Too big for comfort? The Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Subject: Mobile | November 19, 2012 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy note 2, phablet

Even with its overly large body the original Samsung Galaxy Note sold well, as it sported a large screen to go with its large body.  The second version now has a slightly larger screen of 5.5" and slightly smaller body but not enough to shrink the phone noticeably.  Apart from its size the other unique feature that the Note 2 has is the S Pen which allows you to draw and write on the screen, a feature that attracted many users to the original model.  Also worth noting is the graphics chip, instead of the more common Snapdragon this phone has a Exynos processor which is up to most tasks but when running apps which are optimized for the other graphics chips you may notice the quality degrade a bit.  TechSpot has a full review of this phablet right here.

TS_sizecomparison2.jpg

"The Samsung Galaxy Note II is big. Colossally big. It's important to get that description out of the way because anyone who sees or holds the Galaxy Note II will have no choice but to be taken aback by how large is the phone-meets-tablet.

The same predicament made doubters believe that the original Galaxy Note was too big to succeed, but millions of phones sold later, that proved to be a false prediction. The Galaxy Note II is a smooth and dynamic experience from top to bottom. It's probably too big as a phone or too small as a tablet for most, but many will find it's a comfortable compromise between the two form factors."

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Source: TechSpot

Ready for the next OLED let down ... bendable cellphones

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 16, 2012 - 09:35 AM |
Tagged: oled, Samsung, smartphone

If the marketing had been accurate we would now all be using millimetre thin displays with vibrant colours and near instantaneous response, either on our desks or in some form of electronic paper.  Unfortunately organic LED screens have proven both difficult and expensive to make, with manufacturers still trying to find a way to make large OLED devices affordable for consumers.  The next possible product is one we have seen prototypes of but if Samsung is to be believed they will be hawking bendable plastic phones next year.  OLED phones would have several benefits, without glass they would weigh less than a traditional phone and could be somewhat slimmer, but the biggest benefit to OLEDs is that they can tolerate bending and twisting and still function properly.  Hit up The Register for more on Samsung's new plans as well as a look at some of the prototypes previously offered by their competitors, but not Apple.

ElReg_samsung_flexible_1.jpg

"Development work on Samsung mobiles fitted with flexible OLED displays is nearing completing, with handsets set to be released in the first half of 2013, it has been claimed.

A source said to be close to the matter reckons Samsung is almost ready to launch flexible displays for mobile handsets, the Wall Street Journal reports."

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Source: The Register

Viva las VivoTab

Subject: Mobile | November 13, 2012 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: asus, vivo tab rt, tegra 3, winRT

Hopefully the rounded corners on the VivoTab will not catch the attention of Cupertino but until it does this convertible tablet/notebook will be popular.  The tablet portion has a 10.1" 1366 x 768 SuperIPS+ display, aka 155 PPI, powered by a Tegra 3 T30 @ 1.3GHz. It has an 8MP camera at the rear and a 2MP camera which faces you for video conferencing and while it does have the ability to provide a USB connection it does so with an adapter and the docking port, so USB is unavailable when you are docked.  Overall The Tech Report mostly liked the device, it might load some WinRT apps slowly but once they are running they perform admirably; lack of support for x86 programs was disappointing and in some ways they preferred the previous Android versions.   See why that is so in the full article.

TR_hybrid2.jpg

"Asus' Transformer approach to convertible tablets has finally come to Windows. We take a closer look at the new VivoTab RT."

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Breaking News: Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft Immediately

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 12, 2012 - 07:02 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, microsoft

Our regular viewers know that I am not too fond of Microsoft’s recent vision; I will get that out of the way right at the start. I am a major proponent of open platforms for uncensored art with perpetual support and Windows 8 shows all the signs of Microsoft turning its back on that ideology.

And Steven Sinofsky, the one who allegedly came up with that vision, is no longer with Microsoft: effective immediately.

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Not much in the line of reasoning is known about why Steven Sinofsky parted ways with his long-term career as head of Windows division. He had a clear and concise vision for his products and it was evident both in Windows 7 and in Windows RT.

Rumors exist that his fellow executives were not on pleasant terms with him. All Things D claims to have sources which suggest that his colleagues were unhappy with his conduct in terms of collaboration.

