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Forza 4 Cars interiors & Fanatec Wheel

UPDATE 12/30/2011: I added section under Fanatec wheel discussing normal versus simulation mode.

I wanted to give an update on Forza 4 compared to my earlier interior overview on Forza 3. Graphics have been greatly improved.

Which dashboard meters are visually working while driving?

Similar to Forza 3 but it supports now some additional graphics depending on car: Speedometer, tachometer, odometer, fuel gauge, gear indicator.

Some cars: turbo meter (i.e. Celica), outside temperature, digital lap info in the dashboard. Also some cars feature additional graphics. E.g. the Lexus LF-A you can see the color ring changes for RPM.

Example Prius with working digital readout in center display:
Forza 4 Prius interior

Quality

Graphics have been improved considerably from Forza 3. Exteriors look very shiny and more realistic.

Interior dashboard graphics have improved as well and several issues has been fixed: cut off mirror issues, hidden speedometer on some cars. Dirt 3 interiors still might look slightly prettier although it doesn’t feature very many cars especially production cars and the lighting engine isn’t as good either.

Which cars?

There are about 500 cars and about 410 cars I believe are carried over from Forza 3+DLC.
See below video of all cars (including few limited edition cars not included in regular version like BMW design challenge cars). At first glance I believe here are few that are new: Chevy Volt, Ferrari FF, Lexus CT200h, Lexus LF-A, McLaren MP4-12C, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Volvo S60. I’m missing a few new models but there will be several additional download car packs. I assume also pre-order bonus cars like the CR-Z will be made publicly available.
There has been 2 additional DLC’s available. Go here for latest DLC:
Forza 4 Add-ons

What is AutoVista?

This is a new car view mode where you can view selected cars in very great detail and features various interaction. For instance you can open any door and start the engine. Jeremy Clarkson does some of the commentary. This mode is really great and I could see this as a great sales tool for new cars.

UPDATE additional cars (1/2012): Hyundai Veloster Turbo (free)

Current Autovista cars supported (BMW M5 only with Limited edition):

Example BMW M5 AutoVista:

Can I see more of the interior?

The trick from Forza 3 still works and you can use now full wide view:

• Go to career and select my profile
• Select options and choose multi-screen
• Set multi-screen to ‘on’
• Leave everything default except change angle to max number

This will reveal a lot more of the car interior.
See here example with max angle compared to Forza 3 on the right:

Default view:

Which Kinect features are offered?

  • Autovista (Kinect only mode)
  • Split screen (Kinect only mode)
  • Racing with your hands (Kinect only mode)
  • Head-tracking

Autovista worked really well with Kinect as soon as you figure out how you need to move to get smaller movements. I found best is to only lean left/right. You can also crouch and lean forward to see more detail. Activating points is sometimes bit rough and you have to raise your hand bit more but otherwise works great. It does feel more natural than a controller even though it may not be as precise and fast to control.

Racing with your hands is like you’d expect. It’s fairly accurate but there’s no gas/brake so the experience is limited. But in co-op split-screen and especially for kids I can see this being fun. Wheel of course is still by far best way for realistic experience.

Head-tracking allows you to use kinect to look left/right by either leaning or tilting your head. Initially I couldn’t get this to work well. First thing is that I expected I could look fully around as with the right controller but it’s designed for rather smaller movements for looking into curves. Second to get it to work better I needed to go to head-tracking settings and make sure your head is fully in the box. Second I increased 3rd head yaw with lean option so it would be more sensitive and move quicker.
Once you get used to it it feels quite natural and is a great feature but I still wish for a wider view range. Second as soon you move just little bit too much you get annoying re-kinect message. Hopefully this feature will be further improved in a future patch.

Split screen

Split screen is still in Forza 4. New is that you can see now little bit of the dashboard view as well. How much you can see of the dashboard varies but typically you can’t see meters completely. You can look around if you use a controller with right pad.

Forza 4 split-screen

Best view?
To get best racing line I’d still go with either hood view or street view . The 2 exterior views are good for drifting and the interior view is still prettiest view to look at.

