CES 2015: Dell XPS 13 Notebook is Slim, Sleek and Nearly Bezel-less

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: XPS 13, dell, ces 2015, CES, broadwell-u, Broadwell

Honestly, it takes something pretty special to get us excited about a laptop in today's market. Sure, the MSI GT80 Titan was able to do it but it required a full-travel Cherry MX Brown keyboard to do it! The new Dell XPS 13 was able to as well, but for a very different reason.

xps13-1.jpg

This laptop takes up the physical space of a standard 11-in laptop but is able to showcase a 13-in screen with incredibly minuscule 5.7mm bezels. That screen will be available in both 3200x1800 (WQHD+) and 1920x1080 (with a matte finish) resolutions, the lower of which will have models starting at the $1299 price tag. The higher resolution screen options will reach as high as $1699 with SSD capacity of 512GB. The system is powered by Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors using the new Broadwell-U architecture so you are absolutely not sacrificing any performance for the sake of the form factor.

I still have to get my hands on several other notebooks that have upgraded chassis designs for Broadwell-U, but for now, the Dell XPS 13 is easily the most impressive candidate at CES.

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CES 2015: Dell Venue 8 7000 8-in Atom Tablet

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: z3580, video, venue 8 7000, Intel, dell, ces 2015, CES, atom

Dell's Venue 8 7000-series Android tablet has been previewed for some time with my first hands on coming at the Intel Developer Forum this past September. The specifications are pretty straight forward.

venue-2.jpg

  • Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-Core processor (Burst clock of 2.33 GHz)
  • 2GB of LP-DDR3
  • 16GB of on board storage (expandable to 64GB via SD)
  • 8.4-in 2560x1600 OLED screen
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life
  • Android 4.4.4
  • Intel RealSense 3D Camera

venue-1.jpg

But the appeal of the tablet is in the beauty of the design. The screen resolution makes images and text crisp and clear and the bezel is incredibly small, giving the appearance of an edge-to-edge screen design. It weighs less than 11 oz (305g) and is 6mm thick.

The Venue 8 7000 will be shipping today (and is already showing up for sale at some retailers) for $399. We are working with Dell to get a sample unit of this engineering showcase.

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CES 2015: ASUS Transformer Book Chi Series - T300, T100, and T90 2-in-1 Convertibles

Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: windows, transformer book, T90, T300, T100, Chi, ces 2015, CES, asus, 2-in-1

ASUS has announced their new lineup of Transformer Book Chi 2-in-1 Windows notebooks, and the new flagship model will feature an Intel Core M processor and up to WQHD resolution.

ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi.jpg

The T300 Chi is a 12.5” 2-in-1 with the option of either 1920x1080 or 2560x1440 displays, and this model is powered by an Intel Core M processor.  ASUS has also moved to an all-new, all-aluminum design for these new detachable tablet/notebook computers, which allows them to be extremely thin.

ASUS Transformer Book T100 Chi_back.jpg

The T100 Chi is a smaller 10.1” design with a modest Intel Atom SoC, but it still offers a 1920x1200 (WUXGA) screen resolution. The T100 has the distinction of being “the world’s thinnest Windows tablet at an incredible 7.2mm” according to ASUS.

Rounding out the lineup we have the T90 Chi, which is an 8.9” Atom-powered 2-in-1 with a 1280x800 display.

ASUS Transformer Book T90 Chi.png

The Transformer Book Chi T300 will start at $799 for WQHD version, $699 for FHD version. The  T100 will start at $399, while the Chi T90 starts at $299. No specific word on availability yet.

Full specs from ASUS on the Transformer Book product site.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2015: ASUS Announces Flagship ZenFone 2 Smartphone with Android 5.0

Subject: Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: ZenFone 2, zenfone, smartphone, lollipop, ces 2015, CES, asus, Android 5.0, Android

ASUS has announced the all-new ZenFone 2 (model ZE551ML, if you prefer), their 5.5-inch flagship smartphone in the ZenFone family.

ASUS ZenFone 2.png

The ZenFone 2 has a new ergonomic design that tapers to a slim 3.9mm at the edges, and the front is dominated by a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display (1080x1920) with 403-ppi pixel density and a 178-degree viewing angle. (Does this sound familiar, Apple iPhone 6 Plus?) The ZenFone 2 also features 13MP rear and 5MP front “PixelMaster” cameras, and is powered by a quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom processor with 4GB RAM, and 4G/LTE connectivity from the Intel SoC.

