Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 2, 2014 - 05:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Vibe Z, S930, S650, Lenovo, CES 2014, CES, A859
Lenovo is the leading PC manufacturer worldwide. They have been doing things consistently right in that industry and it shows with year-over-year growth in an otherwise global decline. At the same time, they have been attempting to carve their segment in the smartphone industry. They will bring four models to this year's CES ranging in price from $200 up to $550. Each phone is expected to be available this year.
The Vibe Z is their first LTE phone and the highest performance of all the models the will bring to CES this year. The phone itself weights slightly less than a third of a pound and is also slightly less than a third of an inch thick. The 5.5-inch full HD screen (400 PPI) is, of course, based on IPS technology which is common to phones because of the wide viewing angles they encourage.
Lenovo Vibe Z
Lenovo calls a 5.5-inch 400 PPI screen, "20/20 Vision Display". Of course that overlooks several assumptions and unknown variables in much the same way as Apple's "Retina" moniker does. 400 PPI is great but does not directly relate to human vision.
The Vibe Z (starting at $549) will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC backed with 2 GB of RAM. Up to 16 GB of persistent storage will be included. It will include two cameras: a wide-angle 5 MP front camera and a 13 MP rear camera with a maximum aperture of f1.8. This is a wide ratio which should significantly assist low light performance when depth of field blur is not a problem (or when it is desired for a soft background effect). The phone will use Android 4.3 and Google Play.
Interestingly, the phone will also integrate 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0. There should be plenty of bandwidth to stream HD videos from media servers around the house.
The S930 (starting at $319) and the S650 (starting at $229) will be based on Android 4.2 and feature a quad core 1.3 GHz SoC from MediaTek (likely MT6582) backed by 1 GB of RAM. Both will contain dual SIM card slots and an 8 MP rear camera. They are less than a millimeter more thick than the Vibe Z. Both contain 8 GB of storage.
The S930 and S650 diverge from there. The S930 has a 6-inch 720p screen and two speakers with Dolby Digital Plus. The S650 has a 4.7-inch screen at a resolution of 960x540 and no mention of speakers (although it probably has one). The S650 also has a microSDHC storage slot allowing for up to 32 GB of expansion.
The last phone is the A859 (starting at $219). This 5-inch 720p phone is a slightly larger than the others. It also contains a 1.3 GHz SoC from MediaTek and 1 GB of RAM. It has 8 GB of internal storage which can be expanded by up to 32 GB with a microSDHC card. It will be powered by Android 4.2.2.
Expect to see more from Lenovo as CES coverage continues.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | December 26, 2013 - 07:18 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, tegra 4, note 7, tegra note 7, android 4.3, Android
NVIDIA sent along word this morning that they have improved the Tegra Note 7 with a new software OTA update. Keys to the update are that it adds the promised always-on HDR photography (AOHDR), live video stabilization and an operating system update to Android 4.3.
We’ve enhanced the Tegra NOTE stylus experience, adding support for left-handed users and improvements in overall response. We’ve also added a DirectStylus help option under the device setting’s menu, a stylus removal and insert notification on the notification bar, and given users the ability to capture the notification bar with full-screen capture.
In addition to these new features, Tegra NOTE 7′s camera gets always-on high-dynamic range (AOHDR) capability, which provides more lifelike images across a range of lighting conditions. AOHDR utilizes Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture. We’ve also added video stabilization for shake-free video, in addition to tuning and optimizations to improve camera performance under certain lighting conditions.
From an OS perspective, Tegra Note 7 now sports the Android 4.3 Operating System.
Finally, in addition to security and bug fixes, we’ve added the ability to transfer app and data files from internal memory to an external microSD card.
If you own a Tegra Note 7 you will be pushed the update soon or you can force an update in your settings menu.
Still curious about the device? You can read my review of the Tegra Note 7 here and find out all about this $199 7-in tablet device.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | December 14, 2013 - 01:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell
This leak is from China DIY and, thus, machine-translated into English from Chinese. They claim that Broadwell is coming in the second half of 2014 and will be introduced in three four series:
- H will be the high performance offerings
- U and Y have very low power consumption
- M will fit mainstream performance
The high performance offerings will have up to four CPU cores, 6MB of L3 cache, support for up to 32GB of memory, and thermal rating of 47W. The leak claims that some will be configurable down to 37W which is pretty clearly its "SDP" rating. The problem, of course, is whether 47W is its actual TDP or, rather, another SDP rating. Who knows.
The H series is said to be available in either one or two chips. Both a separate PCH and CPU version will exist as well as a single-chip solution that integrates the PCH on-die.
There is basically nothing said about the M series beyond acknowledging its existence.
