iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 unveiled on October 22nd


Last week I wrote about the impending launch of two new Apple devices and low and behold Apple did not disappoint with its two new tablet releases and a host of other interesting tech announcements on Tuesday. I must admit i didn’t expect the launch of the Air tablet. It’s an interesting development in the world of tablets and portable devices.

The new iPad known as the iPad Air was the highlight of the launch in San Francisco. The souped-up iPad Mini was also unveiled and it boasts a faster microprocessor, a high-definition display screen and a higher price than its predecessor. The new iPad Air will launch on Nov 1st, 2013 with the Mini 2 expected later in the month. Full technical specifications on the iPad Air are here.

iPad Mini 2iPad Mini 2

The Mini 2 is what i was waiting to hear about.  I’m most interested in the components themselves. In tech circles it’s well-known the Mini was a squished version of the iPad 2 and lacked some of the better components of 3rd and 4th generation iPad’s.

I visited the Apple website and they have a great comparison page on all the latest products. The A7 processor is present on the Mini with the retina display and the new iPad Air.

Gizmag also has a great comparison of the new and earlier iPad Mini and it’s well worth a read. They do a great job of breaking down things part vs part as well as construction and price.

Retina Display

The improvements to the Mini were  expected and I must admit I’ve waited to get one for a while. Adding Retina display is a welcome one. It’s Apple’s technology for liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and according to the company means that the human eye is unable to notice pixelation at a typical viewing distance. Retina display is also in the new iPad Air as well.

Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 and a  discounted price and the Mini as well. The Mini will drop in price by one hundred dollars and will be around for another year.


iPad Mini 2 and iPad 5 set to launch Oct 22nd

iPad Mini 2

iPad Mini 2As soon as you hear a rumour about an Apple device launching you know it’s true. When i saw the tweet pop up in the Vancouver Gadgets twitter feed this week regarding the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 I knew they were launching soon. Both are supposedly coming Oct 22nd.

Apple always intrigues me when it launches a new product because rumours swirl on the internet and in the media weeks in advance and then the Apple PR machine will quietly and calmly announce and invite the world’s press to a special event where all is revealed. I most intrigued by the next generation of the iPad Mini because I like the idea of a mini tablet and not a full size like the iPad.

For myself I always watch Apple product hype and launches with interest since I use the iPhone 4S. I have tried a number of small tablets already including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and I thought it was one of the best tablet’s I had ever tried but having committed to the Apple ecosystem I’ll stick with that for the foreseeable future.

Design and Hardware Changes

Information leaked on the iPad Mini 2 shows it will look like the first generation Mini. It will however receive a boost in terms of a better processor and retina display. The 1st generation Mini was basically an iPad 2 and many apple fans were not impressed. I must admit that’s why I waited to buy a Mini as I wasn’t content to get a squished down version of the iPad 2. Better to let Apple work out the bugs and have a third of fourth generation product that’s top of the line. The A6 chip most recently used in the iPhone 5 should be in the iPad Mini 2.


Pricing is often another beef for non Apple fans as the iPad and iPad Mini cost more than its Samsung or Lenovo counterparts. The iPad is always more expensive than the Mini and the Mini alone is 329 for a 16GB non Cellular capable device. That being said, people who have bought into the ecosystem know they’re getting a great operating system and tons of apps and the ability to have Apple devices work together seamlessly.

Introducing the Dell Venue and Updated XPS Laptops

Dell Venue

Dell today took a bold step in unveiling a new family of tablets and new laptops, including a 2-in-1 Ultrabook. The Dell Venue line of tablets is comprised of four new ultrathin models designed to address the changing way people live and work today. Dell’s “damned sexy” tablets, as described by leading Enderle Group analyst, Rob Enderle, deliver leading performance and quality, backed by Intel processing technology. With compact designs that make it easy to stay connected on the go, the Dell Venue tablets have an exquisite fit and finish.

Dell Venue
image courtesy of http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/secure/venue-xps-launch

In addition to the versatile new Dell Venue tablets, Dell is introducing new XPS laptops, each with breakthrough displays for a phenomenal viewing experience with vibrant, crisp images in any available screen size. The new XPS 11, the thinnest, most compact 2-in-1 in the world, also features the first Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display on an 11.6-inch  2-in-1. The XPS 15 multimedia powerhouse boasts a stunningly thin design, and offers as an option the first 15.6-inch Quad HD+ (3200 x 1800) display in the world, which is the highest resolution available on a laptop of that size. Dell is also refreshing its award-winning XPS 13 Ultrabook with faster processors, touch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display and improved battery life. With these three laptops, Dell is leading the industry with the highest resolution displays possible.

