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Posts tagged ‘Tablet’

16
Sep
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​NVIDIA’s LTE Shield tablet is finally available for pre-order


If we were to cherry-pick one major fault from our NVIDIA Shield tablet review, it would definitely be the slate’s storage space — 16GB just isn’t enough for a device built for gaming and media consumption. If you were holding off until the company put out a larger capacity version, your day has come: NVIDIA just announced that the 32GB LTE variant of the Shield is now available for pre-order. $399 buys the unlocked LTE tablet in its own right, but NVIDIA tells us that AT&T will be offering it for $299 on contract.

We dropped by NVIDIA’s Santa Clara offices for a quick demo earlier this week and found exactly what we expected: last month’s gaming tablet with lighting fast wireless connectivity. Naturally, like most LTE devices under ideal conditions, it performed admirably — successfully streaming games from NVIDIA’s GRID and a remote PC over the cellular network. The company is also announcing the availability of three new Tegra K1 optimized games: Beach Buggy Racing, BombSquad and Broadsword: Age of Chivalry. Sounds good, but you’ll have to wait until next month to play if you’re ordering today — new tablets don’t start shipping out until the September 30th.

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Source: NVIDIA

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11
Sep
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‘SimCity BuildIt’ brings urban planning back to phones and tablets


SimCity BuildIt

SimCity hasn’t been on mobile devices for a while — the last title surfaced way back in 2010. You’ll get another crack at metropolis building pretty soon, though, as EA has quietly teased SimCity BuildIt for Android devices, iPhones and iPads. Details are scarce right now, but it’s already apparent that this will be a big, big visual upgrade over the last incarnation; you’ll see 3D graphics that more closely resemble SimCity‘s recent reboot than a cut-down phone release. We’ve reached out to EA for a launch date and more info on the game mechanics. However BuildIt works, we’re just hoping that it fares a lot better than its desktop counterpart.

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Via: Joystiq, cbob3000 (Twitter), NeoGAF

Source: EA

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11
Sep
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NVIDIA hints at an HTC Nexus 9 tablet coming within weeks


HTC One M8 up close

Remember those hints of HTC returning to tablets? Yeah, the cat’s out of the bag. As part of its patent lawsuit against Qualcomm and Samsung, NVIDIA has revealed that it expects a Tegra K1-powered “HTC Nexus 9″ sometime within the third calendar quarter of the year. That would theoretically put the launch sometime before the end of September. However, don’t get your hopes up for a release that soon. HTC just sent out invitations for a “double exposure” media event on October 8th, and there’s still no guarantee that the Nexus 9 will surface at that gathering. Given that the slate is supposed to be running Android L, any unveiling will likely hinge as much on Google’s progress as it does HTC’s.

HTC Nexus 9 reference in NVIDIA's lawsuit

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Via: Bright Side of News, Droid-Life

Source: NVIDIA (PDF)

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10
Sep
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Dell’s new stick lets you share your tablet’s screen with bigger displays


Dell Cast in action

If you happen to own one of Dell’s Venue tablets, you now have an easy way to put its content on a bigger screen. Dell has just launched the Cast, a simple stick that lets you link your slate to any HDMI-equipped display. You can either mirror your screen directly (much like Chromecast) or use the larger panel as a makeshift desktop, including multiple web browser windows. Shades of Motorola’s Webtop, anyone? The add-on is available now for $80, although you may need to be patient depending on your choice of platform. Only Android-based Venue tablets can use the Cast right away. You’ll have to wait until later this year to pair it with Windows-based models like the Venue 8 Pro.

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Source: Dell

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10
Sep
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Intel’s building a reference tablet for Android developers


Looking for a new, stable and regularly updated slate to develop on? Intel has your back. The company says it’s been working with Google to create the “Intel Reference Design for Android,” a developer tablet designed to help device manufactures and developers get their products to market as fast as possible. “What we’ve done with Google is defined a list of components,” Intel’s Doug Fisher explained. “And then Intel builds a complete operating environment, a complete stack on top of that device.” The partnership and pre-approved components allows Intel to promise that its reference tablets will pass Google Media Services standards, making it easy for OEMs using the device as a base to do the same.

