Tag: review (page 1 of 9)

Qualcomm Hexagon 680 promises improved location, better photos, and more battery life


Qualcomm has developed a new digital signal processor chip called Hexagon 680. This is a mobile chip that is supposed to help prolong the battery life in your mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. The chip will also give you better location data, even if you are in a location without a powerful navigational signal. Plus, if you take pictures with the mobile device then it will give you a nicer blend of bright and dark imagery. New smartphones that offer camera improvements are usually big sellers. We have already seen that plenty of times with Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy phones. Therefore, it is very likely that Qualcomm’s new Hexagon 680 chip will be in many mobile devices in the years to come.

The Hexagon Vector eXtensions is what gives the Hexagon 680 all of its power. This added hardware is what helps the chip produce advance imagery when used in conjunction with the Qualcomm Spectra camera image sensor. When it is used with the Snapdragon 820 processor, the CPU will be able to perform three times faster while using only 10% of its normal power. Many smartphone manufacturers have been looking for ways to cut down the power consumption of their smartphones. The one thing that consumers always complain about with their mobile devices is the fact the battery runs out too fast. We live in the age where people want the most convenience possible. In terms of batteries, this means consumers want the batteries to charge their mobile devices for longer periods of time. The smartphone that can do this the best will win over consumers. But the secret lies in the CPU of the mobile device, which is why Qualcomm is constantly working on a way to perfect this. That way they can gain more partnerships with smartphone companies that would be willing to put Qualcomm’s chips into their devices.

Qualcomm is looking to make a comeback in the chip technology market. Rumors suggest they have already lost their partnership with Samsung, which is a major mobile technology maker. Qualcomm simply cannot afford to lose any more major partnerships or else it could be the end of their operations. But for now, things are looking very good with the news about their Hexagon 680 chip. As long as another chip company doesn’t come along and create something similar. Qualcomm’s chips should be around for years to come.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 armored and ugly

Virtually indestructible Toughpad FZ-G1 with Becrypt encryption software to keep things secure, Toughpad FZ-G1 may just be the choice for business tablet.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet (click)

Much like Panasonic Touchbook, this Toughpad tablet is bulky and unattractive portable computer. That is unless you are a government official and you need the extra protection, or an outdoor worker and you need to protect your data from stress, dust, and water.

Waterproof Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet

Waterproof Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet

Becrypt software with it’s DISK Protect CPA offers certified encryption even for US government use. The tablet boots into a secondary login page before it lets you enter. Panasonic received IP65 certification for Toughpad FZ-G1, which means that the tough tablet should withstand a drop from 13 feet (4 meters). In fact V3 in UK tried dropping this tablet and while Toughpad survived scratch-less, their floor incurred damage.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 sides

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 sides

The Toughpad measures an gigantic 10.63 x 7.40 x 0.75 inches (270 x 188 x 19mm) and weighs whole 2.43 pounds (1.1kg). The design is not to appeal the masses, but to protect the tablet from undesired elements and destruction. The metal casing has rubberized edges and ports are well hidden behind a metal flop. There is USB 3.0, and HDMI out port, 3.5mm Headphone jack. GPS and 4G LTE or 3G Gobi are optional.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 protected ports

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1’s protected ports

The tough tab sports decent hardware including Intel Core i5 vPro Ivy Bridge chip, Intel HD 4000 GPU and 4GB of RAM. The built in storage starts at 128GB SSD and there is a MicroSD card slot as well. The removable battery is of 4000mAh and it promises to give out 8 hours of average use before it needs to be charged. The connectivity is handled via WiFi 802.11a,b,g,n and Bluetooth 4.0.

The ToughPad features 10.1-inch WUXGA IPS LCD 10-point touch-screen with 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. The capacitive screen supports digitizing pen that comes with the tablet.

The operating software installed on Toughpad FZ-G1 is Windows 8 Pro.

