Tablet

Lenovo X1 Tablet Review

A few months back, I reviewed the Lenovo X1 Yoga which was my pick of the latest X1 series of laptops (and still is). That doesn’t discount the other Lenovo offerings though, as they may be better suited to other people’s requirements more than mine.

One of those options worth looking at is the Lenovo X1 Tablet. At the time of writing, the Australian store is completely sold out of them, so they must be doing well :) Somehow I was still lucky enough to be sent one from Lenovo, and I’m glad they did.

20160926_171954Lenovo X1 Tablet Side On

The X1 Tablet is Lenovo’s take on the Microsoft Surface. A lot of ideas are borrowed, and then improvements on top. Let’s look at the specs first, then the form factor.

CPU

This has a Core m CPU – the 3 options are:

Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor ( 900MHz 1866MHz 4MB)
Intel Core m5-6Y54 Processor ( 1.10GHz 1866MHz 4MB)
Intel Core m7-6Y75 Processor ( 1.20GHz 1866MHz 4MB)

The new mobile fanless CPUs are a lot better than they were a few years ago. Even the Apple Macbook uses them, and those CPU speeds are a base speed, not the turbo speed they’re capable of pushing to. Which one should you pick? Tough choice as the cost differences aren’t small, but apply the same logic you would as the ‘i series’ between i3, i5 and i7. Apart from a fanless design, you get a lot more bang for your buck battery wise.

Display and Screen

Just the one option here:

12.0″FHD+ IPS LED 2160×1440

20160928_15432812″ Screen

It’s a very high res which will more than meet your requirements for a 12 inch screen.The screen only comes in touch enabled, but you also get a nice pen to use. It’s similar to the Surface 3/4 pen, uses a AAA battery that can be replaced, and is nicer than the smaller pen that comes with the X1 Yoga:

20160927_085552-customBack: X1 Tablet Pen. Front: X1 Yoga Pen.

The Yoga X1 pen is smaller so it can discreetly fit into the laptop, while the X1 Tablet pen sits in an optional loop on the side of the laptop:

20160926_171934-custom

If you don’t like the loop, you don’t have to use it as it’s interchangable with a blank plate in the keyboard, which is a nice touch.

Memory and Hard Drives

The memory options are:

  • 4.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz
  • 8.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz
  • 16.0GB LPDDR3-1866 LPDDR3 1866MHz

If you’re doing anything beyond basic web browsing and Word/Excel type work, or like to have a lot of things open go the 8gb. 16gb should only be needed if you’re doing high end work.

Same with the hard drives. The default options are:

  • 128GB SSD SATA III
  • 256GB SSD SATA III

You can go all the way up to 1TB too.

If you don’t need a lot of local storage, you might be fine with the 128GB. You can always use an external hard drive or USB stick (USB 3.0 is very fast for read/write), but if you want to keep a lot locally on the device, go the 256GB.

Size and Weight

The tablet part by itself is 767g which is a lot lighter than any ‘i series’ laptop. The keyboard brings it up to 1.07kg which is still incredibly light. In comparison, the very light and thin X1 Carbon 4th Gen weighs in at 1.21kg.

Being a 12″ hybrid laptop the dimensions are quite small:

  • Tablet :
  • (mm) : 291.5 x 209.5 x 8.45
  • (inches) : 11.47″ x 8.25″ x 0.33″
  • Tablet + Keyboard
  • (mm) : 291.5 x 209.5 x 13
  • (inches) : 11.47″ x 8.25″ x 0.51″

20160929_094234-customX1 Tablet on a X1 Carbon Gen 1 on a ThinkPad P50

Battery

You’ll get a 2 cell Li-Polymer battery, which gives 10 hours of battery in tablet mode, and 5 hours in ‘productivity’ mode, which means the keyboard is attached. If that’s not enough battery life for you, then you’d better have a look at the Productivity Module!

