Trending February 2024 # Lenovo Thinkpad T490S Review: Slimmer Than Ever, X1 Carbon Aesthetic # Suggested March 2024 # Top 4 Popular

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The ThinkPad T490s is a stylish business notebook offering the same general aesthetic as other present and past ThinkPad models. Consumers get a tapered base combined with slim bezels — they’re 11-percent smaller than the bezels found on the T480s model. Overall, the T490s is 13-percent thinner than before with a starting weight at 2.8lbs.

The T490s is available with the 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8365U and i7-8665U processors, up to 32GB of RAM, and a 14-inch Full HD display with four options, including anti-glare coating and multi-touch. Consumers can choose up to a 1TB SSD, Windows 10 Home or Pro, and an optional hybrid IR webcam with ThinkShutter.

Consumers have new display options with the ThinkPad T490s: a 14-inch 500 nits HDR panel, as well as a 400 nits FHD display with Privacy Guard. The new model is rounded out with a match-in-sensor fingerprint reader, anti-fry protection, rapid charging, and a new side mechanical docking system for using the ThinkPad Pro Dock.

Lenovo has retained the bright red TrackPoint nestled in the keyboard, which, if nothing else, retains that iconic old school ThinkPad look. The company has also retained the triple-button trackpad with subtle red accents, the shiny ThinkPad logo on the palm rest, and another ThinkPad logo on the lid.

The laptop rests on small rubber feet. The majority of the model’s ports are located along the laptop’s left side with one USB port on the right side. When the lid is closed, there’s no way to discern the T490s from the slew of other similarly sized ThinkPad models. That’s a good thing if you aren’t interested in sticking out in the board room or putting your system on display.

The T490s’ screen can lie perfectly flat on a surface, meaning you have the freedom to use stands that elevate the keyboard/base without worrying about whether you’ll still be able to see the display. The screen’s viewing angles are excellent (and there’s a privacy option to keep other’s from taking a peek from the side if you need it), and the hinge holds its position at whatever angle you put it, even if you’re carrying it around with the lid open.

The T490s brings some additional perks to the table compared to the similar T490 model — you’ll enjoy that sub-3lbs weight, meaning you’ll hardly feel this notebook when it’s in your travel bag, and it has the visual appeal of the X1 Carbon.

Though it’s fairly slim and small, Lenovo reassures buyers that the T490s has undergone MIL-SPEC 810G certification tests across categories that include high humidity and temperature exposure, mechanical shocks, use at high altitude, temperature shocks, vibration tests, and sand tests.

The durability adds that special element of appeal for travelers who may worry about the longevity of lesser ultrabooks when frequently taken on the road or subjected to turbulence in an airplane bin.

TECH SPECS:Processor:

– Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8365U with vPro (1.60GHz, up to 4.10GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 6MB Cache)

– Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8665U with vPro (1.90GHz, up to 4.80GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8MB Cache)

Operating System:

– Windows 10 Home

– Windows 10 Pro

Display:

– 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080, 250 nits) IPS anti-glare

– 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080, 300 nits) IPS anti-glare multi-touch

– 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080, 400 nits) IPS Low-power

– 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080, 400 nits) IPS with PrivacyGuard (Coming Soon)

Memory: Up to 32 GB DDR4 2400MHzBattery: Up to 20 hoursStorage: Up to 1 TB PCIe SSDGraphics: Integrated Intel UHD 620 graphicsAudio:

– Dolby Audio Premium

– Dual far-field microphones

Dimensions:

– Black: WQHD & low-power FHD: 12.94″ x 8.85″ x 0.63″

– Black: FHD, FHD Touchscreen, & FHD PrivacyGuard: 12.95″ x 8.90″ x 0.63″

– Silver: All panels: 12.96″ x 8.90″ x 0.67″ / 329.15 x 226.45 x 17.2 (mm)

Weight Starting at:

– Black: FHD Touchscreen 2.98 lbs

– Black: FHD non-touch, low-power, PrivacyGuard, and WQHD 2.81 lbs

– Silver: 3.29 lbs

Camera:

– HD 720p with ThinkShutter privacy cover

– Optional: Hybrid Infrared (IR) with ThinkShutter

Keyboard:

– Spill resistant

– Bottom-load backlight with white LED lighting (Optional)

Color:

– Black

– Silver

Connectivity:

– WWAN: Fibocom L850-GL 4G LTE-A Cat9 (Optional)

– WLAN: Intel Dual-Band 9560 802.11 AC (2 x 2)

– Bluetooth 5.0

– Bluetooth 5.0 with vPro

Ports/Slots:

– 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (one Always On)

– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C

– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C / Intel Thunderbolt 3

– Combo MicroSD card reader / Micro-Sim slot

– Smart card reader (Optional)

– Headphone / mic combo

– HDMI 1.4

– RJ45 Gigabit via Ethernet Extension Adapter (Optional)

Security:

– Fast Online Identity (FIDO) authentication capabilities

– dTPM 2.0

– Optional: Match-on-Chip touch fingerprint reader

– ThinkShutter

– Optional: PrivacyGuard (Coming Fall 2023)

– Optional: PrivacyAlert (requires PrivacyGuard)*

– Kensington lock slot

You're reading Lenovo Thinkpad T490S Review: Slimmer Than Ever, X1 Carbon Aesthetic

Motorola Razr (2024) Review: Sharper Than Ever

Pros

Flagship-level performance

Gorgeous updated design

Crease not very noticeable

Impressive camera chops

Cons

Speakerphone issues

Only one OS upgrade promised

No telephoto lens

Our Verdict

The Motorola Razr 2023 is the first truly tempting foldable from Motorola, fixing the biggest flaws of its predecessors while dropping the price to lower than that of its main rival, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.

Motorola is back for another stab at the modern foldable phone and the Razr 2023 is the third-generation attempt. 

It’s been a couple of years since the last model, and the Razr 2023’s predecessors both had some issues that need ironing out. 

The good news is that the main complaints, including performance, cameras and most importantly, price, have all been heavily improved to offer a tempting option to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, the dominating clamshell foldable in Western markets.

The question is, has Motorola done enough? You might be surprised…

Design & Build 

Less of a Razr feel 

No chin

Heavier

Side-mounted fingerprint scanner 

The Razr 2023 is the same but different when compared to the 2023 Razr 5G. That was unmistakably a Razr but this year the iconic chin is completely gone, for better or worse. 

On the one hand, it no longer gets in the way of using the main screen when the phone is unfolded. But it also means the phone loses some of its personality, looking similar to other clamshell foldables on the market.  

It is slightly weightier at 200g, and it’s fairly wide even when folded, closely mirroring the width of the iPhone 14 Pro Max at 79.8mm wide. Of course, it doesn’t matter as much when the thing folds down to a pocketable 86.5 x 79.8 x 17mm, but it’s worth noting.

Whether you like the new, slightly glittery, satin-textured rear cover will be down to personal preference, but previous models were far too slippery, so this does add a bit more grip. This applies to the lower section, whereas the top part with the secondary screen is all glass. 

Henry Burrell / Foundry

One thing I’m not so keen on is the way the power button and volume buttons are all grouped into a small space on the right side. The folding nature means the power button is either on top or below depending on whether the phone is open or closed. 

This would be easily remedied if the volume buttons were on the left side of the phone. The current positioning can also make it tricky to unlock the phone using the fingerprint scanner embedded within the power button, as I found myself constantly resting my finger on the volume buttons instead.

It’s also a little too high up the phone (when open) for it to be comfortable and registers a lot of accidental brushes of fingers, so there’s certainly some work to be done there. 

There’s still no IP waterproof rating unlike Samsung’s popular Galaxy Z Flip 4 so you’ll have to make do with a water-repellent coating once again. It should be okay in very light rain, but I wouldn’t trust it in anything more.  

Displays & Audio 

Crisp, bright internal 6.7in AMOLED display

No visible crease when in use

Large outer display is handy for certain tasks

Issues with microphone in some calls

When it comes to the displays, it’s a story of two halves; while there have been significant upgrades to the internal foldable display, the exterior 2.4in display is essentially the same as its predecessor.

