Adaptive All-In-One Archive

Lenovo brings back the Adaptive All-In-One

Articles

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 touchscreen lifestyle image - press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Large touchscreen

Hands on with the Lenovo Yoga 900 Home | SuperSite For Windows

Lenovo’s 27-inch tablet is still heavy, but comes with more useful apps | Engadget

The massive 27-inch Lenovo Yoga Home tablet brings back the tabletop PC | CNET

Lenovo upgrades its big idea: The 27-inch Yoga Home 900 is for homework or air hockey | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

Lenovo

Press Release

My Comments

When Windows 8.0 came on the scene, some computer manufacturers led by Sony brought forward the “Adaptive All-In-One” form-factor for personal computers.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 lifestyle image - press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Large screen – good for group computing

What is this form factor? It is a tablet with a screen size of between 19” and 27”, typically 21”  and can either work as an “all-in-one” desktop computer or a large tablet suitable for group-based computing activities. As well, these computers were primarily a “transportable” class of computer with integrated batteries that had a runtime of under 6 hours along with them being larger and heavier than the typical laptop computer. This means that you could take them from room to room or be able to stow them away quickly and easily in the same vein as a boom-box, portable TV set or small sewing machine. The premier example of this was the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which sits on a kickstand and links with a wireless keyboard and mouse for desktop use or lays down as a tablet.

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 press picture courtesy of Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga Home 900 as regular all-in-one computer

There was some coverage about these computers being so-called “lifestyle” computers – devices that blend in to one’s personal and household lifestyle. The best example that comes to my mind was an account written by a Microsoft blogger who brought the Sony VAIO Tap 20 to her parents’ home which was effectively the “family house” for her family.

But things tended to slow down as far as this product class was concerned because of varying factors such as the low-cost mobile-platform tablets and cloud computing being considered more relevant for personal computing.

With Windows 10 and Intel Skylake silicon being launched over the last few months, the traditional “regular” personal computer has had a “shot in the arm”. These systems have been pitched as being complementary to mobile-platform devices rather than competing with them. As well, companies who worked on the “open-frame” computing environment where there systems ran Windows, ChromeOS, Linux or Android were pulling out all the stops to have systems, especially those in the premium class, that performed and looked as good, if not better, than Apple’s systems.

This has caused Lenovo to front up with an Adaptive All In One computer in the form of the Yoga Home 900/ This 27” system runs Windows 10 which has the Continuum feature that adapts the display for both tablet and desktop use. Lenovo even uses the “Aura” touch interface to make it work well for group computing. They also run an app store which specialises in games and apps that are for this class of computer, including board games, air hockey, photo-sharing apps and the like.

As well, the Lenovo Yoga Home 900 uses Full HD display resolution, Intel 5th-generation horsepower and has an option for discrete (should you say gaming quality) graphics. With air hockey and board games aside, there needs to be a way to convince most of us to consider a computer from the “Adaptive All-In-One” class as a viable personal-computing option.

Send to Kindle

Dell puts forward the Inspiron 20-3000 as an entry-level Adaptive All-In-One

Articles

Dell’s new Inspiron 20 is a giant tablet for work and play | Engadget

Dell announces new Inspiron 2-in-1 and All-in-One PCs | Windows Experience Blog

From the horse’s mouth

Dell Inc.

Press Release

My Comments

Dell Inspiron 20-3000 Adaptive All-In-One desktop tablet - Press image courtesy Dell Inc.

Dell Inspiron 20-3000 Adaptive All-In-One desktop tablet

The “adaptive all-in-one” tablet is still persisting as a computer form factor. Previously, I had given this form-factor a fair bit of coverage on this site, including reviewing a Sony VAIO Tap 20 which is the prime example of this class of computer.

What are these computers? These are an 18”-23” tablet computer that run a regular-computer operating system like Windows 8.1 and are able to operate on batteries for around 2.5-6 hours or on AC power. They have a kickstand or desktop pedestal so they can become a desktop computer when used alongside a (typically wireless) keyboard and mouse. I had seen the “adaptive all-in-one” tablet computer as a “lifestyle computer” that can be taken around the house as required and one example of its use that was mentioned was as a gaming tablet.

