A few years ago, you couldn’t have paid me to switch to a tablet that cost less than $150. However, one of the great things about technology is the trickle down effect and that has changed the tablet game. Just like you can now buy an entry level car with tech that used to be exclusive to premium vehicles–like anti-lock brakes or a Bluetooth capable sound system—many entry level tablets now offer features that used to set the more expensive models apart. I just wrapped up a few days using the Insignia 8-inch Windows 8 tablet and came away impressed. This device is proof that an entry level tablet is more than capable of filling many peoples’ casual tablet needs without spending a fortune.
When it comes to tablets that convert to a laptop and back, ASUS was early to the game with its Transformer Book series. They combine a standalone tablet with a dock-able keyboard cover offering the best of both worlds. The first Transformer Books were Android only, but with the T100, the Transformer Book joined the Windows 8.1 camp. I recently spend a few weeks with one and came away convinced it’s not a bad little device for the price.
Most consumer tablets have displays in the 8-inch to 10-inch size range. Microsoft tapped the prosumer and professional market when it released the big-screen Surface Pro line of tablets that convert to a PC laptop form factor. HP—one of the world's largest PC manufacturers—offers its own take on that the 2-in-1 convertible laptop form factor. The Envy x2 13.3, a very big Windows tablet with features Surface fans will find familiar, namely a kickstand, digital pen support and a magnetically attached keyboard cover. The approach is familiar, but the Envy x2 is a different beast from the Surface Pro (and new Surface), as I found out during my review period.
We live at a time when many people are carrying around multiple devices, often including a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop. If you had to choose just one of those three as your only device, which would it be? I’m going to make the case for choosing a tablet, something I wouldn’t have thought possible a few years ago, but increasingly find myself doing these days.
Microsoft set the standard for convertible laptop PCs when it released the Surface Pro 3. But the success of the latest Surface also opened the door for competition from other PC makers. The HP Envy x2 is a great example of how this class of ultra-portables just keeps getting better. With features like an even bigger 13.3-inch display, dual BeatsAudio speakers and a backlit keyboard, the HP Envy X2 is worth a look for anyone considering a Windows 8.1 convertible PC.
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).
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.
Dual Platform Laptop/Tablet Hybrid. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The Consumer Electronics show is the place where companies bring out some of their most unique and interesting products and CES 2014 has been no exception. We had super-sized tablets from Samsung and now the latest hybrid device from Asus. The Transformer Book Duet covers a lot of ground, offering the ability to transform between a laptop and a tablet form factor. That’s nothing new (the Transformer Book pulls off a similar trick), but the new Transformer Book Duet runs Windows 8.1 as a laptop and offers the ability to run as a tablet using Windows 8.1 or Android —which you can switch between on the fly. If you can’t make up your mind between a Windows tablet, an Android tablet or a new laptop, looks like Asus has you covered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to innovative and flexible computing solutions, few companies do it better than Lenovo. The latest in its line of convertible touchscreen laptops is the aptly named Flex 15 —a device that combines a traditional notebook with the flexibility of a multitouch display that can pivot up to 300 degrees. The adjustable form factor takes full advantage of Windows 8’s multitouch interface and makes the Flex 15 a capable machine that handles a wide range of tasks from typical computing uses to presentations or viewing movies. This flexibility, its powerful 4th generation (Haswell) Core i5 processor, long battery life and big 15.6-inch display make the Flex 15 a solid choice for small business use, a home PC or for students. With its affordable price and ability to combine the functions of several devices into one, it makes an ideal gift too.
on 10-17-201309:45 AM - last edited on 10-18-201301:52 PM by BBYLaura
To celebrate the launch of our Windows stores in Best Buy locations across Canada we’re throwing a VIP launch party and we want our GTA social media and community fans to join us! All you have to do is email us at RewardZone1@bestbuycanada.ca with subject line Windows VIP and you will receive an exclusive invite for you and a guest!
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.
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.
A funny thing happened on our way to the paperless office. Not only did paper not go away, but it’s just as popular as it ever was.
