Surface, Tablet PC, iPad & Notebook News, Reviews,Comparisons, Software and Accessories
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May 2, 2016
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Surface Dock firmware released
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Surface Dock got some love recently in the April firmware update. To be completely honest, the updates are not of the significant variety, but we do not recommend skipping them because they are designed to improve.
The Surface Pro 3 is probably the first Surface that knocked it out of the park with solid specification and design.
The following are description of the updates:
Surface Pro 3 devices with Windows 10 update:
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.
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