Desktop, Laptop und Tablet kombiniert – Acer Aspire R7: Acer Aspire R7: Science-Fiction-Notebook mit Touchscreen | Computer Bild (Germany – German language)
Acer intros Aspire R7, a laptop with an adjustable display like an all-in-one (update: video) | Engadget
Acer Reveals Aspire R7 Convertible, Aspire P3 Ultrabook | Tom’s Hardware
Acer launches 2 notebooks, tablet that emphasize touch | CNet
After Dell released a 15” mainstream laptop that is enabled for touch at a reasonable price of AUD$600, Acer staged a global press event to launch a run of touch-enabled portable computers. These, again are to capitalise on the Windows 8 platform with its touch-driven Modern user interface along with a lot of the software being offered with touch-optimised operation.
Acer Aspire R7 convertible laptop
They launched the Aspire R7 convertible laptop which uses a 15” screen and can appear on the desktop like an easel, a regular laptop or a tablet computer. Typically the convertible tablet computer was at 11” and had less specification, typically showing up in the secondary storage area with 64Gb or 128Gb solid-state storage.
As well as having the 15” (1080p) screen, this convertible uses an Intel i5 processor as its CPU and has 500Gb hard disk capacity along with 24Gb solid-state caching and 6Gb RAM. This can make it capable for use as a main or sole computer and it comes under US$1000 at Best Buy.
Some of us may think that the 15” convertible form factor may be too large for personal tablet use but it could come in handy for group activities. In the business sense, this could also extend to a group of a few viewing a PowerPoint presentation or a video, or participating in a videoconference.
But what I see of this is that the Acer Aspire R7 has shown that the 15” mainstream size can be kitted out with the full touchscreen options and be equipped with the expectations for a regular mainstream laptop that is to serve as a main or sole computer.
Acer Aspire P3 tablet
The Aspire P3 is a detachable-keyboard hybrid with a Bluetooth keyboard as part of case. This uses the typical laptop resolution of 1366×768 which isn’t necessarily HD, but isn’t necessarily a problem for text-driven work. As for the screen, it is typically an 11.6” touchscreen.
What is pleasing about this model is that the baseline variant would come with an Intel i3 CPU, 4Gb of RAM, and 60Gb solid-state storage as its specifications and the keyboard case would be considered a standard accessory. This is all for a reasonable price of US$799.
With these two machines and the previously-mentioned Dell laptop, could this legitimise the touchscreen as a valuable option for the Windows-driven “regular” computer? This is although I have been hearing a lot of talk panning this idea and the Windows 8 operating system.
As far as laptops, notebooks and similar computers are concerned, the touch user interface can provide a definite improvement over the trackpad as far as navigating the display as I had noticed with the recent crop of Windows 8 laptops that I had reviewed. The trackpad still serves as a “fine” “relative” navigation tool at a pinch while the touchscreen works well for requirements like quick coarse absolute navigation.
Once we see more 15” and 17” touchscreen laptops with mainstream credentials like at least a mid-tier CPU, at least 500Gb on the hard disk and a decent graphics subsystem, these computers could legitimise the concept of touchscreen computing in the home and small business rather than just with the iPad or Android tablets.
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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.
Small size for the purse
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
A 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.
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.
On 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.
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”.
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
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.
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 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 2 – review), 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Intel Developing an Adaptive All-In-One PC Standard | Tom’s Hardware
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.
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Home, health devices controlled by apps on the rise | The Age (Australia)
A trend that is becoming very real in this day and age is for more appliances, home systems and personal healthcare devices to be linked to the home network and the Internet.
This is typically manifested in the form of the devices having control apps being made available for smartphones and tablets that run on common mobile-computing platforms, especially iOS and Android. Typically the device would like to the smartphone or tablet either via a direct Bluetooth link or the home network with the mobile computing device linking to that network via Wi-Fi wireless. Some of these devices that promote “cloud-driven” or “remote-access” functionality make use of the Internet connection offered by the home network or the mobile computing device.
