GPD HK launched GPD WIN Windows 10 portable gaming console with a Cherry Trail Atom x7 processor and a 5.5″ display last year on Indiegogo, and while the crowdfunding campaign works very well with over $700,000 raised, the company realized many people just wanted an affordable portable computer, so they removed the joyticks, increased the display size, and upgraded the processor in their GPD Pocket 7″ portable computer powered by an Intel Atom X7-Z8750 SoC and pre-loaded with either Windows 10 Home or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
GPD Pocket specifications (subject to change):
SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8750 quad core Cherry Trail processor @ 1.6 / 2.56 GHz with a 16EU Intel HD graphics Gen9
USB – 1x USB 3.0 type C port with power/data/audio/video support，1x USB 3.0 type A port
Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard
Sensors – Gravity Sensor,Hall sensor
Battery – Non-removable 7,000 mh Li-Po battery good for about 12 hours
Dimensions – 180 x 106 x 18.5 mm (material: magnesium alloy)
Weight – 480g
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The portable computer will ship with a 5V/2.5A charger (US plug), an international warranty card good for one year, and a specification sheet. Note that it won’t be fanless, as it’s cooled with a “copper radiator pipe, a large-diameter heat output pipeline”, and and a fan.
The project has now been launched with a funding goal of $200,000 on Indiegogo, where you can get GPD Pocket with Windows 10 or Ubuntu 16.04 for $399, a $200 discount over the $599 retail price once it becomes broadly available, or so they claim. They also have other rewards including a USB type C hub, and discounts for multiple quantities. Worldwide shipping is included in the price, and delivery is scheduled for June 2017.
Mini PCs based on Intel Apollo Lake processors have started selling, and they supposed to be upgrades to Braswell and Cherry Trail processor. I’ve recently had the chance to review Voyo VMac Mini mini PC powered by Intel Pentium N4200 quad core processor, that’s the fastest model of the Apollo Lake N series, and of course I ran some benchmarks, so I thought it would be interesting compare the results I got with an Atom x7-Z8700 “Cherry Trail” mini PC, namely Beelink BT7 which I reviewed last year.
Both machines are actively cooled with a small fan, and storage performance is similar, albeit with a slight edge for the Apollo Lake SSD. A ratio greater than one (green) means the Apollo Lake processor is faster, and if it is lower than one (red) the Cherry Trail processor win.
The performance is usually faster in the Apollo Lake processor by between 5 to 50+% depending on the tasks with video encoding and photo editing gaining the most. Browsing is only marginally faster by 5 to 13%. PCMark8 reports a 30% higher frame rate for casual gaming, but 3DMark does not how that much improvement, and in some cases not at all, except for Sky Diver 1.0 demo. Intel Atom x7-X8700 SoC comes with a 16EU Intel HD graphics Gen 9 @ 200 / 600 MHz, while the Pentium SoC comes with 18 EU (Execution Unit) of the same gen9 GPU @ 200 / 750 MHz, and should be a little faster in theory.
So based on those results, there’s a clear – although incremental – performance improvement using Apollo Lake over Cherry Trail, but depending on the use case it may not always be noticeable in games or while browsing the web.
MeegoPad T8 was a Windows 10 mini projector in 2015, but time has passed, and the company has now decided to use the same name for a Windows 10 HDMI TV stick supporting two displays thanks to the usual HDMI 1.4 male port, as well as a USB -C port with DisplayPort capability.
MeegoPad T08 TV stick specifications:
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 4GB DDR3L-1600
Storage – 32 GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
Video Output – HDMI 1.4 male connector + USB type C port
Audio I/O – HDMI, USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.1 type C port for power, data, and video output, 1x micro USB port, 1x micro USB port for power only
Misc – Power button & LED, fan
Power Supply – 5V/3A connected to micro USB port
Dimensions – 14.20 x 4.20 x 0.99 cm
Weight – 200 grams
The device runs Windows 10 Home 32-bit. If you want to use the extra display, you’ll need a USB-C to HDMI adapter.