Brand New ZenUI.jpg

Specs are useless without an interface, and ASUS is using the latest version of Android, 5.0 “Lollipop”. This is not “stock” android, however, as ASUS is using a new version of their ZenUI, which they claim is “the world’s first fully-customizable interface”. The phone is bundled with Trend Micro security software as well (ah, bundled software) and gets its juice from a large 3000mAh battery with fast-charging technology (which I personally find indispensable with my Nexus 6).

ASUS ZenFone 2 colors.png

Available in all of these phone-tastic colors

The screen is protected by the industry-standard Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which has an anti-fingerprint coating to reduce friction. One odd design feature is the position of the volume control, which is on the middle of the phone's back (just under the rear camera).

The ZenFone 2 will start at $199 USD (I would assume this is a contract price), but no specific word on availability yet.

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Source: ASUS

CES 2015: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Is Broadwell Powered and Available In New Sizes

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, thinkpad yoga, Thinkpad, tablet, Lenovo, ces 2015, broadwell-u

Yesterday, Lenovo rolled out updates to its entire line of ThinkPad laptops, and today Lenovo is unveiling an update to its business-focused ThinkPad Yoga tablet. The update brings a hardware refresh to the 14-inch ThinkPad Yoga while also adding new 12-inch and 15-inch convertibles.

The new ThinkPad Yoga builds upon last year's model, maintaining the look and feel but updating the internal hardware. It now spans from a 12-inch 3.3 pound tablet to a 15-inch 5.07 pound convertible with enough space for a numerical pad. All models are less than an inch thick, with the 12" being the thinnest at 0.7".

Thinkpad YOGA 12_1.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 12

Display resolution options are capped at 1920 x 1080 across all models, but they are IPS panels with touchscreens.

The multi-mode devices feature a backlit ThinkPad keyboard (1.8mm travel) with track point, a trackpad with physical buttons, a 720p webcam (optional 3D camera on the 15-inch model), stereo speakers (2x 1.5W JBL on 15-inch tablet), and digitizer or Active Pen support.

Port options include two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, and a card reader. A Mini HDMI port is used on the smallest ThinkPad Yoga.

ThinkPad YOGA 14_4.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 14

Lenovo has chosen Broadwell-U to power its business tablets, and you will be able to get up to a Core i7 processor. All models have access to the Intel HD Graphics, and the 14-inch and 15-inch tablets can be configured with dedicated graphics from NVIDIA. The 12-inch and 14-inch ThinkPad Yogas can be equipped with up to 8GB DDR3L while the Yoga 15 can accommodate 12GB and 16GB configurations. Storage options include mechanical, SSHD, and SSDs with storage topping out at 1TB for spinning platter and 512GB for solid state drives (not available on the Yoga 12). Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi (depending on the Wi-Fi+BT combo card), and a 1x NGFF slot.

The ThinkPad Yoga tablets will ship with Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro with an optional Windows 7 Pro downgrade available.

ThinkPad YOGA 15_4.jpg

ThinkPad Yoga 15

The new ThinkPad Yoga will be available in February with starting prices at $999 for the Yoga 12, $1,199 for the Yoga 14 and Yoga 15.

The new Yoga 14 has a slight $50 premium over the starting price of last year's ThinkPad Yoga 14, but the new Yoga 12 comes in much cheaper and the larger Yoga 15 can be had for the same price as the new 14-inch model. Many of the popular features are staying the same, including the Lift 'n Lock keyboard, but you are also getting the latest CPU and GPU technology so in all it is likely worth it. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on these machines as we get closer to the launch date.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Launches Broadwell-Powered 11" and 14" Yoga 3 Tablets Running Windows 8.1

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, yoga 3, yoga, Windows 8.1, nvidia, core m, ces 2015, broadwell-u, Broadwell

Last year, Lenovo showed off the flagship Yoga 3 Pro with a watchband hinge. Now, Lenovo is using CES to officially launch the non pro Yoga 3. The Yoga 3 will be available in 11-inch and 14-inch models running Windows 8.1 and Intel's latest mobile processors.

The Yoga 3 11" comes in at 2.4lbs and 0.6" thick while the Yoga 3 14" weighs 3.5lbs and 0.7" thick. Both variants use the traditional dual hinge design which supports all the usual modes (laptop, tent, stand, and tablet). Notably, the watchband hinge has been reserved for the Pro variant. You will be able to pick up a Yoga 3 in either white or orange with either a 11.6" or 14" 1920 x 1080 resolution touchscreen IPS displays. Audio is handled by two 1.5W JBL speakers (Waves Audio certification) and is complemented by a 720p webcam for videoconferencing.

