Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro P30W is the latest Ultrabook-class 2-in-1

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There are three things I check when I quickly evaluate new 2-in-1 announcements. Price, performance (CPU, disk, screen) and weight. If the tablet is over 1KG a big buzzer goes off in my head. This 13-inch Satellite Click 2 Pro P30W however has got me inquisitive. 13.3-inches in 1.05KG (2.3 pounds) on an Ultrabook platform makes it quite interesting.

As the name suggests this isn’t the first Toshiba Click. The original Click, launched at IFA 2013, was an AMD-powered device that used the netbook-class A4-1200. It wasn’t that well received which is understandable because who wants a 2KG laptop that performs like an old netbook? The recently launched Click 2 range comprises two designs. One, the Click 2, is aimed at the lower-cost consumer market, the other, the Click 2 Pro P30W, is designed to offer an Ultrabook experience with good connectivity.

The Click 2 Pro is a stylish looking ‘laptop first’ 2-in-1 with a Core i5 (Haswell) CPU, HD4400 graphics and SSD inside. A full-HD IPS touchscreen, backlit keyboard, Harman/Kardon speakers, AC WiFi and an additional keyboard battery mean it’s playing up at the top of the market. Entry price is $1099. A version with Core i7, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD costs $1499 on Amazon right now.

The weight of the combined unit is 2.05KG which isn’t light. Toshiba’s first Ultrabook was also a 13-incher and weighed half of that but it didn’t have a touchscreen and a removable tablet. At 13.3-inches it’s difficult to find anything that weighs much less and has the same features, apart from the ASUS Transformer Book T300LA and although it weighs almost the same it’s slightly cheaper. The recently announced Transformer Book T300 Chi might also be interesting but we don’t expect that to reach the performance levels of the Click 2.

Battery capacity is 41Wh which isn’t stunning given the weight but there’s talk about a keyboard battery option. Whether that boosts the weight we don’t know but given the size and weight of the standard model we think there’s probably a weighted spacer in the keyboard. Toshiba is quoting 6 hours battery life for the standard model which is in line with a 41Wh battery capacity and the given system specifications.

Satellite_Click_2_Pro_P30W_B_Detail_03       Satellite_Click_2_Pro_P30W_B_Detail_01

I mentioned that a 13.3-inch 1KG full-PC tablet is going to be interesting, but is it practical? I fear not for most users, especially as this product doesn’t not include a digitizer layer, but with an 8GB RAM, Core i7 and 256GB SSD option it remains a fairly unique, stylish and possibly high-quality option for those that want a 13-inch 2-in-1 with full laptop / desktop capability.

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Availability is June in USA, Q3 in Germany.

Source:Toshiba.

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NEC LaVie GZ with IGZO is the lightest Ultrabook yet.

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As the Ultrabook design philosophy reaches more of the mainstream laptop market it is becoming more and more difficult to spot new advances in laptop design. NEC makes it easy for us though by launching the sub 800-gram (1.76 pound) LaVie GZ. Energy and space-saving IGZO screen and mainboard means less layers to the laptop cake. There’s a trade-off though.

The LaVie GZ is a 13.3-inch Ultrabook available with 2560 × 1440 resolution and the weight is just 794 grams which is very very impressive. The IGZO screen doesn’t provide a touch layer (an IPS 1920x1080p version offers that and a larger internal battery but at a slightly heavier 964 grams.) but it’s all-Ultrabook in other aspects of the device.

Specs include a Core i7-4510U or Core i5-4210U CPU with a fixed 4GB of RAM and SSD options. There’s an SD card reader, two USB 3.0 ports and HDMI for video output. It’s just 14.9mm thick.

As for the battery life, NEC are quoting a 5.4hrs battery life on the JEITA 1.0 test which isn’t actually that good considering that it’s almost a no-load test. We haven’t managed to find the actual battery capacity but given the other figures available we don’t expect more than a very small 25Wh pack. Under load and high screen brightness this LaVie won’t be an all-dayer but It’s a sign of how increasing component efficiency allows expensive and large battery requirements to be reduced.

NEC Lavie GZ (2)NEC Lavie GZ (1)

The NEC LaVie GZ won’t be available globally and probably won’t be available much outside Japan but you might be able to find an importer for this amazing Ultrabook. Full specifications are available from NEC here. (Japanese.)

