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  • IT news
    IT news, Ноябрь, 28

    If the Pixelbook demonstrated Google could make a compelling laptop, the Google Pixel Slate is its attempt to do the same for tablets. Like the latest iPad Pro, it’s a confident claim that what was once considered a pared-back, mobile OS can now wear Big Boy Pants and be everything you need to do…
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  • IT news
    IT news, Март, 22

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the Galaxy Note Tablet that never was. In the best way possible, Samsung has created an Android answer for the iPad Pro. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has some of the qualities of the Samsung Galaxy Note series – save a couple of the most important features. Where the Galaxy Tab S3 could have excelled above the iPad Pro, Samsung has decided to play it safe. Can Samsung’s newest Galaxy-branded tablet be the high-end tablet-with-stylus Samsung needs to go toe-to-toe with its biggest mobile competitors?

    The Galaxy Tab S3 is very user-friendly. This tablet is running pretty much the same software as is delivered on the Galaxy S7, with an understanding that the Galaxy S8 is likely less than a month away from store shelves. It’s not meant to deliver an unfamiliar experience to the user. Instead, it really, truly brings the Galaxy Note experience to a tablet.

    Measuring up against Galaxy Notes and iPad Pros

    Samsung previously attempted to bring the Galaxy Note experience to tablets with the Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note 12.2, and the first version of the Galaxy Note 8.0. That last item on the list was Samsung’s first attempt at a tablet-sized Galaxy Note, and it was decent. Back then it was still a novel experience having a stylus that was connected to a smart device with more than just physical touch. Samsung led the way with a generous stylus for smart mobile devices in the S Pen.

    SEE: iPad Pro review for artists

    But the software wasn’t quite there yet with the first couple of waves of Galaxy Note devices. Here in 2017 we’ve got apps like Adobe Illustrator Draw and Photoshop Sketch. These are professional mobile illustration apps made for devices that are leaders in this space.

    I use an iPad Pro to create illustrations for graphic design projects on a regular basis. I also use a larger Wacom pen display while I’m in my home office, but whilst out of the house or working at night while watching TV, I’m using an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. It’s a combination of mobile and professional that – until now – I’ve not found on any other device.

    Software for the S Pen

    With the Galaxy Tab S3, I’ve found a device that’s both sized adequately and up to the task of allowing me to work with the newest in new illustration software with a modern mobile processor. Aside from the Galaxy Note 7, no other Android device has yet handled Adobe Illustrator Draw. While there are other drawing apps outside of Samsung’s pre-installed on this tablet, Adobe Illustrator Draw allows us a chance to compare equivalent devices – like the iPad Pro.

    Because of how well the Galaxy Tab S3 handles Adobe Illustrator Draw, it’s put in direct contention for my most-recommended illustration tablet (with a stylus) – but Samsung refrained from doing one thing. The convenience of having a slot for the S Pen in the tablet’s body does not exist in the Galaxy Tab S3. Because of this, the Galaxy Tab S3 remains merely equivalent with the iPad Pro on the convenience front.

    Below is a screenshot of an image I’ve jotted down in Illustrator Draw. As someone who uses the same app on the iPad Pro almost daily, I can confidently say this tablet’s hardware measures up.

    Samsung includes their note-taking app Samsung Notes to give user a place to make some basic drawings and jot down messages, and type. All of the top-notch note-taking features included with past Galaxy Note devices are here – making this device a really great tool for taking notes, especially if the keyboard cover accessory is attached.

    Above you’ll see an image I’ve drawn with the Samsung Notes app. I wouldn’t recommend using this note-taking app for illustrations like this, as it’s aimed much more at the jotting down of ideas, but it is there right out the box. They’ve also included a coloring book app that makes for some interesting time-passing, but this app does not rely on the abilities of the S Pen.

    The Galaxy Tab S3 isn’t made only for the S Pen and S Pen functionality – that much is clear given the relative lack of app dedicated to S Pen functionality right out the gate. At least, S Pen functionality on a scale larger than a Galaxy Note smartphone. Samsung clearly didn’t build this tablet only to use with the stylus device.

    A Generous Tablet

    The Samsung Tab S3 sounds good and looks good, and it’s swift and highly functional. As a tablet capable of running all of today’s most high-powered apps, Samsung’s created a great device. There is no other Android device capable of keeping up with Samsung’s Tab S3 at this moment – the closest tablet available would be the Google Pixel C, a device which, at this point, is almost a couple years old and is likely soon to be replaced.

