What’s new in Tablets and Notebooks for 2014

2014 isn’t turning out to be an earth-shattering year for tablets or notebook laptop computers. However, a number of interesting (and sometimes, terrific) new models have been introduced so far this year – and more are on the horizon. Here’s a look at some of them, categorized by manufacturer.

What's new in Tablets and Notebooks for 2014
What’s new in Tablets and Notebooks for 2014

Chromebook 2
The Chromebook 2 was released this spring, and in many ways it puts a new spin on machines running the Chrome OS. It’s large for a Chromebook, with a 13.3 inch screen – there are a few bigger ones on the market, but not with the impressive 1920×1080 resolution of the Samsung. It comes in at just over three pounds, a nice weight for everything you get: a 2.1 GHz eight-core processor, 4 gigs of RAM and full HD capability plus nice extras like a 720p webcam that’s certified for Google Hangouts and an AirDroid web app for managing other devices. It looks good as well (although some feel it’s a bit tacky, with fake leather on its edges). The machine is more expensive (listing just under $400) and has a shorter battery life (about eight hours) than most of its Chrome OS competitors, but it’s as close as you’ll find to a true notebook laptop in a Chromebook. (Samsung has also released an 11-inch version that’s cheaper, but it doesn’t have the resolution or extras of its big brother.)

ATIV Book 9
On the laptop front, Samsung has come out with a new version of the ATIV Book 9 for 2014 and it’s a big step forward – with resolution and battery life among the major improvements in this latest model. The 15.6 inch, 1920×1080 display is noticeably brighter than in the past, and provides true HD far superior to the previous ATIV Book 9; it also allows for wide-angle viewing that wasn’t previously possible. As for battery life, this model averages an impressive 14 hours and you won’t find much better. You can store a lot of data with the Book 9 2014 model, with dual SSDs allowing for more than a gig of hard drive storage; it also comes with 8 gigs of RAM. Audio capability has been improved for 2014, with an SPlayer and a Wolfson DAC chip. At just over four pounds and carrying a price tag of anywhere from $1500-$2000, it’s a premium machine for premium performance.

Galaxy Note
Samsung has updated its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet for 2014, but a new addition to their product line has drawn the most interest. It’s the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2, a tablet that almost seems to be a laptop because of its size and price (between $750 and $850 depending on whether you choose the 32 or 64GB model). It should also be noted that only WiFi capability is available right now; an LTE version is due this summer. Size aside, the Note Pro 12.2 outperforms the smaller models, mostly because it includes a better version of Android, is equipped with USB 3.0 and is able to remotely connect to a computer. For 2014 Samsung has improved the viewing experience on all of their Note tablets, switching to a TFT LCD display that’s not as bright as previous editions but shows detail much better on the 2560×1600 screen.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The ThinkPad laptop has come a long way since its IBM days, and Lenovo has outdone itself in rebuilding it for 2014. Both the outside and inside have undergone big makeovers this year resulting in a beautiful 14-inch machine with terrific performance. Chief among the improvements to the X1 Carbon is the use of Intel’s newest dual-core processor, the i5-4200U with integrated HD 4400 graphics. Not only does that mean more processing power and a vastly improved display, but longer battery life as well. One disappointment is that a 1600×900 display is standard, but 2560×1440 WQHD is available as an upgrade. On the outside, this machine is much more solid than its predecessors, due to the use of a different carbon polymer in its construction; it feels lighter than in the past, but will hold up to wear a lot better. Two smaller changes worth mentioning is that the 2014 version no longer has trackpad mouse buttons and that the keyboard has only five rows of buttons rather than six. That may take a bit of getting used to, but doesn’t really detract from the performance of this terrific ThinkPad.
N20 and N20p Chromebooks
Lenovo has finally decided to move into the huge consumer chromebook market, with its first models due in the summer of 2014. The N20 and N20p will be very similar; the major differences will be that the N20p will come with a touchscreen, and will be hinged so that it can flex 300 degrees allowing you to tuck the keyboard behind the screen (but not 360 degrees, so you can’t use it in “full tablet” mode). It will be stylish (looking much like an IdeaPad Flex) but apparently won’t break much ground under the hood, with a quad-core Celeron processor, 16 GB/4GB of storage, and an 11.6 inch 1366×768 display. Connectivity should be one of the N20p’s strong points, though, with both 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 in order to make WiFi video conferencing a selling point for this machine. Retail price is expected to be around $329, quite a bang for the buck if this chromebook performs to its promise.