Intel is dedicated to keeping the program’s software up to date, too — every device in the program will receive the latest ASOP updates within two weeks of release. Intel is using the platform to push its own technology forward too: reference tablets will feature the same RealSense camera technology Dell is putting into the Venue 8 7000 series. Intel didn’t say when developers will be able to get involved in its reference program, but mentioned that the RealSense technology will be available in Dell’s slate this fall. Check out our hands-on with that device right here.

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9
Sep
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Tesco shelves its smartphone plans to focus on Hudl 2 tablet


Tesco makes its own affordable range of everyday products for penny-conscious consumers, and last year the supermarket extended this concept to tablets. The Hudl slate wasn’t just cheap, but also the perfect vehicle for showcasing Tesco’s various streaming services. Despite a few hardware teething problems, the Hudl has gone on to sell over half a million units, prompting the commission of a sequel earlier this year. Alongside the Hudl 2, Tesco also said it would launch an affordable Android smartphone, but now the chain’s announced those plans have been shelved while it focuses on the new tablet, which is due out “in the next few weeks.” As Robin Terrell, Group Multi-Channel Director at Tesco explains, since the plan was revealed “the mobile market has become even more competitive,” leading the supermarket to “put the phone on hold.”

Where Tesco previously saw space for “an affordable, quality 4G handset,” it’s clearly no longer confident it can deliver a competitive product. Since it announced the phone, of course, we’ve seen the arrival of several budget handsets that fit that description, like the Moto G with 4G and Lumia 635. Perhaps it’s also a case of Tesco being too ambitious with its hardware. Former CEO Philip Clarke said the Hudl phone would be comparable to Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which makes us wonder whether hitting the right price point was simply unachievable. Clarke was all but sacked recently, leaving new head Dave Lewis with the task of clawing back lost market share. While Terrell states he decided to put the phone on hiatus in early July (before the new CEO stepped up), the move fits nicely with Lewis’ plan to refocus on being the best supermarket around. We doubt money-hungry projects like creating a own-brand smartphone fit with this policy, and it could mean the team at Tesco Labs might have to spend less time on fun stuff, and more stacking shelves.

The Hudl tablet line is surviving for now, however, and the next one is launching imminently. Terrell has spilled a bean or two on the upcoming device, saying it’s “improved on just about every area of its predecessor, from screen size to speed, design and accessories.” He also said the sequel has the potential to “take its place as customer’s primary tablet,” but regardless of how much more powerful it ends up being, we expect the price will remain the slate’s most important spec, and its biggest selling point.

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Via: Marketing Week

Source: Tesco

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8
Sep
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Send SMS with your Android smartphone from any device with EndlessJabber (Review)


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For years, one of the things I’ve always wanted was an easy way to be able to send text messages while on different devices, especially my laptop or desktop computer. This is one of the main reasons why services like Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts have always been my go to messenger services since I could just pickup where I left off chatting, whether I was on my desktop at work, laptop at home, tablet or my smartphone.

While I’ve tried a few apps in the past, none were perfect. One of the first that I remember trying many years ago was Koush’s DeskSMS, which to me, wasn’t as reliable and didn’t have as nice an interface as EndlessJabber does.

