Tag: tablets

Read More

Pixel C Out-of-the-Box Impressions

Google’s first tablet arrived yesterday, and my review is forthcoming. I expected to have a wow reaction, but felt more meh. Some of that comes from my satisfaction using the smaller Nexus 9, which also runs Android 6 Marshmallow. Interestingly, my emotional quotient is considerably higher 24 hours later. This tablet could easily be a frequent companion. (Note: I typically rattle off thoughts about new devices here before posting full-on reviews to my work tech news site).

The search-and-information giant unexpectedly unveiled the Pixel C on September 29th. Sales started December 8th. Specs: 10.2-inch LTPS LCD touchscreen, 2560 x 1800 resolution, 308 pixels per inch, 500-nit brightness; nVidia Tegra X1 processor with Maxwell graphics; 3GB RAM; 32GB ($449) or 64GB ($599) storage; 8-megapixel rear and 2MP front cameras; four microphones; two speakers (sideways of screen in portrait mode on the bezel); USB Type-C port; WiFi AC; Bluetooth 4.1; accelerometer; compass; gyroscope; ambient-light, half-effect, and proximity sensors; Android 6. Enclosure is anodized aluminum that measures 242 x 179 x 7 mm and weighs 517 grams. 

Read More

Pixel C ships in time for Christmas

The rumor is fact. Today, Google started selling its first homegrown tablet, Pixel C. You can buy one directly from the company—until they sell out! Google typically struggles stocking new devices, like Nexus smartphones and the Chromebook Pixel. On November 30th, I asked: “Where is Pixel C?“, which was promised to arrive before the holidays. Now we know.

I hope to have the 10.2-inch tablet in possession within a few days and will subsequently post first-impression and full reviews. If you can’t wait for that, and shouldn’t, larger tech news sites already have their takes online. Search for the name, and you will find them. Don’t wait on me, if you’re thinking about one for Christmas! 

Read More

OK, Google, Where Is Pixel C?

Black Friday is behind us, Cyber Monday is here, and Christmas shipping new purchases cuts off in about three weeks. Which makes me wonder: Where is Google’s new tablet? When announced at the end of September, Google product director Andrew Bowers said that the “Pixel C will be available in time for the holidays on the Google Store”. Eh, yeah—by whose measure is “in time”. The information giant typically sells out of new gear, which leaves little time to manage inventory. “Out of stock” notices will disappoint many shoppers, who may buy something else.

I watched for this baby to drop before Thanksgiving, particularly with Apple iPad Pro already available—three weeks now. Granted, the devices target different markets, if for no other reason than size (12.9 and 10.2 inches, respectively). But each is innovative and stylish and would make great presents for someone. I’m ready to buy, Google. As surely are many Android fanboys.I reached out to the PR staff there today and was told to “stay tuned”, which could be interpreted as soon. We shall see, eh? 

Read More

You’re Looking at What Isn’t

iPad Pro sales started today, and the tablet is available to buy at my local Apple Store but not to see or handle. There are no display models. That was the situation around 5 p.m. What amazed me: How many people bought sight-unseen. In the five minutes I looked around for the 12.9-inch tab, Apple staff sold three (if not more). Do these people understand just how big this thing is?

Stranger still, the two accessories that deliver differentiating benefits—so-called Pencil and Smart Keyboard—won’t ship for three or four weeks. The overly-large tablet isn’t good for artists or as a laptop replacement without either input device. All this while Apple marketing touts their major benefits. 

Read More

Nexus 9 Revised Review

My May, lukewarm assessment begins: “t want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship”. I didn’t see value for the cost, particularly comparing performance to other tabs similarly priced. On Oct. 29, 2015, Amazon delivered a new N9, and the user experience dramatically differs from the previous device—so much I must revise my review.

Days earlier, I parted with iPad Air 2 LTE. The family hopes to change cellular carriers, and there was opportunity to amicably relinquish my payment responsibility to Verizon. I would love to replace the Apple with Google Pixel C, but the tab’s forthcoming release date is uncertain. I reconsidered Nexus 9 and found the 32GB white model available from Amazon for $130 less than list price. I ordered, knowing that the device could be returned for refund if Pixel C imminently released or if N9 dissatisfied again. Lower price made buying and trying again an easy decision. 

Read More

Surface Tension at Microsoft Store

This evening, after watching “The Martin”, which is superb, I walked over to my local Microsoft Store. Surprise. Surprise. The day following the big Surface reveal, the new tablet and laptop are on display. Preorders are underway now, and the new gear goes on sale October 26, 2015 (hehe, my twin sisters’ birthday).

Got to say that more as a matter of preference and budget, my first impression favors Surface Pro 4. Top-end SKU available this month sells for $1,499, with 6th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB hard drive, and Intel HD graphics 520. The fanless m3 chip model, with paltry 4GB memory, marks the low-end at $899. Custom-configured i7 Surface Pro 4 will be available from November 20 and cost as much as $2,699. 

Read More

Microsoft Surface Book is all about You

That grinding against wood and dirt you hear is the sound of Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. Microsoft is back! And badass! Today’s Surface event in New York City outclasses Apple by every measure that matters: Aspiration, innovation, presentation, and promotional marketing. Microsoft proves that it can build end-to-end solutions—hardware, software, and services—as good as, and better than, the company cofounded by Jobs. Even more importantly: Present the new wares well. Today’s event was exceptional.

But there is a shadow looming in the brightness that will matter to some Microsoft customers and not to others: Cost. Surface Book, for all its seeming greatness, is a budget-busting laptop for the majority of potential buyers. The low-cost config, at $1,499, comes with 6th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage. To get the discreet graphics demoed today, with i7 chip, 8GB memory, and 256 SSD, you will spend $2,099. Doubling RAM and storage raises the price to $2,699. 

Read More

Apple Products without Purpose

As Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorder weekend progresses, I reflect on the week’s announcements. Increasingly, I see the company as the middle-aged boys club; men of a certain age designing products for rich, white, middle-age males. Of course, execs want women and people of other ages and classes buying pretty things, too. I refer to a mindset that seems to be core to Apple’s post-Steve Jobs design ethic.

“Products without purpose” I call new MacBook, Apple Watch, and iPad Pro. Where once Steve Jobs filled niches and created new categories, CEO Tim Cook and company create new Apple ware for which there is little to no need whatsoever. 

Read More

iPad Pro: My Story in Tweets

Apple’s newest tablet, announced earlier today, isn’t on my shopping list. At 12.9 inches, the screen on the iPad Pro is too big. The device can’t comfortably fit the hands for long periods of time. I have experience with 12-inchers. I will likely keep my iPad Air 2, unless Google comes out with some gotta-have Nexus tab before Apple starts selling its beast in November.

The media event marks a big day for the fruit-logo company, which also introduced new Apple Watch models. That’s code for same internals with more case color and band choices. Apple TV gets a big refresh, and new iPhones are queued up for preorders starting Saturday September 12. The company usually does Friday, but that’s the 9-11 terrorist attack anniversary. 

Read More

Nexus 9 Review

I want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship. N9 is not a bad tablet; others offer better value and performance for the price (or less), with Apple iPad mini being high among them. That said, if pure (aka stock) Android is your thing, there is no worthy alternative. Just prepare for a few compromises, particularly if moving up from Nexus 7.

In his November 2014 review, my BetaNews colleague Brian Fagioli calls Nexus 9 “magical“. I can’t agree. During my four months using the tablet, response occasionally hesitates and WiFi too often disconnects. Last week, my N9 received the newest Android update, which somewhat resolves both problems. I purposely delayed this review, waiting for v5.1.1.