Which controllers for Forza 4?
Of course you can use controller or Kinect as mentioned. Although controller works well and people can achieve good times it just doesn’t feel realistic. So here are some other choices:

– Microsoft Wireless Wheel $59. This is not really a wheel but rather a motion sensing controller. But despite that looking at reviews it seems great cheap alternative to an expensive and bigger wheel. See video here: Forza 4 Wireless Wheel hands on part 2
Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Wheel $89. I believe no force feedback wheel and no clutch/gated shifter. Haven’t seen reviews yet. Will be available end of Oct ’11
MadCatz Wireless Wheel. This is a new wheel for $249. Review: ISR MadCatz wireless wheel review
– Fanatec Wheels: GT2, CSR & CSR Elite. The last 2 are brand new wheels. The CSR I believe is similar to the older GT2 model. Spec Comparison:Fanatec wheel comparison. All of these weels are quite expensive around $250 but they are great wheels (CSR Elite even more but n/a yet). I bought Porsche GT2 few years ago and still love it. There are also different pedals available. The plastic pedals with clutch I don’t like much since they became unreliable but I ordered more expensive clubsport pedals.

Fanatec Wheel support

Fanatec wheel works similar as in Forza 3 and clutch and shifter is still fully supported (note you may need to switch clutch/handbrake setting for some presets). There are more presets and some custom settings to configure buttons differently but still it’s not possible to use the pad to look around. The 2nd setting does allow you to switch the paddle shifters for look left/right but I found that caused no direct access to rewind (requires start button and menu).

There’s now simulation for steering to improve realism. I do think there’s an improvement in steering but it’s not a dramatic change from Forza 3.

Some people reported a bug when using 900 degrees sensitivity where steering wheel would lock opposite direction after making a large turn. I haven’t experience it yet. Workaround for now would be to use lower sensitivity. A 2nd issue was reported that no credits were given after a perfect round with Fanatec Wheel (it incorrectly thinks you’re ‘cheating’).

UPDATE 12/2011: both bugs are adressed in the patch update (early Dec.). Note a 3rd issue was fixed that you need to move wheel lot more now to countersteer and maintain good drift (more difficult now). Before countersteering was interpreted at 270 so less countersteering was required.

Regarding force feedback it’s almost the same. Unfortunately bumps are still not as strong as the Microsoft wheel but force feedback is still lot stronger affecting force required to turn the wheel.

I found these settings work very well with Fanatec wheels:

Forza steering mode: Normal (see below settings for simulation)
SENS = 900
SHO = 100%; FF = 90%
DRI = 2 (or 3 if you think it’s too heavy)
LIN = 30 (0 if you want to be able to drift better)
Everything else default (0).

Normal or simulation steering mode with Fanatec wheel?
(added 12/31/2011)

After the patch I noticed that Thomas from Fanatec posted a blog article saying simulation steering setting is now more difficult and less realistic than normal. I can’t confirm that but in regards to correcting oversteer it seems to me the amount of (small) correction to be unrealistic in normal mode. Another difference in normal mode is that when you get out of a drift you don’t have to correct the wheel much to get car straight again. Best to try all settings and decide for yourself which one you prefer.

Thomas also mentions this interesting real vs Forza 4 BMW M5 comparison video where the driver compares the two and finds the real M5 to be easier to control since it exhibits more traction than in the game (and also more understeer instead of oversteer when accelerating out of a curve). Otherwise close especially the gear ratios and maximum speeds. Obviously another difference is the lack of lateral forces that gives you extra feedback.
Thomas mentions that this confirms as well that simulation mode is less realistic but I believe Tim didn’t use simulation mode and I don’t think traction changes in either mode (I could be wrong though). One thing that could change traction is to check steering sensitivity differences between 2 modes (which I haven’t since I use different linear settings). Regardless whether this is related or not this is a great video to watch (note in German):



What does seem incorrect in both normal and simulation mode is that the steering seems to be too sensitive at the center. Therefore I’d recommend to increase the ‘LIN’ setting with Fanatec GT2 which is more realistic with 900 degrees (this is a bad drift setup so for that you may prefer normal mode and much lower sensitivity):