Via: NotebookItalia.

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HP Pro X2 612 G1 offers Wacom on 12.5-inch FHD with Core


HP Pro X2 610 G1 (4)

As I continue my review of the HP Pro X2 410 G1 [first impressions] I’m acutely aware of what’s going on around it this week. The Surface Pro 3 and new products and announcements at Computex have us all thinking about larger-screen tablets and 2-in-1s. One competitor was from HP themselves as Microsoft held up the Pro X2 612 on stage at their keynote.  It offers a full HD screen, SSD and Wacom options that aren’t available with the X2 410. It also offers a range of CPUs that start with a Celeron (4th gen Core) and go up to Core i5.

Full specifications are available at HP’s Indian website and they show that it’s only the Y-series Haswell CPUs (lower clocked) that are included which could mean this is fanless like the Pro X2 410. 8GB RAM option, SSD up to 256GB, 1366×768 option and a huge array of ports which include DisplayPort and VGA on the power keyboard. The power keyboard is spill-resistant and backlit and, like the 410 G1 has a 25Wh battery inside taking the total tablet+keyboard capacity to 55Wh. That should be enough for about 8-10 hours of productivity.

The Pro X2 612 is very much laptop-first as the tablet weighs 1KG. We don’t see a stand and there’s no obvious stand mode or tent mode that could help digital artists. Maybe the screen can be mounted in the reverse direction? Total weight goes up to 1.85KG for a the tablet and power-keyboard combination which is 30% or more than some 13-inch Ultrabooks. 

A travel keyboard option will be available but note how the power keyboard sticks out behind the tablet by a good 20-30mm. As on the new HP Split X2 (consumer variant) design it’s going to help lap and screen angle stability.

Engadget have had some hands-on with the HP Pro X2 612 already and are happy with the keyboard. I would be wary of the 14hr runtime claim. Runtime, yes, worktime no in my experience with the platform. This is a business-first product so you’ll probably only see a few variants reach consumer channels. Additional options such as SmartCard reader, fingerprint reader and 4G data might only reach customers on a business project basis.

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AMD reveals Kaveri mobile APU for ultrathins and high-performance laptops (Updating)

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In a press conference at Computex AMD have announced the Kaveri Mobile APU which is targeted at thin and high-performance laptops. It looks like this is a processor that could appear in Ultrabook devices.

We’re pulling in information from sources at Computex right now…

According to a tweet from Notebook Italia AMD have announced that Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba will partner with AMD to use Kaveri. In another tweet @tenoq shows an image of the AMD FX-7500 (Update: 19W TDP) matching or beating the Intel i7-4500U in PCMark, 3DMark and Basemark CL. Graphics performance is said to be up to 58% better.

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Images via show performance comparison and Kaveri line-up.

Based on those figures, this looks like a similar picture to last year and the year before when AMD introduced processors that would beat competing Intel processors on graphics capabilities in the lead-up to new Intel arhitechtures that close that gap again. In CPU performance there doesn’t appear to be any advantage but there are features and pricing that need to be taken into consideration. And of course, competition is good.

There doesn’t appear to be an official announcement about this yet on AMD’s Computex mini-site but The Inquirer have a post about the press event that highlights more detail on Kaveri mobile. Update: AMD press release is now available.

Update: What look like the official slides from the event show the complete line-up of Kaveri APUs. At the high-end there are 35W TDP parts but there are also 6 parts in the 17W-19W TDP range. Three of those are ‘Pro’ APUs for commercial use.

Update: Many sites have now published full details. Anandtech, for example.

The new Kaveri APUs will come in FX, A10 and A8 quad-core parts with an A6 dual-core version also targeted at business.  FX version wil have Radeon R7 graphics. A10 versions will have Radeon R6 graphics and A8 versions will have Radeon R5 graphics. All support DirectX 11.2 and DDR3-1600 RAM.

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It looks like at least one of the new Kaveri APUs will fit into the ultrathin space with the rest targeting the higher-power notebook segment. With AMD Beema coming up from the lower-power end in to the 15W TDP space there’s a good range of AMD options for thin and mobile laptops during 2014.

