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Can tablets replace laptops - a survey - UPDATED!

, posted: 21-Apr-2011 12:05

Hi all,

As part of my current Masters Studies (I am enrolled in the Masters of Forensic IT at AUT) I have doing the obligatory Research Methods paper, which involves a survey as part of its requirements. I have chose the topic of ‘Can Tablets Replace Laptops’ and since geekzone is a site filled with tech-heads, I would like to run a small survey.


Overview

This is a pilot survey around the possibility of replacing traditional laptop computers with tablet devices. These devices are categorised by the following traits:

  • Run a scaled down operating system when compared to Windows, OS X, Linux etc
  • Have longer battery life than a laptop
  • Utilise a touch screen as the primary input method
  • Often lack a physical keyboard

For the sake of this study, devices such as Windows Tablets and Hackintosh tablets are excluded. The devices of interest are ones such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Telecom Tab V9, Motorola Xoom, or even the older Windows CE tablets (which I have one of) etc.

Since this is a pilot study I would also welcome feedback in regards to the questions, format, suitability etc. If you feel the focus of this study is wrong or should be changed, please let me know.

I have tried to keep the questions to a minimum so as to get as many people as possible answering.

Many thanks to all in advance!

UPDATE!!

I have changed this to a surveymonkey survey on this advice of some geekzone members!

Click below to take survey
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QYVCVVZ
 



Sony 52 inch W4500 LCD TV - Initial review

, posted: 4-Feb-2009 15:04

Two weeks ago I took delivery of a new TV, the 52” Sony W4500.  The W series sits below the top-of-the-line X series (and kind of below the Z series, which is just a W with 200hz refresh).

After several months of looking and debate with my better half, the W4500 was settled on as the best compromise between looking good on the wall and high technology.  Initially I pushed for a plasma TV, either a Pioneer or a Panasonic, but neither of these passed the looks test, so the Sony it was.

The Sony replaced my 32” widescreen Loewe (which is now for sale on Trademe should anyone want it!) which is a fantastic set but getting a bit old, and with the purchase last year of a PS/3 the need for a HDTV arose.

First things first, this is a BIG TV!  52 inches is very, very large, especially when coming from ‘only’ 32 inches.  Unpacking was quite easy and the set is not too heavy considering its size; it was easily put into its (temporary) place by two of us.  After plugging in the PS/3, Mysky HDi and the aerial (for Freeview HD), turning on the set revealed a very nice menu system that first asks if the set is in a shop or a home.  After choosing the home option and set then tunes in all the Freeview channels and then all the analogue channels, and it ready to use!

However I did find the picture very bright and it took a few days of tweaking to fix.  One ‘gotcha’ is that the picture settings are per input, so even though Sky looked great I then had tweak the PS/3 settings.  The set currently sits on my Hi-fi rack but is to be wall mounted once I have finished cabling the multitude of cables that TV's seem to need these days; heck it even has an Ethernet port!

The picture can look fantastic, especially on HD transmissions.  I was watching Sky Movies (Men in Black, classic!) and at certain points it did have that '3D' look.  Blacks are very black, especially after some tweaking.  I cannot compare this to Plasma blacks except for demos I have seen in store, but they blacks are definately NOT a dark grey, they are a definate black.

As for the 'backlight' bleed people have been complaining about, I have only noticed it so far when changing inputs; the set goes black for about a second and in the top right I can see a patch of light, and then only in a dark room.  Personally I am enjoying the TV too much to look for problems!

Sound quality would be the biggest complaint so far but that's only because my Loewe had 4 speakers plus an inbuilt sub-woofer and produced great sound; the Sony is limited to tiny speakers in a very thin shell.  Still, that's what my amp is for!

I have eight sets of cables running to/from the TV: 2 x HDMI, s-video plus audio, optical (for Freeview from the set), Ethernet, composite (yeah I know, but better safe than sorry and I can always change it to be component with use the stereo pair from the s-video connection) plus aerial for Freeview.