Dell have even come to the fore with this class of computer by launching the Inspiron 20-3000 at this year’s Computex Taipei. But this unit has been positioned as an entry-level “family computer” or “lifestyle computer” with the use of the Pentium economy-grade quad-core horsepower. As well, it can run on its own battery for six hours. This is compared to most of the other computers in this class which implement the more powerful Intel i3 or i5 processors.

This is an attempt by the regular-computer scene to consider itself relevant in the face of the iPad and similar mobile-platform tablet computers being used along with cloud-hosted “software-as-a-service” options for common computing tasks. But this model could fit in well in the “family house” scenario or as a large-screen “family computer” or “lifestyle computer” intended to be shifted around at a moment’s whim — something you could use for browsing the Web, checking on Facebook, doing basic word processing or viewing multimedia content.

Send to Kindle

Coming to your TV screens soon: A Microsoft ad pitching the Adaptive All-In-One at women

Article

Microsoft: Finally, a PC for All Your Lady Stuff (Weddings, Pinterest) | Gizmodo

YouTube clip of commercial (click to play)

My Comments

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “Adaptive All-In-One” computer

Microsoft is becoming more aggressive at pitching the Windows-capable touchscreen-enabled computer at more user types. One user class that is being pitched at is the woman who is planning for that big occasion and they were pitching HP’s Envy Rove as an alternative to the Apple computing platform.

The HP Envy Rove is HP’s equivalent of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which I previously reviewed and Microsoft pitched the large touchscreen size that this computer and its peers offer. This is more as being suitable for showing images amongst a group of friends who are sitting on the sofa, and the touch ability allows for that “pinch-to-zoom” gesture that allows one to detail in on an aspect.

This was similar through my experience with the VAIO Tap 20 when I was showing it to a close friend of mine and she liked “messing around” with the Google Earth view in front of me. It is more or less showing the different form factors that are being made available to Windows 8.1 users along with the fact that there is an increased likelihood of these computers having touch abilities/

Send to Kindle

Acer joins the adaptive all-in-one party–what could this mean?

Article

Acer new 21.5-inch all-in-one PC has an integrated battery | PC World

Acer joins the tabletop parade | CNet

From the horse’s mouth

Acer USA

Press Release

Product Page

My Comments

Previously, I had reviewed the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which symbolises a newer class of home computer. This class, officially known as an “Adaptive All-In-One” but also known as a “tabletop” computer is an 18”-27” tablet computer which can be set up to become a desktop computer.

These have an appeal because they can be positioned lying flat on a table or desk for multi-person computing activities. Their large size and positioning flexibility has increased their appeal as a so-called “lifestyle” computer that integrates easily with a household’s lifestyle.

For example, the CNet article described a popular use case where two people sprawled over an ottoman and playing a multiplayer air-hockey game on one of these computers while a Microsoft blog article that I had cited previously in my coverage of that computer had highlighted its prowess to impress a family with different computing skill levels.

Acer have stepped up to the plate with this class of computer by dropping their Aspire Z3-600 computer on the US market at a reasonable price for this class – US$779. Here, this implements a 21” Full-HD screen and can lie flat or be upright. Like the VAIO Tap 20, it is able to run on batteries but it runs for 2.5 hours on batteries alone. There is the quad-core Pentium horsepower and it runs with 4Gb RAM and 750Gb hard disk storage more than what the VAIO Tap 20 came with.

There is even the ability for the computer to serve as a display for another computer or video peripheral like a Blu-Ray player, digital TV tuner or games console through an HDMI input along with an HDMI output so it works with another display. This even comes with MHL support so it can charge an Android smartphone or be a video display for these phones.

A question I would raise is that Acer could bring the price down on these computers, could it then be possible for manufacturers to start offering a range of these computers with differing specifications rather than just the one model in their product lineup? Similarly, could this force the price for a baseline “adaptive all-in-one” computer down to more reasonable levels?

Send to Kindle

Adaptive All-In-One Computers–Where do I see them fit in?

 

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a desktop

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “adaptive all-in-one” computer

As I have covered in this Website before, there is a new class of computer that is bridging the gap between the clamshell laptop and the all-in-one desktop. These are known as the “Adaptive All-In-One” computers but are also called “desktop tablets” or “mobile all-in-one” computers.

What are these computers?

