Where do I start with this one? The picture alone is enough to give you an idea of the madness. It’s a “Cardboard Home Cinema” and, because it’s not the actual size of a real cinema, you basically lie on the floor and stare at your phone.
Yeah. This isn’t exactly the viewing experience I get in my local cinema to be fair. I mean, there’s popcorn and chocolate that costs 16 times what it normally does, and there’s buckets of Pepsi that you can bathe in – there’s even reclining chairs too. But do I lie on the floor with my head in a cardboard box ?
No. No I do not.
So, instead of perhaps making your own home cinema with an old box, some scissors and some sticky tape, you instead pay £19.99 (yes, £19.99) for this bizarre pre-made contraption. It includes (and bear with me here..) an “optional cardboard audience for added realism”. ADDED REALISM? I’m laid down flat on the floor!! What’s that all about? I don’t think a few “cardboard people” are going to fool me into thinking that I’m in a plush cinema. I’ve got my head in a bloody cardboard box.
Anyway. The description states that it “recreates the interior of a cinema with alarming accuracy” and is “simple to assemble”.
Amazon Prime Day, the day of deals exclusively for members of Amazon Prime, is today.
Amazon Prime already gives you great benefits, like Amazon Prime Music streaming service, Amazon Instant Video with quite a selection of movies and TV shows as well as free next day delivery on many of the products sold by Amazon. The current price of membership of Amazon Prime is £79 for a year of all these services, and if you are a savvy shopper you could make that annual membership worthwhile during today’s Prime Day while updating some of your gadgetry.
I’ve come up with a “shopping list” of items which will suck you into the Amazon ecosystem and allow you to enjoy the services for a year without breaking the bank (too much). You don’t need to buy everything on the list, this is just a suggestion, but it was fun putting the list together.
I’ve had one of these since launch last year and my review of the device apparently convinced John to get one too. At full price (£49.99) the Fire Tablet is amazing value for money. On Amazon Prime Day, at £34.99 it’s even better value. £34.99 gets you the 8GB storage model in a choice of colours (black, magenta, blue and tangerine). Don’t forget that the Fire is expandable with MicroSD up to an extra 128GB, plenty for a long trip.
At Coolsmartphone we are always looking for more and more storage. This card works with most recent smartphones and at the Prime Day price is quite a catch. Recommended Retail Price of the card is £59.99, so at £25.99 you save £34. An excellent way to expand your Fire tablet… Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD – £54.99 (SAVE £25)
The Amazon Fire TV set top box is an easy way to make any TV with HDMI input a smart TV. As well as getting the Amazon Instant Video service and Amazon Music (included with Prime), you have the Amazon Appstore and access to free and paid for apps and games. The BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and STV Player and many other video on demand video services are there, as well as some fun games. The Fire TV set top box has a USB port for expansion and supports up to 128GB USB flash drives. Video players which support a wide range of codecs and formats are available in the Appstore, so it may be an easy way to view some of your legally obtained “backed up” content. For £54.99 it’s quite a bargain. Interested in light gaming too? There is also a gaming bundle with a controller for
Ideal for your legally obtained “backed up” content. This handy USB flash drive has 128GB of storage and can be used in the Fire TV set top box through its standard USB A end and you can use it as USB “On The Go” (OTG) with your Fire Tablet too. Think of it this way: your Fire Tablet could have 128GB MicroSD + 128GB Flash Drive + 8GB built-in storage = 264GB storage.
So there you have it! 4 items to get you sucked into the Amazon ecosystem and make the most of a Prime subscription. Not only that, but if you subscribe to Prime today and purchase those 4 items you save £87 which more than covers the £79 annual subscription to Prime.
Jide Tech recently announced that they were making a follow up to the Remix Ultra Tablet. This was funded through Kickstarter last year. I was very lucky to find one if these devices at MWC Shanghai on the Qualcomm booth. The device I found was all setup for Chinese use and looked like it was running beta software, but it still gave me the opportunity to have a look into what we can expect to see from its final release.
Here are some pictures of the device…
The specs of the device are pretty good, with the whole system being powered by a Snapdragon 652 with the GPU being the latest Adreno 510. The device will have 3GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC storage, which is plenty given that there is also microSD card support for up to a 256 GB card (handy that Sandisk have just announced one huh?)
The screen is a glorious IPS display measuring in at 12” diagonal and a great 2k resolution. This gives you plenty of space to support multiple apps – one of the key features of Remix OS 3 OS.
