Frame Changer

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: January 2012

Price: Rs 29,990
Specs: Android v3.2; 9.4-inch display; 5 MP camera; 16 GB storage; 32 GB memory expandable; WiFi, Bluetooth; mini USB port; 3.5 mm jack.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A stylish lightweight tablet, but no SIM slot.

It has taken Sony close to two years to enter the tablet market. In an excellent bid to stand out in the crowd, Sony has given its tablet a refreshing and aesthetic design. Described as an "ergonomic innovation", the design consists of an unusual curve-wedge shape, rather like a single sheet of black plastic bent to make the ends meet. The gorgeous looks give the impression that the Tablet S is a heavy device. But at 598 gm, it is more than comfortable to lug around. The controls, including on/off, volume, 3.5mm jack, memory-card slot and a mini USB port, are on the side while the the charging jack lies at the bottom.

This 9.4 incher runs on the version of Android modified for tablets, Honeycomb v3.2. The interface is similar to what the other Honeycomb tablets offer: five windows on the homescreen, the application launcher tab on the top right along with the back, home and multitasking icons on the left bottom. Other than Google services, it comes with some interesting applications on board. These include Remote Control that turns the tablet into a universal remote, Wi-Fi checker and a Social Feed Reader. Video Chaska, Star Player, Big Flix, Bollywood Hungama and Meragana.com have been specially designed for the Sony Tab. You can downloaded them by hitting the 'Select App' icon from the app launcher. Watching multimedia content on the tablet was a pleasure and using the 'Throw Function and DLNA' we could actually watch the video playing on the tablet on the Bravia TV using Wi-Fi. To enable this stellar performance, the Tablet S has a dual-core ARM Cortex processor clocking at 1 GHz along with 1 GB RAM. Like the iPad, this tablet is only Wi-Fi enabled (no SIM) and offers 16 GB of onboard storage. The battery lasted close to seven hours.

Price: Rs 15,990
Specs: 16.1 MP CCD sensor; 3-inch touch display; F3.3-F5.9; 5X optical zoom; 16- 1/2000 sec; ISO 3200; 130 gm

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? For its price and innovations, it's not a bad camera

SMALL WONDER: You have probably seen images of this camera on television and in magazines. Yes, it's the one where you see the LCD panel fanning out in various angles. The first thing you will notice, therefore, is the LCD that opens up rather like a page in a book. It allows you new viewing angles, though it achieves half the 360 degrees movement of the display in more advanced cameras. The second thing you will notice is how thin the camera is. It is less than an average finger width with the LCD closed down and, therefore, could deceive you into thinking it is a smartphone. These features make the MV800 a device of which you could proudly claim, "Mine is smaller than yours."

Unlike most other cameras, the various options are accessed on a smartphone-like "homepages". Placed like widgets on the monitor, you can touch these icons to get to the modes (smart auto, smart movie, 3D photo, scene mode, beauty shot, etc) as you would on a

phone. It's amazing how such a tiny device is capable of so much, including 3D photographs and "live" panorama shots (essentially video panoramas that also double up as stills). The results are good, though some functions seem a little fussy.

Price:  Rs 14,950

Specs: 14.1 MP CCD sensor; 3-inch display; F3.9-F5.8; 5X optical zoom; 1-1/1500 sec; ISO 6400; 720P video; 20 lumens projector; RGB LED light; 5-60 inch image; 11 inch-10 ft throw; 1 hour projection on full battery.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A projector and camera combo for a good price

THE BIG PICTURE: It's useful to have a camera that can project your images and videos. "Useful" is the adjective here, not "necessary". Nikon's Coolpix S1200pj, the latest in the series that started with the S1000pj in 2009, comes with a 40-lumen projector that did a pretty good job of throwing the images on a wall from as far as 10 ft away. Plus, in a joint venture with our computer, it similarly projected images or videos located in our Mac or PC (or for that matter in the Apple trio of the iPhone, iPad and the iPod). The projection is pretty nifty in a darkened room. Only, don't think of the S1200pj as a cineplex machine and you will be more than happy.

Besides being a projector, the S1200pj, is actually a good camera that comes with the regular scene modes, shooting options, etc. The controls are handily located and accessing features is not a matter of curses. However, keep in mind that it is essentially a point-and-shoot, so the results will satisfy the amateur, not the professional. Plus, the pictures are good enough for a device that you would think was dependent solely on its projector to sell. And those of you who love luminescent hues will adore its fuchsia coat-others may baulk at the attention it attracts.  - By Joel Rai


Price: 8,888
Specs: 12 gm, worn in single ear; 4 hour talktime, 100 hour standby.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A Bluetooth headset worth investing in.