This class of computer is  an 18”-21” tablet computer that has “regular computer” credentials such as using computing horsepower typically used in a desktop or laptop computer rather than what would be used in a tablet like the Apple iPad. They are able to be set up as a tablet which is primarily touch operated or, through the use of a kickstand integrated in the tablet and a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a detachable pedestal which has a keyboard and mouse connected to it, they can he used as a conventional all-in-one desktop computer.

As for software, they can run on “regular-computer” operating systems like Windows 8 or a desktop Linux distribution. Users can then run the applications and games that they are able to run on a regular computer. This is being augmented through the Windows Store which is filling up with many applications and games that take advantage of the touchscreen.

The best example of this class of computer and one I have reviewed on HomeNetworking01.info is the Sony VAIO Tap 20. But other manufacturers are showing up with similar computers like the Dell XPS 18 and the HP Envy Rove 20 which is on the verge of being released as I write this article.

Where do these computers belong in the computing market?

Typically they are positioned between a 17” desktop-replacement laptop computer and a 21” all-in-one desktop or a low-profile desktop that works with a 21” screen. They also are pitched to stand between a convertible laptop or large tablet and a touchscreen-capable laptop, desktop or all-in-one when it comes to touch computing. So they end up being marketed as a hybrid class of computer which stands between a tablet, laptop or desktop form factor.

How will they benefit users in the home or small-business

I primarily see these computers fulfilling the demands of a transportable lifestyle computer. Here, it would be seen as a highly-capable large-screen alternative to a 10” tablet like an iPad or Android tablet.

One application would be large-area reading and viewing. This would range from surfing the Web through browsing email, Facebook or Twitter to reading electronic-newspaper apps or watching catch-up TV in your favourite armchair or couch. It would also underscore “second-screen” functionality while watching TV, such as use of scoreboard apps during sportscasts, engaging in online voting or using IMDB or Wikipedia to check a fact relating to what you are watching (to settle that argument).

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer right-hand-side connections - distinctive U-shaped kickstand that doubles as a carrying handle

The U-shaped kickstand on the Sony VAIO Tap 20 doubles as a carrying handle


In the kitchen, the integrated kickstand that most of these computers have would make them highly relevant for referring to online recipes while cooking. This avoids the need to rest the computer precariously on that bowl of fruit and fearing an accident would happen or the touchscreen would be covered with flour.

Of course, two or more people could comfortably pore over the same information such as an email, Facebook News Feed or photo album. Some of these units like the upcoming HP Envy Rove 20 have a manual switch which spins the display 90 degrees to allow another person to see the screen without you having to swivel the computer.

Another highly-promoted activity is group gaming. This will come in to play with computer-based “takes” of the classic board, card and casino games where these games will allow two or more human players to play on the one machine. In some cases, the machine may be able to play as one or more of the players, and / or simply represent one or more online players while preserving the rules of the game and, where applicable, rolling dice or shuffling a deck of cards.

Of course, some games like “old-school” arcade games, pinball games and strategy games will gain a level of freshness when you play them on these computers. For example, a person who grew up in the 80s may find that playing a Windows 8 version of PacMan or Galaga may remind them of playing the game on one of those “table-style” arcade games that were popular then; or a game like Civilization V takes so well to you literally moving the characters or teams over the large playfield created on the large screen.

In the small business, the “Adaptive All-In-One” could become useful in the customer-service space. Here, you could have point-of-sale terminals or similar terminals that use the increased space to show more items or options for the sales assistant to use while completing the sale.

These computers could also come in to their own when showing information to colleagues, partners or clients, whether it be certain cells of interest in a spreadsheet or a PDF file or a presentation that you can easily flick through to get to the salient parts.

The main feature that I have noticed with this class of computer when I reviewed the Sony VAIO Tap 20 was that fact that they offer the balance between a desktop-replacement laptop that you can easily take around the house or put away when not needed and a desktop, especially an all-in-one desktop, that has the large screen area. This is made much easier with those “adaptive all-in-one” computers that use U-shaped metal kickstands like what the VAIO Tap 20 is equipped with. Here, these kickstand can easily double as a carrying handle for the computer in the same manner as the carrying handle integrated in to a boombox, portable TV set or small sewing machine.

Who would buy these computers?

These could be bought by most people as  an alternative to a laptop that is used primarily at the home and taken out and about on rare occasions. It is more so when the user values a large screen while valuing an easily-portable computer.