Forza steering setting : Simulation
SENS = 900
SHO / FF = 100 (I set FF to 90 since otherwise I hear high pitched sound)
DRI = OFF
LIN = 30 (that way it’s less sensitive and closer to reality)
Spr = -3
Dpr = -3

Pedals
I’ve ordered Fanatec clubsport pedals since the cheaper plastic pedals caused issues again. First impressions are that any precision issues are fixed now and the brake feel is a lot more realistic and more precise. You first have some travel and then apply more or less pressure to apply level. With the plastic pedals I always got quickly to 100% brake force with very little control inbetween.
The brake requires bit too much force for me even at lowest setting but you can adjust it (and another quick way to adjust it is to lower in Forza the upper deadzone for deceleration).

Panorama photos

I haven’t migrated any photo’s yet to WordPress (still need to figure out best way to do this). Here are some tips and sample pictures.

Tips:

  • For very wide panorama shoot upright (portrait) since you will lose always some of the top/bottom
  • Avoid shooting moving objects unless they’re moving slowly. In that case time the shot so objects are not at the edges. Of course you can always try to photoshop to move objects
  • One of the best stitch programs is autostitch.exe since it does adjust more than most basic stitch programs. You can download it for free from autostitch (for non-commercial use).
  • If you see doubling of objects after stitching try to cut off piece of the picture to reduce the overlap (but try to keep pictures close in size)

Below some panorama photo’s I took with Canon G9. Click on picture to see larger photo.
More pano pictures can be found here: Canon G9 panoramas


San Francisco







Lake Blanco (WA)



Available Windows 7 Slates 2011 Fall

Note there are several new Windows 8 tablets announced for ’12 H2 like the Lenovo Yoga and this is now outdated.

UPDATE: Windows 8 tablet PC preview
UPDATE 2: updated (from summer to fall ’11)

Here’s a quick update what’s available if you’re looking for a Windows slate device.

Personally I still prefer a convertable tablet PC with integrated keyboard and I’d love if Lenovo would upgrade the current S10-3t with higher res IPS display with better viewing angles. But I can see benefit of a slate if you want to use it primarily as a media device and still want some extra windows functionality that you wouldn’t get from an iPad (e.g. hookup USB devices, SD slot to view your pictures or videos, full Web browser compatibility, myriad of PC applications like game emulators, office, photoshop, …).

Several interesting new devices are just being released with an IPS display. Several more new devices based on the new intel Oak trail CPU are expected by end of 2011. This is not a complete list and I listed only new devices which I think are potentially most interesting currently:

Device Specs Price Comments
Asus EP 121, Notebookcheck test

Notebookcheck.net: iPad vs EP121 size comparison:
EP121 vs iPad size
12” 1280×800 IPS
220 nits
Core i5 470UM
2GB/4GB,GMA HD
2xUSB,HDMI,SD
Webcam 2MP
Battery: 2-4hrs (rated 3)
312x207x17mm
1148 g
$999
-$1099
Great screen with great viewing angles. This device might be usable somewhat outdoors (see mobiletechreview.com). Great performance from Core i5 CPU so should be also decent for Photoshop or some minor video editing. Cons are short battery life (about 2-4 hours) and battery is not removable. Also 12” is less portable than 10” although weight is relatively decent. The Samsung Series 7 slate looks like a better alternative though.
Acer Iconia Tab W500, Notebookcheck test
Acer Iconia W500
10” 1280×800
350 nits (on spec)
AMD C50 1GHz
2GB memory, Radeon HD6250
USB,HDMI,SD,SIM
2 Webcams 1MP
Battery: 3-7 hrs
275x190x16mm
970 g
$549 Not an IPS Screen but viewing angles are still good and it’s relatively bright (326cd/m2). Battery is about 3-7 hours. There’s an optional dockable keyboard but with fixed angle. Perf could be better but it should play HD video and is bit faster than Q550. Weight is relatively high.
Fujitsu Q550
10” 1280×800 IPS
400 nits
Atom Z670 1.5GHz
2GB, GMA 600
USB,HDMI,SD
2 cameras
Battery: up to 3.5 / 7 hrs
275x192x16mm
771 – 862 g
$729
June
Pricey but targeted for business use. Pro’s: bright non-glossy screen (400 nits) and IPS screen with good viewing angles and 400 nits with matte screen is relatively good outdoors. It has capacitive multi-touch and is fairlylight. User removable batteries rated at 3.5 and 7 hours. One of the few devices offering mobile broadband with GPS. Downside is slow performance and high price.
MSI WindPad 110W / U120W
MSI WindPad 110W
10” 1280×800 IPS
? nits
110W: AMD Z-01 duo-core
U120W: Cedar trail 1.86GHz
4GB, Radeon 6250
USB,mini-HDMI,SD
GPS, 2 cameras
3 cell battery: ?
271x183x15mm
1497 g
$599
August ’11
Not much info, bit on heavy side for 10″. Windows perf index is 2.8 for the prototype model.
Samsung Series 7 Slate
Samsung Series 7 slate
11.6″ 1366×768
400 nits
Core i5 2467< 1.6GHz
4GB,Intel 3000
USB,micro-HDMI,SD,MicroSD
GPS,Webcam 2+5mp
Battery: up to 7 hrs
297x182x13mm
934 g
$1099

