Hands-on: Intel Core M Llama Mountain shows the future of skinny tablets

Much of the buzz around Computex 2014 has been based on the advent of Intel's Core M architecture which heralds the arrival of wafer-thin fanless devices as early as late 2014.

Pocket-lint was lucky enough to get a quick hands-on with on Intel's reference design Llama Mountain at the announcement. The first thing we have to say is, as you might expect, the Llama Mountain is superbly light. The Intel engineer we spoke to put the weight as "under 800g" but, having got our grubby paws on it, we'd hazard that it is closer to 750g. It is astoundingly thin at 7.5mm.

The Llama Mountain is a 12.5-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard. The connection is magnetic and therefore hingeless. As you can see from the photo the tablet docks an inch and a half or so from the rear of the base and sits at a 65 degree angle from the base. We tried docking/undocking the tablet and the process was seamless. There's a chiclet keyboard and a trackpad on the base.

The display is a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution IPS panel and the viewing angles were accordingly pretty good. Intel has also designed a speaker unit which the tablet can dock into - although we didn't get to try out that particular mechanism.

What we can tell you is that as well as providing a surround sound effect, the dock has a fan which enables Intel's "Adaptive Performance" feature which essentially allows the tablet to overclock at up to 40 per cent more power.  This allows the device to handle a heavier workload - for example gaming.

The Llama Mountain runs Window's 8.1 Pro on the low power consuming Broadwell Core M architecture.

As a reference design, the Llama Mountain points towards where the market will go over the next year or so. Asus got a head start showing off the Transformer Book Chi on Monday (you can see our write up here) which is the first actual "going to market" device based on Intel's reference and is due out later this year.

READ: Asus shows off wafer thin Transformer T300 Chi

Asus have shaved 0.2mm off the reference design with a thickness of just 7.3mm. Asus have been keeping the Chi at arm's length from eager journalists but we were lucky enough to get a chance to have a quick hold of it and we're happy to say it felt a shade lighter than Llama Mountain.

We're looking forward to getting hold of the Chi and other designs based on the Llama Mountain later in the year - these promise to be super mobile, yet capable devices. What each brand adds to the mix remains to be seen but it looks like it will be a pretty exciting year ahead.



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