I have not spend too much time with Freeview as we have MySky HDi, but TV3 is definitely better on Freeview.

More to come!

 



MVix MX-780HD Review

, posted: 27-Apr-2008 10:14

Introduction

 

I have just recently reviewed the Mvix 780HD, a unit which sits under the 'Media Player' category, but actually offers quite a few more features than just playing video and audio.

The three differences this unit offers over others I have seen and reviewed are:

 

1)      NDAS support – This is a technology which allows the Mvix unit to be seen on your computer, over your LAN, as a shared drive, much like a SAN or NAS unit.  However NDAS is a proprietary technology, patented by a company called Ximeta.  I tested this and is works great.  You do have to install a special piece of software on each PC that needs to access the unit, and you need registration keys (which are supplied by Mvix, and they even pay the license fees!), and then the unit needs to have its NDAS mode activated.  This gives great flexibility in that you can have the Mvix unit connected to your TV, and copy files from your PC to it without having to use USB or move it around.  So as you download stuff, you can make it available to watch/listen to.  The only downside is the speed of copying files.  This is not a SAN unit, but it is not trying to be, so the copies are a bit slow, but I never had problems, the copies all worked 100% and I experienced no disconnection or other problems.

 

2)      HD Support – The 780HD officially supports various HD encoded files, but during testing I did find that unless the file was encoded using one of the supported codecs, playback was very hit and miss.  This is not Mvix’s problem, it is purely because there are just so many difference codes, even in the HD world.  In order to ensure that you can watch your HD media, the unit includes an HDMI connection.

 

3)      Multiple source options – as a base unit, i.e. when you buy it, the 780HD does not include any internal drive.  However this does not mean the unit is unusable, far from it.  Out of the box the unit can stream content from any share on your network as well as play Internet radio, and in this sense can operate this way forever.  However unlike true ‘streamers’ the 780HD also offers the ability to accept an internal hard drive.  Add in a USB port and the unit can now act as an external hard drive.  Hook it up to your PC and you can copy all your media files to the local drive, removing the need for a network connection.  This option is great if you don’t have a wired LAN and you want to play back DVD rips or HD files, both of which don’t work well over the wireless connection.  Finally, the 780HD also has a USB Host port which means you can hookup an external UDB device (I tried my 750GB USB hard drive and it worked 100%).  During use the ability to chose the source (internal HD, external HD, LAN) depends on which is connected, and it well integrated into the menu system

 

4)       

Overall this is a very good unit.  The user interface was quite good (although I have never struck a unit that has a ‘fabulous’ interface apart from the Squeezebox, but that’s audio only, I think when a unit deals with so many different sources and types of media, such as local files, remote files, video files, music files, Internet radio etc, there is no easy way to present this), and the remote was OK, functional but nothing compared to what a Harmony One can do!

 

I like the fact you can also use the unit as an external USB drive, but with the NDAS support I personally wouldn’t use that too much, unless I had to copy files from a friend etc.

 

Playback Results

 

Playback of files is very dependant upon the file type.  Audio files presented no problems, as you would expect, as they are the easiest to process.

 

Internet radio worked well, but as expected the quality of audio was dependant upon the source stations encoding.  Some stations caused problems, but this is consistent with other units I have reviewed, and is a reflection of stations going offline as quickly as new ones come online.

 

Video is much harder to deal with.  There are so many formats and so many slight differences and ways of interpreting them that no unit can be 100%.  The 780HD does well in this area, and as long as you follow the published specs for file formats, you shouldn’t have any problems.  Of course if you download files there is no guarantee that you will get clean playback!  When I testing MP4 files they worked great over both wireless and wired connections, as well as from the internal HD, as expected.  Moving up to DVD rips (straight to disk using DVD Decrypter, no additional compression), the wired connection and internal HD worked fine, but the wireless connection stuttered and couldn’t really handle it.  For the few HD files I tried, the internal HD was the only way to get guaranteed playback.