Of course, you have to remember that the use of the “cloud” word is primarily about the vendor or service provider providing either simplified remote access to the device or having user data being stored on the vendor’s servers.
A lot of the apps offer various device control or monitoring functions, with some of the apps linking to a remote Web server for storing user data. This is more so with personal healthcare devices where the goal is to keep a record of measurements that the device obtains on behalf of the user.
Of course, the mobile-computing-platform app may not he the only way to benefit from the connected device’s online abilities. Here, the device could work with a Web-based dashboard page that users can view with a Web browser on their regular-platform or mobile-platform computing device. This situation would come in handy if the concept is to provide more information at a glance or provide greater control of the device.
There is a reality that by 2022 a household with 2 teenage / young-adult children will maintain 50 Internet-connected devices compared to 10 such devices in 2013 according to OECD data and this situation is being described as the “Internet Of Things”.
But there are some issues here with the current ecosystem for these devices and apps. For example, if a user has more appliances and other devices from different manufacturers or service providers, the smartphone or tablet will end up being crowded out with many different apps. The same situation may occur as a device comes to the end of its useful life and is replaced with a newer device which may be from a different vendor. It can lead to users finding it difficult to locate the monitoring or control apps that they need to use for a particular device.
Here, the situation could be rectified through the use of application standards like UPnP so that one can develop apps that can manage many devices from different vendors.
This could also encourage innovation such as the design of “car-friendly” apps or voice-agent (Siri / S-Voice) plugins so that one could benefit from a monitoring or control app when they leave or arrive in the car. Similarly, the software would need to exploit the abilities that iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 / 8 / RT offer within their platforms for “at-a-glance” viewing or user notifications.
It is a change that could take place over the years as the home network exists to be the easy-to-manage small network for an increasing number of devices.
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As the small computer form factors such as the tablets and ultraportables (Ultrabooks, etc) become popular, there is room to make mistakes with using them in the living room. This environment is where you are most likely to be when you are tired and wanting to relax and, in a lot of cases, you may be having a bit to drink.
These mistakes can end up with your equipment being out of action for a significant amount of time and could, at worst, cause irreparable damage. It is although the manufacturers are understanding the realities associated with the portable equipment and are making it more rugged.
Avoiding the risk of that device being sat on
A similarly-coloured iPad can be at risk of being sat on when on the couch
For example, you could be using that iPad while lounging on the couch and you need to get up to visit the kitchen or bathroom or answer the door. Then you put that iPad on the couch as you get up. This can be a risky move for the device if one hasn’t got their eyes peeled for these devices.
In the living room, this can easily happen with most of us when we are tired or have had a bit too much to drink. It can be exacerbated with devices that have sleeves, wraps or other accessories that could blend in easily with the scatter cushions and other upholstery that exists at your house. Then you could end up easily sitting on that iPad that is on the couch as you find somewhere comfortable to sit and this can cause damage to that device.
A good idea to avoid this situation would be to place the portable computing device on the coffee table or side table when you want to get up from that chair or sofa. Personally, I would make this easier by having side tables that have enough room to rest at least one 10” tablet like an iPad or avoiding the temptation to forego the coffee table or similar tables in the name of minimalist living.
The book-style cover offers extra protection for tablets in the living room
As well, the covers that you can get for the iPad and other tablet computers that open and close like a book also work well in keeping spilt drinks from damaging these computers and are a must when you use them in the lounge room. Here, you simply close these covers when you put the computer on that table.
Similarly, decorating the accessory covers or the backs of the tablet or ultraportable computer devices in an individual manner can allow one to make a device easily identifiable from the others especially when there are many of these in a common area. I would find this more important with popular devices like the iPad which use a consistent style and interface and also find this important where a particular brand or model of this device is favoured by most of your family or friends. I made a reference to this practice when I reviewed the Toshiba Satellite L730 which was available in white.