    While ideally I’d always choose to have speakers facing forward on any mobile device meant for media consumption, this Galaxy Tab S3’s speakers are fairly nice. Samsung says that this “quad speaker” experience has been tuned by AKG. It’s clear Samsung has gone above and beyond to provide a high quality listening experience with this device…

    But again, I wish the speakers weren’t aimed perpendicular to the display. Over the past week in testing this device there’s not been a single time in which it made more sense for audio to be coming out the side of the tablet rather than the front. It makes me feel as though the extra effort put into tuning these speakers was wasted – at least somewhat.

    Listening with headphones allows for some high-end tuning via the tablet’s built-in speaker tuning software. For all audio tuning and quality bits and pieces, I recommend you head to a Best Buy (or any similar sort of store) where the Tab S3 is available for hands-on testing. Both the headphone audio and the 4x external speaker audio are more than good enough for me, but the most discerning of audiophiles might want to judge more intensely for themselves.

    The display is ideal – as top-quality a display on a tablet as I’ve ever seen or tested before. Samsung’s brought their color-accurate super-bright and sharp finesse in displays to the Tab S3 without reserve. Watching a movie on this tablet with a pair of high-quality headphones is as good an experience with mobile media as I’ve ever had.

    While I’ve used the Galaxy Tab S3 keyboard cover primarily as a tablet stand, it also functions exceptionally well as an auto-paring keyboard. The keys are excellent – especially for a mobile accessory – and pairing instantly and automatically has been nearly flawless. All I’ve needed to watch out for is bumping the device out of alignment with the hardware connection (with pogo pins) – and this only happens when I’m trying to foolishly type with the keyboard/tablet combo on my lap.

    The keyboard cover is held on with magnets, which makes it feel like a high-end accessory. The materials chosen to create the cover, on the other hand, make the tablet feel a bit more like a mid-tier device – which it isn’t. This goes double for the stick-on loop for the S Pen that’s included with the keyboard cover – it simply should not exist.

    Wrap-up

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is as close to the Galaxy Note 7 as we’re going to get – until the Galaxy Note 8 arrives later this year. As a note taking, media presenting, top-notch entertainment tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3 is one of the best on the market today. For those in the Samsung device ecosystem of smart devices, this tablet has great potential as a sweet-spot between smartphone and PC – ideal for evening couch-time use.

    The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is available for pre-order now and will begin general availability on March 24th, 2017. This tablet’s cost will be right around $600 in its Wi-Fi edition (which is the device we have here). There’ll also be an LTE edition some time soon.


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  • IT news
    IT news, Сентябрь, 1

    Huawei is best known for making smartphones at a variety of different price points from entry to high-end, but over the last few years the company has also worked to build itself a name in the tablet space with its MediaPad range. The MediaPad M2 may have been an arguably forgettable device but the company is hoping its new MediaPad M3 has a very different fate.

    The Huawei MediaPad M3 offers a somewhat familiar design, updated specs, and, at least on-paper, seems to offer impressive performance and audio. But the big question is whether or not Huawei’s latest tablet truly delivers.

    With fewer Android tablets being released each year, can Huawei stake a claim for the best Android tablet with the MediaPad M3? Let’s find out in this, our Huawei MediaPad M3 review.

    Design

    At first glance, the Huawei MediaPad M3 could be mistaken for a product from another manufacturer as, Huawei logo in the top left corner aside, the design is rather generic with no core identifying features. Huawei traditionally have added a few design elements to make their devices stand out – the MediaPad M2 offered a luxurious body after all – but the MediaPad M3 drops this to focus on the core experience.

    The front is of course dominated by the large 8.4-inch WQHD+ display with a fingerprint sensor below and a front facing camera up top. Alongside the display are the bezels and it’s clear that the MediaPad M3 isn’t meant to win any design awards as the bezels are large and somewhat clunky.

    The fingerprint sensor itself proves to be somewhat confusing as it doesn’t act like a home button, rather it supports a multitude of gestures. A single tap takes you back a step while touch and holding takes you to your homescreen, sliding left or right opens recent tasks and sliding up opens Huawei’s HiVoice assistant. To navigate the OS, Huawei has adopted on-screen keys which can be customised but confuse the overall experience, not unlike the Moto Z Force’s fingerprint sensor.

    On the bottom, the MediaPad M3 sports a microUSB port – with Quick Charging built in – alongside one of the speakers and a SIM card slot. Yes, the MediaPad M3 lets you use a SIM card and comes equipped with Huawei’s phone application but, without an earpiece, you’ll need to use the speakerphone or a Bluetooth headset.