YOGA 3 11_2.jpg

The Lenovo Yoga 3 11-inch is a nice update over the Yoga 2.

Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports, one DC-in/USB 2.0 port, a SD card reader, micro-HDMI output, and an audio combo jack.

The Yoga 3 is powered by either an Intel Core M processor (11-Inch) or a 5th Generation Core i5 or i7 (Broadwell-U) processor (14-Inch) along with up to 8GB DDR3L memory, Intel HD graphics (and optional NVIDIA graphics on the 14-Inch Yoga 3), and 128GB or 256GB SSD or 500GB+8GB flash SSHD storage options. The 11-inch Yoga 3 is fitted with a 34Whr battery while the 14-inch tablet gets a larger 44Whr battery. Both models support Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

YOGA 3 14_2.jpg

The Lenovo Yoga 3 14-inch has a dedicated graphics option from NVIDIA.

Aside from the higher resolution display options, watchband hinge, and a sliver of thin-ness, you aren't missing out on much with the Yoga 3. The 11-inch and 14-inch are notable updates over the Yoga 2 line and look to be good little machines. In particular, the 14-inch Yoga 3 with NVIDIA graphics and up to a Broadwell-U Core i7 is quite the powerhouse for a convertible!

The Yoga 3 will be available in March starting at $799 for the 11-inch and $979 for the 14-inch respectively. I am looking forward to seeing the reviews on these! 

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Launches 8-Inch Yoga Tablet 2 Windows Tablet With AnyPen Technology

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, yoga tablet 2, Intel, ces 2015, atom, anypen, android 4.4.4

Back in October of last year, Lenovo launched several new eight and ten inch Android and Windows tablets under the Yoga Tablet 2 line. Today, Lenovo is adding another 8-inch tablet to that lineup with the differentiating factor being new "AnyPen" technology that allows you to use any pencil or regular pen for input, no need to use a special stylus. In fact, so long as it is conductive, you can use it as an input device!

Beyond the new touchscreen, the basic design and hardware configuration has not really changed with this new Yoga Tablet 2. You are looking at a 8.3" x 5.9" x 0.1" tablet with Lenovo's signature tubular side handle/battery holder/stand that weighs less than one pound. An 8-inch full HD display with 10-point multi-touch two speakers (Dolby Audio, Wolfson Master Hi-FI) and a 1.6MP webcam adorn the front while an 8MP rear camera (with auto-focus) sits on the underside of the device.

Internally, the Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen uses an Intel Atom Z3745 clocked at 1.86 GHz, 2GB RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. A large 6,400mAh battery provides ample battery life. Radios include Bluetooth 4.0, dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS, and LTE. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

The AnyPen technology which frees you from those moments of horror when you realize you've lost the stylus is what makes this tablet stand out. It will be available later this month for $299.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Limited Edition Vibe X2 Pro Launched Alongside Wearable Vibe Band VB10

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: vibe x2 pro, vibe x, vibe band, smartphone, qualcomm 600, Lenovo, ces 2015, CES, android l

Alongside the onslaught of new notebooks and tablets, Lenovo is launching a limited edition Vibe X2 Pro smartphone and a new wearable accessory called the Vibe Band VB10. As an added bonus, Lenovo is also showing off a new "Selfie Flash" VIBE Xtension that will work with the Vibe X2.

The Lenovo VIBE X2 Pro is an amped up, limited edition, version of the VIBE X2 that debuted a few months ago. The X2 Pro takes the layered aesthetic further by moving to a larger (but thinner) full metal body with unique color options. It features a 5.3" 1920 x 1080 resolution display, dual 13MP cameras (with support for the Selfie Flash accessory), Android Lollipop support, and tweaked internals. The phone measures 146.3 x 71 x 6.95mm and weighs 140g. The Pro version features champagne gold, electric blue and rock pink color options compared to the white, champagne gold, and red colors of the non-pro Vibe X2.

VIBE X2 Pro 5.jpg

Internally, Lenovo has opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC which is a 64-bit octo core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and a Adreno 405 GPU. Qualcomm specs the CPU portion as being two ARM Cortex A53 quad cores clocked at up to 1.7 GHz and 1.0 GHz respectively. The SoC is paired with 2GB of internal memory and 32GB flash storage (no microSD expansion). The phone is powered by a embedded 2,410 mAh Li-Polymer battery. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, LTE cellular radio, analog audio output, micro USB, and dual nano SIM slots. Sensors include A-GPS, gravitation, proximity, light, and e-compass.

The phone will run the company's VIBE UI 2.0 on top of Google's Android Lollipop operating system.

