Archive for the ‘Android Tablet Reviews’ Category

Bulk buy Surface RT and Pro tablets from Microsoft available now

Monday, March 25th, 2013
Microsoft’s new commercial website can only be accessed by employees, partners and volume licensing customers
Microsoft has launched a new website for volume licensing customers to bulk buy its Surface RT and Pro tablets.

The commercial website, which was first spotted by Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet, can be accessed by Microsoft customers with volume license agreements as well as Microsoft partners and employees.

It enables volume licensing customers to purchase Surface RT and Pro tablets as well as accessories and extended support plans, such as third-party warranties.

Businesses without a volume licensing agreement will also be able to order multiple Surface tablets, even though Microsoft has hinted that processing any deals may take longer.

“Lead times for delivery and order requirements may vary depending on inventory,” it reads on the website’s Commercial Order page. “If you do not currently have a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, there may be additional processing time to setup account and credit terms.”

What with recent estimates putting Surface sales at just 1.5 million units and with slow Windows 8 growth expected up to 2017, this is good news for Microsoft and marks its latest attempt to do battle with Apple.

Apple is the market leader when it comes to tablets in enterprise and although it doesn’t have a progam of its own for bulk buying iPads, it does offer the volume purchase program for rolling out paid and free apps into business.

ASUS Padfone 2 now available on Vodafone in UK

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Back in Barcelona alongside the Padfone Infinity announcement, we also learned that its predecessor, the Padfone 2, would finally be launching on UK shores. The phone/tablet combination officially launched in the UK on March 1, and now it has become available subsidized on a new 2-year contract at Carphone Warehouse. Android Central

Best of all, the Padfone 2 can be had for free on contracts from £33 per month. All deals are being offered on the Vodafone network, but considering what you get hardware wise it’s not a particularly bad deal. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the forthcoming Padfone Infinity, the Padfone 2 is no slouch. With a Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM and a Super IPS+ HD display, it still packs some impressive hardware specs. And, since the tablet portion is also included, it’s pretty decent value for money too.

Google bringing the Nexus 7 to Korea

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Google is expanding Play Store availability of its devices today by bringing the Nexus 7 to Korea directly. Sure the Nexus 7 has been out for some time now, but that doesn’t mean its not still one of the best options when it comes to the 7-inch form factor. And any time that you can buy Google’s products directly from them rather than a third party retailer is a bonus. Korea will have access to both 16 and 32GB versions, but there’s no indication (although we’re not great at reading Korean) that there’s a Cellulari DUAL-SIM data version right at this moment.

Nexus 7

Let’s hope that Google continues this trend of bringing the Play Store — and Nexus devices as a whole — to more countries.

Nexus 7 tablet 3G in stock at Google Play

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

From sold out to doled out — the in-demand Nexus 7 tablet with 3G capability is back in stock and currently available to snap up at Google’s Play store.

Costing £239, this high-end version of the Big G’s 7-inch tablet android comes with 32GB of storage and a SIM-card slot, granting you the gift of mobile data. It was released alongside the Nexus 4smart phone and Nexus 10 tablet earlier this month, but promptly sold out, leaving would-be tablet shoppers fuming.

As The Next Web spied, it’s now listed as in stock, however. The £159 8GB version and £199 32GB Wi-Fi-only versions are also good to go, with all three variants pegged as being delivered in three to five business days.

Jolly good, but let’s hope supplies hold up better than they did the first time around. Meanwhile, it’s not such swell news for Google’s ridiculously excellent Nexus 4 smart phone, which is stillsold out on the Google Play store.

The 4.7-inch quad-core smart phone went on sale on 13 November, but every last one Google had was snapped up within half an hour of the phone going on sale, with the Google Play store crashing in the process.

Nearly two weeks later, the Nexus 4 is still unavailable, meaning there’s no way of getting your mitts on the phone for Google’s eye-goggling price of £239. That’s bad news, as the shockingly low cost of the Nexus 4 is — I think — what makes it the most exciting smart phone of the year.