$1249 pre-order

Nov. 2011

Great performance and price is reasonably for Core i5 slate with bright IPS screen. Price ranges from $1099 to most expensive model at $1349 which comes with keyboard and dock and 128GB memory.

Preview: Trusted reviews preview

Dell Lattitude Peju (=ST?)
10” 1920×1080
Core i5
4GB,?
2xUSB,VGA/HDMI,microSD
2 cams (1/5MP)
Battery: 6-8 hrs
270x186x14mm
860 g
Rumor is 2012 Q1 Not confirmed but came from leaked docs. Specs are impressive especially screen resolution if true. Buttons: volume, screen lock, power, ctrl-alt-del. Also comes with n-trig digitizer.
Dell Latitude ST
Latitude ST
10” 1280×800
Atom Z670 1.5GHz
2GB, GMA 600
micro USB,HDMI,micro SD
GPS
720p webcams +8MP cam
Battery: up to 8 hrs
270x186x15mm
816g
$759
Feb. ’12
Features GPS, up to 128 GB SSD storage, 1080p video output. Supports stylus input. Review: notebookcheck test
Viliv X70 Slate Oaktrail (not same as current X70).
Laptop Magazine X70 hands-onLaptop mag Viliv X70 II
7” 1024×600
Atom Z670 1.5GHz
1-2GB, GMA 600
micro USB,HDMI,micro SD
GPS
2 webcams 3+1MP
Battery: up to 6.5hrs
?x?x14mm
420 g?
? Note the current X70 is a different model and only shares the size. This one will have different buttons with optical mouse (no joystick) and capacitive multi-touch. Very light and battery would last up to 6.5 hours.

Rumor is that this has been cancelled and Viliv might exit the UMPC market.

Asus Eee Pad Transformer
10” 1280×800 IPS
Atom Z670, 1.5GHz
1-2GB,Nvidia Tegra
USB,HDMI,microSD
GPS
2 cams (1/5MP)
Battery: up to 9.5 (16 with keyboard)
271x177x13mm
680 g
From $399 NOTE: no Windows 7 slate but hopefully a Windows 7 version might follow. Which is maybe the EP 101tc?.IPS Screen is pretty good with good viewing angles. Also features dockable keyboard with extra connections and battery (which would provide up to 16 hours battery for Android OS). Unfortunately not clear yet if a Windows 7 version will ever be available

Canon HF-G10 Camcorder compared to HF-S21

Canon just released the new HF-G10 camcorder. Typically new Canon models are very similar to last year models but this is a new model that goes more into direction of prosumer with more manual controls and lower pixel density imager to get better low-light performance.