Lenovo has launched yet another 2-in-1 hybrid laptop, but the Yoga Book has some interesting new feature as it does not come with an actual keyboard, but instead a large “Create Pad” (Wacom digitizer) that allows you to draw sketches, take notes, and yes, it can also be converted into a virtual keyboard too when needed. Lenovo has a $499 version with Android 6.0, and another one with Windows 10 for $549, but I initially found it on GearBest, selling the device for $642.91 shipped with DOS operating system instead to give the user the option to install his/her own choice of operating system.
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Lenovo Yoga Book specifications:
SoC – Up to Intel Atom x5-Z8550 quad core Cherry Trail processor
System Memory – Up to 4 GB LPDDR3
Storage – Up to 64 GB internal storage, and micro SD slot supporting up to 128 GB
Display – 10.1″ IPS LED Touch (1920 x 1200) with capacitive touch with AnyPen Technology
Create Pad – Capacitive touch and EMR Pen Technology
Audio – Dolby Atmos
Connectivity – 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
Camera – 8 MP auto-focus rear camera, 2 MP fixed-focus front-facing camera
Battery – 8,500 mAh Li-ion Polymer battery with over 70 days in standby mode, and 15 hours for general usage
Dimensions – 25.65 cm x 17.07 cm x 0.96 cm
Weight – 690 grams and up
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According to Lenovo website, the laptop ships with one Real Pen, a Book Pad with 15 pages, and 3 Real Pen Ink Refills. I’d assume the power adapter and a user manual is also included. The model on GearBest only ships with the power adapter, a user manual and one touch screen pen.
The laptop/table was released at the end of last year, and several reviews have been published already, for example on TabletPCreview.com with Android and TechRadar with Windows 10, and reviewers were quite impressed with the Create Pad. The pen can be switched between a rubber tip and one with an ink cartridge better suited respectively for drawing and notetaking. The virtual “Halo” keyboard mode had more mixed reviews with some claiming it’s not really suitable for long typing sessions, while others saying that after a short learning curve, the keyboard worked well for them. However, reviewers wished Lenovo had used a faster processor in the device.
I’ve just received a newsletter from GearBest entitled “Shop Like a BOSS | Sub-$200 Ultrabooks, Gaming Gear + More” and showing “Jumper Ezbook 2 Ultrabook” laptop powered by an Intel Atom X5-Z8300 quad core processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a 14″ 1920×1080 display selling for $189.89 if you click on a customized link (working once) in the newsletter. If you are not subscribed to the newsletter you can still get it for about $195 including shipping on GearBest or GeekBuying, which still seems like a decent deal for the features.
Jumper Ezbook 2 specifications:
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad core Cherry Trail processor @ 1.44 GHz with Intel HD graphics (2W SDP)
System memory – 4GB DDR3L
Storage – 64 GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
Display – 14″ LED display with 1920×1080 resolution
QWERTY keyboard with touchpad
Video Output – mini HDMI port
Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, and speakers
Camera – 1.0 MP webcam
Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB 2.0 port
Battery – 10,000 mAh battery good for around 6 hours of video playback
Power Supply – 12V/3A
Dimensions – 34.65 x 22.95 x 1.76 cm
Weight – 1.18 kilograms
The laptop ins pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 64-bit. The laptop has been around for a few months, and Tech Tablets has a uploaded a thorough video review of the device.
The review concludes that Jumper is a decent laptop for the price and the 14″ Full HD screen with anti-glare coating, but build quality could be better (especially keyboard), it gets hot while playing games, and USB ports may not be powerful enough to power an external USB drive.
GOLE1 is a Windows 10 + Android mini PC powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor that also happens to come with a 5″ 720p display and a battery with the 4GB RAM/64GB storage version selling for $155 shipped. A company called Ockel Computers, who had a surprisingly successful crowdfunding campaign last year for their Sirius B Cherry Trail mini PC having raised close to $500,000, has designed a new mini PC similar to GOLE1, but with better specs including a slightly faster Intel Atom x7-Z8750 processor, a higher resolution 6″ display, and HDMI & DisplayPort video output ports among other improvements.
