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Did the 3G Nexus 7 appear in FCC filings?
Much speculation has surrounded Google's upcoming Android event, set to happen on Oct. 29 in New York.
After Apple unloaded a heap of new or revamped devices (the iPad mini, among others) on Oct. 23, and following Microsot's Oct.26 launch for Windows 8 and its devices (Surface), the tech world may be in for new device overload if the rumors surrounding Google's event are to be believed.
Google is keeping Monday's plans tightly under wraps, but reports point to the possible debut of a LG Nexus 4, an HTC Nexus 5 and/or 32GB Nexus 7 and 10-inch Nexus 10 tablets, there seems to be no shortage of hot new items supposedly being introduced at the event.
Now the possible 3G Nexus 7 can count itself among the possible devices to appear in New York.
This isn't the first time reports of a 3G Nexus 7 have made the rounds; just the latest.
Earlier this month, the NCC (the Taiwanese version of the United States' FCC) revealed documents containing a supposed 3G version of the popular Asus tablet.
The model number of the "Asus Pad" with 3G connectivity was indicated in the NCC's paperwork as ME370TG.
The original Nexus 7's model number is ME370T, which doesn't make it that much of a challenge to interpret just what the extra "G" may stand for.
That same ME370TG model number has now shown up in FCC filings, indicating the possible impending announcement of a 3G Nexus 7 in the U.S.
None of the pertinent material detailing just what sets the ME370TG apart from the ME370T appears in the filings, but recent evidence (including an internal Google video) points to the 3G Nexus 7 being very real.
With just a few short days until Google's Android event in NYC, the wait to see just what the company has in store for Android devices won't be that long.
TechRadar will be reporting live from the event, so be sure to check back on Monday for the latest updates on Google's announcements.
Review: Lenovo IdeaCentre A720
Should evidence still be needed to show that the PC has moved beyond the traditional grey or black box, this is it. The stylish Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is the thinnest all-in-one touchscreen PC and it's ready for Windows 8.
It's no matter of style over substance either. With Intel's top-end Core i7 processor inside, it'll have more than enough poke to carry out everything from office work to video calling, movie watching, gaming and much, much more. However, you do pay for this performance with the A720's hefty £1,400 UK (around AU$2,171) and $1,729 US price tag.
But, while many PCs still use cheaper materials, this feels like it's straight from the school of high-design. The whole base and monitor casing is made from aluminium, with a glass panel. Various controls such as volume and brightness are dotted around the screen on the edge of the glass - they're touch-sensitive rather than having buttons underneath.
Disappointingly, the screen doesn't tilt back enough to go flat - unlike on several other all-in-one PCs such as the new touch-enabled Dell XPS 27 - but it does tilt to a nice 45-degree angle, so it's ideal for many home uses. It has a 95-degree viewing angle, so you can certainly have several people around the screen without issue.
The base of the computer is rather heavy, but then this isn't designed to be a portable device, and it makes manoeuvring the screen a whole lot easier - it would be poor if you needed to hold down the base every time you tilted the screen. Unlike some other all-in-ones such as Apple's iMac, the PC is in the base rather than behind the screen itself.
Entertainment is the name of the game here. As well as a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive, the addition of two HDMI ports - both in and out - is welcome, so you can use the IdeaCentre as a display to connect up to a games console or a device such as an Apple TV.
There's also an integrated Freeview TV tuner, so you can plug in a TV antenna feed, while there's wired or wireless internet connectivity and a memory card slot for transferring your digital photos into Windows 8. The sound from the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is beefy and doesn't disappoint, thanks to the integrated Dolby Home Theatre-powered speakers.
In terms of storage, you get a huge 1TB drive - more than enough for all the family's photos, games and other media. There are plenty of options for connecting up external devices, including Bluetooth and four USB ports, two of which are of the newer and faster USB 3.0 type.
This is great, except the included keyboard and mouse need one for a receiver, while the included media remote control receiver also needs another. It would have been a lot better to have all these things built-in.
The remote control is a nice addition and, while the buttons are a little plasticky, it's quite good for flicking through music or other media.
The screen has a Full HD resolution, so you can play back Blu-ray discs at the resolution that was intended, as well as take advantage of the great graphics in the very latest games. The display features something that Lenovo calls a Dynamic Brightness System - essentially providing protection for your eyes by automatically adjusting screen brightness based on the ambient light conditions.
An alert will also tell you if you're too close to the screen - something that can be a problem with large touchscreens.
Sadly, the premium feel doesn't quite extend to the keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is reasonable enough and is more comfortable to type on than its Apple equivalent, but the mouse is plasticky and not at all what you'd expect from a device of this undoubted quality.
The good news is that, with Windows 8, the touch keyboard and other controls mean that for most tasks you won't need separate input devices and we think you'll find yourself using the mouse less and less due to the inviting interface.
As a home entertainment PC it's a real winner - especially if you want to combine your TV and PC into a single device. As a home touch PC for Windows 8 it's also exemplary and its competence with movies and media will be hard to surpass, if you can afford the high asking price.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga
Yoga by name and by nature, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is a revolutionary touchscreen Windows 8 laptop that doubles as a 13-inch tablet, offering users the choice of the two styles of use.