Compared to last year HF-S20/HF-S21/HF-S200:

Pro’s:

  • Much better low-light performance
  • Wide-angle integrated lens starting at 30mm compared to 43mm which really required a wide-angle lens for most purposes to get same wide view. Also dynamic steadyshot doesn’t work with lens attached so not needing the wide-angle lens also improves that
  • More manual controls including new full manual mode with waveform monitor and finer manual settings for sharpness/brightness/contrast/saturation: 5 levels instead of 3
  • Slightly less noisy image in daylight due to lower pixel count although there’s some moire and less sharpness. According to Slashcam G10 has higher luminance resolution but lower color resolution
  • Lighter and more compact if you’d be using HF-S series with wide-angle lens
  • Increased electronic viewfinder resolution (260K versus 123K pixels)
  • New Cinemode filters with custom settings: color depth, softening filter, Key brightness or contrast
  • New audio options: normal/wide/zoom
  • New soft zoom option to gradually stop the zoom
  • Battery last longer at least on paper: 215min compared to 165 min for BP-819 battery
  • Lens ring to adjust focus
  • Misc: assignable 2 buttons (W/B option), ND filter, medium AF mode, remote controller zoom, …
  • Couple of more smaller changes…

Con’s:

  • $1500 MSRP which is $200 more than HF-S21 but with 16GB less memory. Although cheaper if you’d probably spend the additional $260 to add Canon wide-angle lens for HF-S21
  • No low cost entry model without integrated memory or without viewfinder
  • No integrated automatic lens cover (best to buy protective UV filter)
  • In daylight picture looks slightly less contrasty and sharp but little less noisy so trade-off. Picture might be matched closer with adjusting custom picture effects
  • Less zoom (about 0.7x) and 1.7x digital (tele-converter) zoom will give less good picture due to less pixels
  • No mini-video light
  • Lower resolution still images: 2MP instead of 6MP (although in general you’re better off anyway with good compact for still images)
  • Couple of more minor changes…

Manuals (reload to get it correcty loaded:

See here framegrab comparisons from slashcam.de at 1200 lux and in low-light:

HF-S21 versus HF-G10 in low-light

Slashcam comparison: HF-S21 versus HF-G10 in low-light

Slashcam comparison 1200 lux HF-S21 left, HF-G10 right

Moved…

I moved the blog to lucienkblog.wordpress.com.

Lenovo S10-3t tablet PC netbook review

Here’s a quick review of the Lenovo S10-3t multi-touch tablet PC. It’s not a brand new tablet PC but there aren’t too many reviews out there and I think it deserves bit more attention. Since price is excellent and at around $500 you get a netbook with rotating multi-touch capacitive 10.1” display (tablet), 2 USB ports, flash card slot, built-in webcam and optional auto-rotate detection (accelerometer). If you’re looking for a netbook with smooth multi-touch capabilities like the hyped iPad but with full windows 7 functionality, USB ports then this is a great deal.

Other reviews: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/ideapad-s10-3t.aspx

Overview

The Lenovo S10-3t is a 10” netbook but with multi-touch capabilities and rotating screen to allow tablet mode as well. The model reviewed has a 1.83 GHz Intel N470 with 2GB memory. This model also has larger 250GB disk drive and blue-tooth. The price was around $500 (with $25 coupon from Logicbuy.com at that time). The Lenovo is sold directly be Lenovo and several other online retailers. Look for coupons if you plan to buy one online (e.g. Logicbuy.com).

Display

The contrast of the screen is pretty good and black looks like black (which is not always the case with tablet PC’s). Also I don’t see grain or other pixilated effects that often occur with tablet PC’s. For that matter the display looks to me same as a typical non-tablet PC.

Maximum brightness is about average and for sunny outdoor use it’s not quite bright enough and the display is glossy so reflections make it harder to see. UPDATE: I did a test outdoors in the sun and it’s better than I expected (lot better than Viliv S5). It’s definitely viewable if sun is not directly on display or in little bit of shade.

The viewing angles are fairly decent horizontally but not good vertically. In tablet portrait mode the viewing angles are limited and best results are to slightly move it off center vertically.