“To setup the app, it’s extremely simple. All you have to do is head to their website, www.endlessjabber.com, and click install, which will take you to Google Play where you can download the app on your Android smartphone. On your smartphone, go through the setup on the app, which the company says, “takes just 1 tap.” All you’re doing here is connecting the app to your Google account and granting the app access to your text messages, which will then sync all of your text messages to the app. Although they recommend using EvolveSMS from Klinker Apps, whom they partnered with, it works fine with other SMS apps, such as Google Hangouts, my default SMS app. With that done, all you need to do is go to www.endlessjabber.com/web on any other device and sign in to your Google account, then you can chat just as you would on your smartphone but through this web interface seen below.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 8.16.12 PMAll of the text messages on your device will show up when you head to the web interface. Besides just sending messages, you are able to attach photos from the current device you’re using to the SMS, view all your contacts on your smartphone, view a Gallery of photos you’ve been texted and view statistics such as how many texts you’re sending in a day, who you’re texting the most, etc. EndlessJabber will also tell you the current time and how much juice is left in your phone’s battery, just so you can be sure it doesn’t die on you.

The app is very well polished and I think the only issue I noticed is that emoticons didn’t always show up as pictures as they would on your smartphone. They would show up while accessing the web interface on Mozilla Firefox, but didn’t always show up in Google Chrome, although they were unique ones like beer mugs and fireworks. It would also be nice if you were able to access the gallery on your smartphone, but that’s not a deal breaker at all.

EndlessJabber also has a few extras that I wanted to mention. Along with the Android app and web interface, EndlessJabber also has Chrome and Firefox Extensions which will give you a notification whenever you receive a message so you don’t always have to be on that tab to see the messages you receive.

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One of the best things about the app is that it is free to use, unlike DeskSMS that was about $5 a year. Although I didn’t get to test it out, there is a paid version of the app, EndlessJabber Pro, that’s $1.99 a month after a free 7 day. It extends the experience with some “pro” features including JabberMode that enables you to instantly send and receive SMS messages by bypassing the free Google Cloud Messaging infrastructure, Search, so you can search for a specific text or bit of info you received, themes, the ability to schedule texts in advance to send at a later time, more analytics as well as XMPP integration to use it with other chat clients such as Pidgin and Trillian, among other features.

One last thing, EndlessJabber is currently seeking to raise funds through Kickstarter to help its app grow, since they are a small startup. Check out the campaign here.They note that funds from the campaign will be used to determine the appropriate marketing strategy to achieve their goals, find an appropriate marketing firm and execute on the marketing strategy. If you do decide to contribute, you can get nice rewards such as EndlessJabber Pro subscriptions, visibility on their site and social networks and even a t-shirt. Some of these rewards are pretty nice, especially since most will give you a discount on a pro subscription.

If EndlessJabber sounds like something you’ve been waiting for, don’t hesitate to check it out! If you need a little more help using EndlessJabber, here’s more info on their blog.


The post Send SMS with your Android smartphone from any device with EndlessJabber (Review) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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8
Sep
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ASUS’ latest low-cost Windows tablet ditches the pen


Asus VivoTab 8

If you’ve wanted an affordable 8-inch Windows tablet from ASUS, your only recent option has been the VivoTab Note 8. While that’s no doubt a fine machine, you might not want to pay extra for pen input if you don’t need it. Thankfully, you don’t have to any more; ASUS has quietly launched the VivoTab 8, a close cousin to the Note 8 that drops the stylus and digitizer. In many ways, it’s now a MeMO Pad 8 running Microsoft’s software instead of Google’s. You’ll still find a 1.33GHz Atom processor, a 1,280 x 800 display and a 2-megapixel front camera, but a few things have switched up to accommodate Windows while keeping the price in check. The newer slate has a larger 32GB of expandable storage and ships with 2GB of RAM in some regions instead of 1GB, but it drops back to a 2-megapixel rear cam — sorry, you won’t be capturing any photographic masterpieces here. ASUS hasn’t revealed any launch plans yet. However, it’s safe to presume that the VivoTab 8 will save you at least some cash versus the Note 8’s original $330 sticker.