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“People today expect the best experience possible from their technology – they are counting on it to keep them connected and move with them, wherever they are,” said Sam Burd, vice president Dell Personal Computing Group. “The new Dell Venue tablets and XPS laptops give customers the stellar experience they expect from us, with performance that allows them to work how they want, when they want, in a design they’ll be proud to show off and own.”


Dell Venue Tablets: Connect, Share and Access Content with Ease

Dell XPS
image courtesy of http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/secure/venue-xps-launch

Dell Venue tablets are designed to give people on-the-go a wide-selection of sizes and options to meet their varying needs. From 8 and 11-inch Windows-based tablets complete with keyboard and stylus options, to the 7 and 8-inch Android tablets, Dell has created a dedicated brand of tablets to meet the needs of customers who are the epitome of the evolving workforce.

·         The Dell Venue 8 Pro and Dell Venue 11 Pro Windows 8.1-based tablets combine the level of performance, design and responsiveness end-users love while giving IT departments what they need – the ability to integrate into an existing corporate environment with full compatibility with current Windows applications and Microsoft Office integration. Both tablets feature optional advanced security features and services such as TPM and Dell Enterprise Services.

·         The lightweight Dell Venue 8 Pro runs Windows 8.1, has a bright HD IPS display, advanced connectivity options and provides long battery life so range anxiety is no longer an issue. People can also stay productive with Office 2013 Home & Student, included with the device, and the optional Dell Active Stylus.

·         The Dell Venue 11 Pro, also based on Windows 8.1, provides ultimate 2-in-1 flexibility with the power of an Ultrabook, convenience of a detachable keyboard and experience of a desktop. Unlike competitive tablets, it has a user removable/replaceable battery, and its large, Full HD display with wide viewing angles makes it easy to read and create content while staying mobile. It is also available with a variety of keyboard and stylus options:

·         Dell Active Stylus makes it easy to annotate, draw or take notes.

·         Dell Slim Keyboard, designed for travel, also serves as a cover for the screen when folded up.

·         Dell Mobile Keyboard with integrated battery provides all day productivity with a full-sized keyboard while extending the battery life.

·         Dell Tablet Desktop Dock delivers full productivity on a desk with USB 3.0 ports, and dual display out ports for display extension.

·         The Dell Venue 7 and Dell Venue 8 Android-based tablets are affordable, feature-rich tablets for people who want to be constantly connected wherever they are. Both tablets have an upscale fit and finish, and are designed with longevity in mind with the right components so that customers will be just as delighted with their tablet one year from now, as they are on the day they take it out of the box.

 All Dell Venue tablets are based on Intel processing power for speed, responsiveness, and battery efficiency. The Dell Venue 7 and Dell Venue 8 feature Intel Atom Z2760 (“Clover Trail”) processors, while the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Dell Venue 11 Pro feature the new Intel Atom quad-core processors, code named “Bay Trail.” The Venue 11 Pro offers up to 4th Generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processor options and Intel vPro for manageability.


Dell XPS Laptops and 2-in-1: The Ultimate Experience with Gorgeous Displays

Dell’s award-winning XPS laptop line just got even better with the new XPS 15 powerhouse laptop, the introduction of the XPS 11 2-in-1, and an update to the flagship XPS 13 Ultrabook. In keeping with the XPS tradition of offering the best computing experience in any product category, the XPS laptops and 2-in-1 feature machined aluminum, carbon fiber, vibrant displays, and Corning Gorilla Glass NBT for performance, durability and the ultimate experience.

·         Starting at 2.5lbs[i] and just 11-15mm thin, the XPS 11 is the world’s thinnest, lightest and most compact 2-in-1 Ultrabook available today, offering a tablet-first design with laptop functionality. It easily transitions from tablet to laptop with a 360 degree rotating hinge design, and an innovative solid surface backlit touch keyboard that provides a superb experience from lap to bag. With a Quad HD (2560 x 1440), the highest resolution display on an 11.6-inch 2-in-1 today, the XPS 11 has a bright, crisp viewing experience. The display also features True Color viewing powered by eeColor, which enables customers to enjoy true, rich consistent colour in nearly any lighting environment.

