display.
The Lenovo U330 is a 13.3" ultrabook that measures 12.7" x 8.8" x 0.74" and weighs 3.7 pounds. Display options include 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 displays. Lenovo is providing the option of a 10-point multi-touch add-on for the display. Hardware specifications include an Intel Core i3-4010U or a Core i5-4200U CPU, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 42 Whr battery. Storage options include a 500GB or 1TB hard drive paired with 16GB of flash storage as cache, or a single 256GB SSD.
The Lenovo U330 Touch will be available in orange or gray later this summer with a starting MSRP of $799.
Meanwhile, the Lenovo U430 Touch is a larger machine that measures 13.2" x 9.2" x 0.81" and weighs 4.2 pounds. This machine comes with a 14" 1600 x 900 or 1920 x 1080p display with 10-point multi-touch panel option. The ultrabook is powered by Intel's Fourth Generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, optional NVIDIA discrete graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 52 Whr battery. Storage options include a 1TB or 500GB SSHD with 16GB cache or a single 256GB SSD.
IO options on the laptop include HDMI video outputs, USB 3.0 ports, and a SD card reader.
The U430 Touch will be available later this summer with a starting price of $899.
All this new hardware is a lot to take in, but overall the specifications look good.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 12, 2013 - 08:04 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ultrabook, sandisk, Samsung, pci-e ssd, Marvell, MacBook Air, macbook, haswell, apple
As Scott covered earlier this week, Apple quietly announced an update to the MacBook Air line along side the headline-grabbing Mac Pro redesign preview. Being a MacBook Air user for the past 2 years, I decided it was time to replace my Sandy Bridge-based model with some new Haswell goodness. Today marked the first day of retail store availability, and I picked up an 11" model with 256GB SSD.
Naturally, when I got back to the office there was only one route to take, installing Windows and disassembling it. While Anand uncovered the fact that these MacBooks were hiding a new unadvertised option, in a PCI-Express based SSD, I wanted to check it out for myself.
When I did some digging, I discovered that while Anand found a Samsung based SSD in his MacBook, mine actually contained a model by Sandisk. I did a quick initial benchmark in OS X, and proceeded to inspect the hardware itself.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2013 - 04:01 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: computex, computex 2013, Intel, haswell, Ivy Bridge, k900, Lenovo, baytrail, silvermont, ultrabook, acer, aspire s7
Intel had a host of new technologies to show off at Computex this year, starting of course with the Haswell processor launch. Hopefully you have read our review of the Core i7-4770K LGA1150 CPU already but thanks to some video sent our way, we have other interesting bits to share.
Below you will see Intel demonstrating four new products. First is the Acer Aspire S7 using a Haswell dual-core platform playing back 4K content. Next up is an Ivy Bridge tablet that is running completely fanless (passive) thus generating no noise at all while still offering impressive CPU and graphics performance. Intel then pulls a Lenovo K900 Android smartphone out of its pocket powered by the Clovertrail+ enabled Atom Z2580 SoC. Finally, we get a sneak peak at the next-generation of SoC designs with a look at a Silvermont-based Baytrail tablet running at 2560x1440.
Subject: Mobile | March 19, 2013 - 03:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, VivoBook S500, ultrabook, win8
The ASUS VivoBook is under $1000, lightweight with a touchscreen for Win8 and it does have an SSD, a small 24GB cache SSD but enough to trim down on boot times and resume from sleep all of which come close to the original specs for an Ultrabook. Legit Reviews tried out the 1366x768 Core i5-3317 powered Ultrabook, configured with 4GB RAM and a SanDisk cache drive. It lasted a reasonable 2 hours and 21 minutes in Futuremark Powermark, simulating heavy usage but when it came to the storage subsystem it really lagged behind the competition. Overall ASUS did make compromises to keept the price low, but if you are looking for an ultramobile touch device and don't need fast storage it is a decent choice.
"Are you looking for an affordable Intel Ultrabook that features Windows 8 with Touch? The ASUS VivoBook S500 just launched this week and is an entry level 15.4" Intel Ultrabook that is loaded with features and costs under $700 shipped. Read on to see how the ASUS VivoBook S500 Ultrabook performs with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 6GB DDR3 memory, 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and 24GB SSD for caching purposes."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Acer Aspire S7 13″ (S7-391) Ultrabook @ XSReviews
- Dell Inspiron 17-3721 Review @ TechReviewSource
- HP ENVY 4 TouchSmart (ENVY 4-1102xx) Ultrabook Review @ Custom PC Review
- Microsoft Surface RT review: the first Microsoft tablet @ Hardware.info
- Acer Iconia W510 Hybrid Tablet @ TechSpot
- Nextbook Premium7SE Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- DeepCool N9 Aluminum Notebook Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech T651 Rechargeable Trackpad for Mac Review @ Legit Reviews
- Antec PowerUp 6000 and Go Charger Mobile Accessory Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Benchmarking Ubuntu Linux On The Google Nexus 7 @ Phoronix
- Sony Xperia Z @ The Inquirer
- Sony Xperia Z review: Sony's flagship Full HD phone @ Hardware.info
- Mid-range smartphone round-up @ Hardware.info
- HTC One review: there can be only One @ Hardware.info
- Cygnett Aviator iPhone 4/4S Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Poetic Palette Nexus 4 @ LanOC Reviews
Subject: Mobile | March 7, 2013 - 03:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T, win8, digital audio converter, ultrabook
Samsung's ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T is a convertible tablet with aspirations to be an ultrabook, it is 1.97 lbs, with an 11.6" 1080p touchscreen powered by a Core i5-3317U with 4GB of DDR3-1600 in single channel configuration. For connectivity you get a a MicroSD port, a single USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports on the dock, Micro HDMI and analog audio with Wi-Fi, WiDi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Tech Report tested its battery life for both surfing and playing 720p video, seeing 6 hours in the first case and 5 hours in the second with very little difference when tested docked. The final verdict was mixed, while it is almost an ultrabook and almost a convertible tablet in many ways it inherited the worst of both worlds; though if you find yourself needing both devices in your life this ATIV might be a good compromise for you.
