I am a pretty big fan of Windows Tablets and have been for some time. I am especially excited with all the new stuff that is coming out. One such Windows Tablet that I have been drooling over is the Dell Latitude 10 (here). It is currently retailing for $900, but currently on a special price for $650.
I was recently visited by one of our Dell representatives at work and he had brought the sister tablet Latitude XPS 10, which is the Windows RT version. I was able to play around with it for a bit and loved the touch, the responsiveness, and the fact that it had detachable keyboard with touchpad. It was a very solid fit. Unfortunately, I later found out that the Latitude 10 will not have that same keyboard. Big disappointment if you ask me. The Dell rep said that he would send me one when he got them in stock so I could give it a spin. Well I just got the email and have it coming my way to give it a run.
LATITUDE 10 SPECIFICATIONS
- Intel® Atom™ processor Z2760 1.8GHz with Intel® Burst Technology, 1.5GHz HFM, 600MHz LFM
- Windows 8 Pro, 32-bit
- 10.1" IPS (1366 X 768) Wide View Angle LCD, Corning® Gorilla® Glass, Capacitive 10 Finger Touch
- 2GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
- 64GB of Solid State Storage, enabled for mobile broadband (HSPA+)
- Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (533MHz)
- 1.47 lbs
- Full Size SD Slot
- USB 2.0 Slot
- Mini HDMI
- Removable Battery
- 2MP Front Facing Camera
- 8MP Rear Facing Camera
- Wacom Digitizer (optional pen)
- Productivity Docking Station (optional) (2) USB, Ethernet, HDMI and Audio Output
I will have it for about 30 days to test it out and will blog about it more.
N-trig released their much anticipated W8 drivers recently (August 13th). The drivers have been broken since the Consumer Preview. Well I downloaded these and immediately tried to install them on my W8 Release Preview. I wasn’t impressed.
After going back to the instructions I noticed a blurb “before updating to Windows 8, make sure you have the latest bundle installed”. I must have skipped right over that in my first pass.
I sent an email to N-trig support to get clarification and received email back a couple of days later. Basically they stated.
This step comes to ensure you have the latest DuoSense SW installed under Win7. Then when you upgrade to Win8, you should follow the installations of our new driver and it should work OK.
So they are expecting everybody to upgrade to W8 and not do a fresh install. I don’t know about you, but I am not a big fan of upgrading. I like to perform a fresh install.
Well, I since it didn’t seem to work very well in W8 as a fresh install I decided to go back to W7 and see if it was any better. I found my original W7 image that I took way back in March 2011 and restored it. I did have to go into the and edit the booting information that W8 updated. No real big issue. After getting back to W7 (yuck), I made my W8RTM bootable USB drive and ran the setup.exe off the USB drive. Got prompted to upgrade and save user settings. Took about 45 minutes. After reboot I found that I had no touch or stylus. I then installed the updated N-trig driver and found that touch and stylus came back. Checked Device Mgr. and found nothing missing or had issues.
The much anticipated calibration tool is great and helps with the false touches and ghost taps.
The lack of the Input Control Panel. Having upgraded from W7 it is there but throws when trying to use. The exclusion of the Input Control, the ability to put the digitizer to Touch Only, Pen Only, or Auto is a huge missing component.
I will say that the drivers are better than what they were in the Consumer Preview and Release Preview (note that they didn’t exist), but still in my opinion are lacking.
I emailed N-trig support to find out when this was going to added and their response back was there are no plans. Huge, huge disappointment.
I do a lot of inking with the stylus and without this control I get a lot of false touches or palm rejection. It comes close to being unusable.
Shame on you N-trig…
I was hoping to see an improvement in the SSD but the B121 is really the EP121 with a different Wireless/Bluetooth card and the TPM Chip. Other than that they look to be the same hardware.
SANDISK 64GB SSD P4
I have upgraded to an Intel 310 80GB which has increased the performance drastically. You can buy here. A decent upgrade, but may not be worth the cost.
SANDISK 64GB SSD
Intel 310 80GB SSD
Windows Experience Index increased from a 5.9 to a 7.6
The Asus Eee Slate EP121 is the most powerful Tablet on the market (as of 10/2011) with an Intel Dual Core i5 processor (x64), 64GB Solid State Drive, and 4GB Ram.
You can get the full specifications (here).