Remix OS 3 is based on Android 6.0.1 in its pure ASOP form, and on the Chinese version does not support the Google Play infrastructure. However, I am sure that when this tablet lands in the UK this feature will have been added by Jide.
Here is a small video just going over the device in the booth with the assistance of one of the Qualcomm staffers.
In the video, I was unable to locate the SD card slot, however on a revisit to the booth I established that what looks like a volume down toggle is indeed the slot for external memory.
Here is a brief reminder of the specs for those of you who have not seen any of the previous news about this device.
? CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 8-core processor
? GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 510 GPU
? Memory: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM; 32GB eMMC internal storage; microSD slot supports up to 256GB storage expansion
? Screen: 12” Full-HD Retina IPS 10-point touch screen; 2160x1440p
? Cameras: 5MP front/8MP rear
? Connectivity: WLAN with 2.4Ghz/5Ghz duo frequency supports 802.11a/b/g protocol, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct
? Dimensions & weight: 207mm x 289.5mm x 6.9mm; 640g
? Power: Supports quick charge; 9,000 mAh
I was very impressed with what I saw from this tablet and I am looking forward to getting to grips with one when they become available in the UK.
It has been a bit of time since we last heard any news from Jide (the makers of Remix Ultra Tablet and the Remix Mini). They have been working very hard on a few different projects and building their portfolio up. So, what have they been working on so hard for the past few months since we bumped into them at MWC?
Firstly, and this is the one I am most keen on, is the new improved tablet platform – Remix Pro.
This builds on what was previously done with the original Remix Ultra. It still keeps the 2-in-1 design which we loved, but it mixes up the way that is achieved. Here are the specs that we have been given so far..
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 8-core processor
GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 510 GPU
Memory: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM; 32GB eMMC internal storage; microSD slot supports up to 256GB storage expansion
Connectivity: WLAN with 2.4Ghz/5Ghz duo frequency supports 802.11a/b/g protocol, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct
Dimensions & weight: 207mm x 289.5mm x 6.9mm; 640g
Power: Supports quick charge; 9,000 mAh
So, as we can we see there have been a couple major improvements. The processor has been switched over from Nvidia to a Snapdragon in the form of the 652 chipset. This is the exact one I am using on my Xperia X, and I know that it performs well (some benchmarks suggest as well as the SD 810 from last year).
Next up, the screen has grown slightly in size from the 10.1″ to 12″. It’s not just a 1080p resolution either, and now has a “Retina” display with 2160x1440p resolution. WiFi has also been stepped up to dual band in the form of 2.4GHZ /5GHZ with 802.11a/b/g on board (shame it is missing N but cannae grumble too much)
Those are the key standouts on the hardware side. However, Jide has also been very hard at work on getting Marshmallow onto the device, which they have now done in the form of Remix OS 3. This means we will see all the features we have learnt to love from Marshmallow tablets, including the amazing Doze Mode and MultiWindow support courtesy of the Jide customizations.
I really liked using the original Remix Ultra when I had it in for review by and I still use the Remix Mini that I bought from Kickstarter back at the end of last month. It has become my media server in my bedroom.
I do however have one major concern for this device and the other ones that Jide released today (see below). That threat comes in the form of Chromebooks. Very, very soon these cheap laptops will have access to Android Apps from the Google Play Store. This does beg the question of do we need Remix OS on 2 in 1s, laptops and all in one PC’s? Only time will tell, but I look forward to putting this through it paces while we find out.
The Remix Pro will be released in China first with the international release later in the summer. We will keep you informed of it as soon as we know more
Jide Technology continues to push forward the future of Android PCs with new hardware
Multiple strategic partnerships and products announced at their 2016 Preview Event
June 16, 2016 (Beijing, China) – Jide Technology, the creators of Remix OS, today announces multiple new devices and partnerships that continue to push forward the future of Android PCs. These partnerships also highlight Jide’s growth as the company is able to preinstall Remix OS on an increasing number of devices and form factors, giving users more options to run Android on desktop environments. The key announcements are detailed below:
Remix Pro 2-in-1 tablet
Following the success of the company’s own Remix Mini hardware, Jide has unveiled their second generation productivity tablet – the Remix Pro. This will also be the first device that supports Remix OS 3, an upgrade that represents a migration to Android Marshmallow and additional stability and bug fixes. The Remix Pro will first be available in the Chinese market. International availability will be confirmed at a later date.
