Microsoft Surface: Living test with Windows RT

Concurrent with the launch of Windows 8, the software giant has unveiled Surface, its new and first tablet equipped with Windows RT. If the editor was a pioneer in the field of tablets Dell Studio 1555 with the Tablet PC Edition of Windows XP, it should be recognized that the concept of tablet has really taken off with the advent of the Apple iPad ... 2010. And while the early 2000s Microsoft laid the foundations of a touch interface, the company had accumulated a delay in the matter whatsoever with Windows Vista or Windows 7. A delay that has at least presided over the design of the latest version of Windows and more specifically its multi-touch interface Modern UI (formerly called Metro).

With Surface, Microsoft embarked on the battle of what Steve Jobs described the Post PC era. Usually if Microsoft simply provide the software, leaving it to its partners to develop hardware solutions operator, brand Steve Ballmer takes a turn with significant size. For the first time in its history Microsoft actually sells a computer, specifically a tablet equipped with Windows and under its own brand. In the history of the company is not trivial. There are certainly precedents with the Xbox, but also very bad memories with Zune and Kin to name a few.

In his presentation to the press last summer, Surface was impressed. Beyond the shift driven by Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft speaks as a company "Devices + Services" area brings the world of tablet some new concepts to the less interesting. One thinks of course or integrated support for ingenious keyboard that we longed to try. Place therefore testing with Windows Surface RT!

Two versions of Surface

Before we look at the design of this area, we must clarify that Microsoft will be releasing two different versions of the tablet. The first, which we are discussing today, is named Windows Surface RT. It is a tablet with ARM processor Windows embarking RT. And who says Windows RT, says no compatibility with all Windows x86 applications developed to date.

By the end of the year, Microsoft will offer a variant of Intel's tablet surface. This latest version will be equipped with a x86 processor and will run Windows 8 on this area it will be possible to run Photoshop and play the Sims 3, for example.

Why two different size? Hard to say, Microsoft clearly needed a tablet ARM to provide a device light, compact, fanless and with autonomy capable of running Windows RT, the first ARM version of Windows. The question remains, whether the concessions made by Microsoft to achieve this will be accepted.

Surface design

Comes in a neat and minimalist packaging that evokes necessarily the best packaging of the Apple brand, the tablet space with Windows RT innovates not necessarily the attributes of design. Outwardly it resembles many other tablets we've seen so far. Provided do not think it is yet another tablet ... with the big area of ​​innovation focuses on some details, it is true feel good.

Externally, the Dell Vostro 1710 uses a frame in dark tones made of a magnesium alloy, that called VaporMG Microsoft, one of which properties would be three lighter than aluminum. Found on the left side a + / - buttons for volume, a mini-jack, while the right side houses a USB 2.0 port, micro-HDMI connector and plug. The latter is magnetized as Macbook MagSafe connector (we will pay attention to its implementation because the slope with the edge of the shell surface can believe that the adapter is connected when it is not Fortunately, one white LED turns on when charging connector). The start button is located on top of the camera while the Windows button below the screen is touch sensitive, a very good choice which avoids pressure sometimes risky as the Samsung Slate example.

Front, Surface has a 720p HD camera, like the back of the unit where a second camera HD 720p is present. Here we regret the lack of real quality digital camera ... When competing tablets offer the 5 megapixel, megapixel size seems feeble. In terms of audio, the tablet has two microphones and speakers.

Is that all? Not quite! The lower part of the back of the unit unfolds to become a kind of foot is what Microsoft calls the "kickstand". In this way, and without any other accessory, the tablet can stand upright, always in landscape mode, as a single non-adjustable angle. The mechanism of this integrated foot appears relatively robust.

Once opened, the "kickstand" reveals the very well hidden SDXC memory card reader. Finally at the bottom of the screen there are a proprietary connector that will be used for keyboard surface.

On balance, size, excluding accessories, claims a weight of 680 grams: it is a few ounces more than an iPad mini.

Living in the heart of Windows with RT

Technical side, this area is driven by a quad-core processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 32 bits that we know pretty well now. The latter is clocked at 1.3 GHz and is seen with 2 GB of RAM.

Regarding storage, Microsoft Surface declines in two versions: 32 or 64 GB And much talk now that angry. Our tablet 32GB, only 14 GB are free on a total of 24.9 GB as seen by the operating system. Here we can only regret the lack of transparency Microsoft: the system and its apps occupy the place is one thing, but the advertised 32GB is not usable, far from it, is not acceptable.

There are of course the support of Wi-Fi i802.11 a / b / g / n and Bluetooth version 4.0 here with support for Bluetooth profiles including A2DP stereo audio. Surface and has various sensors with an accelerometer and a gyroscope and an ambient light sensor.

The thorny case of photo sensors

In terms of photo, benefits are average size, including a positioning problem which requires the sensor to tilt back a little shelf on one side for a photo that is level.

Surface sensors but also suffer quite dramatically and the phenomenon of "hot pixels" in dark environments. It manifests itself in the presence of pixel color (white, red, green, etc), in the case of the surface, which appear fixed location on the screen but on the final picture. How do you explain that? The photo sensors are composed of pixels that occur for each photon received a corresponding electrical charge. These charges are then sampled and quantized to be converted into a digital signal. The Dell Vostro 1720 Battery problem is that the leakage current in the boost sensor are sometimes some pixels, which will then appear brighter than in reality or completely white (or red, green or blue depending on the location of the pixel under Bayer matrix). This problem is accentuated when the sensor heats up, since leakage currents are sensitive to temperature. And the sensor is hot when mounted in ISO (or a longer exposure is carried out), with which amplifies the electric current. Conversely, it disappears when you take a picture in a bright environment, since the ISO and the sensor cools down. This problem is long hot pixels, but manufacturers usually know their map sensors to correct the problem ...