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Via: Liliputing

Source: ASUS

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5
Sep
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Lenovo ThinkPad 10 review: a good Windows tablet hurt by poor battery life


Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet

There isn’t a very large middle ground in the Windows tablet world right now. You frequently have to choose between a budget-oriented, low-spec model and an expensive portable powerhouse. And that’s a shame, really. There are no doubt people who want high-resolution screens or lots of options, but don’t want to pay for fast processors that may go to waste. That’s what makes Lenovo’s ThinkPad 10 so appealing at first glance — it’s a well-equipped 10-inch Windows slate that won’t hit your wallet too hard. The question is whether or not it strikes that price-to-performance balance as well as it should. It does in some ways, but there are some big sacrifices involved. Read on to see if they’ll be worth your while.

Hardware

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet camera and ports

The ThinkPad 10 is no radical departure in design; it mostly looks like the ThinkPad 8 writ large, and it’s not even a big deviation from its ThinkPad Tablet 2 ancestor. Not that there’s much reason to complain. You’re still getting an aluminum-clad machine that’s both thin and light (0.35 inch and 1.3 pounds, respectively) and feels every bit as comfortable and well-made as you’d expect for the $599-plus that you’ll pay. While that thinness doesn’t do any wonders for the battery life, this is definitely the large Windows tablet you want if you regularly compute while standing. It may not be as much of a featherweight as mobile OS-based tablets like the Galaxy Tab S or iPad Air, but it puts noticeably less strain on my wrists than the hefty 1.8 pounds of the larger Surface Pro 3 and Dell’s 1.6-pound Venue 11 Pro.

Not that everything is hunky-dory with that metal body. This is the same material and finish you’ll find on the ThinkPad 8, so you should expect scuffs and scratches if you forego a case. I was fortunate enough to avoid them during my test run, but I’m notoriously protective of my hardware. And you may never keep it completely pristine. The dark-hued aluminum shows virtually every grimy fingerprint for at least a little while, and there were only so many times that I was willing to wipe them off.

You won’t catch me griping much about the layout, which is designed to be used in landscape mode. That’s rather wise, given that the ThinkPad may frequently double as a laptop. On the left side, you’ll see a covered, full-size USB 2.0 port sitting near both the power connector and a fabric loop that holds the pen (more on that later). Flip over to the right and you’ll see micro-HDMI video output, a microSD storage slot, a headphone jack and (if you’re in an area where Lenovo sells cellular models) a micro-SIM slot. You’ll see both stereo speakers and an 8-megapixel camera with flash on the back, and there’s a 2-megapixel shooter on the front. About the only quibbles are the slightly small power button and volume rocker in the upper-right corner, but they’re still easy to press. Even the docking connector at the bottom clicks into peripherals with little fuss.

Display, pen and sound

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet

You’re more likely to see higher-resolution displays on big tablets, but the ThinkPad 10’s LCD still manages to stand out in a pretty crowded space. It’s using a taller 1,920 x 1,200 resolution instead of the 1080p screen you’re more likely to find at this price point; those extra vertical pixels may not seem like much, but they help when browsing the web or writing a report. The 224 ppi density is also just about right for Windows 8.1, which is finicky about scaling high resolutions to just the right size. The display is sharp enough that content looks good, but it’s not so sharp that you’re forced to squint or tap lots of tiny buttons when you switch to the traditional desktop.

Crispness isn’t the only thing that matters, of course, and the ThinkPad is a bit of a mixed bag in some other areas. I like the IPS-based panel’s overall color reproduction, but it’s not supremely accurate — Laptop Mag found that it covers just under 72 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which rules it out for professional photo editing. Viewing angles are very good, however, and I didn’t notice color shifts or dimming when looking at the tablet from less-than-natural positions. Just don’t plan on taking this device outside on a sunny day. The ThinkPad’s LCD is officially rated at 400 nits of brightness and cuts out enough glare to be easily visible in most situations, but it won’t overcome direct sunlight.

