Laptops

By September 4, 2014 Read More →

Lenovo gets their vibe on at IFA

IMG_2110Today we were fortunate enough to be guests at Lenovo’s IFA 2014 keynote. Lenovo are probably best known in the UK for their laptops, but they do have a tablet range that is growing in stature here and a large phone range outside the UK.

 
The press conference was hosted and kicked off Aymar De Lencquesaing, President of Lenovo EMEA and SVP in the Lenovo group.
 
It has been a year of milestones for Lenovo. In the PC business they have been overall number 1 for 12 months running (number 1 in 15 individual countries), and the gap to second place is growing, as Lenovo has nearly 20% market share. Rumours of the death of the PC have been greatly exaggerated and there is still perceived growth in the $200bn market opportunity. But as we said, Lenovo isn’t just about the PC market, they actually now ship more tablets and smartphones than PCs. Lenovo is number 3 in the worldwide tablet market and number 4 in the smartphone market, although they will get a bump to 3rd place when the Motorola acquisition completes.
 
Lenovo’s phone strategy within EMEA has specifically targeted emerging markets. They are the fastest growing mobile brand, in China they were #2 for 8 consecutive quarters, hitting number 1 in Q2 2014. 
 
As a company, Lenovo have very solid financials, with record profits and revenue in the last quarter. In EMEA revenues have increased 50% in the last quarter year on year, but as mentioned, Lenovo is changing. They are acquiring IBM System X as well as Motorola, moves that are set to close by the end of the calendar year. Of course, we are all excited about the acquisition possibilities but Lenovo can’t discuss anything with regards to strategy until it completes. With that said, the stated aim is to be number 1 in all the business in which they operate.
 
Lenovo announced 2 Smartphone devices at the IFA event, both in the existing VIBE range.
 
Jeff Meredith, head of marketing in the mobile business group, introduced the Vibe X2 and Vibe Z2, which will take their place in the range alongside the previously  announced Z2 Pro.
 
With a European RRP of €399, the Z2 was introduced first. It’s a phablet, on trend with the moves to a 5.5” screen, running Android 4.4 KitKat on top of Qualcomm quad core snapdragon (410 perhaps?) silicon. With a 13 Megapixel camera with OIS and an 8 Megapixel front camera, it should be particularly strong in the imaging department. At 158g and 7.8mm thin, it’s a pretty appealing device visually, is good to hold and feels well constructed.
 
The real event fanfare was saved for the X2 however, priced at €429 and touted as the ‘world’s first layered smartphone’. It is constructed with 3 coloured original layers and will be available in 5 colours – charcoal, gold, white, red, bamboo, with endless colour possibilities and new ‘X2 originals’ designs planned going forward.
 
The X2 packs a Mediatek True8Core LTE MTK6595, which Lenovo claim is the world’s first true Octa-Core processor. It too runs Kitkat but with a full HD 5″ screen. It weights 120g and is 7.27mm thin, with 13 Megapixel primary and 5 Megapixel secondary cameras. LTE is onboard, a must for the target market for the device.
 
As well as the ’3 layers’ in the device already, ‘Vibe Extensions’ are additional accessories in the same style. A battery extensions adds 75% more power and a speaker layer developed with JBL also includes a useful kickstand.
 
On top of Android 4.4 sits Lenovo’s Vibe 2.0 software layer, with emphasis on user friendliness and software enhancements such as the ubiquitous selfie and beauty shot modes. Obviously.
 
Mobile done, Dilip Bhatia, VP of Marketing and Design, PC group, came on stage to introduce some new PC hardware.
 
“Lenovo has a fundamental belief that technology should adapt to the user. We observed how families behaved at home to help shape their products.” he told us, before introducing the Lenovo Horizon 2S, a 19.5” two in one tabletop PC. It can function in an all in one mode as well as a lay-flat mode. A 27″ model will also be available.
 