The memory and hard disk capacities would show up the Adaptive All-In-One computers as being credible for a sole computer or primary-use computer for most people rather than the secondary computer.that you may think of typically.with this device class.

My recommendations about buying these computers

If you do buy an “Adaptive All-In-One” computer, I would recommend that you purchase an accessory optical drive if you expect the computer to be your “sole” computer. This will be of importance if you still like to share data on the low-cost optical disks or buy music and video content on optical disks.

Some of the optical drives may be available as an “expansion module” / docking-station accessory with Ethernet connectivity, extra USB ports, a sound module and other functions. Here this can come in handy if you think of using extra peripherals with your Adaptive All-In-One computer.

Conclusion

The Adaptive All-In-One computer will definitely show up as a computer type that will please a lot of users who want something to fill the gap between a transportable regular computer and a large screen. It doesn’t matter whether you use these computers as your main or sole computer or as an additional computer and will earn their keep as a “lifestyle” computer.

Send to Kindle

HP announces an answer to the Sony VAIO Tap 20 computer

Article

HP Reveals ENVY Rove20 Specs; Available Sunday

From the horse’s mouth

HP

Envy Rove 20 Product Page

“The Next Bench” blog post

My Comments

Just a short while ago, I had reviewed the Sony VAIO Tap 20 “adaptive all-in-one” computer which is a large 20” tablet that runs Windows 8. But it can be purposed as a desktop computer by folding out a kickstand and using a wireless keyboard and mouse for text entry and finer navigation.

As well, Dell had fielded an 18” tablet computer with a similar design. Now HP who have become the behemoth on the consumer and small-business computing space have answered Sony by releasing the Envy Rove 20 which is of a similar design.

Here, the Envy Rove 20 has some gaming credentials with the implementation of 10-point highly-responsive touchscreen behaviour. It also implements “Beats Audio” sound-reproduction tuning like a lot of their Envy portable-computer collection and some of the Pavilion portable-computer collection.

It is driven by the Intel “Haswell” i3 processor and has 4Gb RAM under the hood. As well, it has 1Tb capacity on its solid-state hard disk which is twice that if the Tap 20 and also implements 3 USB 3.0 connections with one able to charge a portable device when the computer is in sleep mode. As for the Wi-Fi network, the Envy Rove 20 has native support for wireless segments that work on the 802.11ac draft standard as well as the 802.11n standard for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

As expected for this class of computer, it would be able to run for 3 hours on its own battery and also implements a manual rotate button so you can show others who are poring over the computer from the other side of the bench the image that is on the display.

But what I see of this, along with Intel defining the “Adaptive All-In-One” name for this class of computers is that the playing filed will become very full. What we would have to see is the Windows Store becoming full of quality software that exploits what these computers are all about. This could include the ability to make best use of the large display and the touchscreen user interface such as through semantic zooming and making use of the “pinch-to-zoom” gesture.

For games, some of the online board games that have been written for the iOS and Android platforms and have performed well on the tablet devices based on these platforms could be ported to Windows 8 and made to exploit the abilities of these computers.

I would personally see these “Adaptive All-In-One” computers as something to look forward to as an easily-transportable “lifestyle” computer device.

Send to Kindle

Product Review–Sony VAIO Tap 20 desktop-tablet computer

Introduction

Previously, I have given the Sony VAIO Tap 20 “adaptive all-in-one” computer a fair bit of coverage on HomeNetworking01.info as a bridge between a tablet computer and a desktop computer. This included commenting on a Microsoft article where it was presented to the article author’s parents at their house to assess its prowess with different computing skill levels.

Now I have the chance to review this computer and see for myself what it is like as a representative of this new class of computer, especially as a “lifestyle computer”.

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a desktop

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a tablet

Price
– this configuration
AUD$1499
Form factor Adaptive All-in-one
Processor i5-3317u
RAM 4 Gb shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 500 Gb hard disk SDXC and MemoryStick card readers
Display Subsystem Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics
Screen 20” widescreen (1600 x 900) LED-backlit LCD
Sensors Touchscreen
Near-field communications
Audio Subsystem Intel HD Audio
Network Wi-Fi 802.11g/n
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready
Connections USB 2 x USB 3.0
Audio 3.5mm audio input jack, 3.5mm audio output jack
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 8
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall: 4.8 Graphics: 4.8
Advanced Graphics: 6.2

The computer itself

 

Sony VAI Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer with its kickstand

The VAIO Tap 20 using a simple kickstand for desktop use

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 can be set up to work as a desktop computer with its supplied wireless keyboard and mouse or it can be laid flat to work as a touchscreen-driven tablet computer. This appeals for a range of activities like game-playing or Web-browsing at the kitchen table to regular content creation at a desk.

