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LG has released two hybrid ‘sliding’ Tab-Book tablets and an Ultrabook heralding the end of a long absence from the Australian personal computing scene.

I mention this because it explains why, in re-entering this competitive space these new products will only be sold exclusively by Harvey Norman instead of via IT channel resellers – time will tell if that is the best policy.

The two tablets have a ‘slider’ format and my personal opinion is that this is the best compromise between a tablet and a notebook. LG’s H160 (Intel Atom) and Z160 (Intel i5) are pretty good kit – read on.

H160 Hybrid slider touch

The H160 (RRP $999) has: 11.6” IPS, 1366x768, 720p touch screen; Intel dual core Atom Z2760, 1.8Ghz; 2GB/64GB flash storage/microSD slot; and full size HDMI, USB 2.0 and a micro USB 2.0; Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-FI, Wi-Di; weight 1.05kg. The specifications reflect the price point but the brilliant IPS screen and the overall quality make it a worthy competitor for any other Atom based tablet. Battery life as per most Atom based tablets is up to 12 hours maximum.

Summary: Good value and possibly the only Atom based slider – it will suit most consumer needs. 

Z160 Hybrid slider touch

The Z160 (RRP $1499) is the star with: 11.6” IPS, 1366x768, 720p touch screen; Intel quad Core i5 1.8GHz, 4GB ram/120GB SSD/microSD slot; Full size HDMI and USB 3.0, micro USB 2.0, Mini Ethernet Lan and full size RJ45 adaptor cable; Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Di; 1.25kg. It is not the lightest in its class but well below an equivalent netbook weight. Battery life is up to 6 hours.

What I like about this design is that the centre of gravity has been moved so it won’t tip over when on your lap. This has been achieved this by removing the mouse/track pad space at the front of the keyboard and use of an on-screen ‘transparent’ touch pad that is effective but pretty superfluous for a touch device anyway.

I found the screens crisp, clear and the 40 degree angle is just right for viewing from the lap or desktop.

Some reviewers have mentioned that 4GB ram is not adequate for Windows 8 Pro 64bit – let me say that for every day use you will not be at all concerned.

Summary: good but not outstanding specifications at a reasonable price. It will sell well in the consumer market and LG provides a courier collect and deliver back, 12 months warranty which is good.

Direct competitors in this space is the excellent but expensive Sony Vaio Duo (11.6”, i5, RRP $2396) and the Toshiba Ultrabook Slider (12.5”, i3 RRP $1072 run out pricing)

Z360 Ultrabook non-touch

The Z360 (RRP $1399) has: 13.3” Full HD 1920x1080, IPS non-touch screen; Intel Core i5 1.8GHz; 4GB ram/128GB SSD/2 x microSD slots; Full sized HDMI and 2 x USB 3.0, Mini Ethernet Lan and full size RJ45 adaptor cable; 1.15kg; Battery life up to 6.5 hours.

I have said before that it is hard to get excited about Ultrabook reference designs from any brand – they are all pretty much the same. This has a good screen but it is not touch and appears well made.

Summary: Will sell well in consumer space but would have been even better with touch.

 


Opinion

All my reviews at present have a link to the iTWire article titled "Should you wait for the new Intel Haswell and Atom CPU’s?"

My advice is that if you need a portable device this year then don’t wait because its not just the Haswell CPU that is the key to day long computing.

The real question is should you buy an LG brand over any other?

Yes I am pleased to say that as far as I can see they are well made by a company determined to be a market leader and should give you three to five years of good serviceable life.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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