XPS 18 – Dell’s Thinnest and Lightest All-in-One

Dell-XPS-kitchen

What do you get when you cross a laptop with a desktop PC and a tablet? If you’re imagining a bit of a mess, then you’d be completely on the wrong tracks, because that is just what Dell’s new XPS 18 is. All the portability of a laptop, with the trappings of a tablet and power of a desktop.

Connect the tablet device to a wireless keyboard and mouse and you have a laptop, or alternatively you can set up a special stand that allows it to take centre stage on any desktop. Versatile? Yep, you can check those boxes.

Whilst the majority of tablets with large screens (the XPS 18, taking after its name, comes with an 18.4-inch HD touchscreen display) tend to be rather bulky and on the heavy side, the XPS 18 is neither. Both thin and light clocking in at 5ibs, the All-in-One (AIO) is less than half the weight of its competitors on the market-place.

Dell-XPS-sofa

With an aluminium backed finish, you can be confident that the XPS 18 is also designed to take a few knocks whilst on the go, and the versatility it offers means you can use it no matter if you are in the office, on the train or at home in the living room. The battery life of nearly five hours between charging means you are not restricted in terms of where you use it, making it a truly portable device.

Based upon third generation Intel Core processors together with seamless integration of the new Windows 8 operating system, the XPS 18 also represents good value for money, with a recommended retail price of only £849 when it goes on sale on April 16th.

Visit Dell for more information and to reserve one for yourself before the official release date.

Microsoft Surface: Review of reviews

It may have taken more than a few years for the penny to drop, but finally Microsoft has released its own tablet contender to take on the more established iPad and Android heavyweights. Has Surface, running Windows 8 RT, got what it takes to compete? Many reviewers it seems, have their shovels poised for some serious digging.

Surface-Touch

Luke Westaway from CNet UK  welcomes the addition of Office as standard but suggests there aremore than a few irritating features:

“There are thoughtless annoyances everywhere. If you try to edit a Google doc without the keyboard attached, for example, the software keyboard doesn’t pop up automatically, so you have to go hunting for it in settings. Install an app and you can’t open it from Marketplace — head out to the Start screen and open it there. There’s no battery indicator on the Start screen either — there’s a graphic on the lock screen if you have charms engaged, but to find a battery percentage you have to go to the crusty old desktop.”

Surface-Black

Joshua Topolski at The Verge is initially impressed with the hardware:

“The Surface hardware is handsome indeed. The rectangular slab is a magnesium alloy forged from what Microsoft calls VaporMg, though it feels like thin, stiff aluminum to the touch.”  Not a bad opener, but then thing begin to get ugly, “Overall, Microsoft has designed a beautiful tablet that’s unfortunately more functional as a laptop… on a desk.” And now he is throwing haymaker punches ” It does the job of a tablet and the job of a laptop half as well and it often makes that job harder, not easier. Instead of being a no-compromise device, it often feels like a more-compromise one. There may be a time in the future when all the bugs have been fixed and the third-party app support has arrived. But that time isn’t right now — and unfortunately for Microsoft, the clock is ticking.”

Surface-Touch-Cover

Wired on the other hand gives it 8/10 and some comforting words from reviewer Mathew Honan

“This is a great device. It is a new thing, in a new space, and likely to confuse many of Microsoft’s longtime customers. People will have problems with applications — especially when they encounter them online and are given an option by Internet Explorer to run them, only to discover this won’t work. But overall it’s quite good; certainly better than any full-size Android tablet on the market. And once the application ecosystem fleshes out, it’s a viable alternative to the iPad as well.”

Critics are united about the Surface’s lack of apps and perhaps Microsoft’s misguided strategy of a tablet that doubles as a laptop. The fear is it could end up falling between both stools.

Baby it’s cold outside: Winter warmer gadgets

I don’t know about down South but in Manchester it’s wet, freezing and miserable. What happened to autumn this year? With the onset of the cold weather and the gloomy prospect of it only getting colder and colder, who can blame us for turning to mulled wine and chocolates for comfort? There are however other, albeit unlikely, products we can turn to in order to ease the winter chill – gadgets.

