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Dell Venue 11 Pro (Baytrail) Tablet and Tablet Keyboard Review

Dell Venue 11 Pro (1)

In our last review we looked at an 8-inch tablet running on the Atom Z3740 costing under $300. In this review we have the Dell Venue 11 Pro 10.8 inch tablet running the current high-end Z3770 CPU and costing $499. The powered keyboard is an additional accessory at $159. The two units are extremely well built but are they worth it? We take a look in our detailed Dell Venue 11 Pro  review.

Dell Venue 11 Pro Package Contents

Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Dell Venue 11 Pro information page. A full gallery of our images can be found here. We have a new 64GB model here which comes with 2GB RAM, 32-bit Windows 8 Pro with the recent Windows 8.1 Update. We’ve also got the Dell Tablet Keyboard with integrated 30Wh battery.

  • CPU type: Intel Atom Z3770
  • CPU speed: 1460 Mhz (max 2.4Ghz)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Gen 7
  • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro Update (may vary in some regions)
  • Display: 10.8 inch 1920×1080 with Pen and 10-point capacitive touch.
  • RAM:2048 MB
  • Flash: 64 GB eMMC  (Samsung MCG8GC)
  • WiFi Dell Wireless 1538 802.11 a/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery capacity (measured by Windows powercfg:) 30Wh on tablet, 26Wh in Keyboard dock.
  • Weight: 762 grams tablet, 684 grams keyboard dock, 128gm power supply + cable.  (Total 1.57kg / 3.41 pound)
  • Ports: Tablet: Micro USB, Mini HDMI, Micro SD, USB3.0 (full size), headset, docking. Keyboard: MicroUSB charging.
  • Charger: MicroUSB, 5V, 2A out.
  • Other: Stereo Speakers. Array mic, removable battery,
  • Accelerometer, rotate lock, TPM module, NFC, 8Mp cam rear. 2Mp cam front.
  • Note: No GPS. Pen not included.


Dell Venue 11 Pro (6)

In the box you’ll find the charger and charger cable. There’s no Office Home and Student license installed on our review device but we understand that this is delivered with the device (model 5130) in the USA. You’ll have to check locally for other regions.

Dell Venue 11 Pro unboxing and overview video.

Our unboxing and overview video is available here.

Build and ports

We’re focusing on the Venue 11 Pro tablet in this section of the review and what a slick looking tablet it is. It’s got the same all-black screen as the Venue 8 Pro and the rear is rubberized but it’s not imprinted with a pattern as on the VP8. It feels solid which is a good thing but it feels a little heavier than most tablets. At 730 grams it’s over 100 grams heavier than the Lenovo Miix 2 10 and 150 grams heavier than last years Acer W510. Why? Take a look at the back and you’ll see why. That panel is removable and reveals a replaceable battery. The addition engineering and cell protection required for removable batteries is a 100 gram penalty. Remember that you’ve got a 10.8-inch screen here with a digitizer layer too.

There’s a full-size USB3.0 port, a pin-removable MicroSD tray which keeps the smooth looks (and might even offer a bit of extra security against MicroSD card theft) dual-array mics, a Kensington lock (again, security), microUSB charging port (which means you can connect a USB3.0 docking station and charge at the same time) and a Mini (not micro) HDMI port.

Dell Venue 11 Pro (32)Dell Venue 11 Pro (33)

Dell Venue 11 Pro (34)Dell Venue 11 Pro (35)
A full gallery of our images can be found here.

Fit and finish of the plastics around the device is very good although removal of the rear panel is not something you should note be doing too often in our opinion.

Highlight Features

The following key features are included in the Dell Venue 11 Pro

Connected standby (or InstantGo as it’s now known) is a screen-off state similar to that on Android and IOS devices. Windows Store applications can remain active and connected while the tablet goes into low-power mode that can last for days.

Camera 8MP auto-focus rear camera and 2MP front camera.

Security: As with other Baytrail-T tablets there’s full-disk Bitlocker encryption available when you use a Microsoft Live account to log into the device (Encryption keys are held in your MS account.) Secure boot is standard and we haven’t yet investigated any boot/BIOS settings that might disable this. We have not checked the BIOS for user configurable Secure-Boot and password options.