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 has a style that can be described as being a large tablet computer or a large picture frame. There is the Windows button located at the bottom and a group of status lights located at the top of the screen.

The unit rests on a very sturdy aluminium kickstand which doesn’t slip but can double as a handle when you take the VAIO Tap 20 from room to room. This comes in to play even if you use the computer as a tablet in order to provide a useable operating angle when it is rested on a table or similar surface.

When I was watching an on-demand video throigh the VAIO Tap 20, I had not noticed any overheating. This is due to the use of venting on back of the computer to avoid heat build-up. There also wasn’t any heat build-up through regular use.

User interface

The supplied keyboard has a full numeric keypad plus access to system functions like volume control. It is able to sustain touch-typing comfortably nut you may find that a regular desktop keyboard may work better for this activity. It also has that hard feel which gives the proper feedback for when you type away on it.

The suppled wireless mouse works properly as expected for a three-button thumbwheel mouse and comes in handy for detailed navigation as would be expected.

The touchscreen works as expected for a large touchscreen and can serve well for coarse navigation of a desktop user interface or proper navigation of touch-optimised software like Windows 8’s “Modern” user interface. The large screen size can even allow you to type on the on-screen keyboard for longer periods, which can be useful if the wireless keyboard’s batteries died or you didn’t want to bother carrying the keyboard with you for a short bit of typing.

The VAIO Tap 20 has integrated NFC “touch-and-go” support but the sensor is located on the rear of the tablet unit. It does support what Windows 8 can do for NFC applications, especially the ability to transfer vCard contact data and Web-page URLs between this unit and Android devices. It may be able to do NFC data transfer for more data with Windows devices.

Audio and Video

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer right-hand-side connections - Gigabit Ethernet socket and power socket

Right-hand-side connections – Gigabit Ethernet socket and power socket

The touchscreen display works well for regular computing activities including Google Maps browsing. But it was able to perform smoothly and yield a good colour display for video playback as I observed with SBS On-Demand.

There is the glossy display surface which can be a problem under some lighting conditions and also can harbour fingermarks through regular use. But this is common with consumer-grade equipment.

The sound from the integrated speakers does sound “full” rather than “tinny” for most applications. But it has the volume that is good enough for close listening and wouldn’t be described as “room-filling”. I noticed this when I used TuneIn Radio to listen to Heart 106.2 London through the VAIO’s speakers while preparing the copy for this review.

The supplied VAIO Pictures and Music media browsers, available through the Windows 8 “Modern” user interface work properly as media browsers whether the media is on local storage or on a DLNA-compliant network-attached storage device.

Battery life

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer left-hand-side connections - Memory-card reader, 2 USB 3.0 connections, 3.5mm audio input jack and 3.5mm audio output jack

Left-hand-side connections – Memory-card reader, 2 USB 3.0 connections, 3.5mm audio input jack and 3.5mm audio output jack

I wouldn’t expect the battery in the Sony VAIO Tap 20 to run for more than four hours with regular work because of the large screen area. Even watching an hour-long on-demand TV show had the Tap 20 register half battery capacity even when I started watching it on full capacity. Here, the battery can serve as continuity when you move it between different areas or for short amounts of use away from AC power.

It is something that will be expected out of this class of “adaptive all-in-one” computer as these are pitched simply as transportable computers.

Connectivity and Expansion

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 has 2 USB 3.0 ports and a pair of 3.5mm stereo jacks for audio input and output. Unlike most other computers, it doesn’t have the ability to connect to an external video display, which may not be of concern for its role as a home “lifestyle” computer. If you wanted to use an external display, you would need to use a USB DisplayLink adaptor or network display link such as one based on Intel WiDi technology.

As for a network, it can connect to an 802.11g or n Wi-Fi segment or a Gigabit Ethernet wired segment, which is typical for most of these computers. It can also connect to Bluetooth wireless peripherals and even supports the Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready connection specification, which can allow for sensor devices, keyboards, mice and similar devices to be designed for battery economy.

