Windows 8 Pro

[Review] Dell Latitude 10 (Part 1): Design & Build, Key Features

Dell-Latitude-10-1

Dell isn’t a stranger to the tablet form factor. Remember the early Android-powered Dell Streak 5 and 7 tablets circa 2009-2011? Considered ahead of its time although sadly they didn’t enjoy much commercial success. Fast forward to 2013, Dell is back in the tablet game with a difference. The Dell Latitude 10 is Dell’s first Windows 8 tablet, and targeted for business. Dell Malaysia kindly loaned us a unit for several weeks for a review. Read on.

First thing’s first. A tablet for business users. What does that mean? A serious outlook? Security features? Compliance to policies? Boring?

I’ll attempt to answer all that in a bit.

Design and build
The Dell Latitude 10’s design is pretty straight forward, inoffensive, somewhat ‘corporate-looking’ if there’s such a description. But perhaps that’s what business users look out for. Something unassuming, professional, minimalistic. And on all counts, the Latitude 10 exudes all that.

Its black rectangular frame is made of reinforced magnesium-alloy, with its 10.1-inch display reinforced with Gorilla Glass. It’s solidly-built. I like the soft-touch resin finish on the back, which gives it a comfortable, non-slip grip.

At 10.5mm it isn’t the slimmest tablet around, but being comparatively light at 658g (depending on configuration), it feels pretty good in the hands. There is a reason why it doesn’t sport a super slim profile though, because it features a plethora of ports and connections.

Dell-Latitude-10-6

Dell-Latitude-10-7

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At the front is the 5-point multi-touch display that’s surrounded by an unusually wide bezel. Above the display is a 2MP front-facing camera. A single physical Windows home button naturally sits underneath the screen.

Up on the top edge is a power button, auto-rotate toggle, SD card and mini-SIM slot. Down at the bottom is a docking connector and microUSB port.

On the left is a volume rocker and a Kensington lock slot. And on the opposite side is a USB 2.0 port, mini-HDMI port and a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack.

Dell-Latitude-10-3

On the back, things are kept minimalistic as well. An 8MP camera with LED flash occupies the top, with a removable 30Whr battery occupying 2/3rds of the back plate, with a slide lock beneath. Speaker vents feature on either side.

All in all, an unremarkable but pleasing outlook. I might even say it’s quite a handsome-looking tablet.

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Microsoft Windows 8 Launch: Devices, Devices, Devices!

Microsoft Windows 8 Launch

At the Microsoft Windows 8 press launch yesterday, Microsoft’s biggest hardware partners came out in full force to showcase a rich buffet of new products, powered by the new, modern operating system. Notebooks, touchscreen Ultrabooks, all-in-one (AIO) desktops, convertibles, hybrids and tablet devices from the likes of ASUS, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba impressed and left an impression on us.

Windows’ re-imagined touch-centric user experience has spurred much innovation in terms of fluidity, performance and intuitiveness. Working closely with its partners, the showcased devices demonstrated the potential of Windows 8 and its revolutionary tile-based UI. And it’s only just begun.

There were some 30 different products laid out across the four Experience Zones at the launch and we had a chance to play with them first hand. Some notables include the Acer Iconia W510 (which we played with at the media preview session in KL), ASUS Vivo TabDell XPS 12, Dell XPS One27 AIO desktop PC, HP ENVY x2Lenovo IdeaPad YogaSamsung ATIV Tab, Samsung Series 5 Ultra TouchSony VAIO Duo 11Toshiba Satellite U920t (U840W no touch), Acer Aspire 7600U AIO desktop PC and Samsung Series 7 AIO desktop.

Acer Iconia W510Acer Iconia W510
This wasn’t the first time we’ve played with Acer’s clever little hybrid device – the Acer Iconia W510 tablet PC. Recently, we had an opportunity to play with the tablet including 7 other new Windows 8-powered devices by Acer in a special media preview session. This is a ASUS Transformer Pad-influenced idea, but much improved, and then some. The talented 0.35-inches thin tablet has three different modes, built for touch, typing and viewing. The high-def 10.1-inch display with Gorilla Glass 2 provides 10-point touch and vibrant visuals. Battery life is rated at 18 hours with the keyboard dock battery.

