Not long now! + My top ten classic albums

I should be making my next stock order this week. We will definitely have a 10.1 inch hybrid style device, and some cool other new tablets including, I hope some of the very new cherry trail chipset devices! 🙂 So, I’ll keep you up to date, but that will be happening soon now.

My I thought to myself, perhaps this blog could be a little more personal. You know, make it more fun, rather than just about technology. So in that spirit, here’s my top ten modern classic albums! 🙂

10) Infected Mushroom – Friends on mushrooms

It’s hectic, and not everyone likes trance music. But this is a passionate collection of very and psychedelic innovative tracks with some relateable pop sensibilities mixed in, and very deserving of the ‘classic status’.

9) The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Catchy and a little off beat, these soulful but uplifting songs make great summer folk/pop music for those upbeat days and road trips.

8) Florence and the Machine – How big, how blue, how beautiful

A spirit shaking album, as Florence often produces, the acoustic clarity and subtle electronic touches, make not only for an album of deep resonance and emotionality, but also an album so sonically fine, that flac, or CD makes a big difference

7) Muse – 2nd Law

While the newer drones signals a very artful return to operatic rock, 2nd Law stands out as a unique blend of electronica, Queen like operatic rock pop and deep emotional sentiment – probably more approachable than any of muses other albums at the same time

6) Ludovico – In a Time Lapse

Ludovico’s albums are always moving, beautiful, so simple yet intricate. Passionate, and yet relaxing. In a time lapse, has this epic yet gentle feel, and easily stands as a classic, in my mind, within modern classical music

5) Imagine Dragons – Smoke and Mirrors

Imagine dragons latest album, has a less pop, and harder edge rock sound. It speaks also, to me, more authentically in the lyrics and subject matter. There are a great many good songs on this album, rather than the handful of the last album. Excellent pop/rock.

4) Akala – Thieves Banquet

Not exactly rap, certainly not hip-hop. Akala is from the UK, and fuses concious intelligent lyrics with live instrumentation. Thieves Banquet moves from deep social commentary to uplifting philosophical sentiment

3) Robyn – Body Talk

Sure not every track in this multiple release is amazing. But this series contains some of Robyns best songs – from the quirky, attitude filled rap and dance inspired tracks, to the heartfelt, raw honest emotional pop of tracks like Indestructible or Hang with me.

2) Tiny Ruins – Brightly Painted One

Tiny Ruins is a solo kiwi female singer, with a folk acoustic style very reminiscent of the more authentic singers of the sixties. The lyrics, and tone of these songs, is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with inauthentic and over produced music.

1) The Glitch Mob – Drink the Sea

The Glitch Mobs first major album, received initially a fair bit of criticism. They came from the background of beat music, from hip-hop DJs, and their new sound was more tribal, primal, rock inspired, with elements of glitch, hip-hop, bass music – neither listening music, nor dancing music, like a sort of spiritual soundtrack of peoples lives. They wrote it during a time of high emotion, and its hard to imagine anything like the raw creativity of an album like this ever occurring again. The fandom grew quickly, with their music being used in youtube videos, and movies. If you want something electronic, but very soulful, I highly recommend it.

More updates!

Sorry about the lack of articles. We’ll be returning to some good tech articles soon. For now briefly I am just giving a bit of a much needed update on the tablet market, and our store.

We have run out of both 8 inch Teclast tablets, and 9.7 inch Cube tablets. And we only have a small number of 7 inch Cube tablets left. We have a big stock order coming up, and I believe in 2-3 weeks, we should have a new range of tablets, including a proper hybrid laptop, and phablet, and some swish next generation cherry trail chipset tablets!

On the tablet market front, we have two announcements this week, continuing the wave of core-M and cherry trail next gen releases. The first is the Teclast X2 Pro. Its an 11.6 inch laptop hybrid, it’s Core-M, has two full sized usb 3 ports, 4gb of RAM and either 64 or 128 SSD. It seems to operate with a conducive stylus. It looks pretty great, but I am unlikely to get it in this time. Firstly, there may not be an official english release yet, and secondly, I am going to get in something more affordable first – as a tablet hybrid can run cheaper than a laptop, and I’d like to bring people that option foremost.

The second announced device is the Asus Transformer Book T100HA. Unfortunately this device looks slightly behind the above hybrid. No doubt a device with the same specs, such as the many upcoming chinese devices will be cheaper. The one thing ASUS does right however is the keyboard dock, which is always well thought out, very study, useable, laptop like. The design aspect is more premium. We do actually have access to Asus stock now through our distributors, but this one will likely not be in the next stock order – soon though, you’ll see a few Asus options in store.

Watch this space – more exciting new tablet products will be available soon 🙂

More updates

As China, is in the midst of releasing its new gen Intel M-core and Intel Cherry Trail processor tablets, we have news every weeks with rumours, and releases details.