Finally: Techreport has some benchmarks up that use the FX-7600P (35W TDP part) in a surprisingly thin laptop. GPU performance results are impressive so gamers should keep an eye out for ultra mobile laptops based on these.

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Intel’s fanless mobile PC reference design is 7.2mm thin and uses Core M 14nm processor.

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Intel are currently presenting on stage at Computex. The press-release reveals what’s about to be demonstrated.

The world’s first 14nm fanless mobile PC reference design from Intel is a 12.5 inch screen that is 7.2mm thin with keyboard detached and weighs 670 grams. The innovative design is based on the first of Intel’s next-generation 14nm Broadwell processors, purpose-built for 2 in 1s and will be in market later this year. Called the Intel® Core™ M processor, it will deliver the most energy efficient Core processor in the company’s history.

So it looks like the days of the U-series processor are over. Perhaps the Y-series too. More importantly it looks like ASUS have used the Intel reference design in their Transformer Book Chi product. Both have a 12.5-inch screen. Both use the ‘next-generation’ Intel core. One is 7.3mm thick, the other is 7.2mm thick. OK, maybe the casing is different!

Update: The reference device is known as Llama Mountain.

[Source]

We’re pulling-in more information from the live event from here on… (updating)

Intel say that 130 new tablet designs are coming on Baytrail, Merrifield, Moorefield. They’re on track for 40 million tablets this year.

coming soonCapture

Intel announces Core-m.

“With 14nm we’re going to continue to deliver breakthroughs in performance.”

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This holiday you will be able to purchase products based on Core m. Intel confirms the Asus Chi is using Broadwell.

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Jonney Shih gets on stage (with a very rough voice – he’s been shouting!) to talk about the Chi and an Atom-based Zenphone.

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[Small hiccup in teleprompter is rather embarrassing for Shih but he fills-in well.]

[Demo of TV streaming over LTE on an Intel tablet.]

[Demo of first Sofia phone call. SoFIA is first integrated LTE SoC from Intel.]

[High performance Quad Core 4Ghz demo.]

[SSD for data-center announcement]

Real Sense

A demo shows face recognition and voice recognition, wireless docking and other

Rene talks about Real Sense technology with 10-language support and new modes of camera interaction.

From press release:

Real Sense will be built into mainstream Microsoft Windows* 8 and 8.1 devices, including Ultrabooks™, detachables, notebooks, 2 in 1s, and All-in-Ones (AIOs) from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, and NEC later in 2014.

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Real Sense 3D for tablets announced – a rear-facing camera / ‘world-facing.’

Faceshift demo shows 50-muscle face tracking…

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Intel announces a new SDK for front and rear Real Sense cameras, also announces contest for new Real Sense SDK.

[END OF KEYNOTE]

To summarize:

  • Intel Core m announced on 14nm process. (Formerly known as Broadwell.
  • Core m can drive fanless tablets such as the ASUS Transformer Book Chi.
  • Fanless reference design is 670 grams and 12.5-inches
  • New Real Sense technology announced along with new competition
  • Products based on Core m will be available for the ‘holidays.’ (end Q4.)

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ASUS NX500 with Quad-Core i7, RAID, 4K. Full specs.

ASUS ZENBOOK NX500  (1) (678x677)

We’ve never seen an Ultrabook with these specs before. The Asus NX500 Ultrabook was announced yesterday and it proves how far Ultrabook specification can be pushed. The NX500 is targeted squarely at creators and gamers and is one of the most impressive-looking Ultrabooks we’ve ever seen. No, this is not ultra-light, unless you want these specifications in a Windows laptop, and then it is!

ASUS NX500 Specifications

Official specs from ASUS. (“Subject to change without notice.”)