But that is all hearsay.

What it means for Microsoft is that the face that set sail is no longer at the helm. Microsoft could revert back to their twitchy attempts to appease everyone and abandon their vision. On the other hand it is entirely possible that the company could continue off on the last bearing set by Sinofsky.

No-one knows, but I stand behind my previous assertions that the PC industry will get messy in the next few years as things boil over at Microsoft.

Source: All Things D

And the mobile IE10 makes three versions

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 9, 2012 - 09:51 AM |
Tagged: win8 mobile, win8, IE10

We already know that Windows 8 essentially has two versions of IE10, the one you launch from Metro and the one you launch from the desktop with the desktop launched version possessing more features.  Today Microsoft detailed (to some extent) what IE10 will be like on Win8 powered phones.  They told The Register that the mobile version will not support inline video, multi-track HTML5 audio, drag-and-drop APIs, pinned websites and other features available on the full version.  However thanks to the presence of hardware acceleration for graphics the majority of the graphical features you want will be supported by the phone OS.  Check out more here.

windows-phone-8-start.jpg

"SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has detailed the differences between its Internet Explorer 10 (IE 10) web browser for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 ahead of the release of the mobile operating system (OS) in the US today."

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Source: The Inquirer

ASUS VivoTab RT, Windows 8 on ARM

Subject: Mobile | October 31, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: winRT, vivotab rt, asus

When The Tech Report last talked about the VivoTab RT they were focusing on the new OS and its features and usability but they didn't touch on the device its self.  That has been remedied with this review which highlights the usability of the device along with some specifics like split screen mode and battery life.  They held off on running benchmarks which in a way makes sense as the limited usefulness of WinRT machines will mean that some cellphone benchmarks would provide information but not many of the usual PC benchmarks will ... we already know it won't play Crysis.  Check out their overview before you pick one of these up if you are not positive you want one.

TR_hybrid.jpg

"After spending the weekend with Asus' Tegra-powered VivoTab RT, we've posted our initial impressions of the convertible tablet."

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Video Perspective: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 Ultrabook Preview

Subject: Mobile | October 30, 2012 - 10:17 AM |
Tagged: yoga 13, yoga, ultrabook, Lenovo, Ivy Bridge, Ideapad

Earlier today we got in the new Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13, an Ivy Bridge Core i5 Ultrabook with a very distinctive display panel that works as a laptop, a tablet, a tent and in a stand mode.  Basically, think of the Lenovo machine you saw from CES with the screen that wraps around the back. 

yoga13.jpg

After getting the notebook in I recorded a quick 15 minute hands-on and overview video that I thought I would share in preparation for our full review coming later!  Enjoy!

NEC Launches LaVie Y Windows RT Tablet in Japan

Subject: Mobile | October 28, 2012 - 12:59 AM |
Tagged: windows rt, tablet, nec lavie y, nec, ideapad yoga

NEC, a Japanese IT services and products company, is launching a convertible laptop similar to the Yoga 11 from Lenovo that we covered previously. The NEC LaVie Y is an 11” laptop that incorporates Lenovo’s 360” hinge to allow it to transform into slat mode when folded down or operate as a traditional laptop. The device measures 298 x 204 x 15.6 mm when it the screen is folded down over the keyboard. Further, it weighs in at 1.24 kg, or approximately 2.7 pounds.

Similarly to the Lenovo Yoga 11, the LaVie Y will run Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system. The convertible notebook will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 system on a chip (SoC) along with 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD. NEC has reportedly packed a decent-sized batttery as well, as the company is claiming up to 8 hours of use.

NEC Windows RT Tablet_LaVie Y.jpg

Wireless connectivity options include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. External I/O ports include USB 2.0, a 5-in-1 card reader, and HDMI output. Other specifications include an 11.6” touchscreen display with a resolution of 1366x768, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a touchpad. A 1.3 megapixel webcam is nestled above the display as well. The device comes in a two-tone color scheme: black for the keyboard and display bezel, and a silver color for the hinge and bottom of the tablet.

