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All posts tagged "slate"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Waterfield Design's iPad 2 Suede Jacket Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

To watch in full screen 1080p, please click on the video title and go over to YouTube.

This is my review of the Waterfield Design iPad 2 Suede Jacket. It's a simple product that works exceptionally well - if you're looking for a simple sleeve for your iPad 2, this is an affordable, effective product. The Ultrasuede is extremely soft and will protect your iPad from scratches and scuffs - but of course won't protect it from anything more than that. The pouch on the back is handy for carrying a few iPad accessories, and with prices starting at $19, it's an affordable option. If you're looking for a simple, lightweight way to protect your iPad v1 or iPad v2 - with or without a Smart Cover - I highly recommend the iPad 2 Suede Jacket.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, his wonderful son Logan, and his sometimes obedient dog. He's surprised how much he uses his iPad 2.

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review Team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? Then click here for more information.

DecalGirl and GelaSkins: Different Levels of iPad Protection

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 AM

Remember that awesome skin above that I posted about a month or so ago? Well, I decided to swap the iPad 2 32 GB for a 64 GB model - my local Apple Store made it incredibly easy for me, allowing me to keep the 32 GB iPad until the 64 GB models came back into stock (which was an extra two weeks). Even though Apple email support can sometimes be downright creepy, I've had mostly good experiences inside the Apple store. Back to the skin: I removed the Wolverine skin (which came from GelaSkins) and left it for a few hours, hoping it would restore some of it's original form. Read more...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Latest Android from Archos: The 101 Internet Tablet

Posted by Anjuan Simmons in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

Product Category: Android Tablet
Manufacturer: Archos
Where to Buy: Expansys
Price: $299.99 (8 GB), $349.99 (16 GB)
Specifications: 10.5 inch 1024x600 Touchscreen, Android 2.2, Front-facing Camera (1.3 MP), 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, 8 GB Onboard Memory, Micro SD Card slot, 4,000 mA battery, 1.0 Ghz AP S5PC110 Processor, Bluetooth 2.1


  • Large screen;
  • Multiple connectivity options (USB, micro-USB, HDMI);
  • Great battery life.


  • Limited viewing angles;
  • Poor camera;
  • Has difficulty handling processor intensive apps.

Summary: The latest Android tablet from Archos offers a 10 inch screen, a panoply of ports (USB, Micro-USB, Mini-HDMI, and more), and enough battery life to get you through the day. However, it lacks the processing power of more expensive models and also has one or two fatal flaws such as a low resolution front-facing camera. Is the Archos worth the investment of your hard earned money, or should you wait for another entrant into the mid-range tablet field? Check out my review and see for yourself! Read more...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tablets For Real Work? If You Keep Your Expectations In Check, Yes

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Last week I did something for the first time: I took my iPad 2, my Apple Bluetooth keyboard, and a pair of headphones - nothing else - and went to my local library to do some writing work. Read more...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Android 3.1 Tested and Found Worthy

Posted by Kevin Jackson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"Put simply, Android 3.1 makes Honeycomb feel like a finished product, making it a much more worthy competitor to iOS on the iPad. It's more stable, provides increased usability with expandable widgets, and lets you access more recently used apps than before. We also appreciate the improved web browsing and Flash performance. And with the introduction of movie rentals, the Android Market is finally starting to catch up to iTunes in terms of multimedia content. The Android Market still needs a lot more apps, but Android 3.1 provides a much better foundation for anyone considering a Google-powered tablet than its predecessor."

Laptop Magazine gives Honeycomb 3.1 a pretty thorough evaluation and comes to the conclusion that 3.1 is a mature, ready-for-prime-time tablet OS. Is this the OS that will not only push Android into the tablet mainstream, but give iOS a run for its money? Only time will tell, but the future is looking bright for the little green guy in his bumblebee suit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

HTC Takes a Flyer With Their New Tablet

Posted by Kevin Jackson in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"Yes, we're talking about the 7-inch Flyer, the most unique of this year's Android tablet offerings, opting for a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a sturdy aluminum construction that doesn't even try to compete in the race for extreme thinness, and a Magic Pen to make you forget it's running Gingerbread and not Honeycomb (yet). Also set for release under the EVO View 4G moniker on Sprint in the US, this tablet is the sum of a set of bold choices on the part of HTC."