Reducing the risk of drinks being spilt in to that ultraportable computer
As well, ultraportable notebook computers can be at risk of drinks being spilt in to them when they are left open on the coffee table. This is more so with drinks that are in tall containers like bottles, tumblers or wine glasses.
Here, a good practice would be to close up these computers when they are not in use there. In the case of the detachable-keyboard “hybrid” convertible, these computers could be assembled before you close them up to keep drinks out of them.
Further on, a laptop wrap may also work wonders in protecting these computers from being damaged by drink spillage on the coffee table.
Avoiding the romantic candlelight mistake when using notebook computers
Candles and portable computers – a bad mix
As for laptops, notebooks and similar computers, the area behind the screen can be a death trap for these computers when it comes to using those candles to set up that romantic environment. This is a greater risk with wide candles including tea-lights rather than the tall “taper-style” candles that are typically used with a candlestick and the risk is greatly exacerbated when you swing the laptop lid outwards.
This was highlighted by an incident that happened with some close friends where the husband was downloading pictures from a digital camera on to his laptop and his wife, who just so loves that romantic candlelit look, set up some candles at his work table. There happened to be a small candle just behind the computer in the blind space behind the screen and this scorched the display unit in that computer.
The blind spot that exists behind a laptop and is risky when it comes to candles
In these situations, check that there are no candles behind the computer before you open it up and keep an eye on those candles that are on your work table. Especially pay attention to the blind spot behind your computer and make sure any candles in that area are fully visible.
It may be better to make sure that if you want to set up those candles around the laptop, that any lit candles stay on the side of the computer or towards the centre of the dining table.
By reading this, you can avoid placing your equipment at risk of damage when you use it in that lounge area whether you are working or relaxing.
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Fujitsu tech takes your pulse with your camera phone – popular science, mobile applications, mobile, Fujitsu – PC World Australia
The platform smartphone or tablet is starting to play an increasingly important role on personal health and wellbeing without the need to be dependent on extra peripherals. It is becoming increasingly relevant for these devices so you can keep an electronic record of observations or easily send the data to a doctor or clinic via email or cloud data service. This would lead to these devices becoming part of various home-based healthcare setups like management of chronic illnesses or catering to the idea of “ageing at home” where older people can stay at home independently or under the care of their relatives, friends or paid carers.
Previously I reported on the use of a smartphone camera and app that implements machine vision for “reading” certain urinalysis sticks, avoiding the need to check against confusing charts. I even put forward the idea of using similar “fluid-analysis” sticks and a smartphone app to check other liquids like drinks for “spiking” or “loading” or to check the pH level in a swimming pool.
Now Fujitsu has developed software code that makes a small digital camera like that installed in a smartphone or tablet as machine vision for taking someone’s pulse.This may be seen to displace the medical skill where you “pinch” the patient’s wrist near their hand and count the beats that you feel for a minute measured by a stopwatch or watch with second hand.
This concept works on the fact that the brightness of one’s face changes slightly as their heart beats and uses the presence of green light to look for haemoglobin which is part of the red (just oxygenated) blood cells. The procedure requires 5 seconds versus a minute with the orthodox method and the software can assess when patient is still for improved accuracy.
Fujitsu hopes to commercialise the technology in 12 months but there are questions on whether they will implement it in their own equipment or license it to other developers. For it to be popular, they would have to license the algorithms to other software developers to integrate in to their projects and / or release a finished software product to the platform app stores for people to use on their devices.
They also see this technology as facilitating unobtrusive measurement of one’s pulse using the camera on a PC, smartphone, smart TV, or tablet this being part of long-term observational-healthcare situations like chronic illness management.
What I see of this is the ability to use the cost-effective and ubiquitous hardware i.e. the multi-functional smartphone, tablet or Ultrabook to work as part of remote health care and allied applications with minimum need to use extra peripherals.
