Microsoft Finally Ship Enormous Surface Hub Touchscreens

When you think of a Microsoft surface product, the advanced tablet-laptop hybrid systems are likely what come to mind. Now, the newest and largest member of the Surface family is finally shipping, available in a large 55-inch version and a truly gigantic 84-inch version. Clearly, not something you can carry around in your bag, but with their prices starting at $8,999 and $21,999 for each version respectively, they aren’t for the average consumer either.

Under the screen, the Surface Hub sports fourth-generation Intel Core processors (i5 for the 55-inch and i7 for the larger model), with graphics options including the standard Intel HD 4600 graphics or an nVidia Quadro K2200 workstation card. Also included are 128GB of solid state storage, 8GB of RAM, four USB ports of which half are USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and gigabit ethernet. Weighing in at 105 pounds for the smaller model and a hefty 280 pounds for the larger, mounting is important for the devices, with Microsoft having shown the devices capable of being mounted on walls or stands as needed.

As for why the Surface Hub is useful, instead of a typical smart whiteboard and projector connected to a laptop, for one, it is a fully self-contained device with no reliance on an external machine. It also packs a number of built-in sensors that allow it to start up automatically when approached and integrated support for a number of business tools, including Skype conference calling, Microsoft OneNote and integration with other devices. It’s touchscreen also has amazing 100-point touch support, allowing a number of people to operate the Hub simultaneously.

The Surface Hub was originally planned to launch last year, however sales were reportedly delayed to allow for it to be manufactured on a broader scale. Whether it will catch on for businesses when far cheaper solutions exist remains to be seen, but the Surface Hub is an interesting piece of hardware. Just one question remains, does it play Civilization well?

Surface Book Launches in the UK

Microsoft is probably most well-known for their software, with everything from the Windows operating system to the Office tool suite commonplace in homes around the world. One thing that Microsoft have been keen on expanding though is their hardware. With the success of the Microsoft Surface, a tablet that featured a magnetically docked keyboard and was well-known for its high power and low profile. Now the next phase in Microsoft hardware has been unleashed in the UK in the form of the Surface book.

The Surface Book was announced half way through last year, with Microsoft creating a system for people to swap out their Macbook’s for a Surface book, with claims that it would be twice as powerful as a Macbook Pro. Surprisingly this didn’t go down too well with Tom Cook over at Apple who then described the Surface Book as deluded.

The new Surface Book will set you back, at least, £1,299 if you are looking at an i5 model  but upgrading it to the top of the line will set you back £2,249 for an i7 and dedicated NVIDIA graphics (rumoured to be NVIDIA’s 940M).

Are you interested in the Surface Book? For the price tag is the 13.5 inch screen a little too small for your taste? If you are looking at buying one you can find out more at the Microsoft store.

Microsoft is Recalling Surface Pro Power Cables Due to Overheating Concerns

Microsoft’s Surface Pro range offers superb flexibility due to detachable keyboard, integrated stand and responsive touch screen display. These type of devices are becoming more popular and could theoretically replace traditional laptops. Microsoft’s early vision for the original Surface didn’t go as planned and had pretty severe restrictions due to Windows RT. Thankfully, Microsoft implemented in their pro line-up full Windows integration and support for Win32 applications. The only real downside to take into consideration is the price, which can exceed £1000 for certain configurations. Clearly, this is a costly endeavour but Microsoft appears to be targeting the Surface line at professionals requiring excellent build quality and a high specification.

However, in a statement issued to ZDNet, it appears the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 sold before July 2015 have been encountering overheating problems with the included AC adapter. Microsoft’s official findings reads:

“As a result of damage caused by AC power cords being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time, a very small proportion of Surface Pro customers have reported issues with their AC power cord. We will be releasing details of how customers can obtain a free replacement cable shortly.”

This isn’t going to do Microsoft any favours and raises questions about their ability to produce durable hardware. On the other hand, at least they have openly admitted the technical problems and preparing replacements for all affected customers. It’s still unknown when the replacement service will begin but I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft started the RMA process in the next few days. The advent of ultra cheap chargers from online auction sites can be tempting, but a large amount of these haven’t been approved and can pose, in extreme circumstances, a fire risk. Always spend a little bit extra and buy an official charger.

What do you think of the Surface Pro range?