HTC has really made a name for themselves in the Android marketplace, coming up with some innovative designs and features and their Flyer tablet is no exception. Check out this review to see if it's the right tablet for you. As far as I'm concerned, this one is right up there on my wish list.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Head to Head Battle: iPad 2 vs. Motorola XOOM

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Motorola XOOM" @ 07:30 AM

This is a head to head comparison video between the Android 3.0 Honeycomb-based Motorola XOOM and the iOS 4-based Apple iPad 2. Each tablet has pros and cons, and I discuss my findings after using both of them for a while. Chime in with your own thoughts!

Engadget Reviews the HTC Flyer: 12 Hours of Battery Life? Yowzers!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 06:00 AM

"Over the past couple of years, HTC has rapidly built up an enviable reputation (and bank balance) in the smartphone space with a succession of feature-rich, smartly designed, and innovative handsets...Today, the company's Android assembly line is turning out yet another groundbreaking device, though this one's closer in size to the Athena than the Aria. Yes, we're talking about the 7-inch Flyer, the most unique of this year's Android tablet offerings, opting for a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a sturdy aluminum construction that doesn't even try to compete in the race for extreme thinness, and a Magic Pen to make you forget it's running Gingerbread and not Honeycomb (yet)."

I have a soft spot in my heart for HTC products - I've watched this scrappy company grow from being a fairy small ODM making Pocket PCs for the likes of HP to being a powerful phone brand making phones for practically every carrier in the world. It was with great interest that I read this review of the HTC Flyer, because I've been wondering how this latest foray into the bigger-than-a-phone world would go for them this time. This isn't their first time at the plate - remember the HTC Advantage? Or the HTC Shift? Both were products that had a gem of awesomeness at their core but were ultimately limited by the hardware at the time.

So did the Flyer do any better? Yes and no. I was relieved - and quite impressed - that the battery life of the Flyer was tested at being 12 hours. There were rumours for the past couple of months that they battery life on the Flyer was a meagre four hours...I read it time and time again in forum comments, Tweets, etc. Why HTC didn't step up and correct this fallacy is beyond me - I was initially quite interested in the Flyer because I'm a fan of the 7 inch tablet form factor, but when I read about the four hour battery life I immediately axed this from my list of potential non-iPad 2 options.

It looks like the HTC is a strong contender in a field of competition - can it stand out, and can HTC slim it down in the next generation?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 Inch HTC "Puccini" Tablet on the Way?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:00 AM

That itty-bitty picture above is supposedly an image of the forthcoming 10 inch HTC tablet, code-named "Puccini". The rumour is that this tablet will be one of the first to work on AT&T's forthcoming LTE network, making it a true 4G device. Nothing is known of the specs, though one can safely assume it's based on Android Honeycomb 3.x and will very likely feature the same HTC Sense interface we saw on the Flyer. My hope? That it gets into the 10 hour battery life range that has become the norm for tablets of this size - the four hour battery life of the HTC Flyer kept me from even considering that tablet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motorola's XOOM: Promising, But Not Ready For Prime Time

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Motorola XOOM" @ 08:00 AM

At first I was somewhat paralyzed. Then I pulled the trigger on the XOOM and I unboxed it. And now it's time for the review!

Here's the rundown on the hardware: this version of the XOOM has 32 GB of storage and no integrated 3G/4G; like other XOOMs, it has 1 GB of RAM, a microSD card slot (that unfortunately doesn't work right now), Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, a 5 megapixel rear camera with dual xeon flashes, and a 2 megapixel front camera. The 10.1 inch screen is 1280 x 800 resolution, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack - along with a microHDMI connector for video out, and a microUSB connector for synchronization. It has a special power connector though and won't charge over USB. It weighs in at 681 grams (1.5 pounds), and is 249 mm across, 168mm tall, and 12.9mm thin.

Now, on to the two-part review!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things Amazon's Possibly-Forthcoming Tablet Must Have to Beat the iPad

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"All signs point to an Android-based tablet coming soon from Amazon. There are reports that it's already in production for a fall launch, and Amazon has gone on a hiring spree for Android developers. It makes sense. The Nook Color just got a nice upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo, turning the device into a fully-functional tablet for just $250."