Other experience notes

I had shown this computer to the lady of the house who has some elementary computer skills and she was impressed with the large screen and its substantial weight but saw it as a different kettle of fish to her Apple iPad tablet. She reckoned that it may work well as a transportable desktop computer for an application we were talking about where this unit may be used on a dining table and be easy to clear up when when it comes time to set the table for dinner.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The NFC sensor could be duplicated on the front of the VAIO Tap 20 so you can easily use it with smaller devices like Android smartphones or when using NFC to set up wireless peripherals. As well, the kickstand could benefit from a rubber grip along the long edge so as to avoid the risk of good furniture being scratched.

I would recommend that Sony provide an optional expansion module / docking station similar to what was available for the VAIO Z Series notebooks for this unit. This is where it had an optical drive and extra USB ports for use at the main desktop computing location. A USB digital-TV tuner module could come in handy as an option, making it work well as the supplementary kitchen TV. Similarly, Sony could also offer a bag or caddy to make it easier to transport the keyboard and mouse with the computer.

Sony could also provide a “performance” variant which uses an Intel i7 CPU, extra RAM and discrete graphics for those who value higher system performance. This could be used as a way to develop the product line further.

Conclusion

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 fits in between a 17” desktop-replacement laptop computer and a tyical “all-in-one” desktop computer as a regular computer that can be easily taken around the house or stored away when not needed.

Here this would work well where you want a large-screen tablet computer that can be stood up or laid flat on a bench or table for Web browsing and similar tasks; or a computer that can be used in the conventional form with a keyboard for content creation. It would underscore the VAIO Tap 20’s role as an alternative to the iPad or regular laptop for a common transportable “casual-use” computer and could fit the bill as a “lifestyle computer”.

Send to Kindle

Gift List–Mother’s Day

Sometimes you may be stuck for technological gifts to give Mum on her special day. Here, I have assembled a list of ideas to get you going, especially when it comes to high-value gifts where you can pool resources together to fund these gifts rather than buying many low-value gifts.

Tablets

Small size for the purse

Toshiba Thrive AT1S0 7" tablet

Toshiba AT1S0 7″ Android tablet

The small 7” tablet computers come in to their own if the main goal is to have it on hand in your coat pocket. They can also fit comfortably even it to mid-sized handbags to use as an electronic notebook or electronic reference book.

To keep in the handbag, at home or the office

Toshiba AT300 10" Android tabletA 10” tablet may come in to its own if the main goal is to read or view online content while relaxing in that armchair or in bed. Similarly, they could come in to their own with a larger handbag or shoulder bag.

No tablet computer is complete without a matching accessory cover or wrap that suits Mum’s taste. If she owns a tablet computer, you may offer her a newer cover or wrap, perhaps to replace that tired old one that she has on that tablet.

Computers

Small ultraportables

HP Envy X2 detachable-screen hybrid tablet-notebook computer

HP Envy X2 detachable-screen hybrid tablet-notebook computer

Small ultraportable computers that range from 11” to 14” can earn their keep for “on-the-go” computing tasks. This is more so if Mum wants to create a lot of content like typing up many email letters, writing memoirs or simply working a blog.

Larger laptops

Toshiba Satellite P870 desktop-replacement laptopOn the other hand, a standard-size laptop or “desktop tablet” computer may come in handy if the goal is a computer that is mainly used at home and the desire is to store it away neatly when not in use.

All-in-one

The “all-in-one” desktop computer, with the computing power, screen and storage in one slender box, can become an alternative computer option if you want an elegant desktop computer. They are also becoming increasingly capable rather than glorified “kitchen kiosks”.

Printers

HP Photosmart 7510 multifunction inkjet printer

HP Photosmart 7510 multifunction inkjet printer – predecessor to the Photosmart 7520

As for printers, it may be worth looking towards a durable network printer that is cost-effective to run. Be careful of the printers that are cheap to buy because these units will be expensive to run due to short-capacity inks and toners, with situations where the cost of replacing ink or toner is as much as buying a printer of the same standard.