The audio is an earful!

By plugging a headset on the surface, volume set unintentionally thoroughly, we literally jumped! Audio output does not seem the same rules clamping power than other mobile devices that are passed to the drafting date. We decided to apply the same test protocol as for portable audio. Surface then reaches an impressive 104.7 dB 99.3 dB against the iPad 3. For the record, the player with the highest score in this test is the Cowon i10 with 101.5 dB. 3.2 dB more for the area facing the Cowon, so dubbed sound power in logarithmic scale!

Keyboards Surface: Touch and Type Cover Cover

To differentiate its tablet from the plethora of other already available on the market, but also anchor it in a way of creating content, Microsoft has developed a system keyboard "dockable" to surface. Sold separately, these keyboards are available in various colors and offer two completely different sensations.

Thus Touch Cover, also available as a bundle with space, proposes a membrane keypad. Simply touch the various buttons (78 at last count) for your entry appears on the screen. Since no mechanical feedback lets you feel not so striking has been taken into account with this keyboard, Microsoft accompanies each keystroke with a slight sound from the tablet, like the keyboard touch. Please note a series of dedicated keys to RT with Windows volume control, direct access to Windows icons (search, share, set, etc) ... The keyboard is completed with a touchpad to move the mouse pointer on the desktop. Here the click buttons are located on the edge of the keyboard and it is not very practical.

The other sensation offered by Microsoft is more traditional. Type the Cover offers indeed a mechanical keypad. There are still 78 keys here and those dedicated to Windows RT benefit marking function keys (F1, F2, etc.). As he enjoys the touchpad two buttons and clickable truly is quite significant. Disadvantage: this keyboard is thicker.

In both cases,Dell Studio 1536 keyboards Surface weigh around 200 grams, require no battery or specific pairing and connect easily to the tablet via their magnetic connector. The action of docking emits a characteristic sound which was highlighted by the first ads for Surface. Since the keyboard is set to be closed on the tablet screen (and yes it turns the screen size), it has serious reservations Type Cover for mechanical keys which are in direct contact with the screen with the risk of scratching. No worries on the side of Touch Cover and its soft keys. Remains closed once on the screen, the back of the keyboard has a particular look, a kind of felt that qualify any carpet or upholstery of car interior. This is ... strange.

A word about the use of these keyboards. One that intrigued us the most is obviously the Touch Cover. The lack of typing feel it provides is a curiosity that leads to instinctively rely heavily on the keys. Or do not. The touch is enough and gives much better results. It takes time to adapt to begin to take advantage of Touch Cover, and ensure that all entered letters actually appear on the screen. The touch area for the mouse, however, is more difficult to handle especially because of the sensitive buttons located on the edge of the keyboard. And we note that the use of the black keys Touch Cover, including the area of ​​the mice tend to whiten.

Cover Type the keyboard is certainly the most compelling even though we would have preferred a wider Touchpad for the mouse.

RT Windows: a closed environment

Alongside the development of Windows 8, Microsoft has developed Windows RT. It is neither more nor less than a port for the ARM architecture of Windows 8. We find the same functionality as a result, at least in outline, as well as Windows 8 Modern UI touch interface, the screen welcomes us start with the first start of the tablet.

Who says ARM version of Windows, we mean a compromise. The first and not the least is the total incompatibility of all your software with Windows RT. Useless to try to run your software on x86 Windows Surface RT: they will not work.

The only way to get Windows software with RT is through the Windows Store. Indeed, although the classic desktop is still present in this version of Windows, the only channel supported for installing applications is the Microsoft Marketplace. A Windows Store, the content remains as we speak rather meager. Worse, Microsoft itself does not play the game totally since many of its titles developed specifically for Windows 8 as packs or Microsoft Games Mahjong Solitaire Collection are not available for Windows RT at the time we publish these lines. And besides, do not try to play a DVD with Windows RT: software like Vostro 1088 Battery PowerDVD Mobile yet available on Windows Store is not compatible with Windows RT.

But back to the desktop. We told you, the Windows desktop is now at the heart of Windows RT, and is accessible from the tile on the start screen like Windows 8. Yes but now, here's office is useless ... or almost: there are only the standard Windows application (Paint, Notepad, etc.)., The classic version of Internet Explorer as well as management tools and Windows file management that we know well. Applications Office Home and Student 2013 RT delivered with the OS also run on the desktop. But that's all. Indeed, third-party developers will not have the opportunity to develop software for the Windows desktop RT.

An ecosystem with little apps

Take a stupid case: connecting the camera area and pass on the desktop Studio 1440 to recover photos via copy / paste. We want the view: photos open one after the other in the Modern UI environment that only allows the display (the rest crispantes with delays). To edit them, we say we're going to install Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro or Lightroom or even a basic Xnview ... Before reconsider all these apps are conspicuously absent on Windows RT.

We repeated the same observation with IM conversations. RT Windows, like Windows 8, which offers the Messages application automatically connects you to your networks. Conversations take place between your contacts so but in full screen mode and without the ability to send or receive files. We said we will have to install Windows Live Essentials 2012 to receive a Messenger with file exchanges and conversations tab ... before there yet disillusioned.

If by chance you want to use the tablet for watching movies and any random MKV, no luck! RT Windows does not support this file format, and there is currently no solution except to third-party application or convert video files. MOV and MP4 formats, however, are natively supported. Remains to be seen what conditions since according to their format videos and we could see stuttering or slowness in some readings, including 1080p.

Also mention the lack of built-in firewall, although Windows Defender is part of, or the inability to take control of space through a standard remote desktop. Note however that the area offers good Remote Desktop app for control from your tablet PC on your network. Good point, the "history file" inherited from Windows 8 can be used with a memory card into the SD-XC.

