Nvidia’s CEO Jen Hsun Huang has been showing off the companies next generation mobile graphics processing chip, simply named “Kepler Mobile”. Speaking at Nvidia’s company investor day Huang said that Nvidia has been making large investments in transforming their Kepler desktop graphics into equivalent mobile forms and the end result has been Kepler Mobile.
Nvidia have reportedly managed to reduce the size and power consumption of the Kepler chip to the point where it can run on just “hundreds of milliwatts” of power as opposed to the “dozens of watts” that desktop PC graphics use. This Kepler Mobile chip was demo’d running Battlefield 3 and it means Kepler Mobile could enable Smartphones and Tablets to run Direct X 11 graphics. This opens up a whole world of possibility for genuine gaming on tablets and smartphones.
Huang said “We want[ed] to get multiple years ahead of the competition, It was worth the sacrifice”. Nvidia supposedly delayed other products and priorities in order to move Kepler mobile forward at a faster pace. In the demonstration Huang compared Kepler Mobile running Battlefield 3 against the best that the iPad can do in terms of graphics which he described as “Vintage 1999”
As impressive as this all sounds we don’t think smartphones will be running Battlefield 3 anytime soon but tablets certainly look like they could fit these graphics processors inside them. We aren’t sure when these will come to market or how much they will cost but if they can offer high performance DX 11 graphics to the mobile market then this looks set to change the game in a radical way.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Concept Art Design (Photo: Erica Yusim / via Concept-Phones)
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 was expected to be the next release from Samsung although this appears to be put slightly into disarray as Samsung prepares its Galaxy Mega “phablet” (phone+tablet) which is touted as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 under a new name.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, if we put aside Galaxy Mega speculations for now, is expected to run on a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa processor. This combines an ARM Cortex A15 and Cortex A7 to give the user four powerful cores and four energy sipping cores. In total eight cores of processing power will give the Galaxy Note 3 some serious punch. The Galaxy Note 3 also gets the extremely capable PowerVR SGXX 544MP3 GPU as well.
One potential issue for Samsung is that they may struggle to get enough supplies of the Processors and GPUs needed to make this device. That said, seeing the device run a Qualcomm Snapdragon (600 or 800) and an Adreno 320 GPU is also a viable option.
In the RAM department the Galaxy Note 2 already had 2GB of high speed RAM so this may not change, although 3GB is most definitely possible. Screen size is the big bone of contention and rumours vary wildly, but the 6.3 inch super AMOLED screen seems to be the most likely option based on industry sources.
Storage is expected to be 32, 64 or 128GB with the option to add more via the usual micro SD slot. As we mentioned, the critical point of debate remains about whether the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be the Samsung Galaxy Mega. This seems likely as the speculation about both products seems to be returning more-or-less the same specifications.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 currently sells like wildfire with a price of $575 so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Note 3 arrive at $650 upwards. Availability is touted for after the 2013 IFA event in Berlin, so late August 2013. What do you think about the prospect of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3? Do the specifications look good? Would you buy one at $575?
According to speculation Google will launch a new version of its highly popular Nexus 7 tablet from July. The new tablet will be based around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and is expected to be very aggressively priced at $150. Google is still pushing the current ASUSTek made Nexus 7 tablets aggressively in an attempt to snatch market share from Apple’s iPad Mini and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Google’s plan is that by bringing the price of the Nexus 7 down to a very affordable point it will be able to get exposure for more of its adverts – where Google makes the most revenue. For those who aren’t familiar with the Kindle Fire, Amazon do a similar thing with adverts and offer users money off the price in return for allowing lock-screen adverts and the like.
Nvidia will most likely be very sad with this news as it means their Tegra 3 chip is being replaced. Apparently Google weighed up both options (Nvidia’s Tegra 3 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon) but chose Qualcomm’s Snapdragon because of power reasons. The screen is also expected to get a revamp with a much thinner bezel and a higher resolution, the current Nexus 7 has a 1280 by 800 resolution.
