More Lenovo Yoga P40 Details Emerge as First Listings Appear

Lenovo first unveiled their Yoga P40 mobile workstation on December first and around two weeks later they revealed the specifications, at least some of them. When a new product like this is being introduced, we usually only get the top end specifications and not all options available. Top of the line is awesome, but it might simply be too much for some users, both performance and price wise.

I’ve long been on the search for a new mobile workstation to suit my needs, plenty of power, mobility, and universal usage, but there wasn’t such a product on the market. The Microsoft Surface Book came close, but I was seriously disappointed in the specifications and low-end hardware they used. Especially considering the premium asking price of the Surface Book. When Lenovo unveiled the P40, I saw my rescue and have since been waiting for it while scouting for more details.

Initially we got a starting price of $1399 USD at the same time as they revealed the specification. It was clear right away that this wasn’t the price for the model with the revealed specifications. Today, or rather yesterday, I finally discovered the first shop listing of the new Yoga P40 that both provide us with an estimate on a European price, some more specification details, as well as a possible release date.

The initial specifications were a QuadroM500M graphics card, 6th-generation Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD, and 16GB RAM as well as an optional LTE version. Thanks to the first product listings we can elaborate a little more on that.

The 14-inch Lenovo P40 2-in-1 mobile workstation will come with either an i7-6500U or i7-6600U processor and either 8 or 16GB RAM. The SSD isn’t 512 GB in all models either and there will be options with a 256GB SSD instead. So far only models with FullHD resolution have been listed, but there should also come a version with a 1440p display instead.

The first listings come from two different shops which both are located in Poland and both revealed the same information. The prices start at about €1817.00 for an i7-6500U with 8GB RAM and 256GB HDD and goes up to about €2380.00 for an i7-6600U with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. The product listings aren’t complete, but they do give us some more insight into these pretty cool mobile workstations.

While the release date on the Yoga P40 wasn’t listed for either of the shops, there are hints towards when we can expect to see it. Lenovo only revealed that it would be released in Q1 2016, but not when. The official ThinkPad Pen Pro for the Yoga P40 does however have an estimated delivery time set for 3 weeks. While that doesn’t mean that the Yoga P40 will ship at the same time, it makes little sense to sell a stylus for a product that isn’t on the market yet. So fingers crossed if you’re looking to buy one of these sweet machines. The waiting time should be over soon.

Microsoft Surface Book May Use GeForce 930M Variant

 

Selling out quite quickly, the well-received Surface Book from Microsoft has still largely remained a mystery in terms of its tech specifications. Microsoft has still not revealed the major components other than it will run an i5/i7 CPU along with an unnamed Nvidia GeFroce GPU. We’re now hearing reports that the unnamed Nvidia GPU may be some variant of Nvidia’s GeForce 940M.

According to the Nvidia Control Panel, the GPU will feature 384 CUDA cores clocked at 945Mhz. For memory, a relatively meagre 64bit interface connects to 1GB of GDDR5 at 5010Mhz for 40.08 GB/s of bandwidth. For comparison, the 930M has the same number of shaders but with a slightly lower clock rate and DDR3 VRAM that only gives about 16GB/s. The 940M, on the other hand, has higher clock speeds but is sometimes saddled with DDR3 and other times uses GDDR5.

It’s interesting that Microsoft went with a discrete Nvidia GPU of this level given that Intel’s latest Iris Pro iGPUs are quite competitive right now. In fact, the top Intel iGPU will probably beat out the Surface Book dGPU. The current configuration with the GT2 in the tablet side and the 940M does offer some power benefits as the weaker GT2 can sip power in tablet mode and move to the more powerful 940M once the extra battery from the keyboard gets into the fray. On the other hand, Apple does manage to use just the Iris Pro in their slim portables so it remains to be seen which solution is better.

Kensington SD4000 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station with 4K UHD Review

Introduction


For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops.

While a docking station like this would work with any system and as such isn’t limited to portable ones, it will be a rare scenario that someone will connect it to their desktop. That said, it could still provide some beneficial uses there too.

While most laptop manufacturers also provide docking stations for some of their models, they are usually very expensive and only compatible to very few models. The use of a universal docking station like this opens a lot more options and best of all, you can take it with you to any other system that you might upgrade to in the future.