In conclusion, Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 is a capable tablet for anyone in extreme conditions with decent hardware and superb data encryption software. Toughpad comes with 3 year warranty, but unless one needs the extra protection from either thieves, water, dust and stress, $3000 is a bit too much to pay for a tablet.

Toshiba Excite Write premium tablet

Toshiba is about to release Excite Write, Pro and Pure tablets tomorrow. Here is a quick rundown and pricing.

Toshiba Excite Write

Toshiba Excite Write (click)

Toshiba Excite Write is a premium tablet featuring NVidia’s newest Tegra 4 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. The basic storage is 16GB, although 32GB model is also available. Space can be enlarged via microSD card (up to 32 GB).

Toshiba Excite is 10.5mm thick, which is much thicker than say Xperia Tablet Z of 7mm. The thickness is a price Toshiba is willing to pay for top specced high res tablet with long lasting battery life. Excite Write has a gorgeous 10-inch digitizer-ready crisp PixelPure display with 2560 x 1600 pixels (299 ppi), which is even better than that of iPad 4 Retina (2048 × 1536). The Capacitive 10-finger touch-screen is well protected by Gorilla Glass 2.

The pen input is glitch-free with palm rejection technology at work. Note-taking app can be used to draw, sketch and scribble and save your concoction in numerous formats and send it to the world via Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, or other apps. TruNotes app can also be used to send, or upload your pics. Handwriting recognition is built-in so all your hand scribbles can easily be converted into a working document, which can be touched up on ThinkFree Office app before you send away.

Toshiba has a unique camera utility, which enables you to take a picture of say a blackboard, or far off presentation display at a very bad angle to then zoom in and edit your image. The rear camera is a superb autofocus 8 megapixel camera, which takes stills at 3264 x 2448 pixels.

Toshiba Excite Write Harman Kardon speakers

Toshiba Excite Write Harman Kardon speakers (click)

For the music lovers and demanding audio fine-schmeckers Toshiba offers two Harman Kardon speakers and “DTS Premium Voice Pro audio processing technology”.

The operating software is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and all apps are accessed on Google Play Store. The Non-removable battery is advertised to last 9.5 hours of moderate use.

Toshiba Excite Write ports

Toshiba Excite Write ports

There is various connectivity options available on Excite Write. Ports like, HDMI, microSD card slot, and micro-US are protected by a plastic lid. The tablet can connect to the internet via dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n.

Toshiba Excite Write starts selling tomorrow June 24th at ToshibaDirect.com for $599. The rest of the retail world gets it in July. Toshiba is also launching Toshiba Excite Pro and Toshiba Excite Pure tablets. The Pro tablet is essentially the same as Excite Write sans the digitizing pen capability and costs $100 less. Toshiba Excite Pure is the budget kind with last year’s Tegra 3 processor, 16GB of storage, 3 megapixel camera and 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display. Excite Pure starts at just $299.

Source: Liliputing

OS X 10.9 Mavericks features

Apple unveils the newest OS X 10.9 called “Mavericks”. Some of the key features include reduced power load, Shared Links, Finder Tags, Multiple displays, and iBooks.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Apple takes a curtain off of a brand new operating system called OS X 10.9 Mavericks. Apple is known to have superb power efficiency and this new OS isn’t going to disappoint. According to Apple, the Mavericks decreases the load on the processor by 72 percent. Inactive clusters are compressed to make way for running of apps and other tasks. The booting times from standby mode have apparently improved by 50 percent.

Much like the new iOS 7, the new Safari in OS X 10.9 features the continuous scroll of “Shared Links”, which are your friends’ and preset popular sites’ tweets. Next to Shared Links, user can find quick links to Bookmarks and Reading lists. Safari greatly diminishes the memory usage, thus saving battery. AppNaps feature enables pausing apps that are running in the background and draining battery juice.

The Search field now includes icons of popular sites for quick access.

