The Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 delivers a new level of unrivalled versatility for mobile business computing as the first fully rugged detachable notebook. Offering the best of all worlds for mobile workers, the Toughbook can be used in 6 different modes to meet every business need. With its glove enabled touchscreen, up to 14 hour hot swappable battery life and purpose-built Vehicle Mount and Desktop Port Replicator, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 is an unrivalled rugged mobile business tool.
Kitted out with a powerful Intel® Core™ m5-6Y57 vPro™ and running Windows 10 Pro this Toughbook manages to include the Intel® HD Graphics 515 chip and a 10.1” high brightness WUXGA (1920×1200) display featuring a capacitive 10 finger, glove enabled multi-touchscreen. Panasonic’s test show the computer can survive a 120cm drop and comes with Water and dust resistance factor or IP65.
Christmas is normally a time that folks start looking for a cheaper tablet to appease a younger child or to slip down the side of an armchair for quick usage and there are a bunch of online lists of the best tablet to grab for not too little money. Over the has couple of years the Tesco Hudl has usually been the all rounder that many would pick up however this year there is no refresh and the Hudl name is a thing of the past.
This creates a gap in the market and there will be a flurry of tablets fighting to be the hit this year. From this tech enthusiast I would recommend avoiding the unknown and going with the trusted. Looking around the options there is no tablet that really ticks all the boxes however one tablet gets very close, it’s from Asus.
Having impressed everyone for the last few years, admittedly with Google supporting them, with the Nexus 7 devices Asus know how to put together a winning package. Some of their ventures between the Nexus 7 2013 and now have been a little forgettable however they are back with the Zenpad range and I urge you to check them out.
Most manufacturers will fill their devices with tech and you will have little to no option save for some storage options depending on your location. Asus have gone the other way with a confusing array of differing tablets that will fit your desired spec without inflating the price too much.
At the lower end is the £80 Zenpad C Intel Atom X3 processor with 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB ROM. Moving up through various different price bands and losing the C there is a Zenpad 7 and 8 with a base model spec increase with 2-4gb of RAM, 16,32 and 64gb of storage and display sizes of 7, 8 and 10” inch size. You will have to spend some time to get your desired spec.
There is also a high end option called the Zenpad S that seems to have the strongest spec options however lacks the customisable hardware we will be looking at next.
The extended battery comes with a simple, yet funny charge adaptor that clicks onto the battery with little fuss. I would suggest it is easy to lose based entirely on size however it does provide a handy alternative to using the tablet to charge the extended battery. In a sense you do never need to charge the tablet if you were to make full use of the extended battery every other day. Combined we are looking at roughly 14 hours of continual use or over a week of standby. The little adapter that magnetically grips the extended battery cover and charges it independently, hardly a fast charge I clocked a full charge at 5 hours.
One additional add-on is the ASUS Audio Cover, a simple folio cover with an over-the-top cinematic, 5.1-channel surround sound built in providing the ZenPad with DTS-HD Premium Sound and SonicMaster technology provide further enhancement. I’m not sure where this might be useful however I love it exists. In saying that I would probably want to be able to use it everywhere.
One issue I would have is the alternate cover. I would have been fairly annoyed having purchased it as the clips are broken having removed it once. Given the nature of the extended battery the covers should have a more durable fitting method.
The tablet has a very standard layout, aside from the lines of the back cover. Here is a little gallery of the device’s notable edges:
Below is a video illustration of the Asus Zenpad benchmark scores and compared again a high end Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. The Zenpad has a decent amount of power inside to keep things ticking over and for the money I hope to see if stand up well against an ageing super beast of a tablet, in saying that the innards of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 are almost identical to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
Asus have also included a fairly heavy overlay. This doesn’t intrude as much as Samsung’s Touchwiz or HTC’s Sense UI, instead it adds a number of features for helping the user get more from the device’s settings.
Take, for example, the screen settings. Ordinarily Android offers the ability to adjust the screen brightness with sensors above the screen measuring the direct light on the screen. In a step forward manufacturers have taken the brightness and contrast settings and allowed the user to pick from different settings to customise the look of the screen’s colour palette. Asus have taken another step again allowing a massive amount of freedom in boosting and subduing the colour palette to get the most out of the screen. Adding filters to help reading in the dark and reduce eye fatigue.