The U and Y series will be up to dual-core with 4MB L3 cache. The U series will have a thermal rating of 15W to 28W. The Y series will be substantially lower at 4.5W configurable down to 3.5W. No clue about which of these numbers are TDPs and which are SDPs. You can compare this earlier reports that Haswell will reach as low as 4.5W SDP.
Hopefully we will learn more about these soon and, perhaps, get a functional timeline of Intel releases. Seriously, I think I need to sit down and draw a flowchart some day.
Introduction and Design
Contortionist PCs are a big deal these days as convertible models take the stage to help bridge the gap between notebook and tablet. But not everyone wants to drop a grand on a convertible, and not everyone wants a 12-inch notebook, either. Meanwhile, these same people may not wish to blow their cash on an underpowered (and far less capable) Chromebook or tablet. It’s for these folks that Lenovo has introduced the IdeaPad Flex 14 Ultrabook, which occupies a valuable middle ground between the extremes.
The Flex 14 looks an awful lot like a Yoga at first glance, with the same sort of acrobatic design and a thoroughly IdeaPad styling (Lenovo calls it a “dual-mode notebook”). The specs are also similar to that of the x86 Yoga, though with the larger size (and later launch), the Flex also manages to assemble a slightly more powerful configuration:
The biggest internal differences here are the i5-4200U CPU, which is a 1.6 GHz Haswell model with a TDP of 15 W and the ability to Turbo Boost (versus the Yoga 11S’ i5-3339Y, which is Ivy Bridge with a marginally lower TDP of 13 W and no Turbo Boost), the integrated graphics improvements that follow with the newer CPU, and a few more ports made possible by the larger chassis. Well, and the regression to a TN panel from the Yoga 11S’ much-appreciated IPS display, which is a bummer. Externally, your wallet will also appreciate a $250 drop in price: our model, as configured here, retails for just $749 (versus the $999 Yoga 11S we reviewed a few months back).
You can actually score a Flex 14 for as low as $429 (as of this writing), by the way, but if you’re after any sort of respectable configuration, that price quickly climbs above the $500 mark. Ours is the least expensive option currently available with both a solid-state drive and an i5 CPU.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 6, 2013 - 01:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, padfone, PadFone Mini
I will be entirely honest with you: every time I need to look up the PadFone to make sure I am not getting it confused with the FonePad.
An older model but it gets the point across.
The upcoming PadFone Mini is expected to be a phone of some size (probably smaller than the 5" Pad Fone Infinity) with a dock of some other unknown size. The phone was briefly mentioned in a China Times article back in September. There it was expected to have a 4-inch display on the handset and a 7-inch display on the tablet dock. According to Engadget's interpretation of the VR-Zone leak (who saw that coming?) that might have changed since then.
The device itself is expected to be based on the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 SoC, run Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), and have a handset resolution of 960x540. That is about all that we have even the slightest clue about at this point.
No word yet on whether this device will even be available in North America though. For that, we will probably need to wait until the actual announcement (or even later).
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 5, 2013 - 11:47 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WQHD+, msi, 3K
High resolution displays are very nice to have especially when you are looking at text and symbols (or edges of 3D geometry). WQHD+ is one of the resolutions classified under the 3K moniker with dimensions of 2880 x 1620. It has slightly more pixels than 1440p.
MSI has launched two notebooks with a 15.6" display in this resolution: one gaming and one workstation. Both laptops are remarkably similar except for a few key differences.
Both laptops include:
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ CPU (2.4 GHz w/ 3.4 GHz Turbo)
- 16 GB RAM
- 15.6" 2880x1620 (16:9) display
- 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- Killer E2200 networking (yes, the workstation too)
- Killer N1202 a/b/g/n wireless (yes, workstation too)
- SDXC card reader
- HDMI 1.4, 2x USB 3.0, etc.
- Backlit Keyboard from SteelSeries
The GT60 2OD-261US (Gaming) also includes:
- Windows 8
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M GPU (4GB)
- Blu-ray reader
The GT60 2OKWS-278US (Workstation) instead includes:
- Windows 7 Professional
- NVIDIA Quadro K3100M (4GB)
- Blu-ray recorder
These laptops are currently available at two price points: $2200 for the gaming version and $2800 for the workstation. Press release after the break!
Streaming games straight from NVIDIA
Over the weekend NVIDIA released a December update for the SHIELD Android mobile gaming device that included a very interesting, and somewhat understated, new feature: Beta support for NVIDIA GRID.
You have likely heard of GRID before, NVIDIA has been pushing it as part of the companies vision going forward to GPU computing in every facet and market. GRID was aimed at creating GPU-based server farms to enable mobile, streaming gaming to users across the country and across the world. While initially NVIDIA only talked about working with partners to launch streaming services based on GRID, they have obviously changed their tune slightly with this limited release.