Miracast: This wireless display technology is available in all the 8-inch Windows tablets and can be used to project a screen or extended screen in FullHD to a display with Miracast capability or an attached Miracast receiver. Demo video here. Miracast receivers can be bought for as low as $25 now.

Array Mics and Stereo Speakers.

USB3.0 port. The full-size port improves the ability to connect peripherals. We could not charge a Windows 8 tablet via this port but we could charge a Nokia Lumia 920, even in InstantGo mode. We suspect 500mA output on the USB3.0 port.

Removable battery. An additional 32Wh battery costs $79.99 at dell.com

Dell Venue 11 Pro (11)
A full gallery of our images can be found here.

Two keyboard solutions exist as accessories. We’re testing the powered keyboard option below.

Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Dell Venue 11 Pro information page.



Dell Venue 11 Pro (38)

From the very top layer we have an anti-fingerprint coating, glass, a digitizer layer, a capacitive layer and then over 2 million high-contrast, wide viewing angle pixels backlit with a strong source. In short, it’s excellent and in our opinion the colors are better than on the best-in-class for the 8-inch category – the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

Dell have tuned the Window and font sizes a little too large in our opinion but after we had re-tuned it via the Appearance and Personalization settings, we were much happier.

Viewing angles are excellent on the Dell Venue 11 Pro screen and it makes us long for a full-size SD card slot as this would make a great photographers preview screen.

Tablet Usability

You can’t ignore it; This tablet weighs 760 grams /1.67 pounds and is not the sort of thing that feels comfortable after you’ve been handling a recent Android tablet or any sort of 8-inch tablet. In reality it’s 20% heavier than a consumer tablet should be in 2014 and it’s a trade-off you’ll have to think about carefully because there are also a lot of positive things to say about it. We’ve already mentioned the screen quality but the processing power you’ve got is also significant. We’ll go into more detail later in the review but in terms of performance-per-gram the Dell Venue 11 Pro with the Z3770 must be up there with the best. It’s certainly one of the most powerful fanless tablets you can get for the weight. You’ve also got a USB3.0 port on board (yes it will charge a phone, but not most tablets.) mini-HDMI and the microSDXC card slot. Great speakers and the 8MP auto-focus camera add to the package.

Given that the tablet is a little heavier than it should be, why didn’t Dell provide a kickstand? This is a set-up that the Dell Venue 11 Pro is perfect for as a video playback devices or ‘PC’ with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse setup.

Another quick work on performance here; The Baytrail Z3770 platform is a little faster (by about 10% overall) than the Z3740 used on the smaller tablets and combined with the SSD (eMMC-based. Performance report below) it works really well. If only there had been 4GB RAM. 2GB just feels wrong on a tablet of this quality.

We’re testing the Dell Venue 11 Pro with the recent Windows 8.1 Pro update and everything is working smoothly. The Modern UI is smooth, games work well within that space and there’s even little to complain about on the desktop side of things. Attaching the V11P to a Belkin USB3.0 display dock gave us a smooth, usable experience under browsing, writing and photo-management conditions and shows the difference a USB3.0 port can make when using a Displaylink type USB adaptor.


The rear 8MP camera is of good enough quality to be used to take pictures of documents or business cards that can then be converted into text using character recognition software. It’s also good for snapshots but given the size and weight of the tablet we don’t expect many people to be doing that. The front camera is good enough for 720p video conferencing.  Audio quality on videos is not high quality but there’s a dual-array mic which is going to help provide better background noise limiting while conferencing.

Dell Venue 11 Pro



The Dell Tablet Keyboard – Mobile is a 700 gram (measured weight) dockable unit that not only contains the keyboard and mouse but also contains a 24Wh (reported capacity) battery. It is not back-lit. There’s a micro USB charging port but no data ports. A battery charging light shines on charging through either direct charging or via the tablet but only after the tablet battery has been fully charged first.

Functions keys are usefully reversed to provide Windows 8 volume, search, share, left-swipe, rights swipe, bottom swipe and menu, brightness and print rather than the default function-keys.

Dell Venue 11 Pro (22)

The strongly built unit has well constructed keys that feel good for typing and we felt confident enough with the keyboard to use it as the main keyboard and mouse when in extended screen mode with the external screen ‘stacked’ above the tablet screen.

