Heading off to college or university is an exciting time. And if you’re planning to live in a dorm room, it means stocking up on all of the gear you’ll need for the shared living space. When it comes to a display device, one wouldn’t even think of a tablet as being a full-on TV replacement. But when you consider that your home base will be such small living quarters, this becomes a real consideration. And there are advantages for each technology when it comes to both productivity and entertainment.
I recently took the time to visit Microsoft’s first ever Surface Café on Toronto’s Queen Street West. You can read about the session I attended where DC comic book artist (and the guy who currently draws Batman) Francis Manapul showed how Microsoft’s new tablet has become an integral part of his digital workflow. But I wasn’t just at the Surface Café for demonstrations and to see how the Surface Pro 3 went over with an audience largely comprised of creative professionals. This was my chance to get my hands on a Surface Pro 3 to see if it lives up to Microsoft’s claims of being the tablet that can replace your laptop. Here’s what I thought of it.
Last weekend I spent a few hours at the first-ever Microsoft Surface Café. Held at a hip pop-up venue on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West, the tagline for the event was: “Where creativity comes together.” The workshop I attended on Saturday was headlined by Francis Manapul —the guy who’s currently drawing Batman. He was onstage drawing Batman … and the Joker … using nothing but a Surface Pro 3. If you happen to be in the Montreal area next weekend, Microsoft is opening a Surface Café in that city starting on June 26 and is currently taking applications to attend the creative seminars. If the Toronto version was any indication, there will be some fascinating sessions (along with free coffee and Surface cookies).
Now that Microsoft is offering a version of its ubiquitous Office productivity suite for the iPad, Apple's tablets are even closer to being a device that can be used for getting serious work done. Mouse support and multi-window functionality in a future iOS version would be nice, but with a decent Bluetooth wireless keyboard, an iPad does a pretty good job these days. I took one of the best-known iPad keyboard solutions for a test run and was impressed by just how good the experience can be. The ZAGGkeys Folio not only offers a compelling Bluetooth keyboard, but it mounts it in a clamshell enclosure that transforms the iPad into an ultra-portable laptop. How well does the ZAGGkeys Folio work? I wrote this post (over 1,000 words) using a ZAGGkeys Folio and my iPad Mini with Retina Display and it was virtually as fast as my usual PC-based writing setup.
Mobile electronics like smartphones and tablets are great, but it doesn’t matter who makes them, they all share one weak spot: the display. That big, bright screen is prone to scratches and with touch operation, it’s a magnet for fingerprints. Annoying as they are, the smudges can at least be cleaned off, but once your display is scratched, it’s scratched. The only real option you have is to replace it —and that is an expensive proposition. The ZAGG Invisible Shield Glass is an ultrathin slab of tempered glass you apply on top of your display for complete protection against scratches and resistance to fingerprints. I tested out versions for the iPad Mini with Retina Display and iPad Air and ZAGG Invisible Shield Glass is now on my must-have list for future device purchases.
Microsoft held a press event in New York today and while all the buzz was around the possibility of a smaller Surface tablet, Microsoft went the opposite direction. The Surface Pro 3 was unveiled and instead of shrinking, Microsoft’s latest professional tablet got bigger. At 12-inches, it rivals the Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, but uses a fourth generation Intel Haswell processor to run Windows 8.1 Pro. Despite the massive display, it’s thin, lightweight and Microsoft is positioning it as not just a tablet, but a full-fledged laptop replacement.
Let your tween share all her fun moments with the SELPHY CP910 printer from Canon. This compact and portable printer is designed to print out all those selfies, instagram and smartphone photos using a wireless connection.
Get all those cherished photos out of the phone and into your photo albums or scrapbook . It’s the perfect gift for the tween girl in your life. Hand this over and you'll be the cool adult in her life.