Let’s start with the big foldable display. It’s larger this time around at 6.7in, giving the likes of the Google Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max a run for their money, complete with a super-fast 144Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. It’s ideal for watching videos on the punchy AMOLED screen.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

That means that while the phone is compact in its folded form, it’s fully in big phone territory when unfolded, offering the big-screen experience without the associated size and weight. It’s bright, crisp and detailed, with no real downgrades compared to standard slab phones.

In fact, the crease – which has plagued foldables since their inception – is nearly unnoticeable on the Razr, making it instantly more appealing than the likes of the Galaxy Z Flip 4. With a new hinge system at play, the indentation is barely noticeable even when running a finger over it, and when looking front-on, it’s difficult to spot the curvature.

Glancing from the sides will reveal a slight crease, but when was the last time you looked at your phone side-on?

It’s truly a phenomenal feat of engineering and the Motorola team should give itself a pat on the back for that one.  

As noted, the external 2.7in HFD+ display remains unchanged, but that’s not a huge deal. It offers a distinctly different experience from the 1.7in display on the Z Flip 4, with the ability to reply to incoming messages, open apps (albeit awkwardly), control music and even access high-quality cameras for selfies.

Core display experience aside, the foldable nature of the phone had the bonus effect of stopping me from mindlessly scrolling as often as I usually would. The barrier of having to first unfold the phone makes me question whether I really need to use my phone at that point.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

When texts and other notifications came through, I could simply check and respond on the exterior display and move on.  It’s not perfect for texting admittedly, with a relatively small on-screen keyboard within that 2.7in display, but it worked well for quick, simple replies.

As you might expect, the audio performance isn’t that impressive on the Razr, but it’ll suffice for watching TikToks and YouTube videos on the go. Dolby Atmos support provides a high-quality audio experience with connected headphones, with tailored modes for everything from music to movies to podcasts.

The big disappointment is the loudspeaker – while it’s plenty loud enough to take calls on speakerphone, for some reason, participants can’t hear me with the functionality active, complaining that I sound like I’m “underwater”. It happened with different people on different calls in different locations, so it’s certainly not down to signal either.

It may sound like a small thing, but as someone that puts calls on speaker fairly often, it’s a frustrating annoyance that I hope can be fixed via software update.  

Specs & Performance 

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1

Boosted performance compared to the previous Razr

5G, Wi-Fi 6E & Bluetooth 5.2

The Motorola Razr 2023 sports Qualcomm’s very power-efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. It was the very best chipset on the market at launch, though it’s worth noting that it has recently been replaced by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

That said, the pairing of the 8+ Gen 1 and 8GB of RAM makes for a speedy experience on the Razr, further enhanced by that buttery smooth 144Hz refresh rate that makes everything feel instantaneous. There was no hint of stutter or lag no matter what I was doing on the phone, and considering its sleek form factor, that’s pretty impressive.

It’s not a dedicated gaming phone and as such, it should come as no surprise that it can get hot over longer gaming sessions, but for the occasional game of Call of Duty Mobile or PUBG, it should more than suffice. We’ve got a rundown of the best gaming phones if gaming really is your thing.

Simply put, the 2023 Razr gets a massive upgrade performance compared to the mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset that shipped with the previous Razr 5G, making it worth its premium price tag. If you’re curious, here’s how it stacks up to the foldable (and non-foldable) competition in benchmarking apps:

Performance aside, you get the latest and greatest connectivity including 5G, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and there’s 256GB storage as standard in the UK – though 128- and 512GB models are available in some other regions.

Cameras

Big boost to camera performance

New ultrawide lens on the rear

Can use rear cameras as a selfie camera

Performance wasn’t the only issue with the original Razr – the camera setup was another weakness, with a single rear-facing 48Mp snapper and an internal 20Mp snapper. They were fine, but nothing to write home about. It’s safe to say that has changed with the Razr 2023.

Now don’t get your hopes up and expect the same multi-camera setup as the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra as the foldable form factor simply doesn’t allow for it, but the camera offering is much more competitive this time around.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

The main star of the show is the rear-facing 50Mp snapper, with an aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. While a 2Mp jump doesn’t sound like much, the sensor has been upgraded to offer something near flagship level.