In all, the Vibe X2 Pro has a larger display, better camera, bigger battery, new colors, a metal body, and different CPU/GPU.

The limited edition VIBE X2 Pro will be available in China and Europe (specific countries will be announced at a later date) for $499 starting in April 2015. Notably, this smartphone will not be available in the US.

VB10_Family.png

The VIBE Band VB10 is a wearable watchband accessory that pairs with the Vibe X2 (and also supports iOS devices). A metal bond and rubberized strap host a curved E-Ink display (230ppi) along with a battery that can reportedly power the Bluetooth radio and constantly powered-on display for seven days. The Vibe Band can display messages and notifications, be used to accept or reject phone calls, act as a warning if go out of range of your phone, and collect data (steps, calories, distance, and sleep) for a fitness app that can graph your performance and set personalized goals.

The wearable weighs about 30 grams and runs Android 4.4. Further, the VB10 is IPX7 rated as being waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. 

The Vibe Band VB10 will be available in April (China and Europe) for $89.

Finally, Lenovo showed off a new Vibe Xtension called the Selfie Flash. The Selfie Flash plugs into the audio out of the Vibe X2 and X2 Pro to illuminate self portraits in low light environments. The circular add-on is synchronized to the Vibe X2's shutter and a ring of eight LEDs cast diffused light over a one meter distance according to Lenovo. It is rated at 100 selfies per charge.

The new selfie-enhancing Vibe Xtension will be available in April for $29 in markets where X2 and X2 Pro smartphones are sold.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Unveils New Intel-Powered P90 Smartphone

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, smartphone, p90, LTE, Lenovo, Intel, ces 2015, atom z3560

Unveiled today at CES, the Lenovo P90 is the first smartphone to use Intel's latest Atom Z3560 processor and 5-mode XMM 7262 modem. The smartphone pairs the high end hardware with a colorful body that weighs 156g and is a mere 8.5mm thick.

P90 5.jpg

The Lenovo P90 brings Intel back to the Lenovo smartphone family following a year dominated by smartphones powered by MediaTek and Qualcomm SoCs. Unfortunately, like the K900 that came before it, the P90 will not be available in the United States. Now that I've crushed the dreams of some US readers...

On the outside, the P90 looks to be your average roughly rectangular smartphone with curved edges. Lenovo does manage to spice things up a bit by offering it in Lava Red in addition to Pearl White and Onyx Black. A large 5.5" 1920x1080 display dominates the front of the device. A 5 megapixel front facing camera sits above the display and a 13MP camera with flash and optical image stabilization (OIS) sits on the back.

P90 7.jpg

The Lenovo P90 is powered by a 64-bit quad core Intel Atom Z3560 clocked at 1.83 GHz paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal flash storage. Lenovo is using the Intel XMM 7262 modem for cellular connectivity which is LTE capable and supports data speeds of up to 150 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload (obviously, dependent on carrier support, congestion, and signal strength, et al). A large 4,000mAh battery powers the P90.

Unlike the Vibe X2 Pro, the Intel-Powered P90 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat. Obviously, the Atom-powered phone will have to use binary translation for many apps that are not available natively in x86-64, but the Z3560 should be plenty of hardware to handle that overhead even with the alleged 20%-40% performance hit.

The Lenovo P90 will be available in February for $369. It will hit China and Europe but not this side of the pond.

Are you interested in an Intel-powered smartphone? Do you care what the SoC is, or do you just want something with enough oomph to run your applications? I do wish Intel would be more aggressive in getting its SoCs into phones that will be available here, if only for more competition.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Launches Improved ThinkPad Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 4, 2015 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, notebook, Lenovo, ces 2015, carbon, business

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, Lenovo announced updates and new additions to its Think-branded products aimed at business customers. New ThinkPad PCs, ThinkVision displays, and stackable ThinkPad accessories are launching early this year. 

ThinkPad Notebooks and Ultrabooks

Lenovo, a leading manufacturer of PCs, recently reached a milestone with the production of its 100 millionth ThinkPad, code-named Eve, which will be on display at CES. The company has a plethora of business machines and updates are coming to the entire family of ThinkPads including the X, T, L, and E series. According to Lenovo, the company has opted for 5th gen Core i processors for most of the machines to provide the best performance and vPro capabilities.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a third generation ultrabook that is lighter and faster than before. The 14" ultrabook builds upon its predecessor with an updated (optionally backlit) keyboard, three button clickpad, and up to a WQHD touchscreen display. The X1 Carbon with its carbon fiber cover weighs 2.9 pounds and is 17.72mm thick (18.46mm if you opt for a touchscreen).

