Surface, Tablet PC, iPad & Notebook News, Reviews,Comparisons, Software and Accessories
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April 29, 2016
Detachable Tablets, More Than Slates, May Displace PCs
Tablet shipments declined during the first quarter, but a curious change is occurring. Interest in detachable tablets like Microsoft Surface is increasing, while interest in traditional slates decreases.
Apple, Amazon, Lenovo, and others pushed 34.7 million slates out the door during the first three months of the year, giving slates 87.6% of the entire tablet market, according to the latest numbers from IDC. Detachables saw triple-digit year-over-year growth, rising to 4.9 million units, or 12.4% of the market.
While Microsoft should be credited for kicking off the detachable form factor with its Surface line of devices, traditional phone makers, such as Samsung and Huawei, are jumping on the bandwagon. Both companies introduced hard-hitting tablets this quarter that target enterprise workers, and offer Windows and removable keyboards.
The only thing holding these particular devices back, says IDC, is their pricing.
"The introduction of detachables from traditional smartphone vendors is only beginning, and poses a real threat to traditional PC manufacturers," Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director for tablets at IDC, wrote in the report. "Their understanding of the mobile ecosystem and the volume achieved on their smartphone product lines will allow them to aggressively compete for this new computing segment."
April 28, 2016
Microsoft launched the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 six months ago, and in the first quarter of this year they ratcheted up to an astounding $1.1 billion in sales, according to figures released last week. That's just in the first quarter.
Several industry observers -- present company included -- were stunned. The Surface Book and Pro 4 have a reputation among current and former owners for being temperamental, buggy, and infuriatingly unpredictable.
But there's good news. It sounds like the massive driver update on April 19 fixed most, if not all, of the problems. The level of "I'm going to return this piece of scrap" complaints has gone to zero. The forums that usually buzz with Surface outrage have subsided. There are still complaints about the "sleep of death," but the decibel level is at its lowest of the past six months.
It looks like Microsoft finally got its drivers to work with the Skylake processor, Nvidia video chip, and various Intel components. It took nine versions of the drivers and firmware -- Oct. 23, 2015; Nov. 2; Nov. 18; Dec. 2; Dec. 17; Jan. 27, 2016; Feb. 17; Mar. 15; and Apr. 19 -- but the April 19 versions seems to have done the trick.
Surface Pro 4 is indeed a gem of a hybrid tablet. It is several notches better than the Surface Pro 3 which signalled Microsoft's explosive return to the tablet space and like our spec-comparisons proved, is actually more powerful than the iPad Pro. When it was launched, Microsoft dubbed it as 'The tablet that can replace your laptop,' which, to be honest, heightened our curiosities.
Microsoft has added a lot of power and functionality to its Surface Pro line of tablets and is now willing to market them as laptop replacements. While Surface Pro 4 is indeed a gem of a tablet, it is yet to prove that it will be capable of handling the kind of stress that a superior laptop like the Surface Book can handle with ease.
While Surface Pro 4 is an ideal device for your gaming, streaming and social networking needs, the Surface Book is still the king of the workplace and if your employer gives you a choice, you should choose the latter if you need an all-round, round the clock and stutter-free performance from your gadget.
April 27, 2016
Microsoft Surface Book: in-depth review
In my world, the tablet would never become a laptop – but could a laptop afford me flexibility of the tablet? Short answer – yes.
The Surface Book is a definite head-turner
I have gotten used to colleagues stopping by my desk, the soft whistles and the 'Is it better than the Surface Pro?' kind of questions...
The real compliment was when I had a couple of the nerdy engineer/designer types asking to take the device away to spend 15 minutes checking it out in one of our labs I was visiting and their grudging admiration.
It is a laptop and also a tablet and then a laptop again!
It provides the laptop more stability but also makes the unit stiffer. So if I want to push the screen down to improve the angle when I am standing up, I need to use both hands else the laptop will topple over. I also found the laptop a tad difficult to open – would have expected it to be a lot smoother than what it is.
April 26, 2016
Surface Pro 4, Surface Book certified for use with Siemens Solid Edge CAD program
“Surface is the fastest-growing mobile device platform with our Solid Edge user base for 3D CAD,” says John Miller, senior vice president of Mainstream Engineering for Siemens PLM Software.
To achieve the certification, Siemens put Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 through a rigorous testing process to ensure that Solid Edge runs optimally. Engineers worldwide rely on Solid Edge to bring their ideas to life, and Surface’s certification gives them confidence that they can use this powerful software and rely on the performance of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book to do their work anywhere.
Microsoft today announced new updates for Surface Pro 3 devices and a new tool for updating the Surface Dock on these devices. Download the update from below links,
Updates for Surface Pro 3 devices running Windows 10:
These updates are available at http://aka.ms/drivers/surfacepro3.