COMFORT CALL: Do you often feel like living in a wire-free world and plan to invest in a nice Bluetooth headset? Picking one today isn't difficult but think about what you want to buy-a regular headset or a feature-rich lifestyle one? If your heart calls for the latter, then Bose's latest Bluetooth Series 2 headset is worth a look. Priced competitively (it's not overpriced, believe us) this headset is a perfect blend of beauty with functionality. Light in weight, it has a neat design with "Bose" embossed on the front.

But unlike other headsets, this can't be worn in any ear. When you buy them, choose those meant for the right and left ears as they have a side-specific design that ensures that the call controls stays on the top. Pairing the headset hardly takes a few seconds and once done, it manages to stream calls and music over the headset. Bose has cleverly added a noise rejecting microphone that cuts through the surrounding noise while ensuring clear sound on the other end. It even has automatic volume adjustment feature during changing noise levels. The sound clarity was loud and clear and was distortion free on both the ends. It is comfortable to wear for long durations. The battery lasted for close to five hours of working.

Price: 8,995 and 14,995

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? This is a helpful but expensive gadget for students.

WORD FINDER: Some time ago students in school pored at words in a paper dictionary. Then the generation moved on to online dictionaries. Now Casio is trying to replace the two with a digital pocket dictionary. But will it succeed? These eDictionaries are compact and look like mini laptops with a display and a QWERTY keyboard. Although, these devices look basic, they pack in a complete Oxford dictionary, which you can use to find word meanings, check spellings, search for a word using keywords, etc.

Easy to use, the dictionary responds in real time, as we type. The keypad is smooth, just like the ones on the Casio calculators. For easy navigation, there are arrow keys, delete, enter and escape keys too. Starting the Ex-Word gives options to search headword, example and phrase from multi dictionary search. Other options include Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary, Oxford Learner's Thesaurus, Oxford Collocation Dictionary for Students of English, Oxford Idioms Dictionary for Learners of English, Oxford Learner's Wordfinder Dictionary, and calculator. Using the marker key, we could highlight the keywords, definition, etc, and save it to the vocabulary list for future reference.

Of the two models, the EW B100C is priced at Rs 7,995. The EW B2000C is priced at Rs 14,995 and is relatively bigger in size and includes some additional features. This has an inbuilt speaker that can be used to learn correct pronunciation of different words. It did work for many words but there were a few that were not in the data base. Along with the above mentioned titles, Britannica Concise Encyclopedia and Oxford Hachette French Dictionary have also been loaded on this eDictionary. Both the dictionaries are powered using AA batteries and are sturdy enough to withstand a fall from a height, making it safe for students to use.

Price: Rs 6,599
Specs: 18 B/W prints per minute; 8.5 secs for first print; 266 Mhz processor; 150 sheet input tray, 5.2 kg

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A quick and hassle free B/W printing solution.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE: Laser printers are the best for fast printing but their broad waistline consume a lot of space. Of late players in this domain have been introducing compact laser printers. The Laser Jet Pro P1108 is a perfect example coming from the leader, HP. Ideal for small and medium offices, this Laser Jet is good looking yet compact and can fit in any workstation with ease. Unlike other printers, it doesn't even have a display except two blinkers for printing and error. Hassle free and quick to set up, the Laser Jet is equally quick in printing.

In an effort to make it the world's most energy efficient printer, HP has added an auto on/ off feature that kills the machines when there is no printing command for a period of time. We thought that the printer might take some extra time to turn back on and print a page. Surprisingly, as soon as we hit the print command in the on/off mode, we had the print in our hand in less than 9 seconds. The prints obtained on a regular A4 sheet were bright and clear. However, on a tone save mode, the small font size of 10 looked completely washed out. Also, a single cartridge is capable of printing 1500 monochrome pages.

Price: Rs 55,000

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A 5-ft image from just a metre away-good for the home.

SPACE CONSCIOUS MACHINE: BenQ's W710ST projector projects visuals of up to 63 inches size from a short distance of just one metre. This feature makes it a must-have for those who wish to set up a personal theatre at home but lack the space that a normal projector requires. What is more, its white and gray colours blend with most home interiors. The regular projection area varies between 33 inch and 300 inch diagonally.

