Laptops

By March 12, 2015 Read More →

Chromebook Pixel 2 quietly appears

Screenshot 2015-03-12 07.47.16Apple’s new Macbook was one of the bigger announcements of the week however Google are quietly popping out an updated Chromebook Pixel 2, the second in what is now a line of top end notebooks flavoured with Chromebookiness. There seems to be one big feature being pushed here and that’s the charging method and USB -C port. Bragging that the Pixel 2 can last 2 hours on 15 minutes of charging is quite a feat alongside the Intel  i5 2.2ghz or i7 2.4ghz. There are better storage options also with 32gb and 64gb choices, who said that Chrome was designed to be online all the time? A big boost for any Chromebook is the RAM, 8gb or 16g, these are honestly good specs even for a Windows laptop and as it is running Chrome it is a little like bringing a M134 minigun to a knife fight.  The screen is a beautiful 12.85″ display with a web-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI. There is also a 720P HD Wide Angle camera with Blue Glass

Priced at either £799 or £999, this is a little more affordable than last years model and comes with the remarkable ability to charge the device and plug in an external storage device also… in like another beautiful Notebook we saw this week. 

 

Posted in: Laptops, News
By March 12, 2015 Read More →

A feature of Android 6.0?

samsung-galaxy-note-ii-multi-window-us-cellular-1We are getting Android 5.1 in the next few days, or weeks depending on how lucky you are and this update brings with it a fairly routine collection of tweaks and improvements. However, the future of Android will always feature more exciting features in the long run and anything that might help increase productivity is not beyond the realms of imagination.

Down in the depths of Android’s source code a small hint exists that Google may be working on a multi-windows feature. Some may scoff that Samsung have already brought this to their Touchwiz overlay however there is a software tool in place of a core feature. Whilst a little buggy over the years the idea is sound and for Google to place it into stock Android at some point in the future makes Android a whole lot more of a viable option for desktop work stations (again bringing the existence  of Chrome OS into question.)

multi-window-feature-code_w_600

 

By March 11, 2015 Read More →

Acer CB5 Chromebook Benchmarks

Acer_Chromebook_15__CB5-571__white-front_up_left_angle.0When is comes to Chromebooks there is really only one company to entertain at the moment. Acer. Whilst the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is generally considered to be the best in it’s field right now Acer has occupied the top spot at any other time and it looks like they plan on taking it back with the Chromebook 15.

Technology Resource Advisor’s Chris Elkendier managed to benchmark the Acer CB5 (C910) to find it outperforms several other Chromebooks thanks to the Broadwell processor inside, and it only outperformed by the smaller 11.6-inch variant the C740. It is important to point out that the 1080p and 720p version of the CB5 performed identically.

acer-chromebook-15-benchmarks-750x444

The Acer Chromebook 15 has already gone on pre-order in the UK from Amazon with a touchscreen Nvidia Tegra K1 2.1 GHz, 4GB RAM, 32GB. A full range has become available on Amazon.co.uk. The Chromebook will land May 20th.

 

Posted in: Laptops, News
By September 23, 2014 Read More →

Microsoft tablets that put the fun in functional

14469697956_7cb0aa01e7_hDespite the fact that global sales of PCs and laptops are in decline, several consumers still require functional, practical and workaday machines, which can perform more tasks than standard touchscreen tablets. 

Thankfully, Microsoft’s range of Surface devices makes this possible and you can pick one up at stores including Tesco and popular electrical retailers. In addition to their lightweight construction and expansive displays, they also feature comprehensive operating systems and various input methods. Here’s the full lowdown on all three models:

 

Surface 2

Full of features and incredibly good value for money, the Surface 2 might well be Microsoft’s entry-level tablet, but it still packs an impressive punch. Boasting a 1.7 GHz processor, Nvidia Tegra 4 chip, 2GB of RAM and a 10.6-inch screen, the Surface 2 can deal with a multitude of tasks and applications. When you add into the bargain a two-position kickstand, USB 3, MicroSD slot and Microsoft Office with Outlook as standard, it quickly becomes the best option for those on a budget.  

 

Surface Pro 2

Perhaps the ultimate tablet for professions that require portability and power, the Surface Pro 2 has everything you could possibly need. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 526GB of storage and the option of Microsoft’s entire Office Suite, this particular device takes all the benefits of a PC or laptop but manages to fit it in a truly attractive package weighing just 900 grams. Even so, it features a multitude of connections, commendable battery life and a full HD display. 

 

Surface Pro 3

The latest and possibly greatest tablet offering from Microsoft is the Surface Pro 3. On first impressions, the tablet’s look and feel is difficult to ignore, as the substantial 12-inch display and sleek magnesium frame are outstanding. But it gets better, as the Surface Pro 3 also comes with two 5MP HD cameras, stereo speakers featuring Dolby sound, a full-size keyboard and trackpad as well as a pressure-sensitive stylus. This means interacting with the pre-installed full version of Windows 8.1 is both easy and enjoyable.

So even if you’re looking for some fun from your tablet, you can get a great deal of functionality too with a Microsoft Surface device. Just be sure to choose a tablet that’s right for you and meets your requirements.

Image by Scott Akerman, used under the Creative Commons license.

 

 

Posted in: Editorial, Laptops, Tablets
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 September 3, 2014 Read More →

Beefy Bay Trail Toshiba Chromebook on it’s way

imgresA new Bay Trail Toshiba Chromebook is on it’s way. Two separate models are being prepared for a launch this side of Christmas, each with varying screen resolutions and RAM configurations. The cheaper of the pair comes with 2GB RAM, a standard HD (1366×768) resolution and 11 hour battery life (better than the 10.5 we were expecting). Priced at $249.99 (US) makes this more than competitive with similarly spec’d Bay Trail devices.

The second has a more generous 4GB of RAM plus a full HD (1920×1080) resolution. The increase in pixels being pushed means an increase in the power required to do so. As such, this model packs in a shorter battery life of ‘just’ 9 hours. MSRP for this model is $329.99 (US). The release date being touted by Toshiba is November. It’s is expected they shall begin shipping sooner, hopefully.

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
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