What did shake things up was mobile, though. With smartphones, tablets and an increasingly connected world, being able to print from a mobile device no matter where you are is a big thing. You might receive a critical document on your smartphone while in a meeting, need to print out a contract from your laptop while in a coffee shop or want a hard copy of a product brochure you’re looking at on your tablet at home —being able to print wirelessly and easily makes things much more convenient. That’s why HP’s ePrint is such a big deal. It lets you wirelessly print on the go from your mobile device, sending your print job to HP network printers, ePrint-enabled printers and even thousands of HP public printer locations.
on 07-09-201302:30 PM - last edited on 07-17-201308:55 AM by BBYLaura
If you weren’t convinced that online security is something you should never take for granted, then the news over the past month about government monitoring of web activity and e-mail probably made you take notice. However, it’s not the government security agencies that most of us should be worrying about, it’s our day-to-day web use. We’re on PCs, tablets and smartphones doing everything from sending e-mail to updating Facebook, paying bills and buying stuff. The problem is, we’re often doing so through insecure networks, taking advantage of free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, mall, hotel room or quickly plugging in at work. Doing so leaves us vulnerable to everything from credit card theft, to having accounts hacked and online history tracked. The good news is effective security for all your web browsing needs, on all your devices, is available by running SurfEasy’s VPN (the same company that offers the SurfEasy Private Browser USB Key).
A few short months ago, Plug In previewed the Razer Edge Gaming Tablet, the first of its kind. Now it's time to take you through a hands-on demo of the product, including gameplay footage of a couple newer PC games and an old favorite. How did the Edge stand up to the test of some resource heavy games? Come in and find out.
on 05-03-201310:03 AM - last edited on 05-03-201310:07 AM by BBYJorge
May the Fourth be with you! May 4th is a big day for Star Wars fans everywhere. No, it’s not a new movie (you’ll have to wait a few more years for that to start up again), but May 4th has become an internationally celebrated day for flying your Star Wars geek flag. To help you out, here’s a collection of Star Wars-themed apps you can download and install on your tablet or smartphone.
Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a thoroughly modern take on the PC operating system, employing a radically new user interface that makes the most of touchscreen gestures. It helps to bring the desktop (and portable) PC into a new era, while offering a high degree of UI continuity between tablets, smartphones and computers. Windows 8’s highly tablet-influenced approach of colourful, Live Tiles that greet users from the new Start screen won over a lot of doubters, but at the same time this radical new look confused some longtime users. Windows 95 this isn’t. It looks as though Microsoft is planning to extend an olive branch with reports that the “Start” button is set to make a comeback when Windows 8.1 is released.
Microsoft has announced a new upgrade for its Windows 7.8 phone to make it more compatible with the W8 apps. The company has also been working with developers to beef up its store with more apps and choice for users. It all translates to a more robust experience for W8 users with plenty of choice and flexibility.
On March 22nd, Razer is set to shock the world with the release of the Edge Pro, and Best Buy will be the only place you'll find it in Canada.
A Tablet with the power and functionality of a laptop, this WIndows 8 run machine is set to change the way you look at tablets (or reconsider that next laptop purchase perhaps?) Having been put through a gauntlet of tests, the Edge Pro has been seen comfortably running PC games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Crysis 3 and Civilization V. What does it have in store for you? Check out our preview of the Razer Edge Pro Gaming Tablet.
Whether you’ve chosen a Windows PC, a Mac, a desktop system or a notebook, you should be taking advantage of the cloud. Think of all the files you have sitting on your computer, tablet or smartphone right now: movies, music, photos, documents, spreadsheets —you name it. There are probably thousands of them. The cloud isn’t just the easiest and cheapest way to back up all these files, it’s also the way to share them or access them from other computers.
Anyone who has a tablet knows how addicting it can be, and I’m not talking about just playing Angry Birds. Want to rent an HD movie? Pick up your tablet, give it a few taps, and then grab the popcorn. Need to do some quick shopping while on the go? Just open up your favourite site and fill up your cart.
But tablets can do so much more than just watching movies and shopping. Because I’ve had a tablet in my collection of gadgets for 2 years, I know a thing or two about optimizing it so it does everything I thought it would (and a few things I had no idea it could!)
Last June, we were all asking “What is Microsoft Surface?” after the company best known for Windows, Office and the Xbox 360 staged a surprise entry into the tablet market with its Surface duo. The Surface RT has been out for a few months and the Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro —the tablet aimed at business and power users— is set to land on February 9. We’ve got the specs, prices and what to expect from a tablet that runs PC software.
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