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 8-core processor
GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 510 GPU
Memory: 3GB LPDDR3 RAM; 32GB eMMC internal storage; microSD slot supports up to 256GB storage expansion
Connectivity: WLAN with 2.4Ghz/5Ghz duo frequency supports 802.11a/b/g protocol, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct
Dimensions & weight: 207mm x 289.5mm x 6.9mm; 640g
Power: Supports quick charge; 9,000 mAh
Android-x86 Open Source Project founder joins Jide
Chih-Wei Huang, Android-x86 Open Source Project creator and accomplished developer, has officially joined Jide Technology as the x86 Technology Lead. Possessing a wealth of experience as the originator of the Android-x86 Open Source Project that ports Android to PC desktops, Huang will be a key member in further developing Jide’s Remix OS.
Chih-Wei Huang explains his move to Jide, “Linux was created as a desktop OS, but it’s actually the only space that the operating system hasn’t truly dominated. I joined Jide because I think Remix OS is best route to establish Linux as a key player in the desktop OS space.” The first project the seasoned software engineer will be working on is a limited release Acer concept laptop running Remix OS on an Intel x86 chip.
Acer Aspire ES1-131 running Remix OS
Through a close collaboration with Acer, Jide has unveiled an Intel-based laptop running Remix OS out of the box. The concept laptop will be released on a limited basis firstly in the Chinese market. Jide has worked on developing Remix OS for this hardware that will run an optimized version of Remix OS for PC. It represents an evolutionary shift in computing- an Android-based Intel laptop. The development work done on the ES1-131 will also significantly improve the user experience on the free download of Remix OS for PC.
CPU: Intel Celeron N3150/4-core/1.60GHz
Memory: 4GB; 500GB internal storage
Screen: 11.6” HD / 1366 x 768
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet; WLAN 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions & weight: 291mm x 211mm x 21.2mm; 1.25kg
Remix OS PC box solution for OEMs
In addition to the Remix Pro, Jide also showcased their second generation Remix OS PC box. This device is still under development and will be offered as an affordable solution for OEM brands interested in Remix OS 3 running on a lightweight and accessible device.
CPU: Rockchip 3368 8-Core 64bit ARM Cortex – A53 1.5GHz
In addition to the 24” AOC All-in-One (AIO) PC running Remix OS that Jide announced at CES Asia 2016, the product line will now also include 22” and 32” inch options. All three models will share the following key specifications:
Ports: 4 USB 2.0 (32” – 3 USB 2.0), 1 HDMI, Audio out, 2 built in speakers
“2016 has been an incredibly exciting year for Jide Technology, highlighted by the launch of Remix OS for PC and the several quality partners that we have been fortunate to announce,” said Jide Technology CEO and co-founder Jeremy Chau. “When we first started out more than 2 years ago, no one quite got what we were trying to achieve. Now, companies and brands that we have always admired are reaching out to us. It’s a win-win situation as we continue to push the capabilities of Android PCs.”
Our smart gadgets are great, that’s for sure, but they break all too easily. In the end, if you’re going to use a tablet or smartphone outside of a soft, cushioned room; you’ll need to wrap it in a case or a cover and definitely never ever drop the thing. It’s like wrapping your brand new BMW in a load of bubble-wrap just do nobody scratches it or dents the thing.
So, if you want to use a tablet out in the “real world” then you’d be wise to get a “tough” one. Now Panasonic (remember them?) have introduced the ToughPad FZ-A2 – an Android 10.1 tablet which can be used in showrooms, workshops, as a point-of-sale device or out on the road. It’s slim (16.4mm) and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Android for Work baked in. It’s powered by a 2.4GHz quad-core CPU and has 4GB of RAM with 32GB storage to ensure that it’s quick to use.
That 10.1″ screen has a 1920×1200 resolution and is “highly visible” outside. You also get GPS, USB outputs, a HDMI output and a microSD card slot. There’s also the option of adding 4G or a barcode reader if you need it.
The battery is removable and will see you through a 9-hour shift. As you can see, it’s rebust enough to deal with whatever you can throw at it – it can be dropped from 120cm and is water and dust resistant. Head to www.toughbook.eu to get details or to buy one. The Toughpad FZ-A2 will be available from July 2016 at a starting price of £939. Panasonic also do other tough Android and Windows tablets.
