Introduction and Design
In the wilds of the laptop market, nestled between the hordes of 15.6” mainstream laptops and the slim ultraportables, there is an odd breed. The 14” multimedia laptop. Even describing them as such is limiting because each model seems to offer its own take on the concept. Some are nearly as thin and light as laptops with much smaller displays while others are bulky powerhouses hidden behind a façade of portability.
Lenovo has long been a proponent of the 14-incher in actions if not words. IdeaPads of this size have also been common, usually gracing Lenovo’s website as a smaller alternative to a 15.6” laptop with a similar model name.
As a result, absolutely no one was shocked when Lenovo announced the IdeaPad Y480. It’s exactly the kind of product most consumers end up buying and exactly the kind of product tech journalists don’t care to talk about.
So what’s powering this new mid-size laptop? Let’s have a look.
Subject: Mobile | June 28, 2012 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, transformer infinity, tablet, keyboard dock
The 10.1" ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity sports a 1920x1200 display which doesn't quite match Apple's Retina display but is more than enough to deliver HD content and provide sharp text. The SuperIPS+ mode which was intended to make the tablet fully readable under direct sunlight did not work perfectly but does live up to the promise when you are dealing with indirect sunlight. The paired dock has been updated as well, with a stronger design and a keyboard The Tech Report preferred over many laptop keyboards, though if you are happy with the dock you used for the Prime it is compatible with the Infinity as well. In the end, they only recommended this tablet when paired with the keyboard dock thanks to the extras that it offers, but even with the dock you still don't seem to get any USB ports.
"Six months after we first laid eyes on Asus' Transformer Pad Infinity, the tablet hybrid is finally read for prime time. Join us for an in-depth look at the new Transformer and its high-density 1920x1200 display."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T) @ AnandTech
- ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T review: Full HD Android tablet @ Hardware Info
- Asus Transformer Pad TF300 @ Techspot
- Dell XPS 14 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Dell Alienware M17x R4 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GT60 Gaming laptop review @ Rbmods
- Dell Inspiron 14z (Mid-2012) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba's 14" USB Mobile LCD Monitor @ AnandTech
- Cygnett Lavish Earth Multi-view Folio Case iPad 2 Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad @ Bjorn3D
- Samsung SGH-i717 GALAXY Note 16GB 4G LTE (Carbon Blue) Android Phone Review @ ModSynergy
- Google Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 @ AnandTech
- Galaxy S III Review: Samsung's Worthy New Flagship @ TechSpot
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean vs Windows Phone 8 Apollo @ The Inquirer
Subject: Mobile | June 27, 2012 - 03:43 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: tablet, Nexus, memo, jelly bean, ics, eeepad, asus, Android
For months, rumors have been flying about Google introducing a "Nexus" tablet platform, reminiscent of what they have done with previous phone releases. With the Google I/O Day 1 Keynote just hours away, we at PC Perspective are throwing our hat into the ring in predicting what Google is likely to announce.
During meetings with ASUS at CES 2012, representatives from the company introduced us to a series of 3 tablets, including the Eee Pad MeMO 171, and the later to be named Transformer Prime Infinity. While these two tablets have been released or are soon to be released in some retail capacity, there is one product that they were talking about that morning which ASUS has gone completely silent on.
While ASUS was being a little cagey about the product at the time, we did recieve some initial information for this Eee Pad MeMO 370T. We were told that it was a Tegra 3 product, and that it would come in at around $250. This device however was not particularly accessible to us like the rest of the time as it was locked in a protective case. We could use the screen of the device, but that was about it. In fact, the pictures that we snapped of this device were frankly just by chance, as we were expecting to see this product later down the line and didn't put much focus onto it.
Moving on to later in the same day, we attended the NVIDIA press conference, which was very Tegra focused. One of the big announcements was an unnamed ASUS $249 Tegra 3 Tablet. NVIDIA was also being pretty silent about this product, but we once again expected news about their low-cost platform for tablet (Kai) in the coming weeks.