 

Productivity Module  – 5 Hours Battery Life, HDMI™, OneLink+ and Full-size USB

Presenter Module – A Pico Projector Capable of 60″ Display from 2 Meters, Full-size HDMI™ (in/out)

Sadly these aren’t available in Australia (yet or at all?) but they both sound very cool. The productivity module adds another 5 hours of battery and a few extra connectors (including a OneLink+ dock connector which isn’t available otherwise). The projector also looks great, check out this clip from The Verge showing off the modules (I believe the 3D RealSense Camera has been abandoned):

Other Bits and Pieces

There is an optional sim slot for those people who want to be mobile and have internet access, which is discreetly hidden behind the stand. The keyboard is one of the standout parts of the X1 Tablet, where it’s as close as possible to the nice ThinkPad keyboard experience while being a thin and light addition. The keyboard attaches via magnets and pins, again similar to the Microsoft Surface. There’s also a fingerprint reader which can be used for Windows Hello, and an inbuilt camera/microphone.

20160926_172009-customBack of the X1 Tablet

20160926_172039-customSide on

20160926_172204-customX1 Tablet display on top of the ThinkPad P50

20160929_094151-custom-customX1 Tablet Keyboard

Thoughts

I was first put off by the ‘m series’ CPU, but after using it and doing a bit of research, it’s a LOT better than I expected. It didn’t feel like I was using a slower chip at all. The form factor is quite nice, 12″ is a good portable size and the kickstand is very sturdy and secure, and lets you adjust smoothly to whichever angle you like (it doesn’t click in certain angles only). The keyboard has a design that lets you raise it from being flat which gets even closer to a chunky keyboard feel, and is even backlit. The Trackpad is of high quality as per usual in the ThinkPad series.

This is a really good ‘take into meetings’ device for note taking, and if you had the projector module it could add a lot of value for small presentations. It is powerful and useful enough to be your device that does ‘all the things’ too without feeling like you’re using a tablet with a keyboard addon (looking at you, iPad). A lot of people like the 12″ screen form factor with the tablet hybrid mode, and this is the best style of it I’ve seen so far (I was never a fan of the old Thinkpad Helix).

If you don’t need as much CPU grunt, and want a highly portable device that covers a lot of different situations, I’d definitely recommend this laptop/tablet/hybrid.

Lenovo X1 Yoga Review

Lenovo has recently released the 2016 lineup of ThinkPad X series laptops. Previously this was only the X1 Carbon, which was a highly regarded laptop. I have a feeling that success has lead to extending the range for 2016 to:

Lenovo X1 Carbon (Gen4)
Lenovo X1 Tablet
Lenovo X260
Lenovo X1 Yoga

A wide variety of laptops to meet different needs. My pick of the crop is the Lenovo X1 Yoga, and here’s why:

output_1aJEi4Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Specs
I always like to look at the hardware specs of the device first, so here’s the table of options:

DESCRIPTION THINKPAD X1 YOGA CONVERTIBLE ULTRABOOK
Processor
  • Intel® Core™ i5-6200U Processor (3M Cache, 2.3GHz), Turbo Boost 2.0 (2.8GHz)
  • Intel Core i5-6300U Processor (3M Cache, 2.4GHz), Turbo Boost 2.0 (3.0GHz)
  • Intel Core i7-6500U Processor (4M Cache, 2.5GHz), Turbo Boost 2.0 (3.1GHz)
  • Intel Core i7-6600U Processor (4M Cache, 2.6GHz), Turbo Boost 2.0 (3.4GHz)
Operating system
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Display
  • 14″ FHD (1920×1080), 300 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio, IPS, 10-point Multi-Touch
  • 14” WQHD (2560×1440), 300 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio, IPS, 10-point Multi-Touch
Hinge / mode
  • Yoga hinge, 360 degree / Laptop, tent, stand and tablet
Stylus Pen
  • ThinkPad Pen Pro, active pen for multi-touch display, docks inside laptop and auto recharges.
Graphics
  • Intel HD Graphics 520 in processor only, supports external digital monitor via HDMI, Mini DisplayPort; supports dual independent display Max resolution: 3840×2160 (Mini DisplayPort)@60Hz 4096×2160 (HDMI)@24Hz
Onelink+ Adaptor (optional)
  • HDMI to VGA Adaptor
  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adaptor
Memory
  • Up to 8GB / up to 16GB for i7-6600U model, LPDDR3 1866MHz, non-parity, 1 x 204-pin SO-DIMM socket, max 16GB
Webcam
  • HD720p resolution, fixed focus
Storage1
  • 128GB / 192GB / 512GB SSD, SATA3
  • 256GB SSD, SATA3 Opal 2.0 Capable
  • 512GB SSD PCIe NVMe
Optical drive
  • None
Dimensions (W x D x H)
  • 333 x 229 x 16.8 mm
Weight
  • Starting at 1.36 kg
Case material
  • Display cover: Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Plastic + Glass-Fibre Reinforced Plastic; Bottom: Magnesium/Aluminum
Case colour
  • Midnight Black
Battery
  • 4-cell Li-Polymer battery (52Wh)
Battery life2
  • Up to 11 hours3
AC adaptor
  • 65W AC adapter
Keyboard
  • 6-row, LED backlit, spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys
UltraNav™
  • TrackPoint® pointing device and multi-touch with 3+2 buttons click pad
ThinkLight ™
  • None
Fingerprint reader
  • Integrated touch style fingerprint reader
Audio support
  • HD Audio, Realtek® ALC3232 codec / stereo speakers, 1 watt x 2 / dual array microphone, combo audio/microphone jack
Security chip
  • Trusted Platform Module (Software TPM & Hardware dTPM enabled)
Manageability
  • Intel vPro technology
Ethernet
  • None
Wireless LAN
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, 2×2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth® 4.1, no vPro
Wireless WAN (optional)
  • Huawei ME906S (4G LTE/WCDMA/HSPA/GSM/GPRS/EDGE/GNSS), M.2 Card
SIM card
  • None
NFC
  • None
Ports
  • 3 x USB 3.0 (1 x Always On)
  • Mini DisplayPort™
  • HDMI
  • Onelink+ connector
  • MicroSD, supports UHS-I SD card
  • Combo audio/microphone jack
  • Security keyhole
  • Optional Card Reader