ThinkPad 10 Tablet and Yoga Tablet 10HD+
The Lenovo ThinkPad 10 is due out in early summer and looks like it could be a winner. It’s a solid, yet slim and light 10-inch tablet that runs full Windows applications with a lot of power. It uses a quad-core Intel processor which still allows for a 10-hour battery life, according to Lenovo. Noteworthy in the ThinkPad 10 is an active digitizer, which should provide better “digital writing” performance than the iPad. It will be easy to connect this tablet to a ThinkPad dock with HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports, as well as to an optional keypad, in essence turning a nice tablet into a full notebook laptop. The tablet is expected to launch at $599 (without accessories).
This summer will also see the debut of Lenovo’s new-and-improved Yoga Tablet 10HD+. They’ve taken the positives of the old Yoga tablet, including impressive battery life and a low price, and added a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and doubled the RAM to 2GB. They’ve also bumped the screen resolution up to 1920×1200 (it used to be 1280×800), improved the on-board camera from five to eight megapixels and moved it to the center of the tablet’s screen where it belongs. Despite all of the improvements, the list price should still only be $349, $50 more than the old model – not a bad price for what this tablet should be able to do.

Pavilion x360
Available now but due for a full roll-out later this summer, HP’s Pavilion x360 is primarily aimed at the convertible laptop market, equipped with a hinge that lets you use it as a laptop or tablet-style. However, it’s priced more like a tablet with a price in the $400 range – and in order to be priced so low, it leaves much to be desired in terms of performance. The processor is a dual-core Bay Trail-style Pentium N3520, more suited to a tablet than a notebook laptop; the display is just 720p, lower than most users would expect in a convertible. The Pavilion x360 comes fully equipped in terms of necessities and nice add-ons like WiFi, Bluetooth and Beats audio, and is striking in its appearance. It remains to be seen, though, whether HP can successfully serve the convertible market at a tablet price.

Slatebook 14
Later this year, HP is expected to release an interesting new machine, a 14-inch touchscreen notebook that won’t run Chrome, but Android instead – an odd choice, since most of the world is moving to Chrome for this type of machine, with Android mostly confined to the tablet world (with the exception of a machine from Lenovo). Not a lot is known about the new Slatebook 14 yet, but word is that it will come with a quad-core Tegra processor, 1080p, HDMI output and Beats Audio. It supposedly will also be fully-certified for GMS (Google Mobile Services). There is no target release date or expected price available yet.

HP 7 Plus and HP 8 Tablets
New this spring is HP’s effort to hit the very bottom of the price ladder with an Android tablet: the HP 7 Plus. Performance is certainly not the selling point when it comes to this device; it has a 1 GB quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 2 megapixel (rear) and 0.3 megapixel (front) cameras, a 7-inch 1024×600 display, about four hours of battery life and mono sound. But it’s pretty well built, and it’s certainly the only name-brand tablet you can find on the market for $99.99. It even beats the HP 8, which was also introduced this year at a $170 price point; it also runs on a Chinese quad-core processor with a 1024×768 display just under 8-inches, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of expandable storage, seven hours of battery life and stereo sound. They’re both what they promise to be: cheap Android tablets.

ElitePad 1000 G2 and ProPad 600 G1 Tablets
At the higher end of the HP product line, several updated products are either on the market or on the way for mid-2014. The ElitePad 1000 is a sleek and pleasing 10.1-inch business tablet with Windows 8.1 Pro, running on an Intel Atom Bay Trail 64-bit quad-core processor with some of the best connectivity options available on a tablet. The 1920×1200 screen has been improved and USB 3.0 has been added. It’s priced around $800 with an optional docking station with all the bells and whistles you’d expect. The ProPad 600 G1 is an Atom-powered tablet quite similar to the old ElitePad 900, except it isn’t as pretty and doesn’t have as many accessories. No pricing is available yet.