    Up top, the Huawei MediaPad M3 sports the secondary speaker alongside a headphone jack. Audio through headphones is acceptable but the MediaPad M3’s audio really comes into its own when the speakers kick in (more on this below). On the left, Huawei has opted to keep the experience bare while on the right, there’s the power and volume keys which are metal, not quite recessed and provide fantastic tactile feedback.

    On the back, the MediaPad M3 sports a camera along with a brushed metal finish emblazoned with the Huawei logo (and at the bottom, the Harman Kardon logo). There’s also a single antenna line beneath the Harman Kardon logo, while the camera is placed within a small plastic trim at the top.

    Measuring 215.5mm tall, 124.2mm wide and 7.3mm thin, the Huawei MediaPad M3 is surprisingly comfortable in the hand, no doubt thanks to its chamfered edges which improve the ergonomics of the tablet and make it surprisingly comfortable to hold. At a weight of 310 grams, it’s relatively light considering its form factor and, for those who feel inclined to do so, I can confirm that the MediaPad M3 fit comfortably in the back pocket of my jeans, making it easy to carry as well.

    Display & Sound

    Most people who buy a tablet are interested in the media experience and this is where the Huawei MediaPad M3 starts to shine. The display is an 8.4-inch IPS panel with a 2560×1600 resolution, which offers a pixel density of 359 pixels per inch.

    Running the display through a display profiler reveals the MediaPad M3 has an average color temperature of 8666 Kelvin (versus a target of 6500 Kelvin), which means a white screen appears to have a bluish hue. However, Huawei does give you the option to tweak the display colors in the settings and setting the display to normal colors, as opposed to the vivid default setting, also improves the color accuracy, with a secondary test resulting in an average color temperature of 7563.

    Either way, the display itself is vibrant, colors are punchy and blacks are quite deep, although maybe not quite as rich as you’d find with AMOLED displays. At its lowest brightness, the MediaPad M3 display is just 4-nits so it won’t blind you when you use it in bed, while a blue light filter is also onboard, which will reduce the effect of harmful blue light just before bed.

    The display is certainly on par, if not better, than other tablets in this category but, while using it has been a joy, it’s worth noting that the viewing angles are average, although this won’t affect you unless you plan to share the screen with other people. The audio experience is where the MediaPad M3 truly stands out, however as the dual 1-watt speaker system co-engineered with Harman Kardon offers rich, immersive audio. If a great audio experience is crucial to you, the Huawei MediaPad M3 definitely doesn’t disappoint.

    Huawei also says the tablet is able to intelligently recognise whether it is being used in portrait or landscape mode and adjust the audio profile experience and, based on our experience, this certainly seems to be the case. Built in support for 192KHz 24-bit files, thanks to a dedicated ESP, means even the most hardened audiophile should be satisfied by the Huawei MediaPad M3 and from my not-so-expert experience, the audio definitely doesn’t disappoint.

    Performance & Hardware

    Under the hood, the MediaPad M3 comes powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 950 processor coupled with 4GB RAM and either 32GB or 64GB storage, which can be expanded by up to 128GB using a microSD card. Like smartphones running the Kirin 950, there are no signs of lag and performance is a breeze.

    For everyday tasks, the MediaPad M3 is capable of keeping up with most devices on the market and as we’ve found, the Kirin 950 is certainly no slouch, with performance on par with the latest processors from both Qualcomm and Samsung. Given that we’re testing pre-production hardware and software, we expected a few glitches but there have been none and – the inability to install AnTuTu and GeekBench aside, which was fixed in the latest update – you’ll find no performance concerns here.

    How does the Huawei MediaPad M3 stack up to the competition in the benchmark stakes? Putting it through AnTuTu reveals a score of 90393, while running GeekBench reveals a single core score of 1751 and a multi-core score of 4755. Meanwhile, the 3DMark score of 759 reveals a couple of typical issues we’ve come across with Huawei processors in smartphones, and this is in regards to gaming.

    One of the things I use a tablet for more than anything is gaming, as the large screen real estate makes it the perfect gaming device. With the MediaPad M3, Huawei’s chipset comes equipped with a Mali-T880 GPU, which is certainly more than capable of playing most games but does lag compared to the Adreno GPU used in the Snapdragon series of processors.

