I have always had a bit of a love for Lenovo. They successful turned their purchase of IBM into a profitable PC market. Heck, they over took Apple in PC sales in the last few months. On the mobile front they dominate in overseas markets while they still have a struggling point here in the states. That is going to be changing once the Motorola purchase finalizes and they can start moving into the US market a bit easier. Their tablet line is something to keep an eye. I have used the Yoga 8 and Yoga 10 for the last few months and their unique design, exceptional battery and overall performance for the money keeps them in my recommended tablet purchase slot. Lenovo is constantly doing different things with their products and are always bringing new things out that deserve a look. In this review/look, I will be going over the Lenovo N308 AIO (all-in-one) Android based PC.
Whats in the box
- A Lenovo AIO
- A power cable
- A keyboard and mouse
Sure, there are instruction manuals all that jazz too, but the hardware is the focus. The N308 is an interesting contraption. The screen comes in at 19.5-inches with a resolution of 1600 x 900. Don’t let the physical numbers throw you off, that is still higher than 720p but just lower than 1080p. The screen is bright at 250-nit and is also multitouch (2 finger only). You don’t have any physical buttons on the front of the N308, rather you have the on screen keys that many current tablet and phone owners are used to using. You will also find a 720p wabcam/front facing camera, a mic and an ambient light sensor.
On the top rear of the device you will find a single power button to turn the screen on or off, as well as long pressing to power the N308 on or off. Just to the left of the power button is where you will find the physical volume up and down key as well.
On the left hand side tucked away in a small cut out you find a series of ports for you added convenience. You will find 3 USB ports, 1 headphone jack, 1 full size SD card slot, a Ethernet port and your power port.
On the rear of the N308 is where you find the stand. Much like the Yoga tablets, but much more heavy duty, the stand rotates down. The N308 can be angled any way you want between 15 to 65 degrees or flat. Of course you can also lay it flat. If you have other plans for the device, you can remove the stand entirely and wall mount it with the Vesa mount holes too.
Internal hardware overview:
Inside the N308 there a view very interesting things. The N308 is powered by a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor at 1.8GHz. Not exactly the slouch in the processing department you might have thought. It also offers 2GB of RAM. Here is where it gets a bit interesting though, the AIO has a 320GB 5400 RPM HDD and 8GB eMMC storage. You can where this would be a pretty powerful media device. To make things a little more mobile, mainly suited more for traveling around your house, it houses an internal battery that can give you up to 3 hours of unplugged usage.
The N308 also offers Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.
The keyboard and mouse:
To continue along with the interesting aspects of the N308, it comes prepackaged with a Lenovo wireless AccuType keyboard and mouse. Both take batteries, but are included. They connect to the N308 via a USB dongle that you plug into one of the 3 USB ports. You don’t need any special software or installs, simply plug in the dongle and you can start using them immediately. The keyboard keys have, what I will call, a shirt pocket design. Where they are flat on the top and sides with slightly rounded bottoms. They are also slight concave for you fingers to rest comfortably in. The keyboard even has a variety of short cut keys to access the camera, head to the home screen, open up the multitasking window, control the brightness, music playback and more. It is kind of nice to have all that control without having to touch the screen at all.
On the mouse side of things you get a laser mouse that works on plenty of surfaces. The sides are contoured for your thumb and pinky to sit comfortably. The it has the typical left and right clicks along with a center scroll wheel. Of course Android has no use for a left and right click. Either works the same just like a finger touch. One click to open things and hold thee click like you would long press with your finger.
- The 320GB hard drive offers plenty of storage for movies and photos.
- While one USB port is occupied by the dongle for the Keyboard and Mouse, you still have two additional ports for external thumb drives or hard drives.
- It comes preloaded with all the Google apps and the Play Store, so it is Google certified.
- NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor
- 2GB RAM
- Keyboard and Mouse
- Functional Keyboard shortcuts
- Ethernet port for hardlined internet
- 8GB eMMC, limits the number of apps that can be installed and can’t move apps to SD or to the internal HDD
- Certain apps, like G+, can’t be scrolled through with the mouse scroll wheel or arrow keys on the keyboard. (Most likely the apps fault, not Lenovos)
- It is heavy, it weighs just over 10 pounds. Unlike some of their Windows AIO’s, Lenovo didn’t put any sort of handle cut out on the back. It makes carrying it a bit more awkward.