ASUS Vivo Tab
One of my personal favourites previewed during the launch was the ASUS Vivo Tab. The sexy tab features the Next Generation Intel Atom processor and has 2GB RAM with 64GB eMMC (embedded multimedia card) storage. The Vivo Tab is very well built, slim and light. Comes with support for 1024-level Wacom digitiser for precise work and navigation. ASUS, it seems, is getting better and better at building this form factor, and that level of refinement shows on the Vivo Tab. Thumbs up.

Dell XPS 12Dell XPS 12
The Dell XPS 12 is a attractive-looking 12-inch device with a flip hinge touchscreen offering a Full HD (1920×1080) display experience. Convert from Ultrabook to tablet at any time. Crafted from premium machined aluminium, carbon fiber and Corning Gorilla Glass, the Dell XPS is as good-looking and durable as they come.

HP ENVY x2
To be honest I was pleasantly surprised at the HP ENVY X2 hybrid PC. The notebook doubles as a tablet, with a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard. The mechanism is simple and effective, using a seamless magnetic latch. The fit and finish was top notch. The particular unit was a prototype, and some things didn’t work as well as it should and the trackpad didn’t work. However, the spokesperson informed me that these would certainly be corrected in the final version. According to him, HP will be announcing the launch of this looker very, very soon.

Lenovo IdeaPad YogaLenovo IdeaPad Yoga
At first knowledge of the IdeaPad Yoga, my first reaction was, “What a ridiculous name for a device”. But of course that’s what people said when the iPad first emerged. So Lenovo named it after the ancient Indian artform, but with good reason. The IdeaPad Yoga features a revolutionary hinge that allows it to uniquely fold 360° from laptop to tablet in one simple motion. It can lie flat with screen facing up, or work as a tablet with the keyboard tucked underneath. An interesting idea although I have reservations about having the keyboard being folded underneath and meeting the table top. The IdeaPad Yoga comes in two sizes – 13-inch and 11-inch. The 11-inch has the distinction of being the world’s slimmest multi-mode PC, measuring just 15.6mm. Innovative work by Lenovo. And oh, pick the orange.

Samsung ATIV Tab
Samsung’s hardware prowess should never be question. The ATIV Tab is nicely designed, and does not look like any of its Android tablets (thankfully). Coming in sleek black, the ATIV Tab delivers a full Windows 8-based PC experience with tablet mobility. It weighs only 570g, features a 10.1-inch display and measures only 8.9mm thick. Nice one, Samsung.

Sony VAIO Duo 11Sony VAIO Duo 11
I didn’t get to play with this sexy device, and missed the Malaysian launch last week, but this slider hybrid Ultrabook exudes the sexy, premium feel always associated with Sony products, and synonymous with the VAIO brand.

Toshiba Satellite U920t
Another talented ultra-slim slider, the Satellite U920t Premier Series Convertible, transforms from tablet to Ultrabook and back in seconds, thanks to its unique sliding hinge. I felt it was a little clunky, but an interesting concept nonetheless.

Samsung Series 7 AIO
The Samsung Series 7 AIO is a sleek 23.6-inch, i7-powered all-in-one desktop PC offering a full touch experience. It takes design cues from the award-winning Samsung line of SMART TVs. Like its SMART TV range, the AIO also supports hand gestures.

Microsoft Windows 8 Launch

The Hits
My personal picks include the ASUS Vivo Tab, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Samsung AIO PC, Acer Iconia W510, HP ENVY x2.

The Misses
Because of its touch-based interface, it makes absolute sense for devices to have touchscreens. However, notebooks like the Toshiba U840W does not. While that isn’t a huge deal-breaker per se, as Windows 8 also works well with keyboard and mouse, it’s the fact that quality of trackpad experience on some notebooks leave much to be desired.

The Big Miss
The absence of the Microsoft Surface was glaringly missed. While our American counterparts in New York enjoyed their hands-on with Microsoft’s first ever computer product (and subsequently made available for sale in the US), we went home sorely disappointed.

The Exciting Road Ahead
This is just the beginning of the flood of Windows 8 devices rolling out into the market. Over the next couple of months, and especially before the end year holidays, expect to see even more interesting hardware in stores. Powered by Windows 8 of course.

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Microsoft Debuts Windows 8, Brings New Era of “No Compromise” Computing to Asia Pacific

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Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows 8 for the Asia Pacific region and around the world. The big, momentous launch of the new operating system signals a new era of “no compromise” computing for the software giant. The beautiful new tile-based Windows 8 UI brings a completely re-imagined user experience that will be the basis of the future generation of Windows.

