Archive for December, 2012

Toshiba Satellite U940 Review (U945 in the USA)

Toshiba U940 U945 (25)

When I first had hands-on with the Toshiba U940 I was a little worried that it might be built too cheaply. The casing and styling weren’t exactly top-of-the-range but it turns out that Toshiba have put together quite an honest package here. Don’t judge an Ultrabook by the cover because the Toshiba U940 has some unique features and good all-round performance. Read-on to find out more.

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Ultrabook Convertible Developer Guidelines

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As part of our continuing co-op with Intel on highlighting interesting and useful Ultrabook resources we’ve got another bunch of info for software developers this week – a very useful guide to designing for Ultrabook Convertibles.

Related software development articles:

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Ultrabook Convertible vs Clovertrail Convertible in Application Performance Test

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We focus on Ultrabooks here but also keep a close track on what’s happening in the ultra mobile PC space through our work with UMPCPortal. For some people it’s more important to be mobile with all-day, all-scenario capability at the expense of processing power or speed. For others, the most important thing is to be able to carry desktop power and that’s where a Core-based Utrabook comes in. But how big is the difference in platform performance? I’ve had a Atom-Clovertrail based tablet convertible for a few weeks now and so I took the chance to test it alongside an Ultrabook convertible – the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist. Both devices have strengths, and weaknesses.

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MSI S20 Slidebook Now Shipping

MSI S20

In my regular check of availability for Windows 8 tablets and Ultrabooks I found a couple of interesting new products. The HP Envy X2 and ASUS Vivo Tab are now shipping but these are CloverTrail dockable tablets that won’t really interest anyone looking for desktop-level performance (see UMPCPortal.com for more.) For those looking for some touchscreen Windows 8 mobility with a ‘Core’ inside though, check out the MSI S20 i546 a slider with an 11.6” FullHD screen and a weight of just 1.16KG. Loaded with a Core i5 and 128GB of SSD this little gem is shipping in a number of countries in Europe now.

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Ultrabook Performance and Responsiveness Tested. PDF Report Available.

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As part of our continuing co-op with Intel on highlighting interesting and useful resources from our favorite Ultrabook-related company (!) we’ve got a 3rd party report for you that highlights the responsiveness and performance characteristics of an Ultrabook compared to previous generation laptops.

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ASUS VariDrive – Display and DVD Dock in Zenbook Style

Until WiGig docks take off next year the only thing Ultrabook users can use are the USB3.0 docks that are available from Toshiba, Lenovo and others. The problem with those is that they were designed for bigger laptops and assume you’ve already got a DVD drive. The ASUS VariDrive solves that problem.

VariDrive

Gigabit Ethernet, Dual display outputs, USB3.0 hub and DVD drive in one. The only thing that is missing is an analogue audio in and out port for those Skype headphones.

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A Peek Inside the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro + First Customer Feedback

Ativ SmartPC ProCompetitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro (and 4 other Core-based dockables,) the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro / 700T / XE700 hasn’t exactly got the market to itself but given Samsung’s history of making tablets we think they have a good chance of being one of the most popular brands in the category and when Samsung posts details about what’s going inside the SmartPC Pro you get the impression they have some confidence too.

Check out some of the key features inside the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro below and read-on for information on the first owner-feedback.

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Implementing Sensors in Ultrabook Desktop Applications

camera-newAs part of our continuing work with Intel to highlight interesting software and developer demos, techniques and tools for Ultrabooks running Windows 8 we’ve got something here that would interest software developers looking at integrating media, social and sensor into their Windows 8 desktop software.

Hopefully, as a developer, you’re aware that some Windows 8 Ultrabooks have sensor integration. Sensors include cameras, GPS, NFC, touch, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, accelerometer and electronic compass. If you’re interested in this area, check out a really detailed tutorial with information and code pack from Intel – Ultrabook™ Desktop Applications Development on Windows* 8: Photo Application with Touch and Sensors The how-to shows how you can implement some of the new sensor features in your Windows 8 desktop application.

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Ultrabook and Touch Hangout Video

Lenovo Thinkpad Twist (36)  The Live video is over but it’s embedded below. I must say that the session didn’t go as planned. At some point the URL got changed and people couldn’t get into the Hangout. Maybe we’ll try again soon but it was certainly not as good as the Ustream sessions we’ve run where people like to chat and don’t need to put their face up on video. I’ll look into restoring the original method.
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Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Review

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Business and pleasure mixed into a fun and inspirational package. The touch-swivel Windows 8 Lenovo Thinkpad Twist is a solid performer with an excellent working fascia for many scenarios. It’s not a consumer tablet though and there are one or two characteristics to be aware of but at a starting price of $899 for a Core i5 variant (959 Euro, 899 Euro street price) we think it offers solid value for money.

Read the full review…

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Acer W700 Win8 Core Tablet – First Reviews Are In

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Although there are a number of slider and rotating screen Ultrabooks out there it’s the dockable slates that seem to interest the readers here the most. The Samsung XE700 / Smart PC Pro is available in a number of location now but it’s the Acer Iconia W700 that get’s the first round of reviews. Laptop Magazine and CNet have published their thoughts so make sure you read these to get a feel for weight, battery life, performance and features for this new phase of Window Tablet PCs.

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Toshiba Satellite U940 First Impressions, Tests, Video. Great News So Far for this Value Ultrabook

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I thought we’d be getting a Toshiba U920T Slider Touchscreen Windows 8 Ultrabook through the post this week but I was wrong. It wasn’t until the video unboxing that I found out it was actually the ‘budget’ Toshiba Satellite U940 (U945 in the USA.) I’ve left the out-take in the overview video below. What we’ve ended up with is more than just a surprise, it’s a surprise pleasure because after only half a day of testing it’s clear that this is a well balanced Ultrabook with a few almost unique and very usable features.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Starts at $1499, Shipping 22 Dec

The upgrade from non-touch to Windows 8 touch is one you’ll see on a lot of models over the next year. It’s a relatively easy upgrade for manufacturers to make that expands their ranges out into the new touch-enabled market. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is the latest to get the treatment. Order the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Touch today and you could be swiping and pinching your way through the holidays later this month.

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NEC Lavie Z Unboxing — The World’s Lightest Ultrabook

We finally got our hands on the NEC LaVie Z which is the world’s lightest 13″ Ultrabook. In fact, at 875 grams, it’s even lighter than most 11.6″ Ultrabooks! Thanks to our pals at Dynamism, who handle importing products like the Lavie Z that aren’t otherwise available in the US, we have an unboxing and forthcoming review of the LaVie Z for you.

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Ultrabook Deals: ASUS S56 – $499 Ivy Bridge Ultrabook and more offers at Amazon US

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[US-focused post.]

$499 Ultrabooks are not just for Black Friday and Cyber Monday because there’s another $499 Ultrabook on offer at Amazon.com today that proves it. The Asus S56 with 1.8Ghz Core i3 Ivy Bridge and 500GB hybrid HDD. I’ve also listed some other good offers at Amazon.com today.

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