- The BEZEL! It basically has two bezels. The main outer bezel which is where the infrared beams come from to recognize your finger inputs. Then there is the actual bezel on the glass.
- No HDMI or Video out ability
- Android 4.2.2 and no updates as of yet.
- The 2watt speakers are in the rear so having a wall behind it makes it louder. In a quiet environment they are ample to watch a movie and have video calls. Your experience will be better with headphones, a Bluetooth speaker or even a set of good PC speakers thanks to the headphone jack.
How do I actually feel about the AIO?
There are a lot of things to consider on the AIO. For starters does the price tag match the device. If the AIO is priced to high and fails to deliver then we have a monumental problem. The N308 was listed at $350, but is currently out of stock through Lenovos website. Considering the specs above and the goo vs bad, $350 is a pretty good price point, but it is easily targeted to specific sets of users. I found myself using it mostly for streaming movies from Plex at my bedside, idle web browsing and some commander mode on Battlefield 4. Commander mode is pretty slick on a 19.5-inch screen with a mouse on your stomach while the wife is sleeping. My son loved playing Angry birds and other games on the large screen in the living room with it placed on the coffee table. It is so big and heavy that he wouldn’t dare try an pick it up.
I found it particularly useful at my sister in laws wedding. I was able to combine every ones photos from their camera on the spot and put together a slideshow of the event for the reception.
It drew quite the crowd.
I applaud Lenovo for bringing something to market with an affordable price tag that does offer quite a lot of functionality. Had this same AIO had a price tag of $500+ there is no way it would sell. Not unless the Android version was updates, the screen res was pushed up, the eMMC started at 16 or 32GB and it ditched the infrared. All those things would easily put it over the $500 marker. For exactly what it is and exactly what I used it for, it was very useful to have.
I am not sure when they will be coming back in stock, but if you are interested in keeping track of it head over to Lenovo.com.
Cricket Wireless on Wednesday announced the upcoming availability of a low-cost LG smartphone. Due Friday, June 6, the LG Optimus L70TM is an Android 4.4 KitKat experience with a 4.5-inch IPS display. Powered by a dual-core processor, the phone features a 5-megapixel rear camera, 1GB RAM, and 4GB internal storage. Like the bigger, more powerful LG smartphones this one features a number of custom software enhancements.
The Optimus L70TM will cost $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
The LG Optimus L70TM Arrives at Cricket Wireless this Friday
New 4G smartphone, packed with power, available for a limited time at $49.99 in stores and online after mail-in rebate
Alpharetta, Ga., June 4, 2014 – – Cricket Wireless today announced the LG Optimus L70TM, its latest slim, sleek smartphone powered by 4G. Starting this Friday, June 6, customers will get even more value with their wireless mobile service. For a limited time, the phone will be available both in stores and online at $49.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate Cricket Visa® Promotion Card*.
The LG Optimus L70TM lets customers look their best at all times with powerful performance and a stunning 4.5” IPS Display—dressed up in a sleek, modern design. Plus, it features Android™ 4.4 KitKat, so users can stay in sync while on the go. Customers looking for a quality brand with a large display and upscale design will find the Optimus L70TM fits the bill. This smart phone comes equipped with a powerful dual-core processor — making difficult work a breeze, a 5-megapixel camera with flash and video, and a removable long-lasting battery to help power throughout a busy day.
Beyond the high-performance specs (display, camera, battery and processor), the Optimus L70 includes four popular features unique to LG:
- KnockCode – Simply and securely wake and unlock your phone at the same time by tapping a personalized 3-8 point passcode pattern anywhere on the screen.
- QuickMemo™ – Allows you to write or draw over any screen capture. Simply use your finger to jot down a note or add a personalized touch to any image to save or share.
- QSlide 2.0™ – Maximize on-screen multitasking with the simultaneous use of multiple apps; conveniently adjust the window size and transparency of up to two QSlide app windows, which float on top of the original screen.
- Informative LED – Lets you know if you have a missed event without waking the phone based on the flashing light pattern on the home button.
