Tablet PC, iPad, Surface, Notebook News, Reviews,Comparisons, Software and Accessories
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May 27, 2015
Almost without exception, tablets with decent specs have clocked in at the same price as the iPad, or higher, so why wouldn’t you choose the market-leading Apple product? The main exception, by the way, is Tesco’s brilliant Hudl2 which offers a very strong experience for a tiny price.
The latest tablet is Sony’s and it’s a real winner – it’s not out yet but I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and it’s highly impressive. The screen, at 10.1 inches is a little bigger than the iPad Air 2 and like Apple’s beauty, this is wafer-thin (6.1mm). But because the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is clad in polycarbonate as against Apple’s aluminium jacket, this is a much lighter gadget. It weighs 393g against 437g or so for the iPad Air 2.
This weight difference is very noticeable. And since one of the factors which determines how much a tablet is used outside the house is how portable it feels, this is a big deal.
Sony’s top-end phones and tablets have a unique extra: they’re waterproof. The ingress protection rating, if you’re interested, is IP68. The first figure refers to dust protection and six is the highest rating, signifying it is dust-tight. The second digit defines water resistance and eight is as high as it goes, so this a gadget you can immerse in water. Handy if you plan to watch movies in the bath, send emails by the pool or use the iPad as a recipe guide during cooking. It’ll just rinse clean after you’ve finished.
Now that May is almost over, it is unlikely that Microsoft would still pull off a surprise and launch the Surface Pro 4.
It is thus very likely that Microsoft would be launching the latest iteration to its hybrid device in July, which happens to be the same month that the company will be launching its Window 10 desktop and mobile operating system.
The timing is perfect for the Surface Pro 4 since it has been reported earlier that it would most likely came out of the box with the Windows 10 already onboard. Had it launched in May or earlier, it is highly unlikely that it will have the Windows 10 on it and shall probably have the problematic Windows 8.1 onboard.
As there is no official confirmation yet from Microsoft about the possible launching date of its Surface Pro 4, these initial reports are considered as merely speculations.
May 26, 2015
I’ve recently unboxed a brand new Surface 3 and Surface Pen, and was relieved to see that they survived the transcontinental trip they took to get to me. I could write with the Surface Pen, but for some reason, the OneNote button on the pen didn’t do anything. Clicking it once didn’t launch OneNote, and double-clicking it didn’t take a screenshot like it would in the Surface commercials I’ve seen.
A quick search finally revealed that the Surface 3 will not prompt you to pair the Surface Pen via Bluetooth during Windows setup, like it would with the Surface Pro 3. This is understandable as the Surface Pen is not bundled with the Surface 3 like it is with the Pro 3.
To pair the Surface Pen, you need to swipe the Charms menu out from the right-edge of the screen, tap Settings, Change PC Settings, PC and Devices, Bluetooth, and ensure that Bluetooth is turned on.
If a Surface Pen is already listed, you’ll need to click it, then click Remove Device. If it isn’t, then you’ll need to hold down the top button on the Surface Pen for seven seconds until a light on the pen begins to flash. The Surface Pen should shortly appear in the list of Bluetooth devices on the Surface 3. Simply click it, then click Pair and that’s it, the Surface Pen should now be paired to your Surface 3.
Using the Surface app, you can customize the top button on the Surface Pen to launch either the desktop or Modern versions of OneNote, whichever you prefer.
In any direct comparison, the Core-powered Surface Pro 3 wins, hands down. As they stated, “the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a premium device and an exceptional piece of hardware.” Adding, “performance is top notch, and when coupled with a keyboard cover and pen, it’s the most productive tablet on the market.”
But starting at a base price of $799 without its iconic keyboard cover, it’s pricey. It’s also too much computer for those only concerned with browsing the web, checking email, and light productivity work.
Starting at $499, the Surface 3 is a better fit for these users. It’s a bit smaller than the Pro 3, owing to its fanless design, but sports the same high-quality build and display. Microsoft ditched Windows RT and ARM in favor of 64-bit Windows 8.1 and a fifth-generation Intel Atom processor, which proves more than capable of handling moderate tasks.