It is powered by up to a 5th Generation Intel Core i7 (Broadwell-U) processor, four to eight GB of DDR3 memory, and up to a 512GB PCI-E SSD. 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 OneLink, Ethernet, analog audio, and a 720p webcam round out the system's connectivity options.

For the road warrior that finds the 14" X1 Carbon too unwieldy, the new ThinkPad X250 is a slightly lighter (starting at 2.88 lbs) PC with a much smaller footprint. The X250 features full HD (1080p) displays with optional touchscreens, backlit keys, the latest clickpad, and updated internal hardware. Lenovo is using Intel's 5th Generation Core i processor, HDD, SSHD, and SSD options, up to 8GB DDR3 memory, and its Power Bridge dual battery technology for a speedy portable with respectable battery life. 

ThinkPad X250 3.jpg

Beyond the X-series, Lenovo has added new models to the ThinkPad T, ThinkPad L, and ThinkPad E series. Lenovo has managed to refine the hardware while keeping the same design principles that have made the predecessors successful.

ThinkPad T550 1.jpg

Lenovo ThinkPad T550

The new machines are thinner, lighter, have better battery life, more ports, high resolution display options, and use Intel's 5th Generation Core processors.

Lenovo's business focused products are slated for availability early this year with the majority of hardware coming in the next two months. For laptops, pricing and availability work out as follows:

Lenovo Notebooks Starting Price Availability
ThinkPad X1 Carbon $1,249 January
ThinkPad X250 $1,149 February
ThinkPad T450s $1,099 February
ThinkPad T450 $849 February
ThinkPad T550 $999 February
ThinkPad E550 $599 February
ThinkPad E450 $599 February
ThinkPad L450 $699 February

The new machines are welcome evolutionary updates to the established ThinkPad pedigree. What are your thoughts on the new notebooks?

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: Lenovo Thinks That You'll Love Stackable Accessories

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | January 4, 2015 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: CES, usb 3.0, think stack, stack, power bank, peripherals, Lenovo, hotspot, ces 2015

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, Lenovo announced updates and new additions to its Think-branded products aimed at business customers. New ThinkPad PCs, ThinkVision displays, and stackable ThinkPad accessories are launching early this year. 

ThinkPad Stack

The ThinkPad Stack represents a set of independent stackable accessories for business users to pair with their notebook or tablet. The Stack pieces can be placed atop each other interchangeably using a magnetic interlock system and can pass both power and data through the stack in order to connect to power and/or a PC with fewer cables. At launch, there are four accessories: a Bluetooth speaker, portable power bank, wireless hotspot, and a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive. You will be able to stack any combination of the four accessories together or remove a piece to take with you to a meeting.

THINKPAD_STACK_sh03.jpg

The portable hard drive connects over a micro USB 3.0 connection to support fast transfer speeds. The wireless access point is able to take either a RJ45 wired Ethernet or 3G/4G cellular connection (using a wireless dongle) and broadcast out a Wi-Fi connection to allow you to share the Internet connection with multiple devices. The Bluetooth speaker accessory is aimed at business users wanting a simple device that can be used for conference calls (it has two 2W speakers and a noise cancelling microphone along with 3.5mm auxiliary and micro-USB line inputs). Finally, the power bank has a 10,000 mAh battery capacity and can charge two devices at 5V 2.1A on one port and 1A on the other port. Note that the speaker and hotspot have their own batteries as well.

THINKPAD_STACK_sh05.jpg

The ThinkPad Stack accessories will be available in April with pricing as follows:

Stack Accessory Pricing Availability
ThinkPad Stack Bluetooth Speaker $89.99 April
ThinkPad Stack 10000mAh Power Bank $49.99 April
ThinkPad Wireless Access Point / 1TB Hard Drive Kit $199.99 April

As such, the entire stack of stacks will run you just under $340 USD. The full stack weighs 861 grams or about 1.9 pounds and measures 136mm x 76mm (5.35" x 2.99"). It is a neat concept that should complement Lenovo's PCs well.

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Source: Lenovo

CES 2015: NVIDIA Tegra Press Conference Live Stream

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 07:41 PM |
Tagged: video, tegra, press conference, nvidia, live stream, live, ces 2015, CES

Tonight at 8pm PT / 11pm ET NVIDIA will be hosting its annual press conference from CES 2015. While I fully expect the majority of the information to be on Tegra-related products, there is a chance they could slip in some GeForce products as well. I leave nothing past NVIDIA with a 2 hour window.

You can watch the live stream of the event right here and I am going to be live blogging from the event as well, pending Internet capability inside the conference room.