You may be willing to forgive those foibles given the pen input, which was sadly missing on the ThinkPad 8. You can draw with varying degrees of pressure, or hover above the screen. There aren’t any tricks on the level of the Surface Pro 3’s OneNote shortcut, but you’ll get both a right-click button and an eraser. I found myself liking the pen more than I thought I would — it’s light and comfortable, and I had no trouble with handwriting recognition or doodling. With that said, this is really more of a productivity tool than an artistic instrument. It’s hard to apply the exact amount of force you want in a drawing, so you probably won’t be producing masterpieces.

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet pen

The speakers certainly aren’t anything to write home about. They’re clear-sounding and reasonably loud even with their rear-facing orientation, so you can listen in a room with moderate background noise. However, they don’t carry a lot of punch — watch a dance music video and you’ll wonder where all the bass went. That lack of oomph is acceptable given the ThinkPad’s emphasis on pro users, but it would be nice if Lenovo kicked up the quality a notch. Pointing the speakers toward the user’s face would help, too.

Software

Just like its smaller sibling, the ThinkPad 10 doesn’t carry much in the way of non-standard software, and what’s there is (mostly) useful. AccuWeather, Evernote Touch, Hightail (formerly YouSendIt), Norton Internet Security and Zinio’s magazine reader are all third-party apps that you can easily use every day. I was most fond of AccuWeather and Evernote, but I could do without Norton’s occasional nagging. Don’t assume that this is just a carbon copy of the layout from before, though. Lenovo clearly sees its 10-incher as a content-creation station, and has ditched media apps like Kindle and Rara in favor of more serious tools like its self-branded photo and video editors. My one real gripe is the trial-only copy of Office. Unless you prefer alternatives like Google’s cloud apps, you’ll have to fork out additional cash if you’re going to churn out a lot of reports and spreadsheets while on the road.

Performance and battery life

Tablet PCMark7 3DMark06 3DMark11 ATTO (top disk speeds)
Lenovo ThinkPad 10 (1.59GHz Intel Atom Z3795, Intel HD graphics) 2,328 1,168 E235 / P155 129 MB/s (reads); 52 MB/s (writes)
Lenovo ThinkPad 8 (1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3770, Intel HD graphics) 2,567 1,598 E312 / P198 128 MB/s (reads); 57 MB/s (writes)
Acer Iconia W4 (1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740, Intel HD graphics) 2,538 2,089 E340 / P211 173 MB/s (reads); 48 MB/s (writes)
ASUS Transformer Book T100 (1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740, Intel HD graphics) 2,461 2,113

E338 / P209

123 MB/s (reads); 58 MB/s (writes)
Dell Venue 8 Pro (1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740D, Intel HD graphics) 2,343 1,986

E299 / P164

86 MB/s (reads); 45 MB/s (writes)

The ThinkPad 10’s performance is a real head-scratcher. On paper, its quad-core 1.6GHz Atom processor should make it one of the fastest Windows tablets in its class. In practice, however, it’s relatively pokey; its average benchmark scores were the lowest among the Windows slates we’ve tried, even when stacked up against older devices with 1.33GHz chips. You can’t blame this on the high-resolution display, either, since the equally sharp-looking ThinkPad 8 is still faster. Synthetic tests aren’t the be-all and end-all of a device, but it’s apparent that the higher clock speed won’t grant you any additional bragging rights.

That’s true in the real world, too. Like every other recent Atom tablet, this bigger ThinkPad has no trouble whipping through the Windows 8.1 interface and typical apps like browsers or Evernote, but it won’t replace a desktop or a good laptop; it’s not up to handling serious creative work or high-end games. It’s also slow to boot at about 14 seconds (versus eight for Acer’s Iconia W4), and the back can get noticeably hot when you’re playing action-heavy games like Halo: Spartan Assault. Lenovo isn’t pitching the ThinkPad 10 as a speed demon in the first place, but it would be nice to see some tangible improvements for the money, you know? The 2GB of RAM is good enough for common tasks, although I’d strongly recommend buying the top-tier 4GB variant if you’re going to juggle many apps at once.