It’s capable both during the day and, much to my surprise, at night too, with decent nighttime performance without the need for a tripod. It certainly helps that, as with the Z Flip 4, you can half-fold the Razr and stand it nearby, ideal for both selfies and videos.

It’s a huge upgrade that makes the Razr a much more attractive option, with results that can compete with other high-end competition.

That’s flanked by an all-new 13Mp 120-degree ultrawide camera, adding a wider perspective to shots. It’s not quite as impressive as the main sensor, with a notable drop in overall quality when viewing images side-by-side. Images are softer overall, and lack the crisp detail of the main sensor. Still, it’s more than enough for social media sharing – just don’t try and use it for nighttime photography with an aperture of f/2.2.

The rear camera has also had a bump in the video department, going from 4K@30fps to 8K@30fps with a 4K@60fps option also available.

There is a 32Mp internal selfie camera, but with the ability to close the phone and use the exterior cameras to take selfies using the outer display as a viewfinder, I find it to be pretty redundant. The images from the main sensor are, unsurprisingly, more detailed with better dynamic range and vibrancy, but it’ll more than suffice for video calling.

Here are a few snaps to show what the camera setup is capable of:

Battery Life & Charging 

Comfortable all-day battery life

3,500mAh battery

30W charging

Considering the form factor on offer from the Razr and the fact the battery tops out at 3,500mAh, I was pleasantly surprised by just how long it could last, no doubt benefiting from the impressive power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

I wouldn’t consider myself a power user by any means, but I do regularly text, call and scroll through social media on my phone, and apps like TikTok in particular usually hammer battery life.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

However, I found that I’d comfortably last all day on a single charge, getting to bed after a 14-16 hour day with around 30 percent battery left in the tank. That’s not enough for a second full day, but it certainly helps alleviate battery anxiety, and makes for a nice change compared to the lacklustre battery life of the original.

It achieved a fairly decent nine hours nine minutes in our PCMark battery test benchmark, comfortably beating the 7hrs 42 minutes of the foldable Galaxy Z Flip 4, though unsurprisingly it can’t compete with standard candybar phones like the Sony Xperia 10 IV and its crazy 24:52 battery life score.

Still, the inclusion of 30W fast charging is welcome, providing 30% charge in 15 minutes, 59% in 30 minutes and a full charge in just over an hour. The 30W charging brick comes in the box too, a nice change compared to a growing number of phone manufacturers.

Software & Apps

Android 12 

Moto Actions are handy

Only one OS upgrade promised

Motorola keeps things simple on the software front. The phone ships with Android 12 but the firm sticks with a stock-like experience, avoiding the annoyance on other Android phones where you have duplicate apps, bloatware and a frustrating user experience. 

The likes of TikTok and Facebook are pre-installed which is more than normal but it’s likely many users will want these anyway. 

Henry Burrell / Foundry

Otherwise, there are just a couple of basic games and the very useful Moto app which contains various tips, settings and gestures. Doing a karate chop gesture to activate the torch is a personal favourite of mine. Yes, really.

I like Motorola’s touches dotted around the OS such as the dynamic wallpaper which moves when you open and close the Razr, although it can get a bit jerky if you don’t do it in a smooth motion. The clock widget is one of the best out there with info on battery, date and weather and I also love the tweaks to the exterior display to make it more useful, with shortcuts to apps, the weather and the camera app.

The only downside is the update promise. Unlike manufacturers like Samsung offering four years of OS upgrades with its smartphones, Motorola has only confirmed that the Razr will get one update to Android 13, with no word on longer-term support.

If you like to stay on the bleeding edge of Android updates, Samsung’s One UI-powered Z Flip 4 could be a more tempting option. It has been promised four years of Android updates and five of security patches.

Henry Burrell / Foundry

Price & Availability 

The Motorola Razr 2023 comes in at £949.99 in the UK and at the time of writing doesn’t have a planned launch in the US. Those in the States can grab the Razr 5G for just $599, though, which is better than half price. 

Importantly, that British RRP is much cheaper than the previous-gen foldable’s £1,399 price tag, and also undercuts the Razr’s main rival, the £999 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. 