Windows 8 will be featured on over 1,000 Windows 8 certified PCs and tablets, supported by a rich range of apps with the opening of Windows Store in 17 markets across the Asia Pacific.

Windows 8 will be available for download onto existing PCs in over 140 markets and 37 languages. Over 50 new devices have debuted in Asia that are built for Windows 8 from Microsoft’s partners – ASUS, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. These devices will be available at retail locations throughout Asia Pacific. At the media launch today, Microsoft showcased a wide range of new models, including notebooks, tablets, all-in-ones, touch-enabled ultrabooks and convertibles, all built for Windows 8.

Windows 8 Launch Singapore

President of Microsoft Asia Pacific, Tracey Fellows with Windows 8 ambassadors and special guests.

[quote] “With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world,” said Tracey Fellows, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Whether you want to consume or create, whether you want to work or play—Windows 8 delivers a no-compromise computing experience. You no longer need to choose between the fun and convenience of a tablet and the power and productivity of a PC.”[/quote]

A year ago, Microsoft released the Windows 8 Developer Preview and subsequently the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Adoption has been phenomenal with over 16 million active preview participants making Windows 8 the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft’s history.

Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail – Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Launched simultaneously is also a member of the Windows family designed for ARM-based tablets, Windows RT, which enables new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life.

Windows 8 features the new fast and fluid Start screen that gives people one-click access to the apps and content they care most about, the entirely new Internet Explorer 10 that is perfect for touch, and built-in cloud capabilities with SkyDrive.

More than 30,000 developers have participated at Windows 8 developer events across the region, and some of the most popular local apps in Asia Pacific are now available in the Windows Store including Channel NewsAsia (Singapore), The Straits Times (Singapore), Fruit Ninja (Australia), Air Asia (Malaysia), Bangkok Bank (Thailand), iProperty (Malaysia), just to name a few.

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Image credit: Microsoft

Windows Store will be available in every language that is offered for Windows – that’s more than 100 languages. Apps will be available in 231 markets around the world, including Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. (The complete list is available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694064.aspx)

Through the end of January, consumers currently running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, are qualified to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $39.99 (U.S.). And eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 in more than 140 countries can download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $14.99 (U.S.) with the Windows Upgrade Offer, available at www.windowsupgradeoffer.com.

FPP Pricing Summary
Pricing Program SKU Malaysia ($USD)
WUO Windows 7 PC Upgrade Offer $14.99
GA Promo Pricing (until 31 Jan 2013) Windows 8 Pro GA Offer: Retail Packaged Product $69.99
Windows 8 Pro GA Offer: ESD $39.99
Everyday pricing Windows 8 Pro Everyday: Retail Packaged Product & ESD $289.99
Windows 8 Everyday: Retail Packaged Product & ESD $169.99
Windows 8 Pro Pack Everday: Retail Packaged Product & ESD $139.9

[spoiler title=”Read official press release”]

Microsoft Launches Windows 8, Brings New Era of “No-Compromise” Computing to Asia Pacific  

New devices, new apps, new services offer unparalleled choice and unique experiences 

Singapore – 25 October – Today, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 8 for its customers in Asia Pacific and around the world. Beginning on Friday, October 26, consumers and businesses will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer: a beautiful new user interface available on more than 1,000 Windows 8 certified PCs and tablets, and a wide range of apps with the opening of the Windows Store in 17 markets across Asia Pacific.

Windows 8 will be available for download onto existing PCs in over 140 markets and 37 languages. New devices from a wide range of manufacturers—including Asus, Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba—will be available at retail locations throughout Asia Pacific. Customers will be able to choose from a range of new models, including notebooks, tablets, all-in-ones, touch-enabled ultrabooks and convertibles, all built for Windows 8.

“With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft is unveiling a reimagined Windows to the world,” said Tracey Fellows, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific. “Whether you want to consume or create, whether you want to work or play—Windows 8 delivers a no-compromise computing experience. You no longer need to choose between the fun and convenience of a tablet and the power and productivity of a PC.”

Windows 8 will be available in two versions at retail, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Launching at the same time is a new member of the Windows family designed for ARM-based tablets, Windows RT, which enables new thin and lightweight form factors with impressive battery life. Windows 8 features the new fast and fluid Start screen that gives people one-click access to the apps and content they care most about, the entirely new Internet Explorer 10 that is perfect for touch, and built-in cloud capabilities with SkyDrive.  Other built-in apps include:

  • People: See the latest info and start conversations with contacts from your email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Messenger, Twitter, and more.
  • Photos: See your photos and videos in one place, whether they’re on Facebook, Flickr, SkyDrive, or another PC.
  • Music: Browse your music collection, create and edit playlists, and keep up with the hottest new releases. See artist details with pictures, bios, and album lists.