In fact, the team heaped plenty of praise on the Surface 3, calling it a “premium device,” and claiming that it’s “well worth the $499 base price, even in a market awash in cheaper alternatives.”
So which device is best for you, and given that Microsoft sells various configurations of each, which is the best buy? Should those considering the most powerful Surface 3 (1.6GHz Intel Atom x7-Z8700 processor with Intel Burst technology up to 2.4GHz, 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage) at $599 instead opt for the least powerful Surface Pro 3 (1.5GHz Intel Core i3 with Intel HD Graphics 4200, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB storage) for $799?
May 25, 2015
May 22, 2015
Summary:While phones come and go, I purchased my Surface Pro 3 last year and it is my constant companion. Here's why.
Computers are tools that help us get things done with efficiency. We use them for work, and sometimes for play, but most people I know don't have any special affinity for their computer. My feelings have changed thanks to the Surface Pro 3 and I actually look forward to using it every day.
It is the best computer I have ever purchased.
I bought my Surface Pro 3 in May 2014 and it quickly became my primary computer for my home office, while accompanying me on 20 out-of-town trips. It's my only tablet, with an iPad Mini and Nexus 9 coming and going because they were redundant and offered less. I've used my Surface Pro 3 in a number of different ways and in different situations so let me take you through my last year of usage.
Apple Working On 12-Inch iPad, According To Report
Apple is working on a new 12-inch model of the iPad that would include a long list of features that the smaller 9.7 inch and 7.9 inch iPads lack, such as the ability to view two apps simultaneously and a multiple login feature, according to 9to5Mac.
he report says that Apple is developing a new version of IOS to run on the tablets that will enable users to make the most of the larger 12-inch screen size. It's also going to allow users to view two apps side-by-side on the larger tablets and provide redesigned versions of Siri and its notifications center. The new iPads will also allow multiple users to log in, which means that more than one user can share a device and at the same time, get their own customized apps and data on the tablet when they sign in with their username.
May 21, 2015
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Microsoft Surface 3
Let’s get this out of the way first. Taking cost out of the equation, the Surface Pro 3 is better than the still-excellent Surface 3 by any reasonable measure. Both devices have similar designs and features, but you can just do more with a Pro 3, owing to its more powerful processor.
All things being equal, the Surface Pro 3 wins, hands down. In fact, even one year since launching, the Surface Pro 3 beats nearly every other general computing device on market.
But all things aren’t equal, particularly price tags. The Surface 3 costs considerably less than the Surface Pro 3. Granted, this doesn’t matter for some users. They need a machine that can handle pro-level image editing or complex professional software. For these users, the Pro 3 is it. For everyone else, the Joes and Janes that need an everyday computer for work, school and play, the question is whether the differences justify the dollars.
The Surface 3 and Pro 3 look nearly identical, and have similar design features… for the most part. The Surface 3 is about 10% smaller, and about 0.4 pounds lighter, which is about the weight of an average smartphone.
Both devices look great, and sport the same magnesium build that we love so much. The Surface 3 and Pro 3 are two of the best-built devices on the market, no doubt.
'Samsung Flow' Provides Seamless File Transfer Like 'Apple Continuity': Available Now
Launched in November 2014, Samsung Flow is now available for download via the Google Play store. Notably, the Flow is the Samsung equivalent of Apple’s Continuity. This new system will reportedly boost communication flow between various Samsung smartphones, tablets, phablets and TV sets.
In an age where every individual uses multiple devices to get through a given day, “file transfer” is an important function. This is where Samsung Flow comes into play. It is currently available as a beta version to ease the process of file transfer between a slew of compatible Samsung devices. This system also guarantees seamless integration between devices -- with no interruptions.