NVIDIA announces $249 ASUS Tegra 3 Tablet at CES
However we never recieved any more information in the following 6 months from either ASUS or NVIDIA, which brings us to this year's Google I/O. With Google expected to be working with ASUS on a 7" tablet, and the fact that NVIDIA was so hyped about a product that was never heard from again, it becomes a safe assumption to look towards the long forgotten Eee Pad MeMO 370T as the likely platform. While the styling may be altered, any potential Google/ASUS 7" tegra tablet will certainly have had roots in the Eee family.
Subject: Mobile | June 20, 2012 - 04:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Zenbook UX31, ultrabook
ASUS has been paying attention to the complaints many people have about the resolution of ultrabooks and with the UX31 have provided an 11.6" 1600 x 900 LCD. The aluminium clad Ultrabook uses the Core i5-2557M and HD3000 graphics, 4GB DDR3 and a 256GB SSD in its thin and lightweight frame. Unfortunately Hardware Canucks ended up less than impressed with the chicklet style keyboard nor the track pad and they found issues with the WiFi as well. On the positive side the battery life was impressive as was the audio so do not dismiss this Ultrabook because of a few small issues.
"Mobile computing is quickly evolving with thinner, more versatile designs and no product better defines this focus than ASUS' new Zenbook series of Ultrabooks. The UX31 has been around for a while but it still represents the pinnacle of industrial design with a sleek body and even better looking specifications. But in an environment that's cluttered with lower priced competitors, this Ultrabook will be fighting an uphill battle for recognition. "
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- ASUS G75VW notebook @ Hardwareoverclock
- Samsung Series 9 15″ NP900X4C Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Overview and SSD Performance Analysis @ SSD Review
- Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Portege Z930 @ The Inquirer
- AMD Trinity APU Reference Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Alienware M17x R4 Review (i7 3610QM/ AMD HD7970M) @ Kitguru
- HuntKey X-MAN 90W Universal Notebook Adapter Review @ NikKTech
- Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, Retina Display) Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display hands-on preview @ Hardware.Info
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Ultrabooks vs. 13" MacBook Air: Is the Apple Tax Real? @ TechSpot
- Samsung Galaxy S3 Android Smartphone Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Huawei Honor U8860 Android SmartPhone Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung Galaxy S III Review - AT&T and T-Mobile USA Variants @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 09:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, tablet, microsoft
Steve Ballmer led the enigmatic announcement of “Surface”, a Microsoft branded consumer tablet. The tablet will contain a 10.6” display and run either Windows RT or Windows 8 Pro depending on whether you choose the NVIDIA-powered ARM variant or the higher-end Intel x86-based sibling. The device’s cover will contain a built-in Bluetooth keyboard and multi-touch trackpad.
Microsoft generated a lot of hype around their latest announcement.
In the end what we received the entirety of what was expected -- except the product looks compelling.
The Surface, borrowing the brand from their business-oriented smart table products, is a series of consumer tablets with a 10.6” 16x9 form factor. Would you like a full Windows 8 Pro experience on an Intel device or would you prefer a thinner and lighter Windows RT device powered by an NVIDIA ARM processor? Let us weight the Pro and cons.
So would this be like -- an Ultra…clipboard? Ooo -- Ultraclippy, that has brand power.
Early reports testify that the device feels well built. The announcement made somewhat of a big deal that the tablet has a magnesium chassis and a Gorilla Glass 2 screen. You will cover the screen of the device with a small Bluetooth keyboard which will be available in a few colors. With the tablet resting on its included kickstand and its keyboard cover flowing out from beneath it -- the Surface looks very similar to a laptop.
So -- magnesium chassis. This should be fun to thermite.
The Intel variant will feature a larger battery although extra battery life is not an immediate guarantee. The Pro device will allow for MicroSDXC cards, USB 3.0, and mini DisplayPort output. Both devices feature 2x2 MIMO antennae for their WIFI connectivity which could provide a fair chunk of bandwidth for streaming media.
Pricing and availability are currently unannounced except that they will be comparable to what is available. The ARM device will be available in 32 and 64GB models with the x86 Pro-class device available in 64 and 128GB.
Subject: Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 03:49 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: windows rt, windows on arm, tegra, tablet, nvidia
Today at 6:30pm EST, Microsoft is holding an event in Los Angeles for a "major announcement" and there are rumors floating around the web that this could be anything from a new e-reader device in cooperation with Barnes & Noble to a custom-built Windows phone.