The S10-3t has an accelerometer built-in which means it can automatically switch and rotate between portrait and landscape. However this can also cause inadvertent screen rotation so I’d turn it off and use the button to switch manually. Speaking of buttons there are 3 buttons on the side of the display: application start button, rotate button and a volume mute button. Lenovo doesn’t give you an option to change the buttons however you can with custom software. E.g. see http://www.lenovos103t.com/2010/05/alternative-rotation-program-with.html. Also the volume mute button can be reprogrammed using autohotkey. E.g. this will remap the button to page down if in Adobe reader:

; remove this for remap to be global
#IfWinActive,ahk_class AcrobatSDIWindow
SC120:PgDn ; remap mute button to page down

The touch-screen features multi-touch and you can zoom using pinch gesture, swipe finger to scroll up/down. Also rotate works with 2 fingers for pictures.

Keyboard and touchpad

Keyboard is pretty good and slightly smaller than an average size notebook but I had no problems typing accurately and fast on this keyboard. The touchpad is responsive but the small buttons at the bottom overlap with the touch area so it can happen often that while clicking the button you go too high and the mouse will jump. You get used to this little bit but tapping on the touchpad seems more reliable to left click.

Audio and webcam

The sound of the speakers are pretty poor and sound is very thin with almost no bass. On the other hand the headphones out quality was very good and better than most notebooks I have used. I haven’t tested webcam much but laptopmag.com tested the webcam so take a look at that review (see link above).

Performance

I did remove all programs that I didn’t use to increase perf a bit. I also disabled custom flicks to get slightly smoother multi-touch. From hibernate to startup takes about 25 seconds. Full boot takes about 1 minute. Standby is almost instant and the battery does appear to last almost a week in this mode. See battery section for more details.

Software & video performance

Software Works out of the box? Comments  / workarounds
Video
Youtube.com regular 480p works but 720p stutters 720p will work fine if you download video first… (keepvid or browser plug-in).
Vimeo.com Stutters in default HD mode, turning off HD work also in full screen Non-HD still looks fairly decent but obviously not HD.
Hulu.com Stutters in all modes except the new 288p
720p MPEG2
1080p MPEG2
Yes I found even 1080p at 6MB works fluid and CPU usage is around 20%
720p MP4
1080p MP4
No (yes with corecodec) No Installing CoreCodec will make 720p MP4 fluid. 1080p just can’t be played regardless
720p WMV depends Older 720p WMV and higher bit rates will be jerky.
Browsers / Readers
Internet Explorer 8/9 Smooth 1 finger scrolling and pinch zoom is ok (slightly slow) Turn off hardware acceleration in IE9. Otherwise it won’t scroll fast.
FireFox Similar to IE8. Zoom not quite as fast but scrolling slightly smoother for some more complex sites Recommendation: download the youtube plugin
Adobe Reader (PDF) and Digital Edition (ebook reader) Yes You can move around using finger when zoomed in, otherwise you can’t swipe to go to next page but you tape left/right to do that
Microsoft Reader Works including activation Gives warning at startup for screen resolution but works otherwise ok
CDisplay Works
GAMES
Stella 2600 emulator works 100% Note USB joysticks like the StellaAdapter works great
Winston Atari ST works 100% Audio is slightly distorted I noticed
Atari Lynx Handy works 100%
VisualBoyAdvance works 100% for most games
Project64 ? Haven’t tested it but other people reported it works
iDeas doesn’t really work Too slow…

Screenshot CDisplay and VisualBoyAdvance:

Battery

There is a 4 cell and a 8 cell available. Lenovo ships typically the 4 cell with the S10-3t and most other sites the 8 cell. The 8 cell is strongly recommended since it double battery life but it does makes the S10-3t bit heaver and the battery does stick out. I had one issues that I couldn’t figure out when the battery was fully charged and finally discovered then it blinks periodically (like every 2 seconds or so) when it’s charging. It’s steady when it doesn’t blink.