For applications offered by the WinRT Windows Store is not glorious. If Skype is available for Windows RT, some games available in Microsoft Windows 8 is here simply absent then an application like Shazam who just see the Update for Windows 8 is not available in ARM ...

Sure, Windows RT comes with the Office suite. At least Home and Student version, ie without Outlook or Publisher. We therefore just full versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote running for office. It is true that here Microsoft scores one point, no competitor environment whether iOS or Android do not offer desktop applications that can even compete with that Word or Excel. Note that the first copies of Windows for Surface RT come with a version of "Preview" of Office 2013 that is automatically updated to the final version from Windows Update.

Ultimately, if using Windows Surface RT is definitely an experience, the familiarity of the Windows environment on a touch pad with something reassuring, this familiarity is ultimately an illusion: RT Windows does that very limited compatibility with traditional Windows ecosystem.

RT Windows: Devices

The other concession that Windows is at RT devices: if Microsoft has developed a set of drivers ARM, do not expect to be able to use your device the most "exotic" with your area. And sometimes exotic is not necessarily where you think.

Small inventory: naturally the most obvious Inspiron 1750 devices such as keyboard / mouse USB key / USB drives are supported. The rest on this, RT Windows can read and write to NTFS without media attention. USB audio devices as our standard USB Headset Logitech Clearchat are also supported. However our Lumia 800, it is well known, is unusable due to lack of application (application synchronization of Windows Phone Windows Store seems reserved for Windows Phone 8). IPod Touch is well known for its party access to storage and therefore the photos but iTunes music you can do anything with it. Our TV tuner Pinnacle is unsurprisingly unusable fault driver. The Microsoft Zune Flash is not longer recognized by Surface, as our Microsoft Lifecam Studio webcam or Logitech G920 ... Our Epson is well recognized but the driver is not found rendering it unusable and so on.

However, we appreciate the good support USB hubs or the cameras: photos of our D300 and HX9V are accessible without worry. A final word on printers: Photosmart C310 our HP was recognized by Windows RT and we were able to print without any problem.

Surface: Some software benefits

In addition to the Office suite, we can mention another advantage for Microsoft: managing user accounts. This feature is absent from iOS and Android (except third-party application) and actually present in the heart of Windows RT. This allows the tablet to pass quietly spouse or children by ensuring they have their apps and settings without interfering with yours.

This is not the only positive for Microsoft, anyway. RT Windows Internet Explorer loads in two versions: Classic and Modern UI on the desktop. We thus find the browser capabilities but also led support Flash technology. Microsoft has effectively integrated Flash engine at the heart of Internet Explorer even in Windows RT this version, at least on the version of Metro / Modern UI. Remains only the sites that have been whitelistés Microsoft can view Flash content: they are now few.

Living with Windows RT: hardware

Regarding the tablet dell xps m1710 , it is frankly good quality, despite finishing a little rough in places. On our test there are days between the frame and the upper part of the screen while the button start seems a bit feeble and we do not always know if the contact is effective. We regret too geometric design that makes its grip sometimes uncomfortable, just as with the first iPad. And while the landscape orientation is perfect for the Modern UI environment, we discover serious limitations when switching to portrait mode. The office already frankly very usable in touch here becomes the object of ridicule and the start screen if it operates a rearrangement of its tiles shows that it was primarily designed for landscape mode (blank screen under certain tiles, themes to customize the Start screen garbled, etc). In addition, the Windows touch button can be found under your left hand and can then be activated inadvertently.

And how once again overlook incompatibilities with certain applications? Software design proposed Fresh Paint on the Windows Store is not compatible with portrait mode, just as Skype, developed two applications - remember the - Microsoft! And these are not isolated cases unfortunately. Example with Larousse dictionary which also runs only in landscape mode ...

Living with Windows RT: its slowness, its bugs

Unfortunately, Surface surprises do not stop there. Thus we see after a few uses the fluidity and speed observed on Windows 8 tablets are not appropriate here. There noticeable delays when certain actions if one of the first update size is back on this, especially to offer a Modern UI screen actually fluid, is annoyed by the slow shift when we tilt the tablet. Startup complete it can sometimes be quite long but fortunately, in normal use, surface is mostly idle except for ... crash. The start of Metro apps is not the most swift and certain apps skate skate ... again ... and always skate to start while the appearance of certain interface elements on the screen is the opportunity to see beautiful saccades . And side games is not necessarily longer pink. Pinball FX train just sometimes viciously at the ball animations to render the game easily exploitable.

Delays beyond this are the many bugs that irritate random surface use. Thus this case where we tried several times to launch Internet Explorer on the desktop without success despite several clicks with the mouse on the screen or tapotis the browser does not just launched. This without displaying any error message or another. The same goes for the pause button on the Dell Studio 1735 keyboard Type Cover we pressed during playback of music and who has not had the desired effect despite several attempts. Another interesting bug: on our shelf and while we configured as French during installation, our country was set to UK in the Windows options. In fact the Windows Store posted prices in pound sterling. Everything is back to normal by selecting France as in the regional settings of Windows. Well, not really ... since the lock screen Modern UI continues to display the date in English "Friday 2 November" while writing this.