NEC LaVie Y Convertible Windows RT tablet.jpg

According to Engadget, the LaVie Y will be available for purchase on November 22nd, and the US pricing would be close to $1,136 should you import it. Needless to say, many Americans will want to wait it out for the Lenovo Yoga 11 which should be cheaper in the United States. For readers in Japan however, this might be worth checking out if you are into the Yoga-like form factor!

Read more about Windows RT tablets at PC Perspective

Source: NEC

Asus Zenbook Refresh Introduces Several New Ultrabooks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 28, 2012 - 12:18 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, windows 8, ultrabook, nvidia, laptop, Ivy Bridge, GT650M, GT620M, asus

Asus has announced a refresh of its Zenbook lineup of Intel-powered ultrabooks to accompany its new VivoBooks and VivoTabs running Windows 8. Available next month, the PC OEM is introducing six new laptop SKUs with Ivy Bridge processors and dedicated graphics cards from NVIDIA. Specifically, the Asus Zenbook UX21A, UX31A, UX32VD, UX42VS, US52VS, and U500VZ ultrabooks are coming soon with the refresh.

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The UX31A Ultrabook with touch display

The new Zenbooks will have Ivy Bridge processors, up to 10GB of memory, and up to NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. They maintain the aluminum chassis of Asus’ previous generation ultrabooks but up the hardware ante. The company has expanded the lineup to include models with 11.6,” 13.3,” 14,” and 15.6” IPS displays, backlit keyboards, and multitouch trackpads. The U500VZ and UX31A can even be outfitted with capacitive touchscreen displays.

ZENBOOK_UX52VS_Ab.jpg

The ASUS UX42VS Zenbook

The VX42VS further includes an optical drive, but otherwise the Zenbooks source of storage lies in solid state or hybrid hard drives. Interestingly, the UX32VD and U500VZ can even be configured with two 256GB solid state drives in RAID 0 (Ryan’s favorite kind of RAID).

ZENBOOK_UX42VS_Ab.jpg

The ASUS UX52VS Zenbook

The following chart outlines all the known specifications. Note that several of the ultrabooks are not listed on Asus’ website yet so exact dimensions are unknown for the UX52VS and U500VZ in particular.

Zenbook UX21A UX31A UX32VD UX42VS UX52VS U500VZ
Dimensions 299 x 196.8 x 3 ~ 17 mm 325 x 223 x 3 ~18 mm 325 x 223 x 5.5 ~18 mm 14" tapers to 6mm ~15" tapers to 6mm ~15"
Weight 1.1 kg 1.3 kg 1.45 kg 1.5kg 2.2kg 2 kg
Processor i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i3, i5, or i7 IVB i5 or i7 ULV IVB i7 std voltage
RAM 4GB 8GB*  6GB* 6GB 10GB 8GB
Graphics HD4000 HD4000 GT620M GT645M GT645M GT650M
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0) 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0)

*onboard + 1 x SODIMM

All of the new Zenbook laptops will be available in November and will come with Windows 8. Pricing will range from $699 to $1999 for the premium model (The U500VZ). Specific pricing details should become available closer to launch.

ASUS Launches Line of VivoBook Laptops Running Windows 8

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 26, 2012 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, vivobook, laptop, asus

Asus has launched a line of VivoBook laptops to accompany its series of convertible Vivo Tab Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Initially, there will be two VivoBooks available around Windows 8’s October 26, 2012 launch date that will come in 11.6” and 14” screen sizes with the VivoBook X202 and S400 respectively.

The VivoBook series will focus on multitouch input available on a lightweight laptop chassis. They will have a similar tapered design as the company’s Zenbook laptops, and will use metal for the chassis and a glass screen rather than plastics. SonicMaster audio, and 32GB of Asus WebStorage space (for three years) also come standard with all VivoBooks models.

PR_ASUS_VivoBook_S200_Steel_Grey_front_and_top_viewab.jpg

The X202 VivoBook

Interestingly, the specifications put the laptops just out of ultrabook territory, which should mean cheaper starting prices. Both the X202 and S400 will have processor options spanning Intel's lineup from lowly Celeron 847s to its Core (Ivy Bridge) series. However, the X202 will be limited to a top end of Core i3 while the S400 will be able to utilize up to a Core i7 processor. Both further feature 5400 RPM hard drives, though the S400 will have a 24GB caching SSD option to speed up general performance. Also, the X202 and S400 will come with multitouch displays and large trackpads. While Asus made no claims on the S400, they have stated that the X202 will have a trackpad normally used on a 14” laptop despite the X202 being a smaller 12” model. The larger trackpad will allow for easier gesture control of Windows 8, according to the company.