  • CPU: Intel® Core™  i7-4702HQ  with Turbo Boost Up to 3.2GHz (37W TDP with HD 4600 on board)
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850 graphics
  • Chipset: Intel® HM87
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX™ 850M with 2GB GDDR5 video memory
  • RAM: 1x SODIMM (4G/8G) and 4G/8G on board memory / DDR3L 1600MHz support
  • Drive: SATA 3 RAID 0 (128/256GB) or PCIe x4 SSD up to 512GB.
  • Screen: 15.6-inch 16:9 IPS 4K/UHD (3840 x 2160) with 10-point multi-touch (using 3M QDEF technology. Wide color gamut of 100 per cent NTSC, 108 per cent Adobe RGB and 146 per cent sRGB. TruVivid direct-bonding technology.
  • Keyboard: 285mm frameless  illuminated chicklet  keyboard
  • 96Wh battery
  • Broadcom 3-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi, BT4.0
  • USB3.0 X3, DisplayPort, HDMI, SD card slot, headset port. (Gig-E via adaptor.)
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Titanium-film speakers and SonicMaster audio technology
  • Unibody aluminum casing
  • Size & Weight: 378 x 255 x 19mm / 2.4kg
  • Price: N/A
  • Availability: Q4 2014

That CPU is truly a desktop-category processor with about 3x the CPU power you find on a standard 2014 Core i5 Ultrabook but beware, together with that GPU it will burn, burn, burn through the battery.

We suspect that lower-end specifications will be available in addition to this list here. For example a traditional dual-core i7 perhaps with Iris graphics? 4GB RAM? As for pricing we can only speculate that you’re looking at a $2K configuration above and that starting prices will be above $1200 but we’re ready to be surprised. That huge 96Wh battery in a super-efficient dual-core 17W TDP build might be interesting and of course a 2015 refresh with Broadwell has to be on the cards!

This is a truly impressive looking laptop workstation that we can’t wait to get hands-on with. Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen on it?

ASUS NX500 Gallery

Also available here.

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Press Release

Computex, Taipei, Taiwan (2nd June, 2014) — ASUS today announced Zenbook NX500, the stunning new flagship of the multiple-award-winning Zenbook Ultrabook™ range. Echoing the timeless, classic design of Zenbook, NX500 introduces a new sleek and elegant all-aluminum chassis housing state-of-the-art components for ultimate performance. NX500 premieres the incredible new ASUS VisualMaster display technology, and has the world’s first 15.6-inch 4K/UHD (ultra-high-definition) touchscreen using 3M™ QDEF (quantum dot enhancement film) technology for unbelievably natural and vivid color reproduction.
NX500 uses a powerful 4th-generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, teamed with the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX™ 850M graphics for seamless multitasking, smooth 4K/UHD video playback and responsive gameplay.
Zenbook NX500 is the proud recipient of a prestigious 2014 IF Design award, which is recognized worldwide as seal of quality for products that excel in specific criteria including design quality, degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics and more.

VisualMaster display — the future, today
Zenbook NX500 is the first ASUS product to feature the new ASUS VisualMaster display technology, which ensures incredible detail, clarity, accuracy and vibrant lifelike color. The VisualMaster display on NX500 is a 15.6-inch IPS touchscreen, with a 4K/UHD resolution for stunningly detailed images. It is the world’s first 15.6-inch laptop display to feature 3M™ QDEF technology, which uses quantum dots to enable an ultra-wide color gamut of 100% NTSC, 108% Adobe RGB and 146% sRGB. This means that NX500 can display an unprecedented range of colors and hues, making all images richer and more vivid.
With wide 178-degree viewing angles, ASUS TruVivid direct-bonding technology to minimize reflections, factory-calibrated color temperature, and a pixel density sufficient to make individual pixels effectively invisible from a normal viewing distance, NX500’s display is simply the best you can find on a laptop, anywhere.
For the ultimate touch experience, NX500 uses high-fidelity touchscreen actuators that are twice as sensitive as the industry standard, for smooth, intuitive and accurate 10-point multi-touch input.

NX500 — Zenbook evolved
Evoking the classic, timeless Zenbook design, NX500 has a refined new slim shape featuring the Zenbook signature spun-metal finish on the lid. Crafted from a single block of aluminum, and tapering to remarkably slim edges, NX500 is supremely elegant and portable. Every detail of NX500 is carefully crafted for style and practicality, including the chiclet keyboard with its one-piece frameless construction and backlighting controlled by an ambient-light sensor, which gives perfect key illumination under all lighting conditions.