After sifting through some rumors and going off of some information I got during Computex this month, I think the answer is pretty obvious as to what we are going to see tonight: a Windows RT tablet device that will be branded and sold by Microsoft. Rather than depend on partners like ASUS, Dell and Toshiba, Microsoft will pull out all the stops to compete against the Apple iPad directly by making the "reference" device to spark the Windows tablet market.
Who will actually BUILD this Microsoft branded Windows RT tablet?
While this is unusual for Microsoft, this isn't the first time we have seen this. The Microsoft Zune was a great device for the music player market that just happened to come along too late as the convergence of phones and music took hold. However, the Zune software and music infrastructure live on with the Windows Phone devices and I think you'll find it a part of today's announcement for the Microsoft Windows RT tablet.
Ah, the first Zune HD. Yes I still use mine!
One of the most interesting parts of this announcement is going to be the hardware itself. Will Microsoft go the "safe" route and base the tablet on a timid design like we saw from the Amazon Kindle Fire or will they go more aggressively after the iPad with a higher resolution screen and mobile carrier plans?
Amazon's Kindle Fire
When talking with the major ARM SoC vendors about Windows RT in May and June, one thing became very clear to me - only one hardware vendor claimed to be ready for the pending release of Windows RT - NVIDIA. While Qualcomm and TI were struggling to bring performance levels to where they needed to be to run the operating system effectively, NVIDIA was the vendor best prepared for the new ecosystem. We saw that play out with the first public demonstration of a Windows RT tablet device coming from ASUS and NVIDIA earlier this month.
I fully expect the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor to be at the heart of the new Microsoft Windows RT tablet announced tonight - and that would be a HUGE victory for one of the smallest (in terms of volume), yet loudest, SoC vendors competing in this market. And NVIDIA and Microsoft already have a history of working together with Tegra products - remember that the Zune HD player was the first major product win for NVIDIA's SoC.
I believe this tablet will have the NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC inside
A Microsoft-built Windows RT tablet will no doubt miff some of the company's partners, the same companies we mentioned above like Dell and ASUS, but MS may finally be realizing, much like Google has with the coming Nexus Tablet, that competing with Apple requires a different kind of mindset than previous hardware battles. On the other hand, a Windows RT tablet that combines Zune music service, Barnes & Noble e-reader integration and maybe even some Xbox and TV options would be a VERY compelling product.
Introduction, Driver Interface
There exist a particular group of gamers that are consumed by dreams of gigantic dual-SLI laptops that replace towering desktops. And who can blame them? Walking into a LAN party with a $5,000 laptop under your arm is the geek equivalent of entering a party wearing a $2,500 jacket or driving through your neighborhood in a $250,000 car. We can dream, right?
On the other hand, those super-powerful laptops are a bit...boring from a critic’s standpoint. Why? Because they are almost always excellent machines (due to price) and because most readers gandering at a review (of an expensive gaming laptop) I pen about will never buy one – again, due to the price.
Most folks – even many geeks – lust over a beefy gaming rig, but end up buying a $600 to $1000 multimedia laptop. This is the laptop that the average person can actually afford, regardless of his or her enthusiasm about computer hardware.
In the past, this market segment was a gaming wasteland, but that began to change about five years ago. The change was due in part to the fact that many game developers started to veer away from (a focus on) jaw-dropping graphics in favor of expanding their potential markets by going after clients with average/medium-range hardware.
About two and a half years ago Intel (again) committed to raising the bar on integrated graphics with the release of Intel HD and has since consistently improved its IGP offering with each new generation. AMD has done the same with its Fusion products and NVIDIA (already in the game with its numerous x10/x20/x30M products) just recommitted to power efficient GPUs with its Kepler architecture.
These changes mean that “serious” gaming is now possible on an inexpensive laptop. But how possible? What sacrifices do you make and how do low-end IGPs and GPUs stack up against each other?
Subject: Mobile | June 11, 2012 - 02:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: iconia w700, iconia w510, acer, tablet, thunderbolt, win8
AnandTech checked out Acer's two new tablets, the Iconia W700 and W510, both of which are designed for Windows 8. The W700 is the more impressive of the two for a number of reasons but the best feature has to be the ThunderBolt port, which allows this tablet to function as much more than a Tablet and might actually provide a decent excuse to use Cloud computing. It is a little large to be held and carried around for a long time, but with the possibility of a low voltage Ivy Bridge processor running the tablet some space must be devoted to spread the heat. The W510 is smaller and comes with an optional keyboard dock and you can check up on its specs as well as more on the W700 in this article at AnandTech.