The specifications for the X202 and S400 VivoBook touch-enabled laptops are as follows:

VivoBook Model VivoBook X202 VivoBook S400
Processor Options

Intel Core i3

Intel ULV Pentium 987

Intel ULV Celeron 847

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

Intel ULV Pentium 987

Intel ULV Celeron 847

Display 11.6" @ 1366 x 768 14" @ 1366 x 768
Graphics Integrated (Intel) Integrated (Intel)
Memory 1333MHz DDR3 up to 4GB 1600MHz up to 8GB
Hard Drive 320GB/500GB 5400RPM HDD

320GB/500GB 5400 RPM

+ 24GB SSD (cache drive)

Ports 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD Card Reader 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD Card Reader
Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi
Dimensions 30.3cm x 20.0cm x 2.17cm 33.9cm x 23.9cm x 2.1cm
Weight 1.4Kg (with 38W/h Li-Po battery) 1.8Kg (with 44W/h Li-Po battery)
Operating System Windows 8 Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
Starting Price $599 (for Core i3-3217U) $699.99 (for Core i5-3317U)

Of course, the laptops will come pre-loaded with either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. The X202 measures a bit over 0.85-inches and the S400 is slightly thinner at approximately 0.82-inches. On the other hand, while the S400 is thinner, it weighs more at approximately 3.96 pounds versus the X202's 3.08 pounds.

The X202 is in stock at Amazon now, and should be availabe at other retailers soon. The Core i3-3217U (1.8GHz) version has a listed price of $599. On the other hand, the S400 with an Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) has a list price of $699.99. Unfortunately, pricing on the other models is still unknown, though you can expect the Pentium and Celeron powered X202 and S400 VivoBooks to be cheaper – it is jsut how much cheaper they will be that is still up in the air.

These do appear to be interesting machines if you are considering a new Windows 8 computer and want more of a traditional laptop form factor than the dockable tablet announcements that have dominated the news.

What do you think, would you use a touch panel on a laptop?

ASUS TAICHI - Perfect Blend of Ultrabook, Tablet, Uppercase

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | October 23, 2012 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: taichi, asus

ASUS has just officially announced their new TAICHI mobile computer which they are branding as both an Ultrabook and a Tablet. What differentiates this device is that it contains two 1080p touchscreens on either side of the laptop lid. When the lid is closed it is a tablet, when the lid is open it is a standard Ultrabook with a monitor facing away from the user.

PR_ASUS_TAICHI_ab.jpg

The real difficulty is explaining use cases for potential buyers. Having done some high school teaching in the past the first usage which comes to mind is creating surveys and quizzes without a projector. Since a simple bar chart tends to have larger details it should be quite visible even on an 11.6” display. If you are teacher who tends to do a lot of “clicker” demonstrations it might be particularly useful as you would be able to modify the question on your screen and show the answer on the reverse.

PR_ASUS_TAICHI_ba.jpg

In terms of a regular laptop it has quite a few nice features: Core i5 or i7 processor, an actual Intel HD 4000 GPU, USB3.0 for practically full-speed external drives, and a 128 or 256GB SSD. It is expected to have 5 hours of battery life when browsing the internet wirelessly. I am satisfied with 4GB of RAM but frankly these days it would be good to get a little more.

Prices start at $1,299 and go up to $1,599 for the i7 with a 256GB SSD. Availability starts November.

Press blast after the break!

Source: ASUS

ASUS VivoTab RT Tablet and Keyboard/Dock Released with Tegra 3

Subject: Mobile | October 23, 2012 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: windows rt, vivotab rt, tegra 3, asus

Let the onslaught of new Windows devices continue, this time with the announcement of the ASUS VivoTab RT, a Windows RT-based tablet powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC.  We have seen the VivoTab RT leaks and pictures for several months including a price listing just last month, all of which seem to have been spot on. 

vivotab3.jpg

One of the flagship Windows RT devices, the ASUS tablet utilizes an NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC running at up to 1.3 GHz in either dual or quad-core mode.  You can see more background information on the processor itself in our story from September of last year when the product was first announced

The tablet has a sleek design with a 8.3mm profile (0.32 in), 525g weight (1.15 lb) and 10.1-in Super IPS+ screen with a 1366x768 resolution behind scratch-resistant Corning Fit Glass.  It will be available with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and will start at $599 with an included keyboard dock. 

vivotab2.jpg

As we saw with ASUS Transformer series of tablets, the VivoTab RT will have an optional keyboard dock that includes a trackpad and nearly doubles the battery life of the machine.  Below is the full spec sheet as provided by ASUS:

vivotabtable.gif

When docked, ASUS is claiming a total of 16 hours of usable battery life and with the inclusion of the Office Home and Student version of Microsoft Office 2013 RT, you should actually be able to use this tablet for content creation and business purposes - something we haven't been fond of claiming on Android or iOS based tablets.

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If you are curious to learn more about the VivoTab RT we'll be doing a live streaming run through on the device on our PC Perspective Live! page at 4pm EDT / 1pm PDT, so be sure to join us!! 

Missed the live stream?  Here is a replay so you can enjoy seeing our experiences for a solid hour of usage including SmartGlass!  Also, make sure you pay attention to the first few minutes as we explain the pricing.

Source: ASUS

Join us tomorrow for a LIVE Unboxing and First Impressions of the ASUS Vivo Tab RT!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | October 22, 2012 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: asus, vivo tab rt, tegra 3, nvidia, video, live

If you happen to be free tomorrow afternoon and would like to be one of the first to see the upcoming ASUS Vivo Tab RT based on the Windows RT operating system and the NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, you should set your calendar for 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT and join me on the PC Perspective Live! page.

asusvivotab.jpg

While we won't have any insight on our long term experiences with the device at that time tomorrow, you can see our initial impressions and anything/everything that occurrs with our intial setup and usage!

If you have questions or thoughts on the device that you want addressed during the live stream, you can leave them here in our comments or hang around in our chat room during the event as well.  We want this to be interactive so your input is requested!

Again, that is 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT at the PC Perspective Live! page.

ARM snaps graphics marketshare from the dragon

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: arm, qualcomm, marketshare, SoC, imagination, Vivante, jon peddie, mali

ARM has made some serious impact on the mobile market with their Mali GPU on their SoC, with Jon Peddie Research reporting they have doubled their market share over the past year.  That number is even more impressive when you pair it with the 91.3% growth in the mobile GPU market.  Another player, Vivante, quadrupled their share of the market and while their products are found primarily in Asia you may recognize them as a member of the HSA.  Their success comes at a cost to Imagination and Qualcomm, both of whom have seen their market shares drop. NVIDIA is currently making up 2.5% of the GPU market for tablets and smartphones which is not too bad when you consider that the other four main players all license their processors out while NVIDIA remains the sole provider of its Tegra SoCs.  Get more numbers at The Inquirer.

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"CHIP DESIGNERS ARM and Vivante have achieved significant market share gains in the system-on-chip (SoC) GPU market while Imagination and Qualcomm have seen their market shares fall."

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Source: The Inquirer

Samsung Launching ATIV 500T and 700T Windows 8 Convertible Tablets

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 19, 2012 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, saumsung, Ivy Bridge, Intel, clover trail, atom, ativ 700t, ativ 500t

Samsung is the latest company to announce its fleet of dock-able tablet computers running the full version of Windows 8. Launched under the ATIV Smart PC brand, the company is offering up two models depending on the amount of computing horsepower you need to get work done. Specifically, Samsung is launching the Series 5 ATIV Smart PC 500T and the Series 7 ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T. Both models will be available for purchase on October 26th for $749.99 and $1,199.99 respectively.