The device comes with 60 games and apps installed which does raise concerns of bloatware, but there do appear to be some genuinely useful additions too. The ‘Aura UI’, specifically designed for the horizontal touchscreen has a ‘spinner’ look for accessing features. A nice addition – that failed completely in the demo – allows you to take picture on a Lenovo phone, shake the phone and have it appears on the Horizon desktop, to be manipulated with multi-touch gestures.
 
Next up came one of my favourites, the Thinkpad, specifically the refreshed Helix convertible laptop for business users.
 
Lenovo pitch is as the best business class 2 in 1 in the market. It does do everything – LTE, digitiser support, tablet mode, laptop mode, desktop mode… it’s designed to meet all the requirements of not just individuals but also the IT dept.
 
A clever quick shot cover is included for use in tablet mode – simply fold down the corner of the cover, and the camera comes on ready to take a picture.
 
To finish? A quick mention of their celebrity endorsement – “Ashton Kutcher has been with us for a year now, and has a genuine stake in our new products. You’ll see the output of this soon!”
 
Posted in: Laptops, News
By August 8, 2014 Read More →

Gigabyte announces the Q21 laptop

gigabyte-q21-laptop,I-W-447800-3Gigabyte are putting out two favours of notebook right now, the difference is quite bizarre. The first is a version sporting Windows 8.1 with Bing. The second has Windows 8.1 without Bing. Just Bingless. An interesting choice when adding to the basket. The most interesting thing about this notebook is the Dual storage solution, a mSATA and a 2.5-inch hard drive. 

Otherwise, the specifications show a number of configurations. 

  • Processor: Intel Celeron N2930 or Intel Celeron N2807
  • Memory/Storage: 2 GB, 4GB or 8 GB DDR3L in a single slot; 512 GB SSD or 1 TB 2.5-inch 5400 rpm HDD storage (detailed options not available yet)
  • Display: 11.6-inch LCD with 1,366X768 pixels
  • Webcam: HD camera
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, 1XUSB 3.0, 2XUSB 2.0, HDMI, VGA
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Weight/Dimensions: 2.98 pounds (battery included); 11.51X8.29X0.89 inches
  • Battery: 24 WHr lithium-ion with 3 cells

“The dual storage on Q21 combines capacity and speed rarely seen on laptops of this dimension,” the press release stated. “Its mSATA SSD grants a generous space up to 512 GB for seamless data transmission while the hard disk drive supports a whopping capacity up to 1 TB for data storage. You can now back up your system even without access to cloud storage or external devices.”

Pricing and availability are not available yet for the UK market, however they have stated this is a budget offering.

Posted in: Laptops, News
By July 24, 2014 Read More →

Acer are top of the pops on Chromebooks

chromebook-shipments-in-q2-2014Data from global research firm TrendForce claims that Acer has seen the biggest growth in the second quarter shipments of Chrome OS notebooks, jumping 6 percentage points on its performance for the previous quarter. This rise means almost one third of all Chromebook shipments in the last three months were Acer models. The Taiwan-based tech giant now edges ahead of rival Samsung to become the most popular Chromebook maker, having been narrowly beaten by the South Korean electronics company earlier in the year.

Acer recently announced that its consumer Chromebook sales in the U.S. hit nearly 47% during the first quarter of the year. A mix of higher pricing of the second-generation Samsung Chromebook 2 and reportedly average performance from the eight-core Exynos Octa processor used seems to have resulted in cheaper and more powerful Intel-based devices flourishing. 

Posted in: Laptops
By July 14, 2014 Read More →

Acer Chromebook CB3 leaks online

Screenshot 2014-07-08 07.12.57Mobilegeeks.de report that a CB3 featuring an 11.6-inch screen, Intel Celeron N2830 (Bay Trail) processor chugging along at 2.13GHz and paired with 2GB of DDR3 RAM will go on sale in Europe priced at €219. If rumours are true then this model will be particularly attractive as the memory is not soldered on to the board but housed in a slot. This means, theoretically at least, that owners should be able to swap the 2GB RAM stick for something larger.