    Running both Asphalt 8 and Need for Speed No Limits as tests, reveals that while the MediaPad M3 is more than capable of playing these games, there are a few dropped frames and gameplay is limited to 30 frames per second or less, especially for the latter title.

    Looking past the GPU, the overall gaming experience is actually pretty solid, in large part thanks to the snappy performance of the Kirin chip inside. In fact, we noticed that it is around a second faster at launching Need for Speed than the Snapdragon 820-powered Galaxy Note 7, which is certainly no slouch either.

    Processor aside, the MediaPad M3 hardware isn’t quite as extensive as we’ve come to expect from Huawei smartphones, but that’s unsurprising considering this is a tablet. There’s no NFC but the presence of a SIM card slot means the MediaPad M3 is LTE enabled with a theoretical max download speed of 150Mbps on the go. Overall, the Huawei MediaPad M3 delivers everything you could expect from tablet hardware and the addition of a SIM card that lets you make calls is a nice bonus.

    Battery Life

    One of the benefits of a large screen device is a large battery to go with it and the Huawei MediaPad M3 doesn’t disappoint, with a 5100mAh unit that’s rated as offering more than 2 days’ worth of battery life. In actual usage, it’s more than capable of doing so but with heavy usage such as gaming, it does drain considerably faster than you might not expect.

    With light usage such as browsing, using apps such as Slack, Skype or more, the battery lasts around 2-3 days with approximately 8 to 9 hours of screen on time. However, with gaming, this can drop to just over a day with around 4 hours of screen on time and while this isn’t overly surprising, we’d still liked it to have lasted a little longer.

    At its max brightness, the Huawei MediaPad M3 display measures 400 nits while at its lowest, it is just 4 nits and we’ve found that reducing the display brightness and/or the screen resolution (to 1080p) in the settings can improve the battery life even further. Dropping to 1080p resolution helped us achieve another 45-90 minutes of screen on time depending on the tasks involved and it’s certainly worth considering if you’re on a long flight where you won’t necessarily want or need the higher resolution or brightness.

    Putting the Huawei MediaPad M3 through our quick custom battery benchmark tool with the display set to full resolution, reveals an expected screen on time of 9 hours with a combination of web browsing, video playback and gaming. While this is only indicative of screen on time, as it’s a quick test that runs for 90 minutes and extrapolates the final result, it’s accurate enough to suggest that you can expect between 8 and 10 hours of screen on time, depending upon your actual usage.

    Both of these figures show you should have no issues with the battery life on the Huawei MediaPad M3, which should be good enough to get you through most journeys where you might want to watch a movie and/or game a little. Of course, there are other tablets with better battery life but considering the overall package on offer, the battery life on the MediaPad M3 is more than satisfactory.

    Camera

    Before we get into the Huawei MediaPad M3’s camera, let’s just put this out there; tablets were not designed with picture-taking in mind. That being said, there are a few use cases for using cameras on tablets, so are the MediaPad’s cameras any good?

    On both the front and the back, the MediaPad M3 has an 8MP sensor with very little else to offer. There’s no stabilisation, no flash and no fancy gimmicks, but the camera app does have a lot of the software features you can find on other Huawei phones. The pictures produced leave a lot to the imagination and like most tablet cameras, you’ll probably be left wanting something more. There’s a fair amount of noise in the images and, whether it’s the front camera or the rear, you can expect images to be lacking in detail and clarity.

  • IT news
    IT news, Август, 6

    The Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD Touch is what I expected the high end of the digital illustration device world to be. It doesn't feel as "magical" as the iPad Pro, but it's a whole lot more powerful - and professional. It feels like a real professional piece of equipment, something that's been perfected over several iterations - a tool that a top artist would buy again and again. While (as always) there are some changes I might make if I wanted the ideal touch- and pen-friendly display/tablet, at the moment, this is as good as it gets.

    I originally requested to test the Wacom Cintiq 27 QHD because I wanted to compare it to one of the most well-known tablets for illustrators at the moment - the iPad Pro. I wanted to see how similar they were.

    I really like the iPad Pro - it encourages me to be creative on the go. I use it when I go on long flights or long car trips (when I'm not driving, of course), and it allows me to do more than just sketch - I can make real works of design and art on it that can actually be used in print, on the web, and on clothing, if that's what I'm aiming for.