Although we have stated that pricing could be $150 there are two “pricing options” the market has learned of. The first is that Google price the new Nexus 7 at $199 and discount the old one down to $149. The second option is that Google offer the new Nexus 7 at $149 and discontinue the old generation once stock is cleared. Either way we are pleased to see Google improving the very popular design.
What are your thoughts on a new Nexus 7? Will you consider buying one? If you bought one last time will you upgrade this time?
Microsoft hasn’t said much about the prospect of a smaller version of the Surface table although market analysts say it is definitely coming. Microsoft is expected to release a 7″ or 8″ Surface Mini tablet, which will be running either the Windows 8 OS or the upcoming Windows Blue OS.
No release date has been rumoured just yet, but an analyst has stated that we could expect the device in June when the company announces the first beta of Windows Blue. The evidence for the 7 or 8 inch version comes with the fact Microsoft has been altering Windows 8 and Windows Blue to support 1024 by 768 resolution devices. This is expected to be the resolution of the new mini tablet from Microsoft.
Microsoft has already confirmed it is looking to expand its Surface product range but is yet to give a clear indication that the Surface Mini is how it intends to do this. In launching a Surface Mini Microsoft would face stiff competition from other small and popular tablets on the market right now like the Google and ASUS Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini. If Microsoft’s Surface Mini is going to succeed, the value for money has to be there and the choice of an operating system has to be viable and right.
Would you consider buying a 7 or 8 inch Microsoft tablet, what might convince you to buy one or what specifications or requirements would you have for it? Let us know your thoughts.
Wargaming announced World of Tanks Blitz, a free-to-play mobile MMO action game built specifically for tablet and smartphones. Inspired by the PC version of World of Tanks, World of Tanks Blitz delivers all of the action, team-work and strategic gameplay the series is known for, all in a portable and instantly accessible experience.
World of Tanks Blitz will feature several nations, including the USA, Germany, and the USSR, and an impressive roster of vehicles that include medium tanks, heavy tanks and tank destroyers, each with their own unique qualities. Taking advantage of the platforms’ touch-screen technology, players will need little more than their thumbs and skills to head into battle. But, just as in World of Tanks, success will take more than just an itchy trigger finger, with true tank commander success being dependent on mastery of the game’s incredibly deep tactical elements and team-based gameplay.
Playable on a wide array of Android and iOS devices, World of Tanks Blitz delivers console-quality visuals and realistic physics that ensure every enemy confrontation and shell hits with true-to-life impact. Whether commuting to work or resting at home, players can experience short, intense 7 versus 7 PVP battles almost instantly.
“With World of Tanks Blitz we’re doing our best to give players a gaming experience that would rival anything they could find on a console,” said Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming. “We’ve always been committed to bringing World of Tanks to new platforms and we’re excited to give players a chance to experience the game in a whole new way.”
World of Tanks Blitz joins the recently announced World of Tanks Generals, a browser based TCG set in the World of Tanks universe, as the latest example of the company’s expanded multiplatform growth strategy into the mobile space. Both games will also fit into the soon to be launched Wargaming.net Service, which sees all Wargaming titles unified under a single unified login system.
Samsung’s Mobile Communications President, JK Shin, who just received a promotion to joint-CEO of Samsung electronic has had some damning words to say about Microsoft products. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal he downplayed speculation about a poor working relationship between Microsoft and Samsung instead stating that the poor performance of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows RT devices was the only issue.
Interviewer: What about your relationship with Microsoft? Has it changed after Nokia began to work more closely with Microsoft on Windows devices?
Mr. Shin: Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system aren’t selling very well. There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we’re also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products.
He sees Android as being a much more viable option stating that he likes Android and plans to continue good relations with Google. Earlier this year Samsung decided not to launch several of its planned Windows RT based tablets in the USA and Europe saying customer confusion was the main reason. However, it would seem Microsoft has a lot more work to do to reassure its hardware partners that it is even worth going to market with the new operating system. Intel’s progress in pushing ahead with x86 development shows us just how much companies are trying to get an x86 alternative to Windows 8 purely because it doesn’t sell well, has poor demand and high licensing fees which Android doesn’t have.