Tablet Android 9,7 pollici Capacitivoonly  € 89,10

If you’re desperate, operators including O2 and Three are flogging the Nexus 4, but you’ll end up paying much more by signing up to a pricey tariff or buying pay as you go. So far it seems Google is the only place where you can (or rather can’t) buy the Nexus 4 with that low, low price.

The Nexus 10 tablet is also back in stock for both the 16 and 32GB options, but with a shipping estimate of 1-2 weeks.

Hands On Microsoft Surface Impressions

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Microsoft Surface With Windows RT Hands-On Impressions

How does the Surface RT hold up after a weekend of use? We put it to the test.

I originally wanted to do this entire story with the typos left in.

My first day using the Touch Cover was plagued with so many typos, I figured it would be a fun way to show off how steep the learning curve on the new Touch Cover is. But then, miraculously, after a weekend of use I stopped making so many typos.

My words per minute is still nowhere as fast as it is on a normal keyboard, and dragging and dropping is a huge pain, but I’m pleasantly surprised with what I’ve been able to accomplish on the Surface’s Touch Cover. When the Microsoft employees tell you it has a steep learning curve they mean it. But it is learnable.

That steep learning curve is present in more than just the Touch Cover though. Just take my horrific day of setup as proof. For some reason, you need to use the same Microsoft Account as your Xbox Live Gamertag is connected to upon setting up your administrator account, or else you can’t access your Gamertag. As far as I can tell, once you’ve created an administrator account, there’s no way to switch the administrator account – shy of reformatting your Microsoft Surface. Which I did. Twice.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like a huge problem, but I had to reformat my Surface twice in single day just because there was no clear instructions during the setup process. Weird glitches happened throughout the process (perhaps most bizarrely, it told me it couldn’t accept @outlook.com addresses, which Microsoft invented.). It was a nightmare, and there is no way people like my parents would have figured out how to fix it.

Tablet Android 7″ Sensitivo
Tablet Android 7' 2.2 Sensitivo

But enough about the weird, frustrating setup process. I have been consistently and simultaneously shocked by what the Surface RT can do (and at times what it cannot).

With the tap of a button, the Surface can display a full desktop, which allows you to quickly sort through your file hierarchy. This is the kind of dream people on iPads have – a computer OS-style folder format for their files and media.

This alone gave me the impression that RT really was something just a bit more than a tablet pc. Similarly, the hardware has a few tablet/PC-hybrid tricks up its sleeve. The USB port works flawlessly, and allowed me to quickly add a keyboard when I needed to get things done faster than the Touch Cover allowed, and worked with a mouse as soon as I plugged it in.

everything in Surface RT is designed to be done by touch

Adding a mouse is hugely valuable, as the Touch Cover’s trackpad and small buttons are a bit hard to use. But ultimately, you may not need it – everything in Surface RT is designed to be done by touch, and frequently I found myself switching between touch and Touch Cover.

I cannot emphasize the mind-boggling accomplishment this represents. If Microsoft can successfully get us to simultaneously use touch and hardware for input, they’ve created a brand new way for us to use a device, and it frequently felt like something completely different from its competition.

Still none of that matters much if you just want to use the Surface RT as a gaming device, and unfortunately our initial impressions are not favorable. On the first day of using the device, the Surface had significant slowdown playing every single game we tried. Jetpack Joyride dropped significant frame rate whenever touch input occurred and Pinball FX was rendered virtually unplayable due to a delay in input and paddle action. However, later in the weekend I was able to play Jetpack Joyride without significant stutter, so further testing is required.

Some other snap judgments: the charger is tough to fit in the device, the speakers aren’t great, and finally the Surface is super easy to use as a tablet with a folded Touch Cover behind it.