The screen is good. Using a Samsung Galaxy Tab S as my main tablet I am spoiled when it comes to screen tech in my life. The Zenpad, doesn’t quite measure up yet I would find it difficult to fault. The IPS display works well, has great brightness and contrast levels alongside some commendable colour representation. Movies and games look very well and there is no evidence of a limited viewing angle. The Tru2life additions give great options for the user to get the most out of the screen alongside some presets that enhance the most basic experiences.
Android 5.0.2 is whats at play here. Far from stock as the Zen User Interface is in full swing. Whilst I had initially thought Asus had really taken strides to enhance the user experience on the tablet I realised quite quickly that the Zen UI is for the Zen range as there are tools and options that are really designed for the Zenfone and there is no way they would put the level of effort into a camera application as they have here for such a poor camera optic.
The Camera isn’t terrible, however it’s about as far from award winning as you could get and falls in line with the majority of tablet cameras. Fit for purpose, little more. The front facing will work for video calls and the lesser quality will help disguise blemishes and not-quite-so-beauty spots better than most smoothing options. Yet those beautification additions are resident, turning the user into a mannequin, an obvious leftover for a better camera on the Zenfone.
Video quality is pretty bad and there do seem to be some bugs with the camera software itself when rotating the device. There are only two options for the camera, SD or 720 HD. Both feature a large amount of image fragmentions.
The front facing speaker is a welcome addition, there is only one however it proves to be loud and whilst hardly amazing quality will provide a decent output for sound when watching a video or playing a game. The user won’t accidentally cover the speaker but it would have really been a step up had there been a second speaker on the other side of the screen.
There is a bit of bloatware on the device, something I am not a fan of, especially when dealing with a 16gb were only 9gb being available. Most of the pre-populated apps are Asus’s own however the odd app like Trip Advisor pops up and isn’t removable. It can be hidden however it’s still there, and that bugs me.
In all the Zenpad range is a truly welcome move and entry to the market. Priced nicely with echoes of the Nexus 7 legacy here and there and no real compromises with the hardware. You are getting what you pay for and knowing upfront how well it should really operate. This is the device to replace an aging Hudl, a kids beaten up cheapie or something to slide down the side of the sofa for quick reference.
Belkin, the leader in mobile accessories, today announced the Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2. Weighing a mere 370g, the QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard case is the lightest keyboard in Belkin’s collection of premium tablet keyboards.
Designed for iPad Air 2, the QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case features a protective case, aluminium keyboard, and advanced power management feature to preserve the battery life of the keyboard. These key features enhance the tablet experience without compromising the design or weight of the keyboard.
The Ultimate Lite’s aluminium keyboard is designed with well-spaced and responsive keys to create a laptop-like typing experience, making it faster and more accurate for users.
This versatile protective case wraps around the iPad for full protection, and has convenient cutouts for access to all the tablet’s ports and buttons. This means users can charge their tablet or snap a picture without the hassle of removing the iPad Air 2 cover. It effortlessly folds into landscape or portrait mode for watching movies or presenting.
Asus have been quietly releasing a slew of tablets and it would appear there is one for every taste on the market. If you have the patience you could track down every spec you desire in a tablet and not have to pay through the nose for it.
Here we take a look at one of the variants in the range. the Asus Zenpad 8.0 with the optional Power Case adapter to expand the battery life by an extra 10 – 13 hours with very little compromise.
In the inital unboxing there is a little confusion about the specs. Spending some time with the device, it is specced out as follows:
OS – Android 5.0 Lollipop Processor – Intel Atom x3-C3200 Quad-core Screen – IPS LCD 8.0 inches, 72.2% screen-to-body ratio, 800 x 1280 pixels, 189 ppi pixel density Storage – 16 GB + microSD up to 64 GB RAM – 2 GB GPU – Mali-450MP4 Front Camera – 5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus Rear Camera – 2 MP, 1600 x 1200 pixels
There has been a lot of speculation about the Pixel C over the last day or so and now we know whats what. The Pixel C is to have a 10.2-inch, with a 308 PPI touch display. The under the hood is NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 processor with Maxwell GPU and will come with either 32 or 64 GB storage options. With 3GB of RAM onboard this is likely to be the fast tablet running Android. Yes, the Pixel C runs Android over ChromeOS, a staple of the Pixel name in the past. In keeping with the Pixel Chromebooks the C has a the lightbar.