 

Live Blog NVIDIA CES 2015 Press Conference

 

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CES 2015: MSI GS30 Shadow Notebook with Discrete GPU Dock Station

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: shadow, msi, gs30, gpu, docking station, ces 2015, CES

Laptops with external graphics - we have been chasing this ghost for a long time everyone. We have seen them attempted through ExpressCard slots and more recently through Thunderbolt. MSI has a different plan with the GS30 Shadow - a physical PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot.

gs30-1.jpg

The GS30 Shadow starts with a laptop - a 13.3-in 1080p design that is surprisingly slim and sleek. It includes a Core i7-4780HQ processor with Iris Pro 5200 graphics, 16GB of DDR3 memory, RAID-0 performance with a pair of M.2 slots and Gigabit networking. Battery life is likely pretty low on its own as there doesn't seem to be much space for a large battery.

gs30-2.jpg

But what really makes the GS30 Shadow stand out is the docking station included. This is a base measuring about a foot long by 6 inches wide and tall. It connects to the laptop through a physical x16 PCIe 3.0 slot along the back of the machine and mechanically latches into place. There is a very old-style feeling to the connection - you pull a latch and use a physical lock button to keep it in place. But once installed, the GS30 sits on top of the docking station and is ready for use.

gs30-3.jpg

The docking station ships with a 450 watt desktop style power supply and supports a full size, desktop-class dual-slot graphics card. Also included are a set of speakers embedded in the front, four USB 3.0 ports as well as audio input and output connections. You will also be able to install additional storage inside the docking station; it adds room for a 3.5-in hard drive.

gs30-4.jpg

The GS30 Shadow with docking station will ship this month and has an MSRP set at $1999. If you value the laptop alone at $1400-1500 then you are paying a premium of around $500 for the docking station capability. This is another new device from MSI that we are eager to test and see if it stands up to real-world usage scenarios as well as it sounds like it might. Could we finally have a good option for mobility + gaming that works for gamers?

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CES 2015: MSI GT80 Titan SLI 18-in Gaming Notebook with Cherry MX Brown Keyboard

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: titan, sli, msi, GTX 980M, gt80, cherry mx brown, ces 2015, CES

Back in late October MSI announced the GT80 Titan gaming laptop that included an impressive array of features, the most interesting of which was the full-size Cherry MX Brown keyboard embedded in the chassis. Seriously.

gt80-3.jpg

At CES this week we got hands on with the beast and I have to say I came away pretty impressed. Hardware powering the system includes an Intel Core i7-4980HQ processor, a pair of GTX 980M GPUs running in SLI, 24GB of DDR3 system memory, up to quad M.2 SSDs in RAID-0, Killer wired and wireless networking and more. All of that hardware sits under the top portion of the bottom of the notebook - the LED backlit Cherry MX Steel Series keyboard takes up the entire depth of the GT80 in the bottom portion.

gt80-2.jpg

Despite its appearance, the GT80 Titan is similar in size to some of the other 17/18-in Alienware notebooks currently selling, but they obviously don't include a Cherry keyboard will full travel switches. MSI also claims that access to the system memory, M.2 storage, 2.5-in HDD location and optical drive through the top panel allows for reasonable upgrade options down the road. Even the two MXM modules for the GTX 980M cards can be changed through the bottom of the GT80. (Mobile GPU upgrades have always been problematic.)

gt80-1.jpg

The GT80 Titan will be available next week and will start at $3299 with a $3499 option including the faster Intel processor. That is an incredibly high price for a gaming machine that is less "portable" than "transportable" but it would be hard to get more gaming horsepower in a smaller package anywhere else. We are looking forward to a review unit showing up shortly after our return! Stay tuned!

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

CES 2015: Samsung to Show New ATIV Book 9 - A Fanless Notebook with Intel Core M

Subject: Mobile | January 2, 2015 - 09:18 AM |
Tagged: CES, wqxga, ultrabook, Samsung, notebook, laptop, intel core m, ces 2015, 5Y10c

Samsung has announced their latest ATIV ultrabook ahead of CES, and it looks impressive. Boasting a sleek all-aluminum design and packing 2560x1600 on its 12.2" screen, the latest ATIV Book 9 is powered by the newest Intel Core M technology with a fanless design for silent computing.

samsungATIV.jpg

Beyond the Core M 5Y10c processor and Intel HD 5300 graphics, the Book 9 features a selectable 4GB or 8GB of memory, and either 128GB or 256GB of SSD storage. The notebook weighs in at just over 2 lbs (2.09, actually) and measures only 0.46 inches thick. The battery can provide up to 10.5 hours on a single charge according to Samsung, which would put it near the current-gen MacBook Air in that department (which honestly appears to be the direct inspiration for this notebook's design). Samsung hasn't skimped in the sound department, with a high-end Wolfson DAC for lossless audio playback.

