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 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.

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.

Preview Toshiba Thrive 13 Android Tablet

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Toshiba’s Android tablets haven’t exactly been well received, so the company appears to have gone back to the drawing board. The end result is the Excite 13, the biggest Android tablet on the market with a whopping 13.3in touchscreen.

Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying that 7 inch Android tablets were “dead on arrival”, lambasting them for being too small and saying a 10in screen is the minimum necessary on a tablet. Toshiba may have taken his advice, but has the company pushed the boundaries too far with the Excite 13?

Toshiba says the Excite 13 “delivers more screen real estate than any other tablet on the market.” While this is certainly true, this extra screen size comes at a huge cost of weight. The Excite 13 weighs almost 1 kilogram (997.9g to be exact), so it’s by far the heaviest tablet Android on the market. Thankfully, with a thickness of just 10.1mm the Excite 13 isn’t entirely a brick.

Interestingly, the Excite 13 comes bundled with a stand so Toshiba appears to be positioning this as a home device rather than one you’ll carry around with you everywhere. The company says the stand is ideal for propping the tablet on a table, kitchen benchtop or a coffee table. The tablet also comes with four speakers and boasts “exclusive sound enhancements by Toshiba and SRS Labs”, so its clearly being targeted as an entertainment device more than anything else.

Tablet Android 7”
Tablet Android 7”, 2.3, GB-Y70only € 79,00

The Excite’s 13.3in screen is an AutoBrite LED backlit display with a resolution of 1600×900. The extra screen real estate will no doubt be an advantage for watching movies and videos, but the display has a low pixel density of just 120ppi. In comparison, Apple’s new iPad has a ppi of 264, while the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, arguably the best Android tablet on the market, has a ppi of 149. This means you will clearly see individual pixels on this screen and text isn’t likely to be as crisp as many other devices on the market.

The Toshiba Excite 13 comes with a micro USB port, a micro HDMI port and a full-size SD card slot. It charges via a proprietary dock connector and Toshiba says the battery will last for up to 13 hours with seven days of standby time. The tablet is powered by a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with GeForce graphics, has 1GB of RAM and comes with 32 or 64GB of internal memory. The Excite 13 is a Wi-Fi only tablet with no 3G or 4G connectivity available.

The Toshiba Excite 13 comes with the latest version of Google’s Android platform, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The software appears to be a vanilla version of the OS, with no apparent UI overlay.

Toshiba hasn’t yet confirmed whether the Excite 13 will be released in Australia, but it will launch in the US in June and will cost US$649.99 for 32GB model and US$749.99 for the 64GB version.

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Top 5 Best 10-inch Android Tablets in 2012

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Today, we are going to provide the Top 5 Best 10-inch Android Tablets You Must Buy in this New year 2012. All these devices are loaded with high end configurations to deliver extreme performance and all this tablet will definitely satisfy all you needs without any compromise.

A lot of companies announced various tablets that are not on market even after a few months after the initial announcement. The strongest sub-niche is the 10 inch tablet, which currently features the Apple iPad 2 at the crown (its screen is actually 9.7 inches) plus a lot of Android tablets trailing it, models that look really interesting and have raised consumer’s attention to this growing segment making for a sizable percentage of the 2011 sales. 2012 is expected to see new members from the Windows 8 family, but right now the ten inch tablet niche is dominated by iOS and Android models (Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich). Here’s a list of best 10’inch Android Tabs.

1. Asus EEE Transformer Prime

Asus EEE transformer prime is the best Android Tab with full-length features, a sexy design and good camera. It’s one step better than its predecessor in every respect, and is the first tablet to launch with Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 CPU which adds super-powers and increased power and battery efficiency. Playing 1080p HD videos on it, looks awesome for the display. The Tab can be connected to get a laptop look.

2. Samsung Galaxy Android Tab 10.1

While the Transformer and Slider offer something a little different at an unbeatable price, our number 5 -the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – offers a direct alternative to Apple’s iPad 2 and Apple Accessori. Sporting the Nvidia Tegra 2 1Ghz dual-core CPU and running with latest Android 3.1 operating system, it’s both marginally thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. This was some achievement, especially when you consider the fuss Apple made about how thin and light the iPad 2 was on launch. The prices are the same as the iPad 2, so it’s a straight competition to the Apple.

Tablet Android 8” 3g, 4.01, GB-A30
Tablet Android 8” 3g, 4.01, GB-A30€ 185,00

3.Motorola XOOM 2

The XOOM 2 is a little development of the previous XOOM. The Motorola Xoom 2’s most noticeable upgrade might be in the chassis, but it’s also had an upgrade to a 1.2GHz CPU, along with Android 3.2 operating system and may be i will get android 4.0 Ice scream Sandwich update later. It’s not the all-conquering tablet we were hoping it was going to be. It doesn’t quite match the best tablets above or the iPad for quality, and many good Android tablets have it beaten for value.

4. LG Optimus 3D Pad

The best ever 3D pad running on TABLET ANDROID, The LG Optimus Pad from the Optimus family. The Tab has a 5MP Camera to capture 3D images and Shoot 3D video footage. But for disappointment, there is not 3D screen to it. You can plug the pad to a 3D Tv and watch 3D movies. If you’re crazy about Android and 3D together, then LG optimus Pad is waiting for you.

Tablet Android 10″ 2.2 Capacitivo
Tablet Android 10' 2.2 Capacitivo€ 548,10

5. Lenovo ThinkPad Android Tablet

If you’re looking out for some business android tablet, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is it. The tab running on Android V3.1 with a 10’inch touchscreen looks pretty cool with rich looks. It gives a 8hr battery life and comes with inbuilt 64GB storage memory. It has a 1 GHz processor on NVIDIA Tegra 2  Dual-Core-CPU.

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Nintendo 3DS News: Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Mostly magazine scans showing new screenshots and artwork, from a few lesser games. We have some screenshots of Dragon Quest Monsters first. Looks okay, although not exactly using the 3DS and its technology to the fullest degree possible.

wonderland 3d 2 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 3 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

Tablet Android 8” 3g, 4.01, GB-A30
Tablet Android 8” 3g, 4.01, GB-A30€ 185,00

wonderland 3d 5 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 7 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 8 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 9 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 10 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 11 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 12 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

wonderland 3d 13 300x180 Miscellaneous Nintendo 3DS News; Dragon Quest Monsters and Kingdom Hearts 3D

There are also some Kingdom Hearts Espansioni Memoria Nintendo R4i 3ds related magazine scans too. Not the most indepth ones in any way, they spend a lot of the space on official art rather than game screenshots, and only one or two a page to boot. Still, you can see them below:

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