"My first meeting of Computex wasn't a meeting at all, rather it was Acer's press conference a day before the show officially started. In its press conference, Acer introduced a top to bottom lineup of touch enabled Windows 8 devices."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Alienware M14x R2 Ivy Bridge Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Sony Vaio T13112FXS Review @ TechReviewSourc
- Medion Erazer X6821 Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Huntkey X-MAN 90 W @ techPowerUp
- Acer Iconia Tab A510 review @ Hardware.Info
- Binatone ReadMe Colour eReader @ HardwareLOOK
- Android 4.0: Tracking Ice Cream Sandwich's Availability on Smartphones @ TechSpot
- HTC One X Smartphone – Indepth Analysis @ Kitguru
- Nokia Lumia 610 @ The Inquirer
- Motorola Razr Maxx @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Galaxy S3 review, compared to 12 other smartphones @ Hardware.Info
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 12:01 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: mali, arm, amd, AFDS
In a blog post over at arm.com, ARM Fellow Jem Davies has made a point to let us all know that he is going to be attending the AMD Fusion Developer Summit yet again, but this time with something more concrete to discuss. In a very self-aware statement, Davies writes in his post that "my appearance last year generated a lot of speculation about the nature of the relationship between ARM and AMD."
From Davies' post:
This year, we have a great deal to discuss. ARM is all about low power and many people in the industry now realize that GPUs have a central role to play in providing highly energy-efficient computing. It’s an exciting future that can grow the ecosystem that surrounds computing. ARM’s unique portfolio of CPU, GPU, interconnect and physical IP puts us at the forefront of one of the most important technological changes in a long time. Reflecting on that and some of those changes, I will be making an announcement at the show.
Emphasis above is ours.
Also worth noting is that Jem Davies does not have his own session at AFDS, but rather we can expect to see him to come out on stage during another keynote, likely during Phil Rogers' or Mark Papermaster's.
AMD wants into the tablet market. ARM could accelerate that process.
Exactly WHAT the ARM/AMD announcement might be obviously isn't known by many yet, but we have speculated many times that an AMD built, ARM architecture processor, with Radeon-based graphics technology and ARM low-power CPU cores, could help AMD enter into the world of ultra-lower power SoCs very quickly. Markets like the pending onslaught of Windows 8 RT tablets and clamshells have NVIDIA foaming at the mouth and AMD would be remiss to not attempt to tackle the same markets and one-up Intel at the same time.
It should be an exciting week! Keep checking pcper.com and our AFDS site tag for all the latest news including keynote live blogs!
Introduction, Design, User Interface
This summer is shaping up to be an amazing time to buy a gaming laptop. Intel has launched its Ivy Bridge processors, bringing faster performance to the entire range without increasing power consumption. Nvidia’s new Kepler based parts, although technically launched a couple months ago, are only now widely available.
We’ve already looked at many low-end solutions including Trinity, HD 4000 and the Kepler-based Nvidia GT 640M. We’ve also looked at one high-end gaming solution in the form of the ASUS G75V.
Today we're reviewing the Origin EON17-S, an obvious competitor to the G75V. It's packing an Nvidia GTX 675M. An Intel Core i7-3920XM joins the party as well. Clearly, this laptop is meant to provide maximum performance - as the other specifications make clear.
Though it has gobs of high-performance hardware our review unit did not arrive with an internal optical drive (it did come with an external Blu-Ray). The drive had been removed and a 1TB hard drive installed in its place. This is a clever bit of packaging that makes a lot of sense and isn’t offered by Alienware, Maingear or ASUS. While I know some gamers do still use optical drives, I personally can’t remember the last time one was required for install.
Our review unit tallies up at about $3500 bucks, which is expensive but not outrageous. Spending much more is difficult and requires that you either pony up for every frivolous option available or buy Nvidia Quadro graphics cards instead of the consumer-market GTX. Or you can put the price in reverse by downgrading to a Core i7-3610QM, which saves you over $1000.