Stunning makeover for Panasonic’s Toughpad, a Fully Rugged Android™ 10.1-inch tablet
Unrivalled durability, flexible business customisation options and high performance
BRACKNELL, UK. 8TH JUNE 2016
Panasonic today introduced its latest fully rugged 10.1 inch Android tablet to Europe’s leading automotive industry representatives gathered to discuss the changing industry landscape and new technologies at the Panasonic Automotive Innovation Summit in Barcelona. With its fully rugged durability, flexible business customisation options and top performance, the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2 tablet is an ideal mobile device for automotive workshop receptions and showrooms. In addition, the device is equally suited for professionals working in the retail and hospitality industry for point of sale and order taking and for mobile workers needing fast access to documentation in the field.
Powerful, rugged and user friendly
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2 fully rugged tablet, succeeding the FZ-A1, is lightweight (880g) and slim (16.4mm) with a fanless design and runs the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system with Enterprise Security from Android for Work. It is equipped with the latest, more powerful Intel® Atom™ x5-Z8550 Quad Core processor (2 MB cache, 1.44GHz up to 2.4GHz) with 4GB RAM and a 32GB eMMC.
Viewing clarity inside or out
The 10.1 inch outside viewable display (1920×1200), with high visibility (800cd/m2), has been designed for easy use and clarity of vision both outside and indoors. The 10-point capacitive touchscreen display can be used by hand, gloved hand or with the capacitive stylus pen for accurate annotation or signature collection even in the rain.
Rich business functionality
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2 tablet also comes with a rich set of customisable business interfaces and wireless connectivity options to tailor the device to exact business requirements. Alongside a full range of business features (1xUSB 3.0 Type A, 1xUSB 3.1 Type C OTG, 1xHDMI and 1xMicro SD, GPS), optional smartcard reader, 2D barcode reader and 4G can be specified. The USB 3.1 Type C OTG port for reversible connection comes with transmission speeds of up to 5Gbps, power charging (up to 5V 900mA – USB PD is not supported) and USB On The Go functionality for easily copying and transferring files from one Android device to another.
The Toughpad FZ-A2 is optimised for connectivity whatever the location and includes the latest WLAN 802.11ac Intel® Dual Band® Wireless-AC 8260 technology for the fastest data transfer and Bluetooth® v4.2 class 1.
Easy to manage
For increased manageability, the device includes Google Android for Work allowing separate work and personal profiles to be included on the device. It provides IT administrators with flexibility and enterprise security whilst ensuring users have private access to their own personal applications and data. Google Android for Work also includes a range of built-in productivity tools for everyday tasks such as email, contacts and calendar.
“This latest addition to our wide range of Android Toughpad tablets from 4.7 inch to 10.1 inch underlines our commitment to offer businesses easy to manage and easy to use mobile devices that can be customised to specifically meet the needs of their IT systems and workforces. The Toughpad FZ-A2 tablet, with its flexible functionality and range of connectivity options, is perfectly suited for use in automotive workshop receptions or in the busy hospitality and retail sectors,’ said Jan Kaempfer, General Manager of Marketing for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions.
Battery to last
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2 tablet has a user-removable battery with a nine hour working life to match the needs of the work shift with an optional hot swappable battery capability for when around the clock usage is required.
Cameras and fast communications
For users needing live video conference capabilities or to capture photographic images of documentation in the field, the FZ-A2 is equipped with Full HD front web and 8MP rear camera with flash. It also comes equipped with built-in directional array microphones ideal for communication, video conferencing and voice recognition software.
Built for use on the move and for the rigors of business, The Toughpad FZ-A2 is fully ruggedised with magnesium alloy, is drop tested to 1.2m*, comes with an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water and will operate effectively in temperatures ranging from -10 to +50°C*.
At launch, the device will come with a rich ecosystem of peripherals from desktop cradle to 4 bay battery charger, most sharing compatibility with the rugged Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 notebook with detachable tablet.
The device will also have the option of two vehicle docks – a slimline and expanded version depending on the device configuration. These lightweight and compact docks, with a VESA 75mm mounting pattern and pinch latch mechanism for quick release, are designed and manufactured by Panasonic’s own Global Docking Solutions business. Available in Keyed Alike and Keyed to Differ versions to match ease of use or security priorities, the docks will include 2 USB 2.0, 1 LAN, 1 DC in ports and optional Dual Antenna Pass Through.
Availability and pricing
The Toughpad FZ-A2 will be available from July 2016 at a starting price of £939 + tax. For further information, visit: www.toughbook.eu
Fancy grabbing the new Huawei MediaPad M2 10″ tablet we reviewed just this morning? It’s now on sale from Currys PC World. The tablet, which we reviewed here, has Harman Kardon speaker technology (which sound, let me tell you, very good indeed), excellent battery life and a slim, well-built chassis.
