APPLE DIDN'T CALL the newest iPad the iPad 3 or the iPad HD—just the iPad. And that’s fitting, because while it’s a handsome upgrade to the best tablet on the market, it’s not a huge leap forward. If you’ve used any iPad for more than 10 minutes, this won’t blow you away—the revolution was two years ago. Now it’s time to iterate.
Yes, it’s a little bit thicker: 9.4mm, compared to the 8.8mm iPad 2. And it’s a skootch heavier: 1.44 pounds, or 1.46 pounds if you get Wi-Fi + 4G; the iPad 2 ranged from 1.33 pounds for Wi-Fi to 1.35 pounds for the AT&T version of the Wi-Fi + 3G. We bet you won’t notice. What you will notice is the 4G/LTE speed and the Retina display.
The bright 9.7-inch display’s dizzying resolution is now 2048x1536, or 264ppi. That’s four times the pixels on the 1024x768 iPads of yore, and the best screen we’ve ever seen on a hunk of electronics. It’s got a million more pixels than a 1920x1080 HDTV, plus better color saturation than the iPad 2.
While HP’s Folio 13 is sized similarly to the other ultrabooks we’ve tested, sporting a 13.3‑inch screen and measuring 12.54x8.67x.7 inches, it’s a bit heavier than the others, but not by much. With a lap weight of 3 pounds, 4.8 ounces, it’s 3.7 ounces heavier than the Asus Zenbook, although its battery is nearly twice the size and weight of the latter’s.
Aesthetically, the Folio 13 is pleasing. The lid, keyboard deck, and palm rest are all brushed aluminum. Screen bezel, trackpad, and keyboard are black, as is the Folio’s underside, which sports a rubberized finish that makes the laptop nicely grippable. In all, it’s a handsome and well-contructed device.
The Folio 13’s port selection is comparatively generous for this class. Ethernet, full-size HDMI, and a media reader are all welcome inclusions, and one of the two USB ports is a 3.0 variety, although the driver for the Fresco Logic USB 3.0 controller wasn’t installed in our model (d’oh!). When it was, performance for the port was in line with expectations, giving us reads and writes to an external USB 3.0 drive of 217.7MB/s and 184.4MB/s, respectively.
Ice Cream Sandwiched between the flavors of last month and next month
IN THE TRADITION of the Nexus S, which was the first Android Gingerbread phone, Samsung has constructed an elegantly simple, yet powerful, phone to show off the stock version of Google's latest OS, Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Android function buttons are now onscreen only; the bottom bezel holds just a white notification LED. A complete rundown of ICS would require its own article, but this full Android redesign merges tablets and phones into one OS with many improvements. For example, the more detailed Settings are available from the Notifications menu, you can swipe items out of the Recent Apps menu, and an unlock screen swipe to the left takes you straight to the camera, which, like many of the stock apps, is also greatly improved.
The 5MP camera certainly falls behind the times in specsmanship, where 8MP is soon to be replaced by 12MP as the standard for top camera phones. Yet it works fast and has tap-to-focus, a super‑bright flash, and an elegant software interface that lets you easily share/upload photos to any of the compatible apps on the phone right from the photo playback screen.
THE MARKETING BLITZ swirling around the Droid Razr’s launch drive home these twin selling points: thin, yet powerful. This wafer of a smartphone measures just over a quarter of an inch thick along most of its chassis before filling out at the top where the camera lens and flash; speaker; and HDMI, USB, and headphone jacks reside. A layer of Kevlar fiber drapes the backside, and the Gorilla Glass covering the 4.3-inch display has a water-repellent coating for protection against errant spills and inevitable raindrops.
For all its vaunted thinness, the Razr feels very sturdy in your hand, while its substantial surface area assures that it doesn’t feel small. If anything, it’s a bit unwieldy for one-handed operation. The thin build has its share of downsides, too: The side-mounted power and volume buttons are too small, and this is one of the rare Android form factors that doesn’t let you remove the battery.
We do, however, cherish the generous qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display, which exhibits vivacious colors and deep black levels. The Razr is one of the first smartphones to allow Netflix streaming in HD; and for what it’s worth on a screen this size, movies, other HD video, and games look extraordinary.
THE FIRST AND SECOND Transformers movies were abominations, and Hasbro has sued Asus for violating its Transformers trademark, but there’s no denying that Asus’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime improves on the original Transformer tablet in nearly every conceivable fashion.
Asus’s latest tablet—we’ll just call it the Prime—loses the awkward build of its predecessor in favor of a smaller, lighter, and more stylish aluminum-backed chassis. It’s actually thinner than the iPad 2—probably as thin as it could be considering it’s outfitted with a combo headphone/mic-in jack, a Micro HDMI port, a MicroSD card slot, and a USB/charge/dock port. A matching keyboard dock (a $150 option) adds full-size USB and SD card interfaces and up to 10 hours of additional battery life. The dock provides many helpful keyboard shortcuts, and its keyboard action and trackpad mouse response improve over the original.
If there's one thing that those of us in the tech media love, it's to whip ourselves into a frenzy over a juicy rumor. It doesn't matter that the source of the rumor is someone's second cousin who knows a guy who works in an Apple Store in Tuscon, Arizona; all that matters is that nobody wants to miss out on the next big story.
The predictable downside is that a lot of the time those rumors turn out to be false. Presented here, for your consideration, are 10 tech rumors from the last few years that created a huge commotion--before they turned out to be BS.
A funny thing happened in the fourt quarter of 2011. Analyst firm Canalys announced that Apple shipped more PCs than Hewlett-Packard (HP), but that was only true if you were willing to count iPad devices as PCs. And if you were willing do that, the question, then, is where do you draw the line? Are smartphones and superphones PCs as well? What about hybrid eReaders? Judging by the reader comments, the consensus among Maximum PC readers is that tablets are not PCs and shouldn't be counted as such, but regardless of whether or not you agree with that statement, HP is once again the world's leading client PC vendor.
It remains to be seen if Windows Phone 7 can bring Nokia back from the dead, though if you ask Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, Microsoft may have somehow managed to bring back Steve Jobs instead. We are assuming he’s joking, but those are still pretty strong praise of a once former rival. Based on the context, it sounds of it he was referring to how well Microsoft nailed the UI experience, which most people credit as the platforms strongest selling point. In a recent interview with The Verge, Woz declared that Windows Phone is like being “with a friend, not a tool”.
The Flashback botnet scare may have thrust Macs' supposed invulnerability to antiviruses claim under a microscope, but Sophos decided it wanted some numbers to go along with the heaping of hype. So the company studied feedback from 100,000 Apple computers with Sophos antivirus installed and surprisingly discovered that the Macs were fairly teeming with malware. Before you start laughing, consider this: the vast majority of the malware found didn't affect OS X at all. It targeted Windows PCs.
When is an iPad not exactly an iPad? Answer: When it's running Windows software. Turns out that if you want want to run Windows 8 with native Metro UI touch gestures on a tablet, you don't have to wait until later this year to do it, there's already an app for that. Splashtop, makers of a remote desktop application for iPad devices, released a new version that plays nice with Windows 8 Consumer Preview testbeds.