The difference is that Samsung offers three different models for memory and storage while Motorola has just one, so it’s 8/256GB or nothing. On the plus side, this option for the Flip 4 is £1,059 so you are saving over £100 in comparison.

If you’re tempted, you can buy the Motorola Razr 2023 from Motorola directly alongside UK retailers like Amazon and OnBuy.

Verdict

The original foldable Razr was certainly a looker, but it relied heavily on the nostalgia of the old clamshell with a lacklustre camera setup and middling performance despite a very high-end price tag. Thankfully, Motorola has fixed that with the Razr 2023.

It’s no longer a compromise to own a foldable, offering flagship-level performance, a stunning display with a barely noticeable crease and a boosted camera setup that better allows the Razr to compete with high-end alternatives, both foldable and non-foldable.

Sure, there are still a few compromises to be had, particularly around durability without any official water resistance, and the single Android OS update commitment is a massive disappointment compared to the four years of Samsung’s foldable, but it remains a solid choice that undercuts most of the foldable competition.

Specs

Main foldable 6.7in FHD+ AMOLED display, 144Hz

Exterior 2.7in FHD+ AMOLED display, 60Hz

Open dimensions: 79.8 x 167 x 7.6mm

Closed dimensions: 79.8 x 86.5 x 17mm

200g

IP52 water-repellant design

Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (body)

Stainles steel hinge

USB-C 3.1

Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1

8GB RAM

256GB of UFS 3.1 storage

Side fingerprint reader

3500mAh battery

30W TurboPower charging

Rear 50Mp f/1.8 camera with OIS, 13Mp f/2.2 120-degree ultrawide

32Mp selfie camera, f/2.4

Up to 8K@30fps video

Dolby Atmos speaker support

Moto Actions

Bluetooth 5.1

Wi-Fi 6E

5G connectivity

Available in Satin Black

Jaime Escalante, More Inspiring Than Ever

When you think about Jaime Escalante, think about this: Passing Advanced Placement exams is an uphill battle for most students, but for African American and Latino high school kids it can feel like pushing a big rock up that hill. Even though more students are taking the exams, the pass rate is declining. Just 16.7 % of African American students and 41.3 % of Hispanic students scored well enough to earn college credit on the two AP calculus tests given last year. Versus more than 69% for white students.

These numbers make Jaime Escalante’s feat at Los Angeles’s Garfield High School even more awe-inspiring. The legendary calculus teacher, immortalized in the film, Stand and Deliver, died on March 30th after battling cancer. He was 79.

Escalante took a class of predominantly Latino, inner-city students, whom others said couldn’t learn, and taught them to master calculus. He did so well, that in 1982 every student in his class nailed AP Calculus, nearly half with a perfect score.

That led to a much-publicized scandal where the College Board suspected cheating, invalidated the results, and made the students re-take the test. There were hard feelings and not all the students took it again, but those who did, all passed the second time around.

How did he do it? “He wouldn’t budge on his expectations,” said Thomas Valdez, who had Escalante for math class from 1989 through 1991. Valdez, now a senior member of the engineering staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, describes himself as one of Escalante’s weakest students. “That poor man, I really put him through a lot.”

Valdez has had many math and science teachers since high school – he’s about to earn his Ph.D. – and says he’s still blown away by all that Escalante accomplished. “My calculus classes in college were a joke compared to what I had gone through with him.”

Valdez visited his mentor in the hospital a few weeks ago, and says he told Escalante how grateful he is that “even when he had a hard case like me, he stuck with me.” He laughs and says it’s no exaggeration. ” He basically was just there at my side every minute.”

His toughness didn’t always sit well with fellow teachers, especially when he supported California’s Proposition 227, the 1998 ballot measure that banned most bilingual education programs. He left Garfield High amidst some ill will. But there’s no question that his methods worked. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement praising Escalante’s doggedness. “His life provides yet one more reminder of the many teachers who work zealously every day to open the minds and doors of opportunity for students.”

To read more about Jaime Escalante’s life and legacy, and about the AP exam, here are some additional reports and articles:

Website of actor Edward Jame Olmos, who portrayed Escalante in Stand and Deliver.