“Just a little over two weeks since we debuted the new Cricket Wireless, we’re excited to introduce a new device that will give our customers something to smile about,” said Andy Smoak, Cricket Wireless’ AVP of Product. “As promised, we will continue to deliver customers great offers and devices that won’t break the bank, as well as to provide greater value in their wireless experience. This is just the beginning; customers will see many more devices coming their way soon!”
The new Cricket offers value no-annual contract wireless customers appreciate, like uncomplicated and affordable service plans at industry leading prices starting at $35 a month after a $5 credit for using Auto Pay — including taxes and fees with no U.S. roaming charges. To thank loyal customers on Smart and Pro service plans, Cricket also offers customers, after 12 months of on-time payments, a $50 credit** every year toward any new phone purchase.
More than 3,000 newly redesigned and rebranded Cricket Wireless retail stores are open and ready to greet customers with these and more offers. For device images and other press materials visit our: new Cricket newsroom. To learn more about Cricket or find a store near you, visit http://www.cricketwireless.com and connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/cricketnation and Twitter at twitter.com/Cricketnation.
Yesterday, Samsung released a developer kit that shows it’s planning on releasing a version of its open-sourced Tizen platform to run on smart TVs, not just wearables and smartphones. At the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco yesterday, the company unveiled its first ever Tizen TV prototype to show off exactly that. Installed on what appears to be a Samsung TV with a curved screen, Tizen’s smart TV interface is still in its early development stages, so it’s entirely possible that the interface on display at the conference might not make it to the final version. Yet, it’s a good indicator of Tizen’s potential, so naturally we had to take a closer look.
On the left of the Tizen’s smart TV home screen is a “Home Bar” navigation menu that lists top-level items such as Live TV, Photo & Video, Music, Apps and Source. To the right is a “Dynamic Bar” that changes depending on what section you’re in. The Music tab will reveal a list of albums, while Live TV would show current TV listings, for example. When asked how media would be loaded onto the television, a Samsung spokesperson said you’d transfer the files over USB. The Tizen OS also theoretically supports media streaming, but there’s not yet an app that can demonstrate that. You could also store those files and apps on the cloud thanks to a new Tizen online storage system called CloudBox.
Navigating through the different menu selections can either be done with a standard remote control or one that’s more like a wand, allowing you to move a cursor around like you would a mouse. What’s unique about the Tizen platform, however, is that you’re also able to use a Web-based remote with your phone without having to really pair the two. All you have to do is head to a particular URL on your phone’s web browser (either by typing it in or scanning a QR code) and you’ll immediately see buttons that correspond to the TV’s channel and volume controls. You’re also able to key in words via a wireless keyboard interface, which is far preferable to entering text with the remote control and an on-screen keyboard.
As Tizen is an open platform, Samsung tells us that other TV manufacturers would be able to adopt it as well. There’s currently no concrete date for a Tizen-based smart TV from the likes of Samsung, though Choi did hint on stage that a Tizen-based smart TV could be coming to the market “very soon.”
Today has seen a sudden spike in anti-American sentiment in Chinese state-owned media, with Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all being described as “pawns” of the US government (aka the “high-level hooligan”). Articles in the China Daily and People’s Daily call for these companies to be “severely punished” for their alleged roles in the PRISM scandal, but there’s no obvious trigger to explain the timing of their publication. One possible factor is today’s date: June 4th marks the bloody end of the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, when government forces killed hundreds of pro-democracy activists in the streets of Beijing. Google and other sources of international news are being subjected to extra censorship in order to control discussion of the Tiananmen anniversary within China, which implies that these outlets are currently even more irksome to the Communist Party than they usually are.
An excerpt from the People’s Daily:
“U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China… To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain.”
Another possible explanation for the blanket attack is that fresh evidence of privacy abuses has come to light in China, perhaps involving the NSA and its (unhealthy) relationship with commercial web services. However, no new allegations have been detailed, and Apple and other companies continue to deny that the NSA has backdoor access to their data centers. Alternatively, the wave of press coverage could simply be a response to America’s recent scolding of a Chinese military cyber-espionage unit, or part of a wider governmental push for the use of homegrown rather than US-made technology.