And what about an issue obviously ignored by Microsoft, that the timing of his pictures and his music? Surface is indeed delivered naked, without any cables or synchronization software. To you copy music, video, and more pictures via external storage media or a network drive on the shelf. Let us, however Microsoft the opportunity to broadcast their content through streaming or even from the Cloud for music. For some have a PC Dell Latitude E4300 on Windows 7 or Windows 8 and application Skydrive installed, you can view pictures and music to the distance from the tablet. The whole problem is of course that your PC must be on the road with a working Internet connection. For the Music app can increasingly enable synchronization with the cloud Xbox Music from the Settings icon and this time it is your list of music that is synchronized to the cloud with the legal provision proposed by Microsoft As part of its Xbox Music: here we find a kind of iTunes Match. Your music list has been synchronized with Microsoft servers and they allow you to listen to streaming wherever you are. Naturally, it will have the appropriate subscriptions, otherwise you will receive advertising.

We tested the HDMI output. It operates seamlessly except that it operates as a normal Windows PC. So in clone mode is the resolution of the tablet that is replicated with upscaling on the TV screen and it is frankly not nice to see ... Must switch the mode "second screen only" but in this case you lose the touch controls of the tablet which then manipulates the blind ...

Test start time gives an indication of the velocity of our shelves to be operational during a cold start. The results are expressed in seconds, the shorter bar represents the starting time of the fastest. Here, it takes 27 seconds to Surface RT to start with Windows while the iPad Mini is operational in 19 seconds as the third generation iPad (both iOS 6.01). However, it is better than 40 seconds of the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Samsung.

Surprise, the SunSpider test gives good performance for Internet Explorer (both desktop environment that Metro). Surface and Windows RT climbed into second place behind the iPhone 5, which is the fastest. This is definitely a step ahead of the iPad here are a little behind.

It should be noted that SunSpider is dependent on the browser and it is the only test reproducible performance that we can drive on surface, the usual tools like GeekBench or Linpack is not available on the Windows Store.

It ends with autonomy, with playing a video loop, inspiron e1505 screen brightness set to 50%, as the volume, keeping Wi-Fi active. Living here is doing very well with a range from 11 ... provided that the iPhone 5 and therefore better than that observed with the 3rd generation iPad.


For a first tablet, Microsoft shows that the expertise of its hardware division in charge of the design of keyboards, mice and webcams for years is actually real. With his finish, the tablet has certainly not ashamed to face competition. The equipment DELL Latitude E5410 is at such a product and if we can regret the lack of HD screen, we retain the use of a quad-core processor Tegra 3 or the presence of two cameras without HD 720p forget the USB port and HDMI output (the latter requires optional cable). Better, Microsoft really innovates on the material system with integrated stand that allows worry-free and without lugging accessory put the tablet on his desk to the vertical at an angle it is true fixed. The unit is robust and inspires confidence. Microsoft has also a very good idea to propose a system keyboard surface. Two models, one touch, the other mechanical keys with two very different sensations and sometimes acclimation time as we have seen.

But behind these really good ideas hiding serious deficiencies. And finally the problem is not so much space hardware and software ...! RT Windows is very similar in status to an operating system in beta so bugs are numerous and glaring. And, after a few minutes of use. Not content to be buggy, slow Windows RT displays flagrant moment. Difficult here to say whether this is partly due to dell xps m1210 Chick 2GB of RAM tablet. Of course over time Microsoft will successfully return a set of problems. However, the manufacturer will not return to the storage capacity and the fact that our model 32GB, only 14 GB are actually available to the user (!).

To all this we must add a size issue: the software environment. RT while Windows is not compatible with Windows applications that have existed for decades, the only way to get apps is the Windows Store. A store today and provided little less since all RT for Windows applications developed for Modern UI and Windows 8 are not always compatible with Windows RT. So yes of course, Living with Windows RT unbeatable argument: Office Suite 2013 is supplied as standard (what does the European Commission and the DOJ?) And offers the same experience as on a PC and the same level of functionality and compatibility . Rest Outlook and Publisher are lost during porting. And if we may venture to comment controversy: whether to use RT Office must go through the office and have a keyboard or Touch Cover Type ... use as a traditional laptop, right?

Ultimately, despite a practically flawless execution on the material plane, and real innovations, RT Surface with Windows now seems not ready for the general public. The problems listed are too numerous and disadvantageous to Surface a tablet that can be highly recommended, not to mention the problem of complex software environment. In addition, the dell xps m1710 battery price seems a bit high, 489 euros the 32GB model without a keyboard, keyboard with 589 euros, it is certainly comparable to the price of a Pad Transformer Infinity ... But with only 14 GB usable in the end. Of course it will be interesting to see how Windows operates and RT if applications are emerging ... And if the system does not seem viable today, hopefully Surface opens the way to Windows tablets RT more convincing. Of course, we expect firm footing Intel variant surface to see how it is positioned.

Related news:

Windows 8 :The Drive Extender technology

SkyDrive: at the heart of Windows 8

iPad Mini: the Apple tablet to 7.9 inches


Full Test Nokia Lumia 820

Lumia 820 takes place on the medium-high range - due to its sheet - and strengthens the family of smartphones Nokia to Lumia 920 Lumia. Sold for 470 euros off grant, is a little less expensive than its elder, it is powered by the Windows Phone 8 system with a 4.3-inch (800 x 480 pixels) AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon S4 processor dual-core clocked at 1.5 GHz, 8 GB internal memory (over 7 GB available on SkyDrive) expandable via a microSDHC card, and a 8 megapixel sensor. Is Lumia 820 a good smartphone? The HTC 8 X which it faces a competition? Response in this testbed...

Lumia 820 displays a design of a clean, appealing to the eye but not frankly innovative genre - except perhaps the wide choice of colours.

Unlike the 920 Lumia, unibody, Lumia 820 has a modular shell (accessible battery, therefore, but SIM cards and memory pinned under the battery). what change the color of hull to the envi.

Is however preferred to touch gum, less rolling coatings.

Side stencil, the phone is not in the ultra-finesse or the lightness (160 grams anyway), but it fits in the Palm of your hand. Compared to the 920 Lumia, largest (4.5-inch screen) and heavier, it is obviously much easier to use regularly in one hand the 820. An important point for many users who do not wish to upgrade to a smartphone too big.