Microsoft Using Anemic Samsung TLC SSD in Surface Book

With the first Surface Books shipping, we’re getting a better picture of what Microsoft’s new convertible looks like. According to the latest reports, Microsoft chose to use a slower TLC SSD instead of a caster MLC model. While mostly offering a superb SSD performance, the TLC-based Samsung PM951 falls short with its write speeds.

For the 128GB model, the Surface Book clocks a meagre 150MB/s and the 256GB model only manages about 280MB/s. Unlike the popular SM951 which uses MLC NAND, the PM951 sports 19nm TLC which is inherently slower. Due to this, the PM951 has write speeds similar to 2011 and 2012 SSDs from 3-4 years ago like the Samsung 830 and 840. In fact, the 150MB/s speed for the 128GB is pretty much on par with HDDs which is telling.

While TLC is part of the issue, the bigger problem is the lack of NAND parallelism. Each NAND die has speed limits and SSDs gain their superb speeds by writing to many NAND dies simultaneously. As NAND lithography shrinks and denser methods like TLC are used, fewer and fewer NAND dies will be needed for a certain capacity.This all happens before we even consider other limitations like M.2 which limits the number of NAND dies as well.

There are benefits to using TLC and lower lithographies, chiefly the ability to hit a higher capacity at lower cost. In order to compensate the decreased NAND parallelism, we must turn to things like 3D-VNAND and NVME, which can raise costs. On the other hand, the prices OEMs charge for storage should be more than enough to ensure only top end SSDs make it into premium products.

For the Surface Book, the increase to higher storage capacities is pretty insane. For an increase of 768GB of storage, Microsoft charges about $1000 which is well above what Samsung charges. For an increase of a more modest 256GB, there is a $500 price bump. These cost increases would more than cover going to faster SSDs like the SM951 or PM987. Given these prices and the premium nature of the Surface Book, it seems natural that Microsoft would have made sure storage is up to par. Hopefully, Microsoft and other OEMs will take note of this with their future products.

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.

Surface Book All Sold Out From Microsofts Site

Microsoft recently pushed quite hard on the smaller devices market, with the release of windows 10 supporting most of their devices they have two devices that are looking for release soon. First up was the next in the surface series, the Surface 4, running all the latest bits of technology and looks to be released by the end of the month. Then the new kid on the block is the Surface book. Essentially the bigger brother of the Surface the book was announced and we covered the details here. The problem with it being an amazing product is that people want it, quite badly it would seem.

As of this moment, it would seem that you can’t pre-order the new device from Microsoft’s store, instead users are greeted by a message asking them for their email address so Microsoft can contact you when it’s next available.

This is both good and bad. It is great news for Microsoft who are the probably celebrating the fact that their new devices have been so clearly and whole heartedly desired by the public. On the other hand, it means that they are going to need to step up production and give the public what they want.

While you can still get it from all the other places like Amazon, there is no reason to not look at the product before it’s released on the 29th October.

Thank you PC World for the information.

Microsoft Announce Surface Book Laptop

Microsoft recently pushed hard on their smaller devices, with some rather large devices joining in for good measure. With the rework of the Windows mobiles, the Surface 4 coming after a strong stretch of tablets from Microsoft and even the Surface Hub for all your work based whiteboard needs. It would seem Microsoft are looking at pushing the market yet again with their latest announcement, the Microsoft Surface Book.

Designed with the portability of the Surface series in mind, the screen can be removed to be used as a tablet, or even just propped up at an angle by the keyboard. The Surface book will feature a 13.5-inch screen and features the “dynamic fulcrum”, a twist on the classic hinge used to connect screen to keyboard.

Designed to be a bigger version of the surfaces, the keyboard is heralded as silent while the screen will work exactly like all the previous surfaces. Featuring processors like the Skylake i5 and i7 and a Nvidia GeForce with GDDR5 memory housed in the base giving you that extra graphical kick.

With prices stated to be around $1,4999 (approximately £985), the device looks to bring high prices to match the high-quality components and materials that make it up. With pre-orders to begin on the 7th October, could you see yourself using a new surface book?

https://youtu.be/XVfOe5mFbAE

Thank you The Verge for the information and images.