This week, we have two 8 inch announcements. Which is a favourite from factor of mine, because its one handed and portable, but still has a good screen size.

We know they both should be released some time in later October, but we don’t know the specs yet. Suspicion is on a Cherry trail processor with 2GBs of RAM for both models the Chuwi Hi8 pro, and the Onda 820W CH. I have my eye on the Chuwi (pictured above), as the design pictures look very solid, seem to include HDMI and USB-C connectors, and the resolution will be at least 1920×1200. Both can be expanded by up to 128GB, which is nice to see.

The Intel ATOM X5 Cherry Trail Z8300 Processor has a higher base frequency, and burst frequency, and more RAM bandwidth, as well as the capability to use up to 4GBs for RAM. Some have been release such as some of the 9.7 inch models, with full SSD rather than the slower, more typical eMMC (SSD is about 2-3 times faster).

I can see more announcements and models, over the next maybe six months up to Christmas.

Currently we have a huge 20-33% of everything until midnight 1st of October.

In terms of the store, we are looking at our next stock order in two to three weeks. I am looking at some of the next gen models, and will try to have a wider variety this time – including at least one full hybrid, and probably a phablet.

We also have access now to some NZ distributors, and in the long term that will probably allow us to stock some western brands, such as Acer.

News roundup & General updates

 

Apple have announced a new Surface pro like device, the iPad Pro. Critics have been quick to point out that it does seem like a direct copy of a Microsoft idea, but actually the hybrid design has been around longer, and has been done by many others.
Whilst this might be good news for Apple fans, and the new version of iOS will include multi-tasking, I note, that unlike Windows tablets, Apple users aren’t getting the full desktop OS here, a true hybrid OS – they are getting Apples standard mobile/touch platform a more limited environment. Not to mention the outrageous price tag!

There are a host of new announcements in the Chinese market. Onda have a 9.7 inch Core-M tablet, with 4GB of ram and an SSD – the new v919 Core-M. Which is pretty exciting, as those are almost (or actually pretty much) slimline laptop type specs. The Teclast X98 Pro (pictured above), another 9.7 inch next generation tablet, with Cherry Trail processor, and 4GB of RAM, has also been stirring up a lot of interest. With slightly lower specs than the Onda, this next generation tablet runs at a more affordable price.

Teclast are also releasing a very cheap 9.7 model with lower specs, Cube are only a few days away from a big announcement (I expect a new flagship, or M-core tablet), and Pipo have a new Windows hybrid tablet coming – the W1S – also Cherry Trail and coming in either 2GB/32GB or 4gb/64GB. Very nice 🙂

Everything points to that high speed shift the market has been waiting for – Core-M and Cherry trail devices, with more RAM, SSD, and slimline laptop like power! Which is auspicious timing for those getting used to the hybrid OS power of Windows 10, and no doubt there will be a lot more to come as far as tablets go (I expect some in the 8 inch size soon too). Not to forget, Core-M isn’t in any western brand tablets yet!

Good news also on the cheaper 2GB/32GB 9.7 inch from Teclast, if it reviews well, I will look into that, and perhaps one of the Cherry trail tablets.

On the store front, I am looking into where to expand my stock into next. I definitely want a broader range of tablets, especially a full hybrid, and perhaps something like the Cube T7 – which is a higher end 7 inch tablet. I’ll look at all the options, trying to give you a good choice in every category. But I would also like to expand accessories a bit more, have some other microSD card options, maybe PC stick, bluetooth keyboards, perhaps a docking station. I am open to ideas, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know 🙂

 

Tablets versus Smart Phones

Some people who haven’t used much in the way of tablets, find it harder understand the need for one. But there are some very essential differences in the experience, that make a tablet quite desirable.

The biggest difference is the screen size. Consider the differences between the size of other display and input devices, say a watch calculator versus a full sized calculator, or indeed a smart watch versus a smart phone – the display and interface are more difficult to use and view, and the portability higher for the smaller device.

realistic-digital-tablet-pc-and-mobile-phone-620x425-100540325-primary.idge

 

With a tablet, you can read and view the device more easily. With smart phones and reading, you often see people holding the phone quite close to their face, using different orientations, and pinch zooming and scrolling a lot. With a larger screen, you can hold it more comfortably, have the screen contain more text, easier to see graphics and so on. It makes the experience more comfortable and more visual.

You can see these differences in the way people use a smart phone versus a tablet. People are more likely to make purchases on a tablet. more likely to use it in the lounge, home office, or kitchen. People often use them whilst traveling. Tablets are often shared with spouses, children, whereas mobiles are not – they are great for sharing content with others, and frequently find a place in the living room, as a go to computing device.