Technically, Phone Arena says, the Samsung Flow can be split into three major categories:
1. Transfer: Helps in transferring content between Samsung devices.
2. Defer: Helps in syncing tasks between Samsung devices.
3. Notify: Helps in sharing notifications between Samsung devices.
However, it is worth mentioning that, the last category, “Notify,” apparently does not work in the beta version.
Readers should note that Samsung Flow will apparently not work with every Samsung device. But here is a list of Flow-compatible smartphones: Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 4 Edge. The Galaxy Tab S is reportedly the only compatible tablet, at this point.
Best Buy has the best deals by far for tablets (probably because it's an electronic store). Customers will see deals like $50 off the 16GB Apple iPad mini, $100 off the Samsung Galaxy Tab S and select tablets starting from $49.99. Although these aren't necessarily tablets, there will also be a signifcant sale on touchscreen laptops from Lenovo, Dell and Toshiba. Check out all the Best Buy tablet sales here.
CowBoom has the Pre-Owned Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Intel i5 128GB 2160x1440 12" Tablet for a low $599.99 Free Shipping. Tax in most states. This model sells for $999 new everywhere else so jump on this deal while it last.
Apple Store has the Apple Certified Refurbished Apple iPad Retina Display Tablets w/ 1-Year Warranty in their Refurbished section. All iPads have been tested, certified with a new serial number and include a brand new battery and outer shell. Free Shipping.
May 20, 2015
Summary:Microsoft is making available firmware updates this month for its Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 tablets running Windows 8.1.
Microsoft has made available May firmware updates for its Intel-based Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 tablets.
Thanks to a tweet from @RodTrent, I found the new firmware mentions on the Surface Update History pages.
The Surface Pro 3 updates, which are listed as "System Firmware Update - 5/19/2015" in update history -- include:
Smartphone or tablets are essentially portable music players so here is how to transfer your iTunes library to an Android phone or tablet. You can either copy the music directly to a device with a cable or upload songs to Google Play Music making them available to stream to any device without taking up storage.
So you've got an Android smartphone or tablet and want to listen to your amazing music collection on it, but how on earth do you get your library from your computer to your Android device? See also: Stop Android apps automatically updating.
Luckily the process is fairly simple because Android devices appear on computers as storage volumes just like a USB stick. You'll need a microUSB to regular USB cable for this which is normally supplied with any new device.
How to transfer iTunes library to Android phone
Plug your Android phone (or tablet) into your PC. You may need to tell the phone to operate in MTP mode for transferring
May 19, 2015
In this video, I show the ultimate collection of Surface 3 tips and tricks! I show the use of gestures, charging with a battery pack, using the microUSB port as a data port, using a USB docking station, multitasking (video game + 2 movies) on multiple monitors, using a variety of devices, including wireless mouse, keyboard, Xbox controller, external DVD drive, and more! I also show hands-free voice control, multiple accounts (kid account), wireless casting media to an Xbox, and wirelessly mirroring and extending the Surface 3 screen to a TV. Be prepared to be blown away!
Summary: Microsoft's relatively affordable Atom x7-powered Surface 3 can 'work like a laptop when you need it', so long as you stick to mainstream workloads and remember that a keyboard is an extra-cost option.
The Surface range's angular look-and-feel and solid magnesium-cased construction continues the Surface 3, which consequently looks very familiar. There a few new elements though. It's Microsoft's thinnest and lightest Surface, for instance, measuring 267mm wide by 187mm deep by 87mm thick and weighing 622g (or 10.52in. by 7.36in. by 0.34in. and 1.37lbs if you prefer). By contrast, the Surface Pro 3 checks in at 292.1mm by 201.4mm by 9.1mm and 800g (or 11.5in. by 7.93in. by 0.36in. and 1.76lbs). It may not be iPad Air 2-light (437g), but it's really no bother to carry in a travel bag.
Speaking of travel, mobile professionals will be pleased to note that charging is now via a Micro-USB port rather than the proprietary, and rather fiddly, magnetic connector of old (although, to be fair, the Surface Pro 3's implementation was an improvement). The supplied cable's Micro-USB connector incorporates an LED to show that it's plugged in, which is fine, although it would be better if it dimmed or turned off when the tablet is 100 percent charged as the light can be somewhat distracting, especially in low light. The 13W AC adapter has a single USB port.