I have always loved the concept of the Tablet PC. I like the idea of being to use the computer and also the ability to use it as a Tablet with the stylus pen to write/ink.
My first introduction to the Tablet PC world was the HP TC1100 Tablet PC. This came out around 2003 era with Windows XP Tablet Edition. The Wacom digitizer and inking was fantastic. I still own and use this Tablet to this day and even have Windows 7 rocking on it. This definitely gave it new life. I always thought if this basic design was updated with today’s technology it would be the best Tablet PC ever. Still waiting.
When I heard that HP was releasing the HP Slate 500 I couldn’t wait, I thought this was the update to the TC1100 that I was waiting for. I was quickly disappointed with the inking. The N-trig digitizer and pen wasn’t a fluid as my old HP TC1100 and it was noisy to boot. Then I heard about the Asus Eee Slate EP121 having the Wacom digitizer and I thought that maybe this is the one.
I have had the Asus Eee Slate EP121 device for just over two months now.
The Wacom Digitizer and Pen. The fluid inking with the Wacom pen make it a real pleasant writing experience. It is really like a hot knife cutting through butter. It is that smooth.
The CPU power (Intel Dual Core i5 processor, x64), Ram (4GB), and Solid State Drive (64GB) that really make this a workhorse. This is more powerful than my Dell Latitude E6400 that I am running at work.
Touch screen and brightness are really outstanding. The wide viewing angles are great.
I like the included Bluetooth keyboard. It is a great addition to make this very nice to use at your desk. The included case also allows you stand the Tablet upright.
Includes 2 USB ports, Full SD Card slot, and mini HDMI port.
The pen silo. This is huge having a slot where the pen can go in. Very nice and really under rated in my opinion.
The wireless card seems to be a little weak in reception. I am not getting great connectivity or speed.
I may get a little heat on this but the size of the display is too big (12.1”). I wish this was more around the 10” range. Fitting more of a page in portrait without the blank edges and wasted space. Might be just me.
The noise coming from the fan being constantly on. I understand that this is a Dual Core i5 processor, but the fan is annoying. I feel like I need to tape up the exhaust fan cover when I go into a meeting. It is very noticeable.
The battery life states 4.5hrs, but I am getting around 3hrs of use and that is mostly notes, and web browsing. Using a better power mode setting like balanced mode would definitely increase this time. Again I can understand some of that with the power that this has. Just a little disappointed.
No rear facing camera.
Missing TPM Security.
Windows 7 Home Premium.
Update: I see that Asus has released a refresh model BP121 which looks to be more Business related and includes the TPM Security and Windows 7 Ultimate edition.
I would give this an overall score of a C+. It is definitely on the right track, but at the price of this unit I would find something else. It is missing some key components for me to really recommend.
Visit the Publisher site (link above) and download a free chapter.
I am new to Data Protection Manager (DPM) and needed a way to get up to speed quickly to start managing an existing deployment. This book is arranged in a way that helps you understand what DPM is, what it does, and how to do it. The step by step instructions are very detailed. I would highly recommend this book for those starting out or those wanting to learn more about DPM.
This is currently the only book out on DPM 2010 (as of June 2011).
* I am not affiliated with Packt Publishing or the Author nor did I receive any benefits from this recommendation.
Have you ever been at work and wished you could get access to a document that was on your home computer. Well there is a way to have these files accessible where you have internet connectivity. It is a service called Dropbox.
What is Dropbox? Dropbox is like cloud storage. It is a small application that is installed on your local computer that creates a folder structure that automatically sync’s to the Dropbox website. Once there any other computer or device like iPhone or Android that you sync to will have those files/folders available. Because these files are locally stored they are available offline. They will sync up the next time you are connected to the internet, not the whole file just the parts of the file that has changed. That is slick.
For example at work you have a document that you have saved to your Dropbox folder. Now you get home and you want to edit that document. If you have installed the Dropbox application on your home computer you can access that file because it will download that document to your linked Dropbox folder on your home computer.
Dropbox also keeps a one-month history of your work along with the ability to undelete files, or revert back to a previous version of a file.
So you can’t install Dropbox on your computer at work, no worries. Just go out to the Dropbox website, log in with your account and have access to all the files through the web. You’re at a client site and you need access to a toolkit script, just browse out to the web to your Dropbox account and download the file you need. You’re at your kids concert and you get an email about a document that needs to get to the client. You access your Dropbox folder from your Droid phone and then emailed to the customer. That easy.