Samsung Series 5 Slate: ATIV Smart PC 500T

The Samsung Series 5, also known as the ATIV Smart PC 500T is a 11.6” tablet powered by Intel’s recently released Clover Trail-based Atom processor platform. It measures 11.6” x 7.2” x 0.38” and weighs 1.65 pounds.The tablet features a LED-backlit touchscreen display with a resolution of 1366x768. A 2.0 megapixel camera and dual 0.8W speakers are also included. The tablet itself can further be paired with a keyboard dock that has a full qwerty keyboard and touchpad.

Samsung ATIV 500T.jpg

Internal specifications include an Intel Atom Z2760 processor (running at 1.5 GHz and featuring dual cores with 256 KB each), 2GB of DDR2L memory, and a 64 GB solid state drive. Radios and networking gear includes 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. [The specifications sheet further claims Gigabit LAN support but there does not appear to be any Ethernet jacks on the tablet so I’m assuming it’s solely marketing to say that it supports connecting to a Gigabit LAN (over Wi-Fi)...] The 500T is powered by a two cell, 30 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery.

The external IO ports include a micro HDMI port, one USB 2.0 port, a combination headphone/mic jack, a microSD card slot, and a docking connector.

The Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T will come pre-loaded with the 32-bit version of Windows 8. The tablet itself is $649.99 and with the keyboard dock, it will be $749.99.

Samsung Series 7: ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T

If you need more computing power, Samsung is offering up its newest Series 7 slate, the ATIV 700T. This tablet is slightly thicker than the 500T at 11.6” x 7.2” x 0.5”. It is also a bit heavier at 1.89 pounds versus 1.65 pounds with the 500T. That tradeoff in size nets you significantly better hardware, however. It features a LED-backlit touchscreen with a resolution of 1920x1080. It further includes the same 1.6W (2 x 0.8W) stereo speakers, but adds a second 8MP rear camera in addition to the 2MP front facing webcam.

Samsung ATIV 700T.jpg

Internally, the 700T is packing an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3317U processor. This chip is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads along with 3 MB of L3 cache. The 700T features 4 GB of DDR3 at 1600MHz and a 128GB solid state drive. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi also comes standard. The 700T also has a larger 4 cell Li-Po battery (rated at 49 Wh) to power the faster Intel processor.

External IO includes one micro HDMI, one USB 3.0, a combination headphone/mic jack, docking connector, and a micro SD card slot.

The Series 7 ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T comes bundled with a dock as standard and it has a starting price of $1,199.99. It will come pre-loaded with the 64-bit version of Windows 8.

Read more about Windows 8 convertible tablets at PC Perspective.

Source: Samsung

Origin is embracing Lucid's Virtu MVP on their laptops

Subject: Mobile | October 19, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: origin, EON11-S, lucid, virtu MVP, virtual vsync, hyperformance

As we read about in Matt's review of the Origin EON11-S the new Lucid Virtu MVP technology can really help a moderately powered laptop perform above its class when gaming.  The two technologies, Virtual Vsync and the poorly named Hyperformace both work to give a much better gaming experience than you might expect from a Core i7-3616QM paired with an NVIDIA GT 650M 2GB.  On the other hand because of the nature of the technology it makes properly measuring performance quite difficult.  The Tech Report were up to the challenge of testing games that support both Virtu MVP technologies as well as games which do not support Virtual Vsync.  They found that older games received a better performance boost, with many newer games suffering a variety of problems when Hyperformance is enabled.  As you can always turn off these features, they were quite impressed with the Origin ultrabook and see only benefits from having a system with Lucid's Virtu MVP.

TR_originlaptop.jpg

"Origin's Eon laptops are the first to offer Lucid's Virtu MVP Mobile virtualization scheme. We've taken the 11.6" representative of that lineup for a spin to gauge the technology's benefits in a mobile context."

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ASUS Announces PadFone 2: 4.7" Phone Meets 10.1" Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 16, 2012 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: whatthecamera, padfone, asus

Out of fairness to our American viewers I will state upfront that information for North America is not currently available and will surface at a later date. ASUS currently only has availability information for the Eastern Hemisphere.

Today, ASUS released their official announcement for their upcoming PadFone 2.