You may have read Ryan's review of Broadwell-Y performance back in November, and the results for these new chips are impressive when considering the ultra-low power design. The processor in this Book 9 (the Core M 5Y10c) is targeting just 3.5W SDP (4.5W TDP) while providing up to 2.0 GHz with a 4MB cache. The extremely low power requirements from these 14nm parts will allow more fanless designs like this notebook going forward, though it will be interesting to see how performance scales under extended use without a fan.


Specs:

Display: 12.2” WQXGA (2560x1600), 350nit (max 700nit) LED
Processor: Intel® Core™ M 5Y10c
Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 5300
Memory: 8GB (4GB also available)
Hard Disk: 256GB SSD (128GB also available)
Audio: PC-Fi (Wolfson WM5102 integrated)
Camera: 720p HD
Battery Life: Up to 10.5 hours
Dimensions: 11.19" x 8.37" x 0.46"
Weight: 2.09 pounds
Color: Imperial Black
I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, micro HDMI and SD, RJ45 (dongle), headphone/mic combo


Pricing: $1199.99 4GB RAM/128GB SSD, $1399.99 8GB RAM/256GB SSD.

Availability: Q1 2015 (listing already active on Amazon).

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Gets OTA2.1 Update

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 28, 2014 - 08:18 PM |
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, nvidia, Android

NVIDIA has upgraded their SHIELD Tablet software to version 2.1. This release increments Android Lollipop to 5.0.1, updates a bit of bundled software, improves localization support, and adds OpenGL 4.5. The updated landed on December 23rd, alongside their Grid Tuesday release.

nvidia-shield-november-14-01b.jpg

The new graphics API is interesting, but its usefulness is a bit questionable. Google does not really support OpenGL on the platform, although they do not prevent companies (like NVIDIA) from providing their own SDKs. This could be a bit increase in performance for apps that are optimized for the SHIELD Tablet and possibly the Nexus 9, especially since its main features increase performance and security. On the other hand, this should increase the potential for NVIDIA's first-party releases and ports.

If you have the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, then this is might be week-old news. If not, the update was released on December 23rd.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Launches Half-Life 2: Episode One on SHIELD Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 15, 2014 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, Portal, nvidia, half-life 2: episode one, half-life 2, google play, google, Android

Back in November, we published news about the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet update to Android 5.0. A part of the update was the “Green Box” promotion, which gives Half-Life 2, Portal, and Half-Life 2: Episode One free with the purchase of a 32GB LTE SHIELD Tablet. Today, Half-Life 2: Episode One launches on Google Play store for $7.99 USD (or free with the Green Box). Unlike Half-Life 2 and Portal, which runs on the original NVIDIA SHIELD, Episode One requires an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. It also requires a controller.

nvidia-shield-tablet-hl2episodeone.jpg

Like the previous release of Half-Life 2 and Portal, this is a complete port to the ARM architecture of NVIDIA Tegra K1. The game will run natively on the device, without being streamed from a host PC. For a little perspective, the Tegra K1 has a little more compute performance than a GeForce 9600 GT – a popular mid-range GPU that launched two years after Episode One.

Half-Life 2: Episode One launched today for $7.99 USD (or free with “The Green Box” bundle).

Source: Google

Only 1920x1080 or better need apply

Subject: Mobile | November 27, 2014 - 05:35 PM |
Tagged: 1080p, Chillblast, Prestige i5-4200SH, dell, Inspiron 17 7000, hp, Beats Special Edition, Lenovo, Yoga 2 13, toshiba, Satellite S70-B-10U

Sick of the standard laptop screen resolution of 1366x768, especially on a laptop with a 17" screen?  The Register has collected five laptops which have a 1080p resolution, several of which feature touchscreen capabilities for use with Win 8.1 and range in screen size up to 17.3". There is a variety of quality, the lower cost HP notebook does not feature an IPS display and so is not as sharp as some other models but then again it is not as expensive as the other models either.  There is not much in the way of benchmarks but it is not too hard to estimate performance based on the components which are inside these laptops as they are common among the current generation of laptops.  This review focuses on the screen, much like your eyes do.

hp_beats_special_edition.jpg

"For the more discerning eye, that’s just not enough, and while we’ll be looking at the more expensive HiDPI laptops soon, full HD laptops are certainly more affordable these days, especially if you’re prepared to trade having a high-performance CPU or a speedy solid-state drive for a crisper, higher resolution image instead."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: The Register