MacBook Air
There are only tweaks – but good ones – to the MacBook Air for 2014, the two major ones being processor and price. All of the newer models are now running on an Intel 1.4GHz dual-core processor, as opposed to the 1.3GHz processor found in 2013 models. Prices have also come down an average of about $100 for all models this year, which is certainly welcome. All other specs, including 4GB of storage and 128GB or 256GB of flash storage, remain the same in 2014.

iPad Air, iPad Pro and iPad Mini
The latest version of the iPad (which was actually released at the tail end of 2013 but still sets the standard for 10-inch tablets) is the iPad Air, and it’s a terrific update for this ubiquitous device. It’s much thinner and lighter, has the Retina screen but with better visibility from a steep angle (along with stereo speakers), and the Apple A7 64GHz chip (used in the iPhone 5s) boosts battery life while improving processing power dramatically, for only around $500 as a starting price. Rumors say a new version of the iPad Air with an A8 chip, 8 megapixel camera and fingerprint scanner, is expected late in 2014. An even larger version of Apple’s tablet, the iPad Pro with screen size of around 13-inches and either 2K or 4K screen resolution, is also rumored to be close to release, possibly in the fall of 2014. There’s rampant speculation about whether there will be a new version of the iPad Mini released sometime this year; several insiders say not to expect it, with the iPad Pro and the new iWatch taking priority in Apple’s development chain.

Surface Pro 3
In an attempt to compete with Apple, Microsoft is introducing its Surface Pro 3 in 2014. The device is actually designed to fit the “tablet that can replace a laptop” market, so the best comparison might be to the upcoming iPad Pro; the Surface Pro has a 12-inch, 2160×1440 screen and Intel chips from the ultrabook class, so its display and performance will come closer to that of a MacBook Air than an iPad Air. Its onboard memory and accessories are more like those of comparable laptops than tablets, as is its weight (when keyboard and accessories are included) – and its anticipated price. The Surface Pro 3 is due to market in mid-2014.

2014’s Hottest Trends for Computers and Mobile Devices

2014 won’t be viewed as a watershed year for computers, tablets or smart phones – the year’s trends are more incremental than groundbreaking. There’s no new product like the iPhone or iPad which will take the market by storm. Even so, the major trends this year will still be important, because most will bring solid improvements to the end-user experience.

2014’s Hottest Trends for Computers and Mobile Devices
2014’s Hottest Trends for Computers and Mobile Devices

Here’s a look at what you can expect to see happening on the laptop, desktop, tablet and smartphone fronts throughout the rest of 2014.
Notebooks and Laptops

1. Convertibles and Sliders
More portables than ever will be of the convertible or slider variety. Convertibles are machines which look like traditional notebook laptop computers, but when you maneuver them (usually by folding or twisting them) they take on a tablet-like appearance, and function with the keyboard hidden and a touchscreen used as the main control device. Sliders are similar, but instead of twisting the screen and keyboard, you simply slide the components to convert from notebook to tablet mode.
This change is primarily being driven by the apparently unstoppable popularity of tablets. The tech analysis firm Canalys projects that a full 50% of all “computers” sold in 2014 will be tablet devices, so manufacturers are trying to ensure that their other product lines, like notebooks, aren’t completely abandoned by consumers. The way they’re doing that is to combine the greater computing power of netbooks with the ease of use and popular functions of tablets. Many feel convertibles could be the best laptops for college students since they would do everything required for schoolwork and still be flexible enough to be used for social networking.

2. Touchscreens
The move toward convertibles in order to compete with tablets is one major reason why more notebooks sold in 2014 will have touch screens – more than 10% of all laptops already had the screens by the start of the year and analysts believe that number will double by the end of the year.
There’s a big company behind the move toward touch screen laptops as well, and its name is Intel. Most manufacturers try to label their products as netbooks these days because of the public’s acceptance and use of that term. However, the brand name “Netbook” is actually owned by Intel and the company sets specific standards which must be met before any manufacturer can use the name. This year, those standards require a touch screen interface, so any company wishing to market a new “Netbook” model in 2014 must equip it with a touchscreen.

3. 3-D Cameras
One of the more interesting developments this year is the appearance of the first 3-D camera systems for notebook laptops (as well as tablets). There have been rudimentary attempts to include this capability in the past, but the cameras were so large that they were basically unworkable. The new systems will be much smaller and will have two lenses, which will allow users to create visual effects only possible until now on desktop machines with advanced graphic capabilities. With the 3-D functions, users will be easily able to perform tasks like superimposing animated or static graphics, or “greenscreening” a body onto different backgrounds.