Most of these fall into the "no brainer" category, but if Amazon can deliver a tablet that offers an attractive design, reasonable performance, and an easy-to-swallow price tag, they could have a hit on their hands. Amazon has had a near-perfect execution with the Kindle - they achieved great mindshare, have evolved the product over three iterations, and have a powerful ecosystem for selling products. If anyone can deliver an Android tablet that really rocks, it just might be Amazon!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sony Tablets Fail to Impress

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

"Sony just announced out two new tablets. Announced that is, of course and there is just the promise that the products will likely be on the market by the end of the year, which is a sure sign that they will be old news when they finally arrive in stores. They seem to repeat the mistakes Sony, and others, made during the iPod wars and we know how that turned out. Sony got its ass kicked along with pretty much everyone else."

Let us all feel sorry for Sony. They just do not seem to be able to catch a break lately. Aside from certain security issues they are dealing with righ tnow, it seems as if their newly launched S1 and S2 tablets are not getting much love. The S1 and S2 certainly look interesting, but I double that they will get much traction among consumers. I have seen many impressive products come from Sony. The one I remember most is their VAIO UX series. Like the S1 and S2, the UX series was really ultra-mobile and portable. Unfortunately, it never really caught on, and Sony seems to have gone from one unpopular idea to another. Maybe someday, one of them will stick!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Acer Offers its Own Tablet Love with the Iconia Tab 500

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 10:00 AM

"Priced at $449--$50 lower than the iPad 2--this slickly designed 10.1-inch Honeycomb slate features a brushed-metal design and a full-size USB port, plus Nvidia's powerful Tegra 2 processor. But can this tablet stand out in a field that's already crowded with devices bearing the same OS and specs?"

Hooray for tablets! If you will recall, a few years ago, everyone and their brother was offering netbooks. Over the past year, we have seen many different tablets spring up, but only recently has the main OS for them, Android (Yes, iOS is THE tablet OS right now, but Apple does not license its OS to other manufacturers) come out with a version that is tuned to the needs of a tablet user. With all these choices, what is the best one? It looks like it will come down to personal preference. Just like how the notebook market is saturated right now, the Android tablet market is going to have dozens of choices, most with similar capabilities, and all you have to do is figure out which one feels nicer to you.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Selling Out Everywhere

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:13 AM

"At the tail end of last month, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Best Buy listing appeared then disappeared for the Eee Pad Transformer tablet from ASUS. It U.S. release had been set for April, and now the Pad Transformer is here, and completely sold out at any major online retailer you can think of, including Amazon and Best Buy."

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer is one of the more interesting Android-based tablets: it brings a lot of of hardware to the table, including a clever keyboard dock that boosts battery life to an estimated 16 hours of run time. Any Laptop Thoughts readers try and fail to get one?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Asus Eee PC Transformer: This Thing Looks Killer!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 02:00 PM

I can't say much for Asus' marketing tag line on the Transformer - "My Multiple Life, I decide" sounds like a bad translation of bottle of Chinese bipolar disorder drug - but the device itself is shaping up to me quite least on paper. It has all of the standard goodness that we've come to expect from a modern Android tablet - the NVIDIA Tegra 2 1 Ghz dual-core CPU, 1080p playback support, a nice 10.1 inch IPS display running 1280 x 800 resolution, 16 Gb or 32 GB of storage, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front camera, and the usual assortment of sensors (G-Sensor, Light, Gyroscope, E-Compass, GPS).

What's really interesting about the Transformer is the fact that it docks with a keyboard that takes the 9.5 hour battery run-time and boosts it to an impressive 16 hours. If those are real numbers, and not inflated marketing numbers, this tablet will be an amazing breakthrough for people who need a device with incredible endurance. The fact that it has two USB ports, and an SD card reader in the keyboard base station, make it all the more tempting.

The best hardware in the world though won't make up for a lack of tablet-friendly applications, and based on my experience so far with the Motorola XOOM, this is a significant problem. I can only hope that as more Android 3.0 tablets come to market, developers will take note and gear up their coding efforts.