Pixel C’s keyboard is a interesting feature. It attaches to the tablet magnetically, and connects via Bluetooth. The tablet has proximity sensors for the keyboard, it is aware of when it’s tucked away behind the device and when it is out and ready for use. The tablet will also inductively charge the keyboard when closed.
So what is with the OS switch under the Pixel name? Are Google bring ChromeOS to an end? Not likely, ChromeOS is a very big player in the education industry. Chromebooks have rolled out by the bucket load in schools all across the world. They are a success, you and your friends might not have one however there is a dedicated and loyal following. Like it or not, Cloud operating systems are the future and Google will not be letting go of their just yet.
My theory with the Pixel name is manufacturing. Google publicly announces partnerships for the manufacturing of its Nexus phones and tablets however Google has not disclosed its manufacturing sub-contractor for the Chromebook Pixel. Mirroring this with the Pixel C Google have been silent about the manufacturer. Had this been a collaboration with Asus or Huawei the tablet might have been a Nexus instead.
The Pixel C will be available in the coming months, and will cost $499 for the 32GB and $599 for 64GB, with the keyboard accessory costing $150.
Rumours are afoot that Google is to launch a new Pixel device in the coming months, not running Chrome OS. It will be a 10.2-inch Android tablet with detachable keyboard and marketed as the ‘Pixel C’. A new Pixel tablet is said to be designed by Google, made from high-grade parts and might be arriving in the next couple of months.
The Pixel C, code named Ryu, will have a 10.2-inch display with 308ppi and a super-bright back light capable of 500 nits. Inside there’s an NVIDIA X1 quad-core processor and Maxwell GPU. This is supplemented by 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
The build quality will continue to feel like a Pixel, which have all offered metal designs and gorgeous screens. The tablet will look like the existing laptops, just minus the keyboard.
A little bit of brand confusion to shake things up. Google has a line of Android tablets called Nexus, the Pixel name has always been synonymous with Chrome, why meddle with that… unless is dual boots ChromeOS and Android 6.0?
Cutting a very familiar design the Archos Diamond Tab is a cheaper 8″ tablet with a few interesting aspects. It has a 7.9-inch 2,048×1,536 IPS touchscreen, a 5 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front-facing unit, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and a 4,800 mAh battery. It’s powered by MediaTek’s MT8752 64-bit chipset boasting a 1.7 GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU. Cat.4 LTE is in, with theoretical peak download speeds of up to 150Mbps, and you also get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The tablet runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. Its dimensions are 202 x 134 x 7.8 mm, and it weighs 360g. The Archos Diamond Tab will become available in October for £179, which a great price!
Lenovo have come up with an option for those Microsoft Surface Pro lovers out there who are finding it too expensive to justify. With prices starting around $700 the Miix 700 covers much of the same ground, without the killer i3, i5 and i7 processor options. Instead, Lenovo have chosen the Core M7 to keep things moving. An impressive hinge mechanism helps with some of the limitations of the Surface Pro’s read angle on the desktop and lap.
Processor: Intel Core M7 processor (the latest Skylake version)
Screen: 12” 2160 x 1440
RAM: 8 GB
ROM: up to 256 GB SSD + microSD card up to 128gb
Battery: Up to 9 hours
OS: Windows 10
Camera: Optional Real Sense 3D camera
Networks: Optional LTE
Connections: USB 2.0 microUSB
Killer feature: $700 is a lot less than a similarly specced Surface Pro 3
Lenovo has updated its line of signature Android tablets this year at IFA 2015 and announcing this Yoga Tab 3 8 inch version. This third incarnation of the Yoga tablet, known for the rounded chamber along on edge of the tablet, inherits many of the previous lines beloved quirks, alongside some new ideas. For example the kickstand is now push-button activated, allowing for a little one handed usage and Lenovo’s “AnyPen” technology that lets you interact with the screen using a writing implement.