Los Angeles Times Obituary, March 31, 2010

National Public Radio Obituary, March 31, 2010

Edutopia, 2006 brief about the movie

College Board AP Report to the Nation Feb. 2010

Stand and Deliver Revisited: The untold story behind the famous rise — and shameful fall — of Jaime Escalante, America’s master math teacher, chúng tôi July 2002

Real-Life Flashbacks to ‘Stand, Deliver’. Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1988

Lenovo Smart Tab P10 Review: Just Buy An Echo Show

Lenovo Smart Tab P10

The Lenovo Smart Tab P10 is a unique two-in-one device that doubles as an Echo Show while docked and an Android tablet when on the go. Unfortunately, the P10’s Android experience is far from great. The tablet is suitable for occasional Netflix streaming and web surfing, but if you want the Echo Show experience, buy a smart display from Amazon.

CES is a yearly trade show where companies near and far come together and introduce new products. Lenovo showed up to this year’s event with a fresh two-in-one Android tablet that doubles as an Amazon Echo Show. Called the Smart Tab P10, the unique device allows you to carry around a fully-functional Android tablet and also dock it so it can act as a smart display while it charges. 

Now that the device is available to purchase, is it worth $350? This is Android Authority’s Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review.

About this Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review: I used two Smart Tab P10 units supplied by Lenovo for a month. The first unit was defective. The second tablet we received was running Android 8.1 Oreo version TB-X705F_S000041_20240322_ROW with the February 5, 2023, Android security patch.

Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review: The big picture

What’s in the box

Lenovo Smart Dock

Power adaptor for dock

3-ft USB-C cable

MicroSD card ejection tool

The unboxing experience doesn’t hold any surprises. Open the box and you will be greeted with the Smart Tab P10. The Lenovo Smart Dock and power adapter can be found below a piece of cardboard alongside the quick start guide.

Lenovo also threw in a microSD card ejection tool and a USB-C cable. The tool can be inserted into the right side of the tablet to pop the memory card tray out of the device. The USB cable can be used to charge the Smart Tab P10 directly if you don’t want to place the tablet on the dock. Unfortunately, Lenovo doesn’t include a wall adapter, so you’ll have to provide your own. 

242 x 167 x 7mm

440g

Glass build

Fabric-covered plastic dock

Single rear and front camera

Front-facing fingerprint sensor

Four speakers tuned with Dolby Atmos

3.5mm headphone jack

The best cable organizers for keeping your cord clutter to a minimum

The best

Just like other smart displays, the dock features three buttons: Bluetooth, volume rocker, and mute. It also includes a kickstand that rotates out of the base of the dock for stability. The added support is necessary if you plan to interact with the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 while it’s on the accessory.

Display

10.1-inch LCD IPS display

1920 x 1200 Full HD resolution

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450

Octa-core, 1.8GHz

4GB RAM, 64GB storage

MicroSD card up to 256GB

Battery

7,000mAh

All-day battery life

Charges through dock

Despite its slim profile, the Smart Tab P10 has a rather large 7,000mAh battery. Larger cells don’t always equal longer battery lives, but Lenovo did a good job optimizing the tablet’s software. 

I was getting roughly 10 to 12 hours of screen-on time during my testing, and my use included scrolling through social media, watching random YouTube videos, and occasionally refreshing my Feedly list. 

Most will put the tablet back on the charger well before the battery is depleted

Other than when I was explicitly trying to run down the battery, I never left the Smart Tab P10 off of the dock for more than two to three hours. I expect most customers will probably follow in my footsteps and only pick up the device for short periods. 

Camera

Rear: 8MP with autofocus

Front: 5MP with fixed focus

Software

Android 8.1 Oreo

Lightly skinned software experience

Show mode 

Productivity mode

10 best productivity apps for Android

App lists

As the Smart Tab P10 lacks processing power, the experience of jumping between several running apps was less than optimal. Productivity mode would be a great thing to see Lenovo bring to a higher-end tablet. 

Audio

3.5mm headphone jack

Four front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos

Three far-field mics and two 3W speakers in the dock

The speakers on the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 let me down. After learning that the four front-facing speakers include Dolby Atmos, I expected loud, clear audio while watching a show or listening to music. Instead, the tablet delivers an unimpressive audio experience that you might expect from a budget smartphone. 