Sign up for free and get 2GB of space. By using the following link get an additional 250MB in space.
If 2GB doesn’t seem like a lot, there are other storage options available.
Get 50Gb for $9.99/month
100GB for $19.99/month
I tried to make a case for the Slate at work but the lack of Trusted Platform Module chip (TPM) unfortunately made it a deal breaker. I work in the aerospace industry and we have some strict policies for mobile computers and one of them being TPM with BitLocker encryption. The TPM chip gives additional security by forming a “Root of Trust” between the BIOS and the TPM chip. Basically the TPM chip has to be there to authenticate which prevents the drive from being access if removed from the device. The lack of TPM chip in the Slate would basically just encrypt the drive at a software level. If the drive was removed from the Slate it could be accessed by hacking the encryption.
BitLocker without TPM
You can enable BitLocker on a computer that does not have the TPM chip, it just is not as strong security as with the TPM chip. To do this on the Slate you will need to do a few things.
1. Upgrade OS from Professional to Ultimate or Enterprise. BitLocker is not available with the stock Slate OS Windows 7 Professional. This will require the upgrade anytime feature or a fresh install. In my test I decided to try a fresh install of Windows 7 Enterprise edition (90 day Eval).
2. Because the Slate does not have the TPM chip you will need to go into group policy and allow BitLocker without TPM.
Enter gpedit.msc in the search box or run command (must be run as a local administrator). Under Local Computer Policy browse to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | BitLocker Drive Encryption | Operating System Drives. On the right screen double click on Require additional authentication at startup. You must first Enable it and then select the Allow BitLocker without a compatible TPM check box.
3. Then you can turn on and enable BitLocker. It took about 3 hours for it to install/encrypt the 64GB SSD.
Please note that you will have to create a USB BitLocker startup key and a Recovery key on another USB. The Startup key is required in the Slate when you restart the computer or you will be required to enter the 48 digit code every time you restart. Also note that the onscreen keyboard is not available in the BitLocker boot up routine, so you would have to have a external keyboard connected.
I ran this for about a week without any system problems. The only problem that I ran into is I forgot to bring my USB Startup key (only once), which rendered the computer a brick for that one day. After that I did put the recovery key on my phone which I do take everywhere in case I forget the USB Startup key.
I hope that the next generation Slate will have a more powerful CPU with the TPM Chip.
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT
As I was waiting for my HP Slate to arrive I was perusing TabletPCReview.com forum and one of the posts that caught my eye was a person reporting seeing scratches on the glass. I have to admit I got a little nervous after reading that and concerned. Last thing I want is a scratch on my new Slate.
After doing some research and reading several great posts on the subject I decided to go with the NuShield DayVue screen protector. I believe the screen protector with tax and shipping was around $22. GRADE: B
The NuShield DayVue screen protector is a custom protector for the Slate. The Slate is still fairly new and they do not have this as a standard available protector. You will have to go into the custom area to select it. I believe a user from the TabletPCReview forum sent NuShield the dimensions of the Slate and they created one. The dimensions are spot on and it fits the Slate like a glove. The only exception are the corners. The corners are hand cut and are a little jagged. Once this becomes a regular item I am sure that will be a non-issue. In fact you aren’t drawn to the edges, they blend in very nicely with the black edges of the slate. It is unfortunate but definitely not a deal breaker. GRADE: C (just because of the edges)
I am very pleased with the texture of the screen protector with the multi-touch of the Slate. I have no problems or interference from the screen protector. Using the on-screen keyboard and the scrolling are a breeze and are very smooth. GRADE: A
This was a huge concern that I had. What would it feel like when I try handwriting. I had tried a screen protector on my TC1100 and immediately took it off after the attempting to write with it. It was way to soft and the stylus tip actually would get stuck. The NuShield is a bit more hard which makes writing with the stylus very pleasant. It took me a few days before I really liked it. At first it seemed a bit to firm, but after about a week of touching it with my fingers the oils really made writing very nice. Another bonus with the screen protector is it helps a little with the N-trig pen noise. GRADE: A
This was probably the easiest screen protector I have ever installed. I installed a screen protector on my Droid 2 and must have tried multiple times before I got it right. This was so easy. The screen protector is a little firm like a piece of paper, this made it very easy to move it around before setting it in place.