Samsung has been on a tablet roll lately. The company leads the Android tablet pack and with 20 percent of all tablets sold worldwide in 2013 and the crown as the biggest tablet maker is within reach. Earlier this year, I reviewed three of Samsung’s PRO model tablets. Those were awesome products for those in the market for a high end device, but Samsung is also paying attention to those who don’t necessarily need an ultra high resolution 359 ppi display or the latest screaming fast mobile processor. This time we take a preview look at the Galaxy Tab 4 range, a new trio of Android tablets from Samsung aimed squarely at the casual use crowd.
One of the cool aspects of this job is being able to try out a hotly anticipated new device before it’s officially available. What’s even cooler is when a manufacturer sends you a whole box of new gadgets to review. That was the case when I cracked open the shipment from Samsung to find the new Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 and Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 tablets. You can buy all three now at Best Buy, but I had the opportunity to get to know them before they hit the shelves. While I was especially impressed by the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 (with its massive 12.2-inch, four million pixel display), all three PRO models are likely to please Android tablet fans, and offer a solid choice for prosumers and those looking for a business-friendly option.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung unveiled new Pro series tablets: the Galaxy NotePro and Galaxy TabPro. All four tablets share a number of common features like a high resolution (WQXGA) 2560 x 1600 pixel TFT LCD display, 8 megapixel rear camera, and Android 4.4 (KitKat). So which of these tablets is the right one for you, the Galaxy NotePro or the Galaxy TabPro? Here’s a breakdown of some of the key differences between the two and the target market for each.
When it comes to e-readers and tablets, Kobo has grown from an underdog competing against the Kindle to a leading manufacturer that also happens to operate a top notch e-bookstore. The current line-up of Kobo Arc tablets is particularly attractive, offering performance, brilliant high resolution displays, full access to Android apps and combined this with Kobo’s e-book expertise. Kobo has positioned the Arc line as the best tablet choice for readers. But which Kobo Arc is the right choice for you? In this post, I explore the differences between the Kobo Arc 7HD, Kobo Arc 10HD and the Kobo Arc 7.
on 01-10-201401:23 PM - last edited on 01-10-201404:35 PM by BBYMartin
This year’s CES is over today and it has been a great showcase for TV, Smartphone, tablet, computer, and a myriad of other technologies. With all this technology, the irony is that Apple did not launch anything, Google was not exhibiting, and Microsoft can’t be found on the show room floor either. Although these heavy hitters aren’t there, a lot of other major players did use the opportunity to introduce new product lines. CES is also a great opportunity to launch novelty products and prototypes of all sorts. I found some over-the-top innovations and have to wonder if they will ever trickle down to the everyday consumer.
Your smartphone and tablet aren’t just for playing games, surfing the web, watching movies or updating Facebook —although the mobile devices are pretty awesome at any of these tasks. You can also put your favourite gadget to work saving you money. Here’s an overview of five apps that will make you feel even better about your smartphone or tablet in 2014 because that slab of glass, plastic and metal is putting money back in your pocket.
Over the holidays, thoughts turn to family. Chances are, you have family scattered across the country and maybe even around the globe. Being able to spend time with the ones we love isn’t always possible —at least not physically. But thanks to the technology we’re carrying with us every day, it’s easier than ever to keep your family close. Whether that’s taking advantage of Skype to video conference using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, updating Facebook or sharing your photos online, keeping your distant friends and family close is more practical, spontaneous and engaging than a long distance phone call could ever be. So take advantage of your gear’s built-in capabilities to make 2014 the year you reconnect and stay connected.
Most full-sized Android tablets tend to fall into one of two camps: the inexpensive models with last year’s CPU and a low resolution display, or the pricer flagship models that offer fast, quad-core processors and high resolution displays that are now pushing beyond HD. Kobo, the company best known for its impressive line of e-readers (like the Aura HD, my current fav) has been working on its tablet chops too and its line-up this year includes the Kobo Arc 10HD, a full-sized Android tablet with a powerful quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and a brilliant 2560 x 1600 display. This tablet offers an affordable price that puts it in the first camp, but impressive specs that have it firmly in the second. The Arc 10HD has some weak spots, but for many people its performance, price and reading chops make it well worth considering over more expensive Android competitors.
