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The Hot & The Not So Happening

Print Edition: September 2012

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

HP ENVY 17-3270NR
Rs 85,000 onwards

Features
>> Intel Core i7-3610QM, 8 GB RAM,
>> 750 GB SATA HD, Windows 7


The design, though a bit dated, is fairly compact for the category and packs premium power. It's fast and efficient, sporting the Ivy Bridge breed of processors. Display is one of the best for any 17-inch lap and the number of peripheral ports should please even the most indulgent owner of accessories. Pre-installed software is the cherry, including extended (two years) anti-virus and full versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. Overall, a good product for high-end users.


SONY SLT-A77
Rs 69,990

Features
>> 24MP CMOS Sensor, 2.4M dot OLED viewfinder
>> 1/8000th max shutter speed, ISO 100-16,000

The A77, like predecessor A55, impresses with its high speed shooting modes. It also has excellent EVF, an intuitive auto-focus, a thoughtful operational system and leads the class in video resolution. However, as a JPEG shooter, it is not up to standards. Also, images get a little noisy at high ISO settings. Do read the review on www.dpreview.com if you really want an in-depth assessment.


LG OPTIMUS 4X
Rs 32,999 onwards

Features
>> 1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A9, 1 GB RAM
>> 16 GB internal, 2150mAh battery, 8 MP camera

LG has had to come second best (or worse) in every smartphone race so far. But the 4X puts up the best fight of any. The design is thoughtful and refined. It's not just a pretty face either, keeping up with quad-core competitors, HTC One X and Samsung S III. ICS customisation is mild and the UI is the best for any LG phone yet. Negatives inlcude disappointing battery life and a display that compares poorly with One X and S III. The camera hardware is quality but the software not so much.


OUTLOOK.COM

Features
>> Truly unlimited storage
>> Get disposable mail addresses

While you might not be scrambling to get Outlook, it would do well to check it out. It's fast and the UI is beautiful (a 'keep it simple' philosophy). You can also sign in with a temporary password for online security on a public terminal, get social integration for Facebook, LinkdIn and Twitter and you can block mails from any domain (as in from @example.com). If you are familiar with HTML and CSS, you can even code in the mails directly. You can also get a disposable id for those 'untrustworthy' sites you might want to check out.


DELL INSPIRON 17R
Rs 53,500 onwards

Features
>> Intel Core i7-3610QM (also available with i5)
>> 8GB RAM, 1TB SATA HD, Windows 7

The 17R Special Edition is a cheaper alternative for amateur gamers with the pairing of the Full HD (1080p) screen and Nvidia GeForce 650M 2GB graphics with a premium processor. The design is satisfactory with a mix of aluminium and plastic. Connectivity options are numerous with USB 3.0 (four ports), ethernet, HDMI and VGA. One of the things that make it really special is the Skullcandy Speakers (with subwoofer) inside the machine.

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