·         The XPS 15 continues to be a multimedia powerhouse delivering the highest resolution in its class, and incredible power in an ultra-thin, light wedge design, starting at 4.44lbsi. The XPS 15 is the first 15.6-inch laptop in the world to feature a Quad HD+ display, and also available with a touch option, boasts over 5.7 million pixels – five times the amount of standard HD – for jaw-dropping resolution. Designed for creative enthusiasts, the XPS 15 packs 4th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 quad core processor options and NVIDIA discrete graphics options. Every XPS 15 boots and resumes within seconds with hard drive configuration options from 500GB to 1TB[ii], both with a 32GB mSATA SSD, to a 512GB solid state drive, all including Intel Rapid Start Technology[iii].

·         The award-winning XPS 13, with its 13.3-inch, edge-to-edge display that innovatively fits into a footprint similar to an 11-inch laptop, is razor thin and light, starting at under 3lbsi. It is now even faster with 4th generation Intel Core processors, Intel HD 4400 graphics, and has longer battery life for the mobile professional who values a sleek design, responsiveness and ultimate mobility. Its Full HD display provides a brilliant viewing experience and is now even more versatile with a touch option.

“Dell appears to have its innovative mojo back,” said Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies. “These new products clearly emphasize Dell’s commitment to create innovative mobile solutions for businesses and consumers and I believe represent some of the best products they have made in many years.”


Personal and Professional Content Anytime, Anywhere

The Dell PocketCloud application is pre-installed on all XPS and Venue products, helping users build their own “personal cloud” and remotely manage personal and professional content. By combining PocketCloud with the portability of the new Venue tablets and XPS laptops, mobile workers will be able to enjoy an easy and connected experience with access to all of their apps and content from virtually anywhere.


Get the Most Out of Your Technology with Dell Services

Dell customers can get the most out of their technology with Dell Services, dedicated to keeping them connected and productive, whether they’re using their Dell Venue tablet or XPS purchase for work or home. In addition to the Dell Limited Hardware Warranty, consumers can elect to include additional protection such as Accidental Damage Service[iv], Premium Phone Support and Rapid Return for Repair after Remote Diagnosis[v], which means that their system will be repaired and returned to them within 3-5 business days after remote diagnosis. Likewise, business customers can be rest assured that their devices will fit seamlessly and securely into their corporate IT environment with Dell Enterprise Services like ProSupport[vi] on the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro tablets.


Availability and Pricing

The Dell Venue 7, Venue 8, Venue 8 Pro, and new XPS 15 will be available from October 18 on www.dell.ca in Canada. The Venue 11 Pro, XPS 11 and the updated XPS 13 with touch will be available in November. Starting prices are as follows:

·         Venue 7: $149.99 CDN

·         Venue 8: $179.99 CDN

·         Venue 8 Pro: $299.99 CDN

·         Venue 11 Pro: $549.99 CDN

·         New XPS 15: $1,499.99 CDN

·         XPS 11: $999.99 CDN

·         New XPS 13: $999.99 CDN


About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.ca.


Dell World

Join us at Dell World 2013, Dell’s premier customer event exploring how technology solutions and services are driving business innovation. Learn more at www.dellworld.com and follow #DellWorld


[i] Weights vary depending on configuration and manufacturing variability.

[ii] Hard drives: GB means 1 billion bytes and TB equals 1 trillion bytes; actual capacity varies with preloaded material and operating environment and will be less.

[iii] Intel Rapid Start Technology:  Requires a Solid-State Drive (SSD) or properly configured HDD + SSD.

[iii] For copy of Limited Hardware Warranty, write Dell USA LP, Attn: Warranties, One Dell Way, Round Rock, TX 78682 or see http://www.dell.com/warranty

[iv] Accidental Damage Service excludes theft, loss and damage due to fire, flood or other acts of nature, or intentional damage. Customer may be required to return unit to Dell. For complete details, visit www.dell.com/servicecontracts

[v] Remote Diagnosis is determination by online/phone technician of cause of issue, which may take multiple extended sessions. If issue is covered by Limited Hardware Warranty and not resolved remotely, shipping instructions will be provided. Next Business Day shipping not available in all areas, which may delay repair and return times. Other conditions apply. For complete details about Rapid Return for Repair after Remote Diagnosis Service, visit Dell.com/servicecontracts.

[vi] Availability and terms of Dell Services vary by region. For more information, visit http://www.dell.com/servicedescriptions.

Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 now ready for pre-order

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced that the Microsoft Surface family of tablets is growing. Two new Surface models — Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 — along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores, http://www.MicrosoftStore.com and select third-party retailers in 22 initial markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States on Oct. 22 and China in early November. Additional markets will be announced in the coming months.

