The first thing you notice about iPad Pro is the size. The tablet is ginormous. Its 12.9-inch screen lays before you like a chalk slate -- a blank canvas demanding typed text or drawings made with Apple Pencil. Yet something also feels wrong about the thing. During the so-called Steve Jobs era, refined designs were smaller -- like iPod nano. Apple is no stranger to larger; 27-inch iMac today or 17-inch MacBook Pro of yesteryear are examples. Perhaps. But there's big, and BIG.
The giant tablet arrived around 2:50 p.m. PST on Groundhog Day 2016, marking a bold computing adventure for February: Using iPad Pro as my primary PC, and hopefully only one. Perhaps you read my recent obituary to Apple love lost and might wonder why buy anything Apple? I like to experiment and am paid to try out new things (so you won't have to). By sheer size, PC replacement -- not companion -- is the only sensible use for iPad Pro. Can it meet the demands? I want to find out.
The majority of tablets are aimed at consumers and, therefore, business features can sometimes feel a little tacked on. Some manufacturers take a different approach, however, and there is little doubt that latest second generation of ThinkPad 10 from Lenovo is not aimed squarely at business users.
It runs 64-bit Windows 10, has Trusted Platform Module encryption and other features and options that will make it an attractive corporate choice. Add in the fact that it is solidly built and has lots of accessories available to improve its usefulness as a business tool and it looks even more impressive, and even more similar to the Microsoft Surface. So, is this a better option for serious tablet users than a device based around a mobile OS, like Android?
We live in a world where we increasingly expect everything to interface with everything else. New cars come with Bluetooth and wireless connections for example to access information from your phone, and audio systems are able to stream music around your home.
But what if you have an older car, or if you want to link a smartphone to your non-smart home Hi-Fi? Inateck has an answer in the form of the BR1002, a neat little gadget that can turn your older devices into Bluetooth enabled ones.
Using a mouse for long periods can be uncomfortable and in severe cases may even lead to repetitive strain injury.
There are various pieces of kit on the market to help you avoid this including ergonomically designed mice and wrist rests. Taking a slightly different and more innovative approach to the problem is the Penclic which is a sort of fusion of mouse and pen.
Phones have been gradually getting bigger in the past few years. That makes for better displays for watching videos and viewing documents and web pages, but there’s a downside too.
For many people it makes them more awkward to carry around and can mean they’re harder to use as a phone because you need two hands to operate them.
For about a fortnight, I have used Google's Pixel C as my primary tablet. I like the 10.2-inch slate much more than anticipated, particularly after being negatively influenced by some rather lukewarm techsite reviews before FedEx delivered the tab to my door.
Google designed and produces Pixel C, which is by far the best Android tablet you can buy anywhere. Like Nexus smartphones, which debuted in January 2010, the tablet is meant as a reference design for OEMs and developing Android apps appropriate for larger, but still mobile, screens. I primarily will focus on the hardware this round; apps and Android will come next year in my full review.
These days you do not have to spend much to get a good smartphone. Using a Xiaomi Mi4c as my daily driver for the past couple of weeks has made it clear that you can get an impressive handset for just around $200. It is the sort of smartphone that makes you believe that you can have your cake and eat it too -- its specs read like those of some flagships while its price is similar to that of more affordable mid-rangers.
The software is pretty nice as well. Unlike some other interpretations of Android, Xiaomi's MIUI looks good and adds some worthwhile changes that overall add up to a solid user experience. Now, let's take a closer look at Mi4c.
Let’s face it, backups are pretty boring, which is probably the reason why they often get overlooked and people find themselves staring into the abyss of lost data. Part of the reason why so many of us hate backups is that the software used often seems to overcomplicate things with lots of options that many people never use.
Bvckup 2 aims to change all of this with a backup solution that’s clean, simple to use, elegant and fast. Produced by Swiss company Pipemetrics, Bvckup 2 is small -- the installer is less than 2MB in size - but packs in a surprising amount of sophistication.