I’ve recently reviewed several Windows 8 tablets, both the RT variety (Microsoft’s own Surface 2) and a Windows 8.1 version in the form of Sony’s VAIO Tap 11. While Windows 8 and its touch-friendly tile interface shines on a tablet, one of my primary complaints about Windows tablets has been their size and weight. Because of their focus on productivity, Windows tablets embrace the larger form factor —makes sense. Still, I think the platform suffered for not having a smaller option to compete with 7-inch Android tablets in terms of cost and portability. Dell has stepped up to fill that need and with a full Windows 8 (as opposed to RT) tablet no less, The Dell Venue 8 Pro. If you’ve been holding off until you could get a tablet running Windows 8.1 you can hold in one hand, with an HD display, 32GB of built-in storage, all-day battery life —along with Microsoft Office pre-installed— look no further than Best Buy, where you can try out the compact yet powerful Dell Venue 8 Pro.
Stuck on your holiday gift list? Getting down to the final weeks and panic is beginning to set in? No worries, technology can bail your out. The hottest gifts of 2013 can be found at Best Buy and whether you’re shopping for someone who finds a smartphone too small and a tablet too big (the perfect phablet candidate!), a video game aficionado looking for the best of the next generation video game consoles or a home automation fan, we’ve got you covered with these high tech gift suggestions.
If you happen to be a fan of comic books –and judging from the number of superhero movies tearing up the box office in the past decade, that covers a lot of people— you can turn your Android tablet into the ultimate mobile comic book reader, library and storefront. The big, high resolution display of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Sony Xperia Tablet Z or a new Kobo Arc 10 make comics come to life in brilliant colour and detail. You can carry literally thousands of titles around with you, buy new ones on demand (even at 3am on a Sunday if you need your Hulk fix) and unlike the dead tree, paper versions, no matter how many times you read a digital comic book, it remains in mint condition. Even if you eat pizza while doing so! Advantage digital.
byBradMoon11-21-201307:09 AM - edited 11-21-201307:09 AM
Not everyone loves Microsoft’s touch-centric, tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system, but regardless of how you feel about the new Windows, you have to admit that it’s led to some very interesting new products from PC manufacturers. Convertible laptops, tablets running Windows and various hybrids abound these days. The new Sony VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC is one of those interesting devices made possible by Windows 8. The machine is basically Sony’s take on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 2. It’s a tablet powered by an Intel Core i5-4210Y CPU, with a big and bright 11.6-inch display that wouldn’t look out of place on an Ultrabook. It runs Windows 8, it’s compatible with standard Windows PC software like Microsoft Office and packs a fast 128 GB SSD for storage. It has a keyboard —one that’s wireless instead of attached and doubles as a protective cover. In short, in the VAIO Tap 11 Sony has released a Windows 8 device that packs the power of a PC in a tablet form factor, that’s less than 1 cm thick. Read on to find out if it fulfills the promise of covering off both your tablet and portable PC needs.
It’s been just over a year since Microsoft made the move of getting into the tablet business, releasing a mobile version of Windows that supports ARM-based processors (Windows RT) and its own line of tablet hardware: the Surface RT and Surface Pro. A few months ago, the company introduced new versions of both tablets. I’ve spent the past week using the new Surface 2 (Microsoft decided to drop the “RT” from the model designation this time around) and I can report that it’s an attractive device with good performance. But so are dozens of competing tablets. Is the Surface 2 worth considering over its rivals? Read the full Surface 2 review to find out.
byBradMoon11-13-201310:21 AM - edited 11-13-201310:22 AM
All signs are pointing to tablets being the hottest gift this holiday season. Chances are, there’s someone on your list who has a tablet on their wish list. But which one to choose? Android is the dominant tablet platform (it now represents 65 percent of all tablets sold and Google’s app store is officially the world’s biggest), while Microsoft’s Windows has made big gains —especially for those who want a tablet for productivity. Here are four picks to cover off some of the most common tablet user types: the gamer, the worker, the casual user and the bargain shopper.