Do you think Samsung are right? Are Windows Phone, RT and 8 all a bit mediocre compared to Android and iOS? Are Samsung justified to come out and criticise Microsoft products? Let us know what you think!
Due to the fact the Windows-on-tablets situation is a bit dire right now, it can be said that there is still a large market demand for Android that runs on x86 processors, like those made by Intel. In fact, when it comes to tablets the OS of choice is nearly-always either iOS or Android so Windows barely gets a look-in. For Intel this is significant because it knows if it wants to shift more tablets it has to make an Android based operating system that supports its x86 creations.
Consequently, Intel has begun to do exactly that and developed its own Android OS (version 4.2.2) for its x86 processors. With large tablet-slate PCs becoming common-place, the possibility for Android to power traditional PCs is now there and since you would traditionally associate Intel with PCs it makes sense for them to try and get a foothold in this market without having to rely totally on Windows 8 – which isn’t doing that great.
Intel is trying hard to get Android working on its Atom processors and it is releasing distributions under the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The latest Intel Android development can be found here.
The down-side though, as expected, is that the x86 version of Android is extremely buggy. This is due to the fact it is only in the Pre-Alpha stages of development. Add to that the fact very few developers are even working on it and you find that the number of compatible apps are limited at best and the performance optimisations are all but non-existent.
Things will be improved over time but Intel have to work faster than the current pace of Android OS development if they want to catch up. Who knows if Intel will ever come to market with a useable Android 4.2 OS supporting its own x86 processors. Do you think what Intel is doing is a good idea? Would you buy an Intel-powered Android tablet? Let us know what you think!
America has had the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ tablet since November 2012. However, consumers from the rest of the Western world have all but been totally left out in the cold – until recently. Just yesterday Amazon announced that its Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ tablet would now be available in the UK, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Spain with prices starting at £229.99, €269.99 and ¥15,800 respectively. In conjunction with making the launch in those countries amazon is also shaving a fair amount of money off the prices for American consumers.
The 32GB 4G version now costs $399 (formerly $499), the 64GB 4G version costs $499 (formerly $599), the 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi only versions cost $269 (formerly $299) and $299 (formerly $329) respectively. All these prices are for those units that come with the sponsored screensavers, if you don’t want those then you have to add another $15 to the cost of each of those models – either way though Amazon is still reducing the prices which is nice to see.
Amazon said it had been thrilled by the response to its Kindle Fire HD but it didn’t disclose any sales figures so we cannot determine just how successful it was. Amazon has claimed that it is expanding into new regions and has expanded production volumes allowing it to cut costs which it has passed on as savings to consumers (either that or sales are slowing down and reducing prices is the easy way to boost them back up again).
Seeing Amazon slash prices on their tablets isn’t exactly anything new, we know for a long time they have sold their tablets and e-readers at production costs, or below production costs, in order to make a longer term profit through the sale of software and services. Selling ebooks, Amazon Prime subscriptions, films, games and other downloads are the main sources of this long term income.
Anyone interested in checking out more detailed pricing and specifications should visit the Amazon Kindle Fire HD page here.We want to know if anyone from the UK, Japan or Europe is excited by the arrival? Will you be buying one now it is available in your country? Or are you still in a country where it isn’t sold and would like to see it? Let us know what you think!
Apple’s dominance over the tablet market has been something that most people have become accustomed to. For the past few years the various incarnations of the iPad series have reigned supreme whether you’ve liked it or not. However, according to the latest research by the research firm IDC Android is beginning to take a lead over iOS based Apple tablets. This year, it is expected that Android tablet sales will comprise of nearly 3% more of the market than iOS tablet sales. This is a gap that is expected to be maintained as we move to 2017 where both Android and iOS lose out as Windows and Windows RT tablets grow in popularity.
2012 figures saw Android grab 41.5% and Apple gain 51% so you can see that much of Android’s growth was, and will be, at the expense of Apple’s iOS.