Updates for Surface Pro 3 devices running Windows 8.1:
These updates are available at http://aka.ms/drivers/surfacepro3.
The Surface Dock Updater:
April 25, 2016
Acer Switch Alpha 12 hands-on review
The device is due for release in May priced at $599, approximately £416, and will have the tough task of entering a competitive 2-in-1 market filled with hybrids trying to be everything to all men.
We had a chance to take an early look at the Switch Alpha 12 to see whether it can stand up against the competition
The Switch Alpha 12 is also short on ports, offering only one USB 3.1, a headphone jack, microSD slot and a single USB Type-C port. An optional dock adds more connections, including extra USB slots, and an HDMI port.
As Forbes points out, Microsoft may be looking to position its Surface Phone as a "best in class" device, just like it aimed to do with a number of its other hardware products. The Surface 3, for instance, came gunning for Apple's iPad and comparable Android tablets. The Surface Pro 4 has the iPad Pro, premium Android tablets and some ultraportables in its sights, while the Surface Book aims to serve as the laptop to beat, rivalling Apple's MacBook range.
Microsoft's smartphones, however, have not been faring that well, and the company needs a great hit to turn things around. The new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL BOGO deal could definitely boost sales figures, but a top-notch Surface Phone powerhouse could take things to the next level.
As exciting as that may sound, keep in mind that nothing is official at this point. Microsoft has yet to formally announce or confirm any Surface Phone plans, so it's best to take everything with a grain of salt for now. We'll keep you up to date as soon as more details hit the surface, so stay tuned
April 22, 2016
One of the highlights of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 is its ability to be both highly productive and easily used for entertainment. In the 2-in-1 design, the detachable keyboard makes this device act as a laptop, but quickly detach to take this tablet on the go.
If you are looking for a few extra ideas to get the most out of this device, join us for our favorite Surface Pro 4 tips and tricks.
I’ll link to our Surface Dock review below, but let me just remind you that the Surface Dock allows you to almost instantly connect your Surface Pro 4 to multiple external displays, external audio and a good number of USB ports. Bottom line, if you are looking to be productive with this tablet, this is as important an accessory as you’ll find.
The Surface Pen is a great stylus for your Surface Pro 4, it even has a button at the back to easily fire up Onenote, but did you know if has more functions built in? That’s right, double click to take a screenshot, that automatically opens and saves into OneNote and long press that button to fire up Cortana.
There’s even more it can do, next time you are using your Surface Pen to write or draw a note, try flipping the pen around, if your app supports it, as OneNote does, the rear button will act as an eraser, just like a real pencil.
Also, just in case you didn’t notice, there is a thumb button as well on the Surface Pen. It is not very evident that it is there, just push on the trim pieces on the side, at the end closest to the tip. Unless your app does more with it, the default action within Windows 10 is to treat that button as a right mouse click trigger for where you next touch the stylus to the display. Makes it a little easier if you find that long press right-click action to be too difficult.Cortana, not just for the weather
April 21, 2016
The retail giant on Thursday announced that its Fire tablet is now available in three new colors in addition to the basic black model: magenta, blue, and tangerine. Amazon is also now offering a 16GB version for $69.99 alongside the existing 8GB model, which is still priced at $49.99. The new Fire options are available today on Amazon's website.
As we noted in our Fire review, 2.37GB of the device's storage is already eaten up by the software load, so there's not much left with the 8GB model. Amazon makes it easy to add a microSD card at checkout when you buy the tablet, which we'd suggest doing if you go for the 8GB version.
Meanwhile, the Fire Kids Edition is also getting a boost. Already available in pink or blue, the kid-friendly tablet now comes in green as well. Parents can opt for the $99 8GB version or, starting today, a new 16GB model for $119.99. The Kids Edition comes with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited featuring more than 10,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games, as well as more than 40,000 "hand-curated" YouTube videos and websites.
The Apple Pencil debuted with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but the device was far too expensive for me to feel like I was getting a good value out of it. The fact that the iPad Pro ships with iOS and not a full desktop experience does make me feel like I’m greatly overpaying for what I need to use the device for. $799 for a that I can draw on in my spare time? Not my idea of a smart purchase. However, when the 9.7-inch iPad Pro was introduced, the entry-level price point was lowered by $200. And I’ll admit that despite the low 32GB starting point (which I’m not particularly impressed with, but at least it’s not 16GB) I have been contemplating buying the smaller iPad Pro due to the fact that I am that impressed with how well the Apple Pencil performs. For me, it perfectly solves my dilemma; I’d get to keep my iPad while also having an exceptional digital drawing experience.