The 4.3-inch screen is equipped with a limited definition of... 800 x 480 pixels. At the present time, competitive, the density of pixels displayed here is clearly indented. A surprising choice on the part of Nokia. It is indeed not an entry-level smartphone... In front, its direct competitor the 8 X is equipped with a 4.3-inch screen also but with any other definition of 1280 x 720 pixel - identical to that of the 920 Lumia.

If the contrast ratio is very good, the maximum brightness is indented, with only 284 cd/m², against 410 cd/m² for the 920 Lumia, 374 cd/m² for the HTC 8 X and 500 cd/m2 for the iPhone 5. In terms of Colorimetry, the 820 is less faithful than his groin with a Delta E 7.4. A large majority of recent smartphones displays one of below 4. As a reminder, most the of of a screen approaches 0 and more true-to-life colors it displays.

The screen shows reagent and perfectly obeys the solicitations.

It should finally be noted the excellent initiative on the part of Nokia: allow owners of this phone (and Lumia 920) for use with gloves, with accuracy always last. A real plus for winter days! Would say, competitors, if you could provide the same treatment to all smartphones and tablets in the future, users in know you strong gre.

Interface and navigation

Windows Phone 8 is not a clean break compared to the 7.5 version. So far, the OS is evolving and offers now a few new features common to all terminals launched under this very nice system to use. We have compiled and detailed each of them (SkyDrive to share the calendar, notes, photos with different groups of contacts, the world of children, etc.) on this special page Windows Phone 8. Remember WP8 takes over the forces of WP7: integration of a suite agency link with an own account with 7 GB of free online storage on Skydrive notes to unify notes taken on the fly.

The range Nokia Lumia has many exclusive applications such as Nokia Transport, Drive Nokia, Nokia Music, or even Nokia Explore. All of these services offered free of charge are particularly significant, because effective and thoughtful like Nokia maps mapping system - common, itself, to all Windows Phone.

If Windows Store is not yet as well-stocked as iOS, in terms of games in particular, we appreciate to all test them, even those who are to be paid. SmartGlass app allows to enhance the experience on the side of video games to control an Xbox 360 (also available on Android and iOS app).

A few stars applications are still not on the shelves of the Store Windows. It notes, for example, the absence of Instagram and DropBox (but does have SkyDrive, share its data in the cloud).

Lumia 820 displays a beautiful reactivity and a nice fluidity in all circumstances (download apps, surf on the Internet... video playback), even when multiple applications run in the background. The integration of a stable system to a solid and well optimized technical configuration delivers good results and good behavior of the terminal on a daily basis.


Awaited for its qualities as excellent stamped photos by Nokia, Lumia 920 we had disappointed, with a non-homogeneous rendering and the marketed these last six months high-end smartphones below clearly. Lumia 820, also equipped with a sensor of 8 megapixel is doing better? Well frankly step. There again, it's disappointing. It is certainly a hair better than older, somewhat less blurring and therefore more details posted on the edges of the shadow, but overall, it remains unsatisfied. The picture function will clearly not be the decisive factor that we would opt for this smartphone.

Windows Phone HTC 8 X, despite increased a bit exaggerated contours, is doing better and displays including more details on the whole image.

Finally, while Lumia 920 was doing very well in low light, 820 does it less well, but with a little light and without flash, it can get out of the correct images due to light conditions.

Lumia 820 takes advantage of some applications such as photo welcome such as Panorama and PhotoIntelligente, to create a picture "that's Alright" from captured shots.

The quality of the video catches (so far in 1080p) is quite correct for a smartphone with a significant sound rendering.

The headphone output provides a high-performance sound reproduction without any distortion of the sound, all with good dynamics and a fairly correct maximum power. The external speaker is struggling to escape, with a notable saturation at high volume.

Equipped with a battery of 1650 mAh, Lumia 820 held fast the day with enough sustained use (SMS, Web, social networking, music, picture). Games and video, particularly intensive in energy resources, are more quickly lowering the autonomy of the device.






Galaxy S III: the new smartphone reference?

Spearhead Samsung Galaxy S III is simply the most anticipated Android smartphone of the year. The wait is over: here in our hands. Is it a worthy successor to the Galaxy S II?

In 2 years, Samsung has upset the landscape of Android smartphones. Party after HTC or Motorola, the Korean manufacturer has unsheathed a 2009 Galaxy S which has found a winning formula: design from all but the top components, a screen large enough and flashy to high printing, and it must be confessed, a certain resemblance with the iPhone in both lines in the dell Studio XPS 1647 battery user interface.

Upon its release, the Galaxy S was nevertheless opposed to sharp competition: HTC was including in front of smartphone performance, but also better finished, as the Desire HD. However, Samsung has widen its lead with the Galaxy S II, a successor signing ultrathin, lightweight, and benefiting from a dual processor heart. Become a reference in its domain, the Galaxy S II has naturally created a strong expectation of his successor. The latter was also awaited for ... By Apple, which has meanwhile released its legal arsenal to defend its patents and design.

However, Samsung has taken its time to unveil the Galaxy S III, leaving especially enjoy HTC's Mobile World Congress to get its new line One: no need to rush, since Samsung can now impose its own agenda. After mounting the buzz, the manufacturer can finally unveil its new baby!

Therefore more hype, but a true smartphone that will have to face competition. On paper, you could be disappointed by some technical and aesthetic choices of the Galaxy S III. However, upon closer look, the new Galaxy S may well impose natural successor to the GS II on the throne of best current smartphone.