As far as the global trends are concerned IDC have increased the worldwide tablet shipment estimates from 172.4 million units to 190.9 million units for 2013. This is a rather buoyant increase that suggests tablets are doing better than expected despite many other technology sectors, like PC shipments, doing not so well. It begs the question “to what extent is the success of the tablet feeding off the demise of the PC and laptop?” Either way this is a significant increase that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
IDC claim that one in every two tablets shipped were below 8 inches in size. This is an important characteristic because it shows how smaller, and more importantly cheaper, tablets will be the way forward for the majority of tablet market growth. Google’s Nexus 7 stands out as one of these pioneering sub-8″ tablets that has led to this market trend forming.
As far as Windows 8 goes, IDC were critical and skeptical of Windows 8 RT suggesting Microsoft would be better placed focusing entirely on the Windows 8 operating system for the tablet experience. Windows 8 RT is expected to experience lackluster and sluggish growth at best over the next few years while Windows 8 tablets should do much better – nearly tripling in market share compared to this year. IDC had this to say:
“Microsoft’s decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far. Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road.”
The week has seen two new models added to the Point of View tablet range, the first being the quad-core Cortex A7 CPU, 9.7-inch Mobii 945 and the Cortex A7, 10-inch Mobii 1045.
Both tablets feature identical Cortex A7 CPUs, both clocked at the same 1.0GHz, a PowerVR SGX544 MP2 GPU and 2 GB of DDR3 memory which makes them both very capable devices as the Cortex A7 has already proved its self to be versatile in other devices.
The Mobii 945 features a 9.7 inch 2048×1536 IPS touch-screen display and 16Gb of internal storage which can be expanded up to 32GB via a MicroSD card slot. There is also support for all the popular choices such as 802.11bgn WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 1.3MP front and 5.0MP back cameras, micro USB 2.0 and mini HDMI 1.4 ports which all add up to make this a well connected device.
The larger of the two however, isn’t the flagship device as you might expect and features a slightly larger, but lower resolution 1280 x 800 IPS touch screen display, a selection of either 8 or 16GB internal storage (can still be expanded to 32GB via MicroSD), 802.11bgn WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, two micro USB 2.0 ports and mini HDMI 1.4. It also has the 1.3MP front camera, but the back lowered to a 2.0MP sensor.
Personally I like the sound of the 9.7″ device and that display should look fantastic, but if you want a slightly larger screen and you want to save your self some money I expect the Mobii 1045 to be a little cheaper. Point of View say that both tablets should be in retail before the end of the month and prices are expected to be around €279 / €259.
HP is giving itself one more chance to penetrate the tablet race by introducing the “Slate 7”, a touchpad with Google’s Android OS priced for $169.99.
The specification however is not very special. HP’s Slate 7 uses a 7 inch display with a 1024×600 resolution with a dual 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex A9 SOC, 1GB of memory, 8GB of on-board storage with a Micro SD memory slot option. It uses 802.11 b/g/n/ Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with a VGA quality front facing camera and a 3 Mega Pixel camera on the rear.
What HP does have is that its stereo speakers use Beats audio processing and the company’s ePrint functionality is also present, but is it something that users would be interested in when looking at the Slate 7 in an already crowded tablet business?
Alberto Torres, HP’s senior vice president of the mobility Global Business Unit, said, “To address the growing interest in tablets among consumers and businesses alike, HP will offer a range of form factors and leverage an array of operating systems. Our new HP Slate on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets.”
While HP is all set to launch the Slate 7 in the United States by April, HP sells their WebOS patents and code to LG. To those who do not know, HP bought Palm back in 2010 and with it got its WebOS operating system. Unfortunately since then, HP wasn’t able to pull any attention to its “powered by this OS” because of the fierce competition that Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS gave to it and to each other. HP also had to go through some management re-shuffling which lead the OS to be put into cold storage.
Whether or not WebOS gets a new life is something that remains to be seen in the future, but LG announced that it was buying all of the patents and codes as it has plans to use the OS for its line of smart televisions. On the bright side, WebOS won’t be in the middle of the notorious mobile OS battle that has been going on for a long time.
The amount of this deal was not disclosed by either of the parties, but one could speculate that it can be significantly lower than what HP had to pay back in July 2010.