Ultimate power, ultimate connectivity
As with any Zenbook, NX500 is not only incredibly stylish, but also has power to spare for any computing task, thanks to its powerful Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory. With either a state-of-the-art 512GB PCI Express (PCIe) x4 solid-state-disk (SSD), or up to two SATA 3 SSDs (configurable as a RAID 0 array) for ultra-responsive data transfers and quick application loads, NX500 will never keep the user waiting. The three USB 3.0 ports provide 10-times fast data transfers than USB 2.0, and the next-generation Broadcom® dual-band three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi gives speeds up to 3 times faster than 802.11n with compatible routers. Integrated Bluetooth 4.0 allows connections to the latest high-speed peripherals.

Awe-inspiring sound
The stereo speaker grilles on NX500 feature a laser-engraved ripple-effect design detailing that gives a visual hint of the incredible SonicMaster Premium audio, incorporating ICEpower®, Bang & Olufsen technology. This gives NX500 rich, deep bass and crystal-clear vocals, with a wider frequency range and higher volume levels than ordinary laptops. MaxxAudio® Master by Waves, recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award®, brings professional-level sound processing to NX500 for an enhanced listening experience.

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ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi is a Broadwell Teaser.

Transformer Book T300 Chi_Gold_edited

Impressive. The Transformer Book Chi 2-in-1 was shown briefly at the Computex show today and although Asus didn’t say it outright, the ‘next generation’ Core processor, slick design and lack of detail in the specifications availability and pricing leads us to conclude that it’s going to be a product built around the 5th-Generation core. It means we’ll probably see this on stage a few more times before we get to see it for sale.

The incredibly thin 7.3mm tablet design is just 14.3mm thick when snapped together with the keyboard. The weight should be just as groundbreaking. The design suggests that it’s fanless too.

The 12.5-inch 2560×1440 display, 4GB RAM and SSD should provide enough for good, smooth productivity. LTE is an option.

Transformer Book T300 Chi_edited

 

Don’t expect too much more info out of Computex on these devices as it appears to be locked-up behind plexiglass. We’ll keep watching for further information though.

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ASUS Transformer Book Flip

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The TP300, TP450, TP500 and TP550 Transformer Book Flips have just leaked ahead of an ASUS press conference. These Ultrabook-class 2-in-1s have a Yoga-style 360-degree fold-back screen and will come with 13-inch, 14-inch or 15-inch screens and offer Nvidia discreet GPUs and DVD options.

Focusing on the most portable of the four models, the TP300, we’re seeing HD and FullHD screen options, up to 8GB of RAM and an optional Nvidia Geforce 820M. Core i3, i5 and i7 versions will be available on this 1.75KG package.

Update: Transformer Book Flip Specs now available.

Transformer Book Flip will be available worldwide from the end of June, 2014

Videos will be shown in a playlist below.

Source: Engadget Chinese

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Surface Pro 3. Engineering vs Demand vs Future

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It’s exactly 12-hours after the launch of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as I start to write this article. I’ve spent a number of hours hours researching and making notes on this unique product and have come to one main conclusion. Microsoft has a superbly engineered product in the Surface Pro 3 but it’s too early for mainstream 2-in-1 customers.

First-off, I agree with 12-inches tablets. There’s an interesting market and 2-in-1 opportunity developing as technology improves. The 11.6-inch Samsung XE700T, seen back in 2011, was a breakthrough product combining a Core i5 CPU with a weight of just 890 grams. It had a digitizer layer, a dock, keyboard and was one of the first well-designed premium Tablet PCs that wasn’t just built for the medical industry, logistics or some other specialist market. It wasn’t hugely successful but a follow-up product, the XE500T, was a complete 2-in-1 with a tablet that weighed just 750 grams. I bought one and enjoyed it as a ‘laptop-first’ 2-in-1. Then there was the Sony Vaio Tap 11 which offered Core CPUs in just 780 grams and very recently I was excited about the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro, an Android device with 2560×1440 screen in 750 grams.

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The common factor in all these devices were that they were offering that 11.6-inch screen which is really the smallest screen size I, and many others, would recommend as a single 2-in-1 solution that covers productivity. The problem, however, is that even at 750 grams the weight is too much. With that experience in mind I’m looking at the 800 gram Surface Pro 3 and thinking, no, it’s too heavy.

It’s too early to bring a Core-based tablet to the market at 12-inches because much better things are round the corner and the company that waits 12-18 months longer is going to break through with a potential 2-in-1 winner that will blow the Surface Pro 3 out of the water.