Expect about 2-4 hours with the 4 cell and twice of that with the 8 cell. Here are some numbers for balanced mode with display brightness at about 80%:

Software -% per hour 4 cell -% per hour 8 cell
Gameboy Advance 36%   (2hrs 47min) 18%  (5hrs 33min)
Video MPEG2 40%   (2hrs 30min) 20%  (5hrs)
IE Browsing 32%   (3hrs 8min) 16%  (6hrs 15min)
Reading pdf (WiFi off) 20%   (5hrs) 10%  (10hrs)

UPDATE: I also tested the battery drain in standby mode. The stand by almost consumes no battery power and seems that stand by will work for at least several days or even a week:-). Here are results:

Time -% per hour 8 cell
after 2 hours -1%
after 4 hours -2%

Summary

If you’re looking for a netbook tablet pc then there are very few choices (see http://lucienk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A4AE3FB12A26635!1934.entry for overview of touch screen mobile devices). For around $500 this is a great netbook with decent multi-touch capabilities. You may need to invest some time to tweak performance to get best results (use msconfig32 to remove unnecessary programs).

For some reason tablet PC are sometimes compared to iPad (e.g. LapTopMag who should know better). An iPad is not a notebook and is more like a multi-media device. It doesn’t have flexibility of a PC which may or may not be an issue. It’s not a coincidence that the iPad doesn’t have USB ports or a SD slot and it can’t process several common formats out of the box (PDF,DIVX/AVI,FLASH,WMV,DOCX,DIVX/AVI , …). Here are some things you can do with S10-3t and not easily with iPad if at all:

  • Install variety USB devices: printer, game controllers, backup drive, GPS
  • Install free game emulators (Atari, C64, Nintendo, Arcade emulators)
  • Use it as a backup device for your flash media (camcorder or camera)
  • Get USB or blue-tooth GPS and install Garmin or Street&Trips as GPS device
  • Install reader like CDisplay or Adobe reader and read any pdf
  • Connect to PC or XBOX 360 hooked up to your TV wirelessly and access audio/video/pictures
  • Tons of freeware available

Summary Pro/cons S10-3t:

+ Display: good contrast and relatively bright
+ Decent Windows 7 performance with 1.8GHz CPU and 2GB memory
+ Great price and comes with built-in webcam
+ Good headphones audio quality
+ 720p MPEG2/MPEG4 playback
+ Good multi-touch performance for zooming & scrolling
o 4 cell Battery could last longer and 8 cell is bit heavy
– Poor quality built-in speakers and not very loud
– Viewing angles could be little bit better
– Not enough performance to playback 720p HD flash
– No HDMI port
– Screen could be bit higher resolution
– flash card slot is tough to open and cover sticks out when card is inserted

Touch-screen portable windows devices overview

It’s been 2 years since I wrote an overview of ultra-mobile devices and things seem to have changed since then. Terminology is even more confusing nowadays.

Here’s an overview of portable touch notebooks with Windows 7 and explanation of the terminology. UMPC’s are still around and I’d define those as touch-screens smaller than 8” typically but they may not be that different than a small tablet PC except size and CPU.

Here’s an overview of terminology:

  • Slider: keyboard that slides out (typically MID’s: smaller displays 4.8" – 7")
  • Clamshell: keyboard flips open (typically MID’s: smaller displays 4.8" – 7")
  • Tablet Netbook: mini tablet PC with a keyboard (displays 6-10")
  • Slate Netbook: no keyboard just touch-screen (typically 10”)
  • Tablet PC’s: notebooks typically around 12".

Note for multi-touch devices with Windows you’d want at least Windows 7 Premium since that edition supports touch (e.g. drag ‘n drop and pinch for pictures/IE browser).

Selection of couple of popular various models ordered by size (click link for more info):

Style

Model

Display / CPU

Weight

Battery life

Comments

Slate UMPC

Viliv S5, $499

4.8” 1024×600  

Z520 1.33 GHz

single touch

154x84x24.4mm

395 g

7 hours, 5-9 hrs in my usage. Standby several days

Built-in GPS, wireless. Also sold at Best Buy. Great portable device. More info:

Viliv S5 overview & tests

Clamshell UMPC

Viliv N5, $649

4.8”