Fishing 1

Mobiles, are pocketable and so are used for communication, mobile Apps. Tablets are used more for content consumption, movies, internet, games, books and magazines. And sometimes they are used more like desktop computers, for work applications. And like some mobiles bridging the gap a little – phablets which are between 5-5 and 7 inch screens, their are tablets that bridge desktop and laptop gaps, so called hybrids, 2 in 1, and 3 in 1 devices – tablets that can be used as netbooks, laptops or desktops.

Peripherals

Tablets frequently have expandable memory, and additional ports like micro-USB, and mini or micro-HDMI, to support their more desktop or laptop style of function.

And I have heard of people using their phone less, or even going to a dumb phone, when they get a tablet. Overlap between devices means that, yes if you had a smart phone, 7 inch tablet, 10 inch tablet, laptop, and desktop – you might use them all.

Certainly the sizes would give some different function – but with that many devices one would be inclined to ignore many of them due to overlap, and habits. Device overlap creates some redundancy, and at the same time, a great deal of expense and file syncing – and this is where tablets rule – because they can be 2 in 1, and 3 in 1, the right device can cover nearly all of that space unlike any of the others – and they can have text and calling functions. One device, but the role of many.

Not only that, but CPU chipsets just coming into the market (watch this space, I will be stocking these devices soon enough!) allow tablets to compare in speed with laptops, closing the gap between these devices.

And that is why a tablet is a lot different from a regular smart phone. It can reduce all that redundancy, acting in the place of a range of devices – offering a convenient, easy and enjoyable portal to the Internet, and media around the home, which is superior in many ways to a phone with its screen size, more convenient than a desktop or laptop, and a more portable form for on the go for school, work or personal use, than the laptop.

Free 2 months Quickflix!

Very exciting news. Thanks to Quickflix a great content streaming company here in New Zealand, we are able to give away 2 months of free streaming membership with every tablet purchase for customers in NZ!

That’s free Movies and TVs shows, from Quickflix, on any Tablet you purchase from our store, Tap That, the tablet specialists.

I’ve been watching some Doctor Who 🙂

Enjoy!

A few great Android Apps

Following my article about great Android Games, here some apps that I have found very useful 🙂

First up is SideBooks. Now for comic and magazine reading, there are a lot of options. The trouble is a) many of these are not very fast, and that matters a lot when you have to wait for loading magazine or comic pages and b) many do not have bookshelves to easily select what you want to read. SideBooks lets you import from a single folder easily a whole bookshelf and from many many apps tested for loading speed, is the fastest I have found (much faster than most). If you want to read pdfs, comics, magazines – this is a must have IMO.

Similarly, if you want to get news and magazine content for free, from online sources, Flipboard lets you compile your own interests, creating your own personalized magazines. Which is very cool. It also runs on Windows tablets.

Ever worried that you might accidentally buy something via an app, or the play store? Or that someone else might using your device? AppLock lets you put a pin number on the Play Store, so that never happens.

ES file explorer is a very useful Android app, that allows you to now only browse files, but play them, stream them, and access the root files (if you have a rooted phone or tablet). It’s much better as a user experience compared with the native file browser.

Maxthon Browser is a quick browser, and that is very handy if you have an older device, such as one with low RAM.

K-9 Mail is a full featured e-mail client that lets you access e-mail other than outlook, or Gmail.

And Swype keyboard is a great way to speed up that text input when using a touch screen device. Takes a bit of getting used to, but more efficient, for sure.

Cheers, don’t forget to check out our store for some great deals on tablets!

6 really great Android Games

I thought with all the recent focus on Windows 10, it was time I posted something for the many many Android users out there.

There are a lot of simple well known games like Fruit Ninja or Angry birds. But there are also some lesser known, really complete full games in the Play store. And that’s what I wanted to draw everyones attention today. These are all ports from other platforms like XBox, and PC. And some of these may play very well with our telescopic gaming pad. Just check to see if the game is compatible with a bluetooth controller (many are).

The first one is Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. It’s an open world third person/first person hybrid, with a great quirky sense of humour. The graphics are good, and it’s 50% off ATM.

The second in our list of great Android Games is Shadowrun Returns. This runs best on a tablet, because otherwise the writing is a little small. This amazing top down RPG takes place in a cyberpunk fantasy world that is really compelling. There are some difficult battles, and more than enough to keep you wanting more. Fortunately, there are sequels.

The third great Android game is The Bard’s Tale. It’s a 3d top down RPG that is a parody of the genre of RPGs. It’s actually very funny, and if you are into the fantasy genre, or have played any other RPGs, it will likely tickle your funny bone. It’s also a good RPG, and has some nice graphics.

Couldn’t make a list of great ports without mentioning GTA: Vice City. Like most of the more complex games in the play store, they may not run with every kind of hardware. So test them as soon as they are installed, in case you need a refund. GTA Vice City, is the exact same game as the original PC version, and the controls are nicely implemented.