The Kensington SD4000 Universal Docking Station connects to your system via a single USB 3.0 host port and in return it offers you three USB 3.0 connectors, a DVI port, a DisplayPort or HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and headset connections. Those are all useful connections to have, especially on ultrabooks and netbooks that barely have any native connections at all anymore.

The Docking Station doesn’t just serve as USB hub, it also enables 4K Ultra HD resolutions, even when your laptop doesn’t have a graphics card that supports these resolutions. You can connect a single 4K monitor or TV via an HDMI or DisplayPort connection for Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K Ultra HD resolution sadly only works with one monitor connected, but you can run up to 2K when using dual monitors. Ideal for users not ready to make the transition to 4K, this option can support the typical two-monitor setup with 1920 x 1200 and 2048 x 1152 resolution for each screen.

Speedy charging for power hungry devices such as tablets is also supported thanks to the 2.1 AMP fast charging USB port labeled with an extra lightning character. The Gigabit Ethernet port is also one that’s often missing on netbooks as they rely solely on wireless.

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840×2160) to one monitor via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort connection
  • Enables 4K UHD even if laptop does not have 4K graphics card
  • 2K resolution (1920×1200/2048×1152) for two-monitor setup via DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI
  • 3 universal USB 3.0 ports for seamless productivity with your accessories
  • 2.1A fast charging port to power up a tablet or smartphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the Internet
  • Includes speaker port, microphone jack, Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Windows 8.1/8/7

Specifications

  • UPC: 085896339830
  • Best For: Convertible and 2-in-1 Laptops, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Windows Tablets
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Connections: 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Female, Host Interface: USB 3.0, Host upstream link: USB (B Type)
  • Female, HUB downstream link: USB (A Type) Female
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Features: Extended Display, Kensington Security Slot, Mirrored Display, Power Indicator (Blue), USB Hub Link
  • Indicator (Green)
  • Dimensions: 7.71” x 3.34” x 1.08” (19.5 cm x 85 cm x 2.75 cm)

Packaging and Accessories

The package of the SD4000 Universal Docking Station comes in s a simple yet elegant wrapping. It shows what it does on the front without much extra.

The rear of the package explains what type of connectors it has, what’s in the box, and what it is compatible with. Everything you’ll want to know before you purchase.

Inside the box, we find a power supply with both an EU and UK replaceable plug, a setup guide, a USB cable to connect it and the docking station itself.

ADATA Launches New Smart OTG microReader

ADATA has launched a new smart OTG microReader that combines a microUSB and standard USB connectors to share files among different devices such as mobile phones, tablets and PCs. The normal USB connector acts as the microSD card reader at the same time, resulting in a very small device.

The microReader is compatible with OTG devices running Android 4.0 or higher without the need for further cables or adapters. On-The-Go devices can be extremely useful as we’ve seen in some of our recent reviews and as such it’s great to see more devices being released. It supports all microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC cards, simply insert the card into the base of the standard USB connector.

The adapter has a slim design that should prevent interference with other attached USB devices and comes in several packages. You can get the adapter alone or packed with microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 64GB.

Thanks to ADATA for providing us with this information

Lexar JumpDrive M20 2-in-1Flash Drive Review

Introduction


There are thousands of USB sticks and flash storage on the market and as we all know, they’re not all built the same. Lexar, by Micron, know a lot about flash-based storage and have come out with their JumpDrive M20 Flashdrive. The M20 is a drive that combines many things seen prior, but not in the same product.

The JumpDrive M20 supports USB On-the-Go (OTG) and can be plugged directly into a compatible smart device for easy file transfers. Since all smart devices use a USB 2.0 micro port in this area, there wasn’t any need to make the drive complicated by adding USB 3 micro connector or having to include adapters of sorts. A flash-drive needs to stay simple, but we would still like to have the best possible speeds when we connect this drive to our PC, because it supports that too with its USB 3.0 connector. Plug it directly into your PC or other USB 3 capable device and you can get read speeds up to 120MB/s and write speeds up to 55MB/s. For example, you could transfer a 3GB HD video clip in less than one minute.