Take a look at four great gadgets to bring a tide of warmth in glacial conditions.

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Glider Gloves

Why should we stop feverishly fiddling with our smartphones and tablets just because we’ve got gloves on? This sentiment was the inspiration behind Gilder Gloves, touchscreen compatible gloves for both sexes.

These highly practical gloves are available in two different styles – Winter for when you’re in Arctic conditions such as Manchester throughout the winter, or Urban, meant for less harsher temperatures – Either way texting, emailing, browsing the web or playing Angry Birds now needn’t be impeded just because you’re wearing gloves.

Zippo Hand Warmer

Zippo it seems is branching out from tobacco-related products and into the world of gadgets with the arrival of the Zippo Hand Warmer. Filled with Zippo’s premium lighter fluid, the world-famous lighter brand claims that its hand warmer provides up to 12 hours of heat, ten times longer than its grossly inferior rivals.

Coming in the stylish polished chrome case that makes Zippo products ultra-recognisable, you could easily mistake the Hand Warmer for a lighter. For a mere £12.99 the Zippo Hand Warmer could be a cool alternative to mitts.

Dyson Hot

Okay so Dyson’s are usually associated with vacuuming up and let’s be honest this dreaded chore will always manage notch up a few degrees in the warmth stakes. The Dyson Hot however isn’t meant for beautifying carpets, it’s meant for warming up rooms, evenly and efficiently.

Using a heat-projecting fan, the Dyson Hot projects heat around the room, and without any visible heating elements or fast-spinning blades it’s easy to clean and looks modern, funky and minimalist. As always with Dyson products, the Dyson Hot will cost you – £299.95 to be precise.

Crossbow Snow Launcher

When it comes to snowball fights we all seem to regress back to our childhoods causing our formative years to bounce back with a vengeance! Get the upper-hand in the inevitable annual family snowball fight by exploiting the skills of the Crossbow Snow Launcher.

Simply load snow into the front, pull back the lever and hey presto perfectly formed snow balls come hurtling out causing the enemy to squeamishly scarper.

What Makes the Perfect Tablet?

As Toshiba unveils its new Excite 13 tablet, its latest offering has stirred discussion among critics about what it is exactly that makes a tablet a tablet.

At 13 inches, the Excite 13’s screen is bigger than the Apple iPad’s 10 inches, and rivals Apple’s smaller laptops. Critics agree that, while 10 inches is big enough for a table, 13 inches takes the portability out of the device and potentially makes it less suitable for everyday use.

Excite-13

Toshiba’s tablet also comes with a heft price-tag to match its screen size, with prices in the US starting at $650 (over £400) for the lower spec model – $150 more expensive than the lowest-priced iPad.

When it comes to the perfect tablet, consumers will vote with their wallets, however Toshiba’s controversial launch has got us thinking: what makes the perfect tablet?

Size

Critics agree that 10 inches is the optimal size for a tablet screen. Small enough to carry around, but more readable than a smart-phone, anything bigger approaches laptop proportions, and any smaller risks compromising some of the tablet’s functionality.

Operating System

The PC vs. Mac debate continues with tablets. Also added into the mobile OS mix are the Android OS, BlackBerry OS and the HP webOS. With many operating systems to select from, there is no “right” choice, and the OS you select will depend on what your personal preference.

The Apple operating system is intuitive and easy to use, while the Android system is more customizable, with more freedom for developers to get creative. Other users might prefer the Windows OS as it will be familiar to anyone who has used a PC. Alternatively, if you’re a BlackBerry owner, you could feel more comfortable choosing a tablet that uses the BlackBerry OS.

Consumers looking for an operating system that provides a choice of tablet models will have more luck with iOS and Android OS.

Processing Power

Put simply, the tablet’s processing power affects how fast it runs. If you will be using the tablet for gaming, multi-tasking, or using graphics-heavy apps, you want to select a tablet with high processing power.

Higher processing power can drain the battery faster, however it improves the overall performance of your tablet. When selecting a tablet, look for a dual-core processor for optimal performance.