Dell Venue 11 Pro (19)

The unit supplies power to the tablet via a docking connector and the battery appears as a second battery in the power meter. The keyboard battery is charged when the tablet battery charge reaches a level of about 80% in order to provide the fastest possible tablet charging and to preserve the tablet battery life by not charging it in the stressful last 20% of its design capacity. The keyboard battery is used in preference to the tablet battery if it’s available.

Dell Venue 11 Pro (16) Dell Venue 11 Pro (15)

Dell Venue 11 Pro (10)Dell Venue 11 Pro (12)
A full gallery of our images can be found here.

Dell Venue 11 Pro (17)

Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Dell Venue 11 Pro information page.

Page 2: Performance, Battery Life  and summary on Page 2.

Microsoft shows off Mirrorlink working with Windows Phone
Microsoft adds Mirrorlink to its automotive app approach, after recently showing off an implementation running on a Windows Phone device.
Off-the-grid entertainment with DVB-T on a Windows 8 Tablet.

For cheap, off-the-grid entertainment, OTA digital TV is the only way to get live information onto a tablet. I took a DVB-T receiver from Terratec, installed the driver and the TV software along with a codec pack on a Dell Venue 8 Pro and it’s working very well. According to tests, one charge should run for the full length of a footballl game, including extra time and penalties. It’s perfect for the up-coming World Cup!


I’m using the DVB-T standard Terratec Cinergy DT USB XS which is a USB-connected receiver and from the image above you can see it has two antennas. It’s connected via a USB adaptor so you’ll need to make sure you‘ve got one of those. (MicroUSB to USB female connector.) As I’m testing approximately 500 meters from the local DVB-T transmitter I can operate it with no antennas attached, indoors but most people are going to need some sort of antenna. The cheaper USB sticks only have one antenna and may not be good for the edges of reception areas so you’ll need to be aware of that but there are a few with integrated antennas which would be practical if you’re in a good reception area.

The receiver doesn’t auto-install on Windows 8 so I downloaded the latest drivers and the Terratec DVB Viewer software. Unfortunately there’s a third step due to lack of MPEG-2 support in Windows 8.

The problem and solution for MPEG-2 on Windows 8

Windows 8 doesn’t include the required MPEG-2 codecs like Windows 7 did so you’ll need to install a codec pack which is always a bit risky but I’ve found what appears to be an ‘honest’ and simple codec pack with easy installation and setup in the Shark007 basic codec pack. Install the standard 32-bit codec pack and remember to ‘skip’ the freeware offers. For configuration choose the Shark007 SUGGESTED settings. If you’re running a 64-bit system you’ll probably need the 64-bit extensions but I haven’t tested that.

Screenshot (2)

The Terratec viewer software is for desktop only and isn’t very finger friendly but scanning of the local frequencies here was straightforward and resulted in 34 channels being found. Unfortunately this receiver won’t pick up DAB (radio) or the new DVB-T2 standard but the quality is fine for this 8-inch tablet and casual usage.

Quality of the streams on DVB-T is ‘standard definition’ 528×576 25fps MPEG-2 at about 2.5Mbps with an MPEG2 audio channel. (DVB-T2 offers high-definition streams.)

Under normal viewing conditions on this Z3740D-based tablet the CPU is using 17%. In aircraft mode (no WiFi needed for this) and with full screen brightness I was seeing 5.6W of power usage which, on this 19Wh device is going to give you 3hrs 20 minutes of viewing time. Let’s say 3hrs to be safe.

The Terratec software I’m using here allows TV to be recorded to disk at a rate of about 20MB / min which means you’ll have no problem recording a few hours of something for later playback.


The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great tablet PC for this TV activity due to its bright, high-contrast IPS screen and loud speaker. It’s mono, but it’s still the best speaker you can get on a low-cost 8-inch Windows tablets.

DVB-T and DVB-T2 won’t work for everyone but if you’re in a good reception area it’s a good, simple, off-the-grid solution for entertainment.

Acer Aspire Switch SW5 shows-up at reseller.