Toshiba Unveils Budget-Friendly ‘Click’ Laptop

The tablet and laptop hybrid design, made famous by the Microsoft Surface, is becoming more widely adopted as shown by the iPad Pro. Usually, these devices incur a rather hefty cost and out of the reach of most consumers. However, the Toshiba Satellite Click 10 is solely focused on the lower-end segment and retails for $349.99. In terms of its specification, the Click 10 features an Intel Atom x5 Z8300 processor, 2GB RAM, 10.1-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch display and choice between 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage. Furthermore, the maximum storage can be increased via an integrated MicroSD slot.

Toshiba also managed to include a Micro HDMI port, Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers, front 8-megapixel camera and rear 2-megapixel rear cameras. While it’s not the most powerful device out there, the Click 10 is beautifully designed due to a 2.2 pound weight with the clip-on keyboard. Once removed, the weight reduces to 1.2 pounds and has a 9mm thick frame. This makes it extremely portable and more than capable of performing basic tasks on-the-move.

There are a number of other solid features such as Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, and an optional external DVD drive. Overall, the lower price point allows more consumers to give the form factor a try to upgrade to flagship models in the near future.

Dell XPS 12 is a Microsoft Surface Competitor

Dell is allegedly developing its own Surface-style tablet called the XPS 12 which features a 4K Ultra-HD Display and kickstand to hold the device upright. Other notable technical specifications include a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 8-megapixel rear camera, backlit-key illumination, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and up to 10 hours of battery life. The clip design is extremely reminiscent of Microsoft’s Surface and follows a recent trend of manufacturers cloning the basic concept. Only recently, Apple decided to launch the iPad Pro which contains a clip-on, rubberized keyboard.

It’s interesting to see companies following Microsoft’s lead and Dell might perceive the form-factor as a re-imagining of the laptop. Of course, Dell is a huge brand in the PC industry and one of the top three manufacturers globally but sales have been dwindling for some time. The ultra-thin Surface-like devices are useful due to the touch screen panel and detachable keyboard. However, the pricing remains quite high and this doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

The XPS 12 is feature-rich and utilizes an absolutely blissful display. However, I’m not entirely convinced consumers are prepared to pay such a premium. Whatever the case, Dell’s XPS 12 looks impressive from a technical standpoint, and should be a stunning addition to their product library.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Lenovo MIIX 700 – Simillar To Microsoft’s Surface Or Not?

Similar products have always been a problem for companies, with successful products quickly being copied and sometimes even rip off “cheap” versions of their products being offered to their customers by  rivals; Lenovo’s latest tablet, the MIIX 700, has some striking similarities with the Microsoft Surface.

A 12-inch tablet with a detached keyboard and built-in kickstand, the MIIX even shares the surfaces 3:2 aspect ratio, considered one of the more unique (and weirder) features of the Surface. The screen measures in at 2160×1440 resolution, weighing 0.06lbs lighter than the surface.

The MIIX will contain Intel’s Skylake processors, with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, the MIIX will contain enough processing power to match tablets that are currently out on the market. Listed under its features, the advertisement for the MIIX states it is “recognizably different with a unique dual watchband hinge kickstand for those who value stylish design”. The watchband hinge was seen on the Yoga 3 Pro, but unlike its older counterparts can hold the stand in any position.

Looking at the design, and even the secondary magnetic strips on the product, even from a picture based view it is hard to not notice the surfaces glaring impact on the MIIX’s designs and functions. When it comes to products, is it the “works for them so it will work for us” approach allowed or do you feel that certain companies can take these similarities too far?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of Windows Central.

Microsoft’s Surface Hub Aimed at Enhancing Your Workplace Productivity

Microsoft has always been dedicated towards business solutions and it now shows us that once again with its big brand new Surface Hub touch screen. The company aims to make your workplace more productive and interactive in a world where more and more business meetings take place on overseas conference calls.

Microsoft’s Brian Eskridge said that they are focusing on making content and video sharing faster and easily accessible to people to “get things done”. Of course, you already have similar options already available out there, but none could compare with a big touch surface.

If you ask why you need an oversized touch screen display in your conference room instead of just having a normal Skype meeting on a laptop, here’s the answer. Microsoft’s Surface Hub comes equipped with a high-definition display, touch controls, built-in cameras and microphones, Microsoft’s own business productivity software and even Kinect features built into the cameras.