There’s two versions available and, according to the people from Currys PC World, they’ll be selling the MediaPad first. There’s the “Standard” edition, which has 16GB storage and 2GB memory and no “M Pen” for £249.99. Also available is the “Premium” edition, which has 64GB storage, 3GB memory and that “M Pen” for £329.99. If you’re into your artistry and like taking notes, get the “Premium” one. Also, there’s no other way of adding additional storage, so choose wisely.
The tablet also features a 13 and 5 megapixel camera, an all-day battery life and an excellent 1920 x 1200 10.1″ screen.
Huawei’s MediaPad M2 10” Android tablet now on sale
With a full HD display, surround sound, the M2 is a premium travel companion
[London, UK – 17 May 2016] – The Huawei MediaPad M2 10.1” tablet, the latest addition to its Android tablet product family, is now on sale from Currys PC World.
Designed to be the perfect travel companion for those who want to view and create high-end content on the move, the MediaPad M2 combines stylish design with superb performance, intuitive interaction and long-lasting battery life.
The MediaPad M2 10” runs the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system, with the Huawei Emotion UI 3.1 overlay. The premium edition is powered by Octacore processors (Quad-core 2.0GHz + Quad 1.5GHz), with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. These components ensure a super-fast web browsing experience, multitasking capabilities and the ability to handle 3D gaming.
Featuring a crystal clear 10.1inch fullHD IPS display (1920 x 1200), the MediaPad M2 uses Clari-Vu technology to automatically adjust itself to provide optimal viewing conditions depending on the lighting. Together with colour enhancement and 178 degree viewing angle, it’s the perfect companion on the move.
Available in Moonlight Silver, Huawei has used a sand-blasted finish on the all-metal body of the tablet, providing a smooth-touch surface. A fingerprint sensor also allows users to unlock the device in one motion and is capable of storing up to five fingerprints.
Bringing Your Ideas to Life
A Huawei M-Pen Stylus is included with the premium edition tablet. This offers 2048-levels of pressure sensitivity and high definition identification accuracy, enabling users to replicate a traditional handwriting experience by taking notes on the Bamboo Paper app, or unleash their creative juices using apps such as Sketchbook.
Text can be imported with a touch of a button and software also converts on-screen notes into digital form.
The Power of Sound
Four speakers certified by Harmon Kardon are perfectly positioned to provide 180 degrees worth of rich virtual surround sound.
Renowned as the benchmark for sound quality, Harman Kardon makes sound look beautiful through cutting edge design. From the company’s very beginnings, design has been a crucial factor shaping product development and has been led by the need for function, as well as emotion.
The Harman Kardon design housed within the MediaPad M2, highlights how the sound system feels, but also how it works, allowing users to truly immerse themselves in multimedia content.
Multimedia Capture and Creation
The MediaPad M2 includes a 13MP rear camera with a F2.0 large-diaphragm lens, intelligent image processing engine, blue glass filter, flash and autofocus. Photography enthusiasts will be pleased to see the camera includes Panorama, HDR and time-lapse modes.
Meanwhile, the 5MP front camera makes the MediaPad M2 ideal for video calling, thanks to the 88 degree ultra-wide angle lens.
All-Day Battery Life
With a huge 6660mAh battery pack powering the device, the MediaPad M2 provides up to 6 hours of 3D gaming, 9.5 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi video playback and 30 hours of music playback on a single charge.
Pricing and Availability
The Huawei MediaPad M2 10″ will initially be available to purchase in the UK from Currys PC World. The standard edition MediaPad M2 10″ tablet will retail in store and online for £249.99. The premium edition MediaPad M2 10″ tablet can be purchased from Currys PC World online for £329.99.
I’m going to take a slightly different approach to this review and note down everything as I unbox the device. First, the specs. This is the Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 and it’s available in either “Luxurious Gold” or in this fine shade – “Moonlight Silver”.
It weighs in at 500 grams and measures in at 239.8mm x 172.75mm x 7.35mm. The screen is a 1920X1200 Full HD 10.1″ IPS unit and inside it’s powered by a Hisilicon Kirin 930 Octacore CPU running a quad 2.0 GHz and quad 1.5 GHz.