It’s a brave reseller that breaks what we assume would be an NDA in order to gain the SEO advantage so hats-off to Brack in Switzerland who give us the first real detail about the Acer Aspire Switch SW5. This Baytrail-T based 2-in-1 is clearly on the production line and looks to be the upgrade to the W510 that we had running on Clovertrail last year.

First the bad news. 1366×768 is the given display resolution. It’s probably right too as the price is, for 64GB storage, a very very cheap 370 Euros; 50 euros cheaper than the ASUS Transformer Book T100. Acer may have taken a look at the T100 popularity and gone for the kill.

At this price you can’t expect a battery in the keyboard dock and the CPU is the Z3745 which is the 64-bit upgrade to the Z3740 found in the current ‘mainstream’ tablets.

acer-aspire-switch-sw5 -acer-aspire-switch-sw5-002
Click to enlarge

Clearly these aren’t final press images that the site is displaying.

Acer Aspire Switch SW5 specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Atom Z3745
  • Screen: 10.1-inch 1366×768
  • OS:Windows 8.1
  • Storage: 64GB (expect 32GB too)
  • Connetivity: Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB2.0, headphone port, MicroSD card reader
  • Wireless: 802.11n (expect a and g too), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery life: 8hrs video playback.
  • Other: Mic, Stereo speakers, compass, acceleromter, ambient light sensor.
  • Weight: 585 gram (We assume that’s for the tablet as it’s about the same as the current W510 tablet)
  • Size: 162,6  x 177,1  x 8,9 mm
  • Keyboard dock included.

Acer have an event in New York on April 29th where we’re likely to see the launch of the Acer Aspire Switch SW5 and, possibly, an updated Acer W7 running a Core CPU or high-end Baytrail-T. Acer Switch SW7?

Source: Brack.ch

Via: Tabtech and Tabletblog.

Windows 8.1 Update – update.

With only 2/9 touch PCs updated here, 1 installing as I write, 1 downloading and 5 failures that need re-trying I suspect that there’s quite a bit of throttling and control going on by Microsoft today. I’m behind 1 IP address and after trying concurrent installs I’ve dropped back to a one-at-a-time method and it seems to be working now. I advise you do the same if you have multiple PCs

The Dell Venue 11 Pro, Lenovo Miix 2 10 and Acer W510 have updated successfully and all three are booting to Modern, as expected. Non-touch PCs will now boot to desktop.

I’m not a fan of integrating the mouse controls on the Modern UI but because they are hidden when using touch, it’s not an issue. The start-screen search box is a good idea. A Control Panel shortcut now appears in the Modern ‘Change PC Settings’ menu and you can pin Modern apps to the desktop taskbar – a first step in cross-environment integration but remember there’s no floating Windows Store apps in the desktop yet and no changes to the Start Menu. They are coming in a future update. Newly installed apps are easier to find in the Modern apps list now.

For those of us lucky enough to have Connected Standby-capable devices, you won’t see the Power icon on the Start screen.

Just in case you think it’s not worth updating because you’re on a tablet, think again. If you don’t update you’ll eventually lose the ability to update in the future. This update is obligatory.

A new ‘Disk Space’ menu item is a good start in providing users with 16, 32 and 64GB SSDs easier ways to control disk usage but there’s a lot more that could go in there. A shortcut to the ‘Disk Cleanup’ option for a start.

Screenshot (1)

Here’s a video update from my home office this morning. Let us know what your experience was in the comments below and if you’ve had problems, let us know which device it was.

Lenovo Thinkpad 10 coming with next-gen Baytrail specs.

tp10tMiix 2 8 and Miix 2 10, Thinkpad 8 and Thinkpad 10. It makes sense, right? The Thinkpad 10 is due to launch next month if the news is correct. Expect something to challenge the HP Elitepad 1000 and Fujitsu Q584 and something that could have all the great qualities we’ve already seen on the Thinkpad 8 but with more processing power, more RAM, an optional keyboard and a lot of business options. Yes, pricing is going to be on the high side but if they can engineer something lighter than the competition, this could be the one.