The engineer team of WebOS (or whatever is left of it) will be moving to L.G.’s California lab. Will LG’s plan to integrate WebOS for smart TVs be successful?
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 has been in-dev for a very long time now and its presence hasn’t exactly been off-the-radar. However, we are now finally seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 officially materialise at the Mobile World Congress 2013 event in Barcelona, Spain. Being an 8 inch tablet, it is obviously different to the plethora of 7 inch tablets we are used to seeing, the 8 inch display makes it noticeably wider. Journalists at the MWC have reported that the Galaxy Note 8 is made out of similar materials to the Galaxy Note 10.1 except with a bit more metal in the construction for solidity.
All that extra metal has been compensated by a very tin design leaving it at 0.74 pounds – only marginally heavier than Apple’s iPad Mini. The bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 features three bezel buttons for menu, home and back, in left to right ordering. Samsung has added the functionality of being able to use their S-Pen with the three buttons, something that was missing off their previous Note II.
Other features include a rear facing 5MP camera, positioned centrally at the top, and a front camera at the top right. Along the bottom edge the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 includes two speaker grills, a micro USB port and the slot for putting the S-Pen back. The choice of OS is Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s “TouchWiz UI” being layered over the top. Connectivity options include 3G (HSPA+21) and Wi-Fi, although for some reason the USA is limited to a strictly Wi-Fi only version.
The choice of display from Samsung is an 8 inch panel utilising a 1280 by 800 pixel screen which equates to a ppi count of 189. Powering this device is a quad core 1.6GHz A9 processor with 2GB of RAM and other key hardware components include the aforementioned 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi, SD Card slot, S-Pen, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer and a digital compass. Storage will vary between models but you have a rather predictable 16GB or 32GB choice.
Samsung have, unsurprisingly, declined to offer pricing information at this stage which means making a judgement on the value of the tablet impossible, especially against the Nexus 7 dubbed this tablet’s biggest competitor. Expect more news of the Note 8 as the product comes to market in the second quarter of this year (2013).
The good guys at iFixit have given the lowest repairability rating that one wouldn’t like to see to a gadget when they may need to disassemble anything if required.
iFixit points that the internal components needs a lot of care when disassembling the unit. They pointed out that even after removing the display panel’s adhesive, care needs to be taken that you do not damage it, as it took them a long time to process heating and prying the tablet. It’s also been noted that the ‘sticky black stuff’ is not tar, although it was unbelievably similar; even the smell.
The entire process saw them remove a total of over 90 screws. Although it’s noted that on the bright side that the battery is not soldered to the motherboard and that the SSD is removable, but there’s a very high risk that you would end up permanently damaging the tablet unless the procedure is followed to the letter.
Nokia was launching their Lumia 620 in Pakistan, but what pulled people’s attention was that the Finnish handset manufacturer revealed the Lumia tablet in their background showcase.
The Lumia-themed tablet has similarities when compared to smartphones, including the colourful casing. There was a rumour that Nokia already made plans for a Lumia tablet but were not to sure which OS that they were using. But after looking at the picture on their background, it looks pretty sure so far that Nokia would be using Windows RT OS.
It’s been said that the tablet from Nokia would feature a 10.1″ display and have HDMI and USB support. There is also a rumour that the tablet would come with a battery equipped keyboard cover.
Today we have something a little different in the eTeknix office, an Android tablet. While these aren’t exactly new to us, this isn’t my first nor likely my last tablet, it is however an interesting change of pace given I’m normally focusing on our chassis, peripheral and game reviews. However we at eTeknix would be crazy to ignore the mobile market and these day it can be relatively inexpensive to obtain a powerful and highly portable device that can meet many needs, from gaming to general productivity.
The tablet we are looking at today comes from OcUK, the £175.99 (at time of writing) Ultima 10.1″ IPS tablet. Which may not be particularly cheap but for a device with a display of this size its somewhat of a bargain. Lets take a quick look at the specifications and see what the Ultima has hiding behind that impressive screen real estate.