Find Microsoft Surface on Amazon

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk. Enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customizable.

Microsoft Surface
image courtesy of http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-ca

Pre-order Surface
Customers can pre-order Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 starting at 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24, 2013, at http://www.MicrosoftStore.com , Microsoft Stores, and Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select retailers in most Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch markets.

Value-added services
To help people get the most out of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, customers purchasing either device will receive free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than 2 million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.

Surface 2
Surface 2 is the most productive tablet for personal use. It offers all the entertainment and gaming capabilities you expect from a tablet, along with the ability to get work done. Surface 2 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback. The 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p video for enjoying shows and movies, and its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 for up to four times faster file transfers. Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance, making face-to-face conversations with your favorite people crisp and clear. Even with these and other upgrades, Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1, bringing improvements in key areas such as personalization, search, multitasking, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. The new Xbox Music allows you to stream millions of songs for free, and an updated Video app and great games from the Windows Store such as “Halo: Spartan Assault” will ensure that you never run out of ways to play. When it’s time to get serious, Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Microsoft Office 2013 RT — including Outlook RT; simply click in a Touch or Type Cover and get to work.

Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations;1 it will start at $449.


Surface Pro 2
Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface Pro and, like its predecessor, is a true laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite,2 as well as apps from the Windows Store. Surface Pro 2 offers the portability and simplicity of a tablet when you want it and the power and flexibility of a laptop when you need it. It is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 60 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro.

Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.1

Full specs are available at http://www.Surface.com/pre-order .

New Accessories
Today’s announcement also includes seven new accessories that will make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:

  • Touch Cover 2. Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability. Touch Cover 2 is more rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard. Touch Cover 2 has an estimated retail price of $119.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.
  • Type Cover 2. Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months. It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys. Type Cover 2 will have an estimated retail price of $129.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.3
  • Power Cover. Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight. Power Cover will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
  • Docking Station for Surface Pro. The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant. While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
  • Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers. The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor4 and type from another location, such as the couch. Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99. It will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24.
  • Car Charger with USB. Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter. It also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device. Car Charger will have an estimated retail price of $49.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
  • Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface. Like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24. Distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months.

More information on Surface is available at http://www.Surface.com .
Find Microsoft Surface on Amazon
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

The information contained in this press release relates to pre-release software products that may be substantially modified before their first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software products when first commercially released. The press release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the press release or the information contained in it.


1 System software uses significant storage space. Available storage is subject to change based on system software updates and apps usage. 1 GB = 1 billion bytes. See Surface.com/storage for more details. Initial quantities of Surface Pro 2 with 512 GB will be limited.

2 Office sold separately.

3 The Black and Purple Type Cover 2 will be available for pre-order. Other colors will be available in the coming months.

4 Adapter required; sold separately.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

Galaxy Note 8 is a great tablet and more

Galaxy Note 8In the smartphone and tablet wars Apple and Samsung have duked it out for a while now and the Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung shows the company is serious about winning this battle. With its immediate competitor being the iPad Mini, the Galaxy Note 8 matches the mini stride for stride and easily compliments other devices you may have in your household.

As an iOS user I’m always curious to see what is available in the Android space and the Galaxy Note 8 like the Galaxy S4 is impressive in every facet. My tablet had a SIM Card with LTE capability which made this device that much better because i could surf the web, watch Netflix and YouTube and use apps without being dependent on wireless. It was also nice to be able to make calls from the tablet as well although it was a bit awkward considering the size of the Galaxy Note 8.

Galaxy Note 8 Hardware and OS Specifications

The Galaxy Note 8 comes with an impressive list of specifications and hardware and of course all that the Android ecosystem has to offer. This includes:

    • Android Jelly bean 4.1
    • Android Ecosystem including Samsung Apps, Readers, Music, Game, Video, Hub
    • UI / Web Browser including Android + Samsung Android Browser and Chrome Browser
    • Chipset CP XMM 6262 AP Exynos 4412 (1.6 GHz x 4)
    • Memory 2GB (RAM) and 16 or 32GB options for hard drive space. You can also add a microSD (up to 64GB)
    • Camera / Flash 5MP AF + 1.3MP
    • Dimensions 210.8 x 135.9 x 7.95 mm
    • Weight 345g (3G/LTE) / 340g (WiFi)
    • Display 203.1 mm (8″) WXGA (1280 x 800, 189ppi) TFT

It was a bit surprising that the Galaxy Note 8 doesn’t have the latest Android OS on it and I did not try to upgrade it to the latest.

