Tag 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.

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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.



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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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Samsung Galaxy S II to get ICS update (pulled)

Samsung Galaxy S II
(Credit: Samsung)

Good news everyone! Well, everyone who is using a Samsung Galaxy S II that is. The promised update to the latest Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) OS will be available tomorrow (March 10). You will be able get ICS via an OTA update or through Samsung’s KIES 2.0.

The patch notes indicate that there are some caveats to take note of, however. Phone book data, SMS messages and your pictures will not be wiped, but it looks like app settings may be erased. Samsung recommends that you backup your phone through KIES before upgrading (which you should do anyway).

Visit the Samsung Web site for more information. Do note that the patch notes seems aren’t written in perfect English and may be tricky to decipher.

Via Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Beam.


The Samsung Galaxy Beam may look like your average Galaxy smartphone running Android 2.3 Gingerbread (this will change, by the way), but the ace up its sleeve is the pico projector situated at the top of the phone–and capable of beaming photos, videos, presentations, and anything else you want, onto surfaces.

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(Credit:Stephen Shankland/CNET)

The contents of your phone look best projected in darker atmospheres, and the closer you are to the projecting surface, the sharper your image. The Galaxy Beam projects at a 640 x 360-pixel resolution. Samsung says that the Galaxy Beam’s larger 2,000mAh battery will keep movies and other content projecting for about 3 hours straight.

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(Credit:Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Another thing you should know is that the projecting module offsets your phone by 90 degrees, which means that initially, orientation is a little wonky. Samsung is working on accessories like stands and cases to help keep beamed images steady.

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(Credit:Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Samsung boasts that its Beam projects at a brightness level of 15 lumens, whereas other projector phones in the past have topped out at 10 lumens. Projections–including video playback–looked great in our first demo, which took place in a dark room. The LED bulb itself has a life span of about 20,000 hours, so don’t expect to have to replace it soon.

Beyond the projector, the phone itself sports a 4-inch WVGA TFT touch screen, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 1GHz dual-core processor. Built-in projectors tend to add a lot of bulk, but the Galaxy Beam measures just 12.5 millimeters (just under 0.5-inch) thick, the typical depth of your average phone.

Daring you to drop it, the Galaxy Beam looks less delicate and more rugged, thanks to its comfortable soft-touch finish and bright yellow trim.

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(Credit:Stephen Shankland/CNET)

The Galaxy Beam should be available globally sometime in Q2.
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Five best upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones.

If you’re tired of waiting for manufacturers to deliver on the promised Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) updates for your smartphone, you may want to consider getting a new handset instead.

Of course, the bad news is that this will cost you money, but if your contract with your telco is up, you may be able to get a new smartphone at relatively affordable prices. The good news is that with plenty of new ICS handsets announced at the recent Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Spain, most of these smartphones will actually make their way to retail relatively quickly.

April will see HTC and its One series handsets being made available globally, while Asus has also announced a similar time period for its transforming PadFone. Others like Huawei’s Ascend P1 S and Ascend D series (the D1, D quad and D quad XL) will only arrive in Q2.

Then you have LG’s range of handsets–the Optimus 4X HD as well as the L5 and L7. The 4X HD will hit stores sometime in Q3, but there’s no word on when you’ll see the Optimus L5 and L7. We expect that LG will not be keeping these handsets too far behind its competition, as it has a lot of catching up to do.

Meanwhile, here are our pick of what we think are the five best ICS handsets you should be keeping an eye out for if you’re thinking of upgrading.

1.  Asus PadFone First take
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.First take | See full specs | Rate this

2.  HTC One X First take
Arguably one of the more exciting new devices announced at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow, HTC’s flagship Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) handset is one that can claim good looks thanks to its polycarbonate shell and killer specifications.First take | See full specs | Rate this

3.  HTC One S First take
If you think that the HTC ONE X, ONE S and One V look alike, you’re not alone. Yet, the One series has attracted lots of attention over its camera-centric features after it was unveiled at MWC.Running on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS with an updated version of HTC’s UI–Sense 4.0–the One S packs pretty high-end features in a compact frame.

First take | See full specs | Rate this


4.  Huawei Ascend D quad First take
Hot on the heels of its CES unveiling of the Ascend “Platinum” series of handsets, Huawei has stepped it up a notch with a new “Diamond” range of smartphones.Announced a day before the Mobile World Congress officially began, the China-based company wants to show that it means business with even more impressive specs than the P1 S.

First take |  See full specs | Rate this


5.  LG Optimus 4X HD First take
Quite possibly the highlight of LG’s showcase at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow, the Optimus 4X is also the company’s first quad-core handset. Its slim and lightweight profile belies the powerful Nvidia Tegra 3-powered quad-core 1.5GHz processor it packs and you’ll be surprised to know that is comes packing a 2,150mAh battery.First take |  See full specs | Rate this

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The new Apple iPad: Retina Display, A5X chip and 4G.


(Credit: Apple)

In the end, the rumors got the most important detail right.

As widely speculated, the latest version of Apple’s iPad has a whopping 2,048 x 1,536-pixel display. It’s good enough for Apple to call it a Retina Display. The reason: Despite the fact that its pixel density of 264 is still lower than that of the iPhone 4S, you hold the iPad further away compared to a phone.

The new iPad has four times as many pixels on the screen as its predecessor. Hence, Apple has augmented the graphics on its A5 processor. The new A5X chip boasts up to twice the graphical horsepower of the iPad 2 and Apple calls it “quad-core graphics”.

The other big feature on the new tablet is support for 4G/LTE, with maximum speeds of up to 72Mbps, depending on your network. It will also be 3G-capable and there’s a new feature to turn the iPad into a personal hotspot. Note that many countries in Asia still do not have commercial LTE services.

The iSight rear camera on the latest iPad has been improved significantly. Apple claims that the new 5-megapixel rear shooter uses similar optics as the version on the iPhone 4S. It will have autofocus, auto-exposure and face detection. It’s also capable of 1080p HD video recording.

While there was speculation about Siri, it turns out that everyone’s favorite assistant won’t be making its iPad debut. Instead, Apple has a new voice dictation feature that supports English, German and French. Japanese, too, will be supported with the upcoming iOS 5.1 update, which incidentally sees Siri adding Japanese language support to her repertorie.

Despite the new features, Apple said that the iPad will continue to maintain its 10 hours of battery uptime. This drops down slightly to 9 hours if it’s on 4G. However, it appears to be slightly thicker than the iPad 2 (9.4mm vs. 8.8mm) and is a bit heavier at 652g.

* 4G LTE
* 9.7 inch retina display with 2048 x 1536 pixels
* 5-megapixel iSight camera
* 1080p video recording
* 1.4 pounds and 9.4mm thick
* A5x quad-core graphics
* 44% greater saturation
* 10 hour battery life (9 hours on 4G)

The best part of the announcement is that prices stay the same–US$499 for the 16GB version, US$599 for 32GB and US$699 for 64GB. The 4G version starts at a higher price: US$629, US$729 and US$829 respectively. Apple is taking preorders now. Meanwhile, the current iPad 2 will get a price cut to US$399 for the base model.

The tablet (in the usual black or white) will be available initially on March 16 in ten countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The rest of the world will get the new iPad from the end of March.

Besides the new iPad, Apple also announced a refreshed Apple TV, which appears to have a more powerful processor that supports 1080p videos and a new, more iOS-like interface. Movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store will hence be available in 1080p, too. The price remains at US$99 and it goes on sale on March 16.
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