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Dell announces XPS 18 – an All-in-One desktop that is also a tablet | Microsoft WIndows Experience Blog
Dell unveils massive 18″ Windows 8 tablet – say hello to the hefty XPS 18 | Tweaktown
Dell Reveals Crazy Big 18-inch Windows 8 Tablet/AIO | Tom’s Hardware
From the horse’s mouth
Product page (coming soon)
Sony recently released the VAIO Tap 20 (a computer I am hoping to review on this site) which was effectively a bridge between an all-in-one desktop computer and a tablet computer and had defined this form factor. This was about an alternative to a regular all-in-one computer but was able to lie flat as a tablet computer. Promotional images that existed of this computer had shown family members sharing the large-screen computer by looking at the same screen to browse material.
I even followed this up by commenting on a Microsoft Windows Experience blog post about it being brought around by the post’s author to their parents’ house as part of a family visit. Here, the comments were about the VAIO Tap 20 being used by people of different ages and with different computer-familiarity levels. I cited the Tap 20 as being one of a few computers that would work well in the “family house” – the retired parents’ home that is visited by their children and grandchildren.
Now Dell have answered Sony by releasing a tablet/all-in-one computer that is similar to the VAIO Tap 20. This one uses a smaller screen size – 18 inches but has the same tablet abilities including short-term battery operation. There are plans for it to have a dual-core Intel processor and 320Gb on the hard disk with better configurations having the likes of i7 processors and 512Gb solid-state disks. The battery was rated for 5 hours run time.
What I see of this is that Sony’s and Dell’s effort could see the start of a new form-factor being defined – a desktop tablet computer. Here, this would implement a screen greater than 18” and have a wireless keyboard and mouse, but have full computing credentials like high-capacity hard disks and RAM. There would be a battery but it would be rated for around five hours or less while the computer is equipped with a collapsible kickstand. I am not sure whether these would come with integrated optical drives or not and this may depend on the model.
As I have said before, they would play well with formal and informal computing tasks especially with people who have different computing skill levels.
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PS4 to get companion social app for tablets, PS Vita |Engadget
Just today (21 February 2013), Sony was premiering the PlayStation 4 games console at their press event in New York City. They were promoting advanced “polygon-free” graphics which yielded realistic game views as well as support for “cloud-driven” console gaming.
This included various social-gaming options including the ability for an experienced astute player to help a novice player by effectively adding “dual controls” to the novice player’s controller. It is a feature that could have come in handy during a time when a friend of mine brought around the original PlayStation and rented a cricket game to play on the console. A person who lived with us had very keen interest in cricket and showed interest in this game but needed assistance with the video-game implementation of the sport.
But this console supports the new trend of the “second screen”. This option, which is implemented using apps on mobile-device platforms, is being explored by broadcasters and others with regular programmes but is being taken further by Sony for the PlayStation platform.
Most likely this concept would be positioned for social gaming, persistent scoreboards / inventory lists, alternate views such as overview maps, and similar activities to gain more out of the game. Of course, there will be the doubters that will say that the second screen is irrelevant especially for first-person shooters and similar games.
It will also be interesting to observe how much “in-sync” with the gameplay the second screen hosted on a separate device connected to the home network would be especially if extra action is to be viewed on this screen. Personally, I would make sure that you have the proper bandwidth available to your tablet when you want this function to work properly with the PS4.
A good idea would be to make sure that the Wi-Fi is strong to the games room and this could be achieved through the use of an access point with the wired network backbone. For that matter, most of the HomePlug AV wireless access points also have the Ethernet connections which can make this task easier with the PS4 connected to an Ethernet socket on the HomePlug access point while the HomePlug AV segment serves as the backbone.
Of course, this new console has a lot to be expected for its role in the lounge room, or the games room.
