Recently in Ultrabook Category

New PCs enter the market at Computex

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Dell, Acer and Asus have all unveiled various PC models at Computex in Taiwan this week. In a midst of a PC market crash, the computer manufacturers have taken a leap of faith and revealed new designs the safety net being of course the hybrid tablet devices.


Dell announced its XPS 11 model, a 2-in-1 convertible Ultrabook. This hybrid device has a 360 degreed rotation design in order to hide away the keyboard and flip into a tablet device. At 14.9mm and 2.5 pounds this product could be utilised within an BYOD environment, which has seen many of these types of devices in recent months.

Additionally, Dell launched an OptiPlex 9020 and All-in-One machine. This commercial desktop will be available in four different form factors, an all-in-one computer, as well as three different sized towers, all powered by Intel Core i7 processors.

Dell also launched a 4th-gen Intel business laptop, including swappable batteries. The Latitude E6540 will feature comprehensive file-level encryption, advanced authentication and malware protection.

The XPS 12, OptiPlex 9020 desktop, and Latitude E6540 will be available in the coming weeks.

Additionally, the computer manufacturer added two printers to its portfolio of peripherals. The B1165nfw and B1265dfw claim to provide affordable printing options, wireless networking capabilities and document management software. The two printers will have the ability to print, scan, copy and fax within the single device.


Acer announced its new Iconia tablet, the Iconia W3, which claims to be the first 8.1-inch tablet running Windows 8. The company believes that this is the "optimum size for productivity and entertainment, while comfortable enough to sit in one hand". It will be available pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013.

The company also launched a "phablet" device - the 5.7-inch 1280x720 screen Liquid S1. It offers an option to insert two SIM cards, and runs Android Jelly Bean and a 1.5 GHz processor. Additionally, it has a few functionalities to boost productivity: The Acer Float User Interface, which allows several apps to stay open at the same time so users can multitask; the Auto Profile which supports predefined network settings, which will adjust settings such as brightness, volume and connectivity as users visit frequent locations.

Acer also launched its flagship ultrabook, the 13.3-inch Aspire S7. The ultrabook boosts a longer-lasting battery for "all day computing" as well as a updated cooling fan which makes less noise. It also offers wireless display technology for sharing on a big screen wirelessly. Like its previous model, it will include a 10-point WQHD display with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution taking full advantage of the touch capabilities of Windows 8.


Probably, most interesting from all the launches at Computex, was the Transformer Book Trio from Asus. This 11.6-inch clamshell tablet with a detachable display, consists of two operating systems. It can switch between Windows 8 notebook, Android tablet and Windows 8 desktop PC.

The Transformer series has been a success of Asus in the consumer space in recent years, the ability to switch between app stores, synch data and apparently "continue to surf a webpage when moving from notebook to tablet, could be a game changer for the device in the business space also.

The PC station dock has its own 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, keyboard and 750GB hard drive and it can also be hooked up to a monitor to be used as a desktop PC. Additionally the screen can be removed from the station dock to be used on the go as a tablet with a 2.0 GHz Intel processor , 64GB and full HD display- taking the meaning of "hybrid" one step further.


Intel also had a presence at Computex, revealing a 22nm low-power, Atom system on a chip design, which it claimed would offer faster graphics and twice the CPU performance of the current generation. According to Intel, the new chip would power Android and Windows 8.1 devices for up to eight hours.

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CES 2013 HANDS ON: Samsung Series 7 Chronos

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I got my hands on the beautiful premium Chronos laptop today at CES. The SuperBright 15.6-inch full HD touchscreen display almost glistened, it was so crystal clear. I'd taken a quick look at the lower end non-touch screen 1366 x 768 resolution version a few minutes earlier and when looking at the full HD version, even against the back drop of the many dazzling lights at the CES convention, the difference was far superior.


This Chronos had a full aluminium casing and keyboard (the non-touchscreen is only aluminium on the top shell), and it really does have a stunning finish to it - if you like silver.


This full Windows 8 laptop comes with a i7 Core CPU, up to 16GB of system memory as well as a 1TB HDD hard disc drive.

It is a large laptop, the keyboard including number keys on the right, which did make the machine quite heavier than its ultrabook competitors at 2.35kg, however it was very thin at 20.9mm. Because it didn't feel like an ultrabook to me, I then felt as though I was missing out on a disc drive.


The Chronos also comes in an Ultra version which has the same beautiful screen but at 13.3-inches and is a couple of millimetres thinner, with a smaller hard disk drive at 256GB SSD.

Maybe it's just because my trusty Samsung laptop decided it was too old to carry on and passed away the day before CES, but my love for the Chronos seemed to just grow the more I played around with it. I finally let it go after receiving one too many dirty glances from other techies wanting a hands on experience also.

If Samsung are correct in predicting that BYOD will be the norm by 2014, please let one of these land on my work desk soon. 

No pricing at the moment, but the machine feels very expensive and superior - I would expect a lavish price tag to match. 

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CES 2013: HP launches new Sleekbooks, IPS monitor and a portable storage device

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It's going to be a busy week for hardware, gadgets and gizmos, and HP isn't intending on missing out on the launches.

The company has launched new notebook PCs, an IPS monitor with Beat Audio and a portable media storage device.

HP Pavilion Sleekbook - touch and non-touch

The HP Pavilion Sleekbook and the HP Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook are HP's latest offerings in the Windows 8 notebook market. And if you hadn't already guessed it, the TouchSmart version is indeed touchscreen.

Both products offer a 15.6-inch diagonal HD screen, powered by AMD A-Series APU, with up to 1TB of storage. Including HDMI ports and USB 3.0 and 2.0 for connectivity.

Cleverly, the Sleebooks feature HP CoolSense, which adjusts cooling levels according to personal preference, no more hot laps from overheating laptops, which is exactly what is happening to me and my old HP machine as I write this post!

The TouchSmart Sleekbook will be available from February 3 at $649.99 and the standard Sleekbook will be available a little sooner from January 13 at $479.99.

HP ENVY 27-inch IPS Monitor with Beats Audio

This In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitor is able to provide a viewing angle of 178 degrees horizontally and vertically, meaning it is easier to share content with a group of people. The monitor also features edge-to-edge glass, and a stylish aluminium base. Additionally, the monitor is a mere 13.95mm thin at the top of the device.

The monitor also has built in Beats by Dr. Dre speakers for "studio quality" sound. 

Available February 3 for $499.            

HP Pocket Playlist

As we keep putting pressure on our smart devices to consume more media, these devices are proving popular to extend internal storage, Buffalo offers a portable storage solution for those large amounts of data, which I found really useful when I took a look at it recently.

HP's offering requires no internet connection and serves up to five mobile devices at a time. The device which stores up to 16 full-length movies, 7,600 songs or 10,000 photos, also includes a one-month subscription to PlayLater, a DVR app for online content. With this app you can cache videos from over 50 online websites for playing later without an internet connection. 

Available from February 15 for $129.

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CES 2013: Lenovo product launches at CES: ThinkPad Helix hybrid device and a Mobile Touch Monitor

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Lenovo have been busy, along with the launch of a 27-inch multiuser table PC, the Horizon, the company also had a few more tricks up its sleeve at the CES Unveiled event in Las Vegas.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Weighing less than a kilogram, this ThinkPad Helix is Lenovo's latest offering of a hybrid detachable tablet. Where the ThinkPad Twist, just well, twisted, the Helix is completely removable from its keyboard.


While completely removable, it is also reversable. The tablet can connect to the keyboard dock either in the traditional clam shell way, or appearing face up, so that the product can be used as a slate when the tablet is close onto the dock.



Available with a i3, i5 or i7 intel core processor, and up to 10 hours battery life (six in the tablet and four in the keyboard dock), this could become a great offering to the workplace. 

Less than a kilogram as a tablet, and 1.7kg as a full ultrabook device, the hybrid also claims to have Lenovo's best screen at full HD resolution and 11.6-inches.

Lenovo LT1423p Mobile Touch Monitor

Lenovo has launched a mobile touch external monitor which will work with any Windows 8 device. There are two models, a wireless and a non-wireless monitor.


The non-wireless device weighs 1.6kg, whereas the wireless device weighs 2.4 kg and has 4 hours of battery life.

Both monitors feature a 1600 x 900 13.3-inch resolution display, protected with Gorilla Glass.  

The monitor mirrors whatever computing device it is connected to, which enables 10 finger touchscreen capabilities to non-touchscreen devices. 

The products will cost $449 for the wireless option (available in June) and $349 for the wired (available now), both will come with a snap on case which allow converts into a stand. 


Small updates, big difference

Lenovo has also updated its U and Z series ultrabooks to include touch functionalities, while the Yoga 11S is now running an intel core and full Windows 8, rather than the RT version. 

Keep checking Inspect-a-Gadget for hands-on experiences at CES with these devices.

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Fujitsu targets enterprise with the Q572 and the Q702 tablet range

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Windows 8 with its intuitive touch interface was launched at the end of October and analysts are predicting that this operating system may bring the use of tablets firmly into the enterprise space.

While the world has been going crazy for Apple's iPad, the enterprise could see the convenience of using slate devices over laptops when mobilising the workforce. However, iOS and later the influx of the Android OS on tablets, was clearly not strong enough to handle all business needs. Tablets were mainly consumption devices. 

Enter Windows 8 and the wide choice of hardware. 

Microsoft's own offering, the Surface tablet, is a disappointment in respects that it only runs the RT version of Windows 8, meaning customers can only use applications from the Store and not any external software. Meanwhile, other hardware manufacturers have been releasing tablets and hybrid devices that can run the full Windows experience.

Both of Fujitsu's offering, in the form of the Q572 and the Q702, run either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, but are also compatible with Windows 7.

While Fujitsu also insisted that Windows 8 also needs to live on the desktop in order to be successful, the company also recognises the need for tablets to be integrated into the enterprise space, to complement existing traditional desk-based solutions. 

The Stylistic Q572

The Q570 is a step up from the M532 which was a device for media consumption, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Q572's Core i3 processor speeds up creating and editing content on-the-go.

The Q572, is a 10.1 inch tablet, weighing 820g and also has 4G/LTE connectivity.

The tablet comes with a stylus and also features a swappable battery. You have the option to dock the device as well as Bluetooth for attaching keyboards and also a HDMI port. 

Enterprise security features include a SmartCard reader, full disk encryption as well as a fingerprint sensor.

The Stylistic Q702

The Q702 is a hybrid device, combining a detachable keyboard with the ease of use of a tablet. This device is one step up again from the Q572, with even bigger processing power for heavy workloads thanks to the Core i5 processor (also available with the Core i3).

The detachable keyboard makes the device a good option for data input, while also providing additional power. When the device is in hybrid mode, it has about 9 hours battery life, however I did find this device to be quite warm to the touch after being a display for a while.

The 11.6 inch tablet weighs about 850g and so does the keyboard, so the combined weight comes to that of an ultrabook. It was quite chunky, but having option to detach the keyboard and leave it behind is very usefu. It also comes with a stylus pen, USB 2.0 and 4G/LTE support. It too features the same enterprise security features as the Q572.

I found the Q572 to feel a little clunky in my hands, and while the Q702 is just as heavy, the option to easily snap onto a sturdy keyboard, reminded me of a heavier, yet much sturdier Windows Surface tablet. If you remember, I wasn't very impressed with the Surface Touch Cover keyboard. I feel that if you create a hybrid device make sure that the keyboard is easy to use, otherwise you may as well use the on-screen keyboard to input. The Q702 keyboard on the other hand, really turned the slate device into a more familar laptop or ultrabook, with the convenience of leaving the keyboard behind when it isn't needed and simply switch to touch or stylus mode. 

Both products will be available mid-December and with prices to be confirmed nearer the time.  

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Convertible devices from Lenovo

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Lenovo have revealed a new fleet of convertible PC devices designed for use with Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. While all the other big names were launching hybrid devices at the end of the summer, Lenovo only launched traditional Windows 8 tablets. It's great to see the company finally jumping on the band wagon to reveal some interesting action-packed products. 

In an attempt to mimic the gymnasts of London 2012, the products spin, twist, and flip to drastically merge the line between tablet and desktop computing.

The ThinkPad Twist, aimed at small businesses, while the - aptly named - IdeaPad Yoga, is aimed at consumers.

The ThinkPad Twist

This 12.5-in hi-def display ultrabook can be twisted to switch to a convertible tablet. Packaged with a 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processors, Windows 8 Pro and optional 3G networking capabilities, it also has 500GB or 128 GB SSD of storage.

The product claims to offer a "nearly all-day" battery life, with dedicated small business software tools, including Lenovo Solutions for Small Business powered by Intel Small Business Advantage and Lenovo Cloud Storage by SugarSync. 



IdeaTab Lynx

Packing the latest dual core Intel Atom processor, this 11.6-inch tablet can be used as a full Windows 8 tablet via its multi-touch screen or can be connected to its keyboard for utilising the Office package. The device boasts 16 hours of battery as well as an optional base which can connect to a full-size USB port for using with accessories. 


IdeaPad Yoga 13

The IdeaPad Yoga range has an innovative hinge which is capable of rotating 360° and fold from laptop to tablet in one motion. The Yoga 13 is available on full Windows 8, while its smaller counterpart, the Yoga 11 runs Windows RT. 

Ideapad Yoga 13'_silver gray_Hero_10_interface.jpg

IdeaPad Yoga 11

Got to big this one up for the bold choice of colouring - Clementine - which I kind of like!

Ideapad Yoga 11'_Clementine Orange_Hero_09_interface.jpg

Pricing and availability

  • ThinkPad Twist will be available from business partners from mid-November with pricing for models starting at £809 through to £979 (exc VAT)
  • Pricing and availability of IdeaTab Lynx is to be announced.
  • IdeaPad Yoga 13 will be available from early November through, Dixons, John Lewis, PC World and Currys.  Pricing starts at £999 (inc VAT).  
  • IdeaPad Yoga 11 will be available through the same above retailers starting from late November.  Pricing starts at £699 (inc VAT).  

Expect a review on the Yoga and Twist models coming soon on Inspect-a-Gadget.

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Three's Huawei MiFi (E5331) - £29 plus £15.99 per month for 5GB of data

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I am constantly adding devices to my life that are in need of fast connections to the internet in order to perform at their best. Gartner research stated that apparently we will carry an average of seven devices by 2015. We failed to be able to count seven in the office, but at moment, I do have at least a smartphone, tablet, laptop, e-book and iPod around me most of the time. 

While on the move it is sometimes difficult or impossible to connect those devices, often rendering them useless. Portable WiFi devices attempt to solve this problem and Huawei/Three's latest offering is the E5331 MiFi, described as a 'high-speed, multi-mode wireless terminal.' 

Huawei E 5331 Value MiFi.jpg

I have used a Three dongle in the past, which I found fairly useful and was used intermittently until I purchased an iPad and the USB-connected device was left in a drawer.

A MiFi is a portable device which can provide internet via WiFi, meaning you do not need to physically connect the device to the MiFi. This one in particular claims to be able to provide Wi-Fi for up to five devices.

A network outage at the Computer Weekly offices proved a fine testing ground for the device. At one point we managed to connect two PCs, a laptop and a tablet to the device, but we stopped there, as the quality of connectivity did decrease the more devices we attached. 

I found the quality of the network when using one of our web content management systems, Vignette, did vary depending on which browser we chose to use and we experienced intermittent problems. But on the whole when the rest of the office was sat twiddling their thumbs, we were able to continue relatively as normal.

The MiFi is very sleek, weighs less than a phone and fits easily in your pocket. It has an LED screen and just one button to switch the device 'on' and 'off'. The screen informs you of signal strength, battery life, connection and whether the SIM has received any SMS messages.  

Its battery lasts around 4.5 hours, but when you're based in a fixed location you can power it from the power point.

During the test, I also took it on a train journey to Norwich, during which I was able to stream video with intermittent disruptions - as I expected while moving at high speeds. However, the big test was taking the device into the depths of the country. While visiting family in Wales - where the internet is painfully slow and reminds me why I left the country-bumpkin lifestyle a long time ago - the MiFi was a god-send. Connecting two phones and a tablet was no trouble and I was able to stream video with ease.

Interestingly, I used the MiFi while moving home recently, but I had trouble using it in parts of my new flat. Like with any mobile network, I expected the device to work well in some areas and not so much in others, but this often proves a little frustrating.

I was told that the device was likely to download at a speed of up to 21.1Mbps using HSPA+ and you can monitor how much data you are using and read any messages by logging into the MyThree account.

Available from Three, you have to pay £29 upfront for the device and you then take out a one-month rolling contract which offers 5GB of data for £15.99. Alternatively, it can be purchased for £49.99 on a pay-as-you-go basis.

A device like this, depending on your day-to-day activities can be very useful. If you travel a lot for work and spend a lot of time outside the office, then it may be worth investing in a contract.

And even for myself, with fixed internet at home and at work, a pay-as-you-go option would ensure I have a 'back-up' for those generic network failures or the occasional trip, meaning my ever growing family of gadgets is always connected. 

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Four years in the making: The best of the best.

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karate-kid2.jpgHaving created this blog and nurtured it for the past four years, I've decided to put the best blog posts/videos from the best on one page.

Diary of an outcast: Apple's Special iPad 2 Event
I will start with my favourite post, the infamous Apple event. I had been invited to Apple events before but somehow started getting missed off the list. I hate Apple so it was no surprise that they didn't want me there. Safe to say that after this post not only was I missed off the list but Computer Weekly never received an invite from Apple ever again.

iPhone Vs N97
This was the first big video project that me and David (video editor) put together. At the time I was so happy that I'd got the N97 I decided to make a video pitting it against the iPhone while mocking Apple's advertising campaign. Little did I know that the N97 would prove to be the worst purchase I've ever made in my life.

HTC Desire HD Review
David (who stars in this video) and I wanted to do something different and create a cool video review. This is what we came up with.

Sadly once we started recording David (and the department he worked for) were made redundant. It didn't effect the video but it wasn't a happy time for us. Having cleared out his desk he set up at home the next day to finish it. This was our last hurrah and the last video I made. Very proud of it.

What is the best mobile OS around?
At this point, no one wanted to be in any of my videos. The company was starting to cut back on them and so I tried to play four roles with four outfits and a moustache before I got told that what I was doing wasn't a productive use of my time. Honestly, how could they say that?

This video used to have a voting element that has since been removed because we couldn't afford to pay for the server the flash sat on.

The most ambitious video we ever tried.

Video: The future of business cards, I'm not taking the Poken
There was a girl I was desperate to go out with at my work. I needed to do a video to have a reason to talk to her but the only thing I'd been sent was a Poken. No phones or cool gadgets. Somehow I persuaded her to help me make this video. We're still together :)

Video review of the wiimote like Gyration Air Mouse
This video is pretty much when I realised that I can be funny. What people don't realise is that filming didn't take long but discussions between David and I on what was funny took forever.

He would stand there saying "That's not funny" every time I cracked a joke or did something stupid. Or one of my favourite lines of his was "You might think that's funny, but it isn't".

Video: Palm Pre vs the iPhone - The big debate
I had 2 weeks before Christmas to do a video armed with my wit and a white wig that was left over from a very bad 'Back to the future' spoof I'd made where I played the Doc. That video was so bad that the company we producd it for sent us a letter saying that if the video ever saw the light of day, they'd sue my a** off. 

David went on holiday with a week left of editing/filming to do so I didn't have anyone to tell me that what I was saying wasn't funny and some of the editing is a bit off. It's still a good video but we felt it was rushed.

Video: I heart iPad - Dating website matches man to iPad
What do you do when you get your hands on an iPad before the UK release? Write a review. Then what? Make a video about having a special relationship with it. Yep, not sure why.

The HTC and Google story: A love affair and a tragedy
Lord knows what compelled me to write this. Had I taken more time to craft it, I think it could've been great but when I read it now I feel it's rushed. Still good, where the idea came from I'll never know.

Video: Flip Mino HD review
This video took 84 takes. For no reason at all I couldn't stop laughing during recording. We got in trouble because it was meant to take a couple of hours but took almost two weeks.

Video: Zeemote review - Is this the future of mobile gaming?
I did this video because Zeemote said that they'd give me a free phone if I reviewed it. So...

GeeklyWeekly Sexy Halloween Special
Wow, how bad is this video? It doesn't even have anything to do with gadgets!!

The rise of the Ultrabooks. But what's next?

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Being the sophisticated race that we are, we've managed to progress seamlessly from desktops to laptops and onto notebooks. But, the latest instalment in mobile computing, aside from tablets of course, appears to be Ultrabooks. 

Faisal, who was blogging live from CES, supplied the ComputerWeekly office with all the news and information on Ultrabooks that our hearts desired. In fact, we even put together a photo gallery.

But what exactly are Utrabooks?

Well, allow me to enlighten you. They are effectively, Intel powered, thinner, high spec laptops made from superior materials.  

Emerging new features include back-lit keyboards, USB 3.0 ports and faster boot times. 

Ultrabooks are being pitched as the answer to the slumping PC market, with said slump being blamed on those pesky ARM powered tablets. 

Question is, if this fails where do Intel go next? Megabook? Supabook? Speciabook? Amazebook? Wonderbook? Incredibook? Hyperbook? CallItWhatEverYouWantBook?

If you have any suggestions stick them on a post card and send them to the usual address. But seriously, leave a comment if you think you could help Intel out.  


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