Aside from the above, the Hub provides support for other business software tools such as Google Hangouts, but more business solution software is bound to be made available for it once it gets released. So you have a big screen full of potential in your office and it isn’t restricted to Microsoft’s deals. Isn’t that pleasing?

The Surface Hub will hit the market this July, but Microsoft already placed it in some companies to get beta testing feedback. The standard Microsoft Surface Hub is said to boast a 55-inch touch display and be priced at $7,000, while the bigger 85-inch model comes with a $20,000 price tag.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of notebook online

NVIDIA Shows New DirectX 12 Graphics on GTX 980Ti

NVIDIA is really looking forward to bring consumers the best graphics solution in the latest Windows 10 and DirectX 12. According to 4Gamer, the latest Mech Ti video emphasises what the company has in store for its GM200 core in the GTX 980 Ti.

The demo brings new insights on NVIDIA’s Ray Traced Shadows, Sparse Smoke and Screen Space Refections technology, which looks to be very promising. The Ray Traced Shadows looks to deliver extremely sharp shadows, which compensate in performance by blurring the shadow edges a bit, depending on the ray distance. This looks to be heading to a more realistic shadow representation.

The Sparse Smoke technique adds some long anticipated fluid physics calculations as we can clearly see in the demo. This means that the smoke can now easily interact with objects passing through it and also do some lighting calculations to render its density properly. When it comes to processing power, the Volume Tiled Resources now helps take some load off the CPU by skipping a couple of frames and rendering everything based on importance rather than have everything calculated at once.

Lastly, the Screen Space Reflections might not be anything new to DirectX 12. Still, the technique brings a way for reflective surfaces to capture objects from their surroundings through rays and display them in a 2D manner on the actual surface. This reminds us of how Crytek came up with the Realtime Local Reflections way of displaying reflections, which took a similar approach to what NVIDIA wants to show us here.

Thank you 4Gamer for providing us with this information

Statistics Show That Apple Dominates the Online Video Streaming Shares

We’ve all heard that Apple will not continue with its Apple TV products, but the latest statistics coming from Adobe prove that Apple might not need a new TV device after all. Statistics now show that the company already owns the majority of online video streaming shares as it stands, so this places it on a very important position in this market.

The old Apple TV now jumped from 5% to 10% shares and is now over Roku with only 1%, which means that people still enjoy their old Apple TV, even after all this time. Furthermore, iOS video streaming has now grown from 43% to 48% in shares, leaving Android behind at 15% shares.

If we are to break down iOS devices into iPhones and iPads, we see that 30% of video streaming comes from the iPad and 18% from iPhones. This is not good news for Microsoft too, since its Surface came in with just 2% shares.

Adding the Macs to the equation, we see that Apple products accounts for 62% of all online video streaming shares. To be noted is that Apple did not come on top in Browser video streaming shares, having Safari touching only 15% shares.

The latter market is still dominated by Google Chrome with 18% shares, but for how long? WWDC is coming and we are bound to see a lot of stuff aimed at getting Apple on top of everything in the end.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Microsoft Planning to Build an Intel-Powered Non-Pro Surface Tablet

Microsoft seems to be moving away from the ARM-powered Surface tablets and getting rid of its Windows RT operating system in the process. A report from WinBeta indicates that the company is planning to switch the Surface Pro series to the x86-powered CPU running on Windows 8.1 (and possibly Windows 10 once it gets released).

The report states that the new Surface will be a fanless device, powered by an Atom or Core M processor, and will be marketed as a consumer-oriented product. This might mean that the company would slot it beneath the Surface Pro 3, but it’s hard to say at this point given that details about it are still scarce.

The company’s non-Pro Surface tablet, the Surface 2, comes with a 10.6″ 1080p screen, up to 64GB of storage and with the Windows RT OS. A similar device with the Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10 in the future) could be a great consumer product, given the price is right. The Surface 2 is currently priced at $449 for the 32GB variant.

An official announcement is expected before or at Microsoft’s Build conference, which starts on April 29th.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

Microsoft May Release Two Variants of Intel Core M Broadwell-Powered Surface Pro 4

There have been a lot of talks about Apple’s upcoming iPad, the iPad Pro, which is said to be a device more oriented to the business side rather than the multimedia/entertainment market. However, Microsoft is looking to release an equal rival this year too.