May 18, 2015
Lighter than an iPad, waterproof and with an excellent keyboard accessory, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is Sony’s best yet
Sony’s Xperia Z4 Tablet is the Japanese firm’s best yet, with small bezels, a bright screen and a waterproof body – but it’s when you add a full keyboard that things start to get interesting.
Sony has a solid heritage in tablets with two excellent entries into the Z series before now. While they have failed to sell particularly well, they have been some of the best Android tablets available. In fact, they have only been let down by the poor amount of tablet-optimised software for Android. That app gap between Android tablets and Apple’s iPad no longer exists.
Sony’s big push for its new tablet is taking it into the crossover space between PCs and tablets. The firm has made a new Bluetooth keyboard into which the tablet slots. It has a fully angle-adjustable hinge and when docked in the thin and light keyboard the machine behaves like a laptop.
It’s one of the best tablet keyboards I’ve ever used. The keys are quite short, but are almost full width with good travel and feel. It has a trackpad at the bottom that invokes a traditional mouse cursor on screen, responds to multi-touch gestures and is responsive, making it useful for fine-grain control.
The keyboard has a separate battery and is changed by microUSB. When closed, it protects the screen and creates a very thin and light PC replacement. The keyboard weighs 365g, which makes the overall package, with the tablet, weigh just 758g: around 200g lighter than any laptop.
How to Choose the Right Tablet
While the tablet market’s explosive growth has benefitted consumers by providing them with more options and lower prices, it has also made it more difficult for shoppers to find the right tablet for their needs among all the various brands, styles, and sizes of tablets now available. Here are several major factors to consider when deciding which tablet is the right one for you.
Since tablets are operated through a touchscreen interface, the devices are typically used for tasks that don’t require lots of typing. For this reason, most people use their tablets for tasks such as reading email, playing video games, and watching movies. As a result, most tablets are designed with media consumption tasks in mind, rather than productivity tasks. Apple’s line of iPads and Amazon’s line of Kindle Fire tablets are two examples of tablet brands that are geared toward media consumption with access to large app and media stores.
However, there are some tablet models that are geared toward productivity tasks. Microsoft’s line of Surface tablets and other Windows-powered tablets may be the best tablets for productivity since many of them include full support for Microsoft’s desktop-based Windows software. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Office suite is also now available for both Apple’s iOS, as well as Android. If you are planning on using your tablet primarily for productivity tasks, you should make sure that the software you need is available on the tablet model you are interested in. Apple and Samsung — the two biggest tablet vendors in the world — have recently formed partnerships with IBM and BlackBerry, respectively, in order to improve their mobile apps and devices for enterprise users.
Finally, if you are buying a tablet for a child, you may want to consider the kid-friendly Nabi line of tablets made by Fuhu, or the Kids Edition versions of Amazon’s Fire HD tablets. Nabi’s tablets feature a special locked-down user interface designed for children, while the Fire HD Kids Edition tablets include a 2-year “worry-free guarantee” replacement warranty.
Those of you interested in Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 can save $150 off the price but only if you're game for the midrange model.
Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 website shows only one edition for sale -- namely the 1.9GHz Intel Core i5 model with 256 gigabytes of storage and 8GB of RAM. Normally selling for $1,299, that version is now up for grabs for $1,149. The other four models that remain at their normal retail prices, ranging from the 1.5GHz Intel Core i3 with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM to the 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 with 512GB of storage and 8GB of memory.
Microsoft has been promoting the Surface Pro 3 as a viable alternative to a traditional laptop, such as Apple's MacBook Air. This high-end edition offers a 12-inch screen and runs on an Intel Core processor. All Surface models come as standard tablets but can be used as laptops via the Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboards.