  • IT news
    IT news, Июль, 27

    Consumers are increasingly gravitating toward so-called "convertible" laptops -- that is, tablets that attach to a keyboard, giving users the best of both worlds. Dell's new XPS 12 is no exception, at least not in terms of its foundational design: it has a folio cover, magnetic keyboard, detachable tablet, and stylus. We've seen all that before, and we'll see it again. The finer details are what makes or breaks a new offering, of course, and so we've spent a couple weeks putting Dell's new two-in-one through the wringer. Spoiler: the results are largely great.

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    Hardware

    The Dell XPS 12 can be used in three arrangements: as a regular tablet, as a laptop when connected to the keyboard, and as a fancy reading/writing slate when shrouded in its folio case. It is comfortable to use in all three arrangements, which isn't something I can say about many competing 2-in-1 products. It's very easy to get these designs wrong, and a lot trickier than it looks to pull them off well.

  • IT news
    IT news, Июнь, 2

    We have finally come to the end of our long, three-part journey into the relatively unexplored world of Ubuntu Touch devices and the bq Aquaris M10 tablet. We've seen what the hardware is capable of and and we've gotten a glimpse of the future of computing promised by Ubuntu Touch. Now it's time to take stock of it all and answer the most difficult question of all: should you buy this rather piece of equipment that is both unique and ordinary at the same time?

    Ubuntu Touch: the determining factor

    If I were to summarize the first two parts of the review into a single sentence, it would go like this: The bq Aquaris M10 is a promising start to a new kind of convergent computing but is hampered by decent but mediocre hardware and work-in-progress software.

    Hardware-wise, the tablet is nothing to write home about. Its Android sibling would be near indistinguishable from other Android tablets in the market unless you give it a closer inspection. That's not to say that the hardware is terrible, though it does show its warts from time to time, heaving heavily under the weight of multi-tasking. The hardware is decent for its price range, but would have remained unimpressive and forgettable if not for the software.

    Ubuntu Touch is what both makes and breaks this edition of the bq Aquaris M10. On the one hand, you have a unique and different operating system that can and does stand apart from the Androids and iOS's of today. At the same time, it is also the tablet's biggest problem. Although released in a commercial product, Ubuntu Touch is far from being the polished OS that Android and iOS are today. To compare it to the state of the first Android and iOS releases wouldn't be that far fetched. Given how long it took those two to reach the level of refinement and sophistication they are now popular for, Canonical and the Ubuntu community have a lot of work ahead of them.

  • IT news
    IT news, Март, 4

    I don't use most of the advertised features of the iPad Pro. I haven't activated the split-screen multitasking feature more than a couple of times - just to see how it worked. I haven't used Siri. The iPad Pro for me hasn't been about engaging with all the bells and whistles it seemed I was meant to be excited about back when it was first revealed by Apple in September. Instead, I've been using the iPad Pro for sketching ideas and illustrating pictures, and because of this, I find myself enjoying the platform as a tool for the first time in a long time.

    The size is manageable - and even endearing

    The reason I like the iPad Pro as a platform for work is its size, first and foremost. Make no mistake about it, Apple's intent with this device was to make a larger iPad that could do more than its predecessors - an iPad that was large enough that a full-sized keyboard could sit comfortably under its display.

    And they've done that.

    Apple has made a larger iPad.

  • IT news
    IT news, Февраль, 4

    When we first heard about the Acer Predator 8, it was clear they were going after the market dominated by the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. This is a gaming tablet that rolls with an 8-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixel) display and four front-facing speakers. Acer is not fooling around with this release. This is no "filler" tablet. In this device is one of the strangest - in a good way - pieces of Android hardware we've seen in a very long time.

    4x VSS Speakers

    Four front-facing speakers make a big difference when it comes to a full audio experience on a tablet. Why are there four speakers, you might wonder?

    While we'd love to have more control over which speakers are blasting which sound, you DO get virtual surround sound (VSS) right out of the box. This system is supported by Dolby audio, which in this case means you've got a collection of optimizations and controls at your disposal.

  • IT news
    IT news, Ноябрь, 18

    Today we're going to take a quick look at the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 and discuss why this device is the best tablet that money can buy. When we had a look at the original NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, it was very apparent that NVIDIA's tablet-making opponents were going to have a tough time competing with the features and overall quality of this top-notch piece of equipment. One year later and not one tablet can hold a flame to the SHIELD for its combination of quality and price. And now it's cheaper than it was before. What's going on here, you might ask?

    Not a whole lot is different with the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1. The first version was just called NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, and it had a stylus. This version also has an ever-so-slightly modified frontside - the speaker grilles have a rubbery feel to them instead of hard, flat plastic. We like it.

  • IT news