NVIDIA SHIELD Gets Two New Games for GRID: Psychonauts and Red Faction: Armageddon

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 25, 2014 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, grid, shield tablet, Psychonauts, red faction: armageddon

Last Tuesday, NVIDIA launched the November SHIELD update with Android 5.0 Lollipop, The Green Box promotion, and a refreshed GRID service. Regarding the last part, which is a game streaming service, they also committed to adding at least one extra title per week. Now, seven days later, they pushed two titles to the service: Psychonauts and Red Faction: Armageddon.

red-faction-armageddon-image.jpg

While I have never played Red Faction: Armageddon, I did purchase Psychonauts for the Xbox and, later, the PC. It is a fun, linear narrative about kids in a summer camp that specializes in telekinetic/telepathic education for gifted individuals. If you have a SHIELD device, and you are able to play it on GRID, try it. Like it or not, it's free and does not require an installation.

psychonauts-screenshot.jpg

As will be the case until June 30th, access to the service is free for owners of the SHIELD and SHIELD Tablet. Future titles are expected to be announced on Twitter via the “#GRIDTuesday” hashtag. We will probably have a news post about them, too.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Announces Carrizo and Carrizo-L SOCs

Subject: Processors | November 20, 2014 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, carrizo, Carrizo-L, Kaveri, Excavator, Steamroller, SoC, Intel, mobile

AMD has certainly gone about doing things in a slightly different manner than we are used to.  Today they announced their two latest APUs which will begin shipping in the first half of 2015.  These APUs are running at AMD and are being validated as we speak.  AMD did not release many details on these products, but what we do know is pretty interesting.

Carrizo is based on the latest iteration of AMD’s CPU technology.  Excavator is the codename for these latest CPU cores, and they promise to be smaller and more efficient than the previous Steamroller core which powers the latest Kaveri based APUs.  Carrizo-L is the lower power variant which will be based on the Puma+ core.  The current Beema APU is based on the Puma architecture.

AMD_Mobility_Roadmap_2015.jpg

Roadmaps show that the Carrizo APUs will be 28 nm products, presumably fabricated by GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  Many were hoping that AMD would make the jump to 20 nm with this generation of products, but that does not seem to be the case.  This is not surprising due to the limitations of that particular process when dealing with large designs that require a lot of current.  AMD will likely be pushing for 16 nm FinFET for the generation of products after Carrizo.

The big Carrizo supposedly has a next generation GCN unit.  My guess here is that it will use the same design as we saw with the R9 285.  That particular product is a next generation unit that has improved efficiency.  AMD did not release how many GCN cores will be present in Carizzo, but it will be very similar to what we see now with Kaveri.  Carrizo-L will use the same GCN units as the previous generation Beema based products.

carrizo_01.png

I believe AMD has spent a lot more time hand tuning Excavator instead of relying on a lot of automated place and route.  This should allow them to retain much of the performance of the part, all the while cutting down on transistor count dramatically.  Some rumors that I have seen point to each Excavator module being 40% smaller than Steamroller.  I am not entirely sure they have achieved that type of improvement, but more hand layout does typically mean greater efficiency and less waste.  The downside to hand layout is that it is extremely time and manpower intensive.  Intel can afford this type of design while AMD has to rely more on automated place and route.

Carrizo will be the first HSA 1.0 compliant SOC.  It is in fact an SOC as it integrates the southbridge functions that previously had been handled by external chips like the A88X that supports the current Kaveri desktop APUs.  Carrizo and Carrizo-L will also share the same infrastructure.  This means that motherboards that these APUs will be soldered onto are interchangeable.  One motherboard from the partner OEMs will be able to address multiple markets that will see products range from 4 watts TDP up to 35 watts.

Finally, both APUs feature the security processor that allows them access to the ARM TrustZone technology.  This is a very small ARM processor that handles the secure boot partition and handles the security requests.  This puts AMD on par with Intel and their secure computing solution (vPro).

carrizo_02.png

These products will be aimed only at the mobile market.  So far AMD has not announced Carrizo for the desktop market, but when they do I would imagine that they will hit a max TDP of around 65 watts.  AMD claims that Carrizo is one of the biggest jumps for them in terms of power efficiency.  A lot of different pieces of technology have all come together with this product to make them more competitive with Intel and their process advantage.  Time will tell if this is the case, but for now AMD is staying relevant and pushing their product releases so that they are more consistently ontime.

Source: AMD