Tablet Battery Life
Lenovo ThinkPad 10 6:44
Microsoft Surface 2 14:22
iPad Air 13:45 (LTE)
Apple iPad mini 12:43 (WiFi)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10-inch) 12:30
Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8-inch) 12:22
Apple iPad mini with Retina display 11:55 (LTE)
Apple iPad (late 2012) 11:08 (WiFi)
ASUS Transformer Book T100 10:40
Apple iPad 2 10:26
Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 10:04
Apple iPad (2012) 9:52 (HSPA) / 9:37 (LTE)
Acer Iconia W4 9:50
Nexus 7 (2012) 9:49
Microsoft Surface RT 9:36
Toshiba Encore 8:45
Sony Xperia Tablet Z 8:40
ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C 8:26
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 7:57
Nexus 10 7:26
Dell Venue 8 Pro 7:19
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 7:18
Nexus 7 (2013) 7:15
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 7:13
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 7:08
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 6:55
Lenovo ThinkPad 8 6:11

The real dealbreaker may be the dismal battery life I hinted at earlier. When looping a 1080p video at half brightness, the ThinkPad 10 musters just six hours and 44 minutes on a charge. That result is better than the bottom-ranked ThinkPad 8, but I’d hardly call that a rousing success. Even when playing a less taxing standard-definition clip, the running time was subpar at seven hours and 38 minutes. No, you won’t mind the short lifespan if you’re curling up on the couch or taking notes at the occasional meeting, but it’s not at all what I’d expect from a business-class tablet that may have to run on battery all day. Frankly, you’re better off scooping up something like ASUS’ Transformer Book T100 (as old as it is) if every hour counts. What good is a sharper display when you have no power left?

Camera

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet camera

We didn’t touch on the cameras when looking at the ThinkPad 8, but it’s worth exploring them now — especially when you’re theoretically spending such a hefty sum. The 8-megapixel rear camera is solid, but not spectacular. It’s capable of some sharp, colorful pictures in good lighting, including close-ups, but it tends to blow out images in bright lighting, hide detail in shadows and produce plenty of visible noise in darker conditions. The 2-megapixel front cam, meanwhile, is merely adequate for video chat, with noisy, soft pictures. Lenovo does have an ace in the hole, mind you. Its Quickshot Cover will automatically launch the camera app by prying it open, which I found supremely handy for capturing spur-of-the-moment pictures. I wish other tablet makers would follow suit.

Configuration options and the competition

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet showing its competition

In the US, you have just two ThinkPad models to choose from: the entry-level $599 version with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and a $699 edition that jumps to 4GB and 128GB, respectively. You’ll usually be fine with the starter device if it’s just a companion to your main PC, but you’ll want to seriously consider the pricier of the two if this is going to be a primary machine. And like many tablets, you’ll probably want at least one or two accessories to complete the experience. I would buy the $45 Quickshot Cover without hesitation; besides that camera trick, it’s good for protecting the screen or propping the tablet up to watch a movie. If you type often (which is likely if you’re already a ThinkPad fan), you should consider spending $90 for the Touch Case or $120 for the Ultrabook Keyboard. I sadly haven’t had a chance to try either, but they should serve you better than a third-party Bluetooth keyboard.

The $55 Protector rugged case and $130 Tablet Dock (which adds HDMI, USB 3.0 and Ethernet) are tougher calls. I wouldn’t get the Protector unless you’re working out in the field and need a drop-resistant shell. Also, the dock partly defeats the point of a tablet. If you’re stationary enough to want a larger display, mouse and keyboard, it’s likely wiser to get a convertible touchscreen laptop like the Yoga 2 Pro than to go through the hassle of adding all those components after the fact.

