Category Archives: Gadgets

Review : Toshiba Regza AT200 (Dual-core Processor 1GHz; 10.1-inch display)

The good:

Thinnest and lightest 10.1-inch tablet; HDMI, micro-USB and microSD memory expansion.

The bad: Average screen; thin-sounding speakers; construction quality looks better than it feels; large proprietary charger.

The bottom line: The Toshiba Regza AT200 sets a new design standard for thin-and-light 10-inch tablets, but the specs don’t live up to the name.

Review:

You can rarely go wrong by making a product thinner and lighter. Toshiba, a company whose first foray into Android tablets was a relative behemoth, is showing the world that its designers can do “thin” better than anyone. Yes, even better than Apple.

Priced at US$530 with 16GB of storage, or US$600 for 32GB, Toshiba evidently feels that its tablet’s iPad-besting thickness and weight deserve a slightly higher price than the competition. The Regza AT200 (also known as the Excite 10 LE in the US) was selling in Singapore at the recent IT Show at S$849 for the Wi-Fi 32GB version.

Editors’ note:

This review is based on tests done by our sister site CNET.com. As such, please note that there may be slight differences in the testing procedure and ratings system. For more information on the actual tests conducted on the product, please inquire directly at the site where the article was originally published. References made to some of the other products in this review may not be available or applicable in Asia. Please check directly with your local distributor for details.

Design

The Regza AT200 feels impossibly thin and light. After a week handling the new iPad(662g), the 535g Regza AT200 feels like it’s in a different weight class. The difference may sound insignificant, but for a device that’s often held for long periods in one hand, it’s a difference you can feel. It’s also a difference you can see, as the Regza measures just 7.7mm thick. If most 10-inch tablets feel like a cutting board, this one feels like a knife.For some, having the thinnest, lightest 10-inch tablet money can buy is enough to justify the US$530 investment. If that doesn’t describe you, then there are a number of design disappointments here to scare you off.

The first design feature that threw me was Toshiba’s big honkin’ charging adapter. It connects to the Regza using a proprietary dock connection on the bottom edge of the tablet, and terminates in a standard USB plug that can be used with an included charging block. Granted, Apple pulls the same stunt with the iPad, but you can probably find a replacement cable for that in even the darkest corners of the world. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is also guilty of this crime against universal charging standards, but at least its adapter will fit easily in your pocket. For what it’s worth, you can charge the tablet over its micro-USB connection, but it takes much longer.


The charger for the Regza is thicker than the tablet itself. (Credit: Donald Bell/CNET)

Our other gripe about the Regza’s design is a seemingly petty thing, but it’s something you’ll feel every time you’ll pick it up. The back of the Regza is covered in a thin sheet of brushed magnesium alloy. Aside from the fact that this light, soft metal feels an awful lot like plastic, we have no problem with it. The issue is that it butts up against the rough edge of the tablet’s plastic siding precisely where you naturally hold the device. It’s like the prickly edge of a shirt tag that can’t be ignored. For a device that sells on the strength of its premium design, it’s a detail that should have been taken care of.

Toshiba Regza AT200 Apple iPad (2012) Asus Transformer Prime Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Weight in grams 535 652 586 560
Width in mm (landscape) 256 241.2 263 256.5
Height in mm 176 185.7 180.8 175.3
Depth in mm 7.7 9.4 8.3 8.6
Size bezel width in mm (landscape) 19.1 22.1 20.3 20.3

Features

Given the Regza’s price and the context of other 10-inch Android tablets on the market or on the horizon, Toshiba’s tablet isn’t offering the best value. The honor of having the most cutting-edge processor goes to Asus and the quad-core Tegra 3 chip inside its Transformer Prime.

The Regza AT200 is also trailing behind on having the most up-to-date Android OS. It’s running Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), which is a fine OS, but doesn’t have the same new-car smell as Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Toshiba is promising a spring update to ICS, but you won’t have it out of the box. In my experience, the differences between Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich are negligible, but it’s nonetheless a measuring stick worth considering.

In terms of hardware, Toshiba includes an impressive array of ports and capabilities considering its slender profile. On the left edge, you get a micro-USB port for transferring media and (slowly) charging, along with a headphone output, microSD memory slot, and micro-HDMI video output.


