Posts Tagged ‘laptop’

Rockchip Introduces Three Tablet SoCs: RK3126C, RK3326, RK3366, and RK3368H Processor for 2-in-1 Laptops

April 19th, 2017 4 comments

Rockchip has launched four more processors at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2017, with three SoCs specifically targeting tablets namely RK3126C, RK3326 and RK3366, and one SoC, RK3368H modified from RK3368, designed to provide a lower cost alternative to RK3288 and RK3399 for 2-in-1 hybrid laptops and tablets.

The company only provided limited information with regards to the tablet SoCs specifications:

  • RK3126C quad core processor supporting 1080p video decoding and HD (720p?) displays for entry-level tablets
  • RK3326 quad core ARM Cortex A35 processor with a quad core Mali GPU, DDR3/LPDDR memory interface, 1080p60 H.264, MPEG-4/-2 video decoding, and 1080p30 H.264 video encoding
  • RK3366 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor with a quad core Mali GPU, DDR3/LPDDR memory interface, USB 3.0 interface, and 4K H.265 video decoding

All three processors will be running Android 7.1. I could not find any tablets based on the processor yet, so we may have to wait a few more month.

We have more details about RK3368H processor since it’s an update of RK3368 processor, and a tablet was showcased at the event.

Rockchip RK3368H key specifications:

  • CPU – Octa-core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.5 Ghz
  • GPU – Imagination PowerVR SDX6110 GPU @ 600 MHz
  • Memory I/F – 32-bit DDR/LPDDR
  • Display I/F  – Full HD Display supported
  • Video – 4K H.265 and H.264 video decoding
  • Ethernet and HDMI port “reduced” (likely meaning removed) for lower costs
  • 28nm process

The processor can run Android 7.1 operating systems, including desktop optimized version such as Remix OS, Phoenix OS, or Light Biz OS. The company claims the tablet shown above gets around 48,000 points in Antutu benchmark. Netbook Italia also posted a video of the tablet (in Italian) showing it’s made by Chiptrip, but they have not updated their MID page with the new tablet just yet.


Mirabook is Laptop Dock for Smartphones, Development Boards (Crowdfunding)

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Motorola Lapdock may have been ahead of its time, as laptop docks for smartphone are back in vogue with products like NexDock, and Apple could soon launch their own iPhone laptop dock. Another option is Miraxess Mirabook laptop dock with a 13.3″ display, and a battery lasting up to 24 hours, that works for smartphones, development boards, and HDMI TV sticks thanks to its USB type C port.

Mirabook specifications:

  • Display – 13.3″ IPS display with 1920×1080 resolution (non-touch, except if they raise $2 millions…)
  • Audio – Speakers, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Video Output – HDMI port
  • Storage – SD card slot
  • QWERTY keyboard & multi-touch trackpad
  • USB
    • Integrated USB type C cable to connect to phone, board or HDMI TV stick
    • USB type C port to charge the Mirabook battery
    • 2x USB type A host port
  • Battery – TBD capacity good for 24 hours while charging your phone
  • Dimensions – 320 x 220 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 1 kg

The solution relies on SlimPort to provide video & audio over USB as it works for many products, and does not require as much (CPU) resources as DisplayLink. The latter will however be considered as a stretch goal if the campaign raises over $300,000.

The company explains that “convergence” operating systems such as Windows Continuum, Samsung DeX, Auxens Oxi OS, or Remix Singularity, are particularly well suited for the Mirabook, as they provide a desktop experience when the phone is connected to a larger display. They also mentioned Leena OS which I had not come across before, and works on any Android 4.2 or greater smartphone with a free version supporting multi-window, web apps, and a browser, and a Pro version  adding some extra features like a native PDF reader, and the possibly to put icons on the desktop.

The project has launched on Indiegogo with Miraxess aiming to raise at least $50,000. A $180 Early bird pledge should get you a Mirabook, while the retail price after the Indiegogo campaign is expected to be $299. Shipping will add around $15, and delivery is scheduled for December 2017.

Via Liliputing

MAXOAK K2 Laptop Power Bank Review – Part 2: Tests with Laptops, Phones and Development Boards

April 15th, 2017 7 comments

MAXOAK K2 is a large capacity (50,000 mAh) power bank designed for laptop with ~20V and 12V outputs, but it can also charge USB devices thanks to its 4 USB ports. Since I’ve already checkout the device and specifications in the first part of the review, I’ll report results from my tests with the power bank in the last couple of weeks.

Since the power bank had some charge, more exactly between 50 and 75% (2x LEDs on, 1x LED blinking, 1x LED off), I decided to start by charging my phone, Vernee Apollo Lite, which is equipped with a 3,180 mAh battery. So I connected the phone to one of the two 5V/2.1A USB port, together with USB Charger Doctor to monitor voltage and current, and with 50% charge, the phone would draw around 5.07V @ 1.15 A. Note that the voltage and amperage will change depending on battery charge level, and other parameters.

That worked, but since the phone comes with a fast charger through its USB-C port, a full charge normally takes 1 hours, while a charge with the power bank, or any other 5V/2A power adapter will take 3 to 4 hours. Switching to one of the two 5V/1.0A ports, it would charge at 5.07V @ 0.97A. I could charge the phone 6 times in total until the power bank’s battery was completely depleted. If we can extrapolate from a fully charged power bank that means between 10 and 12 charges for the phone. I’d normally charge the phone when the battery level was between 5 to 25%.

Then I recharged the power bank connecting the provided 16.8V/2.5A power supply, and it took a little over 7 hours for a full charge.

Next up, I connected CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop that takes 12V input. None of the 14 connector adapters provided with the power bank worked, so I had to use a connector adapter from my own power adapter kit in order to be able to plug the power bank cable into the DC jack of the laptop.

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I could charge the laptop from 10% to 100% in about 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is about the time it takes to charge with the laptop power supply. There were still 4 LEDs on or blinking after charging, but shortly after it went to three, which would mean the laptop could be charged 4 times with the power bank. However, since the laptop’s battery has a capacity of 9,000 mAh @ 7.4V (66.6Wh), you should be able to charge it around 2.5 times with the 50,000 mAh @ 3.7V (185 Wh) power bank. Once the laptop is fully charged, the power bank will turn off automatically, as it should.

Most laptops have 19V to 20V power input, so I also tested an old Dell Inspiron normally powered by a 19.5V power adapter. The battery of the laptop does not work anymore, and I could not find a working replacement, which means we only use it when connected to the mains. It would be interesting to see whether K2 can power the laptop, and also be used as a UPS for “battery-less laptops”. Again I had to take a connector adapter from my own kit, as the ones provided with the power bank would not fit. Once I connect the laptop to the 20V/3A output of the power bank, I could start the laptop, but it complained about the AC adapter and battery, most probably because the battery is missing.

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No problem, I just press F3 key to carry on, and the laptop could boot to the Windows desktop. I could also charge the smartphone at the same time, but note that you can use both 12V and 20V based on the user’s manual.

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To stress test the power bank a little, I loaded Aida64, and run the stability test to draw more power, and I let it run for 45 minutes, and there was no problem at all to use the laptop. I also simulated several power failure during while Aida64 was running, by connecting and disconnecting the 16.8V/2.5A power adapter for the power bank, and no problem. That looks all good for that use case, especially since in summer and during the rainy season we frequently get power failures at home, most of the time micro-power failures, i.e. that just last a few seconds or even less.

Finally, I checked whether it could be used to power multiple development board via its four USB ports. So I connected a Raspberry Pi 2 board and NanoPi NEO 2 board + USB hard drive to the 5V/2.1A ports, and lower power Mediatek LinkIt Smart MT7688 Duo, and Onion Omega2+ WiFi boards to the 5V/1A ports.

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I pressed the power button on the power bank, and all four board could start with issue. Later I connect the power supply to the power bank, and simulate a power failure. After disconnecting power from the mains, the boards would still run (good), after reconnecting it the mains, all 4 USB ports would turn off (bad). I tried again with only one board connected the USB, and the same result, so the USB ports are turned off when you connect the power bank to the mains. I tried again but connecting the Dell laptop to 20V and my phone to one of the USB ports, and the laptop keeps running when I insert the power supply, but my phone stops charging. The only way to restart charging is to press the power button. The first time, it will turn off all port, including the 20V port supplying my laptop, and the second time it will power at all. Note the kind of behavior you want if you are running a device without battery from the power bank. Nevertheless, it’s not exactly the main purpose.

The power bank also has over current and under-current cut-offs which may need to be taken into account:  20V > 4.5A; 20V < 200 mA;  12V < 150 Ma; 5V < 70 mA. I have not attempted a teardown of the power bank, since I could not find an obvious (and non-destructive) ways to do so.

MAXOAK K2 laptop power bank is sold for $135.99 on Amazon US, as well as eBay. You may also be able to find more info on maxoak’s website.

Your Smartphone Could Become The Brain and Touchpad of Your Laptop (Dock)

March 29th, 2017 10 comments

Mobile desktop convergence is likely to happen sometimes in the next few years, at least for some users, when your smartphone will be the brain of your laptop or desktop computer. So far I imagined the smartphone would fit into a dock powering the phone – potentially wirelessly – and connects it to a large monitor, extra storage, and a keyboard and mouse. But based on a patent filled by Apple, it may also take another form: a laptop dock where your smartphone fits right where the touchpad is supposed to be.

The patent for an “ELECTRONIC ACCESSORY DEVICE” describes “various embodiments of systems and methods for providing internal components for portable computing devices having a thin profile. More particularly, the present application describes an electronic accessory device available to extend and expand usefulness of a portable computing device”.

The patent does not appear to describe the interfaces, but presents the general concept with the laptop dock and smartphone establishing a connection when the phone is inserted into a “port (112) having a size and shape in accordance with host device”. All processing power would be in the host device (smartphone), and the laptop dock would be a dumb device providing the communication interfaces between host and device, a keyboard, a display, speakers, and a battery.

The patent also include a block diagram of the host device, which looks like a typical smartphone to me. The data link (612) between the host and the accessories can be a wired or wireless connection.

Via Apple Insider

MAXOAK K2 is a 50,000 mAh Power Bank Designed for Laptops, Cameras and Mobile Devices

March 28th, 2017 7 comments

Most of the time I receive samples by courier 3 or 4 days after the company sends it, but sometimes I’m being sent devices over airmail which may take 2 to 3 weeks, or even more. Today, I received such a parcel with no clear description on the package, and a relatively heavy blank carton box.

But I remembered somebody told me they’d send a large power bank for laptops. Could it be it? Sure enough. The power bank is called MAXOAK K2, and claims to offer a 50,000 mAh capacity using a Polymer Li-on battery.

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All connectors and buttons can be found on one side with the DC jack, four charging/capacity LEDs, the power button, 20V/3A and 12/2.5A barrel outputs, and four USB ports with 5V/2.1A or 5V.1.0A output. Most of the laptops I’ve used were powered by 19V or 19.5V adapters, so I’m not sure it’s safe to use with all laptops, but we’ll find out a bit more info about that below.

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The power bank ships with a 100~240V AC to 16.8V DC/2.5A power supply, a power cord, a cable to connect to the 12V or 20V power barrel, 10 default adapters for various brands of laptops, 4 extra adapters for other laptops, K2 user manual, and an extra piece of paper explaining the extra adapters are used for Dell, Lenovo and Asus laptops, as well as providing some info on overcurrent and low current protection. There’s also a pouch bag to transport the power bank with an extra pocket for accessories.

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We can learn a lot more by checking out the user manual like it takes 6 to 8 hours to fully, the battery is good for 1,000 charging cycles, and we cannot use 12V and 20V outputs at the same time. The power bank will automatically turn off after 30 seconds if there is no load or a load under the minimal current. It can also be used while charging.

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The other side of the user manual explains more about the usage to charge smartphones, 12V cameras, and laptops. Al lyou have to do it to connect the cable, and press the power button. It also describes which adapter is suitable for a given laptops. It appears the power bank can be used for laptops with 16V to 20V, I’m not sure how different voltage levels are handled since there’s no selection.

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The power bank weight around 1.3 kg in its pouch, accessories and power supply not included, so it’s like you carry an extra laptop with you.

I’ll report charging and discharging numbers with various devices in a separate post, and also quickly check if it can be used as a UPS or backup battery for batteryless devices, but it’s not advertised as such, so it may not work for that purpose.

MAXOAK K2 laptop power bank is sold for $135.99 on Amazon US, as well as eBay. You may also be able to find more info on maxoak’s website.

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: battery, laptop, maxoak, review

$249 Litebook Linux Laptop Runs Elementary OS

March 6th, 2017 7 comments

While you can install Linux on most laptops by yourself, it’s not always easy to find a laptop pre-installed with Linux, especially for the cheaper models. So it’s encouraging to see products like Litebook, a laptop with Elementary OS based on Ubuntu, and powered by an Intel Celeron N3150 “Braswell” processor with 4GB RAM, a 512GB hard drive, and a 14.1″ Full HD display.

Litebook Laptop with Elementary OS (Photoshopped).

Litebook laptop specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3150 quad core “Braswell” processor @ 1.60 / 2.08 GHz with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 4GB RAM (soldered)
  • Storage – 512GB hard drive (upgradeable), micro SD slot, optional 32GB mSATA SSD
  • Display – 14.1″ display with 1920×1080 resolution
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 port
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, stereo speakers
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Camera – 720p front-facing camera
  • Battery – Replaceable battery (capacity unstated) with an estimated 9 hours of battery life
  • Dimensions – 341.2 x 235 x 21.6 mm
  • Weight – ~1.5 kg

One worry is that Litebook is a completely new company, but they did not design the model themselves, as the laptop is/was available for sale on sites like Aliexpress or DHGate but pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 or 10 instead. We know because the promotional photos looks the same, as the first picture at the top was photoshopped, replacing Windows by Linux based Elementary OS.

That’s both positive and negative, as it means the hardware has been used in the past, but it raises question about software support. The latter concern is somewhat alleviated, as Liliputing reports, since the company openly answered comments on Reddit here and there, where they explain they’ve updated the Linux kernel to version 4.8 for wireless support, and the laptop comes with PlayonLinux and Wine for Windows programs support,WPS/Kingsoft Office, and Firefox as the default web browser. If you find out you don’t like Elementary OS, you’ll be able to install any other Linux distributions with Linux 4.8, or even Windows on the laptop.

Litebook is now for sale for $249 with the 512GB hard drive, or $269 with the 512 GB HDD and an extra 32GB mSATA SSD (Hybrid storage option), where the operating system is installed for better performance. Shipping is not included in the price, and the laptop appears to ship to North America and Europe, but none of the countries I tried in Asia.

GPD Pocket Cherry Trail 7″ Portable Computer Runs Ubuntu 16.04 or Windows 10 (Crowdfunding)

February 15th, 2017 18 comments

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
  • System Memory – 8GB LPDDR3-1600
  • Storage – 128GB eMMC flash
  • Display – 7″ multi-touch display with 1920×1200 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port for final model (prototype has mini HDMI port)
  • Audio – Realtek ALC5645,  built-in stereo speaker, microphone, 3.5mm headset jack
  • Connectivity –  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth
  • 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.

$369 CHUWI Hi13 2-in-1 Windows 10 Tablet is Equipped with a 3000×2000 Display, Supports Ubuntu / Linux

February 15th, 2017 10 comments
I’ve recently reviewed CHUWI LapBook 14.1 laptop powered by an Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 quad core processor, and found it to be a perfectly usable entry-level laptop with a few caveats like potential issues with USB ports, and the lack of brightness keys. The company is now about to launch with a higher end model, with the same processor, but instead of a 14.1″ Full HD display it will come with a high resolution 3000×2000 touchscreen 13.5″ display. The tablet will sell with Windows 10, but the company also claims support for Ubuntu, and other Linux distributions will likely work too.

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CHUWI Hi13 specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Celeron N3450 quad core “Apollo Lake” processor @ 1.1 GHz / 2.2 GHz (Burst frequency) and 12 EU Intel HD graphics 500 @ 200 MHz / 700 MHz (Burst freq.); 6W TDP
  • System Memory – 4GB DDR3L memory
  • Storage – 64 GB eMMC storage + micro SD slot for up to 128GB extra
  • Display – 13.5″ touchscreen display with 3000 x 2000 resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Video Output – micro HDMI port
  • Audio –  Via HDMI port, 4x speakers, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Keyboard – Detachable metal rotary QWERTY keyboard
  • USB – 2x USB port on keyboard, 1x USB type C port on tablet with support for power, data, audio & video
  • Camera – 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
  • Battery – 10,000mAh battery, fast charging with 24W power supply
  • Dimensions – 334 x 222 x 9.2mm
  • Weight – 1080 grams (tablet only)
The 2-in-1 hybrid tablet/laptop will also sell with a Chuwi HiPen H3, and the older HiPen H1 stylus also works with it.
 The company also provided a comparison table between CHUWI Hi13, Microsoft Surface Book, and Apple iPad Pro.
Hi13 Surface Book iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
Price $369 Starting at $1499 Starting at $799
Operating system Windows 10 (Ubuntu OS support) Windows 10 iOS 10
Screen size 13.5 inch 13.5 inch 12.9 inch
Resolution 3000 x 2000 3000 x 2000 2732 x 2048
Pixel density (PPI) 267 267 264
Aspect ratio 3:2 3:2 4:3
Speakers Four speaker audio Two speaker audio Four speaker audio
Thinness 9.2mm 13.0mm 6.9mm
Processor Quad-core Intel Apollo Lake Dual-core Intel Core i5/i7 Dual-core Apple A9X
Fanless design Yes No Yes
All-metal design Yes No Yes
Type-C port 1 x USB Type-C None None
HDMI port 1x Micro HDMI None None
Stylus HiPen H3 Surface Pen Apple Pencil
Keyboard Detachable rotary keyboard Detachable rotary keyboard Keyboard cover

While there are some similarities, the cheapest Surface Book comes with 8GB RAM and a 128 SSD, and a dual core Core i5 processor that will be much faster than the Apollo Lake processor, and usable for video editing and recent 3D games, which won’t be the case for CHUWI Hi13. Nevertheless, that could still be an interesting option for people looking for a device with a high resolution display for less than $400.

CHUWI Hi13 will be officially released on February 20, with pre-orders for $369 starting on the same date. [Update: You’ll find the device on GearBest, GeekBuying and Aliexpress for about $350]