Two groups of MIT scientists are working on robotic limbs, which when worn together can make you look like one famous comic book villain: Doctor Octopus. Unlike prosthetic limbs developed to replace real ones, the teams’ (from MIT’s d’Arbeloff Laboratory) Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRLs) are designed to supplement your existing arms. One team showcased its latest shoulder-mounted SRL prototype at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong, where members showed how it can take over tasks when your real arms are too busy. These particular SRLs take data collected by the accelerometer and gyro embedded in the base of the shoulder mount, as well as their accompanying wrist monitors. The limbs then move on their own based on your actions — for instance, they move up when you raise your real arms, and in the future, they could open doors when you’re carrying something.
The second team, on the other hand, is working on waist-mounted SRLs. Since the project was mostly sponsored by Boeing for its aging employees, the mechanical limbs are designed to be used either as arms or legs, in order to help with airplane construction by bracing or supporting workers’ weights. Sadly, neither machine has mind-control capability, so you’ve got a lot of work to do to fulfill your Doc Ock dreams.
Filed under: Robots
Via: The Verge
Other than generating lucre, Bitcoin mining does nothing but waste of time and energy. That’s why researchers from Microsoft and the University of Maryland have developed “Permacoins” which reward you for actually doing something useful: backing up important data to your hard drives. For instance, you could earn crypto-coins by helping store, say, the 200TB US Library of Congress to your own disks. You wouldn’t be able to cheat and use Dropbox or Google Drive thanks to an encrypted key, and data would be validated using a “proof of reliability” check. With enough participation, it would provide a safe, distributed backup and enable data to be accessed during outages — like when the Library of Congress went offline during last year’s shutdown. It’s just a prototype for now, but researchers reckon a 100 Petabyte data pool could be created if users spent the same on storage that they have on pricy mining rigs.
Via: The Register
Source: UMD, Microsoft Research
UK broadband is in a state of flux. Fixed-line providers like BT and Virgin are expanding their services to deliver super-fast broadband into homes. Elsewhere, operators including EE, Vodafone and Three are cementing their mobile backbone to meet the UK public’s insatiable thirst for data over the airwaves instead. A small number of companies have tried to find the middle ground, the space where broadband and mobile networks meet, but none have ultimately succeeded. A new service called Relish wants to change that, and it believes it has the credentials to win where others haven’t.
Relish is a mobile provider with a difference. Its primary goal is to serve Londoners with fast broadband “without the wires.” As you might have guessed, it’s relying on 4G connections to deliver internet to customers, but unlike rivals EE or Three, it places no restrictions on the amount of data you can consume. Because it’s a mobile provider, there’s no need for a landline, meaning you won’t have to wait for an engineer to install routing kit and activate your connections. It also means you don’t have to pay monthly line rental or sign up for lengthy contracts.
Unlike rivals EE or Three, it places no restrictions on the amount of data you can consume
How does it work? Relish, which launches today in select London postcodes (we’re told it spans from Kensington in the west to Canary Wharf in the east), lets you call or order online and have a custom-couriered (on a colourful motorbike) welcome pack delivered to you the very next day. Plug the Huawei-suppied TD-LTE router in and you’re immediately online. The home service runs completely on Relish’s own spectrum (owned by UK Broadband), delivering what the company calls “fibre-fast” broadband. That connection is said to average 30Mbps, which isn’t as fast as many true fibre services, but Relish says those speeds won’t be affected by data limits or evening slowdowns, which heavily-contested fixed-line providers regularly employ.
Make no mistake, the service is not for everyone. Relish itself says it’s aiming for specific segments that “haven’t had enough choice to buy broadband to suit their lifestyle.” London’s young professionals, renters and people who want more flexibility are the Relish’s key demographics. Because all the service needs is a power connection, customers can take their box wherever they go (depending on Relish’s coverage). Monthly contract’s start at £20, but you will have to buy the router for £50. Sign up for a 12-month contract and the router is thrown in free of charge.
Monthly contracts start at £20, but you will have to buy the router for £50
The home service is just one of four packages that Relish offers. There’s also a mobile broadband package which operates similarly to a MiFi from Three. Depending on the package you buy, you will be supplied with a Huawei-supplied mobile router called the Pocket Hub (which normally costs £35) which works nationwide. While it will take advantage of Relish’s own networks in the city, the company is using Three’s HSPA+ 3G networks as a fallback, letting you obtain connectivity anywhere in the UK. Prices start at £10 for 1GB and you’ll receive a £5 discount if you already own the home product. However, any data you don’t use in a 30-day period will be wiped off your allowance.