Apps and Operability

As I mention in my video review apps are found on Google’s Play Store and I had no issues getting whatever apps I wanted to install. I usually try to install as many apps as I can that I use on my iOS devices when reviewing another OS. The Galaxy Note 8 with Android passed the test easily.

In terms of operability, I found this tablet easy to use and navigate. I’ll admit that it isn’t as smooth as my iOS devices as the iOS interface seems a bit more intuitive and user-friendly.

All in all I give the Galaxy Note 8 two thumbs up. A great piece of hardware that’s sure to impress current Samsung users and those looking for something in the tablet space.

Toshiba Encore, a pocket-sized tablet, delivers a full Windows 8.1 experience

Toshiba Encore

Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today unveiled the Encore™ tablet, a consumer device designed to deliver an exceptional Windows 8.1 experience in a pocket-sized form factor. Developed in close collaboration with Microsoft and built for consumers seeking a versatile small-screen tablet for home, work and play, Encore is well-positioned to accelerate the market for Windows-based tablets by delivering software-optimized features and sleek hardware design at a competitive price point.

Look for tablets at Amazon.ca

Toshiba Encore
image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/toshiba_laptops/sets/72157635285181749/

” Encore is poised to re-energize the opportunity for Windows tablets in the market,” said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “Our fundamental approach to designing Encore was to create a better convergence of hardware and software so the overall app experience and capabilities on a Windows-based device is better than ever. Windows has a lot to offer for a tablet user, and with the new features that Windows 8.1 brings, we believe that Encore will deliver more choice against a range of competitive tablets.”

Smart, Small-screen Design

Designed to be held in one hand, the 8-inch1 Encore tablet is optimized for use at home or on the go. A high-resolution (1280 x 800) multi-touch HFFS display is well-suited for entertainment with wide viewing angles, while the new scaling capabilities of Windows 8.1 maximizes the screen real estate, making room for full-screen web browsing and an unencumbered Start screen view in both portrait and landscape orientations. Encased in a stylish silver textured backplate, Encore is both slim and lightweight, measuring 0.42 inches (10.68mm) and weighing just 16.9 ounces (479g)2.

Encore is powered by the power-efficient Intel® Atom™ processor3, which delivers great performance, fast start-up and page loads, and an exceptional battery life rating. It also includes the connected standby capabilities of InstantGo, enabling the device to receive updates while sleeping so content is always up to date when use is resumed. In

Toshiba Encore
image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/toshiba_laptops/sets/72157635285181749/

addition, Encore includes top quality features, such as an 8-megapixel camera, a full suite of sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS, as well as stereo speakers.

“Toshiba continues to drive touch innovation by bringing new and exciting Windows 8 form factors to life,” said Jordan Chrysafidis, vice president of Worldwide OEM Marketing, Microsoft Corp. “We look forward to working with Toshiba on the launch of Windows 8.1 and seeing its holiday 2013 devices delight customers worldwide.”

Optimized for Skype
Encore is optimized for Skype, making high-quality video chatting and calling possible. Utilizing on-board dual microphones with beam forming technology and integrated 2-megapixel front camera – consumers can chat with clarity with friends and family throughout the world.

Easy Sharing and Streaming with Windows 8 Devices
Completely compatible with both Windows 8 apps and Windows 7 programs, Encore offers seamless integration and content sharing with other Windows devices, giving the device an edge for multi-device home users looking to stream and share content from room to room.

Great for play. Ideal for work.
The Encore tablet supports a wide range of applications – from books, games, movies, music and photos to productivity – making it a versatile device that can be used and enjoyed at home, at work or on the go. Ready to go right out of the box, Encore will feature Xbox Movies, Music and Games entertainment services, Amazon’s Kindle e-reading app, as well as the Xbox SmartGlass app which turns the tablet into a secondary screen for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One game consoles. Also included is a full version of Office Home & Student 2013 for convenient viewing and creation of Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® documents.

Equipped with Tablet Essentials
Encore includes 32GB of storage4 and is equipped with essential ports including a Micro USB 2.0 port, Micro HDMI® port and a microSD™ slot for up to 32GB more storage. Ultrafast dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi® enables easy wireless media streaming.

Toshiba Encore
image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/toshiba_laptops/sets/72157635285181749/

Pricing and Availability
The Toshiba Encore tablet will be available for purchase in November at major retailers, e-tailers and direct from Toshiba at ToshibaDirect.com for $329.99 MSRP5.