The company is said to be working on a new Surface Pro 4, which may pick up where its predecessor left off. There might be two variant of the device, a 12-inch and a 14-inch model, both featuring a 2160 x 1440 resolution.

Under the hood, the Surface Pro 4 is said to boast Intel’s latest Core M Broadwell silicon-based 14nm technology CPU, which would make the tablet one of the first full-powered mobile devices shipping without a cooling fan. This rumor would most likely lead to the conclusion that the tablet will be much thinner and with a longer battery life.

While memory and storage is yet to be confirmed, speculations lead to the tablet coming with 8 or maybe even 16 GB of RAM and even bigger SSD storage than its predecessor. Microsoft is to be planning on releasing its new Surface Pro 4 in late Q2 2015.

Thank you Phone Arena for providing us with this information

Guy Pulls off a ‘One-in-a-Million’ Snipe in Halo

A Halo player by the name of Lawrencce 1 apparently made the most ridiculously amazing shot in Halo, and probably even in the history of gaming. You can watch the footage below.

And this is what he had to comment about it:

“Of course the kill was intentional!! I accurately predicted the spawn of the player after I killed him for the first time, knew exactly where he was positioned when he shot at me and therefore deliberately ricocheted the bullet of three surfaces to take him out, it was very simple really!

…That was a joke of course, I am well aware that this kill was probably the luckiest I’ve ever seen on Halo. I got the kill and initially thought that it was nothing more than a decent no-scope, but when I later reviewed the footage in theatre mode, it turns out that the bullet ricocheted THREE times before landing in the head of the opposition player. I know that I was incredibly fortunate and the only purpose of this video is to entertain, I am not professing to be anything more than a slightly-less-than-averagely skilled Halo player, I play the game for fun and for moments such as this one! Thanks very much for watching, hope you enjoyed! “

Judging by his comment, he does indeed agree this was one of those epic moments when a shot is fired at the exact spot and time. Even so, the shot is truly amazing!

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Microsoft Surface Still failing to Turn a Profit

More bad news for Microsoft this week. The losses are huge, in the 2014 fiscal year Microsoft reported losses of $1.7 billion which is a lot of money to lose but Microsoft being themselves they’ve probably made that back already. Microsoft also announced that its Surface revenue was $409 million for the quarter ending June 30, not as good as they’d hoped for but $409 million is still $409 million.

Microsoft failed to mention a cost of production. They did however release data which can be used by analysts and they can come up with a rough estimate of the cost of production. Computerworld figures that Microsoft’s Surface costs for the quarter that ended in June were $772 million. That means a loss of $363 million in the quarter for Surface. Some of the money in the cost of revenue calculation was from a write-off to cover the cost of designing and producing an unspecified number of Surface Mini tablets. Microsoft reportedly produced a Surface mini and decided at the last minute to not release the tablet. Perhaps that was a wise idea, seeing how nobody is buying a Surface, a mini version would be completely pointless.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Microsoft’s Surface Mini Is Back In Business

With all the rumours about Microsoft’s Surface Mini it is tough to tell whether the tablet will be released or not. Just last week we heard that Surface Mini production was halted after Microsoft received negative responses from industry partners. Now we are hearing production is back on, and the tablet will be released “this summer”. That’s all the famous leakers EVLeaks revealed, and that’s probably all we really need to know. The Surface Mini has been rumoured to come in a 7 or 8 inch form factor with a 1440 x 1080 4:3 display. The tablet will likely run Windows 8.1 RT, because Microsoft really wants to make people love that OS even if it will never happen. Expect some form of ARM processor to be at its heart, it could be Qualcomm made, it could be the Nvidia Tegra K1: right now we are not really sure. If this latest rumour is true then expect more Surface Mini related details to emerge in the coming weeks.

Source: EVLeaks

Image courtesy of ExtremeTech

Microsoft Forced To Halt Surface Mini Production

Digitimes reports that Microsoft has called off its plans to mass produce a small sized “Surface Mini” tablet. The reason? Fierce competition combined with negative responses from its brand vendor clients according to industry sources. Microsoft has called off the plans and it could reportedly scrap the whole Surface Mini program altogether:

“Compared to other small-size tablets in the market, the Surface Mini’s specifications have nothing in particular to boost its competitiveness and therefore Microsoft has decided to postpone the tablet’s launch and may not even launch it to the market at all, the sources said.” Notes Digitimes.