The Blackberry Playbook Review, Joshua Topolsky Style

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 12:00 PM

"To say that the BlackBerry PlayBook - and a review of the PlayBook - is something of an anticipated event would be an understatement. From the first moment the tech community caught wind (and sight) of Research In Motion's first foray into the tablet world, everyone seems to be on pins and needles. It's not just that another company is making a charge at Apple's iPad - it's also that RIM has been in something of a bind lately. The once-unassailable company has watched marketshare slinking away in the direction of iOS and Android, due at least in part to a current crop of devices and new OS which leave much to be desired. But RIM hasn't been sitting still, either; the Canadian phone-maker has been snapping up software companies like QNX and the impressive UI team of TAT, all in service of supercharging the next lifecycle of BlackBerry products. And the PlayBook is the... ahem, fruits of those labors."

If anyone was wondering if Joshua Topolsky's excellent reviews would still be coming after he left Engadget, wonder no more: his review of the Blackberry Playbook is insightful and very detailed. Reading it, I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised: I frankly didn't hold very high hopes for the Playbook, if only because historically RIM has proven they're reluctant to change and modernize; every time I use a Blackberry, underneath the thin veneer of shiny graphics and icons, I see a UI that looks like it came from a paper in the '90s. RIM has always seem stuck in the past to me, but no more: the Playbook has a lot of impressive UI chops going for it.

Unfortunately, the impressive UI and performance can't make up for the lack of apps - and we're not just talking a lack of third party apps, because the Playbook ships without a calendar, contact, or email app of it's own. You can only get access to your PIM data - including email - by synching it with a Blackberry phone. How insane is that? Very insane. RIM has shipped the Playbook in an even more unfinished state than Motorola did with the XOOM...and that's saying a lot!

Motorola's XOOM Slate: Unboxing and First Impressions

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 07:00 AM

Last week I picked up a Motorola XOOM WiFi edition. The XOOM was announced with much fanfare at CES 2011, and while it was heralded as the best hope for challenging the juggernaut that is the iPad, a few things have soured since then.

First, that when Motorola first shipped the device through Verizon in the USA, it would cost a hefty $800 if you got it without a Verizon contract - but you couldn't use the WiFi on it until you paid for at least one month of Verizon's data service (which was $50 or so, making the price $850). What? Yeah, exactly! Then it was revealed that the XOOM would start to ship without the ability to play back Flash, which was one of the original advantages over the iPad - you can download Flash now of course, but at launch this key element was missing. The first tablet to offer 4G would also only offer it after the user shipped it back to Motorola for a hardware upgrade - oh, and the microSD card slot still doesn't work to this day (a future firmware upgrade will fix that). More than a few negatives!

In Canada the XOOM is $599, Flash is available in the marketplace, and lacks the cellular radio, so there's no need to ship it back. So, other than the non-functional microSD card slot, the XOOM I bought is in slightly better shape right out of the gate than the XOOM people bought from Verizon in February. Read more...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Motorola XOOM Purchased: Let's See if It's a Keeper

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 04:06 PM

Paralysis broken. I just got back from Best Buy an hour ago, and this is what I brought home with me. I played with it for a minute in the store, but I'm banking heavily on Best Buy's excellent return policy: I want to use this thing extensively for a couple of weeks and see if it's what I want in a tablet. If not, iPad 2 here I come. Heading off to shoot a video of this thing for it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tablet Paralysis: Which One Do I Choose?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 09:00 AM

I've been pondering getting a tablet since the first iPad was introduced, but I'm not generally the kind of person who buys a piece of technology and then figures out if I have a good use for it. I'm still not sure how useful I'll find a tablet, but I figure it's worth finding out since this is the beginning of a large wave in mobile computing...I can't just sit it out.

Long-time readers know there are some things about the way Apple does business that really irk me, so it doesn't take much for me to consider products outside the Apple ecosystem if they're viable. When it comes to tablets, that's easier said than done. I find myself leaning fairly heavily toward the iPad 2, but then an email came my way that changed things... Read more...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The HTC Flyer Detailed in Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:10 AM

"Introducing the HTC Flyer -- the big screen that's small enough to hold in your hand. The premium unibody construction looks great and feels solid in your hand, while still keeping the weight to less than a paperback book. Plus, it does most things your PC can -- and more!"

Although I feel a bit leery about HTC's new non-Honeycomb tablet from a will-they-upgrade-the-software perspective, there's a lot to like about this tablet. I've always been fond of the HTC Sense UI, and this tablet at 7" seems to hit a sweet spot for portability and productivity. Best Buy will be selling the WiFi only version via Best Buy in the spring, but no firm details on pricing just yet. This one has my attention though!

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