HP Photosmart 6520 or Photosmart 7520 desktop printers

HP Envy 120 – a neat aesthetically-pleasing printer for low-demand applications such as being a secondary printer

Brother MFC-J825DW or DCP-J725DW / DCP-J925DW

Small music system

1-piece including speaker docks and wireless speakers

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock (Photo courtesy of Marantz / Gap Marketing)

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock

These single-piece systems, including speaker docks and wireless speaker systems, typically have a small footprint and can fit well on the kitchen bench or on the sideboard. Some of these may offer a “full” sound that encompasses te bass notes and the treble notes properly.

3-piece

Sony CMT-MX750Ni Internet-enabled micro music system

Sony CMT-MX750Ni – an example of a DLNA-compliant music system for a hotel room or serviced apartment

A three-piece system with separate speakers has increased flexibility. Here, you can keep the main unit on the sideboard and position the speakers further away, including mounting them on the wall or having them flank a fireplace or feature window.

Earphones and headphones

Creative Labs MA930 in-ear mobile-phone headset

Creative Labs MA930 in-ear headset

I would suggest that you look towards a few sets of headphones that suit different activities. For example, a pair of lightweight supra-aural headphones can work well for jogging or walking with good examples being provided by B&O (Form 2review), Bose, Denon, Sennheiser and Sony.

Earphones can also work well for public transport and other noisy environments especially where discreet use is required. Similarly a pair of good circum-aural headphones can go a long way for detailed music listening at home or in noisy environments.

It is worth having a look at this buying guide to be sure that the headphones fit yours and Mum’s desires.

Gaining the most out of the Internet experience

Internet setup

If there isn’t a broadband Internet service at Mum’s home, it could be a good gift idea to set up one there and install a good-quality router for the network as in the article that I had done about the “family house”.

To the same extent, optimising the home network with at least 802.11n dual stream coverage everywhere, preferably simultaneous dual-band 802.11n dual-stream Wi-Fi. As well, I would make sure that there is a HomePlug AV powerline segment in that network even if there is Ethernet in the house. This is to cater for ad-hoc wired-network setups.

The reason I would think of this is that you may be dealing with increased use of multimedia from online sources at the TV, laptop or mobile devices and you want reliable operation from these services.

Education

Similarly, you may pool resources together to give Mum access to IT education and support programs/ This is more so if she hasn’t got much in the way of computer skills.

Online content

As well, pooling resources to an online content service such as Spotify, Netflix, Hulu or QuickFlix may be a way to give her access to the music and movies that these services provide. In the case of Spotify, this may be about using it as an online music library or as a “music tryout” service that can be part of her complete music experience.

These services are not about replacing the existing content library but about hunting for new content that may be of interest.

Conclusion

I wish you all a very happy and prosperous Mother’s Day with lots of fun, with you using this as a way to choose the right gift that will be value for money.

Send to Kindle

Intel gives a product-class name to the likes of the VAIO Tap 20

Article

Intel Developing an Adaptive All-In-One PC Standard | Tom’s Hardware

My Comments

Windows 8 has added another product class to its list of computer product classes. This has been brought on by the likes of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 and the Dell XPS 18, where the computer can be set up to work as an all-in-one desktop or a tablet.

Intel have defined this class as the “Adaptive All-In-One” and they specify that the computer be equipped with a touchscreen that is between 18.4 inches and 27 inches. It would have an industrial design that allows the computer to be operated lying flat or standing up. Here, this could be in the form of a foldable kickstand or a detachable pedestal as well as being light enough to carry around or rest on your knees. The computers would be expected to be able to work from Lithium-polymer batteries thus allowing them to be used around the home without the need to be plugged in.

Typically these computers would implement a wireless (preferably Bluetooth) keyboard and mouse or, if they implement a detachable pedestal, they would have a wired keyboard and mouse that connects to the pedestal.

The goal eventually is to create software that exploits this design, mainly in the form of a multi-user touch environment. Typical usage classes could be games such as electronic versions of classic multi-player card and board games; or art-type applications.

As this Microsoft blog article and my comments on that article highlighted, this was about a computer product class that worked well with different comfort zones and skill levels. The article highlighted the children sitting on the couch and playing puzzle games on the VAIO Tap 20 with one playing and the other watching with interest.

Of course, it would be interesting to know who else would front up with a computer of this class in their product range.

On the other hand, there may be issues about particular chipsets or thickness limitations which may require manufacturers to use a different name for their computers of this kind. Similarly, manufacturers may want to use a different marketing name for these computers.

Send to Kindle