More than 30,000 developers have participated at Windows 8 developer events across the region, and some of the most popular local apps in Asia Pacific are now available in the Windows Store:

  • News: The New Zealand Herald (New Zealand), ThaiRath (Thailand), Channel NewsAsia (Singapore), The Straits Times (Singapore), Razor TV (Singapore), ABS-CBN News (Philippines), Chosun Biz (Korea)
  • Games: Fruit Ninja (Australia), Stack the Stuff (Indonesia), JetPack Joyride (Australia), Ancient Frog (New Zealand)
  • Entertainment: SkyTV (New Zealand), SM Cinema (Philippines), GTH Cinema (Thailand)
  • Education: Pororo (Korea), Merlion Words (Singapore), My Baby Piano (Korea)
  • Travel : Air Asia (Malaysia), Korea Bus (Korea), Wego (Singapore)
  • Sports: New Zealand cricket (New Zealand)
  • Finance: Westpac (Australia), Bangkok Bank (Thailand)
  • Books & Ref: Yes24 (Korea),
  • Lifestyle:  iProperty (Malaysia), iProperty (Singapore), ArtNArte (Korea), SG Deals (Singapore)

Through the end of January, consumers currently running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, are qualified to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $39.99 (U.S.). And eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012, and January 31, 2013 in more than 140 countries can download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of $14.99 (U.S.) with the Windows Upgrade Offer, available at www.windowsupgradeoffer.com.

For news about Microsoft in Asia, join the conversation on Twitter. Follow us at @MicrosoftAsia

[/spoiler]

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Microsoft Windows 8 Launch in Singapore, No Sign of Surface Tablet

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Today’s Windows 8 launch is possibly one of the most important launches in the history of Microsoft. A completely re-imagined, re-engineered operating system that is built for touch, and for the future. Microsoft calls it “no compromise” computing, and as a whole, it shows. The Windows 8 UI is immersive, interactive and fluid. It’s all about speed, simplicity and performance. And most importantly, it’s everything a modern day OS should be.

Microsoft may be a software giant but it has shown that it can make great hardware. And one of the most anticipated, and lusted products in recent months, is the Microsoft Surface tablet. The Surface tablet is a first for a couple of things. Firstly, it is Microsoft’s first ever Microsoft-branded computer. The innovative, sleek tablet was envisaged as a hardware reference product for manufacturers developing for Windows 8. Secondly, the Surface tablet is also one of the first devices to run Windows RT, a new operating system fundamentally the same as Windows 8 but optimised for use with ARM-based processors such as the NVIDIA Tegra 3.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

The Surface tablet is powered by NVIDIA T30 processors with 2GB of RAM, both front and back-side 720p HD cameras and come with microSDXC card slot, USB port, two Wi-Fi antennas, and a 31.5 W-h battery, good for all-day use. It has a 10.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display, and weighs 1.5 pounds.

Windows RT is, from ground up, built for touch. Unlike its bigger, fuller sibling, however, the new OS cannot run any of the millions of available desktop/legacy apps that have been developed for Windows over the years. No luck if you need to run a copy of Photoshop or play Torchlight II. It does have a Desktop environment that lets you run the pre-loaded copy of Microsoft Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note).

The lust-worthy Surface tablet was sadly absent at the Windows 8 launch event in Singapore today, much to the disappointment of some of the Malaysian media who were present (yours truly included). We were eager to get a hands-on experience with the tablet. Key spokespersons from Microsoft had almost similarly scripted responses when we asked about the Surface:

[quote]”We are delighted with your enthusiasm. However, there are over 50 devices showcased by 10 of our key hardware partners today.”[/quote]

Perhaps it is not to alienate the 10 committed vendors who showcased some pretty exciting form factors and products powered by Windows 8 today.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

Having said that, Microsoft has announced that the Surface tablet is available for pre-order online starting today (October 26), and Microsoft retailers in the US and several other countries (Canada, France, Holland and UK).

Official Pricing:

  • $499.00
  • $599.00
  • $699.00

No news on availability in Malaysia or other countries yet. For more info on the Surface tablet, visit http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-US

The Surface with Windows 8 Pro is also said to be coming soon.

Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Image credit: Microsoft

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