The Lenovo Thinkpad 10 news comes via Tabtech.de who have picked the news up from the forums over at TabletPCReview where multiple references have been obtained. How about this, found at a reseller website:

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 10 (20C1000M) 10.1″ FHD, Intel Atom Z3795 1.6GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB Flash, Integrated Graphics, 802.11 abgn / BT 4.0/3G LTE, fingerprint, Micro SD, SmartCard, Digitizer + Pen, W8.1 PRO 32.

Apparently the WWAN, smartcard reader and fingerprint reader will be options but no-one is really sure at this stage. The Win8.1 32-bit OS looks strange considering the Elitepad 1000 runs 64-bit on the same CPU.

The Z3795 on 64-bit Windows with 4GB RAM should turn in some nice performance figures. With a clock that’s running from 1.6-2.4Ghz it should beat the Baytrail version of the Z3770 that we’re testing in the Dell Venue 11 Pro right now.

It’s great to see some competition in the 10-inch tablet space but as many people in the forum thread are highlighting, even the Thinkpad 8 is not generally available yet. The Thinkpad 10 could go to special project requirements first before you see it in the reseller channels. We’ll see what we can do to get some more information over the next weeks.


Via: Tabtech.de

Acer Iconia Tab W4 (3G) Review

Acer Iconia W4

In our fifth 8-inch Windows Tablet review we’re taking a look at the Acer Inconia W4. Acer were the first to bring an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet to the market but the W3 really wasn’t at all an impressive device. The W4, however, looks a whole lot better and performs a whole lot better thanks to the upgrade from Clovertrail to Baytrail. We’ve also got 3G on board which makes it one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets to have the feature. Read-on for the full Acer Iconia W4-821P 3G 32GB review.

Acer Iconia W4-821P 3G 32GB Specifications, Package Contents

Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Acer Iconia W4 information page. We have the 32GB model here which comes with 2GB RAM.

Acer Iconia W4 (8)

In the box you’ll find the charger and charger cable along with a microUSB to USB host adaptor. None of the other 8-inch Windows tablets come with this adaptor.

Acer W4 unboxing and overview video.

Our unboxing and overview video is available here.

Build and ports

Where the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Lenovo Miix 2 8 have an attractive build, the Acer has more functional look. It’s thicker, has more ports and buttons and a slightly raised screen. There are advantages related to all those features but weight is not one of them. At 430 grams / 15.2 Oz this is one of the heaviest of the 8-inch Windows tablets.

Acer Iconia W4 (17) Acer Iconia W4 (15)

Acer Iconia W4 (16) Acer Iconia W4 (14)

The additional HDMI port puts it inline with the Toshiba Encore WT8 as one of the more desktop-friendly devices and one that you can get some real value from the included Microsoft Office package with. Admittedly this won’t be an advantage to many owners but we must not forget that these 8-inch Windows tablets are the cheapest way to get and run Microsoft Office Home and Student on a new PC. More attractive to the average user is the larger battery. 19Wh is up there with the best. Detailed battery life report below.

One note for people wanting to dock the unit via USB: Portrait mode docking is difficult due to the USB port placement on the bottom of the device. The HDMI port is on the right though so screen and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse is possible.

Fit and finish of the plastics around the device seems to be OK although the plastic looks like it might scratch easily. Having said that, this demo model was in very good condition.

Special Features

The following key features are included in the Acer Iconia W4

3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps max download) with Micro-SIM card slot.

 Acer Iconia W4 (9)

Connected standby (or InstantGo as it’s now known) is a screen-off state similar to that on Android and IOS devices. Windows Store applications can remain active and connected while the tablet goes into low-power mode that can last for days.

Camera The 5MP auto-focus rear camera is nothing special. A front-facing camera has low-light performance good enough for video chats.

GPS. A GNSS GPS receiver is included in this model.

Security: As with other Baytrail-T tablets there’s full-disk Bitlocker encryption available when you use a Microsoft Live account to log into the device (Encryption keys are held in your MS account.) Secure boot is standard and we haven’t yet investigated any boot/BIOS settings that might disable this. We have not checked the BIOS for user configurable Secure-Boot and password options.

Miracast: This wireless display technology is available in all the 8-inch Windows tablets and can be used to project a screen or extended screen in FullHD to a display with Miracast capability or an attached Miracast receiver. Demo video here. Miracast receivers can be bought for as low as $25 now.