 

 

Summary

 

With its extensive source options and its ability to act as both a streaming unit and an external HD, the 780HD is great value for money.

 

My official review of this unit appeared in this months (April) edition of Tone magazine, make sure to give it a read!

 

The official Mvix 780HD site is here

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Tone Review Blogging

, posted: 28-Dec-2007 11:33

Originally I posted these on the Tone website, but I am convinced no-one reads the forums there, so I am now posting them on geekzone, where I am sure I will get many more page hits Wink

As the post indicates, I do reviews for Tone magazine, usually phones, laptops, universal remotes, plus a few odds and sods (such as the Logitech Squeezebox, fantastic product!).  I keep mentioning to Tone that I would like to blog about my reviews, since (naturally) there is limited scope for personal opinion and comments in a print magazine that does not exist (so much) in an on-line forum.

Having recently reviewed the HP Pavilion HDX-02 Laptop and posting a blog entry about it, I thought I would re-post it here.  Jezz, what a machine!  This thing is LARGE!  I took it into work and it quickly became known as the ‘man-book’.  It is very heavy and using it on your lap you really feel the weight.  Then there is the screen hinge, which is quite unique.  Inside of having a hinge at the base of the screen and attaching to the base like normal, the screen is hinged in the middle (see picture).  This results in the screen being closer to you, which is good because the unit itself is so deep, and the screen so heavy, having it hinged to the base would cause it to be unstable.

 HDX 02 Laptop

The HDX 02 also has a 2600XT video card, the most powerful I have used in a laptop, and it is great.  I played through some of the demo of World in Conflict and it was beautifully smooth.  Also, as noted in the review, you would think a screen this large would run at some uber-high resolution like 1920x1200, but wisely HP have keep the resolution lower, meaning the screen is beautiful and clear and STILL easy to read!

One thing I didn’t manage to get tested was the DVB capabilities, as the unit comes with both terrestrial and digital tuners.  The supplied aerial was crap, even in the Auckland CBD it didn’t pickup any channels.

One other thing I liked about this machine was the overall finish, it has a unique pattern to it which adds to the flare.

Permalink to Tone Review Blogging | Add a comment (8 comments) | Main Index


TVNZ offering HDTV in July next year

, posted: 28-Sep-2007 09:27

I just read this very interesting article, http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318241/1382873, that TVNZ are going to be showing HDTV from July, and we will get to see the Olympics in HDTV, fantastic!

I also notice in the FAQ section they will be transmitting in 720p, which is interesting.  I guess there are many more 720p capable sets in the market than 1080p, which makes sense, and I also guess the bandwidth is less than full 1920x1080p.

Could someone explain the 2nd to last comment at bitrates, especially the mutiplexing part?  Does it mean they will have 2HD and 3SD channels sharing a 23Mbit stream?