4. USB Power
One of the conveniences which has become standard for smart phone users is the ability to use just about any USB cable to charge their phone, since just about all smartphones use the same micro USB cable. That’s never been the case with notebooks; each has a different “standard” connector. That is all changing with the advent of USB Power Delivery. This new technology allows laptops to receive not only data, but also power, from a single USB connection. It’s expected to become available late in 2014, and should quickly become standard for both notebook laptops and larger tablets.

Desktop Computers
1. Tabletop PCs

Laptops aren’t the only product being squeezed by the monstrous popularity of tablets. The veritable home computer is also seeing important design changes in an effort to keep pace with the trend toward greater use of hand-held devices. These “all-in-one” machines, being called “Tabletop PCs,” not only function as desktops but also act as enormous touch screen laptops or tablets, with screens approaching 30 inches in size. Most interestingly, several users can use the same computer at the same time for different purposes. A number of manufacturers, including Dell and HP, are hoping to have them on the market by the end of 2014.

These aren’t the only home machines which will feature touchscreens; most companies either have started offering them on some models, or will be doing so at some point in 2014. Again, the ubiquity of tablets and smart phones, and the desire of many consumers to use interfaces similar to those on their smaller devices, is driving this conversion to touch screen operation.

2. Android-Powered PCs

Lots of people are now accustomed to doing most of their daily online “chores” on their phone. That means they’ve grown used to the Android operating system. Last year, several companies like HP and Acer started producing notebook (and home) computers based on Android, and that trend will accelerate throughout 2014 with many more laptops and desktops being released with the less-expensive and popular OS. This will allow the companies to price their products below the current average of around $400 for low-end models, while still offering added performance compared to what consumers are accustomed to experiencing on their smart phones. Google is also pushing its own Chrome OS for similar reasons.

1. Bigger Sizes

Right now, the iPad has a smaller screen than most of its competitors. It has a screen that’s smaller than ten inches, compared to other popular models which are usually between ten and eleven inches wide. There’s even the Samsung Galaxy Note released in early 2014 which comes in at 12 inches. Later this year, expect Apple to offer a new version of the iPad that’s at least as large as most of the competition’s tablets – and quite likely the rumored XL, a 12- or 13-inch version of the iPad, as well.

That’s not the only bigger tablet on the horizon; with the trend toward increased size, a number of companies will probably be releasing their own larger versions during the year. One is already on the market: a Panasonic Toughpad model that’s a whopping 20 inches in length, aimed primarily at professionals like photographers and architects.

2. An Even Bigger Market

As previously mentioned, it’s projected that tablets will account for more than half of all “computer” sales in 2014. One projection is that 270 million tablets will be shipped during the year, as compared to 221 million in 2013. One reason, other than just the fact that “everyone has to have one,” is their increased use in retail applications. During 2014, it will become more common than ever to order your restaurant food or place your take-out order on a tablet. Expect the devices to make inroads into department stores, supermarkets and other consumer outlets this year as well. Additionally, the year will see a greater number of schools utilizing tablets for instruction (with grades K-6 the fastest growing segment of the market), and many more businesses making bulk tablet purchases as the devices gain wider acceptance in just about all corporate and small business settings.

There will also be more tablet use by people travelling in buses, trains and taxis as 3G and 4G connections, and not just wi-fi, become standard for the devices. Only about one-quarter of all tablets had 3G/4G capability in 2013, but that percentage will grow rapidly.

3. Windows Makes Inroads

With a miniscule share of the market through 2013, Windows had nowhere to go but up when it comes to tablet operating systems. The research firm IDC projects that growth to trend upward beginning in 2014. The firm expects Windows’ market share to grow from 3.2% to 5.7% during the year, while Android will lose just a bit of their market and iOS will drop from a 35% to 31.1% share of tablets. It’s predicted those trends will continue at least through 2017.

4. Phablets

One trend which we may see beginning in 2014 is a slowdown in the sales of smaller tablets, due to increased popularity of so-called “phablets” (smart phones larger than five inches, which combine some of the most popular features of tablets and phones). There has been growing interest in these devices, but demand probably won’t peak until at least 2015 or 2016. It’s projected that around that same period we may see an additional decrease in small tablet or phone sales, as smart watches and other devices which can be worn become more viable. That should not happen in 2014, however.