There are many ports available on the Regza AT200. (Credit: Donald Bell/CNET)

The tablet’s 1,280 x 800-pixel IPS display supports 10-finger multitouch and is made from durable Corning Gorilla Glass. Up close, you can make out a unique scaly grid of touch sensors coating the glass, but they’re only visible when the screen is put to sleep or displaying dark backgrounds.

You get cameras on the front and back: A 5-megapixel rear camera with 720p video recording, and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Neither of them is particularly great, and several people we handed the tablet to mistook the front camera (circled in chrome) for a home button.

Expected features such as GPS, Bluetooth audio and peripheral support, and integrated speakers are all here. Toshiba spent a little extra to polish up the audio performance with an SRS enhancement setting, but the actual audio experience from the speakers still sounds thin in spite of it.

Performance And Battery Life

Overall, display quality is pretty good, though not as bright or as crisp as on the new iPad, and lacking the contrast of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Asus Transformer Prime. Screen responsiveness is also in the middle of the pack, showing some scroll lag when browsing Web pages and occasionally requiring a few jabs before registering input near the corners (where Android keeps many of its navigation and menu controls).

Toshiba rates the Regza AT200’s battery life at 8.5 hours. CNET Labs clocked a solid 8 hours of continuous video playback. If you tend to run your screen close to full brightness, expect the battery life to take a hit. With Apple’s new iPad out there offering twice the screen resolution while still nailing a 10-hour battery life, the Regza’s unexceptional battery rating and average display quality are a hard sell at US$530.

Conclusion

It’s tough to stand out in the world of Android tablets. With a new slate running the same Android software with more or less the same specs being pitched to consumers every few weeks, only the unique survive. Some manage to get noticed with a low price tag. Some will contort for your attention. Some are fast. And some, like the Toshiba Regza AT200, will try to entice you with a slender supermodel physique. Does thin matter? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Source

iPhone to receive a 4.6-inch Retina screen?

iphone 5
The 940 x 640 Retina Display on the iPhone 4S integrates 326 pixels per square inch.
(Credit: Apple)

Apple is said to have yet another product in the pipeline with a Retina Display, and this time it’s an iPhone with a really big screen, according to a report from Reuters.

Apple is purportedly already placing orders with suppliers for a 4.6-inch iPhone Retina Display, Reuters said today, citing a report in South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper. The phone is due in the second quarter, according to the report.

If accurate, that would be Apple’s third device with a Retina Display. The others include the just-released 9.7-inch iPad and the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S.

The 960 x 640-pixel Retina Display on the iPhone packs in 326 pixels per inch while the new iPad’s 2,048 x 1,536-pixel screen squeezes in 264 pixels per inch.

A relatively massive–for a smartphone, that is–4.6-inch glass screen would be a big step for Apple from the 3.5-inch iPhone. A larger phone may also allow Apple to include updated chips such as the A5X. That chip’s marquee feature is quad-core graphics.

By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD has a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED screen.

Apple enthusiast site MacRumors says the likelihood of the rumor being true is low.

“There have been persistent rumors that the next generation iPhone would carry a larger 4-inch screen. And we are convinced that Apple had exactly such designs in late prototype stages in China,” said MacRumors.

Indeed, there were reports before the launch of the iPhone 4S that Apple was working on an iPhone with a bigger screen. But those reports predicted a phone measuring 4.2 to 4.3 inches, not a full 4.6 inches.

Via CNET News

Sony Xperia sola.

We spend some time with Sony’s latest Xperia addition, the sola, which was announced just last week. It features a look that’s different from Sony’s NXT design range, which means it doesn’t get the single-letter designation of the Xperia S, U and P.

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The Sony Xperia sola.
(Credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia)

Upside

One of the main highlights of the sola is Sony’s new “floating touch” technology. When you hover a finger over the 3.7-inch FWVGA (854 x 480 pixels) display, it tracks the movement of your finger. This should help older users select the right point to press–but we noted that it only works on the home screen and with Sony’s proprietary browser.

Sony has also stated in a blog post that the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich update will allow developers to add “hover events” as Google has included support for it in Android 4.0. For example, when you do position a cursor over a link on a desktop browser, information sometimes will be displayed. You may also want to read more about how the floating technology works (which basically combines the two different types of capacitive screen technology).