Equipped with a quad processor heart home, Exynos 4412 Quad, a Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a photo / video sensor 8 MP/1080p the Galaxy S III runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich . As usual, off Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, Samsung has "customized" using its interface Touchwiz overlay, modified for the occasion. It's not just because the smartphone embeds some additional keys, including S-Voice, a voice assistant that is reminiscent of some memories ...

Design and ergonomics

Samsung was expected to turn on the design of the Galaxy S III. IPhone 4 to the latest HTC smartphones through the N9/Lumia Nokia 800, we have witnessed in recent years a move towards more materials and design quality "unibody" focusing on the fineness and uniformity ... to the detriment of caches and removable covers. We therefore asked whether Samsung would not take and break the Dell Latitude E5400 Battery plastic design of the Galaxy S II battery cover and rather ... low end. And the answer is negative: Samsung continues its momentum and renewed with the S III his own style. The hull of the smartphone is fully plastic cover keeping it thin, flexible plastic that can scare the first time you retire, but remains firmly in place, without play or cracking.


A short tour of the phone reveals the most classic choice: there is a 3.5 mm jack on the top, a micro USB port at the bottom of the hull, the volume buttons on the left and the lock button on the right. On the back, the camera / video is elevated relative to the rest of the hull, and indeed quite exposed to scratches. It is surrounded by a LED flash and a speaker. An objective video is on the front, with two sensors on which we will have the opportunity to return. Invisible in normal operation, the LED through the hull to blink when charging and notifications.

This dell latitude e6400 battery approach may therefore seem conservative, but it has an advantage at a time when more and more manufacturers seal their shell, Samsung continues to opt for a removable battery. We still regret the rim plastic imitation brushed metal: a bit of metal on a real high-end smartphone was not too many. But Samsung is Samsung, and if the materials used are not the most luxurious, all is well finished and inspires confidence when assembled.

The balance is quite successful outside: therefore move the components that drive the Galaxy S III, because this is where Samsung traditionally shines. After the Tegra 3 HTC One X, Samsung followed suit with no quad-core version of its Exynos home: Exynos 4412 Quad. This SoC ARM v7 is composed of 4 core Cortex A9, clocked at 1.4 GHz. The chipset is engraved in 32 nm. Compared to HTC One X is a little better on paper: the hearts of Tegra 3 operate at 1.3 GHz when used together, and spend 1.4 GHz when only the heart is used. In contrast, no pseudo fifth heart for low energy consuming tasks little.

Dell Inspiron 1320 GPU SoC is a Mali-400 MP4, responsible for leading a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a resolution of approximately 306 dpi. Characteristics reminiscent obviously the Galaxy Nexus S III screen is slightly larger (4.8 against 4.65 inches) and pixel density a little lower, the Nexus amount up to 316 pixels.

As usual, critics criticize him its Super AMOLED oversaturated colors and features AMOLED display that reveals a small frame on the screen, still much less visible than on a Galaxy S II, Due to the resolution denser. However, the colorimetry of GS III is still more convincing than its predecessor, and the viewing angle is simply impeccable.

The camera offers some common characteristics for a high-end smartphone: sensor retro-exposed pictures of 8 MP, 1080p video, and features that seem to be common: f/2.6, focal length of 4mm maximum aperture of 2.76 mm. These are features quite satisfactory for a smartphone, and we'll see in practice that the photos and videos take all their promises, but one could imagine that Samsung is playing brinkmanship and pass the bar as 12 MP Sony Xperia S and Dell Studio 1558 Battery.

In front, there is a goal generating video still shots of 1, 9 MP and 720p videos. Both sensors operate at 30 frames per second.

No change either on memory and storage. Regarding RAM, 1 GB is found, which is the maximum of the current smartphones. The phone is available in 16 and 32 GB and storage capacity can be expanded with a MicroSD slot that can add up to 64 GB! A good point, especially since HTC has removed the possibility of extension on its terminals One.

We arrive at wireless, and what more, if it is that Samsung has thought of everything? We pass on the 3G: HSDPA (21 Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76 Mbps) are supported. Ditto for the Wi-Fi compatible B, G and N. Bluetooth 4.0 is the game, and manages the GPS A-GPS. Classic, what ...

What is less, even if the Galaxy S III is not the first Android smartphone to integrate, it is the presence of an NFC chip: it is especially designed to work with two integrated applications: Android beam, which is part of Ice Cream Sandwich, and S-Beam, an application for transferring files from Samsung, not working for the trouble between two Galaxy S III. A quick glance at the sensors to finish: the phone has an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass and ... barometer.

Galaxy S III runs Inspiron 1464 Android Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0.4 to be precise. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer does not Android in its basic version, as on the Galaxy Nexus, but mostly with its TouchWiz overlay, or more precisely a variant exclusive to the Galaxy S III. If you have a Galaxy S II ICS in the past, you will have noticed that the differences between 2.3 and 4.0 are strongly erased.

The variant of the GS III named Touchwiz Nature, however, is more radical in its changes, and finally closer to the original spirit of Ice Cream Sandwich, as it was designed by Mattias Duarte, as imitation of iOS Touchwiz original. Should we see again a desire to avoid the wrath of Cupertino? Whatever the reason that prompted these changes, they are welcome, because the interface is both pleasant to use, while retaining the simplicity of the ICS "vanilla".

Before going into the details of the interface, however, a difference back to the fundamental shot between the original spirit of ICS and the Galaxy S III: the virtual keys are not integrated into the interface as the Galaxy Nexus or Android tablets. As was mentioned earlier, Samsung has chosen to renew its usual ergonomics: a central physical button and two touch keys. The center button serves several functions: a simple press returns to the home screen and long press opens the list of recent applications. The two Dell Vostro 1520 softkeys are assigned to the parameter display, and back. ICS purists may prefer the Google approach, where we have a dedicated button to display the Application Manager, but can not find the time needed to hold down the center button too long. However, this change has a second consequence: the use of a smartphone button to display the options, while the practice advocated by ICS is more access to settings from the icon in the upper right of the interface.