Inside it’s also running Android 5.1 with the Huawei EMUI3.1 GUI on top. Not the newest OS, granted, but it zips along. This particular one is the 64GB “Premium edition”, so you obviously get 64GB of storage on board. There’s also a “Standard version” with 16GB. This “Premium” on also has 3GB of RAM, whereas the “Standard” has 2GB. Both have GSM network connectivity though, and you can get 4G connectivity along with WiFi. Around back there’s a 13 megapixel cam with f2.0 and autofocus plus flash. Up front, a 5 megapixel one. There’s also a set of four speakers – two of them for the treble and two of them for the bass. These speakers have Harman Kardon audio technology – something which I’m a big fan of. That audio tech apparently gives a “richer, clearer and more immersive acoustic experience”.
The battery is a 6600mAh unit but again, depending on the version you have, you have different kit in the box. The “Standard” version has the tablet, a charger, quick-start guide and a “needle” for interacting more precisely with the screen. The “Premium” version here has an M-Pen too.
This is great for artists or for those taking notes and it has a pressure sensitivity level of 2048. What that means is that it’s really precise and responds better to the level of force you’re using. There’s a fingerprint sensor too.
The box feels heavy and you’ll notice in this review unit that we have a free case and protector combo. Opening it up actually reveals two boxes. The top box has the protector and the case itself. The case is a folio-style flip-case which has a soft inner and a custom-made inner holder which you clip the tablet into.
The tablet itself is next, and there’s a sticker on the front promoting the various features of the device. Ultra Power Saving, that octa-core CPU and those powerful speakers.
Underneath, that charger, the M-Pen and a very substantial quick start that I touched on before. It’s a thick little book and this, along with the cover and second box, actually contributed towards the weighty feel of the device when you first pick it off the shelf in the shops. The clever stylus needs one AAA battery which comes in the box too. You screw the top off the M-Pen and then drop the battery in to get it working. The tablet itself is powered and charged by a microUSB cable which is in the box too.
Turning the unit on plays a Huawei animation and you get to hear the sound output which is definitely very powerful indeed. The device itself is quite angular, although there’s some curvy corners and a two-tone finish to the tablet, with this one having a polished white front border around the screen. It has a very high-spec and quality feel to it. Under the screen is that fingerprint sensor.
At the bottom, precisely cut holes on the lower edge reveal the bottom speakers which create a “wide acoustic field sound” through technology which helps to give you a sense of direction when you’re playing games.
The right edge has the audio controls and power button above – this is on a slight curve and helps you to locate the buttons easily even in low light.
The top edge is similar to the bottom, although the unit does have a dividing strip and a 3.5mm audio plug which you’ll need to use your own headphones with as there’s none in the box.
The left edge has the microUSB power connector and the tray for the SIM card, which you’ll need to pop out with the supplied tool.
The back is a smooth silver affair and has the camera on that separated top edge along with a flash.
All in all, it’s a good construction which – although slightly flexible if you want to try twisting it – has no creaks. Good spec and good construction.
Here’s my usual video overview..
Turning on the device fires you into the usual WiFi setup screen and the Google login screen. You naturally use the device in a wide-screen setting. I elected to set a secure lock screen and the fingerprint sensor got busy as I placed and re-placed my finger on the sensor to build up a full reading.
The main out-of-the-box screen has a dark background which you can change through the now-familiar Huawei theme system. This lets you quickly change the look of the device by tweaking the unlock animation, icons and background quickly and through one interface. I could only find four here, but you can adjust the background and lock screen picture yourself too.
Again, as this is Huawei, there’s a management system for keeping your device running smoothly. You can scan the device and then optimise it, check and adjust the apps that are allowed to run when the screen is off. This is something we’ve seen recently on the Huawei P9, where a power management system kicks in to stop apps sucking your battery (and your data bandwidth) when you don’t necessarily want it too. There’s a few things you’ll want to adjust here, including fitness tracking apps like Strava that need adding to the allowed list.
On the lock screen, which can operate in a slideshow format to flick through favourite images. Huawei call them “Covers” and you can flick through them direct on the lock screen itself. From the lock screen also lets you head straight into the camera, turn on the rear LED. It’ll also let you dive straight into a calendar and audio recording.
The device has some cool little tricks, such as the “Speech Awareness” system which let you make a call or find your phone by saying a certain keyword. You can also open a dual-window system but I got a little sidetracked by the rather clever pen…
To be honest I’ve never been a big fan of these pen things, but after trying out the little buttons on the device (which help you hop into menus and remove mistakes etc) I really started to like it. It did indeed respond to pressure properly and I recognised the doodles and squiggles as the very same style and appearance as normal paper.