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A demo of floating touch on the Xperia sola. The hover feature didn’t seem to be working correctly sometimes, which could be due to the fact that our device was a prototype.
(Credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia)

Like the Xperia S and P, the sola comes with NFC that works with the the company’s SmartTags. There’s also a 1GHz dual-core processor that’s similar to the Xperia U and P. Basically, the sola has all that is expected from a midrange device.

While it comes loaded with Gingerbread (Android 2.3), Sony has promised the ICS upgradein Q2. The company has also said that the unit will retail in the same quarter, which means you probably won’t have long to wait for the update.

Downside

As mentioned earlier, the Xperia sola doesn’t share the same attractive design of the NXT series, but this means that it stands out (since the S, U and P look similar). The display also seems to slightly protrude as opposed to being flushed with the chassis, which makes it prone to accidental scratches.

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Scratchable?
(Credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia)

The non-removable 1,320mAh battery could be too small for heavy users. One of the reasons usually given for using a built-in battery is to increase battery power–we’ve seen that on the Razr Maxx–so it’s hard to justify designing a handset with a smaller built-in battery as it just doesn’t make sense.

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A look at the sola’s innards.
(Credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia)

Outlook

Sony said at the event where the sola was demoed that it was targeting youths with the Xperia sola and U. We’re not sure how youths would actually make use of the floating touch feature–older folks with poorer eyesight may appreciate the cursor more. As stated earlier, the Xperia sola will be available in Asia sometime in Q2. Pricing has not been revealed yet, but Sony did say that the sola will be pegged at the same tier as the Xperia U, which has a European launch price of US$347.
Source

Apple iPad 2012 Review.


The iPad’s new screen is a stunner. That’s really all you need to know about the new iPad (yes, that’s the name). That, and a reminder that pricing still starts at US$499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model, with 4G starting at US$629.

Forget all of the minor tweaks and incremental updates Apple has made to its third-generation tablet. The faster processor, the upgrade to 4G data, the improved camera–it’s all housekeeping. It’s the stuff it had to do. It’s the stuff any manufacturer could have done.


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Tag Heuer unveils Racer smartphone.


Tag Heuer’s latest phone may make a Racer out of you.
(Credit: Tag Heuer)

If you’ve always harbored GT racing ambitions, perhaps luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer’s upcoming smartphone may be your handset of choice.

The Racer is an Android-based smartphone inspired by GT and Formula 1 racing cars, and supposedly just as well-engineered. Tag Heuer even claims that the phone has an “unparalleled torsion” and “strength to weight ratio”, terms usually reserved for cars.

The shockproof rubber chassis is accented by lightweight carbon fiber and titanium screws, which supposedly help to strengthen the body.

The Swiss company did not release more information about the phone’s specifications, except that it has a “customizable 3D user interface” and “high speed processor”. One thing is for sure, when people pay that much for a phone, they won’t be too bothered about its specs–or lack thereof.

Starting at 2,800 Euros (US$3,700), the Racer will head to Tag Heuer shops and selected luxury mobile, watch and jewelry retailers in July. Hey, at least it’s cheaper than the company’s last Android smartphone, the Tag Heuer Link.

Watch this video for a bunch of impressive graphics that don’t say much about the smartphone’s capability.



Source

Asus PadFone.


BARCELONA, Spain
–Announced last year at the Computex show in Taiwan, the prototype version of the Asus PadFone was the logical conclusion of the Motorola Atrix Lapdock design. While it is not the first hybrid device, it’s likely the first to run Android 4.0 with the intriguing idea of transforming a phone into a tablet.

Prototype devices, sometimes don’t make the cut and get killed–Microsoft’s Courier is a prime example of this. Luckily, Asus seems to have pushed ahead with the PadFone concept. Here at Mobile World Congress 2012, the Taiwanese company has announced that the product is now retail ready. Here’s an early sneak preview that we got of the unit before its official launch.
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First take: Apple iOS 5.1


Just before it unveiled the new iPad at a media event in San Francisco, Apple announced that iOS 5.1, the next update to the company’s mobile operating system, is now available.

The list of new features isn’t extensive and largely consists of bug fixes and interface tweaks. That said, there are a couple of useful additions. Here are the highlights that Apple has listed in iOS 5.1’s documentation.
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