Hands On iPad Mini

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Apple iPad miniApple’s trying to create a new market with the iPad mini: premium small tablets. Its chief tools are the mini’s spectacular, nearly surreal build quality and its amazing array of apps. But unlike other Apple products, the mini isn’t necessarily a slam-dunk because of its high price and odd ergonomics. I spent a little while with it at the launch event; here’s what I think.

The Apple iPad mini may be the most beautifully built device I’ve ever seen. It’s amazingly thin at 0.28 inches and whisper-light at 10.9 ounces; where the bright LCD screen joins the aluminum body there’s a simple beveled metal edge, like on the edge of the iPhone 5. I kept thinking of the iPhone 5 when I was holding it, but also of the HTC One S, another example of sublime material design. It feels years ahead of the current iPad, and even of other high-quality metal tablets like the Asus Transformer series. It’s amazing what an invisible seam can do. Every other tablet feels cheap now.

The device works almost exactly like a shrunken-down iPad 2 $399.00 at Apple Store. Same apps, same screen resolution, same performance. Everything’s a little smaller and a little sharper than on the iPad 2 because the pixels are smaller, but it’s not a Retina display. It’s not even as tight as the screen on the Kindle Fire HD.

Apple’s making a big bet that the 275,000 iPad apps will make a difference here, and I think that’s a good bet to make. As Apple showed on stage and as I’ve recounted several times, the 275,000 apps designed for Apple’s iPad generally beat Android tablet apps, brutally. Seven-inch Android tablets have been able to coast along because blown-up phone apps don’t look outright bad on their screens, the way they do on 10-inch tablets. But tablet apps look even better, and Apple’s got more of ’em.

Mini I-phone Style Anycool Dual Sim
I939 Mini I-phone Style Anycool Dual Simonly € 59,00

A Mini Tablet For a Maxi Hand

The mini makes two ergonomic missteps, though, which is surprising for Apple.

The first one is subtle, and worthy of further study. When developers write iPad apps, they assume a certain number of pixels per inch. Remember how Steve Jobs went on and on about iPad virtual buttons being just the right size for fingers? Fingers don’t change, but the buttons just did, because the same number of pixels now covers less ground.

I found this to be a noticeable, but not overwhelming difference in apps like Kayak, Facebook, and CNN. The touch buttons are a little smaller. With the regular iPad, you don’t have to move all that precisely; this little iPad demands a little more exactitude. It’ll take some more time to find out whether this makes a noticeable difference in usability.

MICRO SD 4GB SANDISK
MICRO SD 4GB SANDISK only € 5,90

The iPad mini is also not a one-handed tablet. At 5.3 inches wide (to the Nexus 7’s 4.7 inches), it’s just too wide. The reality distortion field around this fact was unusually strong, but let’s remember that Apple is selling the iPhone 5 as better than the competition at one-handed use specifically because of how narrow it is. Now here comes the iPad mini, which is a better one-handed tablet because … it’s wider than the competition.

I know there are all different sizes of hands, and mine are pretty small. But there’s no denying that the additional width makes a significant ergonomic difference, and it isn’t in the iPad mini’s favor. The very narrow bezel makes the problem worse, not better, as there’s less of an area to grip the tablet by without activating the touch screen.

Unfocus yourself from that “one-handed” idea, though, and you see the iPad mini being a top tablet for kids, especially in education. It’s a four-fifths-scale iPad; they’re four-fifths-scale people. Apple reaches out to schools and helps design curricula, which often involve iPad-only apps. Savings from the lower price add up when you intend to buy in bulk and your choices are iPad or nothing, because only the iPad offers the educational books, apps and resources you want.

It’s no concidence that Apple talked extensively about iBooks and schools during this product launch. They’re the prime target.

Now, About That Price …
The iPad mini costs $329, which is a lot more than the $199 that Amazon and Google are charging for the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. That’s not fatal, though.