1024×600 

Z520 1.33 GHz

Webcam

single touch

172x86x25 mm

388 g

3-4 hours

Same as S5 but with keyboard and smaller battery and webcam

Slate UMPC

Viliv X70, $549-$900

7”
1024×600

Z520 1.33 GHz

Webcam

single touch

210x117x22.5 mm

660 g

3-5 hours

Same as S5 but bigger screen, webcam and SD. There’s also a (white) S7 convertible tablet PC with keyboard

Slate UMPC

HP Slate 500, $799

8.9"
1024×600

Z540 1.8 GHz

Webcam+cam

234x147x150 mm

680 g

5+ hours

Ships in Nov 2010. Features USB, active digitizer, HD Acceleration

Slate

Hanvon Touchpad BC10C & BA10E, est. $650-$900

10.1”

1024×600

Z530/ULV743 1.3Ghz

Webcam

253x168x18.4mm

2xUSB/8buttons/SD

980g

3-4 hours?

USB+customizable side buttons+ trackpad. Expect many more slates to follow(e.g. Asus Eee Pad).

Slate

Viewsonic ViewPad 100, est. 549 Euro /$750?

10.1”

1024×600

N455 1.55Ghz?

WebCam/GPS

2xUSB/MicroSD

 

 

 

?

3-5 hours?

Oct 2010 expected

Tablet PC / Netbook

Gigabyte T1000 $699

  

 

10.1”

1366×768

N450 1.66GHz

Webcam

multi-touch

265x195x38.5mm

1300 g

6cell 1480g

? hours (4cell)

? hours (6cell)

 

Higher screen resolution than Lenovo S10-3t but also pricier. Not many tests done for this model.

Tablet PC / Netbook

Lenovo S10-3t, $480 

10.1”

1024×600

N450 1.66-1.83 GHz

Webcam

multi-touch

279x175x28mm

1242 g
1490 g (8 cell)

1.5-4 hours (4cell)

3-8 hours (8cell)

8cell will stick out

Good contrast screen, vertical angles limited & could be brighter outdoors.Graphics power limited but responsive multi-touch. Overall great deal

Tablet PC / Netbook

Asus Eee T191, $400
  

10.1”

1024×600

Intel Z520 1.33GHz

Webcam

225x164x28.5 mm

954 g

3-5 hours

Good contrast but not very bright display. Very underpowered.

Tablet PC / Netbook

Viliv S10 Blade, $799 – $1200

10.1”

 

Intel Z530 1.6-2.0GHz

Webcam

multi-touch

260x185x25

1210 g

6-10 hours est.

Thin & Light but bit overpriced & display angles below average. Multi-touch not as smooth as on other devices

Tablet PC

HP tm2

$800-$1200

12.1”
1280×800
Webcam
Optional ATI HD 4550 graphics (recommended)
multi-touch

2050 g

2-5 hours

Good performance & good responsive touch-screen for low price. Downside is screen contrast.

Tablet PC

Fujitsu Lifebook TH700/T730, $1149

12.1”, 200 nits
1280×800
Core i3-350M 2.26GHz
Webcam
multi-touch

1890 g

1-5 hrs est.

Haven’t found much info on this and other Fujitsu tablet PC’s

Tablet PC

Dell Latitude XT2

$2000 / $900 outlet

12”

1280×800

Core 2 Duo

1.2-1.6 GHz

no webcam

multi-touch

1690 g

2140 g

1-3 hours

2-7 hours with optional slice battery

Good screen but average performance and expensive. But at Dell Outlet you can get it for around $900.

Tablet PC

Lenovo X201t,
$1400-$2500

12.1”

1280×800

Core i5/i7

Webcam

single/pen or multi-touch

 

295x228x26.5

295x257x26.5

1600-1780g (4/8 cell battery)

1-3.5 hours (4cell)

3-6 hours (8cell)

Very fast and great display options (incl. outdoor). Very expensive but check for coupons and Lenovo’s outlet

Tablet PC

Fujitsu T900, $1600-$2000

13.3” non-refl.
1280×800
Core i5 or i7
Webcam

320x248x39mm

2380 g

1-3 hours
(+65% with optional 2nd battery)

Great display and viewable from almost any angle. Pricey though and poor battery life