Little things, the same little things I’d seen on the P9, really impressed me. The fact that I could immediately edit the image when I’ve taken a screenshot, the careful battery management that keeps it running longer and longer.
Of course, the usual things are here too. We’ve got all the Google apps (Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Play Books, Play Music, Drive and everything in between), plus a file manager, Magnifier, Weather, Notepad and much more. You can also type out documents with WPS Office, which lets you create a presentation, spreadsheet or Word document. It’ll sync your contacts, your calendar and your email via your Google account and you can of course set up standard email accounts too.
There’s also something called Clari-Fi which shows off the power of the Harman Kardon tech and how it emphasises, cleans and adds “whoomph” to your music. I must admit, I was particularly impressed with the sound on this and not just about how powerful and loud it was. It’s like stepping into an audio bubble. You can hear the direction of the sound. You can hear the different streams of audio and watch a movie, music video or even a TV show is an absolute joy. Some older videos didn’t sound quite right – one being Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy played via YouTube. I put this down to the age of the VHS-to-YouTube recording – the video was done in 1991. More modern videos played very well indeed.
Personally I’m not a big camera user with tablets. The rear camera didn’t perform terrifically well and the white balance went a little crazy if the photo had darkness and light mixed together. Close-up shots didn’t fare well.
That said, I am perhaps comparing this to the Leica kit on the P9 we recently reviewed and I don’t personally think that a camera at the back of a tablet is going to be in use a whole lot. The front selfie shooter was OK, and decent enough for Skype and other video call applications.
The camera has a range of option, including the HDR mode I used on some of these shots, a “Best photo” option, Panorama, Watermark and “All focus” option. You can also add a GPS tag, track objects when filming video and get the perfect selfie along with a “beauty” mode to try and make you look less scary. There’s also a stack of filters, a time-lapse mode and you can turn the flash on or off.
Here’s some example shots..
Whilst the camera wasn’t as good as the Leica unit on the Huawei P9, the addition of that stylus was something I actually really liked in this Premium model. If you choose the 16GB standard model you do have to realise that there’s no expandable storage and that’s pretty important if you’re a media consumer – something this device is really built for.
Out of the two, the Premium model would be my choice. The sound quality and the included stand made it into a portable entertainment centre which was really enjoyable to use and a great TV-replacement for your bedroom or elsewhere.
The Huawei additions were appreciated and the build quality, battery life and device management were all top notch. It’s yet more quality kit from Huawei, who are fast becoming a serious force to be reckoned with.
The “Standard” edition, which has 16GB storage and 2GB memory and no “M Pen” for £249.99. The “Premium” edition has 64GB storage, 3GB memory and that “M Pen” for £329.99. If you’re into your artistry and like taking notes, get the “Premium” one.
The Acer Predator 8 is a device we have seen a few times now, but up until now I have not really had a good chance to have a play with it. That all changes today as I am in Belfast with #acerliveblog2016 and they have let me have a play with the Acer Predator 8. I am pretty pleased with overall in-hand experience as I have already mentioned in the past when I saw it after its unveiling at IFA 2015.
What really makes this unique amongst tablets, however, is the Predator Quadio Speakers that are on all four corners of the Predator 8. But is it just a tablet with a few extra speakers or is this a true gaming rig for on the go? Let’s dive into to some testing and see if we can find out.
I have been doing some comparisons with my own tablet which is a Z3 Tablet Compact and these two devices are actually a very close match. However, there are some differences. These will become clear in the gaming tests that I have put them through. Before we get into that though, I would like to just show you around the device.
Here are a few more pictures of the Predator 8 to show off some of its key features.
The styling of the Acer Predator 8 is hit or miss it will appeal to those who like the Gaming laptop genre. However, those who like slick lines and slim devices need not apply here. I do kinda like it; the rough angular edges make it sit in the hands in landscape mode very nicely, which makes it great for gaming on the go. However, when I held it in landscape mode, I was forced to adjust my grip, as it felt awkward holding it with the corner resting in the middle of my palm.
What I was really wanting to find out was how this device performed when it came to gaming, so for that I did some aside by side testing with the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.
Here is a clip showing some of the big differences between the two devices when it came to playing Asphalt 8.
The overall experience of playing the game on both devices was an enjoyable one. I personally feel that the 8″ tablet is one of the best sizes for tablet gaming, as the screen is just the right size for being held in a similar way to that of a gamepad. It is not too much of a stretch for your fingers to hit the middle of the screen when needed.