Two matched Bluetooth keyboard options exist for the Acer Iconia W4. You can see these in a video here.


Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Acer Iconia W4 information page.

Acer Iconia W4 (3)Screen

Compared to the screen on the old W3, the screen on the W4 is in a different league. In fact, we think it’s one of the best screens we’ve seen on a Windows 8 tablet. The Dell Venue 8 Pro has it beat but it’s on par, if not better than the Lenovo Miix 2 which is the next-best. Viewing angles are great and brightness is good. We noticed an occasional flicker, maybe once every minute or so, that occurs in low brightness levels and a slightly shaded band towards the top of the screen in portrait mode. The band is not something we would worry about (and only found after close scrutiny.) The flicker could be related to the non-standard build we’re testing but be aware of it if you buy one.

Tablet Usability

The weight of 430 grams is noticeable, as is the thickness but despite that we found it comfortable to use. There are no sharp edges around the device and the power key is tucked away nicely on top in portrait mode. We liked the feel of the mechanical windows button.

As for speed and power we didn’t notice any differences to the other devices which is not surprising as technically, these 8-inch Windows tablets on Baytrail-T (Atom Z3740)  are all very similar.

Speaker ports (stereo) were just OK. The mono speaker of the Dell Venue 8 Pro is better.

In terms of software, every time we test a Windows 8 device the range of modern/RT apps gets better. This time round we’re testing after the announcement of Windows 8.1 Update which will be available a day after this review is published. Google Plus, Drive, Music and other Google services aren’t that easy to use on the OS yet but we’re hoping that Windows 8, or maybe 9, reaches a point were it makes sense for Google to support it and port their apps over. As yet though, there’s very little Google support.

Desktop usage is, as with other 8-inch tablets, a little difficult and on the Acer W4 we didn’t feel that the touchscreen was as responsive to our finger when trying to hit small Windows buttons. Closing a full-screen app, for example, often required multiple attempts.

The MicroSD card slot and SIM card slot (micro) are not covered.

Acer Iconia W4 (10)


The rear camera is an auto or touch-focus 5MP unit without LED lamp and the front is a simple 1MP cam that is actually OK for indoor Skype sessions. Neither have high quality optics. Two sample images are shown below and you can see a lot of grain on the indoor image. The 5MP cam is recommended for bright outdoor images only.

acer-iconia-w4 sampleacer-iconia-w4 sample2

Images are 2560×1920 (5MP) and are Geo-tagged.

Acer Iconia W4 (11)

Specifications, Images, links, videos, comments and more information can always be found through our database on the Acer Iconia W4 information page.

Page 2: Performance, Battery Life  and summary on Page 2.


$99 Windows tablet specs and the mid-range refresh.

The immediate worry about the $99-$129 entry-level Windows tablets is around the issue of quality. Low-cost Chinese ODM tablets won’t be the best tablets around but at least the performance won’t go down. You’ll still get Windows 8 on a Baytrail-T processor and because of that, the mid-range tablets at $200-$350 will have to get better. In this article we look at what could happen and the likely specifications.

The good news for everyone is that the Microsoft license cost for Windows has gone which means the $25-$50 charge (that we often get quoted by Windows tablet ODMs) falls away for all tablets in the 7-8-inch range. (10-inch tablets don’t get the advantage.) Intel is also enabling cost savings through improvements made in the new Baytrail-CR processors that save space (shown in this video) and board component count. That board-size reduction means you might see $100 tablets with a 7-inch screen so lets look in detail at the specifications you might get for $100.