The now ubiquitous 1366×768 resolution features, albeit with a glossy rather than matte finish, and there’s 16GB of eMMC storage for housing all your files.  There are a pair of USB ports (1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0) and a full-sized HDMI out. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and webcam are all included, and the built-in battery is good for 8 hours.

Posted in: Laptops, News, Rumours
By July 12, 2014 Read More →

Acer knocking out two i3 Chromebooks

Acer-C720-Chromebook-front-angle_w_450 (1)Acer America announced on Thursday that it is the first company to offer Chromebooks with an Intel Core i3 processor. The company actually updated its popular Acer C720 Chromebook, producing two new models with  starting prices of $349.99 and $379.99.

According to the specs, the difference between the two models is in the memory. The cheaper Acer C720-3871 will have 2 GB of memory; the slightly more expensive Acer C720-3404 will have 4 GB of memory. Both will pack the fourth-generation Intel Core i3-40005U dual-core processor (1.7 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache), and a 3950 mAh battery promising up to 8.5 hours on a single charge.

We will hopefully see these arrive on UK shores in the next few weeks.

 

Posted in: Laptops, News
By July 7, 2014 Read More →

Uncharged devices no longer allowed on US bound flights to counter terrorism

iPhone4-flatAmerica is banning uncharged mobiles or laptops on US-bound flights over bomb fears. A new measure is bound to cause chaotic scenes at airports around the globe, and is part of the US Transportation Security Administration’s effort to boost surveillance amid concerns that terrorists are plotting to blow up an airliner.

Jason Fernyhough, from mobile accessories distributor Accessory Lab, comments on the news: “most people board planes with enough charge in their devices for a few hours at most as, more often than not, devices will typically be switched off during flights. However, with this new security drive, I can see charging stations appearing at airports, rather like paid for Wi-Fi hotspots. Cafes and public areas will no doubt benefit from additional revenue, but also airport retailers selling mobile device chargers will see panic buying. In the short term, airport infrastructure will take a while to set up the charging booths and the cost to charge for passengers won’t be low, so we believe that there will be a boom in portable chargers and they will become a travel essential.

“To avoid any risk of being refused boarding on all US bound flights, portable chargers and power banks will ensure travellers have the ability to power up multiple devices and charge them very quickly before they board a flight. The keys considerations for travellers will be speed of charge, charging capacity, size of charger, durability and compatibility, which is useful for multiple devices.”

Accessory Lab has a range of chargers branded Olixar that will ensure anyone travelling to, or around, America can reach their destination. Please see information below.

Accessory Lab is also offering some advice on what to look for in a charger here: http://www.accessorylab.co.uk/2014/07/07/power-banks-and-portable-chargers-buying-guide

All Olixar products are available to buy now at www.mobilefun.co.uk, with prices starting from £19.99.

Posted in: Laptops, News, Phones
By June 10, 2014 Read More →

Unboxing Acer Aspire Switch 10

AspireSwitch10_series_photogallery-02A look at the newly released Windows 8.1 tablet and laptop hybrid. This convertible has an attractive design and comes with a unique, magnetic detachable keyboard. Alongside some fairly attractive specs we have a tablet with a “Zero air gap” that brings the screen right up to the front glass making this a lot brighter and vibrant.

Unboxing Acer Aspire Switch 10  specification:

  • 10.1 inches, 16:9, Active backlit LED
  • Windows (8.1)
  • Wifi 802.11 a, b, g, n (2.4, 5 GHz)
  • quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor
  • 2GB RAM 
  • Intel HD Graphics 
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera

By June 4, 2014 Read More →

New HP Chromebook and Android Slate announced

hoHP has announced a refresh to their popular 11-inch Chromebook and the introduction of their first Android-powered notebook, the HP SlateBook 14. 

The new HP Chromebook remains sized at 11.6-inches swapping the generous 176° viewing angles afforded by the IPS display of the previous model for a standard backlit LCD. Some slight hardware changes include a Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core ARM processor clocked at 1.7 GHz with 2GB RAM and a 16GB eMMC flash drive for storage. All sitting in a new, smaller, chassis used by its larger 14-inch Chromebook. There should also be a marginal improvement to the battery, up by about half an hour.