Safari Shared links - OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Safari Shared links – OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Finder Tags

OS X 10.9 introduces new Finder Tags, which when used properly can help your Mac find just what you need.

OS X 10.9 Finder-tags

OS X 10.9 new Finder tags

You can now reply to all your iMessages directly from Notifications. If you find something interesting you can even start new FaceTime call by clicking on the contact in Notifications. The OS X 10.9 also enables synching all notifications that appear on your iOS devices.

Multiple displays are supported in the new OS. User can choose to add a display when you’re watching a TV show on AirPlay.

iCloud has a new Keychain, which safely stores your passwords and credit card info using 256-bit AES encryption.

iCalendar has been redesigned. The Apple Maps are now integrated and weather updates appear along with suggestions of cool locations.

In Apple Maps users can take advantage of new 3D fly-over feature as well as turn-by-turn navigation. The navigation instructions can then be sent directly to your iPhone.

iBooks os x 10.9 maverics

Following the Amazon suite, the new OS X 10.9 also features some 1.8 million iBooks available right in the iBooks marketplace. The Mavericks has special night-mode enabled to reduce the strain on your eyes.

The beta version of OS X 10.9 Mavericks is available for download now, but the full public version will not be available until fall.

Source: tnw

Oppo Find 5 review

Oppo Find 5

Oppo Find 5 (click)

The smartphone market is by large dominated by android OS and among the many makers Samsung, HTC, and LG are the biggest OEMs. In China there are few emerging companies that are growing fast and winning the hearts and minds of demanding customers. One of such makers in China is Oppo. OPPO’s flagship a 5-inch phablet called Oppo Find 5.

The Oppo Find 5 Smartphone features a 5-inch display with a 441ppi pixel density and a 1080p firmly set into a polycarbonate unibody. There are only few phones that boast this kind of displays. Samsung Galaxy S4 comes to mind as it sports the same 5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution.

The Find 5 is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core Qualcomm (APQ 8064) processor with Adreno 320 graphics and 2GB of LPDDR2 RAM. It is well equipped with a rear camera of 13 megapixels as well as the front-facing camera of up to 1.9 megapixels. The rear Exmor camera features f/2.2 lens, on-sensor HDR sensor and the video shooting at a speed of 120fps. It takes pictures of 4208 × 3120 pixels.



The new Oppo phablet runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating software with custom OPPO UI on top. A 9.5 Whr, 2500 mAh non-removable Li – Ion battery will get you through 17 hours of talk-time and couple of weeks of standby.

There is no LTE capability on Find 5 primarily because this phone was made for asian market and LTE isn’t yet in China and India has a very limited LTE coverage. In any case there is a strong dual-band Qualcomm WCN3660 WiFi 802.11abgn to enable the internet connection.

Oppo Find 5

Oppo Find 5

There is a cinema like Dirac HD audio in place as well.

You’d think we’re talking about an expensive phone here and you would be mistaken. Amazon sells an Unlocked International version of OPPO Find 5with 16GB storage for just $499. 16GB of built-in space may not look like much, but you can pick up a 64 GB SanDisk microSDXC card for $46.

For Oppo Find 5 handset’s benchmark tests see anadtech.

Samsung ATIV Book 7 ultrabook

Just before the release of Intel’s Haswell processor, Samsung is launching ATIV Book 7 ultrabooks with premium touchpad, 1080p screen, and SSD, but the Core i5 processor is still Ivy Bridge.

Samsung ATIV Book 7

Samsung ATIV Book 7

Samsung had refreshed its ATIV Books with LTE capability and 1080p display not too long ago. The premium ATIV Book 7, we first saw at CES in Las Vegas is making a debut and shipping for $1,060 with no configuration option. Samsung is likely to add Haswell cpu and other options like higher SSD, and RAM later.

The look and feel is premium, especially for a mid-range ultrabook such as Book 7. Though it is an ultrabook with 18.8 mm (0.74 inch) thickness, it is on the heavier side at 1.6 kg (3.64 lb).

