So in the latest roundup of tablets on the market right now I managed to pick up a Lenovo Miix 3. This new tablet range announced late 2014 adds to the growing range of low-cost Windows tablets that are available.
As you can see from the slideshow, it’s a 2-in-1 tablet that can be used in a number of forms – docked with the keyboard, reverse docked as a stand, closed to act as a case, and finally of course detached as a standalone tablet.
- Two FULL SIZED USB ports. No more Micro-USB to USB adapters – you’ve got two USB ports ready to use on the keyboard dock. Don’t expect to be charging devices from them for any extended period of time, but they’ll be ideal for syncing your iPhone or whatnot. Uncertain whether they’re USB 2 or 3 at this point.
- Full 1080p display (1920×1200). To be fair, it looks absolutely fantastic having that kind of pixel density on a screen that size.
- Decent solid keyboard rather than touch keys – makes it much easier to type emails or longer documents.
- Micro-HDMI and Micro-SD connectors built in – often standard on Windows tablets these days, but nice to see.
- Battery takes a while to charge – probably about 5-6 hours from flat to full, although I’ll need to run a proper benchmark on it.
- Display brightness isn’t terribly high – it’s absolutely fine in indoor situations but I’d struggle to get on with it outdoors especially considering the rather reflective display.
Buy now – Amazon
3 UK, the network which claims to have the best 3G coverage in the UK, has recently announced that it will start offering the iPhone 4 from June 24th.
There’s no news on pricing as yet, but 3 have said that they’re aiming to announce tariffs on June 15th.
I’m personally very pleased with the idea. Despite the fact that I left 3 earlier this year, it’s good that 3 are finally offering one of the most popular smartphones around. And it could be perfect time, as O2 are cutting their mobile internet down later this month, coinciding with the iPhone 4 launch.
With their extensive 3G coverage in the UK, this could see a lot of customers moving from other networks to 3 for the brand new iPhone, which claims to have a bucket-load of new features that will interest a wide range of smartphone users.
Yep, sadly from 22nd April (a really bad day to choose for me!) 3 are changing their PAYG price plans and adding a couple of costs.
On all Pay as you Go customers, voicemail will cost and MMS messages will cost more. There’s also a slight increase in the cost of international calls.
From 22nd April:
- Voicemail, which was previously free, will cost 15p per minute to call.
- MMS messages will cost 30p each, rather than 25p.
- Various international costs will increase.
In return for this, 3 are introducing free Twitter and 0.facebook.com access for all PAYG customers, permanently.
I think this is a bit of shame really – I loved the free voicemail. None of the other changes will bother me that much but the free voicemail was a big bonus for me.
In any case, 3 still provide fantastic network coverage and great value plans so I suppose it isn’t all that bad.
Never mind – I’ll just put call divert on and reroute it to my Skype voicemail.
If you’ve been using 3 Mi-Fi for a little (which I have), you may have come to really like it. It’s generally very fast, and is so convenient for train journeys and travelling. However, there are a few drawbacks such as no web admin and a stupid wi-fi sleep time.
I’ve found a firmware update for the device which is by a Hong Kong mobile operator. It works on the device perfectly and is in English. It adds a few new features such as:
- Web admin – you can access all the device settings wherever you are by going to http://192.168.1.1 on the device. Very handy! It also has a battery meter and signal strength meter on this.
- Adjustable wi-fi sleep – you no longer have to wake up the wi-fi after 10 minutes idle. With this new firmware, you can lengthen the sleep time or turn it off altogether.
- The (M) light on the device stays on permanently, letting you know whether your data connection is active or not.
It’s a very handy update that is well worth installing. However, please read the following: You do this firmware update at your own risk. GEEK! will not be responsible for any damage to your device or it’s functionality. This is ONLY for the Huawei E5830.
Here’s how you do it:
- Download this firmware update. It’s 30MB and comes direct from the Japanese operator. Don’t worry, all the files are in English. I seem to find this server is pretty slow, so get a coffee while it’s downloading.
- When it’s done, power down and disconnect your 3 Mi-Fi device from USB. Hold down the internet access button on the device followed by the power button, together, for at least 5 seconds. You will see the signal light and battery indicator come on and they should stay on. Once you’ve got the lights, remove the battery.
- Replace the battery, reconnect the device to your system and then run the file you downloaded.
- The setup file will detect your device. It asks you to remove the SIM from the device, but I didn’t and don’t think you need to. Once you’re happy and the system is ready, start the updating.
- It will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to install. During the install process, do not remove your device from the USB connection or turn it off – you will brick the device if you do.
- Once it’s finished copying, the device will reboot and the setup file will confirm the successful installation. None of your settings should have been lost and you should be able to connect right away.
Now you’re done. The “3 Wifi Manager” will still work with your device but for most settings I would now use the web admin (http://192.168.1.1 – the default user and password is admin – the device will ask you to change this when logged in).
Enjoy the new firmware.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll know that I recently ordered the 3 Mi-Fi Pay as you Go. Well, today it has arrived! And here’s my review…
First of all, it’s very light. No heavier than my mobile phone (Nokia 3120 Classic). It’s a tiny bit longer than a credit card but not as wide. Very small.
On the device, there are 3 switches. The first one powers the device, the second turns wi-fi on/off and the third turns data on/off. I’m not going to go into tonnes of detail – if you aren’t sure how to use on call 3 or browse the web – there are tonnes of guides. GEEK! tells you the thing you won’t see on other sites.
Here are some important things you may want to know:
- The SIM on the £49.99 single PAYG Mi-Fi comes with £1 credit on it. This isn’t much, but it gives you enough to kick you off. I’m not sure how much data that actually is but I’ve browsed quite a few sites on it without topping it up and I still have £1 on it.
- How it charges is a little odd. When you’ve got it plugged into a PC, you can turn it on and it will still charge – even put wi-fi on, but as soon as you switch data on it will stop charging. It continues to power itself by USB but will not charge when data is active.
- You have to use My3 to check your balance online. According to 3, I can still do this from my Mi-Fi connection even when my credit is out but haven’t tested it as yet. I will confirm when I can.
- The microSD slot on the device only shows up on USB. It is not shared over wi-fi.
Those are some facts you may want to know. If there’s anything else you’d live to know, email me.
Overall, I’m really happy. It works very well and is so convenient. It might be quite expensive in terms of bandwidth, but prices will decrease with time.
If you need mobile interet on your devices easily, this is what you need.