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Oct 27, 2014

Hisense Vidaa Pad Tablet Is as Thin as the iPad Air 2 at 6.1 mm

The race to produce thinner and thinner tablets is on. It might not be in the open where everybody can see, but device makers are avidly trying to appease customers’ taste for slim, light devices that can be carried around effortlessly.

As we have told you, Dell recently unveiled the Venue 8 7000 Series which currently holds the title as the thinnest tablet out there, being just 6 mm / 0.24 inches thick, thus beating Apple’s iPad Air 2 that comes in at 6.1 mm / 0.24 inches. It comes very close nevertheless. There are other skinny tablets on the market. For example, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is 6.4 mm / 0.25 inches while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S (10.5 and 8.4-inch) is 6.6 mm / 0.26 inches.

China replicates the iPad Air 2 in thickness

But what if we told you there’s another tablet out there that’s just as sleek as the iPad Air 2. Chinese tablet manufacturers have instituted a tradition of copying iconic Apple products and now one of them has managed to replicate the tablet’s remarkable skinniness. We’re talking about Hisense which just unveiled a 6.1 mm / 0.24 inches tablet of its own, called Vidaa Pad. Naturally, this tablet will run Android out of the box, but we’re not being told which version this will be. Actually, Hisense hasn’t shed a lot of light on the specifications of the tablet. According to CN Gadget, the tablet will take advantage of one of the most powerful chipsets available on the Chinese market, but the information is not detailed. We’re shown a bunch of pictures of the tablet, which indicate the device might bring about a 7.9-inch form factor and that will be offered in multiple colors, like gold and red.

Imagining the Hisense Vidaa Pad

Since we’re not given any indication of the specs inside, we might as well speculate. It appears the slim tablet will be marketed as the company’s flagship. We could take cues from the Sero 8 Pro, which is expected to arrive in retail next month. So the new tab could boast 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution on an IPS display (the Dell Venue 8 7000 has 2560 x 1600 res). The tablet might draw power from a Rockchip RK3288 ARM Cortex-A17 quad-core processor fitted with 2GB of RAM and backed up by 16GB of internal storage.

This is all speculation and we have to wait to see whether this turns out to be the case or not. But unlike the Dell Venue 8 7000 Series or iPad Air 2 whose price starts at $499 / €349, the Hisense Vidaa Pad will certainly be a lot cheaper.

Hisense Vidaa Pad is a sleek tablet

Hisense Vidaa Pad in red

Hisense Vidaa Pad in gold

Hisense Vidaa Pad will be offered in multiple colors
Images credits to CN Gadget

Elsa GeForce GTX 980 SAC, GeForce GTX 980 Graphics Card with Factory Overclock

We've written about plenty of products from NVIDIA's OEM partners, but not all the brands in that set are as well known as the others. Elsa is one of the less known companies that have a contract with NVIDIA for the making of custom graphics cards.

That doesn't mean that the outfit is any less capable of customizing the reference graphics cards until they're unrecognizable though. Not that making them unrecognizable is ever the goal. Since NVIDIA's brand is ultimately the strongest, all OEMs know better than to remove it. Not that contractual obligations would ever allow them to do such a thing, but we digress. Basically, Elsa has formally released a GeForce-series graphics adapter. A GeForce GTX 980, to be precise.

The Elsa GeForce GTX 980 SAC

Normally, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 video board has a base GPU frequency of 1,126 MHz and a GPU Boost maximum speed of 1,216 MHz. The new one from Elsa, however, has base / boost clocks of 1,152 MHz and 1,253 MHz, respectively. Not a massive increase, but factory overclocks never are. What stands out more is the dual-fan cooler, although the black shroud doesn't really inspire awe, aesthetics-wise. The six big screws could have been somewhat less obtrusive too. Then again, unless you have a large side window and LEDs inside your case, no one's going to actually see the card anyway, so that's no big deal. For those who want more details, the cooler has an aluminum fin stack and copper heatpipes that directly pull heat from the GPU. The otherwise ugly screws are thumb-movable, so you can easily detach the shroud if you wish. Good for cleaning the dust that will gather underneath over time.

Other than the overclocking and the cooling, the newcomer doesn't have anything different from the reference card: 256-bit GDDR5 VRAM memory interface (4GB memory in total), 2,048 CUDA cores, 128 TMUs (texture mapping units), 64 ROPs (raster operating units), and five video outputs: three DisplayPorts, one HDMI 2.0, and one dual-link DVI. 

Availability and pricing

The Elsa GeForce GTX 980 SAC should go up for sale soon, if it hasn't already, for a price not too far beyond the $549 / €549 of the original. Alas, with how many overpriced video cards there are on the market, we wouldn't be surprised if the OEM or retailers demanded more, as depressing as it sounds. There are models selling for $620 / €620 if you can believe it, assuming they're in stock at all.

Elsa GeForce GTX 980 SAC
Image credits to 4Gamer

ECS Liva Mini PC with Windows 8.1 and Bing

If you ever told ECS that its Liva miniature personal computer looks like a NUC from Intel, it would probably vehemently deny it, and it could probably summon a whole set of reasons about the hardware not being quite the same and whatnot.

However, no matter how true the argument would be, Elitegroup Computer System would have to concede that the Liva is actually similar to the Next Unit of Computing in terms of size and shape. Sure, it's black instead of white or blue, or whatever other color the makers of NUC cases like to play with every other month. In the end, though, the Liva looks a lot like it. Not that it's such a crime. No one can complain much when their PC is small enough to comfortably sit in the palm of their hand.

The specs of the ECS Liva Mini PC

First off, with the chassis so small, the little motherboard inside can't be larger than a credit card, establishing a sort of kinship with the Raspberry Pi, even though the hardware is totally different. Distant kinship, but kinship nonetheless. The hardware is centered around an Intel Bay Trail-M CPU and consists of Realtek RTL8111G LAN (networking technology), Realtek ALC282 audio with 2CH Combo Jack, a WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 module (wireless communications) and a USB 3.0 port. For video, the integrated graphics processor inside the CPU gets one HDMI output and one VGA port. In terms of IO (besides what we've already mentioned), we're looking at one USB 3.0 / 1 USB 2.0 port, an Audio Combo Jack, and one Power Connector (Micro USB Port).

As for cooling, the case doubles as such, but the immediate heat of the CPU is taken away and dissipated by a fanless heatsink apparently made of copper. As for software, Elitegroup Computer Systems installed the Microsoft Windows 8.1 operating system on the Liva Mini PC, complete with the Bing search engine. It'll be interesting to see how many people use it instead of switching to Google the moment they install Firefox or Chrome.

Availability and pricing

ECS didn't mention either in its official press release, but shipments shouldn't take too long in starting now that both the press release and the official product page of the Liva Mini PC are online. The price will likely be of around two hundred dollars or Euro, maybe even less. Unless specs change to something stronger and the tag becomes of just under $500 / €500, but that's unlikely. 

Press Release:Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is pleased to announce that the most attractive Mini PC, LIVA, now preloads Windows 8.1 with Bing operation system to deliver more benefits and convenience to its users.
Windows 8.1 with Bing is a version of the Windows NT operating system and an upgrade for Windows 8 and will come with Internet Explorer installed and Bing Smart Search, enabled by default, to find things across Web, Apps, and your PC. Windows 8.1 with Bing is also perfect for touch experience with familiar desktop that people can easily be associated with. Besides faster startup times, users can download Apps from the Windows Store and keep your customized settings and Apps on all your PC and devices. With such benefits of Windows 8.1 with Bing preloaded, the palm-size full featured LIVA Mini PC brings ultimate convenience and shows the determination of living a better life.
The word, LIVA, comes from the combination of "Living" and "Life (Viva)" and the spirit of living a better life. LIVA is expressing the passion and the pursuit of aesthetics in every way of life through the products.

ECS Liva Mini PC
Image credits to ECS

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