The hardware available today is 1.8GHz Intel’s Core i5 chip, integrated Intel HD 4000 gpu with 4GB of RAM. The 128GB solid state drive starts up ATIV Book 7 in 8 seconds, writes in 137 MB/s speeds and reads on average in speeds of 545 MB/s, all better than average speeds for ultrabook. The noise is much lower than in most ultrabooks, certainly much lower than Toshiba Kirabook ultrabook.

Samsung ATIV Book 7 features a vibrant, but glossy 13.3-inch, 1080p display with 350-nit brightness. The sound requirements are ever so bigger than they used to be. Book 7 offers JBL stereo speakers.

Portwise the Book 7 is well equipped. There are two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, HDMI port, Kensington lock, headphone jack, and SD card reader.

The 57Wh battery promises 6 plus hours on a charge. In ultrabooks, this is about an average. New Intel Haswell processor launching on June 3rd is said to improve the battery life by 50 percent, so you may want to wait.

Samsung ATIV Book 7 has as most premium ultrabooks a backlit keyboard. Samsung’s keyboards are rarely targets of bad reviews. The craftsmanship is immaculate, the travel distance just right, the spacing and size of buttons as well. The trackpad is responsive and accurate.

 Samsung ATIV Book 7

Note: Samsung ATIV Book 7 is not to be mistaken for upgraded Samsung Series Chronos 7, which under new branding is called ATIV Book 8.

Check out engadget for benchmark comparisons of Book 7 and other current ultrabooks.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 – Review

The IdeaPad S405 from Lenovo boasts not just respectable entry level notebook with plenty of grunt for basic computing but a pretty design and quad-core processing to boot, at a very exciting price point.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

The appearance of hte IdeaPad S405 centres on its red display lid and brushed metal/black plastic insides and base. A few flourishes were sacrificed to bring it in at $699 – dual scroll is absent from the touch pad, there’s a bit of teeter on the lid if you aren’t careful, no physical volume control – but for all that it’s a good-looking machine with a clean design inside and out.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

Lenovo IdeaPad S405

Lenovo have installed a AMD A8 quad-core CPU to run proceedings, backed by 4GB of 1600MHz RAM, and an AMD Radeon 7460G GPU taking care of the visuals. Lenovo have installed a 5400rpm 500GB spinning disk for storage.

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 ports

Lenovo IdeaPad S405 ports (click)

As far as ports go, we get an HDMI interface, a couple of USB-2s and one USB-3 express-speed port, an SD card reader, but no optical drive for DVDs or any software you might have on disk.

Display-wise the 14-inch glossy screen has a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, giving decent brightness and contrast, but the display is never going to be professional artist-grade.

The 2MP webcam above the screen performs adequately for Skyping, with fair video capture, and reasonable color reproduction. Audio is fairly loud at maximum volume, but the usual caveats apply as to well-defined and full-bodied sound; speakers are a must for anything other than background accompaniment.

Performance-wise, the quad-core AMD A8 series is about equal to the last-gen Intel i3 range of CPUs – it’s suited to multi-tabbed surfing, 1080p video, office suites, and such like, but not to heavy graphical work or gaming. So you’ll have to look back a couple of years to find game titles playable on the S405, since current demanding games are beyond the notebook’s abilities, even with settings and resolution pared to the bone. But Angry Birds, Delta Force from 2009 or so, FIFA 12 – they’ll all play, and masses of heavy web pages won’t slow the Windows 8 OS, which runs smoothly and launches programs and apps quickly enough not for it be irksome.

Actually, there is also an Intel Core i3-powered version on sale, the Lenovo IdeaPad S400, which runs on a low-end second-gen Sandy Bridge chip, but it relies on the old HD standard for integrated graphical processing, so what it gains in basic computational oomph it loses in grpahical competence. Same price, but users are best off with this version, since the extra grpahical grunt will keep image-rich webpages loading briskly as ever more rich media content lands up on the net.

