Asus VivoTab Note 8 – now available on Microsoft’s store for $329

ASUS VivoTab Note 8 M80T Touchscreen Tablet  microsoft storeBuilding a little momentum with their Windows 8.1 offerings, Microsoft now sells Asus’ mini tablet, and the price is pretty reasonable.

$329 gets you an 8″ screen powered by an Intel Atom quad-core and 2GB of RAM running a full version of Windows 8.1, giving consumers yet another reason to ignore Windows RT. 32GB of storage on board, but with the full OS and recovery partition, a good chunk of that wont be available to consumers. You’ll probably want to opt for a memory card as VivoTab accepts MicroSD upgrading. A 5MP rear camera is on board. You’ll also get Microsoft Office Home & Student, which usually retails for $140.

Plus, this budget friendly tab comes with a Wacom stylus for precision selection and pressure sensitive drawing. It makes the VivoTab a handy all-rounder, and an interesting alternative to the Android and iOS solutions available.

Asus VivoTab (Microsoft Store)

#ATTDevSummit: AT&T Brings Asus Padfone X to USA

20140106_103127_3I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Asus has experimented with phone and tablet modular systems for a couple years now. Turning Android tablets into laptops, and phones into tablets. Padfone X marks the first Asus modular solution officially supported by an LTE equipped North American carrier.

Padfone merges a 5” 1080p smartphone with a 9” tablet shell. Dock your phone into the tablet, and the services on your phone are instantly transported to a larger screen. A helpful benefit as you can now support a phone experience and a tablet experience over AT&T LTE with only one data plan.

While specific hardware details are slim, we know it will arrive with Android 4.4 KitKat, and it will be one of the first to support AT&T’s LTE Advanced network rollout and HD Voice.

More info at: http://ATT.com/padfonex

Asus-PadFone-2

SomeGadgetGuy’s 2013 Holiday Tablet Buying Guide!

ipad miniTis the season for shiny new glowing rectangles! Tablets are proving to be all the rage this year, and if you were thinking of shopping one for a loved one (or for yourself you cheeky bugger you), here’s the scoop on our favorite computing slabs.

Apple: iPad Mini ($399)

Ok. This one’s easy. The iPad Air is the big dog, but the Mini now sports a proper retina display and pretty much the same processor guts as its big brother. The Mini is a touch easier to leave the house with thanks to its smaller form factor, and you’ll save yourself a cool $100 opting for the little iPad over the bigger one. Thankfully that wont come with a performance deficit. This is likely going to be one of the hottest sellers of the year, so make sure you get that pre-order in before it goes on sale later this month if you want to secure a place in line.

Apple announces iPad Mini.

Microsoft: Nokia Lumia 2520 ($499, available later this month)

WP_20131024_19_19_31_ProWe’re restricting our discussion here to Windows RT powered devices. Microsoft is doing a great job of blurring the lines between proper PC’s and consumer tablets, but keeping the playing field equal here, we’re looking at ARM powered portable devices not X86. Sorry Surface Pro and Sony Tap.

The Surface 2 might be Microsoft’s example of what Windows RT should resemble, but Nokia looks like they might take the cake. The Lumia 2520 runs $50 more than the Surface 2, but it comes with LTE built in. Activate it on a carrier which supports it, and you can count on ultra-fast data anywhere you have cell service. To put it into perspective, for $499 you could get a WiFi only iPad Air with 16GB of storage (and no ability to add more storage), or you could get a Lumia 2520 with LTE, 32GB of storage, MicroSD card slot, and a proper USB port.

Microsoft’s OS is still geared a little more towards “work” than “play” but we should see the app ecosystem improve radically once Windows Phone and Windows RT merge early next year (Power Keyboard shown in this pic sold separately).

Hands on with the Lumia 2520!

Android: Tie – Samsung Note 10.1 2014 Edition ($599) vs Asus Google Nexus 7 ($229)

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-10.1-2014Sorry folks. I really tried. It was just too much of a Sophie’s choice to declare one clear winner. Thankfully these two exist at POLAR OPPOSITES of the Android spectrum. Samsung takes an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to their devices and the Note 10.1 is audacious.