  • Windows 8.1 Update (Not RT on Intel, yet.)
  • Minimum 1GB RAM, 16Gb eMMC storage (1-16 build enabled by the 60% reduction in image size for Windows 8.1 update.)
  • 7-inch screen allows cheaper components to be sourced from existing tablet markets and saves energy.
  • 1280×800 resolution likely based on last-gen 7-inch Android tablet screen availability.
  • Cost Reduced Baytrail-T. CPU-World reports on the new Baytrail-T parts. The Atom Z3735E is the budget offering running at current 1.33Ghz-1.8Ghz speeds but only supporting 1GB RAM and a 32-bit memory bus. CPU-World reports that this is only for Android so the next model up is the Atom Z3735D which looks perfect for the job. A single-channel memory controller supports up to 2GB of RAM and there’s a slightly lower processor burst speed. The non-D version supports dual-channel memory up to 4GB but there’s no need for that in the low-cost tablets.
  • Although 1GB RAM is the minimum required we might see a few manufacturers trying to differentiate with 2GB RAM.
  • In terms of ports expect only the minimum. 1 USB 2.0 port for charging and data along with a headphone jack.
  • MicroSD slots are a must-have when offering only 16GB of on-board storage but you might even see that missing on the cheapest tablets.
  • Rear cameras are going to be unlikely but a front-facing cam is probably going to be a (Microsoft+Skype) requirement.
  • In order to reduce costs in creating and testing images, a 64-bit CPU and image is likely.
  • Lower cost plastics are going to be obvious.
  • Finally, due to energy savings of having a 7-inch screen and a smaller board build it’s likely that battery size will drop. 13-16Wh (we currently have 16-20Wh) is likely.

In summary you’ll get a less rugged tablet with less battery life than some of the current models but it’s possible we’ll get smaller 7-inch tablets too which could be attractive to some. You’ll still be able to do this too…


Mid-Range differentiation

A $99 or even a $150 tablet creates a problem for the mid-range. Prices for current models will not be sustainable so two things will happen. We’ll see a price drop on devices that have todays specifications and because there needs to be a technical advantage over the low-end, the specs will be boosted. Intel has already told us that we can expect a 15% performance increase on CPU and GPU operations and taking a look at that CPU-World article again you can see the interesting Atom Z3775 with a 14.6-2.38 clock, boosted GPU and 4GB RAM capability sitting below the high-end Z3795 that we’ve already seen on the Elitepad 1000 G2, the first 64-bit Baytrail tablet to hit the market. The ‘Cost Reduction’ changes seen on the lower-end products are also likely to be there as a space-saving advantage which means either lower-cost or, more likely, more flexibility in size, ports and battery . USB3.0 might be used to differentiate the mid-range products if there’s no cost difference or port space issues.

Screenshot (54)_edited

Naturally all the devices will be 64-bit to help OEMs and ODMs reduce the costs of creating and testing images and in some cases, but not all, we’ll probably see 4GB RAM which aligns the product with expectations on a ‘real’ PC.

HMDI ports will continue to appear on some models as manufacturers mix and match their options.

Finally, we’re hoping that we’ll see a 1080p 7-inch Windows tablet on a mid-range offering but it could be that the engineering and component requirements push this into the $300-plus ‘high-end’ space.


Screenshot (39)_editedPlently of options exist for high-end manufacturers that want to try and knock the Thinkpad 8 off its perch and Intel has already teased ‘New Experiences’ relating to security and immersive gaming. Given the fact that a dual-camera tablet was presented on video at IDF and that there’s going to be space available if the processor mainboard becomes smaller, it’s highly likely that security and immersive gaming are related to Realsense camera technology. See this article for demonstrations that Intel have already made with the Realsense technology.

Apart from Realsense, this is what OEMs have to play with…

  • High-end CPU (although thermal limits might prevent that in this generation of 8-inch tablets.)
  • Digitizer layer.
  • 1080p screens.
  • 4GB RAM.
  • Larger battery.
  • Best engineering and materials.
  • 3G
  • Business-focused accessories (although given the short lifetime of these products, accessories could be limited and/or expensive.)
  • Biometric security (possibly related to Realsense.)
  • USB3.1 and USB Power Delivery. (2015)

Given the costs of developing new hardware for this fast-moving market we don’t expect a huge number of products appearing in 2014. Waiting for 2015 and CherryTrail might be a better bet for high-end products. See you at CES 2015 for those but do keep an eye out in 2014 for a Lenovo Thinkpad 8 refresh. 4GB RAM, faster CPU and, if possible, a digitizer layer. We live in hope!


Windows Tablets at $99, Realsense for high-end later this year

As we followed IDF yesterday we heard about a $99 tablet price target. We assumed it was for Android tablets but no, Intel are targeting their low-end Baytrail solution for Windows tablets at that price point. Intel are also increasing marketing and promising some new and improved features that could include Realsense 3D sensors for high-end Windows tablets.