Overall, the interface of the Galaxy S III is conspicuous by its simplicity. Samsung has sold a few effects such as scrolling carousel screens receptions reminiscent Sense, or manager of browser tabs Coverflow way, but in general, it is far from a Sense 4 which redraws all ICS sauce: Samsung, for example, kept the task manager minimalist and intuitive from the standard version of Android 4.0. In addition, we always appreciate the presence of shortcuts to disable the various circuits directly from the notifications panel.

Samsung additions occur especially in applications provided, as well as various small features added here and there, including using proximity sensors. All are not really necessary, and some even suffer a functioning quite random, but include particular Smart Stay, a feature that uses the front objective to detect your face, especially your eyes leave the screen on, or instead it off if you do not look. Other gestures are included rather original: Wear your phone to your ear after reading an SMS to call the recipient, place the Vostro 1015 screen side to disable ringtones ... Why not!


We will not stop raving about the telephony layer, but simply say that we did not notice any problem call quality is there, transmission and reception, and not worry proximity sensor that would cut a call inadvertently.


Key Samsung is also reflected in the media, and lose nothing of the main strengths of the Galaxy S II's video support seamless. The reader has a home provided DivX Certified, and therefore reads, without adding a third player, almost all videos that gave him: DivX, Xvid, MKV, H264 ... And what is more without re-encoding necessary.


We note in passing rather original functionality: the ability to display a video "picture in picture" over any application. It may seem a little gadget, just to show that the Exynos Quad was in the belly, but one can imagine cases where you want to keep an eye on a video while doing something else. However, the interface of a smartphone is not made for it, we never know where to place the window. It might be more interested on a shelf.


On the Dell Inspiron 1521 output video to the TV, the Galaxy S III provides an HDMI output via MHL protocol, but with one caveat: Micro USB connector with additional pin, it will be impossible, as we made the sad experience of use the adapter of the Galaxy S II. And in the absence of new adapter when our test, so we did not test this feature. In contrast, no problem regarding the DLNA, which works exactly as expected, and without a hitch.

The audio is a little less difference, even if Samsung provides a pleasant drive to use and feature rich enough: it manages profiles preset equalizer, but a real equalizer preset to suit his tastes. On this point, Samsung has not eroded the basic features of Ice Cream Sandwich as did HTC Sense on the 4. In addition to equalization, Samsung has also included some more or less useful effects: the spatial and improving clarity, so X-Fi, are quite effective, but adding reverb is superfluous. We regret, however, since the power of the processor allows clear lack of management fade or play "gapless". However, the alternative is no shortage of players on the Play Store for more picky. We note in passing that the xps m1530 retains the FM tuner of its predecessor. It is always better than nothing.


We will not dwell on the Internet, because it is absolutely no surprise: there are Google applications (web browser, mail client Pop / Exchange / IMAP, Gmail ...), and not much more. The web browser has a few "customizations" made in Touchwiz: tabs, for example, displayed horizontally and in 3D, so HTC Sense. However, unlike Sense 4, Samsung has not cropped on the boundary already binding, 8 tabs. We may regret the absence, by default, support for Twitter and Facebook, not even through a widget: Google+ is logically put forward.

Obviously, the screen of the dell xps m1330 is a treat for surfing and Ice Cream Sandwich forces, fluid scrolling and zooming is perfect. Despite the abandonment of Adobe Flash on mobile, you can always find a compatible version of ICS on Play Store, and again, videos and animations are no problem fluidity. It took until the monsters power as GS III to finally have a plug-in that delivers the performance expected of it!

Not much to complain about either side of the game: the higher resolution of the Galaxy S III is not flinching GPU Mali 400 MP4. The few games tested, including Riptide, Shadowgun and Dungeon Defenders are rotated perfectly fluid. In contrast, the presence of tactile buttons on the bottom of the unit increases the risk of accidental pressing holding the smartphone in landscape mode: we arrived to operate the Menu button during game in Riptide.

S-Voice: a clone of Siri without genius

The gossips say that they could not help it: the Galaxy S III incorporates its own alternative to Siri, the voice assistant in the iPhone 4S. The concept is the same, and application design is largely inspired from Apple: the bottom of the screen icon microphone can start a voice request. Once the above stated, it is sent to the server with a latency Samsung, and executed with a return speech.

S-Voice handles requests altogether classic call a contact, send an SMS, create a memo or event title play on the MP3 player, launch an application, search or learn about the weather.

In practice, we found imperfect speech recognition, especially for names. The application includes commands correctly but often tangled brush as soon as you place a contact, artist or song title in the equation. On this level, Siri seems more powerful, but still far from optimal though.

The problem of Dell Inspiron 1520 S-Voice, it was his lack of personality. Already, nasal voice is quite unpleasant. But above all, Samsung has not been able to reproduce what is part of the effect of "wow" Siri: humor and feel that exudes intelligence, even if it is absolutely not. S-Voice knows he has to respond to requests, and answer "I do not understand" when he does not speak English with a French accent for no reason. Do not try to be funny, or ask questions in a roundabout way, you will hit a wall.

In short, if the original is already more or less a gadget in the current state of things, this pale copy unoriginal and not more effective, even somewhat less, is even more futile and does nothing. That is, just to say that Samsung has its own Siri, and that's all.

Galaxy S III is equipped with the latest in family Exynos. How is this processor quad heart "home" clocked at 1.4 GHz compete Qualcomm, NVIDIA and ST Ericsson? To find out, we conducted all our usual benchmarks. Start with the processor ...