It’s hardly going to stop the presses however, it might be enough for the popularity to continue especially with the stylish design.

HP also announced the SlateBook.  This is one of two Android based notebooks to be released this year, the second being the Arcbook by Archos. This device is powered by a Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor, features 1GB RAM and a 16GB eMMC drive for storage. This combines a 14-inch touchscreen with a traditional notebook form factor in addition to  running Android 4.3.

hp_slatebook_14_6_porte hp-slatebook-14-1

The Slatebook will arrive in with a black shading with a hint of yellow. Other colours are sure to follow as we have heard tell of a pink one in the wild.

The newvHP Chromebook 11 has an expected release date of July in the US with a price tag of $279.99 (or $249.99, depending on which press release you read). The Android-based HP SlateBook 14 launches on July 20 with a absurd starting price of $399.99 for 16GB, going up to $429.99 (32GB) and $459.99 (64GB).

Posted in: Laptops, News
By June 3, 2014 Read More →

Asus go for broke to take the world

new-asus-stuff-june-2014Today Asus announced the Transformer Book V, which is a tablet/phone/laptop hybrid device. Along with the all-in-one combination of these physical devices, it even includes the ability to dual-boot between Windows and Android on the tablet and laptop portions of the device. 

Here’s what the Transformer Book V consists of:

  • A 12.5-inch tablet screen dock
  • Combining the phone with the tablet dock makes it a tablet
  • Combining the phone & tablet with the keyboard dock transforms it into a laptop
  • While in tablet or laptop mode it can switch between Windows and Android (although the phone is Android only)
  • The phone section contains an Intel Moorefield chip
  • The keyboard dock section contains an Intel Core CPU
  • 2GB of RAM in the phone/tablet
  • 4GB of RAM on Laptop
  • The phone and tablet use 64GB of storage and the laptop has 128GB of storage

asus-transformer-book-v

The only other specs/hardware revealed was the following:

  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 (4K at 60Hz)
  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2 (4K at 60Hz)
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 (4K at 60Hz) / MHL 3.0 (4K at 30Hz)
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4 (4K at 30Hz)
  • 4 x USB 3.0 ports

 

Also today Asus launched new and updated hardware devices. On top of the big announcement earlier of the Transformer Book V, Asus also unveiled the Fonepad 8 and a new MeMo Pad 7 & 8. Here are the details,

MeMo Pad 7 - 

  • 7-inch Display
  • 64-bit Android device – Intel’s quad-core Atom Z3745 chipset (clocked up to 1.86GHz)
  • 5 megapixel rear camera
  • 2 megapixel front camera – also includes a “high definition” resolution — 1280 x 800

MeMo Pad 8 - 

  • 8-Inch Display – “Full HD” resolution
  • Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core chipset clocked up to 2.3GHz
  • Billed as the world’s lightest 8-inch Android tablet at just 299 grams
  • Also only 7.45mm thin
  • 802.11ac WiFi and an LTE modem

Fonepad 8 - 
Really a phablet/giant phone 

  • 8-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution
  • Intel’s 64-bit Atom Z3560 quad-core processor at 1.8GHz
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • Android-based ZenUI is on-board with a new flat design and over “1,000″ software improvements

 

Posted in: Laptops, News, Tablets
By May 27, 2014 Read More →

HP 14 Chromebook video review

hp-chromebook-14_4Gareth takes a quick look at HP’s larger Chromebook, the 14. Easily the best looking of the larger Chromebooks the 14 has a number of differences over the other Chromebooks on the market whilst delivering the same Chrome Operating System experience.

HP 14 Chromebook specification:

  • 14”, 200-nit display with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 20mm thin – 4.08 lbs / 1.85 kg.
  • Intel Celeron 1.4GHz  Processor
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • Full size HDMI Port
  • Bluetooth®4.0 Compatible

 

 

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