Smart Phones
1. Hardware Changes

Some phones will start to look different in 2014 – at least, their displays will look different. The use of high-resolution displays grew last year with 1080p becoming the standard for most new high-end models, and you can expect to see 2560 x 1440 displays becoming common as we move through 2014, with 3840 x 2160 displays possible by the end of the year. That will let users view an actual webpage perfectly, instead of having to settle for a mobile version.

Looking further into the future, it’s believed that 4K smart phones will be on the market by 2015, made possible by those higher-resolution displays and the Snapdragon 800 processor from Qualcomm which is the only one (so far, anyway) capable of handling 4K video. The Snapdragon will also allow actual console-quality gaming on smart phones, although it will probably be next year before that’s widely available commercially. CCI Insights believes that in 2014 we may even see a smartphone with dual interfaces, which could be used as both a phone and a PC.

Faster connections will also be seen during the year, as 300 Mbps cell phones should start to roll out in the second half of 2014. Put simply, that can be accomplished by carriers devoting two channels to a single user instead of just one, along with greater use of LTE technology.

The material that’s used to make a smart phone’s screen will start to change in many models. Manufacturers will be rolling out curved glass or plastic displays during the year, with some phones such as the LG G-Flex (which is coated with elastic) actually bendable. That’s a precursor to the introduction of what will be called “unbreakable” cell phones which we should start to see more of in late 2014.

Finally, some analysts believe that there will be a huge trend toward waterproof phones during the year, with most high-end models being able to claim that distinction by the end of 2014.

2. Size Changes

We’ve already touched on the development of phablets, the combination of phone and tablet which will continue to grow in popularity during the year. It’s expected that some smart phone users will migrate to the use of these larger hybrids during 2014, with a concurrent drop in sales of the smaller, traditional smartphone.

Also growing larger in size during the year will be the iPhone. At just four inches, the iPhone 5s is the smallest of all major brands. But in the fourth quarter of 2014 Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6, which should be somewhere between four-and-a-half and five inches, more in line with competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy series.

3. Lower Prices

Many experts think that sales of higher-end phones have temporarily reached their upper limit; the introduction of 4K smart phones next year may again boost the sale of expensive units. International Data Group, however, believes strong growth is possible for the industry as a whole in 2014, because of a focus on cheaper models. Improvements in technology and computing speed are actually making it possible for manufacturers to build phones which approach the performance of top-end units for a lower price than ever. The average price of a phone dropped 13% between 2012 and 2013, and is projected to drop even further this year largely due to the increased sales of units like the sub-$200 Moto G from Motorola. Competitors will be moving into this market more aggressively during 2014 with units that are cheaper than ever without being bare-bones models. It’s predicted that phones priced under $200, but approaching the performance of their higher-priced brethren, will be quite common by the end of the year.

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2


Do you know, that Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 is the largest member of the S Pen-wielding family until 2014? Also 32 GB storage and very powerful Quad core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400 processors. But that is not all – it also has a 3 GB RAM, very nice and large display 2560 x 1600 pixels. Want to use for long period – we have 9500 mAh battery!

More details

OSAndroid (4.4)
Dimensions11.64 x 8.03 x 0.31 inches (295.6 x 204 x 7.95 mm)
Weight:26.56 oz (753 g)
features:S Pen
Physical size12.2 inches
Pixel density247 ppi
TechnologySuper Clear LCD
Colors16 777 216
Features:Light sensor
Camera8 Megapixels
Camcorder:1920×1080 (1080p HD)
Front-camera2 MEgapixels
Video capture1920×1080 (1080p HD)
System chipQualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974
ProcessorQuad core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400
Graphics Proc.Adreno 330
System Memory3072 MB RAM (Dual-channel, 800 MHz) / LPDDR3
Built-in Storage32 GB
Storage expansionmicroSD, microSDHC up to 64 GB
Media Playabout 120 Hours
Capacity9500 mAh
User ReplacableYES
GSM850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz

LTE Cat4 Downlink 150 Mbit/s, LTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 21.1 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS

PositionGPS, A-GPS, Glonass
Wi-Fi802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac