Tablet

Microsoft finally announce the Surface 3 tablet running full Windows 8.1

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Microsoft have finally announced the Surface 3 tablet. The new tablet which everyone was wondering about since the Surface Pro 3 launched some time back. The new slate goes in a slightly different direction than it’s predecessors and that’s the fact it’s ditching Windows RT and going for a full Windows 8.1. This is something a lot of users have hoped for, since it was the main thing lacking from previous Microsoft tablets.

A few of the main difference the new tablet offers of the previous gen besides the OS change is the new display. The Surface 3 features a 10.8-inch display with 1,920 x 1,280 resolution. The odd numbers should hint that were now also dealing with a 3:2 ratio display – same as the previously launched Surface Pro 3.  Also like the Surface Pro 3, the display sports pressure-sensitive pen input as standard.

Other specs include an Intel Atom processor (2GB OR 4GB available), a 3.5MP front facing camera and 8MP rear facing camera. Connections include USB 3.0, headphone hack, MicroSD slot, MicroUSB (also used for charging) and Mini Display port for video out. Not much of the design has changed, with the same magnesium housing and chamfered edges. Weight and thickness are down coming in at 0.34 inch thick/1.37 pounds, versus 0.35 inch/1.49 pounds compared to the previous Surface 2.

The new tablet arrives on May 5th with a price tag of $499. Different configurations are available with either 64GB SSD and 2GB of RAM or 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM. Microsoft also said there will be an LTE version in the near future for $599.

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Sony’s Xperia Z4 tablet is the lighest and thinnest around, features 10.1-inch 2k display, IP68, and Snapdragon 810 chipset

Xpeira Z4 Tablet

Sony aren’t pushing a new flagship smartphone just yet, but they aren’t slowing down with tablets. The new Xperia Z4 tablet offers a pretty solid list of specs. All you would come to expect from a flagship device in 2015. First up we have a a 10.1-inch 2160 x 1440p display. Sony are also touting it to be the world’s brightness 10.1-inch 2k display. Inside we have Qualcomms latest Snapdragon 810 chipset with 64-bit octa-core setup.  Sony’s emphasis on the new tablet includes the hopefully accurate 17 hours video playback battery life, which should put it ahead of the competition.

The tablet itself comes in at 6.1mm, making it the slimmest and weight is 389g for the WiFi and 393g for the LTE version; making it the lightest tablet as well. Other specs include an 8MP rear camera, 5MP wide angle front camera, 32GB internal storage. IP68 water/dust proofing is also on board. Launch is set for this June, with pricing to be announced at a later date. Hopefully the impressive list of specs and features don’t mean a hefty price tag, but sadly it nearly always does.

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Review: HTC Nexus 9

Nexus 9 (7)

The Nexus 9 is the latest tablet from Google with the help of HTC for manufacturing and some developing. This is also HTC’s first foray into the tablet world. Off the bat the Nexus 9 features an 8.9-inch display with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and the latest Nvidia Tegra K1 64-bit chipset. Let’s take a look at the main specs before we move on and look at the tablet itself.

  • OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • Display: 8.9″ IPS LCD touchscreen, 2,048 x 1,536 resolution; Gorilla Glass 3
  • Chipset: Nvidia Tegra K1: dual-core Denver @ 2.3GHz; Kepler DX1 GPU; 2GB RAM
  • Camera: 8MP main camera with 1080p@30fps video capture
  • Front camera: 1.6MP front-facing camera with 720p video capture
  • Storage: 16GB / 32GB built-in
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX, A-GPS + GLONASS; microUSB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 228.2 x 153.7 x 7.9mm; 425g (Wi-Fi) / 436g (LTE)
  • Battery: 6,700mAh Li Po
  • Misc: BoomSound stereo speakers

The specs are impressive and we’re interested to see what the Nvidia chipset has to offer along with Android 5.0. We can also see all of the usual latest connectivity with WiFi AC and Bluetooth 4.1

 The Nexus 9

Nexus 9 (4) Nexus 9 (1)

Nexus 9 (8)

The design of the Nexus 9 has the same limitation to design as most tablets on the market. The rules are simple, keep in as thin and light as possible. There are some serious similarites between the Nexus 9 and the iPad Air. This easily comes down to the same 4:3 ratio they both share on the display. Overall HTC/Google did a great job with the metal frame and plastic back and while the Nexus 9 isn’t exceptional looking, it’s still a beautiful looking tablet.

Nexus 9 (6) Nexus 9 (5)

Nexus 9 (3)

We have the typical volume rocker, power button and headphone slot on the tablet. HTC/Google have kept most of the design as subtle and sleek as possible.

Nexus 9 (2) Nexus 9 (9)

Android 5.0/UI

The Nexus 9 comes with the latest OS from Android. Android 5.0 Lollipop offers a lot of new features and design changes. Below is a quick run through of the OS on the tablet. Being Nexus device, we’re looking at vanilla Android, and performance is at the top of its game.

Nexus 9 UI (3) Nexus 9 UI (4)

Nexus 9 UI (1)

The settings menu has a similar breakdown to what we’re use too, but the overall color scheme has been changed. The vanilla nature of the OS provides the smoothest experience you could expect.

Nexus 9 UI (6) Nexus 9 UI (7)

The multi-tasking plane is a card based swipe system. Again, responsiveness is excellent. It be be nice to have a close-all button, but sadly users will have to swipe each card away separately.

Nexus 9 UI (5)

Nexus 9 UI (9) Nexus 9 UI (8)

A great feature included with Android 5.0 is the support for multiple user accounts. Allowing a completely separate environment for different users. This is a massive plus for a Tablets, where sharing the device is more likely.

Camera

The Nexus 9 includes an 8MP camera with 1080p video support. We’re weren’t expecting much from the camera as it’s a tablet and sadly our expectations weren’t off the mark as the included sensor on the Nexus 9 isn’t the best. Below are some images taken with the camera.

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (2) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (1)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (3) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (4)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (5) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (6)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (7) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (8)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (9) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (10)

HTC Nexus 9 Photo (11) HTC Nexus 9 Photo (12)

Right away we can see the camera isn’t worst out there, but performance isn’t something we would call great. Some images come across as okay, but we got a lot of light balance issues with some images looking very dark as the camera over compensates.. Focusing wasn’t too bad, but we have gotten use to the near instant focusing on most flagship smartphones, so it will come across as slow. The camera is mostly lackluster, but should satisfy most users in good light situations.

Video

As we mentioned above, the Nexus 9 sports just 1080p recording. We’re not seeing any special features like HDR video or stabilization – nor did we expect anything fancy with a tablet camera. None the less, below are some videos taken with the Nexus 9.

Again, not the worst we have seen, but nothing to to praise about. It’s a tablet, so we’re not disappointed that much with the lack of features or 4k support.

Benchmarks

Nexus 9 Benchmark (2) Nexus 9 Benchmark (3)

Nexus 9 Benchmark (1)

Nexus 9 Benchmark (5) Nexus 9 Benchmark (4)

Benchmark performance is really just for the numbers. It won’t really give you an insight on how well your device will perform daily, but rather complete compute performance it offers. The Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset is the king. It offers a massive leap in performance pretty much across the board. It’s safe to say that the Nexus 9 won’t have any issues supporting intensive tasks.

Gameplay

Gameplay is huge aspect of the tablet/mobile world. It’s also great to show how well the device will handle those tasks that require intensive computing power. The HTC Nexus 9 includes the Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset, which we had no doubt would be a pleasure to use, and the video below shows exactly that. The games we took a look at are Dead trigger 2, GTA: San Andreas, and Modern Combat 5.

Battery Performance

The Nexus 9 includes a nice large battery at 6,700mAh. The Nvidia chipset being exceptionally powerful will no doubt use up the juice when doing intensive tasks, but being a tablet a lot of usage will come from more general use. Below is the medium to heavy usage we do during a 12 hour period. This is aimed to simulate a typical day of usage on a tablet.

Skype call (Video) 20-30 Minutes
Chat/Emails Throughout the day (checking) and 20-30 sent
Photos 10-20
Internet browsing Throughout the day(around 60-80 minutes total)
Gaming 30 Minutes
YouTube/Netflix 60-80 Minutes
Connectivity WiFi Only Model
Screen Brightness 50-percent

Thankfully we had no problems getting through the day with our typical usage habits and the tablet itself had just over 40 percent left. Charging the device when at complete zero took us just over 4 and a half hours. So while the battery life is pretty good, it might be wise to keep the tablet charging whenever you can. Stand by is another fantastic aspect, as we left the device in stand by overnight (WiFi off) and only lost 1-percent.

Conclusion

Design

Google pretty much have the lead when it comes to the development and design of a Nexus device and in this case HTC are a partner that handle some development and design. It’s basically a collaboration with Google in charge. HTC, however, take care of all of the manufacturing. So none the less, This is without a doubt a HTC tablet. Starting off with a sleek metal frame and smooth plastic back, the tablet is housed pretty nicely. HTC have thankfully included the dual front facing speakers with BoomSound, which go a far way to making the tablet a more enjoyable experience.

The 4:3 ratio is something of a twist. This will add black bars to most videos with content typically done with 16:9 or 21:9 ratios. We still think Google/HTC made the right choice, as having the tablet less wide as made it just that much more comfortable to hold. The smaller ratio makes the tablet less of a chore if using if for longer periods. We also have a large display without getting a large width. Ultimately it’s up to the end user if they would prefer a more standard 16:9 tablet, or go for something potentially more comfortable.

Display

The 8.9-inch IPS LCD display provides great sharpness and color. Viewing angles are spot on and the display has a pretty decent level of brightness to it. The 4:3 ratio does shine some light on a fairly annoying issue with regards to light bleed. The added black bars with 16:9 content allow us to see some pretty bad light bleed on the corners of the display. This isn’t that much of a serious issue as is only noticeable wtih complete black areas, but none the less screams low quality.

Bar the light bleed issues, the screen is actually pretty solid in terms of overall quality. The detail is great and brightness goes well high enough for sunlight use.

Performance

The Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset is insane. it’s one of the fastest performing chipsets we have seen. This along with Vanilla Android 5 gave us the smoothest and most complete lag free experience we have seen. While we don’t put to much emphasis on benchmarks, it’s hard not to be impressed with the lead the Nexus 9 has over other devices.

The camera is one of the most lacking aspects of the device. Quality is only decent enough with extremely well lit areas, but even then we’re seeing pretty poor balance issues with too much compensation. The camera app only offers panorama as an extra feature, but sadly the camera quality leaves a lot to be desired. Since this is a tablet, camera quality is last on the list of features we’re interested in. In fact, we’re more disappointed about the lack of 1080p video support on the front camera. So that should tell you something.

Overall

The Nexus 9 is not as much a successor to the Nexus 7, but rather a different offering. The Nexus 7 was aimed at being a a solid tablet with an enjoyable experience at a decent price. The Nexus 9 is more about offering the best possible performance on a beautiful tablet. Android 5.0 is on board and feels fresh and clean. The OS takes advantage of the insanely high performing Nvidia chipset and provides the most enjoyable Android experience we have seen.

The Nexus 9 is not without its drawbacks and the lack of expandable storage is probably the biggest. Not a complete deal breaker, but easily one of those things that will leave a bad taste after while and something we wish wasn’t the case with such an easy solution avaialble to OEM’s. This is even worse by the fact we finally have the ability to add multiple users and that alone will mean more space is being used. Camera quality is pretty bad with even the best photos looking like they came from a flagship from a good few years ago.

The Nexus 9 has a gotten a few things wrong, but has done so many things right. We have a beautiful looking tablet with the best version of Android yet, and to top it off we have the best performance available. It may not be the right choice for everyone, and at €389, it’s certainly not the cheapest tablet available. None the less, we definitely liked the Nexus 9 and think it’s a great tablet that will make a lot of people happy. The lack of expandable storage is enough to warrant real concern and should have some folks seek a tablet elsewhere. If there is going to be a 2015 Nexus 9, we hope this won’t be an issue. None the less, the Nexus 9 is a Gold level tablet and provides a top of the line experience.

Geektech.ie Gold Award

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Nokia announce the N1 Android tablet

nokia-n1

Nokia may have sold their smartphone line up to Microsoft, but that hasn’t stopped them from staying in the hardware game. Nokia are entering the tablet world with their first Android tablet dubbed the N1. Their was that Lumia tablet with Windows RT awhile back, but you would be forgiven if you thought nothing of it. Nokia’s first step true step into the Android world will see a tablet with a 7.9-inch IPS display with a nice high pixel count at 2,048 x 1,536. Inside we have a 64-bit quad-core 2.3GHz Atom Z3580 CPU with 2GB of RAM, a PowerVR G6430 GPU clocked at 533MHz. Storage includes 32GB with no MicroSD option.

Nokia are also included an 8MP rear facing camera and 5MP front facing camera. Both support 1080p video recording. Other specs include two 0.5W stereo speakers, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz) with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0. We also have the latest MicroUSB 2.0 with Type-C connector. Dimensions for the tablet come in at 200.7mm long, 138.6mm wide, and just 6.9mm thick. The slate has a one-piece aluminum design with an anodized surface.

Lastly, the device will be running Android 5.0 Lollipop. The UI will include Nokia’s Z launcher – which launched a good while back as a beta on the Android platform. The Tablet is set to launch next year with it’s debut in China and Russia to follow shortly after (hopefully other places soon after that). Pricing is set fairly aggressively at $249.

Tech Specs

  • Height
  • 200.7mm
  • Width
  • 138.6 mm
  • Depth
  • 6.9 mm
  • Body
  • One-piece design
  • Aluminum with surface anodization
  • Weight
  • 318 g
  • Colors
  • Natural Aluminum or Lava Gray
  • Camera
  • 8 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus
  • 5 MP front-facing camera, fixed focus
  • 1080p video recording
  • Buttons and connections
  • 3.5 mm audio
  • Micro-USB 2.0 with a Type-C reversible connector

 

  • Display
  • 7.9 inch (4:3)
  • 2048×1536 resolution
  • Gorilla® glass 3
  • IPS panel with LED backlight
  • Fully laminated zero air-gap display
  • Chip
  • Intel® 64-bit Atom™ Processor Z3580, 2.3 GHz
  • Memory
  • LPDDR3 (800 MHz), 2 GB
  • Storage
  • eMMC 5.0, 32 GB
  • Graphics
  • PowerVR G6430, 533 MHz

 

  • Audio
  • High Quality Discrete Audio Codec, Wolfson
  • WM8958E, independent audio codec
  • Speakers
  • Two 0.5 W stereo speakers
  • 90 dB with less than 10% total harmonic distortion (THD)
  • Microphone
  • Digital MIC Cavity resonance frequency more than 20 KHz
  • Battery
  • 18.5 Wh (5300 mAh) rechargeable lithium polymer battery (3.7 V)
  • Sensors
  • 6-axis Gyro+Accelerometer
  • Wireless
  • Wi-Fi, (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); dual channel (2.4GHz & 5GHz) with MIMO
  • Bluetooth, BT 4.0
  • Software
  • Android™ 5.0 Lollipop
  • Nokia Z Launcher

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Dell refresh their Venue Pro 11 Tablet with Intel Core M and thinner/lighter profile

SONY DSC

Dell have just detailed an update to their Venue Pro 11 tablet. The update includes a thinner and lighter profile, but will also include Intel’s latest Core M processor in the included configuration options. The weight comes in at 1.62 pounds/0.73kg and the thickness is just 0.42 inches/10.66cm. The different configurations includes Core M as the base, and then Core i3 and Core i5. Display is a nice crisp 1080p IPS, and includes optional Synaptics digitizer for pen input. Storage options spane from 64/128/256GB. Pricing for the new tablet starts at $699 and that will get you a 64GB version with included slim keyboard.

 

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Apple’s iPad Mini 3 announced, pre-orders start 17th of October

 

iPad Mini 3 Featured image

The latest iPad’s have been announced. Apple took to the stage to announce their latests slates and the iPad Air 2 was the first to be announced. Apple also subtlely announced the iPad Mini 3 as well. It’s features include a 7.9-inch Retina display. 5MP iSight Camera with 1080p video recording support. A HD front facing camera (no word on specifics. The iPad mini now also features Touch ID support, with the fingerprint reader embedded in the home button like before.

Pre-orders for the tablet start tomorrow (17th of October) and pricing is set at $399/$429 for the 16GB WiFi/16GB WiFi + LTE, $499/$529 for the 64GB WiFi/64GB WiFi + LTE, and then Lastly $599/$729 for the 128GB WiFi/128GB WiFi + LTE tablet.

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Apple announce iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2 Featued image

Apple have taken to the stage for the latest press event. As usual, we have seen a lot of stats from the last 30 days after the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, along with the release of iOS 8. However, more imporantly we finally got the announcement of the iPad Air 2. The new tablet features a 6.1mm thin design, making it the thinnest yet and the the worlds thinnest tablet available. Apple also included TouchID directly in the home button.

Inside houses the A8X processor, which is stated to provide 12 time more power than the original iPad. We also have the M8 chip inside, which combines accurate sensor information for developers to take advantage as they wish. Apple put a lot of focus on the 8MP iSight camera. The sensor has a f/2.4 aperture and features 1080p video, 43MP panoramic photos, burst mode, time lapse, slow-motion video and finally HDR photos and videos. The front facing camera will also support HDR video and single HDR photos, without the need of combing images together. It features an f/2.2 aperture.

Pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 start tomorrow on the 17 of October and the tablet ships next week. Pricing for the tablet has only be detailed for the US. The 16GB Wifi is $499 , 64GB WiFi is $599, and the 128GB Wifi is $699. There is also cellular models which cost $629 for the 16GB, $729 for the 64GB, and finally $829 for the 128GB tablet.

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Google announce the Nexus 9: HTC built 9-inch tablet with Nvidia 64-bit K1 chipset

Nexus 9

The HTC built Nexus 9 tablet is finally official. The new tablet will features an 8.9-inch display with 2,048 x 1,536 resolution. This will also be the first tablet to feature Nvidia’s Dual-Core 64 bit K1 chipset. The chipset will have 2GB of ram to play with as well. The slate includes HTC”s BoomSound speakers on the the front.

HTC are including an 8MP BSI sensor on the rear of the device, with f/2.4 aperture. We also have a front facing 1.6mp camera as well. HTC have included a nice large 6,700mAh battery.

Pricing for the tablet starts at $399 for the 16GB WiFi model, $479 for the 32GB WiFi, and $599 for a 32GB LTE version. Pre-orders start this Friday (17th of October) with availability beginning on November 10th. The tablet comes with both Black and White colors.

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Android 5.0 to be called Android Lollipop

Lollipop+Forest

Google have finally given Android L its official name. Android Lollipop, which will also being known as Android 5.0 will finally be pushed to the public. Google’s latest Nexus 6 will be among the first device to receive the update, along with the new Nexus 9 tablet from HTC.

The fun doesn’t stop there, as Google are bringing the next version of Android to other devices. Android TV will also included Lollipop, and so will other third party media players as well.

 

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iOS 8.0.2 now available for download. Fixes 8.0.1 issues

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

iOS 8 is still fresh of its heels, but the first update that was meant to bring some bug fixes, caused more issues. So let’s call this round two shall we. Below is a quick list of the bug fixes and changes in the new update. Those who are already running 8.0.1 should definitely update now, but those still running the original 8.0 should probably wait until the all clear before update, just in case something else goes awry.

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Download links

 

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