Lenovo preinstalls a Dolby Atmos app on the Smart Tab P10, but there’s only so much adjusting you can do to fix the flat sound that comes from the tablet’s speakers. 

Your best bet is to pair the tablet to Lenovo’s Smart Dock over Bluetooth, which can be done while it’s removed from the accessory. The unit includes two much larger drivers and produces loud and more pleasing audio. It lacks in the bass department, but it would have been hard to fit a small subwoofer into the plastic dock.

Lenovo Smart Tab P10 specs

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 with 2GB/16GB — $199.99

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 with 3GB/32GB — $249.99

Lenovo Smart Tab P10 with 3GB/32GB — $299.99

Lenovo Smart Tab P10 with 4GB/64GB — $349.99

Although we reviewed the top Smart Tab P10 model with a glass back, Lenovo also sells the Smart Tab M10 which features a plastic build (perhaps better for families with small children.) The four variants available are largely the same under the hood, with only slight differences to reach different price points.

After experiencing the performance issues on the most-capable (4GB/64GB) variant of the Lenovo Smart Tab P10, I wouldn’t recommend any of the three slower models. This is even more true if you plan to use the Android aspect of the device. 

Samsung Infuse 4G Review: More Media Player Than Phone

The Samsung Infuse 4G ($200 on AT&T after a new 2-year contract) is a great-looking phone with exceptional media capabilities. Unfortunately, while it may shine at playing movies and music, images and text come out looking like a mess.

Polished Look

The front face of the device also features a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chatting and the usual Android soft keys (Menu, Home, Back, and Search). The Infuse also has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, and the micro-USB charging port at the bottom doubles as an HDMI-out (more on that later).

TouchWiz 4.0

The Infuse runs the latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz, which adds more handy features to this already-useful overlay. Pinching anywhere on the screen gives you a birds-eye view of all your home screens and lets you rearrange them however you wish. Doing the same in your app drawer allows you to easily view all of your applications and quickly navigate to the one you are looking for.

This new version of TouchWiz also tweaks your Contacts List to make it easier to quickly call or text someone. Swiping left on a contact will take you to the Messaging app, while swiping right will initiate a call to that contact. This is a great feature for people who want to quickly get in touch with others without slogging through countless menus to do it.

Other than TouchWiz and a handful of AT&T applications, the Infuse is relatively free of preloaded software. This was a breath of fresh air, as most mobile carriers seem to like to stuff their Android phones with as many extra apps as they possibly can. The Infuse will also be the first AT&T Android phone that will let you side-load applications. Now users can download apps from the Web and install them on their phone, whether those apps are in the official Android Market or not.

Performance

The Samsung Infuse runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), but is due to get version 2.3 (Gingerbread) later this year. The phone has a 1.2GHz single-core processor, which was able to handle most of the tasks I threw at it. The only time I saw any noticeable slowdown was when I was downloading and installing several dozen apps at once.

Finally, the great thing about the Infuse’s large screen is that typing on its touchscreen keyboard is incredibly easy–even for people with thicker fingers. While still not as good as a physical QWERTY keyboard, I was able to easily pound out a several text messages and an e-mail with few to no errors.

A Media Master

The Infuse makes a great portable media player, and even comes with an HDMI adapter and a pair of decent earbuds (as mentioned above, you can use the micro-USB charging port on the bottom for HDMI). Its 4.5-inch screen is perfect for watching movies on the go, and the external speaker can get pretty loud at higher volumes. The Media Hub app lets you rent or download movies to your device, and the Infuse comes with a $25 voucher for use in the store.

And don’t worry too much about space: The Infuse has 16GB of internal memory and comes with a 2GB microSD card (and you can get a larger one if you need it).

Conclusion

The Samsung Infuse is a great device for media consumption, provided you can get over the text- and image-rendering issues. Reading pixilated text on that otherwise gorgeous 4.5-inch display is just a tad heartbreaking, to say the least. But if you are someone who is likes to watch movies on the go, then this is the phone for you.