The Yoga moniker comes from the lid's ability to bend backwards on itself, so that the traditional laptop design transforms to become a tablet, which makes it better suited to watching videos or using apps, while losing none of the standard laptop usability.
Under the hood is a generous configuration that offers plenty of power. There's a low-voltage third generation Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 1.8GHz with 4GB of RAM, which will crunch through nearly any task. High-end HD video rendering is best suited to beefier machines, rather than a laptop that's designed for portability, but playback, picture editing and casual gaming is all well within its limitations.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga comes in two colours - an attractive orange or a muted and slightly corporate-looking grey. We much prefer the former, which will turn heads for its stylish design as well as its contortionist tendencies. The inside, however, is plain black, with a spacious keyboard, but it sorely misses backlighting for use in dim conditions.
As the Yoga doubles as a tablet, the 13-inch touchscreen is especially important. Unfortunately, unlike other hybrids such as the Samsung Ativ Smart PC and the Asus Taichi, the screen isn't Full 1080p HD and Lenovo has plumped for a less high resolution 1,600 x 900 display. In the grand scheme of laptops that's still extremely high, but Windows 8 heralds a new generation of quality, and we feel slightly let down.
That's not to say that the screen quality is poor, however. The IPS panel isn't as horribly reflective as many of its competitors', colours are deep and vibrant and movies look fantastic on it.
Elsewhere, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga enjoys a 128GB SSD drive, which has plenty of room for your files, two USB ports, HDMI, and an SD card port. That's standard for many ultra-portable laptops, but obvious omissions are an Ethernet socket and an optical drive.
As a laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga performs well. Windows 8 is a joy to use with the touchscreen display - we actually turned off the trackpad and moved to using our fingers, which was genuinely liberating - but nowhere near as pleasurable as it is to flip the screen back and browse the web and watch videos in tablet mode.
At 1.4kg (3.1lbs) it's too heavy to walk about with, and holding the flattened chassis was heavy. However, when sitting back on the sofa or on a long train journey, the ability to bend back the Yoga and stand it up on its haunches meant we could enjoy it all the more.
There are a few bugbears with the Yoga, which make it short of perfect. There's a little flex in the plastic base of the keyboard, so the keys bounce slightly when typing.
What's more, when used in tablet mode, the keys sit exactly where your hands grip. The keyboard is disabled, thankfully, but you have no choice but to grasp it, mashing the keys as your fingers search for grip, which is annoying and feels disconcerting. As a result, we rarely held the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga as a flat tablet device.
While it's not the perfect laptop, the range of movement and use offered by the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga won us over. The more we embraced its range of movements the more the real-life benefits of a touchscreen display became apparent.
If you're looking for a great Windows 8 laptop that offers something extra, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is well worth the cash.
Microsoft's new Xbox live subscription bundles aren't as cheap as they seem
Microsoft announced that three new Xbox 360 bundles will become available starting Oct. 28 at Microsoft Stores and Toys R Us Locations, and starting Oct. 29 at Walmart.
The Xbox 360 bundle will come in three flavors, all of which necessitate the purchase of a two-year Xbox Live Gold subscription for a monthly fee of $14.99 (totaling $360).
There are two $99.99 packages: either a 4GB Xbox 360 with a Kinect accessory, or a standalone 250GB Xbox 360 console.
A third bundle will only be available for a limited time, and includes the 250GB Xbox 360 with Kinect for $149.99.
Let's do the math
As reported by CVG, Microsoft's General Manager for Interactive Entertainment Marketing Matt Barlow told the Wall Street Journal in October that "this type of program is pivotal to [Microsoft's] business."
"We wanted to see if we would get sustained consumer excitement and willingness from partners to get this in retail," he said. Apparently they did.
In reality, only two of those bundles are new; the $99 4GB console with Kinect package was introduced earlier this year in Microsoft Stores and, later, at GameStop and Best Buy locations.
Paying $99 for an Xbox 360 and Kinect, normally $300 together, seems like a good deal. But when the $360 Xbox Live subscription is factored in, customers are actually paying $40 more over that two-year period than if they'd bought those elements separately.
Yes, more math
So how do the two new Xbox 360 bundles add up?
A standalone 250GB Xbox 360 normally costs $249.99 at the Microsoft Store, both online and at physical retail locations. Adding two years of Xbox Live Gold ($60 annually) brings the total to $370.
The new bundle with the same components (standalone 250GB Xbox 360 and two years of Xbox Live Gold) will cost a total of $460. Yikes.
Meanwhile, a 250GB Xbox 360 console bundled with Kinect is currently $349.99. With the normal $120 two-year Xbox Live sub, that's $470 total.
The new limited-time 250GB bundle with Kinect ($150) plus the $15 per month Xbox Live sub ($360 over two years) is $510. Double yikes.
The only advantage is not having to shell out all the money up front. If paying more in the long run is worth it, then some customers may indeed prefer the new, more expensive bundles.
Otherwise, steer clear, no matter how good those initial prices may appear.