Furthermore, Apple’s plans to release 4.7 and 5.5 inch iPhones later on this year are expected to undermine demand for 7 inch tablets. Microsoft doesn’t want another Surface-flop so this could be a smart move. Plus there are already plenty of Bay-Trail based Windows 8.X seven and eight inch tablets currently available on the market from Lenovo, Toshiba, HP and so on. Microsoft doesn’t want to crowd out its partners from the Windows ecosystem or it risks undermining the future of Windows 8.X in the tablet market.

Source: Digitimes

Image courtesy of ExtremeTech

Rumour: Microsoft Axing Surface Brand, Will Be Replaced By Lumia

Some very interesting information about Microsoft’s Surface brand emerged recently via the infamous leakers EVLeaks. Their leaks suggest that Microsoft is finalising the licensing of the Nokia brand in preparation for ditching their own branding. On the smartphone side Microsoft will sell Windows Phone handsets with the branding “Nokia by Microsoft”, with regards to tablets is where it gets interesting. Microsoft is rumoured to be ditching the Surface branding in favour of using Nokia’s Lumia branding. This certainly seems like a very bold move by Microsoft especially if you consider the millions they have already poured into the Surface brand.

I suspect that EVLeaks are a little off the mark: there is just no way on earth Microsoft would ditch Surface now, it would be too costly to do so and the Surface brand is just starting to gain traction and recognition among consumers. I believe that Microsoft may be considering the Lumia branding for its Windows RT tablets and the Surface brand will end up being reserved exclusively for full Windows tablets. Only time will tell if these rumours materialise into anything but EVLeaks have a good track record with getting things right so stay tuned for more details.

Source: EVLeaks

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Turns Out To Be Far From Repair & Upgrade Friendly

 

iFixit, a site dedicated to tearing mobiles, tablets, notebooks and other bits of hardware to bits in order to provide users with repair guides has wasted no time in getting their hands on the latest Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft. During the teardown, or breakdown as the case may be, it has been discovered that under the shiny surface, Microsoft have not really taken repair and upgrading into account as part of the build process.

During the tear-down, iFixit stumbled across a number of issues including ultra-strong adhesives that hold the tablet together in a unarguably over-the-top fashion, along with a screen that cracks as soon as you try to pry it up from the main body and finally a battery that deforms like hell as you try to pry it away from its footings which includes more super-strong adhesive. Now considering Microsoft have built the Surface Pro 3 to be rugged, the strong adhesive in-between the ultra-thin components is understandable, but what this means for the end users is that if they want to upgrade or have parts of their tablet replaced, there is a strong chance that the cost of replacing the battery in a few years time will also incur the cost of a new display. That said though, if you do manage to get everything apart without breaking anything (a point at which you must celebrate your achievement) there is the option to upgrade the mSATA SSD, but let’s be honest, the chance of this involving just the cost of an SSD is unlikely so personally I wouldn’t even bother considering it if I owned one myself.

Topping off the fragile built are a numerous connectors that don’t follow any market trends, but these are a minor thing aside the mass of different adhesives which Microsoft have poured into the chassis. As iFixit clearly described in their tear-down, this tablet is very much like the previous models of the Surface Pro so even though it is a powerful bit of kit, it is certainly not for anyone who wants to get their fingers inside its outer skin.

Source & images courtesy: iFixit

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Comes to Market

Microsoft’s Surface tablets have been at the forefront of the tablet market for long time now and as users are making more of a move over to mobile computing, Microsoft have introduced a new range of Surface Pro tablets offering up a larger 12″ display with a resolution of 2160 x 1400  for laptop-like usage on the go. The increase in screen size and resolution sees the Pro 3 shipping with 38% more space on the display and 50% more pixels for a pin sharp and clear resolution.

We’ve increased the size of the screen – Surface Pro 3 has a 12” ClearType Full HD screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution. The new screen is 38% bigger than Surface Pro 2, with 50% more pixels. In addition, every screen is color calibrated at the factory, so you’ll see accurate, brilliant colors, great white points, and great contrast on every device. The combo of the big, beautiful screen and SD card means Surface Pro 3 gives big-screen entertainment anywhere.