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You may think that St Valentine’s Day is all about giving the one you love something special like roses, or inviting them out for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner because you know she lives in your town. Of course, this isn’t the only day to show that affection.
But on the other hand, you may have used Skype to make a video call to them because they are away on business or holiday. It is worth reading this article about making sure that the Skype call goes to plan when they head on that trip. Here, I have highlighted becoming familiar with the Skype software, whether it is on the computer, mobile device or your smart TV or video peripheral. In some cases, you may have to do a “dry run” to make sure everything goes OK.
Similarly setting up a music playlist with a good variety of appropriate music on your computer or portable music player can work well for that dinner date at home or that movie date. As well, silencing that smartphone can work wonders but be sure you know how to bring the sound back on again so you don’t miss those calls.
If you have recipes in those books, scanning them to PDFs to upload to your tablet computer or laptop can allow you to have them in a more portable manner if you have to cook that dinner at another kitchen. As well, a bookstand can come in very handy if you use that tablet in the kitchen to refer to online or PDF recipes. On the other hand, that bread-bin can be shoehorned in to a temporary bookstand for that tablet.
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Toshiba AT1S0 7″ Android tablet
At the moment, the tablet computer is being seen as a device to replace regular laptop and notebook computers as the commonly-used portable computing device. But I see the tablet and laptop being able to work complimentary to each other.
For example, I would see the laptop or notebook as being used for long-term intense work such as content creation whereas the tablet can be used for “at-a-glance” reading and browsing. The devices that are able to assume both functions, whether as a detachable-keyboard “hybrid” or a convertible with a “swivel-screen” or “slide-out screen” can provide a bridge between these functions.
Windows 8 “Modern UI” start screen – optimised for touchscreens
This has been augmented by Windows 8 being able to facilitate the “best of both worlds” for content creation when used with a convertible or touch-enabled computer. Here, the “Modern” user-interface can become a dashboard and some of the applications optimised for this interface set themselves up to allow you to read or browse. Whereas you may be able to run a Desktop application which adjusts itself for content creation with the regular keyboard and mouse as the control tools.
The tablets that are run using Android, iOS and Windows RT perform their complementary tasks very well and work the part for ad-hoc viewing.
What kind of tablet?
For example, the 7” units like the Apple iPad Mini, the Google Nexus 7 and the Toshiba AT1S0 are good for bring-it-out-at-the-moment applications where you keep the unit in your handbag or coat pocket. Here you could provide a link to Websites that you need to show others or keep reference material like PDF-printed manuals or online Bibles on these devices.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – fit for business
Conversely, the 10” units like the Apple iPad, the Acer Iconia A500 Series or the ASUS Transformer Prime are good for reading, viewing and surfing in the couch although the small Windows 8 convertible and hybrids could satisfy the same game. You could even view photos and video material comfortable and personally on these devices. In some cases, most of these tablets have a way of showing the pictures held on our camera’s or camcorder’s SD card either through an integrated card slot, a third-party “On The Go” cable and SD card reader or, in the case of an Apple iPad, an SD card adaptor.
If you are thinking of one device, I would place the convertibles as being suitable for this purpose. A detachable-keyboard “hybrid” computer can work well when you want the benefits of a lightweight tablet but want to be able to have a keyboard that you don’t have to bring along with you. On the other hand, it is worth looking at the “convertibles” which have the screen able to be arranged as if a tablet yet they become a regular laptop computer.
It would be hard to think of a screen of 12” or lager as being suitable for touch-based computing on a tablet computer but the convertibles and detachable-keyboard hybrids of this size would also come in to their own when you use the keyboard. Conversely, the 10”-11” computers may be awkward with content creation when you use the keyboard yet the are a natural for touch-based “browsing”.
Here, you would have to place weight on what you are wanting to use this computer for and choose the size of screen you want. As well, it is worth getting as much RAM and secondary-storage capacity as you can afford when you buy these computers so you can multitask easily and have room for the programs and data you take along with you.
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