Thursday, April 18, 2013

AnandTech Article Channel

AnandTech Article Channel

Toshiba's New KIRAbook Brings QHD to the Windows PC

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 09:00 PM PDT

I recently had an opportunity to take a meeting with Toshiba in San Francisco. Meetings with reps from major notebook vendors are oftentimes an exercise in enthusiasm coupled with frustration; I usually like the direction a company is taking their designs (Toshiba in particular still never seems to get the attention they deserve when HP and Dell continue to languish, chasing their tails), and then when I ask for the speeds and feeds the display is invariably 1366x768. Cue the lecture.

That's why Toshiba's KIRAbook was such a welcome surprise. It's a good looking ultrabook, employing a magnesium alloy shell and Corning Concore Glass, and if it's not exceptionally original in its aesthetic it's at least very well built and specced to please. I'll get into details about its fit and finish later, but for now, all you need to know is this:

13.3" IPS 2560x1440 display. Standard.

It's true we're still essentially stuck with the 16:9 aspect ratio on the PC side while Apple's 13" Retina MacBook Pro offers a 2560x1600 panel, but this is still a very welcome change of pace.

As for the rest of the KIRAbook, Toshiba's reps talked a heavy game about its design and for what it's worth, they raise excellent points. The port layout is smart, the keyboard was designed specifically to avoid backlight bleed from the individual keys, and they're using specially engineered Harmon Kardon speakers that are surprisingly loud for such a slim chassis. Impressively, the whole thing is just 2.6 pounds.

Unfortunately it all comes at a price. The starting model is $1,599 and comes with an Intel Core i5 ULV processor; upgrading to the $1,799 model gets you 10-point multitouch on the display, and the $1,999 model adds an upgrade to a Core i7.

You do get 8GB of DDR3-1600, the QHD IPS display, a 50Wh battery, and a 256GB SSD standard in all models, along with useful Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11 pack-in software and a standard two-year warranty with 24/7 phone support and basically a dedicated department specifically for handling and servicing KIRA models (it's safe to assume more are en route.) Examining the model, I also found that the bottom panel uses standard Phillips head screws, so theoretically you can swap out the SSD and wireless card, though the RAM is probably soldered to the motherboard.

Either way, we're looking to have a KIRAbook in house for review in time for launch, so stay tuned. Pre-orders start May 3, and the KIRAbook becomes available for purchase on May 12.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Review

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 08:29 PM PDT

For the past couple of years Samsung, and many other Google partners, have been on the hunt to improve productivity on Android - particularly on tablets. We’ve seen hardware solutions (ASUS’ Transformer line) as well as software solutions (Samsung’s multi-window support) emerge. No one has really perfected the productivity story for Android tablets. I’m not entirely sure that long term even Google sees Android as the productivity platform of choice (perhaps Chrome OS will assume that role?), but there’s no shortage of attempts to solve this problem.

While ASUS was at the forefront of addressing the productivity issue for a while with its Transformer tablets, Samsung has since picked up the torch with its Galaxy Note family of devices. What started as a giant smartphone has now evolved to encompass an entire lineup of tablets as well. The productivity aspect of the Note line is really tied to the integrated active digitizer and stylus (S Pen) that comes with the devices. There are software and other features that complete the picture (e.g. IR blaster), but it all stems from the S Pen. Last year Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 10.1, its first 10-inch tablet with an integrated S Pen. This year, Samsung expanded the line with an 8-inch model, the aptly named Galaxy Note 8.0.

Plextor M5M (256GB) mSATA Review

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 07:20 AM PDT

Plextor has been increasing their presence in the SSD market month by month. It's not a coincidence, we have been very pleased with all Plextor's drives that we have reviewed so far. At CES, Plextor showcased a variety of SSDs ranging from M.2 to TLC NAND based SSDs. While those two will not be available until later this year, Plextor sent us their M5M mSATA SSD.

We have lately seen increasing traction in the mSATA SSD market. For long, there were only a few retail mSATA SSDs available but now we have competitive drives from manufacturers such as Intel and Crucial/Micron. Plextor's M5M is an interesting addition to the mix: It's not based on SadForce's SF-2281 controller like most of the mSATA SSD are, it uses the same Marvell 88SS9187 controller found in the 2.5" M5 Pro. That's currently Marvell's high-end SATA 6Gbps controller and it definitely has the potential to challenge the rest today's high-end SATA solutions. Read on to find out how Plextor's first mSATA SSD performs!

No comments:

Post a Comment