Powered my Intel’s 4th generation Haswell processors, the Surface Pro 3 is, according to Microsoft, the thinnest, lightest and most powerful Surface Pro table to date. In addition to a Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, solid state storage options range from 64 to 512GB with up to 8GB of RAM and Intel’s HD 4400 graphics chipset.

“So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. “Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop — packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device. You’ll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need.”

At launch there are going to be five SKUs available with the entry-level Core i3 system offering 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage capacity for $799. Two Core i5 systems will offer 4GB RAM and 128GB storage or 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for $999 and $1299 respectively. Finally the two top systems with both ship with 8GB of RAM with either 256GB of 512GB of storage for $1549 and $1949.

Source & image courtesy of Microsoft

 

Report Suggests iPad Reigns Supreme In Enterprise Tablet Space

A new report from enterprise software vendor Good Technology suggests that Apple’s iPad is the dominant tablet in the enterprise space. Apple’s iPad holds a staggering 91.4% of all enterprise tablet activations in Q4 of 2013 according to Good Technology’s results.

The financial services industry are the biggest buyer of enterprise tablets accounting for 46.8% of activations while manufacturing and the public sector accounted for 9.4 and 9% respectively.

An additional survey carried out by Chitika suggests that when it comes to BYOD (bring your own device) workplaces Microsoft’s Surface tablets and Windows tablets in general become more popular. The results from Chitika suggest that for the average day iOS has four times as much web traffic as Android tablet users with Windows tablets well behind that. However, during work hours Windows tablets actually generate a higher share of web traffic than users of Android and iOS.

Do you use a tablet at work? If so is it Windows based, Android based, iOS based or running something else (BlackBerry OS, Tizen, Ubuntu, etc)?

Image courtesy of Apple

Roccat Sense Meteor Blue Mousepad Review

Introduction


Today we’re taking a quick look at the recently relaunched Roccat Sense mousepad. The mousepad was actually released back in 2008 and has proved a popular product for Roccat, so they’ve given it a new design and put it back on the market alongside their newly launch Roccat Kone Pure Optical gaming mouse. The reissue comes with a brand new Meteor Blue design, and all the original features that made it so popular are still intact.

Having the right surface can really make or break your gaming experience. Not only can the right surface improve your comfort during long gaming sessions, but having the right surface for your mouse can also improve your accuracy and it can change how well your mouse glides over the surface. All of which are important to get right, but also all are very subjective and different for each user, mouse, or in some cases each game.

Priced at around 20 Euros the Sense is on par with many similar options on the market and this re-release will no doubt please fans of the original who are eager to purchase again the surface after all these years. So let’s get right to it and see what this surface has to offer.

The packaging is nicely designed and on par with what we usually see from Roccat. They’ve added two sample cuts of the material on the side of the box, one with the top surface and one with the grip base to give you a good indication of the texture.

The side of the box says that it has been tested with a wide range of gaming mice from Razer, Roccat, SteelSeries and Microsoft and has been field-tested for gaming mice with resolutions of up to 16800 DPI.

A Closer Look


The new design is pretty striking and a lot more colourful than we usually see from a gaming surface, it is also quite shiny and has a lightly textured vinyl feel to it. The micro-crystalline coating provides a low friction surface and this will be great for people who want more glide from their mouse. The surface area is 400 x 280 mm x 2mm and this will be more than enough for low DPI settings that require the extra manoeuvring space.

The edges aren’t rolled and there may be a little curling here with months of heavy usage, but it does feel well put together so should hold up pretty well.

The grip texture is an almost sticky feeling rubber, this will not slide on a glass desk what so ever and will hold pretty firm on wood too.

Performance


The glide is pretty slick and if you’re used to cloth or softer surfaces then you’ll certainly find this to be a lot faster and easier to move your mouse around on.

A few quick tests with laser and optical mice (Kone XTD, Kone Pure Optial, Razer DeathAdder and a cheap Trust mouse) threw up zero issues at a range of DPI settings and I have no doubt that it will be suitable for any kind of mouse on the market.

Overview


Overall I think this is a pretty cool surface to use, its glossy feel may not be to everyone’s liking but the ease of movement was great for low DPI accuracy when playing Battlefield 3. It looks pretty cool with that shocking blue design, although I do admit it may be a little loud in terms of colour for some people’s desktop.

