The Hot and the not so Happening

Sam Abraham | Print Edition: July 2011

Sam Abraham introduces new products and services to help you zero in on those that offer value for money.

Apple iPad 2
APPLE IPAD 2 (Rs 46,900)

>> 9.7-inch LED-backlit multi-touch display
>> 1024x768 res, 16/32/64 GB, Wi-Fi, 3G

Sleeker, faster and lighter. The iPad 2 is here sporting Apple's latest version of iOS, the dual-core A5 CPU and a pair of cameras (front and back of course). The 1Ghz chip makes it faster and zippier than the previous version. Apple has also put a lot of thought into styling the Pad.

Volkswagen Touareg

>> 2967cc V6 diesel engine
>> Eight-speed triptonic transmission

The Touareg might not look like a rugged SUV but it certainly is the brute it's meant to be. It's gone upmarket with a sleek and sporty look. The engine sounds smooth and refined and can reportedly hit a speed of over 100kmph in under 8 seconds. For an off-roader, it also performs exceedingly well on the tarmac and in city traffic.

Nikon D5100
NIKON D5100 (Rs 40,000 approx)

>> AF-S and AF-I lens compatible with auto focus
>> 23.6 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor

Here's what makes the 5100 interesting; an articulating screen-in high res, high dynamic range (HDR) and the 1080i 30fps video recording (as against the 24fps in even the D7000). Nikon has also increased the screen size, replacing the 2.7-inch one with a 3-incher and quadrupled the resolution, giving it a total of 920,000 dots. The 5100's new auto focus system also makes filming a lot more fun. It's, understandably, more expensive than the D5000.

Ear Force PX 5
EAR FORCE PX5 (Rs 4,490)

>> Adjustable and removable boom mic
>> Optical audio pass-through option

Turtle Beach's PX5 is a fantastic surround-sound gaming headset that offers an insane number of customisable presets. It can even serve as a Bluetooth headset and can connect to a phone or music player. The sound was crisp, while the mic was great (and flexible) and sat very well for extended periods. However, the software won't work with Macs. It's also expensive hardware.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

>> 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor
>> Adreno 205 graphics, 8 MP Exmor R image Sensor
>> 512 MB of RAM (320 MB available to apps)
>> 8 GB of MicroSD storage

The Arc is about design, with form clearly being the standout feature. It's ridiculously thin, extremely light and lovely. The machine also sports a great camera and a brilliant user interface. A 4.2-inch display, the company's biggest Android handset to date, ensures nobody mistakes it for anything other than the pure entertainment device it is. Though, iffy ergonomics and poor video quality does cost the Arc a few points.

Camera Bag application
CAMERABAG ($1.99 - Rs 90 approx)

>>Uncomplicated, compatible with iPhone or iPod touch running the iOS 2.

The app is a collection of nine photo filters to improve the less-than-stellar images your camera phone usually clicks. You can take a picture with the camera from within CameraBag or choose a photo from your library. You can then audition each filter on a picture and save the altered version. You can also set the output size for your photos. All in all, CameraBag offers variety and the filters are high-quality, and offer hours of fun. To get a sense of what they can do, check out the CameraBag Flickr group,

Vignette photo editor application
VIGNETTE ($4.19 - Rs 190 approx)

>> Offers 10x digital zoom
>> Geotag location within photos

Vignette is also a photo editor app, but for Android phones. It comes with 62 filters and 21 frames to make phone snaps a little more fun. You can also import and apply Vignette effects to existing photos. The interface is excellent with on-screen controls consisting of a photo crop slider on the left and filters, frames, image resolution quality, white balance, flash and timer toggles on the right. However, the pro version can only handle up to 5 MP res. Even so, a good replacement for your default app.

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