Memory

The amount of memory you need on a tablet is determined by the volume of apps, music, documents, pictures and videos you want to store on the device. Some tablet models are available with different amounts of memory; for example, you can get the iPad 3 with 16, 32, or 64 GB of memory.

The more memory you want, the higher the tablet’s price tag. Most apps don’t take up a lot of memory, however movies can take up between one and two GB, and you can’t increase the amount of memory on your tablet once you buy. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about what kind of things you might want to do with your tablet before purchasing. 16GB might be enough if you’re mainly browsing and downloading apps, but if you plan to store movies, music and pictures on your tablet, you should purchase a device with more storage.

Gigaset launches SL910A the UK’s first touchscreen phone

Thanks largely to the influence of Apple’s iPhone, buttons on  mobile phones are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Now German manufacturer Gigaset hopes to kick-start this buttonless trend in the home telephone market by launching a range of state of the art cordless touchscreen phones, dubbed the SL910A.

Gigaset

Strongly influenced by the latest generation of smart-phones and tablet PCs, the phones go on general sale in November, putting them in pole position for the Christmas sales, although slightly expensive for a sticking filler at over £100 each. You do get plenty of bang for your buck though, and the technology integrated into each phone is certainly impressive.

The 6.8 x 4.5 cm high resolution screen boasts an ultra clear display and a slick user interface that makes it easy to navigate around the SL910A. With a tap of your finger you can open up address books, retrieve messages, dial number and even view a photo slide show (although quite why you would want this feature in a home telephone is another matter entirely). With enough capacity to store 240 pictures at a time on the phone and the ability to create a slideshow, it would be rude not to use it.

There is enough memory to store up to 500 different contacts (which can also display pictures), a built-in calendar, a multitude of ring-tones and all of the standard features you would expect to find a in a modern phone.

This clever package is all encased in a smart-looking black metal frame, ensuring that the SL910A not only looks good but is also durable enough to withstand day to day knocks during use.

A must-buy for any modern gadget nuts household, and serves as a tantalising glimpse into the future of touchscreen phones.

You can find out more about Gigaset at http://www.gigaset.com/uk

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Tablet

Being as light as a feather, non-slip, scratch resistant and pump-proof, at last there is a robust and sturdy tablet designed for ‘real life’. And given the Eee Pad Transformer’s multitude of features and uses, nobody can accuse ASUS of not considering ‘life’s demands’, when designing this extraordinary and portable tablet. Although mentioning all of this highly sophisticated gadget’s functions and abilities would use up too much space on the Latest Gadget website, so we’ll have to make do with highlighting the best this hugely anticipated tablet has to offer.

Asus-Transformer

Vaunting a unique hybrid dual-function docking design, the Eee Pad Transformer Tablet can be either docked with the fully functioning keyboard base for a conventional notebook style, or used as an independent pad, meaning users can alternate between a notebook or tablet to suit their requirements and moods.

Featuring Google’s long-awaited Android 3.0 – aka the ‘Honeycomb’ – operating system and the ASUS Waveface, users will experience an unparalleled fusion of entertainment, performance and mobility, regardless of their location. Ease and simplicity is at the core of the Eee Pad Transformer, and by featuring an ASUS Launcher Toolbar and the ten multi-touch support, users can enjoy browsing through a horde of apps, including ones as complex as piano playing, services and online content in just a couple of swipes.

Other functions unique to the ASUS Waveface include the ‘MyNet’ feature, enabling users to stream content wirelessly between multi-entertainment devices. The ‘Mylibrary’ function is also worthy of mention, being a useful tool of consolidating favourite books and magazines into one easy-to-navigate profile.

The ‘MyCloud’ feature allows easy access to cloud content such as the ASUS @Vive Media library –providing an enormous rage of games, video and music downloads – and WebStorage.

The Eee Pad Transformer can even be ‘transformed’ into a camera, with two built-in auto focus cameras, the front one being 1.2MP and the one at the rear being 5MP, enabling users to capture still images and record videos in high definition quality.

Incorporating a G-sensor and gyroscope internal sensors, users can also enjoy playing multi-player and movement-based games, whilst with GPS and compass modules, the Eee Pad Transformer can also act as a navigation system – is there anything this compact tablet cannot do?