Whatever the size, the image was bright and clear. Zoom level and focus can be adjusted using the two rings at the front. Physical keys on the top make for convenient navigation. The lamplife of 4,000-6,000 hours are adequate, but our concern was the average sound output from the 10W speaker. The connectivity ports at the back of the machine include Composite Video in, S-Video in, Component Video in, Audio in, Audio L/R in, Audio out, HDMI (x2), Mini USB and RS232. Considering the price, the company could have included a USB port as well. At 720P native resolution, it isn't a Full HD projector. However, the company claims it is 3D ready. We could not test this feature as the 3D glasses are sold separately.

LG LSM 100
Price: Rs 3,500
Specs: Regular mouse with scroll wheel; Scan key; Smart Scan software; Scans text and images.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A hybrid mouse for day-to-day scanning needs.

LG LSM 100
THE HYBRID MOUSE: From multi-touch to foldable design, there have been a few innovations in the computer mouse segment. But no one had gone so far as to think of a scanner built into the mouse. LG has-with its LSM 100. While it looks like a regular desktop mouse, the LSM 100 is bigger in size, making it a little uncomfortable to hold and use. Although it has the regular controls, including a scroll wheel, a close examination reveals two buttons on the left panel and the sensitive glass casing at the bottom for scanning. To get on with the task, you have to install the Smart Scan software that comes with the mouse. Pressing the scan key launches the software and starts the scanning.

By moving the mouse slowly over the document, all text and images can be scanned. While scanning, a real-time scanned image appears on the computer monitor and you can rotate it or adjust colour and brightness using the software. Surprisingly, for its small scanning area, the LSM 100 can be used for scanning A4 and A3 documents.

Price: Rs 3,899
Specs: Fixed in-ear fit; remote and Mic support for Apple products; 3 ear buds; Black Chrome, Red White and White Chrome colours.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? Comfortable to wear, justifies the price tag.

PERFECT FIT: Not everyone feels comfortable using big over-the-head earphones. And inear ones often don't fit well. Keeping this in mind, Skullcandy has come up with the Fix, an in-ear headphone that is designed to fit the ear well. Once worn, even when pulled with a bit of force, the earphones don't fall off. Besides this novelty, there aren't anything innovative in terms of the design. On the left lead are the volume controls and the microphone.

However, the mic doesn't work with just any device, coming into action only when plugged into an iPod, iPad and iPhone. Priced at Rs 3,899, it is not meant for the budget-conscious. But for those who are willing to spend, the Fix will not disappoint as it offers great sound and deep bass. It was soft on the ears at controlled volumes, though there was distortion at high volumes. Usually headphones are difficult to store. But this Skullcandy Fix has a small black pouch with a skull embossed on it for storage. There are additional ear buds that can be changed according to need.

LG A530
Price: Rs 79,990
Specs: 15.6-inch Full HD 3D display; Windows 7 Home Premium; Intel Core i7 processor; 8GB RAM; 750GB HDD; 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI; Card reader.

BAG IT OR JUNK IT? A great 3D experience but you can get a 3D TV at this same price.

LG A530
AN ADDED DIMENSION: 3D technology isn't new to LG. The Korean company's latest 3D Cinema TVs with FPR (Film Patterned Retarder) 3D technology and flicker-free glasses are among the best in the industry. Now it has re-entered the notebook market with the same polarised, strain-free glasses for its 3D laptop, the A530. This laptop has a fine outer casing in black matte finish and silver casing inside.

Opening the lid reveals a 15.6-inch full HD 3D LCD along with a full desktop like keypad comprising the QWERTY keyboard as well as the numeric keypad. The touch pad has been shifted towards the left, an inconvenient positioning. Adding enough power to handle heavy 3D graphics and gaming, LG gives it an i7 processor and 8 GB RAM along with an NVIDIA GeForce GT555m graphics card with 1 GB dedicated RAM. Capable of performing all tasks required of a notebook, what makes the A530 stand out is the 3D functionality. LG has cleverly added a dedicated 3D Zone in the programs for all the 3D features and content. The notebook had a few 3D videos pre-installed and watching 3D content using the light weight glasses was fun. It boasts an option to upscale regular 2D DVDs and Blu-Ray movies into 3D.

We could also switch to 2D mode while watching 3D videos at the click of a button. Also onboard were two 1.3 MP web-cameras that can capture content in 3D. However, while the 3D depth captured by the cameras was amazing, the quality was just about average. For enjoying 3D content, this laptop comes with with a lightweight 3D glass along with a 3D clip-on specs that can be worn over regular spectacles. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3 USB ports, HDMI, card reader, VGA, microphone and Ethernet jack, all placed on either side. The battery backup was about average with around three hours of videos, browsing and music playback.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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