PC Upgrades – To Wait or To Buy Now

, posted: 28-Apr-2006 14:25

It is a constant dilemma, do you upgrade your PC now (either wholesale replacement or incremental) or wait until the “Next Big Thing” is released. Being in the I.T industry, I always feel the ‘need’ to upgrade, knowing that doing so will make my PC faster and more responsive (well, according to the salesmen!).  But how much so?  Will I even notice, apart from the drop in my bank balance? Waiting is always an option, and of course there is always going to be a ‘Next Big Thing’ released at some point, so you could wait forever.  But as new technologies are introduced they become incompatible with older hardware, facilitating a complete upgrade.  Case-in-point: CPU’s.  Whilst Intel has always been in the ‘screw the early adaptor, we will upgrade that CPU socket as it is older than eight minutes” camp, AMD has traditionally had a specific standard around for longer.  Socket A was around for years.  But as I write this, there is currently socket 754, 939 and 940, and the new AM2 and F2 sockets are about to appear. I am still using a Socket A system (dual XP-M’s running at 2.4Ghz) so any changes would mean a new motherboard.  And RAM.  And possibly video, since I am still using AGP.  This system does mean fine, I have just upgraded to a NVIDIA 6800GT card, so I can play all current level games.  So I would ‘loose’ that upgrade to another new video card.  I also have 2GB of RAM, and buying another 2GB is not cheap.  Soon I have upgraded my entire PC! What I SHOULD do is ascertain this: does my current PC meet my needs, or would an upgrade allow me to be more productive/efficient/frag better? The gaming equation is simple, the more modern (and faster) then hardware, the better the games run, especially at higher resolutions.  Any upgrade to a new CPU would yield an increase for me.  But, I am not a hard core gamer. Sure, I like my games, but I also use my PC for work, and I have an Xbox and PS/2. Being ‘more productive’ and/or ‘more efficient’ is harder to measure.  If it means not having to wait for my PC, that is easy.  But then I hardly ever do.  It takes time to boot, load some games levels (Far Cry anyone?), re-encode video etc, but these are all tasks I DON’T do on a daily basis.  For everything else, there is no delay. Do I guess I will wait a few months for the new CPU’s from Intel and AMD to appear, and then start this whole process again!



Quantity vs. Quality – The P2P Download Issue

, posted: 24-Apr-2006 21:00

With the every increasing availability of broadband to people around the world, there has never been a larger choice of content to download, whether legal or illegal.  Whilst this content used to predominantly MP3’s (and other music formats), now days it is more likely to be a movie.  The problem is that downloading one is a very hit and miss affair.

 

Personally, I prefer to watch a movie much like the director intended, meaning I like to see all the details I can, and without having to squint, be limited to watching it on my PC, or suffering through Spanish subtitles on a Japanese language movie.

 

Downloading any file from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network carries risks, but the risks (excluding the obvious ones like virus’s etc) can extend to many more factors when trying to download movies or music.  Now, personally, I am not a big believer in the whole downloading thing, as I prefer the quality of a good DVD or CD to a quantity of average quality AVI files and low bit-rate MP3’s.  That is not to say I haven’t tried it, and I have even downloaded a whole DVD (4GB) burnt it to a disc, watched it, then decided the movie was crap (it was Electra).

 

But trying to find the files in the first place, in English, and at a suitable quality can be quiet hard; there may be 100 versions of a given movie, especially blockbuster titles released overseas, but how many are worth downloading, and how many will give you the ‘being at the movies’ experience?

 

Not to mention the time it can take to download.  Even on a ‘fast’ ADSL connection in New Zealand, we have high contention ratios (number of users to a connection at the telephone exchange), which can mean the transfer rates can slow to worse than a dialup connection.  The end result is that it can take days to download a multi-gigabyte file.

 

Now I know not everyone thinks the same way.  Some people are quite happy to watch a low-resolution version of a movie, just to be able to see it before the local release date, or without having to pay for it, even if it means sitting in front of their PC.

 

But I think, at the end of the day, the benefits of owning a DVD (or CD), especially when they are so cheap now days (K-Mart and The Warehouse here in New Zealand regularly discount new releases to about NZD$25 for the first week or so).  It means I own a LEGAL copy (no sleepless night worry about receiving a letter from the movie Gestapo, commonly known as the MPAA).  I can also watch it on my TV, on the comfort of my couch, and so can the rest of my family.  And I can watch it like it was intended.  Without squinting.



Welcome!

, posted: 24-Apr-2006 20:59

Welcome to my blog on geekzone.  This is my place to post my comments and feelings about technology in general, and I.T. in particular.

I live and work in Auckland, as a contract software developer, specialising in Microsoft and Business Objects tools.

Feel free to leave comments on any of my articles!



timbosan's profile

Tim Anderson
New Zealand


I work in IT in the software field, and I am also lucky enough to review products for a local technology magazine. I have a passion for technology in all respects, from it being an integral part of everyday life to providing fun such as games.

I try to blog about the products I review and post them here, so keep an eye out.

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