Another thing that I liked about it was I had to send my original Slate back because the glass was separating or popping up. When I got the new Slate I removed the screen protector and installed it on the new Slate without an issue. It has stayed in place ever since. GRADE: A
GLARE and VIEWING
Unfortunately I haven’t used the Slate with the screen protector out in the sun. Haven’t seen to many sunny days to give it a grade. I don’t think that the screen protector distorts or has any degrading of the nice bright screen. GRADE: B
I couldn’t recommend this screen protector more. I give it high grades for the Touch, Writing, and Installation. The only bad thing that I can say about the NuShield DayVue screen protector is the hand cut corners. They aren’t very professional done. As I mentioned above, once the die is created for the Slate it will fantastic. FINAL GRADE: B+ (Highly recommend)
HP Slate 500
I have been using the HP Tablet PC TC1100 for several years now and have been looking forward to when HP would improve it with an updated model. Well needless to say I was very excited when Steve Ballmer made his announcement at the CIS 2009 show where he showed off the HP Slate prototype. It did however take more than a year for it to reach the market, but it has been everything that I could have wished for.
Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
Processor: Intel Atom Processor Z540 (1.86 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB)
Memory: 2 GB DDR2
Internal Storage: 64 GB SSD Flash Module (SATA)
Display: 8.9-inch Diagonal LED-backlit WSVGA
Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500 Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator
Audio/Visual: High Definition Audio, Integrated Stereo Speakers, Integrated Microphone, combo stereo headphone/microphone jack, two integrated cameras: VGA webcam (inward facing), 3MP camera (outward facing)
Wireless Support: 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Expansion Slots: Secure Digital supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC
Ports and Connectors: (1) USB 2.0 Port, Power Connector / HP Slate Dock connector, combo stereo headphone/microphone jack; optional HP Slate Dock: (2) USB 2.0 ports, (1) HDMI connector
Input Devices: HP Slate Digital Pen (N-trig digitizer)
Dimensions: 5.91” x 9.21” x 0.58”
Included Accessories: Docking Station, Leather Folio, and Stylus Pen
Docking Stations / Cradle: A nice small compact device with folding leg that fits nicely in a bag. Includes two additional USB slots, HDMI, and additional audio jack.
Leather Portfolio: Case that the HP Slate fits nicely into that has a front facing cutout and back cutout for the cameras.
Digital Pen: Stylus pen that contains AAAA batteries with a right click button.
Software: EVERNOTE is loaded, but with an out dated version. It is free software so updating it is easy. What is nice is there is no other bloat ware installed.
The back of the HP Slate is a nice rubberized material with a diamond pattern, which gives the Slate a great grip. The Slate has a nice solid feel and is a great fit in your hands. At 1.5lbs it is very light in weight. Slides very nicely in my bag. The Slate internals are enclosed and are not accessible. The Slate is very quiet as well without fans. Huge knock on the TC1100, very noisy fan. GRADE: A
Unfortunately the Windows Experience Index rates the Slate at a 2.4 which is determined by the lowest score of the gaming graphics. The next lowest score was the processor (2.7). The Slate has an Atom processor which is similar to what is in a typically netbook. The boot time is rather quick compared to my work laptop and the 2gb of memory and 64gb SSD Disk are rather nice and make it pretty snappy. GRADE: B
There are five buttons located on each side and on the top. The button on the left side is the keyboard button. On the top are the volume buttons, the home button, and the CTRL-ALT-DEL button. On the right side is the power button along with a screen rotation lock switch. GRADE: A
The display size is 8.9” and is the brightness is very adequate. I have heard of people on TabletPCReview forum stating that they have experienced some scratching on the glass. I installed a NuShield DayVue Screen Protector to protect and prevent the scratches. The screen protector did help a little with the loud sounds the digitizer pen makes. Not sure how the Graphics can score a 4.4 and the Gaming graphics score a 2.4. GRADE: C
The battery is not accessible, so there is no way to change it out if it goes bad. You will need to send it in to HP for them to change it. There is a year warranty on the battery so we’ll see if this is a problem. HP claims the battery is up to 5 hours and I can confirm that the battery lasts that long. I just recently was at a conference and used it for taking notes in OneNote and some light web browsing and it lasted close to the 5 hours of use. I have noticed that it does take a long time to charge the battery back up to full strength and the battery meter sometimes does not accurately update real time. GRADE: B (Not accessible)