I haven’t purchased an iPad Pro yet because I’m still weighing the pros and cons between the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 4, which offers a similar outstanding stylus experience of its own. What’s more is that the Surface Pro 4 could be used as a true laptop replacement if I needed it to. No matter what Apple says, no amount of modification could make the iPad Pro replace my laptop for me. Not with iOS, and not without having a mouse. On the other hand, Apple does a much better job at being a tablet than the Surface Pro 4 does. But I digress.
Despite all of the reasoning as to why I should or should not get an iPad Pro, it still makes me laugh that the main reason I’m even considering it is because Apple, of all companies, created a top-notch stylus. If it wasn’t for the Pencil, the iPad Pro would not even be on my radar. Although I can’t speak for everybody, I think this rings true for a lot of people. In reality, the iPad Pro offers only marginally outperforms the iPad Air 2 with the A9X processor, True Tone display, and upgrades that match the iPhone 6s (but how often does anybody use the camera on their tablet?) The true selling point for the iPad Pro is the ability to pair the Pencil and Smart Keyboard with it, but even then it feels like the iPad Pro is $100 overpriced than it should be (especially considering neither the Pencil nor the Smart Keyboard are included – otherwise I would probably feel differently.)
I just never thought that I would be commending Apple (or contemplating buying an iPad) solely for their stylus, as it never seemed like it was a direction they would take before.
the company says, It's the first liquid-cooled tablet with a Skylake Core I processor.
One wouldn't typically imagine liquid cooling in a tablet, but Acer has pulled it off with its latest Switch Alpha 12.
The liquid-cooling feature is especially noteworthy, considering fans are disappearing from tablets and hybrids. But tablet has Intel's Skylake-based Core I processors, and it needed a cooling mechanism, and Acer didn't want fans in it.
While announcing the tablet Thursday, Acer said it is the first fanless tablet with a Skylake Core I processor. The device doesn't use Intel's power-efficient Core M processors, which is offered in many Windows thin-and-lights and the new MacBook.
The Acer device has a "closed-loop liquid system," which dissipates the heat as liquid floats through the system. The liquid cooling system takes up little space.
The tablet has a 12-inch screen that can display images at 2160 x 1440 pixels. It has a kickstand, much like the Surface Pro. A detachable keyboard will ship for free with the laptop. Acer didn't immediately provide the price.
April 20, 2016
Microsoft issued massive sets of firmware updates for Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 last night, while Surface Pro 3 also received a smaller set of Surface Dock-related firmware updates.
As always, Surface owners are advised to check Windows Update and install these updates—which are really driver, not “firmware,” updates—as soon as possible.
the graphics driver, resolves screen flickering in several popular applications, and cases where the display does not reinitialize correctly after the device resumes from sleep or hibernation.
The Latitude 12 7000 (actual model number 7275) is decidedly less out there, and not just because it hails from Dell's stuffy business PC range. It's very much a take on the Surface design, albeit with a different—though not necessarily better—case and keyboard, as well as an austere yet attractive soft-touch body. Dell's design chops have progressed leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, and the Latitude 12 7000 is no exception; business types and clean-cut consumers will have no problem whipping one out in a meeting or at a local Starbucks.
And yet despite some nice touches, it's hard to recommend the Latitude 12.
I’m all business, baby
Like the Surface, the Latitude 12 uses a keyboard case with a kickstand on the back rather than being a laptop with a 360-degree hinge. However, the screen doesn't actually form part of the structure of the thing—lift it off and the kickstand stays behind. This design helps keep the tablet sleek, but it does mean that if you don't have the kickstand-keyboard case with you, there's no way of propping the tablet up without resorting to some MacGyver-like hacking.
But boy is this thing sleek. The Latitude 12 is an ultra-skinny tablet closer in dimensions to an iPad Pro 12 than your typical "business tablet." It’s about as far removed from a Panasonic Toughpad as you can get. The highlight of the tablet is just how much of the front of it is taken up by the display. There's only about a centimeter of blank space to the left and right, giving you the sense that the Dell has squeezed in as large a screen as it can. The bezel at the top and bottom of the screen is bigger, but if Dell tried to shrink those down, there would be no room for the decently sized trackpad that is part of the case—and a hybrid without a good trackpad makes Windows 10 a nightmare to use for proper work like spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.
April 19, 2016
The iPad Pro is a great device, but there's one feature that it lacks if it is to become a true PC replacement - full support for external storage drives.
Over the years I've tried - and failed - to replace my PCs with an iPad. Initially, I found myself emailing files back and forth between devices, which not only was a chore but it made losing data a real possibility. Then iCloud came on the scene, which admittedly made things easier, but it's still far from being a perfect solution. The main drawback is that it relies on an internet connection, which, in turn, puts an upper limit of file sizes you can realistically move about.
Also, when the internet goes down, work comes to an end.
I understand why Apple might be reluctant to bake support for external storage drives into its devices. After all, making external storage easy to use takes away the biggest push that encourages potential owners to buy devices with greater storage. But Apple's chosen to call its new iPad the iPad Pro, and position it as a tool that can take over from a PC. As such, maybe this is one time where Apple needs to curtail its desire to upsell cheap storage for big bucks and give the device the flexibility it needs to get the job done.
April 18, 2016
TabletPc2.com editors note: Anything is possible, but it's highly unlikely that the Microsoft Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 will be released in May. I think its far more likely that a Surface 4 could be unveiled next month.
Recent rumors claim that Microsoft Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 release is not delayed and the tablet-laptop hybrids will reportedly arrive next month.
Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Book 2 will be released before MacBook Air and Pro 2016 launch to gain an advantage in the market.
Apple and Microsoft are heading to a battle soon as the two companies will be bringing out their big guns soon. The latter may have felt hurried that MacBook are gaining speed. Previous reports claimed that Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Book 2 release was pushed back in spring 2017.
The reasons behind this are the alleged delay are the Surface Phone and Windows 10 Redstone 2 releases. It was speculated that Microsoft wants to put the Surface Phone in a pedestal like what it did with the Surface Pro tablet.
According to rumors, Microsoft Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 will pack a 13.3 inch screen display with 4K pixel resolution that will enable users to stream 4K video content on tablet. Under the hood will be Intel’s Skylake chipsets paired with the second update of Windows 10 operating system.
The laptops will reportedly pack an improved battery life as the Surface Pro 4’s battery juice is worth 5 hours and 15 minutes of videos. This year, Microsoft promised 9 hours of playback last time; thus, it may last up to 7 hours of battery life.
This custom iPad was designed by Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer. His lofty title only hints at Ive's actual influence on Apple's products — this is the man behind the company's most iconic designs, from the iMac to the iPhone to the Apple Watch.
And yes, he was also the man behind the iPad.
So, what do you get for the tens of thousands of dollars you're potentially spending? The iPad here is of the Pro variety, 12.9-inches, and comes with a custom blue suede cover (to match your blue suede shoes, naturally). Additionally, there's a custom holder for the stylus — the Apple Pencil — that comes with it.
Ive didn't create the customer iPad just for fun, of course.
It's being sold as part of an auction to benefit England's Design Museum, which is moving buildings (and subsequently raising a bunch of money to facilitate said move). "All profits from the sale will be donated to the Design Museum's capital campaign for its new home in Holland Park," the auction page says.
April 15, 2016
The 2-in-1 tablet market has been getting a lot of attention thanks to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. However, there seems to be a new monster in town and this is Samsung Galaxy TabPro S.
Both tablets run on the latest version of Windows 10 OS and there is no doubt that there are lots of similarities between them, ranging from specs to price tags. However, given that the two are very close rivals, there will always be some differences. So, which one between the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is the best 2-in-1 tablet for you?
On software matters, Samsung Galaxy TabPro S users might get a variant running on Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro version. The latter is meant for the business class. On the other hand, Microsoft Surface Pro 4 comes with the Pro version of Windows 10 on all variants. Of course, expect Samsung’s device to come with the OEM’s apps preinstalled on the device.
Microsoft took things to the next level with the help of Windows Hello. The new tablet has a 5MP selfie camera that can also be used for facial recognition purposes, thus replacing the need of having a password for protecting the device. This is not available on Samsung’s device. On the rear, you will come across an 8MP sensor. On the contrary, Samsung built 5MP sensors on both the rear and front of the tablet.
April 14, 2016
Surface Pro 4 – Be Your Future
Roz Hall is a digital artist showcasing the power and versatility of the Surface Pro 4 in the latest Surface video. One of the most important things to Roz is mobility which is why the Surface Pro 4 is the device for him. From the office to the sofa, it fits all aspects of Roz’s life and provides him the power to run all the full desktop applications he needs.
Read Roz’s story and see the full video below:
“Being a digital art means that I can be painting and creating my own terms”
I don’t need space at home or studio space where I’ve got my easel set up and there is a canvas waiting for me. No matter where I am, whether its on the sofa in the lounge, in the staff room at work on my lunch break or sitting on a train, the Surface Pro 4 allows me to pull out my device and paint, even if its for two or three minutes, this device gives me the opportunity to paint wherever I am and whenever inspiration strikes.
Samsung's TabPro S Is A Viable Productivity 2-in-1 Contender
After the success of Microsoft's Surface Pro series, we saw Apple take the wraps off its productivity-equipped iPad Pro -- and now Samsung has thrown its hat into the ring with its new Galaxy TabPro S.
The new 2-in-1s are in part a reaction as vendors target a new niche for the struggling tablet market -- the workplace. Despite the downward trajectory of tablets, research firm IDC highlighted one significant trend facing the market -- a transition from pure slate tablets, which do not contain a companion keyboard, to detachable tablets, or hybrid 2-in-1 devices that can act independently as tablets.
The TabPro S is Samsung's first 2-in-1 and the company's first foray into Windows 10 on a tablet. The 2-in-1, unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, recently started shipping in the U.S. Here's what we found after getting our hands on Samsung's newest device.
April 13, 2016
An in-depth testing of the new Apple iPad Pro 9.7inches was performed by DisplayMate and it further determined that the IPS LCD display is a highly immersive, top-performing display and is also a major upgrade over the iPad Air 2. Both of these tablets have similar specs and this includes matching 4:3 ratios and 2,048×1536 pixel resolutions, along with 264 PPI.
Several underlying improvements have been made to the iPad Pro and the display was further qualified as DisplayMate’s “best performing mobile LCD display” it has ever tested. According to the exhaustive display shootout, the 9.7inch iPad Pro has two color gamuts which provide color accuracy that is indistinguishable from perfect.
The display was further considered to be considerably better than any kind of mobile display, tablet, and monitor, TV or UHD TV owned by most people.
In addition to the sRGB/Rec.709 gamut, the device makes use of a new DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut that is used in 4K UHD TVs and Digital Cinema.
Moreover, the iPad Pro also has by far the lowest low screen reflectance of any mobile display. This further means that its images color and contrast in high ambient light like sunlight. It will further appear considerably better than any other mobile display.
The tablet further uses a new anti-reflectance coating which further reduces the reflectance to just 1.7 percent compared to the 2.5 percent reflectance of the iPad Air 2. The difference further amounts to longer battery life in real-life usage.
April 12, 2016
Lenovo gets ThinkPad to do some Yoga, lose weight
Lenovo has combined what it is best known for – the ThinkPad machines – with its versatile Yoga features, making it touch, rotatable and with a tablet version with a detachable screen. The latter comes with an inbuilt projector. It also looks like the company has been working on reducing the weight of its machines.
The company unveiled its latest ThinkPad X1 portfolio at an event in Downtown Dubai on Monday. Among the devices that were unveiled were the ThinkPad X1 Tablet, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga which had the distinction of being the world’s first OLED display when it was launched earlier in January; and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon which has shed some weight, becoming more thinner and lighter in the process and the ThinkCentre X1 all-in-one desktop.
ThinkPads have always been aimed at the premium segment and for professional business use. “By bringing in the features of Yoga into this category, we have ensured that the business class users are not left out. There has been a consistent demand from ThinkPad users for the incorporation of more versatile features and that's just what we have done," said Mohammed Hilili, General Manager at Lenovo Gulf & KSA. "The new products will help professionals embrace cloud computing, mobility and security," he adds.
During Milan Design Week, luxury brands come together to showcase the latest fashions, materials, and even tech in the world of design. The perfect place to launch the Signature Type Cover, meticulously crafted with a luxury material, sourced exclusively in Italy and used in high-end fashion, automotive and interiors. It’s unique combination of sophisticated design and durability made it a natural choice for Surface. With this material, the Signature Type Cover is perfect for anyone who wants a premium accessory that looks as good as it feels.
April 11, 2016
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 draws the most attention in the 2-in-1 tablet/laptop market, but the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S is trying to steal some of its thunder. These two devices appear similar, and have nearly identical price tags. But many of their details are quite different. Which 2-in-1 one is best for you?
The Surface Pro 4 has a 2736 x 1824 resolution screen, while Samsung went with a 2160 x 1440 resolution panel. This makes Microsoft’s display a bit sharper, with a density of 267 pixels per inch to its rival’s 216 pixels per inch.
Samsung used a Super AMOLED screen, rather than the traditional LCD Microsoft used in the SP4. With the two side-by-side in an office environment, they both look great. We were expecting the TabPro S to be significantly better looking, but that’s not the case. Samsung’s display is easier to see outdoors thanks to its higher contrast, but the real difference is reflected in the battery as AMOLED consumes less power. More on that below.
Ports, Buttons, and Speakers
The Galaxy TabPro S includes a USB Type-C port, which it uses for charging, , and accessories. It also has a traditional headphone jack. This is the direction all tablets are heading. The Surface Pro 4 has a full-sized USB Type-A port for data and accessories, a proprietary power port, a Mini DisplayPort for a monitor, and a headset jack. Samsung’s method is a lot simpler and much more futureproof.
Microsoft put a microSD card slot in its offering, but the TabPro S lacks one, making it harder to expand the memory of this computer.
Windows 10 no longer requires a physical button to open the Start Menu, so Microsoft eschewed including on in its , but Samsung put one in, on the right side. Aside from this, both devices have essentially identical power and volume controls.
New features help the mobile operating system shine, prepare Android to compete in the detachable tablet market
Google released more information about Android N (referring to N as Not the real name). The preview of the mobile operating system gives the impression of a more in-depth system and user-level polish that has been Google’s obsession since Android 4.4 Kitkat.
Multi-Window support stands out as the most important feature for users, consumers and developers. It allows apps to be opened in two separate windows and used on a split-screen display. User interest in Multi-Window has become increasingly important as mobile devices replace PC apps with mobile apps. When work moves to a mobile app, users want many of the same PC features, keyboards, split screens, drag and drop, etc.
Developers can easily add Multi-Window attributes to their apps, such as automatic window layout, with one addition to the manifest. A second app and screen can be launched from within applications to run adjacent to the calling app. A minimum size can also be set so unreadable windows aren’t launched on devices that have small displays.
Now, here in 2016, Android has pretty much everything iOS does. There's certainly still a software war - and a platform war - but it's not just a matter of feeling like iOS has a more solid platform.
NOTE: The image you see at the head of this article is a rendering from a Huawei tablet that's likely forthcoming.
And while using one's back-facing camera on a tablet shouldn't ever have been the deciding point between slates, we've also hit the tipping point there. Sony's created a set of sensors that've been able to do their business on Android devices, supplanting the iPhone as the "best" smart device camera on the market.
It's a chink in Apple's hardware armor.
And Huawei, of all companies, is in a prime position to take advantage - with Google. Would that Google were to want to take advantage with a tablet.
Of course, they'd also need to use their advantage with the next-generation technology in Project Tango.
Imagine a tablet that has all the software - or all the most important bits - that the iPad does, running Android, that can also map itself - and its user - in 3D space. A device that's specially aware - one that can do what no other device on the market today can do.*
*Until the rest of Google's Project Tango devices arrive, that is.
April 8, 2016
The Surface Pro 4 Intel Core i5 model with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM is on sale for $1,149 during this time period, compared to its usual $1,299 price. The Surface Pro 4 with the Core i7 processor and the same storage and RAM is also on sale for $1,449, compared to the normal $1,599 price tag. Finally, the Surface Book with an Intel Core i7 chip, 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and a dedicated GPU, is on sale for $1,949, compared to its usual $2,099.
If you get the Core i7 versions of these devices that are on sale until Saturday from the Microsoft Store, you can also still get either a free Xbox One controller with wireless adapter or $100 off the $199 Surface Dock accessory.
April 7, 2016
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S review
Nowadays, there’s no shortage of tablets that transform into laptops, so much so that Microsoft Surface rivals are becoming a dime-a-dozen. The Surface Pro itself is in its fourth iteration, but then there’s the Dell XPS 12, the HP Spectre x2, the soon-to-be-released Huawei MateBook, and now Samsung's entered the ring with the Galaxy TabPro S. That’s not to say a bit of competition isn’t a good thing, as the Galaxy TabPro S offers far more than your typical two-in-one hybrid.
First and foremost, there’s that 12in, 2,160x1,440 Super AMOLED display. It’s probably the first thing you notice when you turn the TabPro S on, as its rich, vibrant colours really jump out of the screen. It's the same kind of panel you'll find on Samsung's latest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, and it looks just as lovely here as it does on Samsung's flagship handsets.
As expected, Samsung's Super AMOLED technology means the TabPro S has top-notch image quality, including pure 0.00cd/m2 blacks and perfect 1:1 contrast ratio. Even its colour accuracy is almost perfect thanks to its 99.5% sRGB colour gamut coverage and Delta-E of 1.75. Brightness is very high at 363.4cd/m2, and its 2,160x1,440 resolution leaves images and text looking sharp and crisp. As a result, the TabPro S has one of the most beautiful tablet screens you’ll see today.
The 12 inch Super AMOLED is stunning and the experience for media is very enjoyable on the Samsung device. The bezel is pretty even around all four sides of the display with the front facing camera above the display in landscape orientation.
There is a power button and volume button on top, speakers on either side, headphone jack and USB Type-C port on the lower right side, and Start button on the upper right side. The camera is centered on the upper back.
The back is matte black plastic material that feels well made and looks great. It does tend to collect fingerprints though.
The stereo speakers sound good and I enjoyed watching Creed with no headphones.
Samsung states that the Galaxy TabPro S lasts for 630 minutes (10.5 hours) and charges up to 100 percent in 150 minutes via the USB Type-C port. Over the past 10 days I saw battery life in that range and was very satisfied by the time between charges.
Unlike the Surface Pro 4 and Apple iPad Pro, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S comes with a keyboard in the box, available at no extra cost. Microsoft charges $129.99 for the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover and Apple charges $169 for the keyboard on the 12.9 inch iPad Pro.
The Galaxy TabPro S keyboard is similar in design to the earlier Surface Pro Type Cover with very little spacing between the keys and a smaller trackpad than what we see on the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover. While the spacing between the keys is less, the keys themselves are larger than that found on the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover. I prefer larger keys over spacing and was able to type up this review as fast as I can with my Surface Pro 4.
The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is available now in black or white with a 128GB SSD for $899.99. Remember, this includes the keyboard and folio case accessory. A Windows 10 Professional version is $100 more and includes some extra business security features.
The similarly specced Intel Core m3/4GB RAM/128GB SSD Surface Pro 4 is also priced at $899, but it does not come with a keyboard. The 12.9 inch iPad Pro with 128GB of storage is $949 and also does not come with a keyboard.
April 6, 2016
In celebration of adding 16 new music sources to its Binge On and Music Freedom services, T-Mobile is offering up to $200 off the purchase of a when you buy a smartphone from the same manufacturer. Anyone who purchases a new Apple, LG or Samsung smartphone can also buy an additional tablet for half off.
"Anyone who buys a flagship smartphone from Apple, LG or Samsung on Equipment Installment Plans (EIP) can get up to 50% off any tablet from the same brand (up to $200) with a prepaid card for a limited time while supplies last."
The promotion includes up to $200 off Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which is a great deal for T-Mobile customers planning to purchase the new iPhone SE. Taking advantage of T-Mobile's would allow you to nab a 32GB WiFi-only iPad Pro for $329, or you can knock $200 off the 12.9-inch model pricetag. The 50% off applies to all available iPad models through T-Mobile when you purchase a new iPhone on an installment plan. You can head on over to T-Mobile's News Room for more details and fine print.
The tablet’s biggest foible as laptop replacement isn’t apps, hardware, or operating system but the charging system. The 12-watt brick that Apple ships in the box is inadequate. While battery life is excellent, and enough to last a workday for common tasks, recharging takes a long time. More perplexing, you can’t really use iPad Pro and charge simultaneously; there isn’t enough juice. An Apple Store specialist recently acknowledged the problem, noting that display models often drain the battery even when plugged in.
But there’s a fix. Last month, the company released a lightning-to-USB-C adaptor that lets iPad Pro charge using 12-inch MacBook’s 29-watt brick, and the changeover makes a huge difference. In my testing, battery recharges in less than half the time – comparable to my experience with MacBook Pro. The tablet also adequately recharges when in use, as you would expect with any laptop. But to get that utility, you pay extra: $49 for the brick, and either $25 or $35 for the cable, depending on length (1 or 2 meters, respectively). Most users will want the longer cord, which is comparable-length to the one they already have.
That extra cost leads into the price equation and where the math adds up for some buyers but not for many others. The overall kit is pricey. The value is there, and on this point I disagree with most other reviewers. That said, price-wary shoppers can get as much, or more, computing benefit elsewhere by spending lots less.
April 5, 2016
Microsoft Surface Pro 5, Surface Book 2 Rumors: Set To Launch With Windows 10 Redstone 2 Onboard
The Microsoft Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 are heavily speculated devices at present. Both the devices are expected to arrive with Windows 10 Redstone 2 preinstalled.
Microsoft had released Windows 10 edition for desktops in July last year. It is expected to bring new features and enhancement to Windows 10 through Redstone updates. The Redmond giant is expected to release Redstone 1 update by July this year. The Windows 10 Redstone 2 update is speculated to be available by spring 2017, ZD Net reported.
Microsoft is expected to bring overhaul improvements to Windows Hello, Cortana, Surface Pen and Continuum with Redstone 2 update next year. The new features of Windows 10 in 2017 will be used to showcase its new hardware like Microsoft Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2.
In October last year, Microsoft had announced several products like Band 2 Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. Since Microsoft is speculated to unleash Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book 2 in Spring 2017, does it mean that the company won’t release any major device this year?
Other rumors suggest that Microsoft may release new variants for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book this year. It is also expected to release devices like Surface Phone and Surface 4 later this year. In July, it is expected to release Windows 10 Redstone 1 update. Speculations indicate that it will be released as “Windows 10 Anniversary Update.”