Beamdog created the enhanced edition version of Baldur’s Gate. The graphics are a little dated these days, but the classic RPG gameplay is well worth it. The story, characters and world are a lot of fun if you get into it. And there are adaptions of the sequel coming too.

Last on our little list of great Android Games worth checking out is Max Payne Mobile. This game brings its classic time slowing shooter action to Android devices. If you want to shoot lots of people – this should be something you give a look.

Windows 10 on a tablet

I recently have had the pleasure of playing around with Windows 10 on a tablet. I upgraded one of the Teclast x80HD models to Windows 10 only (which I can do for anyone who wants it btw). Windows 10 is uniquely well thought out in terms of its touch design.

Unlike Windows 8.1, the tiles screen, in Windows 10 called the tablet mode, is very powerful. You can access all your Apps on the left side of the screen, and a start menu like menu from the top left. You can have the taskbar visible on this screen, including all your open Apps so you can easily switch between them (or you can switch tasks via a gesture by swiping from the left). And the action center gives you access to the desktop mode, bluetooth and power saving toggles, and other options.

Even the search function is a lot more powerful in Windows 10. Basically the tablet mode is very powerful, and unlike in Windows 8.1, you can use it exclusively on a tablet. It’s a joy to see the interface done right for tablet users.

Windows 10 – almost here & a boon for tablet users

We are only a few days away from the release of Windows 10, which as you may know already is a free upgrade for legitimate users of 7 and 8/8.1. So if you have Windows and a proper license for it, the option is there to upgrade for free.

Which might sound scary to those many of you who did not like Windows 8 – but it shouldn’t be. Windows 10 is designed to appeal both to touch users, and those who felt like a more traditional Windows experience (with the start menu for example). Reviews in already suggest that it is a solid operating system, with a great many powerful features.

The first one that everyone is talking about is Cortana and the search function. Cortana is Windows voice personal assistant. Interesting text and voice can be used interchangeably here, and people have suggested that the search features are powerful enough to replace the start menu. Cortana is able to activate program features by voice as well, so you can for example, turn off the Bluetooth, by asking. It seems like Cortana may be every bit as powerful as Microsoft have been promising. And microsoft are releasing Cortana on Android and iOS. Here is a leaked Android APK beta for Cortana.

The second thing people are remarking on is the quick options for multi-tasking. Windows 10 comes with a variety of gestures and a smart interface that enables you to snap windows, or change windows for multi-tasking with ease. Add to this virtual desktops, and Windows 10 is a multi-tasking powerhouse. Even when you switch to tablet mode, Windows will preserve two snapped windows for you, allowing you to do a side by side.

Windows 10 by all reports is faster, and runs games better.

The action center is also a bit of an answer to something android has been doing for awhile, but it’s a little bit more powerful. It replaced the much maligned charms bar in Windows 8.1. As well as allowing you to switch between tablet and desktop mode, activate flight mode and so on, you can add a note in one note, access settings, turn on VPN and a few more. It also features a new quiet hours mode that allows you to banish notifications when you don’t want to be disturbed – in the world we live in, thats a smart feature.

The start button has returned, and it offers a blend of the modern UI, and the traditional Windows 7 start button – making it familiar enough, while preserving touch apps, at a glance news articles and so on.

Windows 10 also offers a new universal app system, that promises to make things easier for developers and increase the number of touch apps on Windows over time. Firstly the apps are designed to essentially run on any device. Secondly there is easy code for importing the apps from android or iOS. And this way, developers can write their code once, or port it once, and never have to design for multiple platforms again. From a developers point of view, this means it will be cheaper and easier. And hopefully that means that Windows 10 will eventually be full of touch apps for everyone to use.

The introduction of the ‘task view’ allows for a preview style task switching method, that is very tablet friendly, but also allows for virtual desktops.

Overall, Windows 10, from early reviews, looks to be the solid new modern OS design that everyone was hoping for. And I think it will be particularly powerful on tablets, hybrids and phones for its ability to bridge the gap between touch and keyboard input.

Many of these features very much needed refining. For example, whilst on android, switching off bluetooth was a two touch operation, it was a further step, and more complex in Windows 8.1. This strong interface optimization will allow Windows 10 to be the first strong, true hybrid OS. And I think we will only see the impact of that user power more as time goes on.

However, one final caveat – an upgrade process will likely not be perfect and need some trouble shooting. It’s quite likely that not everything will work perfectly on the release day of any new OS. If you wish to avoid this possibility, perhaps wait to hear back from other users before making the switch.

BTW, I sell one tablet with Windows 8.1. Using the product key, you should be able to upgrade, to Windows 10 when it comes to the day. And on request I may be able to do that for you, before sending the device out. Because they are dual boot devices however, it is possible you will lose Android (which isn’t so bad, because you also would gain much needed space). When I figure out more about this, I’ll let you all know.