01-crop.jpg

The original PadFone launched just about six months ago starting with Taiwan in April of this year and reaching Australia by August. The refresh adds a half of an inch to the screen but changes the display technology from Super AMOLED to Super IPS+ LCD/LED. (Edit: The original PadFone screen was 4.2" and the new one is 4.7". The PadFone 2 dock screen is 10.1")

While common convention suggests that a Super AMOLED screen has a higher true contrast than a SuperIPS+ LCD/LED TV we will not know for sure until launch how the latter’s specific SuperIPS+ will stack up the former’s specific Super AMOLED in that metric. On the other hand, we are certain - because ASUS said so - that the SuperIPS+ screen will be 720 HD resolution unlike the 960x540p screen of the original Super AMOLED.

02-crop.jpg

The internals are getting the largest refresh. The functional RAM of the unit is doubling to 2GB of RAM and the number of cores doubles from dual to quad while maintaining their 1.5 GHz clockrate. The camera also got a resolution bump from 8 megapixels all the way to 13 megapixels. This camera will also be able to take 1080p video at 30fps or 720p video at 60fps.

Again we will need to reserve full judgement until the phone launches whether we will notice a bump in quality with the finer resolution sensor. One trick that a lot of digital camera manufacturers play is putting a ridiculous sensor in a camera behind a lens that cannot focus down that far because it makes for a large number on your box.

08-crop.jpg

My photographer side was drawn to the f/2.4 aperture and burst mode capabilities: the phone will be capable of taking 6 shots per second for over 16 solid seconds. That is a 100-shot consecutive, solid burst of pictures for those times when you want to capture a specific moment. I guess that is as good of a reason as any to justify sticking twice the RAM of a typical netbook in a phone. The wide aperture should also help with low light performance if you can get in a situation that is not too sensitive to depth of field blur and if the minimum focal distance is small enough let you soften the background of your macro shots.

30-crop.jpg

The 2140mAh battery is rated for 13 hours of Wi-Fi usage. When connected to the tablet dock the phone will have access to its 5000mAh battery. Sure it will also have a 10.1” screen to power but that is still almost two and a half times the capacity of the phone itself.

The PadFone 2 will launch in 19 countries across Europe and Asia by the end of the year with other countries to be announced later. Official press blast after the break.

Source: ASUS

Sony Launches VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Tablet Ultrabook Running Windows 8

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 13, 2012 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, sony vaio, sony, Ivy Bridge, Intel, convertible tablet

Not content to let the other OEMs have all the Windows 8 tablet fun, Sony has announced a new 11” convertible ultrabook – the VAIO Duo 11 – that uses a sliding hinge to transform from a notebook into a tablet.

The Vaio Duo 11 weighs in a 2.86 pounds and measures 12.6 inches x 7.8 inches. It features an 11.6” IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 10 point multitouch. Also, it has stereo speakers, a 2.4 megapixel webcam, full (backlit) qwerty keyboard, and pressure sensitive digitizer. Interestingly, the Duo 11 does not have a trackpad. Instead, it has a small touch sensitive trackball that resembles the pointing sticks on IBM/Lenovo PCs but on the Vaio Duo 11 the nub does not move. In that respect, it is more like the trackpad on some Blackberry Phones, but smaller. There are two mouse buttons below the spacebar, however. Other specifications include a magnesium alloy chassis.

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Sony is calling the hinge the “Surf Slider” and the display slides forward to lay the display flat over the keyboard for tablet mode. As Ars Technica points out, when the computer is in notebook mode, there is a ribbon cable to the display that is exposed which is less than ideal.

Ports around the sides of the device include a VGA video output, card reader, and headphone jack on the left, and two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI output, and a power button on the right. Reportedly, there is also an Ethernet jack.

Fortunately, Sony did not have to compromise as much on the internal specifications to achieve the 11” form factor. The Vaio Duo 11 includes an Intel Core i3 (Ivy Bridge) processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, and a 128 GB solid state drive.

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Image credit: CNet. See their full review here.

The convertible ultrabook will come pre-loaded with Windows 8. It will also include Wi-Fi that can establish ad-hoc wireless connections with other devices by tapping the NFC radios together.

Sony’s Vaio Duo 11 will go on sale October 26, 2012. Prices will start at $1,099.99, with more expensive models adding more storage or a faster processor. It is a bit pricey, but this PC is positioned as an ultraportable convertible tablet, and in that respect it is priced competitively with the competition.