Both USB connectors are retractable with the slider on the side of the drive. Push it all the way to either side to expose the corresponding connector or park it in the middle when not in use. It couldn’t be much simpler than that. There sadly aren’t any covers over the plugs themselves when retracted, which I prefer to have on my flash drives as I always get dirt trapped when they’re  in my pockets.

The OTG function is primarily, but not exclusively, an Android function and the JumpDrive is designed to work with Android systems. To help you make sure that your device is compatible, Lexar placed a QR-code right on the front of the box for you to check before you even take the drive into your hands in a shop. Of course, you can also view the list from the Lexar homepage.

The Lexar JumpDrive M20 makes it a breeze to get files from your smart phone or tablet and move them over to a flash drive, something that otherwise requires a cable or wireless connection to your PC. With OTG, that’s a thing of the past and the best of all is that it is plug and play.

The JumpDrive M20 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices, officially  compatible with PC and Mac systems and works with the Astro File Manager that can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It also comes backed by a nice three-year warranty and a long-time experience from the company behind it all.

Team Group M131 16GB Dual Flash Drive Review

Introduction


The limited storage in mobile devices can be a real problem just as the fact that a touchscreen rarely is the optimal input device. Both these things might be a thing of the past if you invest in a Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive with OTG support that. I’m taking a closer look at 16GB model of just this drive today.

Whether you want to create a copy of the files you got on your mobile device onto a flash drive or just want to create backups, switch out content or extend the internal storage for a while, the M131 USB drive is here for you. You just slide the cover back and plug it into your OTG capable device.

Once we have our files copied from the smartphone or tablet onto the M131 flash drive, we would like to be able to use it our PC that doesn’t have a micro USB port. For this purpose, the M131 is designed as a two piece drive. Simply pull it apart and you’ll expose the normal USB 2.0 connector and have a flash drive like you’re used to from all the other ones you have.

Plugging it apart also exposes the third feature of this flash drive, the separate OTG adapter that you can use to connect compliant devices directly to your tablet or smartphone and this includes USB keyboards, mice and hard drives.

The surface is made from a matte anti-fingerprint material and it has a slide cap design over the Micro USB port to prevent dust gathering and collisions to the somewhat weaker point compared to a normal USB plug. Like most flash drives, the M131 also comes with a strap hole slings to carry it more convenient and prevent unnecessary loss and searches.

Finally, the dual design with the OTG Converter is a lot more convenient than a cable in most cases and the 2-in-1 design plugged together avoids the trouble of missing pieces and searching the cable.

The compact size of just 44 x 16.6 mm and weighing just 6.6 grams make this drive highly portable. It comes backed with a lifetime warranty and is available in three capacities: 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB.

AMD and BlueStacks Team Up To Bring Dual-OS Android In Windows Environments

A partnership between BlueStacks and AMD has been announced at Mobile World Congress which will bring a new BlueStacks dual-OS Android solution optimized for AMD APUs. It is said to delivering Google Android OS experience to select Microsoft Windows-based AMD-based tablets, 2-in-1s, notebooks and desktops in select retail stores.

“The ability to span two OS ecosystems gives end-users access to both Windows and Android apps, but the key is providing for the seamless integration of entertainment and productivity across those ecosystems,” said Steve Belt, corporate vice president, Product Management, at AMD. “Introducing our solution in retail puts AMD and BlueStacks in a unique position to offer in-store customers the option to include access to this great experience at the time of purchase of their new systems.”

The advantages of BlueStacks running on a Windows PC powered by AMD consist of a familiar Android UI, including settings, configuration and customization controls, along with the ability to run Android apps within a window or at full-screen resolution leveraging direct access to AMD graphics processing power. Other advantages consist of support for hundreds of thousands of Android apps direct from various Android app stores, as well as synchronisation between the same apps being run on the user’s stand-alone Android devices, interoperability through direct file sharing that enables Android apps to access files stored within the Windows file system and Support for sensors like built-in cameras, accelerometer, gyroscope and others.

The key factor which presents the bigget advantage of using the retail solution is that it won’t require the user to disengage from one OS before using another. The retail solution also supports easy synchronisation of the two environments through BlueStack’s FoneLink service, which enables AMD Windows-based PCs to become an extension of Android mobile devices and vice versa.

A retail version is expected to be released in the second half of 2014, having it be available at several key retail ENEA partners.

Thank you AMD for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of AMD