Apple is selling this as a premium small tablet, and if anyone can pull that off, Apple can. Apple thinks it can charge the premium for all of the well-known advantages its ecosystem has – not only the 275,000 apps, but the wide variety of accessories and the in-person support and sales experience at Apple Stores.

The stellar build quality is the physical element which should seal the deal on the price. To quote the highest praise from judges on “Project Runway,” it feels expensive. This is critical. At $299 it would have been a deal; at $329, it has a chance.

Microsoft Surface RT priced at $499 for 32GB model

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Microsoft runs out of $499 Surface RT for pre-orders

Microsoft has exhausted its initial supply of the lowest-priced Surface RT tablet, which now is backordered by three weeks.

On Wednesday, the company’s pre-order website noted, “Order now for shipment within 3 weeks” for the $499 32GB tablet.

That model lacks a cover-cum-keyboard.

Microsoft yesterday kicked off pre-orders for the Surface RT, its first entry into tablet design and manufacturing. The Surface RT comes in three configurations: a 32GB model at $499, a 32GB device with a Touch Cover for $599, and a 64GB model with that same cover at $699. Touch Covers are also available separately for $119.99, and the Type Cover, a slightly thicker keyboard with key travel more like that of a lightweight notebook, costs $129.99.

Tablet Android 7-inch, Sensitivo
Tablet Android 7' 2.2 Sensitivoonly € 75,00

The two higher-priced SKUs, or stock-keeping units, remain available for delivery by Oct. 26, the official launch date for Windows 8, its spinoff Windows RT, and hardware powered by both new operating systems.

Although the entry-level Surface RT was out of stock Wednesday, the Type Cover — which one might expect would be ordered alongside the keyboard-less tablet — was not. Orders for the Type Cover will be fulfilled by Oct. 26, Microsoft said.

Customers may be opting for the lowest-priced model — and passing on a keyboard — simply to save dollars.

“The entry-level product includes no typing solution and is pretty transparently an opening price point gambit,” said Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group. “But there’s no way to know how many people bought, or didn’t buy, one of the covers.”

In other words, Baker continued, don’t read too much into either the backorder or the fact that the two covers are still available.

Even so, he was surprised that Microsoft offered a cover-less Surface RT. “To some extent, without a [Touch or Type] Cover, then the Surface is just another tablet,” Baker said. “With a cover, it’s both a consumption and creation device.”

Ever since June, when Microsoft unveiled its Surface project — which also includes a Windows 8 Pro-powered tablet set to ship in late January 2013 — the company has aggressively promoted the cover-slash-keyboard. In its opening television advertisement for the Surface, which ran Monday night in the U.S., Microsoft almost exclusively focused on the cover.

“Given the focus of the product, Microsoft’s concept was, ‘This is a new kind of tablet, a new kind of notebook. It’s either one and both at the same time,'” said Baker. By offering a Surface RT minus a cover, Baker argued, Microsoft was muddying that message.

Surface sales supply

The lowest-priced Surface RT is now backordered, and won’t ship for as long as three weeks.

“They could have set $599 as the opening price,” Baker said, referring to the 32GB Surface RT that does include a Touch Cover.

He was also dismissive of any interpretation of the quick sell-out of the $499 model. “[Sell-outs] don’t ever really mean anything,” he said. “They could have made just 10 of them, then said, ‘We’re out!'”

Nonetheless, out-of-stock reports are not uncommon, especially for new devices. Availability of Apple’s products, particularly the iPhone and iPad, sometimes even its Mac notebooks, are regularly tracked by the technology media and bloggers as one of the few available clues to sales.

Microsoft may mention the Surface RT, and perhaps hint at early sales, during its upcoming quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. The conference call, which will cover the quarter that ended Sept. 30, is slated to start Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Apple iPad Mini configurations and prices revealed

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Prices for various memory and wireless combinations for the unannounced tablet allegedly depicted in screenshot from European retail giant’s inventory system.

Apple has not yet even acknowledged the existence of the iPad Mini, but pricing and configuration information for the much-rumored tablet is allegedly already appearing in the inventory system of a consumer electronics giant.

The iPad Mini will come in 16 different memory and wireless configurations, according to an inventory system screenshot obtained by MobileGeeks. The screen capture allegedly comes from the internal inventory system of Media Market, Europe’s largest electronics retailer.

The page — in German — lists pricing for various configurations in euros, presumably with Europe’s 19 percent value-added tax already factored into the price. Prices will start at 249 euros ($322) for a Wi-Fi-only 8GB iPad Mini, with other memory configurations of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB also available. The high-end 64GB cellular version is listed at about $650, presumably with 4G LTE capability.

iPad Mini rumors have been swirling for months, with various sources reporting that the device will feature a 7.85-inch display and go on sale for a price that’s far cheaper than Apple’s current, larger tablet.

CUSTODIA IPAD IN PELLE + TASTIERA INTEGRATA
CUSTODIA IPAD IN PELLE + TASTIERA INTEGRATAonly € 19,00

Apple has reportedly already begun mass production of the new tablet, which is expected to be introduced on October 23. However, one Asia news outlet reports that production issues will delay its debut .

Apple has reportedly ordered 10 million units of the unannounced tablet for the fourth quarter, roughly twice what Amazon reportedly ordered for the Kindle Fire for the same quarter.

Google updates Flight Search travel site for Android tablets and iPad

Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Flight Search shows you a map of how much flying to different cities will cost.
Google announced an update to its Flight Search service for booking travel that’s now available for Android tablets such as Google’s own Nexus 7 and the iPad.

Noting a big increase in the percentage of people using tablets to not only search for, but make their travel purchases, Google today announced an update to Flight Search.

A study by Telemetrics found that 46% of all U.S. tablet users who search for travel also purchase travel services on the device.

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“We also know that people use their tablets differently than they use their desktop,” said Google’s Rani Manoharan, a user interface designer, in a post at Google’s ITA travel blog. “That’s why we’ve optimized our Flight Search experience for those who prefer to search with a tablet android, such as a Nexus 7 or an Ipad.”

Among other features, the Flight Search service presents you with a map of the U.S. showing major cities with a price next to each showing how much it would cost to fly there from your current location. Touch a city to start the reservation process.

“With the touch of your finger, you can easily explore places to visit on the map and see prices updated in real-time for each destination,” said Manoharan.

Wikipad gaming tablet available October 31

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The ambitious Android tablet gaming system will cost the same as an entry-level iPad or the 9-inch 4G Kindle Fire HD.

The upcoming Wikipad tablet, first spotted back in January at CES, now has an official release date and price. The 10.1-inch Android handheld gaming system will be available for $499 on October 31. Starting September 7, the system will be available to preorder through game retailer GameStop, although the Wikipad is expected to be available through other retailers as well.

Wikipad is part of a growing trend of independently developed game consoles outside of the major Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft axis. Ouya, an Android-powered set-top box, recently made a big splash on Kickstarter, raising millions of dollars from individual gamers, while streaming-game service OnLive released a set-top box last year, and used a standalone Android app to bring its games to handheld devices.

Tablet Android 10″ 2.2 Sensitivo
Tablet Android 10' 2.2 Sensitivo

Powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, the Wikipad can download games from Nvidia’s Tegra Zone store, Google Play, and the PlayStation Mobile platform. Unlike other Android tablets that can also play a wide variety of games, the Wikipad’s unique feature is its custom handheld controller dock, which adds two analog sticks, a directional pad, and four buttons — all of which makes it look a lot like a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 controller.

Both Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s 9-inch 4G Kindle Fire HD also cost $499, but the three major living-room consoles, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s 3DS, all cost less (as will Nintendo’s Wii U when its price is announced next week). The Wikipad is an interesting concept, and its physical game controller add-on is something long overdue, but the system will have to offer a lot to convince gamers to spend that much.