The One Touch Recovery button means nasty viruses and general slowdowns over time can be eradicated in a flash, which is another nice feature for anyone looking for convenient computing at a decent price. Battery life unfortunately is not strong – it just about reaches to 4 hours of surfing. But it’s a light and svelte notebook, it’s good looking, and it suffices for everyday tasks at a very reasonably price. Amazon has a couple of Lenovo IdeaPad S405 notebooks for just $371. You can’t beat this price!


HP ElitePad 900 – Review

ElitePad 900 Windows 8 Slate featuring NFC, 16×10 aspect ratio, and a full size HDMI is a decent choice for a businesses tablet, but there are better alternatives.

HP ElitePad 900

HP ElitePad 900 tablet

ElitePad 900 from HP arrives with HP’s marketing promise of being a tablet to meet the needs of both the office and home, and with a slick-looking aluminium unibody surface its defining aesthetic. The ElitePad 900 is 10.2-inches in length by 7 inches width and is 0.36 inches thick. It weighs 1.4 pounds. Standard of workmanship is fit for a CEO.

The ElitePad 900 sports a 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. That panel radiates 427 nits of brightness and compares favorably with the 389 nits beamed out by the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. The display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, for added durability.

Zipping along inside is an Atom Z2760 processor next to 2GB RAM, and Intel’s integrated Atom GMA graphical processor for graphics processing.

HP have installed a 64GB flash drive for storage. What we will note though is that the ElitePad 900 slumped to a surprisingly slow data transfer when copying a DVD from one folder to another – 9MB/s. But in other tests it kept pace with the category average for massive Excel look-ups, so maybe just a quirk.

HP ElitePad 900

HP ElitePad 900 tablet in a Docking Station (click)

Port selection on the tablet proper confined to a microSD card slot and a microSIM slot tucked away in the rear of the tablet; without any docking station the ElitePad lacks a means of USB transfer; colleagues would have to email a document rather than transfer via USB around the office. Though employees ought to know enough about email to use that as normal practice in any case, on a purely-for-speed consideration.

HP ElitePad 900 expansion jacket

HP ElitePad 900 expansion jacket

NFC capability also features, and dual-band WiFI and Bluetooth 4 make for rapid net connectivity. Then there’s the docking connectors, with docking stations one way of breaking the firm’s IT budget.

For $79 the ElitePad 900 can be paired up with the Expansion Jacket, which adds a pair of USB ports, HDMI socket, full-sized SD card and battery slot, all weighing in at 2lb – tablet included, without the said battery. The juice pack itself costs an extra $149. Confused yet?

HP ElitePad 900 Productivity Jacket

HP ElitePad 900 Productivity Jacket

Then there’s the Productivity Jacket for extra $199, which offers the same pair of USB-2 ports and SD slot, as well as a keyboard, but sans battery capability.

For cameras, the ElitePad 900 is equipped with a 2MP sensor out front and an 8MP camera around the back, both capable of 30fps 1080p video capture, and both reproducing colors accurately and vibrantly. The webcam is certainly sufficient for video-conferencing. The ElitePad 900 runs Windows 8 Professional as its operating system.

READ: Windows 8 review !

Battery runtime was outpaced by the Dell Latitude 10, the main competitor for the business dollar amongst Atom-powered W8 tablets, but anyone wanting more than 7 hours of surfing runtime probably can’t consider themselves to be ‘working’ in any normal sense of the word, but ever so slightly careful usage will get a full day’s battery life nonetheless. The NFC chip allows for SmartCard/RFID log-ins, and together with the availability of a production line-style storage rack for holding lots of tablets, means that for a fleet of W8 slates this is an excellent choice. But for an individual wanting a tablet for use in both the workplace and at leisure, the Dell Latitude 10 gets our vote.

PCmag has ElitePad 900’s benchmark test comparisons to other tablets in its class.

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