Lenovo Miix 10 Review: A Good Tablet With An (Optional) Killer Keyboard

Lenovo’s Miix 10 is a solid hybrid: It’s comfortable and responsive, and the optional keyboard cover is a cut above. But so is the price tag for a generation-old processor.

Lenovo is known for building notebooks with exquisite keyboards, but the company is also no stranger to the tablet game. It has also introduced pioneering convertibles, such as the Yoga 11s and the newer Flex 14. The Miix 10 should be the culmination of that experience, but this hybrid falls short.

The Miix 10’s specs are par for the course—if you’re playing last year’s course. The 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM are to be expected, but the Clover Trail-based Atom Z2760 at the heart of this device is a generation behind. Most of Lenovo’s competitors have moved on to Bay Trail chips that deliver higher performance and longer battery life.

During my testing, I encountered several frustrating slowdowns that didn’t happen with the Bay Trail-based Asus Transformer Book T100, which uses a newer Atom Z3740 processor. And in our benchmark tests, the Miix 10 proved to be 10 to 20 percent slower than the Asus Transformer Book T100.

ROBERT CARDINLenovo’s keyboard case is exquisite. Unfortunately, it adds $100 to an already high price tag.

The Miix 10 also delivered less battery life than the Asus hybrid: 8 hours and 22 minutes. While it sounds odd to call 8-plus hours “short,” the Bay Trail-equipped Asus delivered more than 11 hours of useful life.

The 1.28 pounds of curved edges and a flat back felt comfortable in my hands, but the 10-inch widescreen was a little too big for me to hold comfortably in just one hand even in portrait mode. Video resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels no longer sounds impressive, but I found it to more than adequate in my day-to-day usage, both on a desk and in my lap. The only time I noticed pixels was while reading in bed lying on my stomach, which put the screen about a foot away from my face. The bright display has excellent viewing angles, and you can turn it down enough for nighttime reading or movie watching without lighting up the whole room.

ROBERT CARDINMore than 8 hours of battery life is great, but some Bay Trail tablets are delivering more than 11 hours.

The Miix 10 has all the ports you’d expect to find on a Windows tablet, including a Micro HDMI and a MicroSD slot (hidden beneath a plastic door) on the left side, and a headphone jack on the top right. There is also a Micro-USB port, but it’s in the center of the bottom edge, between the contacts for the keyboard dock. You can use it only if you’re not docked to the keyboard, and you’ll need the included adapter to plug in a full-size USB device.

Lenovo’s keyboards, on the other hand, are awesome. The Miix 10’s keyboard cover is no exception. Lenovo has managed to make a 10-inch keyboard feel just as comfortable as my full-size laptop keyboard. Key size, spacing, and travel are all superb.

The keyboard cover gives the tablet the feel of a high-end notepad rather than a cheap netbook. It protects the back of the tablet in addition to covering the screen when closed. The tablet slots into a holder on the bottom and is held in by two clips on each top corner. I was worried that it would be hard to get the tablet out, but in practice it was very easy to go from desktop typing to couch surfing. ROBERT CARDINTouching the Windows logo on the Miix 10’s bezel toggles between the Windows 8 Start screen and the current app.

When opened, the tablet tilts forward and is held in place by a magnet behind the top row of keys. This proved to be surprisingly stable even when typing in my lap. This style does limit you to only one angle for the screen, but in all my location set ups, I found that one angle to work just fine.

With the keys all the way at the front edge of the cover, there is no room for a trackpad. You might think that you don’t need one because you have a touchscreen, except every time I touched the screen to reposition the cursor in a wall of text, the onscreen keyboard pops up. And if you need to use an old desktop program that’s not finger friendly, you’ll want to plug in a mouse—except the only USB port is now blocked by the keyboard.

I’ll admit a bit of bias as I’m such a fan of Lenovo’s keyboards, but that’s not enough to justify this price for a CPU that’s a generation old. While not the best, performance and battery life are very good, so if your primary concern is a good typing experience, this machine might fit the bill.

Editor’s Note: This review is a head-to-head comparison with the Asus Transformer Book T100. You’ll find the introduction to the story here and the review of the Transformer Book T100 here.

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