This is all pretty standard with good options these days, nothing underpowered or missing in my opinion. Here’s some interesting points:

Stylus Pen

This is a very nice to have, a discreet stylus hidden in the chassis of the Yoga X1. It’s a bit larger than the one I found in the Yoga 260, but still much smaller than a Surface Pro 4 pen. It also charges while docked, and won’t go flat in a year like the Surface Pen :) For more details on the pen, check out this YouTube review

penX1 Yoga Pen

Battery
We’re really getting into good devices with a working day’s battery life. This device was left on a desk for two weeks with frequent but short usage, but always in at least standby mode and still had half it’s battery left. Nothing unique to this particular laptop, but it’s a compelling consideration to upgrade if you’ve got something that hasn’t got an Intel 6th Gen CPU in it.

Storage
We’re now seeing more devices having hte PCIe NVMe SSD option – a lot faster than SATA3. For an idea on the difference, read this review. For most people you won’t ‘need’ a faster SSD, but if you’re doing work with lots of local IO, it’s going to be a worthwhile upgrade.

Weight
1.36kg – that’s 0.05kg heavier than the X1 Carbon Gen3, but  0.18kg heavier than the 1.18 kg X1 Carbon Gen4. Keep in mind, the X1 Carbon Gen4 doesn’t have touchscreen, and as a comparison the Apple MacBook Air 2015 13″ weighs 1.35 kg, so these are all really light laptops. Lenovo have managed to design enough toughness into the hinges for the full flipped Yoga experience, which previously was really clunky.

It’s a lot less chunky too than older X1 Carbons, here’s a comparison with the X1 Carbon Gen1 where there’s quite a bit of height difference (the Carbon is designed to appear thinner, but is perfectly flat on the table):

20160404_165953Left to right: X1 Yoga, X1 Carbon Gen1

Ports
On the left side, we have power, OneLink+ dock connection (which will only take a OneLink+ dock connector, not the older OneLink), Mini DisplayPort and USB 3.0:

20160404_165814X1 Yoga Left Side

Right side has stylus pen, power, volume up/down, 3.5mm audio jack, 2x USB 3.0 and full size HDMI:

20160404_165847X1 Yoga Right Side

The back has the fan out slot, and a panel that hides a MicroSD and SIM card slot:

20160404_165910X1 Yoga Back

Keyboard
It’s very similar to the X1 Carbon keyboards in layout and feel, but also the keys will retract when folded into Yoga mode to protect them against wear. You can see the little rubber mounts pop out in the top corners too, which will touch the table when this is face down:

20160404_172241Keyboard in Yoga Mode

20160404_165612Laptop Mode

Hardware aside, why do I think this is the best in the X series now? This is around my personal tastes, but everyone has their own requirements. Here’s the standout reasons for me:

X1 Yoga vs X1 Carbon 4th Gen – Carbon is lighter and thinner, but doesn’t fully flip around. There’s also no touchscreen option anymore!