Let’s think about that fan for a minute. Microsoft appear to have based the whole design of the tablet, including the all-round air vents and the mainboard around a new, improved fan design. Why? We’ve already seen fanless Core-based products which, while not removing the need for specialist thermal engineering, do remove the only moving part and save space and thickness. One of the key features of Broadwell, the next generation of Core CPU that could launch in just a few weeks, is that certain SKUs will be targeted at fan-less designs. The Surface Pro 3 is immediately obvious to me as a product that takes current ultrabook-style design techniques to their absolute limit but it still results in a heavy tablet that has a fan. It’s a complete no-no for a tablet that want’s to attract those upgrading a laptop while also looking at a tablet; potentially tens of millions.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 detailed specifications and other information.

The good thing about the Surface Pro 3 is that it is a unique product and there is a target market for it. It’s an active and growing market but it’s not a market of tens of millions of sales. The Surface Pro speaks to exactly the people that have been reading Ultrabooknews and UMPCPortal. They are pro-mobile, productive, creative and highly focused customers that have a specific need. The Digitizer, a component that many will be looking for detailed tests on, appeals to designers, designers artists, natural handwriting fans, education and possibly CAD users, especially when paired with 8GB of RAM. The $1299 entry cost for that configuration won’t bother them too much because there’s nothing much out there that competes.  The Fujitsu Lifebook T904, a product that speaks to similar customers, starts at around $2000 for a Core i5 / 8GB spec. The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga, also in the same customer category, is much closer at around $1200-1400

There are some other ‘highlight’ features to think about.

  • A high-quality, high-contrast screen with high DPI and quality color coverage is important to many in the creative industry.
  • Multi-position kickstand that fold al the way back for a digitizer experience is unique in the market.
  • 2160×1140 resolution (3:2 aspect ratio) should please tablet PC fans.
  • DisplayPort offers 4K output and chained monitor possibility.
  • AC Wifi is the best WiFi standard available right now and not seen in many products.
  • Price breakthrough. The Core i3, 64GB version could be something we’ll see at $699 in offers soon. You just know that Microsoft have left room for that and Core i3 Haswell with touch, digitizer, fast SSD and 4GB RAM is going to be appealing. For people like me who don’t need the full CPU power of the Core i7 but do need a fast SSD, fast video encoding and long battery life, it’s quite attractive, especially as it will dock into my DisplayLink docks and be just as powerful as the Ivy Bridge CPU Ultrabook I use today.

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A quick word on that battery life before we move on to listing the spec’s and prices now. It’s a small battery. I know, from experience, that a 12-inch LED-backlit LCD panel, takes a lot of energy. I know, from experience, that the average power usage for this processing platform is going to be 5-6W while browsing. I know that if you’re gaming, power usage will go beyond 25W and that, if you’re not careful with your program usage and setup you’ll be using 10W for web-working. It will, of course, stay in active-standby for hundreds of hours too and play videos for 10hours at a low-ish screen brightness but don’t expect to get through a long day of work without charging and if you’re working hard, you could be looking at under 4 hours battery life.

Oh, and there’s no place to put the digitizer which is always a minus-point.

You can order the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 from today in the USA and the Core i5 version will be in shops on June 20th. I assume online orders will ship then too. By the end of August, the Surface Pro 3 and some accessories will become available for purchase in 26 additional markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Potential issues for the Surface Pro 3

  • You’ll see tablets based on the next generation Intel Core architecture later this year but you might not be able to get them freely until early in 2015.
  • This is not a fanless tablet
  • There’s no full-size SD card slot
  • An 8GB model will start with 256GB SSD at $1299
  • The N-Trig digitizer, I assume using the Duo-sense technology, needs to be tested.
  • Accessories are extra
  • No pen stowage
  • No GPS, NFC
  • No 3G/LTE option at launch

Summary

It’s great to see Microsoft pushing the pro TabletPC category and putting such marketing weight behind it. The Surface Pro 3 is lighter than the Surface Pro 2 and will offer a better 2-in-1 environment in most cases. The engineering appears to be top-notch and at $799 for a Core i3 and 64GB is makes a very interesting tabletPC choice. If you’re looking at graphical usage you’ll probably have to step up to 8GB of RAM which takes you immediately to $1299 which isn’t so attractive. Independent creatives may have to hold-back at that price.