Asus Transformer Book Chi T100 review: A Windows 8 tablet to replace your laptop
Asus has been a leader in the market for two-in-one laptop/tablet hybrids since its first Transformers arrived in 2011 running Android.
The latest addition to the family, the Transformer Book Chi T100, has a 10.1in screen, runs Windows 8, and has a Bluetooth keyboard with the company's simplest docking system yet.
Calling the Chi T100 a laptop replacement depends entirely on what you already use your laptop for. If you're a power user then the answer is absolutely not - but for light users who don't demand too much more than the basics and are happy with a small screen, then it could be the all-in-one for you.
The hardware is very attractive, having full Windows on a small device is more useful than a hindrance, and the keyboard and trackpad feel closer to a laptop than many third-party alternatives - and better than some iPad docks, too.
I doubt many people could use the Asus Chi T100 as their only device, replacing both tablet and laptop, but for those who have a larger laptop at home or in the office, this makes for a compelling commuter tool.
What Is the Holy Grail of Laptop Design?
Historical purists would argue that pen computing and tablets actually were introduced in the early 1990s, which would be true. However, the pen computing era died about as fast as it came to market. And tablets did not gain any real industry acceptance until Gates gave his Comdex speech in which he declared a tablet the "future of portable computing."
I remember meeting with Gates in Redmond a few weeks after that speech, and he went on and on about how a tablet would redefine portable computing. In many ways, he was right but the technology was just not there to make tablets feasible. It took another 10 years for tablets to catch on, but instead of Gates leading the charge, it was Steve Jobs with the iPad.
For the first two years the iPad was on the market, many thought that tablets could replace laptops, which resulted in a PC sales slump. However, by last year, the market realized that tablets could not really replace laptops, especially for serious business productivity. While some tablets were great for use in vertical markets, most business folks went back to laptops as their core personal computing devices and tablet sales have declined.
But make no mistake, even with tablets in decline, they are here to stay and will most likely augment a business user's personal computing experience and continue to be great products for the family. However, in the world of business productivity, various vendors have started to rethink portable computing designs with 2-in-1s. They have introduced products like Lenovo's Yoga, a laptop with a screen that can flip back and turn into a tablet, and Microsoft' Surface, which is a tablet with a detachable keyboard.
May 15, 2015
According to the Apple website, the iPad Air 2 is powered by Cupertino's own 64-bit A8X chip working in tandem with an M8 motion coprocessor. Storage options include 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models. The latest Apple flagship tablet has a 9.7-inch Retina display with 2048 x 1536p resolution and 264ppi pixel density. It comes with a pair of 8MP iSight and 1.2MP FaceTime HD cameras. The iPad Air 2 runs iOS 8 out of the box.
By contrast, Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet specs listed on the company's website include a 2GHz 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM. There's up to 32GB of flash memory with support for up to 128GB microSD cards. The Xperia Z4 Tablet comes with a larger 10.1-inch 2560 x 1600p display. There's a pair of 8.1MP and 5.1MP cameras. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop from the get go.
Both devices opt for aluminum frames with "lovely rounded edges" but the Sony device goes for a "tactile matte finish on the back." While its rival is IP65 and IP68 water and dust proof, "the iPad Air 2 won't appreciate being dropped in the bath one little bit."
The Xperia Z4 Tablet also takes the win in terms of display. It has 299ppi pixel density vs the iPad Air 2's 264ppi. "In theory, this means the [former] has a sharper and crisper display than the [latter]."
Microsoft Surface 3 Review: Not Quite a Pro, But Premium Nonetheless
Quick Take Although it has a chipset commonly associated with budget tablets and notebooks, the Microsoft Surface 3 is still a premium device that is well worth the $499 base price, even in a market awash in cheaper alternatives.
The Surface 3 has a power button and volume rocker on the top of the device, along with the magnetic keyboard receptacle on the bottom. The right side features the mini DisplayPort, full-sized USB 3.0, and microUSB ports, just above the 3.5mm headphone jack. A microSD card slot hides underneath the kickstand.
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