The Acer Predator 8 has a really nice immersive feel when it comes to playing games, and this is in part down the haptic feedback provided by the inbuilt haptic engine. You could feel when the car was “boosted” and also when you crashed. It is a very similar experience to the Force feedback that you find on the PlayStation 4 controller, albeit toned down slightly and not quite as intelligent.
On the Xperia, this option was not available in the settings but then again the Xperia does not have the hardware available to use this feature. I did notice that the Asphalt 8 game did have a different icon on both devices so there may be a possibility that Acer has made a customer version for the Predator.
So there we have it, just a brief overview of gaming on Predator 8 tablet from Acer. It may be an older device, but it is a good option for those of you who are really wanting a good gaming experience on the go.
More info on the tablet can be found here and you can pick one up from Amazon now.
Back in the 90’s there was a group called Jamiroquai headed up by Jay Kay. He used to date Denise Van Outen too. Oh, and he owns loads of sports cars. Lucky, lucky blighter.
Anyhoo. EE have named a tablet after him and, somehow, I though that the first paragraph would be a witty introduction to it. Perhaps not. The device costs £119.99 on EE pay-as-you-go plans. You can pay £16 per month with an up-front cost of £29.99 if you want it on contract over 24 months, and existing customers can get a 10% discount on that. For £18.50 per month you can get 10GB of data.
If you buy it before May 26th EE will give you a 3 month NOW TV Entertainment pass.
Specs include a 4G connection, WiFi, 7.85″ IPS (768 x 1024) screen, quad-core 1.0GHz 64-bit CPU with Android 5.1. There’s a 5 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front, 1GB RAM and 16 GB of storage plus a microSD slot for another 32GB.
Jay from EE features a powerful 1GHz quad-core processor, crystal clear 7.85 inch IPS screen and expandable storage via Micro SDHC card slot
Priced at just £119.99 on EE pay-as-you-go and on 4GEE plans from £16 a month
Available immediately from EE retail stores, EE telesales and the EE online shop
11th May 2016, London: EE today unveiled the Jay, the latest addition to EE’s own-brand tablet range, offering premium features and specifications at an entry-level price point.
The Jay, available from today in stores and online, offers the styling and performance of a premium tablet, with a Quad-core 1.0GHz 64-Bit processor, which runs the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system. The Jay also lets users connect to EE’s double speed 4G network, offering download speeds of up to 150Mbps.
Film buffs and amateur photographers will love the 7.85 inch IPS display that’s perfect for watching rich, vibrant videos and displaying crystal clear images captured on the device’s 5MP rear-facing camera with built-in auto-focus. Turn the tablet over and the Jay from EE features a 2MP front-facing camera, perfect for sharing selfies, videos and photos with friends and family over EE’s superfast 4G network.
The Jay from EE comes with 1GB RAM and 16 GB internal memory, with additional 32GB of storage space available with a Micro SDHC card*. The tablet is designed to serve as a true multimedia hub, whether you’re sitting on the sofa at home or commuting to work. At just 350g, it is ultra-light and incorporates a large 3,600mAh battery with enough power for 7 full hours of usage. The Jay is a powerful and portable device for connecting to the web, playing online games or streaming music and HD videos.
Sharon Meadows, Director of Devices, EE said: “The Jay from EE offers the perfect blend of style and smart performance at an affordable price point. With double speed 4G on our superfast network, it really does offer one of the best value tablet experiences that will keep users connected on the move”.
Pricing and availability
The Jay from EE will be available from today on a range of pay monthly price plans starting from £16 per month, based on a 24 month plan and an upfront cost of £29.99. Existing customers pay nothing up-front and receive a further 10% discount on the monthly cost. For customers looking to make the most of their tablet experience, the Jay will also be available on an £18.50 per month, 24 month plan, which comes with a massive 10GB of monthly data plus access to EE’s exclusive double speed 4G network. The Jay from EE will also be available for just £119.99 on pay-as-you-go.
Customers who purchase the Jay from EE before 26 May on a 4GEE Extra plan will automatically receive a 3 month NOW TV Entertainment pass. For more information and for full pricing details visit www.ee.co.uk/JayfromEE
Apple may not be the only company about to ditch the century-old 3.5mm analog audio connector with the release of the next iPhone this fall. AnandTech reported this morning that the semiconductor giant Intel is backing the industry’s “strong desire to move from analog to digital” by proposing that the 3.5mm audio jack be replaced with USB-C on smartphones, […]