The only problem I have with the Surface Pro 3 is that it might have been better to wait another year. It’s not the thinness that worries me, it’s the weight and I already know that even 11.6-inch tablets at 700-800 grams are too heavy for casual mainstream PC use. For that, we may have to look at newer products running Baytrail later this year. Come on Samsung, let’s have an update of the ATIV 500T!

Pro-mobile users should also consider the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga and the Fujitsu Lifebook T904 but if a Tablet PC is the focal point for a creative project the Surface Pro 3 has to be at the top of the list.

You’ll find all the lightweight 2-in-1’s listed here.

For a list of lightweight Windows 8 tablets, see this list.

 

Surface Pro 3 Prices:

Surface Pro 3    Estimated retail price (USD)
Intel® Core™ i3, 64 GB and 4 GB of RAM    $799
Intel® Core™ i5, 128 GB7 and 4 GB of RAM    $999
Intel® Core™ i5, 256 GB7 and 8 GB of RAM    $1,299
Intel® Core™ i7, 256 GB7 and 8 GB of RAM    $1,549
Intel® Core™ i7, 512 GB7 and 8 GB of RAM    $1,949

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Surface Pro 3 Accessories     Estimated retail price (USD)
Surface Pro Type Cover    $129.99
Additional Surface Pen    $49.99
Additional 36W Power Supply    $79.99
Additional Pen Loop    $4.99
Docking Station for Surface Pro 3    $199.99
Surface Ethernet Adapter    $39.99

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HP Pavilion 11 X2 2-in-1 with Core i5 for $599 Hands-On.

Envy, Split, Pavilion. Unlike my fairly clear understanding of the Dell and Lenovo consumer/business product ranges my understanding of HP’s is spotty. Is it just me? When our reader Brad Heath sent me a link to his Pavilion 11 X2 video I was surprised to see a Core i5 version on display and a quick search reveals that it’s new on the market and being offered for just $599 in the USA. Like the Dell Venue 11 Pro series it could offer a perfect balance between laptop and tablet if your primary focus is on productivity. There’s a true SATA SSD, Core i5-4202Y (1.6Ghz + Turbo) and the total weight is under 1.5KG 3/5 pounds. Price: $599 at Microsoft.com which makes it extremely interesting.  [Full specs here.]

HP Pavilion 11 X2 (2)

First question from me is “How’s the noise?” These Core devices have fans (something that Broadwell, the next generation, could fix) and I recall that a lot of reviews of the Dell Venue 11 Pro with Core had problems with that. You really don’t want a fan or excessive heat on a tablet so I’ve asked Brad for a bit more information on this topic. [I’ll update this section with his response.]

Second question is about battery life. There’s a very small 28Wh battery in the unit (probably to keep weight down) but there’s another 22Wh in the dock which will give you a total of 50Wh. That’s a respectable, if not good battery capacity and it should turn in 8hrs of web work depending on screen brightness used.

There are no comms ports on the tablet (apart from the docking port) which again could be helping to keep the weight down. Every ounce is touch when you’re designing with a Core tablet. Brad says that he’s happy with the keyboard and really likes the touchpad. He’s got the Dell Venue 11 Pro as a comparison and you’ll see that in the video below.

It’s interesting to see the screens ability to angle back further than the Dell because it’s an important ergonomic consideration but although it’s an IPS unit it’s only got 1366×768 resolution. That’s the stinger in the specification list!

HP Pavilion 11 X2 (4)HP Pavilion 11 X2 (6)

In summary we’ve got a lightweight 2-in-1 Ultrabook here with a full-capability SSD, touch, 4GB RAM for just $599, if you can find the HP Pavilion 11-h112nr x2 in stock at Microsoft. In Germany it’s called the HP Pro 410 G1 where it’s available for a shocking 960 Euro! A Core i3 version is also being produced but we can’t find a dollar price for that.

Take a look at Brad’s video. He’s just starting with his online channels (e.g. @bradheath) but I think you’ll agree he’s got some useful knowledge. We look forward to more.

Zum Blog Ultrabook Info