X1 Yoga vs X1 Tablet – Tablet has some awesome additions like a projector, but personally I don’t like the more flimsy style of keyboard (similar to Surface 4, but a bit better). Tablet mode is cool, but the X1 Yoga flipping around is light and thin enough already without taking away the proper laptop experience. Just wish I could have a projector in it! On top of that, the tablet is using the m7 series of Intel CPU which isn’t going to be as powerful as the i series.

X1 Yoga vs X260 – Has 25 hours battery life!! But, Smaller 12.5″ again with no touchscreen, or ability to Yoga. Weighs the same despite this. It is hard to get past the 25 hour battery life, but only needed if you’re not near a power point for a very long time.

The X1 Yoga will also soon have an OLED option for the screen – that should be a big jump in screen quality. As I haven’t seen this yet I’ll refrain from making further statements around it, but expect to be impressed.

For a high end laptop, the X1 Yoga is an all rounder that I’d strongly recommend anyone to consider. It’s definitely one of the best all rounder business grade machine available.

If you have any questions or comments please post below!

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T Review

Hi,

I’ve been using the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T solidly for a week for work purposes while travelling, so I thought it was about time to put up a brief review.

What is it? A hybrid laptop/tablet from Samsung that runs Windows 8. It’s a hybrid as you can undock it from the keyboard (similar to a Microsoft Surface, but the docking/undocking mechanism is nowhere near as nice) and use it as a tablet.

Here’s the Samsung site for it: http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/tablet-pcs/XE700T1C-A01US

…and here’s the specs from the same site:

 

Processor
Processor
Intel® Core™ i5-3317U Processor
Speed (GHz)
1.70 GHz
CPU Cache
3MB L3
Display
LCD Size
11.6"
Type
LED Full HD
Resolution
1920 x 1080
Brightness
400 nits SuperBright™ Plus Technology
System Memory
System Memory
4GB
Memory Type
DDR3 (1600MHz)
Max. System Memory
4GB (On Board)
Storage
HDD
128GB SSD
HDD RPM
SSD
SATA
SATA2
Graphics
Chipset
Intel® HD Graphics 4000
External or Integrated
Integrated
Maximum Graphics Memory
Shared
Sound & Camera
Speaker
Stereo Speakers (1 W x 2)
Sound Effect
SoundAlive™
Web Cam
2.0 MP HD(Front)
 5.0 MP HD (Rear)
Internal Mic
Yes
Wireless
Wireless LAN
802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth
4.0
WiDi
Yes
I/O Ports
HDMI
Micro HDMI
Headphone Out
Yes (Headphone/MIC combo)
Microphone In
Yes
USB Ports (Total)
1 x USB 3.0
Multi Card Slot
1 Micro SD
Docking Port
Yes
Input Devices
Touch Pad / Track Point
Available with Keyboard Dock Accessory
Power
AC Adapter
40 W
Number of Cells/Cell Type
4 cell / Li-Po
Watt Hours
49
Dimensions
System Dimensions (L x W x H, Inch)
11.97" x 7.46" x 0.47"
Weight
System Weight (w/Std. Battery, lb.)
1.96 lb.

 

As you can see, it’s grunty enough with an i5 CPU and has the current standard Intel graphics chipset, but the screen runs at a rather high 1920 x 1080 for an 11.6″ screen. For general day to day use, this is just makes text a bit too small, and makes the cursor difficult to use with a small trackpad and a lot of pixels to cover distance wise.

The undockable keyboard is quite nice to use (I’m typing on it right now) so no complaints there, but due to the weight of the screen being a stand-alone tablet, there are two annoyances. First, it’s top heavy so can easily fall backwards as the keyboard is quite light. Secondly, the joints that hold up the screen aren’t tight enough so if you’re trying to type in bed on your back, the screen will just collapse onto you.

Other things like battery life were adequate at 3-4 hours, screen orientation detection works quite well and the 3 USB ports are again adequate, but 1 or 2 more wouldn’t go astray. There’s only one USB port on the tablet, and an extra 2 on the keyboard. The touchpad is nice to use, but I kept triggering right clicks when I didn’t intend to.

Overall a decent device depending on your needs, but in my eyes the Surface is a better pick.