"This Windows 8 convertible has x86 ultrabook guts, an 11.6" 1080p display, and speedy solid-state storage. Attach it to the bundled keyboard dock, and it turns into a quasi-ultrabook. Is this the ultimate Windows 8 mobile machine, and is it worth the nearly $1,200 asking price?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI GX60 1AC-021US Review @ TechReviewSource
- Lenovo IdeaPad S400 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Tablets of 2013: Nexus vs. Surface vs. iPad @ Techspot
- DeepCool M3 Notebook Cooling Pad @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS S56C 15.6-inch Ultrabook Review @ Techgage
- Toshiba Satellite C875-S7340 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ACER Aspire S7 11.6 inch Touch Enabled Ultrabook Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASUS G75VW-DH72 Gaming Notebook Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Cygnett Metalicus Silver Aluminium Case for iPhone 4 & 4S Review @ Madshrimps
- Nokia Lumia 620 vs. HTC 8S vs. Huawei Ascend W1 @ Hardware.info
- HTC One vs iPhone 5 head to head video @ The Inquirer
- Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD Smartphone @ Benchmark Reviews
- Caterpillar Cat B15 hands-on @ The Inquirer
- HTC One X+ vs Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5 @ The Inquirer
Subject: Memory | January 24, 2013 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: patriot, PC3-12800, 8gb, LoVo, sodimm, 1.35V, ultrabook
Over at Tweaktown is a review of an upgrade for Ultrabooks, Patriot's 1.35V, 8GB DDR3-1600MHz at $45 for a single SODIMM. The idea is that not only do you get a decent sized pool of RAM but because it sips 10% less power than a standard SODIMM you might just get a bit more battery life. They tested out the memory on a Lenovo ThinkPad W530 with a 6-cell battery, not the longest lasting of setups and saw about a 10% increase in battery life as you might have expected. That did only translate to an extra 17 minutes but as the laptop in question was only good for 4.5 hours of life, you can expect better return from an Ultrabook with a longer battery life.
"The big push in 2013 for mobile performance will be fought in battery life. Like every other market, if you want to get the best available you have to go to the aftermarket for premium components. The Patriot Memory for Ultrabooks will increase your notebook or ultrabook battery life, but just like everything premium, you have to pay a bit more."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- Corsair Dominator Platinum Dual-Channel DDR3 Memory Kits @ X-bit Labs
- Patriot Extreme Performance Viper 3 1600MHz 8GB Kit @ Pro-Clockers
- Kingston HyperX Beast PC3-19200 16GB Dual Channel @ Tweaktown
- G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2400 CL9 @ Funky Kit
- Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP 1600MHz 16GB Kit Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP DDR3 1600MHz 16GB @ eTeknix
Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 07:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ultrabook, Thinkpad, tablet, Lenovo, helix, convertible tablet, ces 2013, CES
The ThinkPad line from Lenovo just got a bit more interesting with the announcement of the Helix, a new touch-enabled convertible tablet form factor that includes a new design labeled as "rip and flip."
Hardware specifications on the Helix are pretty impressive given the small form factor and include Ivy Bridge-based Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, two USB 3.0 ports, RJ45 port, mini-DisplayPort and even mini-HDMI. The machine will also have optional LTE radios to go along with the 802.11n WiFi and even NFC support.
The display panel is an IPS 11.6-in 1080p rated at 400 nits - that is very high brightness for a Lenovo machine in my experience. The screen is rated for 10 point touch capability as well in case you need BOTH HANDS for your project.
Also new is the Lenovo glass ClickPad which I am very eager to get my hands and try. That is the one area where MacBooks have continued to dominate in terms of notebook design and if Lenovo's ThinkPads can match or improve then we might have a winner on our hands.
The machine will weigh in at 3.68 lbs for the tablet and dock, 1.84 lbs for the tablet on its own, for great portability. Battery life claims are at 5 hours on the tablet alone and 10 hours with the tablet and base combination, but as with all battery life specifications plan on cutting that to 50-60% for real-world usage scenarios.
The new form factor of the ThinkPad Helix is being branded as "rip and flip" due to the tablets ability to be pulled off the keyboard / trackpad dock easily with a single release point. Folding it down into a standard clamshell design results in your standrad laptop configuration, but with only a 20mm z-height.
Lenovo will start shipping the ThinkPad Helix in mid-February with a starting price of $1,499.
Keep checking our CES 2013 coverage at http://pcper.com/ces and continue on after the break for the full press release!
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!