There’s a rumour that’s been going around for, oh, I don’t know —a few centuries at least— that says men don’t listen when their wives drop hints about what they’d like as a gift. Personally, I don’t think this is usually intentional. It’s just as likely to be a case of misinterpretation. It’s entirely possible that your wife, girlfriend or partner has been trying to offer up hints for the holidays, but they’ve been so subtle that you’ve either missed them or just plain guessed wrong. We’re here to help you out with five examples of holiday gifts for women that show you listened, including Kobo’s Arc 10HD tablet for the woman who says she loves to read.
byBradMoon09-27-201311:15 AM - edited 09-28-201303:44 PM
When I reviewed the Kobo Aura HD back in May, I loved that e-reader’s ClarityScreen display, ComfortLight screen illumination and the TypeGenius feature that made fonts seem infinitely adjustable. Kobo has now released another new e-reader, the Aura, that retains key features that made the Aura HD the best e-reader on the market, while addressing that device’s primary drawbacks: price and a smooth plastic back that could be a slippery fingerprint magnet. It’s also much more compact than the super-sized Aura HD, employing a traditional 6-inch display size for a pocketable form factor. Look for the new Kobo Aura to be available at Best Buy any day now. And only one day after publication, the Kobo Aura is already available online and in store at Best Buy.
Your smartphone is an amazing device. If you bought it recently, you’re looking at a piece of technology with a display resolution that rivals your HDTV, computing power that would beat a high end laptop from only a few years ago, enough battery capacity to run most of the day without being near an electrical outlet and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. But smartphones —and tablets, for that matter— get even better once you start adding apps. There are free apps and premium apps, but few cost more than a dollar or two so starting a collection isn’t expensive. The tough part is choosing which ones to go with, especially now that some app stores are closing in on the one million mark. “Must-have” is a personal thing, but here’s our crack at a collection of 10 apps that virtually any smartphone (or tablet) owner will benefit from installing.
It was just over a year ago that Microsoft dropped the surprise announcement that it was getting into the tablet business, introducing the Surface RT and Surface Pro. Since then, Microsoft has focused on filling out its app store, working on updates to Windows 8 and Windows RT and —it turns out— revamping that original Surface hardware. The new tablets were unveiled today. Both the Surface 2 (the consumer-focused model dropped the “RT” from its name) and the Surface Pro 2 retain the same form factor as their predecessors, but gain significant spec upgrades. The innovative Touch Cover and Type Cover that Microsoft introduced alongside the new tablets have also been improved for 2013 and new accessories have also been introduced, including a dock for the Surface Pro.
Samsung just wrapped up its Unpack event at IFA 2013 in Berlin and along with refreshed versions of its Galaxy Note “phablet” and Note 10.1 tablet —the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), respectively— the company unveiled one of the most eagerly anticipated gadgets of the year. The Galaxy Gear Smartwatch is real and we’re hoping to see it in Canada in the October timeframe.
byBradMoon08-30-201310:47 AM - edited 08-30-201310:48 AM
With kids of all ages heading back to school, the question of a laptop is on the minds of many parents. Do they need one? How powerful should it be? Does it need to be a Mac or a Windows PC? Would a tablet do instead? The technology can be overwhelming, there are seemingly endless choices to make and the wrong call can be expensive. I’ve put together a FAQ about back-to-school laptop shopping that covers off some of the most commonly asked questions. And if you have one that’s not in the FAQ, put it in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out.
When Microsoft launched Windows 8 last fall, it knew it was running the risk of alienating some users. Windows 8 —with its tablet-inspired interface– was designed to bridge the gap between PC and mobile operating systems and this meant upsetting the status quo. If you’ve installed Windows 8 and found some of the features aren’t quite to your liking, or if you’ve been scared off of making the switch after reading about the confusion some users have experienced, take heart. Microsoft has been listening. The preview version of Windows 8.1 is available now (a free upgrade for Windows 8 users is schedule for an October release). The latest Windows version improves on some features, adds some brand new functionality and yes, Windows 8.1 features the long-awaited return of the Start button.
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