Image Gallery: http://bit.ly/ToshibaEncore.

1. Display. Any small bright dots that may appear on your display are an intrinsic characteristic of the thin film transistors manufacturing technology.
2. Weight. Weight may vary.
3. Processor. CPU performance may vary.
4. Solid State Drive Capacity. Drive capacity may vary. One Gigabyte (GB) means 109 = 1,000,000,000 bytes using powers of 10.
5. Price. Reseller prices may vary. MSRP means “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.”

XPS 10 from Dell is a great back to school gift


xps10Yes we just said those magical words that parents love to hear and that make kids groan. School believe or not is just around the corner. We’re gearing up for back to school with some great tech reviews and the Dell XPS 10 is our first one on the list.

Technical Specifications

The XPS 10 runs on Microsoft Windows RT and dual-core ARM architecture.The HD multi-touch display with split screen ability is ideal for multitasking, while an optional mobile keyboard dock features a full-sized keyboard, touchpad, ports, stereo speakers and an extra battery for maximum productivity and collaboration. Other features include:

    • IPS screen
    • 2 usb ports
    • Mini Hdmi port and dongle
    • 92% size screen
    • 5 megapixel camera/2 megapixel rear
    • Office 2013 (mine Had Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

The tablet itself weighs 1.4 pounds without the keyboard doc. I don’t know the exact weight of it with the doc but it was a bit heavier so I am going to say around 5 pounds. We’ve linked to the Dell site above so you can get the complete specifications on it.

User Experience

As with any other device I review I always try to replicate the devices that I own to see how they do in comparison. I want to see how many of my go to apps I can get to run because I use them daily. Apps for the XPS 10 can be found in the Windows Store and you can install them right from the device. I installed as many as possible and was disappointed that Viber would have cost me 2.49$. The XPS 10 is nice and light when you carry it around and I felt comfortable using it and word processing on it. I added google email accounts to it as well so I could read my Gmail. You have to swipe to the left at midpoint of the screen on the right hand side to show the options for using the tablet. I show this in the video above.

Overall I would rate the XPS 10 as a great tablet for back to school, particularly university students who need something light while on the go. The XPS 10 gives you the functionality required for business and work use too. It does the job very well and it’s really nice to be able to use Office and other productivity software right on the device. As someone who used to use Windows a lot more for work and home computing, I felt comfortable making the move to RT.


Google unveils Nexus 7 which is available on July 30

Nexus 7
Nexus 7
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Google’s announced yesterday the launch of its new Nexus 7 tablet. Yep, it’s real, and is already available for preorder.

As expected, the new Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet running the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. The 16GB Wi-Fi-only version will be available for $229, with a 32GB Wi-Fi-only model coming for $269. A 32GB 4G LTE (unlocked) version will retail for $349.Among the key features are an HD screen (with 1,920×1,200-pixel resolution); front and rear cameras (1.2- and 5.0-megapixel, respectively); Bluetooth 4.0; a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor; 2GB of RAM; NFC; and an Adreno 320 GPU (the same graphics chip used in the Samsung Galaxy S4). There’s also support for dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and wireless charging using any Qi-compatible charger. The large top and bottom bezels from the first-generation Nexus 7 return.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to support the latest version of OpenGL ES: 3.0. The new version includes support for higher-quality reflections and lens flares. Of course game developers will actually have to program these new features into games before you’ll see any notable difference. Hopefully, with support for the latest version of OpenGL, frame rates on the new Nexus 7 will be higher than on other devices using the same S4 processor, such as the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.It’s not a slow processor by any means, but in my testing, the S4 comes nowhere near Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 800 or Nvidia’s Tegra 4 in raw performance.

Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 is a great starter tablet

lenovo ideatab a2107Vancouver Gadgets got the Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 a few weeks ago from our friends at Future Shop and Citizen Optimum PR and we’ve enjoyed our time with this great little tablet. It retails for 149.99 at Future Shop.

Tech Specs

What’s really key with this tablet is that it offers a great user experience for those looking to get started with a tablet. It is 11.5mm thin and only weighs 400g. The IdeaTab A2107 is a perfect size for reading, web-surfing and can easily slide into your pocket when you aren’t using it.

OS and Audio/Video

Running Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS means that you can use all your favorite apps through the Google Play Store. I really liked the 7″ HD Display and spent a lot of time watching stuff on NetFlix and You Tube with this tablet. It still doesn’t quite compare to the iPad Mini for viewing video content but beats the iPad Mini in terms of sounds because of the dual speakers.