An incredible WQXGA (2560×1600) display exceeds the iPad by almost a million pixels, 32GB of on board storage plus a memory card slot, the ability to use two apps at the same time, Samsung’s excellent S-Pen stylus, and an IR port to use it as a huge universal remote for your TV. It’s a premium experience at a premier price point.

nexus 7 FHD side angle 2013Contrast that with with Google’s market disrupting Nexus 7. Asus helped Goog build out a high end mini-tablet with solid specs, and the two are offering it up at a price usually reserved for “disposable” gear. A 1080p HD screen paired up with a mid-range Qualcomm quad-core and 16GB of storage. You wont get some of the bells and whistles like expandable storage or an IR port, but it’s hard to be disappointed when you consider the bang for buck.

Honorable Mention: Kindles Galore

kindle paperwhite second generation ereader review somegadgetguy (3)So each ecosystem has its strengths and weaknesses, and there’s a lot of overlap.

If you’re an Amazon junky however, a Kindle Fire might be the content consumption platform for you. Powerful specs, great screens, and Amazon prices them low to encourage you to buy music, books, apps, and movies through their online shopping portals.

Lastly, if books are your thing, never underestimate the value of a proper digital ink eReader.

Those are our picks for the year! Did we miss your favorite slate? Is there another tablet which you think is better? Leave us a comment below.

New ChromeBooks unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum sporting Haswell

chromebookPeople who track computer sales estimate that nearly a quarter of all computers sold under $300 are ChromeBooks. Google’s browser based cloud OS is eagerly chewing into the market formerly occupied by Windows based netbooks. It’s easy to see why, as ChromeOS runs smoother on lower powered hardware than stripped version of Windows.

Today at the Intel Developer Forum, new ChromeBooks took the stage featuring Intel’s newest processor architecture named Haswell. Haswell takes Intel a significant step forward in offering up powerful mobile solutions which use less power to get work done. They’re already being utilized in the new ultraportable Windows Hybrids from manufacturers Sony, Asus, and Lenovo. Now we’re set to see Haswell parts ship in Chromebooks from Acer, HP, Asus, and Toshiba.

This move should bring a performance boost to the ChromeOS ecosystem as previous ChromeBooks used more tablet-like hardware, but hopefully this increase in power wont come at the expense of battery life.

Hit the Google Chrome Blog for the full scoop!

IFA 2013: Asus shows off FonePad, MeMO Pads, and the Transformer Book T300

Asus MeMO Pad 10Asus brought an incredible line up of new gear out to Berlin for IFA, and we finally got a look at the hardware they’ve been teasing all week.

MeMO Pad was on display, their line of affordable tablets, in both eight and ten inch form factors. Both Android tablets use 1280×800 resolution screens, 1.6GHz quad-core processors, and come with 1GB of RAM. Interestingly enough the MeMO Pad 8 has a higher resolution rear camera at 5MP than the MeMO Pad 10 which only has a 2MP shooter. However, you should be mocked if you’re using tablet cameras out in public.

ASUS-Fonepad-7_02FonePad 7 is getting a refresh for 2013.  Still sporting a 7″ 1280×800 screen, this BigPhone/LilTablet hybrid aims to take a shot at devices like the Galaxy Mega. On board is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom with Hyper-Threading and 1GB of RAM. You can choose between 8GB/16GB/32GB for storage, and it will have MicroSD card support good for another 64GB. Asus touted their front facing stereo speakers, similar to those found on the HTC One, so hopefully this will rock as a speaker phone too. Asus hasn’t been known for great tablet audio in the past, so this will be a welcome improvement.

transformer book t300 (2)Moving up the food chain, Asus finally took the wraps off of the Transformer Book T300. Similar in design to their line of Android Transformers, the T300 is a full Windows 8 computer powered by an Intel Haswell Core processor with a 13.3″ screen rocking a full HD (1080p) screen. Optional SSD choices can push storage up to 256GB, and you can pick between an i3, i5, or i7 for your CPU. USB3 and Micro-HDMI are included, and all those proper computing guts are stuffed into a slate 11.5mm thin. Of course, the thing we love about Asus Transformers is the incredible keyboard dock functionality. Popping T300 onto the dock gives you a real Ultrabook experience, plus the dock houses an additional battery. Asus claims the combo should be good for 8 hours of run time. Plus the dock has magnets. Magnets are cool.