Its remarkably huge amount of unique and innovatory capabilities is not the only ‘hard to believe’ feature that the Eee Pad transformer can achieve, but also the fact that despite being pocket-sized and ultra-lightweight,it boasts a battery life of up to whopping 16 hours.

With a spec this impressive, it is hardly surprising that the Eee Pad Transformer has been hugely anticipated. Well anticipate no more, as this unique hybrid tablet will be available from April 6 2011, for, when you consider its complex capabilities, a very reasonable £379 for the pad only and £429 for the pad and keypad dock.

Torque Digital Cordless Telephone: It’s good to Torque

Poor old landline phones – we’re all so busy admiring the latest gadgetry delights on offer from the likes of HTC and Apple, that sometimes we forget about them. I have to admit that while I have a lovely shiny iPhone in a beautiful leather case, my landline phone is the cheapest one I could find in Argos, and hardly looks like a stylish piece of kit.

Torque-digital-phone

The Torque Digital Cordless Telephone, from Magicbox, could change all that. Not only is it shiny and stylish, but it’s the world’s first full touch sensor key pad landline phone, or so say Magicbox anyway.This cordless phone includes an answering machine and has a high gloss finish that will fit in to your high-gloss, modern home (if that is, indeed, what you have).

But the style features don’t stop there; the keypads on the piano black-finish phone have been etched with a white laser, and only show up when you touch the handset. The base multitasks as it is also the charging station, and offers a flashing blue glow if you have a message waiting.

Magicbox claims the Torque is easy to navigate, thanks to its icon-based menu, and features a 100-name phonebook, caller ID, three-way conferencing call, SMS and a ‘find handset’ feature.
A fully charged handset offers up to 10.5 hours talktime, 160 hours standby time and has a 50m range indoors and 300m outdoors

The Torque comes in black and white and prices for one handset start at around £79.99.
For more details head to www.magicboxproducts.com/

iTablet 10.1″ Windows 7 touchscreen computing

The iPad revolutionised the flagging tablet market with an inspirationally simple approach. AHX Global has noticed this success and decided to set off in the completely opposite direction. The company’s iTablet device crams a fully-functional Windows 7 operating system onto a diminutive 10.1-inch tablet form. Will it work?

iTablet

AHX Global, the company taking on Apple’s premium pad, is a joint venture between X2 Computing, a UK-based supplier of mobile computing solutions, and AMtek Systems, the leading Taiwanese designer of tablet computers. Unfortunately, AMtek’s proliferation in the tablet market means that parts of the iTablet are very similar to other tablets we’ve already seen.

Firstly, the 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen has a pretty standard 1024×600 resolution. That means it’s worse than the iPad’s resolution of 1024×768 (on a smaller 9.7-inch screen), so you can’t expect a razor-sharp display. Other tablet staples include wi-fi, Bluetooth and stereo speakers. It also rotates to work in landscape or portrait orientations, and has a HDMI output to provide high quality playback of HD video and pictures through larger TV screens.

While the company may have run short on revolutionary ideas, what they’ve lost in inspiration they’ve gained in determination. Inside, it may be the most powerful tablet on the market. There’s an Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz processor and 2GB DDR2 RAM (almost eight times more than the iPad). There’s ample storage, too, with 32GB on-board, and a SD card reader for expansion possibilities. You could also plug an external hard drive into one of the two USB 2.0 ports.

It’s a powerful offering, and it should run Windows 7 Home Premium without a hitch. That means, unlike other tablets, there’ll be full Flash compatibility and a choice of browsers, as well as the entire office suite (which comes pre-installed as a trial). It also means full-sized Skype for video and VoIP conferencing application – using the built-in two megapixel webcam. How all of these will run on a 10.1” display is the vital question – we’ve set-up camp in the wait-and-see stockade.

Despite being a fully-powered Windows 7 system, it actually weighs under a kilogram. It’s also pretty compact too, with dimensions of 271 x 163 x 16mm. With this much portability, matched to this much power, something has to give – we’re willing to bet it’s the battery life. We’ll find out in March, when it hits UK stores.