The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is the latest in MS' line of tablets with the brains of a laptop. It's a power user tablet that's on many folks' wish lists, even if it isn't entirely practical as a laptop replacement, because it's just so darned sexy and cool. This time, Microsoft ups the ante with a more mainstream 12" size that might just steal a few buyers who were pondering 12.5" Ultrabooks like the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12. We take a first look at the $999 Surface Pro 3 with the 4th generation Intel Core i5 ULV CPU and Intel HD 4400 graphics, 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD.
It's hard to argue that the Samsung Galaxy Tab S isn't the best Android tablet on the market, be it the 8.4" model we look at in our review or the 10.5". With stunning high resolution Super AMOLED displays, top notch quad core CPUs, plenty of RAM, the latest Android OS and Samsung's usual everything including the kitchen sink set of features. Greatness comes at a price though, and like the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, the Tab S isn't cheap at $399 for the 8.4" and $499 for the 10.5" model. Is the Tab S just the tablet you've been waiting for? Read our review to find out.
The LG G3 is the company's flagship Android smartphone for 2014, and it's a big one, literally and figuratively. Actually, for a 5.5" phone, it's surprisingly compact, and it's not much larger than the smaller-screen HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The G3's biggest claim to fame is the impressively high 2560 x 1440 IPS display--that's the same resolution as high DPI Windows 8 laptops, but crammed into a 5.5" screen for 538 PPI density. Is that overkill? Sure it is, but it's great for marketing in a world where better than HD and 4k are big buzzwords.
The ThinkPad 10 is a tablet that wants to be your laptop. That's not an unheard of concept, thanks to the likes of Microsoft Surface Pro, various transformers like the HP Split x2 and keyboard-optional tablets like the Dell Venue 11 Pro. However, at just 10.1", the ThinkPad 10 is one of the smallest to straddle both worlds. Make no mistake, it's a tablet first and foremost though, and one that runs full Windows 8.1 32 bit on a quad core Intel Atom CPU rather than the hobbled RT edition. The ThinkPad 10 will start at $599, which nets you higher end amenities like a slightly higher than full HD 1920 x 1200 display, both multi-touch and Wacom digital pen and a full size USB 2.0 port.
Is it just a coincidence that Acer, one of the gorillas of netbook sales is back with one of the most affordable and portable Windows 8.1 transformer style hybrids? The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is a great little PC companion. The Switch 10 starts at $379 for the 32 gig model and you get some nice stuff for the price: a 10.1" IPS touch screen, included keyboard dock, the latest quad core Intel Atom Bay Trail CPU inside and decent looks. We recommend the 64 gig model if you can afford it at $429 list.
We haven't been overly impressed with Samsung's lower end tablets in the past, but this time the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 gets it right. It has a mid-range but solid quad core Snapdragon CPU, 1.5 gigs of RAM, 16 gigs of storage plus a microSD card slot, the latest Android OS and a pleasing 1280 x 800 display. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 is a 10 inch tablet that lists for $349.
Lenovo's enjoyed a great deal of success with their various Yoga Ultrabooks thanks to a very functional and innovative 360 degree hinge that allows you to use a Yoga as a laptop, tablet or presentation tool. The first Yoga, launched under the IdeaPad line more than a year ago is finally getting a refresh with Intel Haswell 4th generation CPUs and a display upgrade. The Lenovo Yoga 2 13 is the 13.3" refreshed Yoga with a full HD display that has wide color gamut, a backlit keyboard and improved wireless.
The Moto E is just $129, no contract. Wow. For a phone with a nice enough design, interchangeable and colorful back covers, the latest 4.4 KitKat OS, a pleasing display and good voice quality, that's crazy. This is an unlocked GSM world phone, so you can use any GSM carrier's SIM (there are AT&T and T-Mobile friendly models), and you'll get 3G but no 4G LTE. The most affordable Motorola Android smartphone has a dual core Snapdragon CPU, a 5MP rear camera and a 4.3" qHD 960 x 540 display.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 sits in between the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. The Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is in many ways the no-pen version of the Note 10.1 2014 Edition. The tablet has a bright and colorful 2560 x 1600 display and it runs on the Exynos 5 Octa 1.9GHz CPU with MALI T628 graphics and 2 gigs of RAM. This is a WiFi tablet with dual band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth and cameras from and rear. It weighs just over a pound, making it as light as the iPad Air.
The Dell XPS 11 is one of the sexiest Windows 8.1 2-in-1 convertible Windows tablets/Ultrabooks on the market. Looking at it will inspire a strong case of geek lust: it's super-slim with clean lines and a very attractive and classy looking carbon fiber and metal casing. Open it up and you're greeted by a 2560 x 1440 Sharp IGZO 11.6" display that's bright and has wide color gamut. And the keyboard--it looks so cool, and at first blush you might think it's a normal keyboard because each key is defined by a matte surface separated by what looks like a gloss black bezel. Ah, but those backlit keys don't actually move; like the Surface Touch Cover, they're capacitive touch sensitive keys. The XPS 11 runs on 4th gen Intel Haswell Y series Core i3 and i5 CPUs with 4 gigs of RAM, a 128 or 256 gig SSD and dual band Intel WiFi AC.
It's hard to find fault with an affordable 13.3" metal clad Ultrabook sporting the latest Intel processors, a fast SSD drive and two lovely display options: 1920 x 1080 full HD and 2560 x 1440. That's the HP Spectre 13, and its truffle brown lid with champagne interior are pleasing to look at. Even more pleasing for those who prefer function over form is the dual band Intel WiFi 802.11AC, backlit keyboard and up to 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM. The Spectre 13 with a Core i5 starts at $999, a reasonable price for what you get and it's priced less than the good looking competition such as the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus and Acer Aspire S7.
The Dell XPS 15 is a storied laptop, with several generations and design improvements. The last time we looked at the XPS 15 we liked everything except the CPU throttling-- a sometimes necessary evil with incredibly thin and light designs. This time, Dell has gotten it right, and the XPS 15 (9530) is the 15" MacBook Pro with Retina display for Windows users. The XPS 15 is a metal and carbon fiber-clad high end ultraportable 15.6" machine that weighs just 4.4 pounds. We look at the model with a 3200 x 1800 gloss touch screen with wide color gamut, the beefier 91 Wh battery, a full mobile quad core Intel Core i7-4702MQ CPU, and NVIDIA GT 750M switchable dedicated graphics.
The Asus PadFone has been around for two years, but a model hasn't made it to the US until now. The question is, is it too late or is the timing just right? The timing might be just right for adoption by average folks who want both a tablet and a smartphone and for enthusiasts in the US who weren't quite daring enough to order an import. The PadFone X is available on AT&T for just $199 with contract. That price nets you both the phone and the tablet dock. Now that's pretty sweet. The PadFone X is a flagship level Android smartphone with a 5" full HD IPS display, 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU, 2 gigs of RAM and a 13 megapixel camera. The tablet dock transforms the Padfone into a full HD tablet.
It's great to see Sony innovating and taking the world of digital cameras to places they've never been. Their latest entry looks like a small Alpha DSLR style camera but it's really a bridge camera taken to the max. It has a fantastic 24-200mm Carl Zeiss lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture for low light and bokeh delights, some of the best 1080p video recording we've seen on a camera under $5,000 and it takes very good still shots too. It uses the same 1" sensor as the popular Sony RX100 II mated with their new BIONZ X processor that's also found in the Sony Alpha full frame A7 and A7r. It's not cheap at $1,299, but there's no other camera on the market that does so many things so well in one compact SLR-style package.
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