Tablets are often seen as a consumer device, allowing you to update Facebook from the sofa while you watch TV, or catch up with iPlayer in bed. But they’re increasingly finding a place in the business world too, allowing mobile workers to catch up with emails or update documents on the move. They can also be a viable laptop replacement for tasks like making sales presentations.
The iPad remains popular, since it popularized the tablet format, but of late, Android devices have been catching up in terms of quality and capability. Samsung has long been one of the biggest players in the Android tablet market and its latest premium tablet, and the Galaxy Tab S2 is clear evidence of the company’s intention to park its tank on the iPad’s lawn. But how well does it succeed and what does it have to offer to tempt business users away from buying the Apple device?
Sitting down, so medical professionals tell us, is bad for you. As a species we’re designed to stand up and move about rather than sit in front of a screen. The trouble is, modern office-based work doesn’t really lend itself to this hunter/gatherer lifestyle.
The answer for some people is to have a standing desk so that you can bash away at your keyboard from a vertical position. It may not match the thrill of the hunt, but at least it gets you off your backside. The trouble is, purpose built standing desks can be eye-wateringly expensive, especially some of the sophisticated motorized models, and you have the problem of where to accommodate an extra piece of furniture.
As Christmas comes closer, it's time to think about rewarding your ears, or someone else's, with exceptional audio experience—headphones that I would ask Santa to bring for myself or deliver to another. If big, booming bass is your thing, read no further. Buy Beats, Sony, or another brand boasting barreling lows that shake your skull as well as eardrums.
My picks deliver broader audio range, each with warmer mids and highs and amazing detail, depending somewhat on the source of your content. Highly compressed AAC or MP3 tracks lack lots, but these cans will get a little more fidelity from them. CD or lossless source might change how you listen to music forever.
We already know the importance of defending endpoints to keep business systems secure. The latest release of Panda Internet Security offers protection for PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices, and aims to provide a wide spectrum of security in an easy-to-use package.
For businesses looking to help staff protect their BYOD devices or smaller organizations looking for desktop protection, what does it have to offer?
If you're smartphone shopping this holiday and wondering what to buy, my primer can assist—with caveats. I focus solely on Androids that are higher end but affordable, and I ignore iPhones. No slight against Apple devices is intended. I figure that people who want an iPhone won't likely consider an alternative. Also: The differences aren't as pronounced. For example, the major benefit choosing 6s or 6s Plus over the two previous models is slightly lower price (3D Touch is an unnecessary gimmick). The major benefit picking 5s over the 6 or 6 Plus is again price but also smaller size.
Among Androids, differences abound—and many, such as older OS versions or custom UI skins, are carrier or manufacturer imposed. That's without considering the bloatware that either or both parties might impose. I intentionally focus on devices that offer the most value for price paid, which includes upfront or payment-plan purchased unlocked.
Recent reports have highlighted that it’s security at the endpoint which often leaves businesses exposed. This applies not just to machines in the office but also to mobile and BYOD devices, so some sort of security solution is essential.
BullGuard has released its latest Internet Security suite this month which is fully Windows 10 compatible and includes a number of things that make it an attractive option for business users. New features like Dropbox compatible backup and storage ensure that business data is properly protected.
If you’re suffering a touch of deja vu looking at the photo above it's probably because my colleague Mark Wilson reviewed Inateck's similar sleeve for the Surface Pro earlier this year.
This one is designed for the iPad and MacBook fraternity and features a neat fold over design that allows it to act as a stand for the device as well as a sleeve to protect it. It has a smaller pouch in front of the main one and here are a couple of pockets on the back, one of which is big enough to take CDs. It also comes with a separate little pouch containing a cleaning cloth and which is big enough to take a mouse. It's not really suited to carrying bulky mains adaptors around though, so you’ll need to charge your device before you go out.