It also has dual Cameras with the 0.3MP front-facing webcam for Skype and a 2MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus. Micro-USB for charging and connecting peripherals plus a micro-SD card slot for convenience and easy expandability. Battery Life allows for up to 10 hours of WiFi browsing.

Internal Roll Cage

The Internal Roll Cage deserves special mention because it provides this tablet with a soft touch matte exterior that makes it easy to hold on to but also makes it resistant to multiple drops.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 8.0

On February 25, 2013 Samsung launched the world’s first 8-inch tablet, the GALAXY Note 8.0. Unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain this device will compete directly with the iPad Mini, Kobo Arc , Blackberry Playbook and other tablets/e readers in this category.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
Click on the photo to get a full size view of the tablet.

Vancouver Gadgets met with Samsung employees last week to discuss developments regarding the use of Bring your Own Device (BYOD) in the enterprise and had a chance to play with the Galaxy Note 8.0. It was an impressive device that is sure to bolster the current Samsung device lineup. There will be more to follow this week on the BYOD presentation so stay tuned to Vancouver Gadgets.

Product Features

In addition to a screen that’s slightly bigger than the iPad Mini, Samsung’s intelligent S Pen is also a big selling feature of this latest product. Other features of the GALAXY Note 8.0 include

  • Multi-window options to split the portable 8-inch screen allowing optimal access to a number of live applications.
  • Access to a suite of S Note templates and tools that allow consumers to create, edit, manage and share everyday documents.
  • Samsung “reading mode” technology that allows consumers to enjoy e-books with optimized resolution.
  • In addition, a suite of exciting content and services are pre-loaded for users such as Photoshop Touch, Flipboard (developed specifically for the Note 8 and the S Pen), and Awesome Note.

Please click here to view the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Product Specifications. For further information, please visit www.samsungmobilepress.com.

Follow Samsung Canada at facebook.com/SamsungCanada or on Twitter @SamsungCanada.

Apple Introduces iPad mini

SAN JOSE, California―October 23, 2012―Apple® today introduced iPad® mini, a completely new iPad design that is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad. The new iPad mini features a stunning 7.9-inch Multi-Touch™ display, FaceTime® HD and iSight® cameras, ultrafast wireless performance¹ and an incredible 10 hours of battery life²―every inch an iPad, yet in a revolutionary design you can hold in one hand. Apple today also announced the fourth generation iPad featuring a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina™ display, new Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera and ultrafast wireless performance. Both iPad mini and fourth generation iPad come with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features.“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”iPad mini comes in a beautiful new aluminum and glass design that is just 7.2 mm thin and weighs only 0.68 pounds. The 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display delivers the same iPad experience users have come to expect, in a design that has 35 percent more screen real estate than 7-inch tablets and up to an astonishing 67 percent more usable viewing area when browsing the web. The dual-core A5 chip delivers responsive graphics and a fast, fluid Multi-Touch experience, while still providing all-day battery life.iPad mini features a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 5 megapixel iSight camera on the back with advanced optics for taking sharp still pictures and recording full 1080p HD video. The iSight camera includes video image stabilization and both cameras feature backside illumination to let users capture great pictures in low light. iPad mini also allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family using iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams.

iPad mini features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150 Mbps,³ which is twice the Wi-Fi performance compared to previous iPad models. iPad mini is available in Wi-Fi + Cellular models which are world-ready with built-in support for ultrafast wireless standards, including LTE¹ and DC-HSDPA, so you can browse, download and stream content fast from wherever you are. iPad mini data plans will be available with no contract so you can simply sign up and activate service directly from your iPad.⁴ The Personal Hotspot feature means you can share a fast cellular data connection via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB with up to five other devices such as MacBook® Pro, iPod touch® or another iPad.⁵

The new fourth generation iPad features the amazing 9.7-inch Retina display and includes a new Apple-designed A6X chip that delivers up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip, all while delivering an incredible 10 hours of battery life in the same thin and light iPad design. Other new features include a FaceTime HD camera, twice the Wi-Fi performance when compared to previous iPad models and support for additional LTE carriers worldwide.⁶

iPad mini and fourth generation iPad both feature support for the Lightning™ connector that is smaller, smarter and more durable than the 30-pin connector. Lightning connector accessories are available to support cameras, SD cards and VGA or HDMI digital video.⁷ Existing iPad Smart Covers and the iPad Smart Case are compatible with fourth generation iPad, and new polyurethane Smart Covers custom-designed for iPad mini are available in pink, green, blue, light gray, dark gray and (PRODUCT) RED for $39.