The build quality feels great and the top coating will withstand a fair few scrapes and scratches without any sign of wear.

Most important aspect I found is that the new Roccat Kone Pure Optical didn’t glide well on soft or cloth surfaces, this surface really balances that out nicely and its lower DPI optical sensor really benefited from the large surface area. If you’re on the market for a fast and accurate tracking mouse mat then the Sense is well worth your attention.

Pros

  • Great glide
  • Nice design
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Edges not rolled and could be easily damaged over time

“I really like this surface, it stays firmly in place, looks fantastic and performs as well as Roccat promised it would, and it makes the perfect companion for the Kone Pure Optical

 

Microsoft Targeting The Sale Of 16 Million Windows 8.1 Tablets Over Christmas

Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite says that Microsoft are hoping to sell 16 million Windows 8.1 tablets over the holiday season this year.

To achieve this ambitious goal Microsoft believes it needs to reinvent how people perceive Windows devices, presumably through advertising and marketing. Microsoft’s steps for this year’s holiday season are to: “Sell 16 million Windows tablets, make touch mainstream, and improve the Windows retail experience.” Microsoft desperately needs to do this because Android and iOS are eating into its once dominant share of the global computing market.

Yet to achieve its targets for this holiday season Microsoft still has many problems to deal with. Consumer confusion about the variety of available operating systems is one of those big problems – consumers don’t know if they need Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows RT or Windows 8.1 RT. The shopping experience is another and Microsoft thinks buying a Windows PC (desktop, notebook or tablet) is just too confusing and daunting for consumers. It wants to work with big retailers (such as BestBuy) to simplify the process.

Whether Microsoft’s ambitious holiday plan will work remains to be seen, check out more details on Microsoft’s plans here.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Battery Issues After Updating Surface RT To Windows 8.1 To Be Fixable In 6 Steps

Problems after a big update are common, and Windows 8.1 with the Surface RT are no exception it seems. Shortly after the update was released to the public it was pulled by Microsoft due to devices becoming corrupted while installing it but it was later reinstated with a fix for the issues included.

Now, Surface RT owners are reporting that their battery life is significantly worse after upgrading to Windows 8.1 on their devices. Thankfully, Microsoft has quietly published a fix on the Surface RT battery and power page that should resolve the issue for most users. The company says the issue is due to the Surface RT’s wireless adapter power policies not being migrated during the update meaning that it’s not possible for the Wi-Fi adapter to reduce it’s power consumption at all.

The fix isn’t for the faint hearted and requires the user to perform the following steps:

  • Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you’re using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)
  •  

  • Step 2: In the search box, enter command prompt.
  •  

  • Step 3: Touch and hold (or right-click) Command Prompt to bring up the context menu. Tap or click Run as administrator.
  •  

  • Step 4: On the User Account Control dialog box, tap or click Yes.
  •  

  • Step 5: At the Administrator: Command Prompt, enter the following: powercfg -setdcvalueindex SCHEME_CURRENT 19cbb8fa-5279-450e-9fac-8a3d5fedd0c1 12bbebe6-58d6-4636-95bb-3217ef867c1a 3
  •  

  • Step 6: Then enter powercfg -setactive scheme_current

It is odd that Microsoft didn’t put this into a knowledge base article rather than burying it on their Surface RT information page, but for owners of the device it’ll be nice to know there’s a fix if affected.

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

Microsoft Brings 383 Inch Surface Tablet To London For Publicity Stunt

Microsoft is still having a hard time persuading consumers to choose its Surface tablets over rival tablet solutions from Apple, Samsung and others. As part of its attempt to entice consumers Microsoft set up a huge 383 inch functional Surface tablet in Trafalgar Square, London, reports The Verge.

The huge tablet which is sitting close to Nelson’s Column took 12 hours to build is 27 feet wide and 17 feet high. They also constructed a super large Type Cover 2 with keys that feed back to the huge Surface tablet and allows kids to play spelling games on it by using their feet to type.

The publicity stunt is taking place in one of the busiest parts of London that will see hundreds of thousands of people pass it daily, whether on their commute to work or whether they are tourists checking out Nelson’s Column and Trafalgar square. I personally think Microsoft could get consumers to buy the new Surface tablets using a much easier method – by lowering the eye-watering prices.

Image courtesy of TheNextWeb