Ockel Sirius A specifications with bold highlights showing improvements over GOLE1 mini PC:
SoC – Intel Atom x7-Z8750 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.60 GHz / 2.56 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 4 GB LPDDR3L-1600
Storage – 64 GB eMMC flash + micro SDXC slot
Display – 6″ capacitive touchscreen display with 1920×1080 resolution
Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2 (Intel Dual Band WIreless AC 3165 module)
USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB-C port
Camera – 1x front-facing camera
Sensors – Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Misc – Power and volume buttons
Battery – 3,000 mAh battery good about about 4 hours of video playback
Power Supply – 12V/3A (36W)
Dimensions – 150 x 85 x 6 to 20 mm
The device ships with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, and the company claims to have work with Microsoft to “develop a unique Switch Mode” converting the 6″ display as a keyboard and mouse for the larger external display. It’s still possible to connect a USB mouse and keyboard to use both displays.
The company went back to Indiegogo for Sirius A mini PC, and they’ve already easily surpassed their $100,00 funding target so far thanks to close to 500 backers having committed a total of around $250,000. Ockel Sirius A is faster, with more features, and IMHO we could easily argue it’s also prettier than GOLE1, so we should expect to pay a bit more. It turns out you’d have to pay $549 to get the device with an HDMI cable and power adapter, or almost 4 times more than GOLE1 4GB/64GB. Alternatively, you could pledge $559 for the same device with a 128GB micro SD card and Avanca Powerbar Pro 9000 power bank. If you think it’s worth it, you’ll also have to add $30 to $50 for shipping, and be a patient person, as delivery is scheduled for May 2017.
Canonical formally released Ubuntu 16.10 “Yakkety Yak” yesterday with a developer preview of Unity 8 including desktop, tablet and phone UX convergence, Hybrid cloud operations with Juju 2.0, Snapd 2.16 with more than 500 snaps, etc.. Ian Morrison (Linuxium) wasted no time, and put together a Ubuntu 16.10 image working on platforms powered by Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processor with modifications to have audio, WiFi and Bluetooth working.
If you want to try Ubuntu 16.04 on your device you can download ubuntu-16.10-desktop-linuxium.iso and prepare a bootable USB flash the usual way with rufus, or other utilities. If you’d like to try an alternative Ubuntu flavor such as Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, or Ubuntu MATE, Linuxium got you served too, and you’ll find the images on his blog.
Unity 7 is still running by default in Ubuntu 16.04, but if you are curious about Unity 8 convergence desktop/tablet/phone user interface, Canonical uploaded a video showing what you can expect.
You’ll also find more info about Unity 8’s window management, scopes, multimedia scopes, snappy apps and more on Ubuntu Insights.
I’ve seen some strange and/or innovative mini PCs over the years, and Vensmile K8 certainly gets into the top products of that category. That’s basically a mini PC powered by an Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor, but with the top cover acting as a touch panel, and the device is also connected to flexible QWERTY keyboard.
Vensmile K8 flexible keyboard PC specifications:
Folded K8 Keyboard PC
SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz with Intel Gen8 HD graphics (2W SDP)
System Memory – 4 GB DDR3L (option for 2GB)
Storage – 64 GB eMMC flash (option for 32GB) + micro SD slot up to 32GB
Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port
Misc – Power button; reset pinhole; power, standby and keyboard (numlock?) LEDs
Power Supply – 5V/3A
Dimensions – 385 x 120 x 15 mm
The obvious advantage is that it’s highly portable compared to other solutions, as when it’s folded, it looks as big as a wallet, but I’m still not convinced this form factor will become popular. The device ships pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 64-bit, and the power supply, a HDMI cable, and a user’s manual in English are included in the package.
Current price will probably put many people off, as Vensmile K8 is sold for $284 including shipping for the version with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage [Update: It’s also listed for pre-order on GeekBuying for $199.99 with shipping scheduled in 12 days]. You’ll find a few more pictures on Alibaba. If you want a foldable keyboard PC with similar specs, PiPo KB2 / Vensmile K1 should be more affordable at around $100, except I have not seen either for sale yet, despite an expected May 2016 release…