iPad runs over 700,000 apps available on the App Store℠, including more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad, from a wide range of categories including books, games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. iPad also supports the more than 5,000 newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand and the more than 1.5 million books available on the iBookstore℠. The iTunes Store® puts the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store at your fingertips with a catalog of over 26 million songs, over 190,000 TV episodes and over 45,000 films. The new iBooks® app for iPad lets users read ebooks in over 40 languages. iBooks also lets users experience an entirely new kind of ebook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. Ebooks created with Apple’s new iBooks Author offer gorgeous, fullscreen ebooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, custom fonts, mathematical expressions and much more.

Pricing & Availability
iPad mini with Wi-Fi models will be available in black & slate or white & silver on Friday, November 2, for a suggested retail price of $329 (US) for the 16GB model, $429 (US) for the 32GB model and $529 (US) for the 64GB model. The fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi models will also be available on Friday, November 2, in black or white for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad will be sold through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular and fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular will start shipping a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models, beginning in the US on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be offered for a suggested retail price of $459 (US) for the 16GB model, $559 (US) for the 32GB model and $659 (US) for the 64GB model. Fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be offered for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. Additionally, iPad 2 is available at $399 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and just $529 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model where they are sold now.

Customers can begin pre-ordering all models of iPad mini and all models of the fourth generation iPad on Friday, October 26 through the Apple Online Store in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

¹LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.
²Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
³Based on theoretical speeds, actual speeds may vary.
⁴Only available on some carriers.
⁵Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.
⁶LTE is available through select carriers.
⁷Sold separately.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contacts:
Trudy Muller
(408) 862-7426

Natalie Kerris
(408) 974-6877

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iPad, Multi-touch, FaceTime, iSight, Retina, MacBook, iPod touch, Lightning, App Store, iBookstore, iTunes Store and iBooks are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Microsoft Announces New Surface Details

Ahead of Oct. 26 launch, Microsoft outlines pricing, market availability and special limited quantity pre-order.

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Microsoft Corp. today released new details about its highly anticipated Microsoft Surface, a tablet PC designed to be the ultimate stage for Windows. In addition to pricing and market availability, the company announced a special limited-quantity pre-order for Surface with Windows RT available 9 a.m. PDT. Those who want to learn more or pre-order can visit http://www.Surface.com.

Surface delivers the power of amazing software and the feel of premium hardware in one exciting experience. Originally unveiled in June, Surface with Windows RT will initially be available in three SKUs: a 32GB version priced at US$499, a 32GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at US$599, and a 64GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at US$699.

A variety of accessories will also be available, including Touch Covers in five vibrant colors — black, white, magenta, cyan and red — priced at US$119.99 so customers can express their personal style1. Customers will also have the option to purchase a Type Cover in black for US$129.99, which adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Surface will be available for purchase beginning Oct. 26, 2012, at all Microsoft Store locations in the United States and Canada, including in all 34 new holiday stores. In addition, Surface will be available for sale online in eight markets across the world: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States. See Surface.com for more details.

Additional Product Information — Surface With Windows RT

  • Software Surface with Windows RT comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview2 (which includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote)
  • Exterior 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches, 1.5 pounds, VaporMg casing, dark titanium color, volume and power buttons
  • Storage 32 GB3; 64 GB
  • CPU NVIDIA T30, 2 GB of RAM
  • Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology
  • Cameras Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
  • Audio Two microphones, stereo speakers
  • Ports Full-size USB 2.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, cover port
  • Sensors Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
  • Power Supply 24W power supply
  • Warranty One-year limited hardware warranty
  • Apps (included) Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview2 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote), Windows Mail and Windows Messaging, SkyDrive, Windows Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Xbox Games

Those interested in learning more or pre-ordering can visit http://www.Surface.com or follow Surface on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Surface and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/surface.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Available Touch Cover colors may vary by market.
2 Final Office version will be installed via Windows Update when available (free download, ISP fees apply). Some features and programs unsupported. See http://office.com/officeRT.
3 1 GB = 1 billion bytes; formatted storage capacity may be less.


SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

For broadcast download:Visit http://www.microsoft.com/news for b-roll clips.Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

CONTACT: Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070, rrt@waggeneredstrom.com

Web Site: http://www.microsoft.com