260mm x 170mm x 11mm
RK3066 ARM Cortex A9 1.60GHz Dual-Core CPU
Quad Core Mali 400 3D GPU
10.1″ IPS 16:9 with 1280 x 800 LED Display
Android Jellybean 4. /w Playstore
1GB DDR3 RAM
8GB NAND Flash (upgradable to 32GB /w SD Card)
Wifi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.40GHz
10 Point Capacitive Screen
Mini-HDMI /w 1080p output support
0.3MP front camera, 2.0MP rear camera
5000maH @3.7v battery
1 yr Warranty
The most notable features on that list are the A9 Dual Core CPU @ 1.6Ghz and the Quad Core ARM Mali 400 MP GPU, a perfect combination to push some solid graphics to that 1280 x 800 IPS display. I’m not going to waffle on any more about the benefits of a tablet, what one is or anything like that as I’m pretty sure were all familiar with touch interface mobile devices these days, so lets get right to the good stuff and see just what the Ultima has to offer.
Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablet which is expected to be released on the 9th of February is set to have a very disappointing amount of storage space available out of the box. A spokesman for Microsoft has confirmed that the 64GB Surface Pro will only have 23GB of usable space left over for storage after the factory software has been installed. After mixed reviews of the Surface and many criticisms of Windows 8, it seems that Microsoft will be sticking with a bloated 41GB install which consists of the OS, built in apps and backup storage.
Many users will consider this unacceptable and makes the Surface Pro a less viable contented, especially considering the high price. It also bring into question once again the relevance of Windows 8 and what Windows are trying to do with tablets. It seems that Windows 8 is an OS filled with bloatware expected on a desktop with the UI of a tablet, “a jack of all trades, but a master of none”. I believe that Microsoft is trying to blur the distinct line between a desktop and a tablet, which may be appealing to some users, but most customers will want a tablet to function as a tablet, not a portable, touchscreen desktop.
Microsoft has suggested that to increase the available storage space from 36% of the advertised capacity, users could “create backup bootable USB and delete the recovery partition”, which is a logical solution, but not what many people want to do with their tablets, not to mention many tablet users would not be capable of doing this. Thankfully, due to the openness of Surface compared to other tablets such as the iPad, users will be able to extend their storage through a variety of methods such as external storage devices or memory cards.
After the enormous success following the release of the Nexus 7 tablet, Google are said to be debuting their ‘next-generation’ of the popular tablet in May, teaming up with Asus.
This updated tablet is said to include a 1080p HD display and feature a narrower bezel along with other tweaks. Changes to the operating system are also expected which is said to be a Jelly-Bean based Android OS which is designed to “enhance integration between the hardware and software.” The pricing of this new model is rumored to be similar to the original Nexus 7 at around $199-249 (£126-158) and combined sales of the first and second generation tablets have been projected at 10 million units in 2013.
During CES 2013, a company called Tactus Technology was showing a touchscreen technology that creates lumps on the device’s touch panel whenever the keyboard comes up on the screen.
Tactus is a California-based company and has this morphing tactile technology that is currently available for tablets. The company is hoping that it would be able to attract companies such as Samsung, Sony and Motorola should they be interested in incorporating lumpy keyboards on their portable devices. As soon as the keyboard is minimized, the lumps on the touchscreen becomes flat after few seconds.
This will be very useful in smartphones or portable devices where you are able to use both of your hands to type or use it with a remote control app for your smart TVs or anything close to it. A lot of people prefer tactile buttons, but since most of the portable devices use touchpanels, this is as close as you can get so far to have tactile keys.
In this age of the “I” revolution, apple have recently declared I pad sales rocketing to over 25 million units. As an I pad owner myself I bought into the digital lifestyle that offers games, entertainment, lifestyle choices and much more at the touch of a button.
With such a precious device in my hands it was important to me that my accessories enhanced my digital lifestyle. We have previously looked at the LuxA2 H4 desk stand, a product we liked so much we gave it our Editors Choice award.
However the H4 is a desk based stand and there are times you may need such functionality on the move.
Today we introduce the LuxA2 H6 portable stand designed for tablet devices such as the Apple I pad. The H6 builds on the stylish and elegant heritage of the LuxA2 range and fits devices from 145cm to 245cm within its cradle.