At first glance, the new iPad Pro is virtually indistinguishable from the current iPad Air 2 -- which remains on sale as Apple's 'low-cost' option, starting at £349/$399. As well as the 9.7-inch display, the two devices have the same overall dimensions at 240mm by 169.5mm by 6.1mm, and a weight of 437g for the wi-fi-only model (444g for the cellular model). The only visible differences are the Smart Connector on the side of the new device, which can be used to power accessories such as Apple's Smart Keyboard, the slightly protruding camera lens, and the four-speaker audio system that it shares with the larger iPad Pro model.
The resolution of the display is identical too, at 2,048 by 1,536 pixels (264ppi), although Apple does claim that the screen is 25 percent brighter, 40 percent less reflective, and provides 25 percent greater colour saturation than the iPad Air 2. It also introduces a new True Tone feature that uses ambient light sensors to match the lighting conditions around you.
April 4, 2016
Windows Ink to Battle iPad Pro With Improved Pen Support
Microsoft's Windows Ink is targeting the same consumer demographic as Apple with its iPad Pro.
The Windows Ink, which was demonstrated at last week's Build 2016 conference, is a set of products that boost the creative capabilities of the Surface Pro and other tablets equipped with a stylus, WinBeta wrote. Microsoft claimed that the stylus will be front and center after the arrival of the Ink Workspace, a group of apps that center on various functions of a stylus.
The new Ink Workspace is equipped with sticky notes, a screen sketch, and a sketchpad, The Verge listed. There's also a new ruler, which can be used to draw shapes and straight lines, and be manipulated on where it is located in sketches or screenshots.
Windows Ink caters to people who frequently use a stylus -- not just artists and designers but also those who use the more traditional pen-and-paper approach. Writing notes on a Surface device will be easier, and can attract high-end stylus users to notice the significant changes and consider acquiring a Surface tablet.
Small is big these days for computer makers. HP Inc. hopes to prove the point this week.
The personal computer and printer portion of the now-divided Hewlett-Packard Co. is expected to unveil what may be the thinnest laptop on the market, hoping to grab greater share of a premium category that has been healthier than some other segments of the shrinking PC industry.
HP isn’t disclosing details until Tuesday. But Chief Executive Dion Weisler has made it clear he is determined to burnish the company’s reputation as a trendsetter in style and technology—attributes long associated with Apple Inc.
“For years, Apple has been seen as the innovator and the driver of innovation,” said Ron Coughlin, president of HP’s personal systems group. “HP is really taking over that mantle.”
An Apple spokesman declined to comment. But HP’s claim isn't likely to go uncontested, as PC makers try new designs to counteract tepid customer demand. Market researchers at International Data Corp. in January reported that world-wide PC shipments declined 10.4% in 2015, with growth registered by few major vendors besides Apple.
Some new offerings bear attributes of both tablets and laptops such as Microsoft Corp.’s Surface Pro and Lenovo Group Ltd.’s Yoga. Others, including Dell Inc., have stressed features such as beefed up encryption to appeal to corporate users.
HP is one of several laptop makers touting reduced size and weight for clamshell models as a selling point, particularly for models priced at $1,000 and higher.
April 1, 2016
Microsoft's Surface tablets are so great, it seems, that everyone wants to copy them. So far, we've seen similar devices from Apple, Lenovo, Dell, HP and Google. Incredibly, though, one of the biggest companies we cover, Samsung, is only just jumping on the bandwagon. The Galaxy TabPro S recently started shipping here in the US, and in many ways it takes after its competitors. Similar to the Surface Pro 4 and other hybrids, it has a 12-inch screen that accepts pressure-sensitive pen input, and an Intel Core M processor powerful enough to potentially replace your laptop.
Unlike some of its rivals, however, the TabPro S is the first device in its class with a Super AMOLED screen. It's also exceptionally thin and, for the starting price of $900, the click-in keyboard cover actually comes in the box (take note, Microsoft). Too bad the typing experience isn't very good.
Apple Still Strong at 40, but Are Best Years Behind It?
Apple turned 40 on Friday, and it's a very different company from the audacious startup that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976.
Today, the maker of iPhones and Mac computers is the world's most valuable public corporation, with 100,000 employees and a new, multi-billion dollar headquarters in Cupertino, California, set to open next year. But despite its astounding financials — Apple reported $53 billion in profit on $233 billion in sales last year — some critics have suggested Apple's best years are behind it, as it has struggled to come up with new products and match the phenomenal success it has had in recent years.
Not surprisingly, longtime employees like software vice president Guy "Bud" Tribble disagree.
"We still think we're going to change the world," said Tribble, one of a half-dozen Apple staffers selected by the company to briefly reminisce with reporters this week. Tribble started with Apple in 1980 and worked on the original Macintosh team. He added: "We had no idea back then that Apple would grow to the size that it is."
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