Hermann Eul, corporate VP and GM of the Mobile and Communications Group at Intel explained in his keynote yesterday that by lining up low-cost SKUs (processor models) up with the removal of Windows licensing costs (announced at BUILD yesterday) they could enable Windows tablets “even down to $99 or $129. “As we speak we have more than 90 tablet designs coming to the market” spanning from below $100 to $500.

Full keynote video below.

The announcement was made during a segment in which Hermann highlighted the ‘4X’ campaign which aims to increase tablet sales to 40 million this year across the Android and Windows range.

Screenshot (55)_edited


Clearly Intel don’t expect the $100 segment to include too many $99 Windows tablets in 2014 but if the Windows Store takes-off as it may do after  Universal Apps become possible, why not more? It’s likely to be down to differentiation. Low-performance ARM-based platforms will be cheaper so there’s an opportunity to drop $20-$50 for higher performance and perhaps the extra USB functionality.

We can’t read too much into the perceived split in the mainstream and premium segment but 50:50 seems about right. 20 million Windows tablet sales in total for 2014? Yes, we can see that happening as the products are already selling very well.

The low-cost products are likely to come from partners in China. Intel were happy to show who they’re working with as local country partners.

Screenshot (56)_edited

In the slide are listed: Livefan, Telcast, iWork, ramos, Aigo, Vido, onsa (sp?), Neso and two brands we can’t translate. In 2014 Intel are going to set a target of getting 20 ODM partners to produce 60 global designs via the Intel Turnkey Program which includes references designs, tailored software and other support packages.

Intel also announced they will provide marketing campaigns for this segment and will market to both consumers and IT decision makers. Intel will also help by using their existing distribution channels. Screenshot (57)_edited

Realsense for Tablets?

Finally, for the mainstream Windows tablet segment that closely matches the coverage we have here at UMPCPortal, we see that not only is Baytrail-T being updated for CR (cost reduced) versions now but there are also performance improvements coming later in the year too. An estimated 15% performance improvement along with ‘new experiences’ in the area of security and immersive gaming. We can’t help thinking that is related to Realsense when we look at the icon.

Screenshot (54)_edited

A depth-enabled camera features in the early part of the presentation. This feature would require Realsense on board so again, it looks like Realsense is coming to tablets this year. [See 06:00 in the video below It’s really worth watching.]

Screenshot (50)_edited

It looks like we’ll be busy here at UMPCPortal in 2014. We’ll continue to focus on the mainstream and high-end of the Tablet PC and mobile PC market and bring you more details about the technologies and capabilities as soon as we can.

Braswell 14nm SoC for ‘Entry’ PCs in 2015.

Although Intel are updating the current Baytrail D/M range, we’re looking forward to a 14m version and an all-round update for Windows tablets and mobile PCs. That update was previously thought to be CherryTrail but it turns out that Braswell is in the mix too.

At IDF in Shenzen Intel announced Braswell for ‘Entry Systems.’ Given that the presentation was given by Intel’s PC Client Group this means that it’s likely be the replacement for Baytrail-M and D that we see in low-cost PCs and tablets today. E.g. the Medion Akoya P2212T

Braswell is a 14nm product presumably using the Airmont Core although this wasn’t confirmed in the IDF presentation. Coverage of Braswell in the press release was very brief…

In a brief preview of Intel’s future roadmap for PCs and mobile devices, Skaugen said the effort to bring innovation to the value space will continue in earnest with the next-generation 14nm SoC, code-named Braswell.

In his presentation, Kirk Skaugen had this to say.

“Today I want to announce the codename of the next generation Atom microarchitecture-based PC called Braswell. It will be a leading 14nm nanometer technology delivering an even lower bill of materials cost and higher performance.” We assume Kirk meant SoC and not PC in that announcement.

Screenshot (48)_edited

Braswell may also be targeted for Chromebooks

Braswell’s size, highly-integrated design and efficiency will allow manufacturers to produce lower cost devices by reducing design time, bill of materials and the size of the battery needed.

CherryTrail-T remains the ‘high-end’ of the next generation Windows CPUs and we’re likely to see this on tablets at the start of 2015 with a few products possibly making it to market for the December holiday period.

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