The H6 comes in a high quality presentation box with a transparent front to display the stand. At first glance the H6 would not look out of place as a luxury gift or Hi-end professional accessory.
The rear of the box demonstrates the functionality of the product in two variations and identifies a key list of the products features. Looking more closely at the product, the sleek design of the H6 is made from pressed metal with a brushed aluminium finish and comprises of two primary elements.
Firstly we will look at the device cradle which is a similar design to that found on the H4. Using clever pivot technology, it is possible to tilt and rotate the cradle to suit the user’s needs.
Being a portable unit this functionality allows users to adjust their viewing angles on a wide variety of different surfaces as well as utilising the landscape mode when watching video media, making the stand extremely versatile.
The cradle itself is a dynamic assembly, comprising of 4 arms that move in synchronisation to grip the device. In the centre of the cradle is a soft rubber cushion that is made from a non slip material.
This unique design provides additional protection to the skin of your tablet, while ensuring a secure grip is maintained at all times.
The second element of this stand is the brushed aluminium back support that comes complete with a rubberised foot plate. The back support is simple in its design and comes printed with the LuxA2 logo.
There is a circular hole in the back support that allows a degree of cable management if required but also adds an element of design to what could be otherwise a basic component of the stand.[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]
The connecting bracket marries these two elements using clever pivot technology to allow a full 360 degree rotation as well as full tilt functionality. There is a satisfying tautness to the rotation of the device that gives the product a feel of quality and durability.
A key feature of this stand is the soft rubber locating pegs found on the arms of the cradle. Unlike other stand designs the H6 hugs the edges of your tablet with soft rubberised Pegs that prevent damage or scuffing to the edges. Many stand manufactures opt for a static sized unit that prevents additional protective cases to be used. The adjustable arms found on the H6 allow tablets in protective cases to be inserted into the stand maximising its versatility.
Due to the spacing of the arms, all of the locating pegs are clear from important buttons and controls. The product feels durable with stable operation when tested on a wide variety of surface materials. The H6 is marketed as a portable stand and has been designed with this in mind.
The frame has been constructed using light weight materials with the picture frame style back leg. This is easily collapsible to minimise storage space and transportation implications. The stand comes complete with an accessory bag which allows you to transport the product safely and prevent damage to the cradle while on the move.
With a cost price of around £30 it may be more expensive than other stand designs out there. Having said this, its stylish design and elegant functionality make it competitively priced in the accessories market and in our minds good value for money.
Overall this product is set to impress with greater stability and style than other stands, and a better build quality and finish. The creature like design of the arms is also aesthetically pleasing and lighter than some fixed size products. With such a clever design we believe that the LuxA2 H6 has not disappointed and is a clear winner in the tablet stand market.
[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Choiix are a brand who have appeared on eTeknix only a few times in the past, and that’s down to the fairly slow release of products, but that’s not a bad thing, as when they do release a product it’s generally been thought about extensively and researched fully and that’s why their catalogue has a very unique selection.
If you wasn’t aware, Choiix are a sub-brand of legendary chassis and power supply manufacturer; Cooler Master and focus on the gadget and portable market by offering some very unique products aimed at iPhones, iPads and much more and today sees us taking a look at one aimed at the iPad.
The Wake Up Folio comes in a see through enclosure perfect for seeing the various colours available. We happen to have the bright green version but other colours include white, grey, blue, orange, black and regrettably; pink.
The rear of the packaging shows the various ways that the product can act as a smart cover as well as a back case and how it can be used to accomodate your iPad to be suit your needs. The packaging also has the ability to be able to feel the Polyurethane surface by use of a cut out hole on the packaging.
The smart cover is indeed smart, as it features ridges along the surface from top to bottom which allow the devices to be folded and used as a stand, of which we’ll show you exactly how it can be used in this manner, as it’s certainly interesting to say the least. The smart cover is also very suited to the iPad as it locks the screen as you cover the iPad, and as soon as the cover is removed, the iPad screen comes back on again. Simply a great and well thought idea.
On the inside, the cover features a soft, carpet like material which protects both the rear and front of your iPad which is perfect to keep dirt and other foreign elements away, as well as protecting the screen and of course the rear from scratches without the need for a screen protector which can be more hassle than they are worth to even fit, let alone use once fitted.
The rear of the cover on this particular colour scheme includes a white plastic outer shell and includes the green slightly softer green textured material to give a non-slip surface when your device has been placed down.
The iPad sits perfectly within the case and clips into place into each corner. The mould has been perfectly made to accomodate the iPad 2 as shown in our picture and has no fear of the iPad coming loose at any time. The inside of the cover pulls over the front of your device to keep the screen protected.
[wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]The joy of the smart cover, is the fact that it really is exactly that, smart. It folds over several times to create a Toblerone style rest that the iPad can be used to lean against. This allows for the iPad to sit up slightly so that you can use your device from an angle that is more comforting to your position and of course your eyes.
The smart cover features a set of magnetic panels which keeps the design solid and in place and also allows for your iPad to strand up and rest along the bottom so that you have another choice of how you want your device to be angled to your particular style.
Personally I prefer this angle as it can be used to play movies and other video footage whilst I write articles, much like this one.
It’s a great idea and a fantastic concept and we love it purely because of several reasons. The fact that it uses a Polyurethane outer shell gives an upmarket feel to it and the internal microfiber lining is more than perfect for keeping your iPad 2 snug and protected.
The outer protective cover also uses solid strips to give that little bit extra added protection to the front of your iPad, as we all know, accidents can and do happen from time to time, so Choiix have thought about these situations instead of going fashion over form, and have somehow developed this with both in mind.
The choice of colours is a great selling point and has many to choose from no matter who you are. Speaking personally, I’m a big fan to the green that we received but certainly would be interested in the black or white versions as they feature a slightly different Eco-leather outer material opposed to Polyurethane, which could be interesting to say the least and possibly give a slightly more classier feel, not to say that the PU material isn’t ample for what its purpose is and still feels to be of great quality.
As we see more and more Choiix products being stocked all around the world, we can only assume that this particular cover/case will soon be more freely available to the market, though no RRP has been released to the UK as of yet, so we simply can’t comment on the value aspect of it.
Once again, talking for me personally, the Wake Up Folio would have to be priced under £30 to offer some kind of competative value, and though a lot may consider that to be expensive, you have to put it into perspective and take £8 screen protectors as a prime comparison example. iPad owners will appreciate that accessories to go with it, cost money, and that’s been the way with all Apple products, so you wouldn’t really expect any different to be honest.
Overall, it’s a great product that sets out to do what it’s meant to and that is simply to add protection to your complete iPad in terms of protecting the rear and front. As we can all appreciate, an iPad 2 is an expensive investment and wanting to keep it in pristine condition is something consumers care for.
If you can get that aspect of it sorted, whilst giving extra functionality with the stand up features of the Folio, then we seriously think this product will sell extremely well and will be welcomed by iPad 2 customers with open arms.
Tablets have definitely been the talk of the town this year with the release of some big contenders including the iPad 2 from Apple, Motorola’s Xoom and the Blackberry Playbook. The downside with the three listed is that they cost an arm and leg to the majority of consumers, but as they do say in this world, you get what you pay for.
Is that really the case though or can you get everything you need for a cheaper price? Storage Options seem to think so with their much cheaper miScroll, which is said to offer a reasonable spec for a fantastic price as well as offering some unique features that even some of the big named brands don’t in terms of personalisation. Storage Options believe that the miScroll will be a fantastic product for users wanting to personalise their tablet to their own acquired tastes by changing the back cover to various colours as well as having an interchangeable battery so that you’re never faced with your battery running out of power during those vital moments when you really need it most.
Sporting the much loved Android 2.3 operating system, 1GHz ARM11 processor, 256MB DDR2 and built-in 4GB MicroSD card, that’s expandable up to 32GB, as well having a variety of connectivity options, the miScroll certainly looks good on paper, considering its price point, but how will it fair when we get down to the nitty gritty? Let’s take a look to see if it really can keep up with the big boys.