Huge flaw in this device is the non-standard power plug. Use the same plug for the docking station. Have to hack a power cable to build a cable for Energizer battery pack because there is not a standard plug. GRADE: D
The HP Slate uses N-trig pen and driver (Driver version 18.104.22.168 & Firmware version 22.214.171.124.15). This is my first time using N-trig and I am not impressed at all. The TC1100 uses Wacom and it is a far better inking experience. This is really my biggest gripe because inking is my primary use of the slate. Also, the pen noise is terrible. It makes a very loud clicking sound when inking. The contact of the nib inside the pen shaft. Note: Highly recommend setting the Digitizer to auto mode so you do not get any false palm touches. Being a left hander I was initially having issues when writing with my hand rubbing across the screen as I was writing. Auto mode enable you to switch quickly between either pen or touch screen by using a double-tap anywhere on the screen. GRADE: D
The multi-touch uses the N-trig DuoSense interface. I am new to the multi-touch and this is such a huge win for this device. One thing that I have noticed is the pinch zoom in and out is not as fluid as the iPad, but not a show stopper. IE9 rocks with multi-touch. GRADE: B
The Slate includes a front (VGA) and rear facing (3MP) camera/video. The quality of the rear camera is better than the front facing. Sad to see the lack of a Ethernet port in the device or the docking station (Wireless only). I was successful in using a USB to Ethernet port from the docking station and it worked great so it is a workaround. I have not tried out the HDMI port on the docking station, but a nice option to attach to an external monitor or connect to HD TV if you wanted. GRADE: B
The pluses are the size, weight, and battery life. My main negatives would be the pen digitizer (N-trig) and processing power. Overall I would give the HP Slate a solid B grade.
RECOMMENDED CHANGES FOR NEXT GENERATION OF SLATE
1. Better pen digitizer. The pen noise is horrible. Make the pen longer. The battery in the pen makes the pen not very balanced in the hand. Recommend WACOM!!!!
2. Better power plug that is a standard type plug.
3. Faster CPU that includes TPM Chip for BitLocker maybe even 64bit. Windows Ultimate instead of Professional for the BitLocker.
4. Harder Glass to prevent scratching.
5. Ethernet plug in the docking station.
Oh, it’s that time of the year; time to reflect, review, and resolve (rrr-yeah baby! in an Austin Powers accent). Not sure if it translate in written form.
Disclaimer: I don’t usually don’t do New Year Resolutions
But I did it anyway. I probably didn’t do resolutions in the past because they were a written record of what I was supposed to do and at the end of the year I grade what I said I was supposed to, to what I did do, and it looks so darn bad. You can see my written record of what I said I was going to do in 2010 here.
What in the heck did you say you were going to do?
I started and wrote my first blog article in January 2010, which happened to be my 2010 Resolutions (blah). I set a goal of blogging every week. I might have been a little ambitious for me to start with. I only wrote 27 posts and unfortunately not a lot of them were on SQL. I did however participate in 3 T-SQL Tuesday posts.
Grade: C- [A+ for starting a blog, but C for not maintaining]
Try and read a new book every month. Well I did not read the two books that I listed, but did read parts of a handful of other technical books. I killed a lot of trees printing out articles; there is just so much good stuff out there.
Wanted to study and learn about two SQL DMV’s each month. I believe that I read this on Tim Fords blog that he wanted to do something similar (borrowed the idea). Well, that was a big fail. I did this for two months and failed to continue. I may try to do that this year, but pick the DMV’s ahead of time.
Workout 3 times a week. I did pretty good on this one until August. Once my boy (I’ll blame him for my failure in this), finished swim team in August at the YMCA, we didn’t go back to the gym, which ended my workouts. I ended up cancelling my membership since I was not going enough.
Grade: C [A+ for 8 months and F from September through December]
Take one Microsoft SQL Server Cert Exam. Well in July I passed 70-431.
Get more involved with the SQL community. I had the pleasure to help Greg Larsen with SQL Saturday #43 setup in Redmond, WA (June 2010).
Overall grade in my great grading system: C-
I have a lot to improve on for 2011.