As you might expect from its Toughbook classification the FZ-Q2 is a product that has been developed for use by professional field workers who require a device that can withstand the rigours of a workspace environment.
Developed by Panasonic, the FZ-Q2 combines a touchscreen element, which can double in the role of a laptop screen or tablet, with a spill resistant keypad. Whereas other 2-in-1 laptop products that I have checked out arrived as a single unit, my review sample of the FZ-Q2 was delivered boxed as two separate units packaged within their own boxes.
Having recently told you about a Dell small Tower system with Windows 10 v1703 the next item to cross my desk again from Dell is a notebook in the same Vostro series that also comes with the latest incarnation of Windows 10 v1703.
While it is described as a ‘business’ unit I see no reason while it should not also be a ‘home’ unit. It is 33x23.5x2cm and weighs 1605grams. Apart from the hinge and the rubber strips that form the feet – which are black – it is totally grey, silver grey for the top and bottom and dark grey for the screen surround and keyboard area. This means finger marks tend not to show.
This is the latest non Windows PC from Acer, it’s the Chromebook 11. From the outside it looks identical to most other notebooks open it and one look at the keyboard tells you immediately that this is a Chromebook as the alpha keys are all lower case.
For those that want to surf the Web, collect and send emails and even write the odd tome then a Chromebook is fine. In fact the Chrome store now has a growing amount of Apps – I counted over six hundred - so you may be able to do more than already described. What it cannot do is run Windows programs or Apps and if that is required then Acer have lots of Notebook and Tablets that will do so.
My second laptop, and third as well, were both Acer units and could almost be regarded as desktop replacements. The same could not be said of this next Acer unit.
While its title might give you the impression that this next product could be the top-of-the-range offering, in fact the Acer Swift 1 is the opposite in this particular brand line up in its portfolio with regards to specifications. My review sample is decked out in an obsidian black plastic casing, embossed with a silver Acer logo to add a touch of style to its brushed finish. The device has dimensions of 339.4 x 234.9 x 17.
It has been a while since I last took a look at an Acer device. This drought was ended with the arrival of the Acer Spin 5.
Having told you about a Panasonic ToughPad now onto the really ‘tough boy’ of the group the ToughBook. This is built to withstand environments that you really should not expect a computer to function in, it has even been launched outside a weather balloon and still worked when it came back to earth.
The Panasonic ToughBook CF-20 measures 27x23x3.5cm and weighs 1750grams. The viewable screen is 21.6x13.6cm 2which gives the notional diagonal imperial display of 10.1inches which means you can use the Mobile versions of Word/Excel/Power Point for free. However the screen resolution is higher than the PC norm of 1920x1080 you have 1920x1200 which is WUXGA.
Having told you about the Swift and the Spin we come to last new model that was launched last November in Glasgow this is the Switch. While I would describe the Spin as a Notebook/Tablet this unit the Switch is a Tablet/Notebook.
The Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 measures 29x20xjust over 1cm. and it weights 1275grams with the supplied keyboard attached and 909 grams without it. The attachment is very magnetic and just presents the two parts close together and they click in place. While the keyboard is solid the Tablet part would need to be propped against something without the stand that flips open from the Tablet you then have a very useable Notebook. The keyboard has 81 keys and the alpha keys are full size, there is .
Those of you who read about my trip to Glasgow in November last year would have been waiting for the next part of the Swift/Spin/Switch story the three groups of new notebooks launched there. The Swift arrived swiftly and you can read that part published at the start of January, the Spin has just arrived at the start of March but it does – joy of joys - have Windows Anniversary update (1607) pre-installed.
There are several models in each range and what you get – hard disc, processor and memory etc. - will depend on where you purchase it. The unit I was sent has an Intel i5 quad core Processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB Drive and as stated it comes with the Windows 10 Anniversary edition (1607) pre-installed. It weighs 2070grams, and it is 38x24.5x2cm the last figure reduces to 1.5cm at the front. This is both a Tablet and a Notebook hence the name ‘Spin’.
This notebook is both light and thin, it also has a metal chassis and for good measure it boots quickly. Anyone on the move that needs a PC has probably only one more request that it runs all day without the need to search out mains power, it can do that as well.
The ASUS ZenBook UX330UA measures 32x22x1cm, the figure at the front is less than 1cm and at the back just over 1cm, it weighs only 1206 grams. According to the website it is made of an aluminium alloy, which in summer would always make it feel cool in winter you may need gloves. The left side has a USB port, a 3.5mm socket for headphones and an SD card slot. The front is clear.
This is a Notebook and a Tablet; the 11.6inch screen can show 1366x768. As it’s a Tablet as well as a Notebook it of course has touch and then Windows 10 starts to make sense, not for Cortana but for the on screen annotation ability.
The Acer Aspire R3-131T measures 29.5x21x2.1cm the last figure at the back and it is only 1.5cm at the front, it weighs 1509grams. Going around the outside, on the left is an Ethernet port, HDMI, USB3, USB2 and finally a headset port. The front and back are clear, the base has reversing speakers, this leaves the right side that has volume rocker, two pin hole LEDs, on/off button and DC input. The viewable screen is 26x14.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 11.6inches.
This is the first of my reviews for machines launched at the very end of November by Acer in Glasgow, those who saw my launch report will know it was not cold, wet or snowy; I got the very cold bit almost as soon as I got back to the south of England.
The Acer Swift 3 measures 33.5x23x1cm, the last figure at the back while it is little more than half of that at the front, it weighs 1551 grams. Silver Grey in colour with only the four round rubber feet and the black hinge being different when closed. Open the lid and again the majority is Silver Grey with only the hinge and the keys of the keyboard being black. The viewable screen is 31x17.
With this next product I had to combine the roles of a reviewer and a brother.
It began, as can sometimes happen, with a telephone call. This was not the usual type of phone call with a PR agency asking if I would be interested in reviewing a product from one of their clients. Instead this was a call from one of my sisters to inform me that her desktop computer was playing up in various ways and she was ringing to ask for my help.
A long weekend in Glasgow in late November was not high on my list of places to visit, nothing against Glasgow or Scotland but the week previously it had been -10 degrees in Glasgow so armed with my long johns I ventured north of the border.
Let’s get the weather out of the way it was cold but not below freezing, it was dry with no rain or snow, some free time Saturday afternoon saw a visit to a Distillery not far from Glasgow, and while I do not drink alcohol I found the tour interesting and when we were returning to Glasgow after the visit there was the most amazing sunset. The nine notebooks come from four ranges Swift, Spin Convert, Detachable Switch and Cloud Book Aspire One 11.
Part of a new range of units recently launched, this is currently exclusive to Dixons/Currys and is a unit designed with the student in mind, either those off to university or maybe college, so it has to be a strong unit.
It is 37x25.5x2cm and weighs 2121 grams.
Going around the outside on the left edge are DC input a full size Ethernet port which is achievable by the base of the port flipping down, VGA, HDMI, two USB3 ports and a Kensington lock port. The front is clear. The right side has an SD Card slot, headphone out and a USB port then amazingly a DVD optical drive which like the Ethernet port is squeezed in by being a reduced height unit. The back is also clear with the screen going down to around 140 degrees.
If you move around then the most important things with a notebook/tablet are good battery life and unless you spend a good bit of time in the gym the weight of the unit or to be precise the lack of weight, this unit from ASUS ticks both boxes.
This ASUS Zen Book measures 32x22x1.2cm and weights 1344grams. Firstly as a normal notebook the slight copperish tinge to the lid, base and keyboard surround means no nasty fingermarks to show. Sadly this does not apply to the standard shiny black around the screen. The left side has a USB port, SD Card Slot, two pin hole LEDs with explanation, volume rocker and finally on/off button. The front and back are clear. The right side has DC input, USB port, USB 3.1 port, mini HDMI out and 3.
The word convertible brings my mind to cars where the roof opens out and in a way turning a Notebook into a Tablet is much the same transformation. This Pavilion unit from HP can be a standard Notebook however push the screen back through 180 degrees and you have a Tablet.
The HP Pavilion X360 Convertible laptop/tablet computer measures 32x22x2cm and weighs 1660 grams, the viewable screen is 29.5x16.5cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 13 inches the native screen resolution is 1920x1080.
As the start of the school year comes rushing up both parents and students start looking at new laptops. While the former want value for money and an assurance that it will do what is wanted of it, for the latter, style is also important.
In terms of basic specification the VivoBook Max X541SA should tick all the right boxes. It is available in an attractive brushed finish in either silver/white or red/blue and has a 15.6 inch 16:9 (1366 x 768) screen, an Intel dual-core Pentium processor N3710 1.6/2.56GHz (burst), 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive.
Adding a keyboard to a tablet is becoming a popular trend.
As it title of Latitude 12 Series 7000 2-in-1 might indicate, this Dell product is one of the new breed of hybrid portable offerings which goes by the model number of Latitude 7275. This product has been designed to attempt to give the user the best of both worlds when it comes to working with a tablet and a laptop within a single product. Central to this product is the Tablet with dimensions of 290 x 195 x 9mm (W x H x D) and weighing 638g. This 12.
The Latitude 3470 is a Dell laptop forming part of the 3000 series. This model has been designed for those users looking for a work machine that is reasonable priced.
This Dell 14-inch laptop has an understated appearance. Black in colour, the only real embellished seen on the unit’s casing is the appearance of a Dell logo on the top cover of the unit. Supplied with a two-piece power cord and battery pack, my review sample comes with an Intel Core i3 6100u CPU processor working in conjunction with an Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU. There is 4GB of DDR3 RAM.