It’s tricky to find out where the ThinkPad 10 stands among its rivals. As I mentioned earlier, it occupies a rare middle ground in a field that’s largely split between affordable Windows slates and high-powered laptop replacements. The most obvious parallel is the Venue 11 Pro, although whether or not it represents a better deal depends on the discounts you get. As of this writing, giving Dell $500 will get you comparable hardware and a full copy of Office; Lenovo’s $100 premium does get you a slightly higher pixel count, pen input and a lighter chassis, but those are usually bonuses rather than must-haves. And if you’re looking at the $699 ThinkPad, it’s hard to resist spending another $100 to get either a high-end Venue 11 Pro or the basic Surface Pro 3. Both have speedier Core i3 processors, and the Surface compensates for its reduced storage with both a 12-inch screen and a more sophisticated pen. If you’re going to splurge on a really nice Windows tablet in the first place, doesn’t it make sense to get something truly powerful?

Wrap-up

Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet

That last point sums up the ThinkPad 10’s dilemma, really. You’ll undoubtedly get a lot, including that nice display, pen input and top-flight industrial design. However, I can’t help but see this as an awkward, in-between product. For the ThinkPad to fit into your world, you need a healthy budget that’s not quite so healthy that the highest-end tablets are within reach. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the device had a long-lasting battery to give it an edge, but it doesn’t — it’s actually worse than more powerful hardware where short battery life is expected, like the Surface Pro 3. While I really enjoyed using the ThinkPad, it’s more of a specialist’s tool than a Swiss Army knife. It’s delightful if it fulfills your needs, but you’re probably best off either saving money with lower-end tech or investing in something more capable.

Dana Wollman contributed to this review.

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3
Sep
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Sony’s new tablet lets you play PS4 games and call your mother


There’s a French phrase, un beau affreux, which means that something is ugly and beautiful at the same time. As soon as we got our hands on Sony’s Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, we wished the French had also come up with a word that means simultaneously colossal and small. That’s the paradox at the heart of the company’s tablet, which packs an 8-inch display, but thanks to its 6.4mm thickness and 0.6 pound weight, feels almost insubstantial, as if you’d still try to fit this into a pocket. That’s not a criticism, either, because if you found the Galaxy Note to be a bit too small for your needs, this could replace it in your affections.

That’s because, thanks to its LTE modem, so long as you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones to hand, you can actually harness its cellular connectivity to make calls. The company has even left the dialer on the front page of the homescreen here, leaving you in no doubt of its prowess. There’s also NFC and an option to add a mobile wallet, although it’d be rather amusing if you tried to use an 8-inch tablet to buy your morning coffee.

Packing a quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 and 3GB RAM, the Z3 tablet is also no slouch in the performance department, and you can extend its 16GB of built-in memory all the way up to 128GB if you have such a powerful microSD card. The TFT display itself has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 and the viewing angles are pretty great, meaning that the device would happily pull a shift as an impromptu dorm room cinema. That ability is also helped with the forward-facing stereo speakers above and below the screen, which may not be BoomSound-levels of quality, but are a huge improvement on a lot of the tablet market. The same can’t be said for the headphone jack, which now comes out at the top of the right bezel (in portrait). When used in landscape, that’s a perfectly fine design decision, but if you do decide to make this an ever-present in your shoulder bag, you might find the location a little grating.

Imaging-wise, there’s an 8.1-megapixel shooter on the back and a 2.2-megapixel lens up front, although the huge preview screen is actually a little disturbing, so maybe this device will discourage selfie shooters. Thankfully, even though it is a tablet, the company has seen fit to ensure that it’s as rugged as its junior siblings, shielding it with IP65 and IP68 waterproofing.

As we’ve already established, this is one of the few devices capable of running Sony’s PS4 remote play, and we can certainly imagine ourselves playing games on this great display. Of course, there’s still no word on when that might actually happen, but hopefully Sony won’t keep us in the dark too long about release dates and prices.

Jamie Rigg contributed to this report.

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