You can find the full press release on Sony's website.

Source: Sony

Lenovo Launches Yoga 11 Windows RT Tablet

Subject: Mobile | October 10, 2012 - 07:26 PM |
Tagged: yoga 11, windows rt, tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, notebook, microsoft, Lenovo

At an event in New York earlier this week Lenovo announced a new Windows RT tablet called the Yoga 11. It will be joining the company’s lineup alongside the larger x86-powered Yoga 13.

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The Lenovo Yoga 11 follows in the footsteps of the Yoga 13 but steps down the hardware specifications. The 11.6” tablet is 15.6mm thick and 2.8 pounds. On a simple level, the Yoga 11 is a notebook that doubles as a tablet thanks to the five point multitouch screen that can swivel 360 degrees to lay flat like a tablet.

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The notebook will come pre-loaded with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows RT operating system as well as Office 2013 RT. It is powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM System on a Chip (SoC) and 64GB of internal storage. What we don’t know yet is the amount of RAM, radio support (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, et al) if any, and the specific display resolution and panel type. Lenovo has announced that the Yoga 11 will be able to get up to 13 hours of usage on a single charge.

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The Yoga 11 is a traditional notebook at first glance, and it even includes a full Qwerty keyboard and trackpad. Where the Yoga differentiates itself is in the screen hinge. The hinge allows you to swing the display all the way around to lie flat against the bottom of the computer, which amounts to tablet mode, and every position in between. One use for this feature would be to show off presentation to a small group or prop it up on an airplane to watch a movie. It is essentially a convertible tablet without the center-mounted swivel hinge.

It certainly looks like an interesting device, and the Tegra 3 should provide enough GPU horsepower to allow you to watch HD videos with ease. Unfortunately, pricing and availability are still unknown, which makes this a hard product to place or predict the success of.

Read more about Windows RT tablets at PC Perspective.

Source: NVIDIA

Acer Details Iconia W510 Convertible Tablet With Windows 8

Subject: Mobile | October 9, 2012 - 09:09 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, microsoft, Intel, iconia w510, atom, acer

Earlier this month, Acer announced its Ivy Bridge powered W700 tablet, and now it is time for its little brother to be announced: the Iconia W510 convertible tablet.

The Iconia W510 is a 10.1” tablet that will run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system and any x86 applications. The tablet itself is 1.27 pounds and 0.35” thick. On the outside, the W510 features a LED backlit IPS display with resolution of 1366 x 768 that can accept touch input and is protected by Gorilla Glass 2. Also present are two speakers, as well as a 2MP front facing camera and 8MP rear camera. Both of the cameras are capable of recording 1080p video.

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Ports on the Iconia W510 include a microSD card slot, micro HDMI video output, and a micro USB 2.0 port.

Internal specifications include an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor (which we recently reviewed) with two cores running at 1.5 GHz, 2GB of RAM, and either a 32 GB or 64 GB solid state drive (SSD). This configuration should result in a decent system for web browsing and running Office 2013, among other everyday tasks. It will not be nearly as speedy as the Ivy Bridge-powered W700, but this tablet is also coming in at a much lower price point.

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In addition to the tablet itself, Acer will be selling a keyboard dock. The $150 keyboard docks adds a physical keyboard, trackpad, and second battery. The dock also adds one additional (full size) USB 2.0 port.

Without the keyboard dock, Acer is claiming 9 hours of battery life. With the dock connected, Acer is further claiming that users will get up to 18 hours of battery life.

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There will be at least three SKUs of the Acer Iconia W510 tablet. It will be available for purchase in the US and Canada on November 9th. The W510-1674 will feature a 32GB SSD and no dock at a MSRP of $499.99. The W51-1422, on the other hand, will have a 64GB SSD and a bundled keyboard dock for $749.99 (MSRP). Finally, corporate customers will be able to purchase a W510P SKU with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and a two year warranty for $799.99.

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You can find more photos of the Icona W510 along with the full press release over at Engadget.

Read more about upcoming Windows 8 tablets at PC Perspective.

Source: Engadget