Linpack is a benchmark that evaluates the power of the processor. The result is expressed in millions of floating point operations per second (MFLOPS). Compared to Benchmark Pi, the main advantage lies in the possibility to test multi threaded (multi-core processor so).

The single and multi threaded tests remain largely dominated by S. HTC One The dual-core SoC Snapdragon S4 Krait (1.5 GHz) Qualcomm does wonders managing to hold a candle to the quad-core Exynos 4412 (1.4 GHz, Galaxy S III) and Tegra 3 (1.5 GHz, HTC One X).

Multi threaded, the Galaxy S III ascended still the second step of the podium almost tied with the iPhone 4S (A5 SoC, double heart 800 MHz).


Web site with SunSpider, the authors of the benchmark JavaScript HTML rendering engine Webkit (Safari, Chrome ...). Galaxy S III lets talk powder by winning the high score ranking. Good results are confirmed by practice. Surfing is perfectly smooth in all circumstances.

GL Benchmark (Off Screen)

GL Benchmark evaluates the performance of the graphics terminal. Offscreen test is independent of the resolution. Here, the Galaxy S III again won the race, ahead clearly HTC One X and other iPhone 4S.


The Galaxy S III has a 2100 mAh battery, which is supposed to guarantee a good autonomy despite intensive components. And it is true in practice: on our test autonomy in use, it ranks third position behind the Huawei Honor and the Motorola Motoluxe, two smartphones much more modest. It is also better than its closest competitor, the HTC One X, which is still much better than leaving the road.

Photo / Video: the software part

Before detailing the performance of the Galaxy S III pictures and videos, make a turn on the software, which is always full. Among the many options available, it will benefit from a timer, some scenes (sunset, sport, indoor, fireworks ...), a burst mode, an HDR mode, the settings of parameters such that the exposure or sensitivity, scenes, macro mode, and some gadgets like smile detection.


Performance picture

No 12 MP for Galaxy S III, then, but that does not mean, however, that the photo and video sensor is recessed. Let us recall briefly the characteristics of the sensor back that we used in our tests: it is rétroexposé, which provides better sensitivity even in difficult lighting condtions, and goes up to 8MP photo.


Speak now practice. Very simply, the Galaxy S III displays excellent image quality, among the best we have ever seen on a smartphone.

It begins with our test scene, which allows us to immediately note two characteristics of the lens. Firstly, the very high accuracy of the images produced: one can quibble around the edges a little less well defined, but it is the case of all sensors of smartphones, and the gap is far be obvious. We also note the side very flattering colors and contrasts: it is certainly a little less saturated than it looks on the Super AMOLED screen of the mobile, but the images are a bit more "flashy" than in the real life.

The exterior is also an opportunity to test the rendering device in HDR mode, and again, we are amazed: the responsiveness of the device, apparently supported by the processor quad-heart is so remarkable that it took several shots to inspect realize he took out two different views.


A year after the release of the Inspiron 1720 Battery , which probably remained, until very recently, the best Android Smartphone available, his successor he managed the handover? Certainly, yes! The qualities of the Galaxy S III are numerous, and so we will start with what leaves us cold, namely the design and finish. Of course, once in hand, the Galaxy S III is much less "cheap" it looks on paper. The design is not the most original, even if you feel that Samsung has at least made an effort to move away from the lines of its predecessor, but on a smartphone sold over 600 euros, we still expected a little more luxurious than glossy plastic shell with a metal rim in imitation.

Fortunately, Samsung catches up with a few surprises of his choice: the phone is almost as light and thin as the Galaxy S II, while a portion of smartphone users will appreciate the presence necessarily a removable battery and a Micro SD slot. In addition, if your back is weak, the facade Gorilla Glass 2 is excellent. However, it really reached the limits of use in terms of size: despite the undeniable comfort of the 4.8-inch screen, we meet as the Galaxy Nexus or HTC One X situations or use a hand is uncomfortable, especially for Dell XPS M2010 users with smaller hands.

One could also criticize some software additions that do nothing, as S-Voice, a botched clone of Siri that is not better than his model, though not very brilliant, and that is even worse. In the end, the functionality will only give grist to critics that Samsung will surely ironic about the plagiarism.

So what we have to blame the new flagship of Samsung. Else is simply the best of what we can expect from a smartphone in 2012. The processor quad-heart Exynos 4412 Quad explodes almost all its competitors, with the exception of S HTC One on some tests. The graphical part is not left: Mali 400 MP4 obtains excellent results. Regarding performance photo and video, the Galaxy S III is faultless: the images produced are accurate, the camera is a perfect response, especially with regard to gusts and HDR videos are fluid, responsive development ... We look good, there is nothing to complain about Dell Inspiron 1721 Battery!

With a 4.8-inch screen (1280x720 pixels) and a quad-heart, one might have feared for the autonomy of the smartphone, but again Samsung ensures: 2100 mAh battery there is probably not unrelated.

Finally, the software has not been neglected: the photosensitive layer is rich in features, video player, DivX Certified, swallows all videos that he has provided, regardless of the format and definition, and audio player provides the essential (equalizer, enhancing effects and spatial ...). The overlay software is in sobriety: Samsung has adapted its Touchwiz interface conventions of Ice Cream Sandwich, with which he nevertheless takes large liberties, and provides an interface that is both simple and enjoyable, even if purists regret the disappearance part of "true" ICS.

In the end, the Studio 1535 Battery appears in fact in line with expectations, but certainly below fantasies that buzz before its launch had been generated. It is, finally, a product Samsung's invoice is classic, but its performance is impeccable, and its full functionality. Its size XXL will not suit everyone, but the smartphone will satisfy those for whom it is not fatal.