Friday, September 19, 2014

Schenker Element 10.1 review

Schenker Element 10.1 review
Scores in depth
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You could be forgiven for not having heard of Schenker Technologies, since until now, the company has been better known in its native Germany. But you might have heard of high-end gaming laptops sold in the UK under the name XMG, which is a subdivision of Schenker.

The company therefore knows how to build mobile PC hardware, but has taken this expertise in a slightly different direction with the Element 10.1 tablet, which is powered by Intel's Bay Trail hardware platform, and runs the 32-bit version of full Windows 8.1, rather than the less useful Windows RT. Just like Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablet, it can be used in both tablet-friendly Modern UI and legacy desktop modes, and run any Windows software.

As with Acer's Aspire Switch, but unlike XMG laptops, the Element won't make a hefty dent in your wallet. It costs £239 (around US$400, AU$430) for the 32GB version, less than an iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or either variant of Microsoft's Surface 2. That's excellent value, especially if you have a strong desire to use desktop PC software on your tablet, which isn't possible with the aforementioned Android, iOS or Windows RT offerings. Schenker bundles a 12-month Office 365 subscription in the box too.

Dock option

It just about fits into the hybrid tablet category, since it can be ordered with a dock (which costs £39, around US$65, AU$70) with a trackpad at the front and physical keyboard. Although the tablet and dock snap together with magnets, this dock isn't like the one on Acer's Aspire Switch, since it also has a thin cover that wraps around the back, covered in a micro-fibre material, which seals shut. Paying homage to the art of origami, the cover also neatly folds backwards into the shape of a sturdy but rigid stand for the tablet.

Schenker 10.1 dock
The device's cover is a piece of origami

The connection between the two isn't especially strong. With the stand folded back the tablet sits in place fine, in the correct position for typing, but a fairly light tug disconnects them.

The Element's design has a glossy black bezel surrounding the 10.1-inch display, and a rubber coating on the back. The isolated-style keyboard is reasonable, although as with all keyboards of this size, people with Hodor-like fingers will find it a tad on the small side. Volume controls are unusually positioned at the top, with the power button at the side. There are 2 megapixel cameras at the front and back.

Sipping power

On the inside, the Element is no supercomputer. Rather than laptop-like performance, Bay Trail was designed with low power consumption and heat output in mind, to maximise battery life, which has been the Achilles heel for Intel processors, an issue that has so far pushed them out of the market for smartphones and tablets.

Schenker Element 10.1 front
This tablet runs full-fat Windows apps (kind of)

A 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740D processor drives the system, with 2GB of DDR3 memory. You can have either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, expandable with a microSD card slot on the side. 3G is present on the £299 (around US$500, AU$535) 64GB model, and there are both Micro-HDMI and Mini-USB ports for connectivity. The dock doesn't have any additional USB ports, but Schenker has popped a pair of cables into the box that convert full-sized HDMI and USB to their Mini and Micro versions.

The screen has a fairly paltry resolution of 1280 x 800, which is nothing special in the face of high-DPI displays on the iPad and top-of-the-range Android tablets. But as I've found before, the Windows 8 desktop does not always play nicely on smaller screens at super-high resolutions when using certain software, even with the DPI setting increased, so a low-resolution screen is acceptable on Windows tablets, especially at this price.

New Yoga 3 Pro could be Lenovo's answer to Retina MacBook Air

New Yoga 3 Pro could be Lenovo's answer to Retina MacBook Air

One of the big absentees at this year's IFA in Germany was the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, the Chinese company's third generation convertible laptop, one that set the standard for other to follow (or copy).

It looks though that it won't be long before the follow up of the Yoga 2 Pro hit the market. German website MobileGeeks has confirmed that some unnamed Scandinavian vendors have already listed the 2-in-1 convertible.

The Yoga 3 Pro will apparently come with an Intel Core M-5Y70 system-on-chip, the fastest of the three Broadwell-based processors that were announced at an Intel keynote at IFA.

  • Check out our review of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

That particular chip runs at 1.1GHz but can ramp its clock speed to up to 2.6GHz via Turbo Boost. It packs 4MB of cache, has two cores and four threads and comes with an Intel HD Graphics 5300 (which has a base frequency of 100MHz and can overclock to 850MHz).

Being one of the first chip on 14nm, it consumes only 4.5W, a fraction of what the Haswell-based Core i7-4510U consumed. The rest of the listing also revealed that the laptop will likely use the same 13.3-inch qHD+ display as its predecessor, one that sports a 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution.

At just under 1.4Kg, it remains one of the lightest Ultrabooks on the market with such a configuration; the new Yoga 3 Pro will face competition from Asus' new Zenbook as well as Dell's XPS 13 and Toshiba's Portege range.

  • Best Ultrabooks: top 5 thin and light laptops reviewed

Monday, September 15, 2014

Nexus 9 and its 'tube-shaped' waterproof camera may show at HTC October event

Nexus 9 and its 'tube-shaped' waterproof camera may show at HTC October event

Word of HTC's take on the Nexus tablet has been circulating for months, but we may be weeks away from seeing the Nexus 9 in the flesh of a new rumor is to be believed.

An unnamed source at an HTC manufacturing facility in Brazil has supposedly spilled the beans on the company's next tablet, which is said to be the follow-up to last year's Nexus 7 refresh.

The so-called Nexus 9 is expected make its debut at an October 8 media event, and the report claims the tablet should arrive packing Tegra K1, Nvidia's latest PGEgaHJlZj0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy5ob3N0aW5na2l0YS5jb20NIiB0YXJnZXQ9Il9ibGFuayIgcmVsPSJub2ZvbGxvdyI+bW9iaWxlIDwvYT4=processor powerhouse.

The apparent Tegra confirmation comes straight from a Nvidia legal filing made public last week that specifically mentions the existence of a Nexus 9 "expected in the third quarter of 2014."

Totally tubular

PGEgaHJlZj0iaHR0cDovL2hvc3RpbmdraXRhLmNvbQ0iIHRhcmdldD0iX2JsYW5rIiByZWw9Im5vZm9sbG93Ij5Hb29nbGUgPC9hPg==and HTC appear to be deviating from the Nexus 7 playbook with the Nexus 9, possibly including "a new 'tube-shaped' waterproof camera" with a 16MP sensor that could be used to entice current GoPro owners.

While we can't exactly imagine anyone wanting to take their tablet on an extreme sports outing, apparently this so-called "smart lens" features a wide-angle view capable of being controlled with a smartphone app on an Android device or iPhone.

Such wireless connectivity will reportedly be possible using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and HTC is also said to be planning a selfie-centric smartphone which could be launched at the same event.

Other rumored specs include 3GB RAM (instead of the initially whispered 4GB), 16GB on-board storage with the option to add 128GB more via micro-SD and a 64-bit version of Google's forthcoming (and still officially unnamed) Android L operating system. It's appropriately said to feature a nine-inch, 1080p HD display as well.

  • Weigh in on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in our full review!

Via PhoneArena from 4GNews