Relish is targeting businesses too. Its standard business offering is designed to cater for 20 employees, mainly in companies that are on the move. Startups, pop-up shops, coffee shops and companies moving offices are what Relish wants to cater for, by offering a number of additional services that aren’t normally reserved for regular customers (like static IPs). Bigger companies with very high data requirements can apply for the company’s dedicated business service, which offers speeds up to 1Gbps and is installed within 10 days. Relish didn’t say much about this package, suggesting it wants to scale for consumers and smaller businesses first.
Relish is targeting businesses too. Startups, pop-up shops, coffee shops and companies moving offices…
It’s very easy for Relish to overstep the mark and oversell a service that is limited to specific regions in London, so it’s employing a number of checks to ensure customers aren’t dissapointed with the service they receive. The company is using high-frequency bands (Bands 42/43, or 3.5-3.8GHz if you’re interested) to deliver high speeds in densely-populated areas. Because it runs a pure data service and doesn’t lay voice transmission on top, you’ll only get the service that it’s specifically designed to offer. If you enter your postcode on the Relish website and you fall outside of the supported areas, it simply won’t sell broadband to you.
Relish says that it’s only using 1/6th of the spectrum it owns in London, allowing it to expand its service city-wide in the future. There’s no date for an expansion to other cities, so if you live outside London, you’ll only be able to sign-up to Relish’s roaming offering. If the company’s postcode checker says you’ll get service, but you live in a basement or somewhere normally outside of the reach of mobile signal, Relish will let you test its service as part of a 14-day trial and send it back if you’re not happy.
Filed under: Internet
Smartwatches are starting to look a whole lot better, but they’re still liable to run out of juice in mere days. A flexible-battery manufacturer here at Computex reckons its thin, flexible lithium-ceramic cells, shaped into wristbands, could offer as much as 500mAh of extra power, with existing models already offering an extra 300mAh. According to ProLogium, that would effectively double the battery of Pebble’s smartwatch and, well, on-paper specifications suggest that it could more than double the capacity.
The lithium-ceramic batteries used are solid-state, meaning they avoid the volatility of other lithium-powered power sources. Other safety boons include non-flammable materials and the fact that it won’t explode or set fire if cut into pieces — always good to know. (We saw a demo cell cut apart, and it was still able to power a strip of LED lights). These three- to five-cell layers are also only roughly 1.5mm thick, meaning wearables seem an ideal place for them, from smartglass headsets to light-up clothing, heating elements and, yes, smartwatches.
The company is already making the bands, and while we were handling the one-piece design, it also offers a more typical strap-like, two-piece design that connects at the ends of a watch face, and a “chin” design that would connect and overlap an existing strap. The (admittedly not working) sample was plenty flexible to substitute in for a watch strap, but we reckon the biggest test will be the aesthetic one.
The wispy atmosphere of Mars is 99 percent thinner than Earth’s — not great for slowing down space ships or metorites. NASA’s testing a way to make it work, however, using a helium balloon, rockets and a Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) vehicle, which looks suspiciously like a UFO. The plan is to launch the LDSD to 120,000 feet using the balloon, then push it to the edge of space (180,000 feet) with the powerful solid-fueled rocket. At that point it’ll be traveling hypersonically at Mach 4 in the stratosphere, simulating a Mars arrival. A second, donut-like balloon called the “supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator” will then deploy, increasing the craft’s surface area and slowing it to about Mach 2.5. Finally, the largest supersonic parachute ever tested will pop, allowing the vehicle to eventually touch down in the ocean. If the complex plan goes awry, NASA will learn from the data it gathers and try again in order to meet its ambitious Mars exploration schedule. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch — the launch is set for tomorrow in Hawaii between 2:00 and 3:30 PM ET.
Lian Li usually deals in computer towers, but it occasionally dabbles in incredible (or mad) desks built specifically to house desktop PCs. We even got to see one of these monstrosities in person, the top-end model above, spotted right in the epicenter of Computex, Asia’s biggest tech show. Given the trend toward tablets, phones and wearables this year, it could well be the most… Computex thing here. We just wish there was some kind of award for that.
Filed under: Desktops