If you own a SHIELD, and install the most recent platform update, you'll find a new icon in your NVIDIA SHIELD menu called GRID Beta. The first time you start this new application, it will attempt to measure your bandwidth and latency to offer up an opinion on how good your experience should be. NVIDIA is asking for at least 10 Mbps of sustained bandwidth, and wants round trip latency under 60 ms from your location to their servers.
Currently, servers are ONLY located in Northern California so the further out you are, the more likely you will be to run into problems. However, oing some testing in Kentucky and Ohio resulted in a very playable gaming scenarios, though we did run into some connection problems that might be load-based or latency-based.
After the network setup portion users are shown 8 different games that they can try. Darksiders, Darksiders II, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter IV, Alan Wake, The Witcher 2, Red Faction: Armageddon and Trine 2. You are free to play them free of charge during this beta though I think you can be sure they will be removed and erased at some point; just a reminder. Saves work well and we were able to save and resume games of Darksiders 2 on GRID easily and quickly.
Starting up the game was fast, about on par with starting up a game on a local PC, though obviously the server is loading it in the background. Once the game is up and running, you are met with some button mapping information provided by NVIDIA for that particular game (great addition) and then you jump into the menus as if you were running it locally.
Subject: Mobile | December 3, 2013 - 10:58 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, yoga, arm, jellybean, tablet
Both the 8" and 10" models of the Lenovo Yoga tablet have a 1280x800 IPS display and run on a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A7 processor, sport 1GB of DDR2 and have 16GB of onboard storage. The only difference apart from the size of the tablet is the battery 9000mAh on the larger model as compared to 6000mAh on the 8". Benchmark Reviews liked the rather unique look of the tablet though they would have preferred a newer version of Android and a higher resolution screen to be available. Check out the OS and included apps in their full review.
"The Android-based tablet market is exploding, with new entries almost every day. We’re even seeing what once were dedicated e-readers, like the Nook and Kindle, re-marketed as general purpose tablets. Lenovo’s been in this market for a while, and thus it’s no surprise to see them introduce another entry, the Lenovo Yoga tablet computers."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-reader @ Benchmark Reviews
- Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 @ The Inquirer
- Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 @ The Inquirer
- Google Nexus 5: The TechSpot Review
- iPad Air vs iPad 4 head to head @ The Inquirer
- MSI Primo 81 (Snow White) 8" Tablet @ Kitguru
- Apple iPad Air: The TechSpot Review
- The HTC One Max Tech Report @ TechARP
- Motorola Moto G @ The Inquirer
- Patriot Fuel+ 9000mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 3, 2013 - 07:32 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, usb, charger, anker
In my eternal goal to find the perfect USB charging solution for my varied use cases, I came across a 5-port unit from a company called Anker that is as close as I have found thus far. My needs are pretty concrete: lots of ports, high power to those ports and the ability to sit on a desk or table. The Anker E150 5V/5A 5-port wall charger is pretty close.
Though ideally I would like to see more than 5 ports, this capacity seems to be reasonable for most people with the standard allotment of electronics. As the name suggests, the Anker unit maxes out at 5A of output TOTAL for all 5 ports, though each port is rated at different amperage. The two ports labeled iPad will output up to 2.1A, the rest vary a bit.
Obviously the total amp output of those ports goes PAST the 5A maximum of the unit, so expect charging to slow down if you have all ports populated. I also wish that Anker would just label the outputs with their respective amperage rather than attempting to get product SEO with the current naming scheme.
Even better, the Anker E150 5V/5A 5-port wall charger can be picked up at Amazon for an impulse purchase price of $19!
Check out my full video overview below!!
Subject: Mobile | November 26, 2013 - 02:46 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, Lenovo, Ideapad, yoga, yoga 2 pro, haswell
The Yoga has easily been the most successful convertible notebook brand in my book and I think Lenovo would agree. The 4-option form factor allows for a standard laptop stance, tablet mode, tent mode and stand mode, all of which have unique benefits and trade offs.
The new Yoga 2 Pro offers the same style chassis as the previous Yoga laptops but offers several dramatic improvements. First, this notebook is Haswell based, a 4th Generation Intel Core processor, and that will equal better performance and better battery life than the previous Ivy Bridge based design.
Also, this unit has a 13.3-in 3200x1800 resolution display; that's correct a 5.7 MP screen in a 13.3 inch form factor. That is better than the retina MacBook Air that has a resolution of 2560x1600 and is even higher than the 2880x1800 display on the 15-in retina MacBook. In use the screen is bright (up to 350 nits now) and crisp.
The keyboard is backlit, the edge has a rubber ring around it to prevent slipping and damage in tent mode and it is both lighter and slimmer than the previous Yoga.
Overall, the Yoga 2 Pro looks to be an amazing sequel to the original. Look for a full review on PC Perspective soon!!
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