Tuesday, 2 of September of 2014


Archives from month » June, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire Plus $5 Amazon Instant video Credit Now For $169: Grab The Free Voucher Now!

 

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire on Amazon

AmazonLocal has just launched a brand new deal involving the Kindle Fire right ahead of Father’s day. Now for $169, you can get the Kindle Fire Android tablet along with $5 Amazon Instant Video credit. This deal is only valid for the today, so you better hurry off to Amazon.com if you are in the market for a Kindle Fire. To break it down — this is a $30 off for a brand new Kindle. Amazon often sells refurbished Kindles for $169 but then it is always much nicer to get a new one. This is a voucher offer and Amazon is offering a limited number of these. There’s no cost for buying a voucher and you may choose not to use it once you have bought it. So we would suggest that you get a voucher even if you are still in two minds about it.

The 7inch full color Android tablet device from the Kindle line of e-readers is currently the second most popular tablet in the US market right now. There’s still hug gap between the Kindle Fire and the market leader iPad from Apple but the low cost and high value tablet has been selling quite well regardless.

Amazon has modified the interface on the tablet beyond recognition and in a good way. Gone is the mundane Android interface that you see everywhere else. Instead there’s a neat carousal style UI that lets you flip through covers of multiple titles, be it books, vidoes or music. You will not miss anything about Android except for may be some apps because Amazon has disabled sideloading other apps in to the Kindle Fire but then Amazon’s own app store is pretty good and it has all the basic apps with more being added all the time.

One of the best featues about the Kindle Fire is the seamless integration with the Amazon Prime service. Amazon Prime is a $79 per year service that offers wide range of multimedia content in return and also extra service like complimentary 2-day shipping on Amazon purchases.

If you are buying the Kindle Fire as a gift for Father’s day, make sure you choose the right kind of shipping. Free Super Saver Shipping might not make the delivery in time to present it for Father’s day. Standard Shipping will get it to you by Friday at the very latest but it will cost you $7. As for the $5 Amazon Instant Video credit, that will be credited to your account within 72 hours of the purchase. And what’s more, it will come with one month’s free subscription of Amazon Prime for you to try out just like every Kindle Fire does.

The Kindle Fire has been steadily outselling its closest competitor from Barnes and Noble — the Nook. The Nook was earlier also being offered on discount but only for those who were paying for it with their Mastercard credit cards.


Fujitsu Lifebook U772 Becomes The First Ultrabook To Ship With vPro

NB Fujitsu LIFEBOOK NH751. Core i7

NB Fujitsu LIFEBOOK NH751. Core i7 on Amazon

Fujitsu has released a pair of brand new Lifebook Ultrabook models to add to its current line of notebooks. These are both running on the ecently launched Ivy Bridge processors from Intel. The first model is a powerful business oriented Ultrabook called the Lifebook U772 and the second one is the less-expensive variant called the Lifebook UH572.

The Lifebook U772 is apparetly designed from the ground up with professionals in mind, given what Fujitsu has to say on the matter. This Ivy Bridge Core series Intel chip toting Ultrabook comes with Intel’s Core vPro technology, a finger print sensor, a trusted platform module that is optional and fully encryption supporting Flash SSD storage. Fujitisu says the U772 is the first Ultrabook to ship with Intel’s vPro. The Ultrabook comes in Red and Silver casing and has a 14inch 1366×768 HD display. It weighs about 1.4KG (~3Pound) and is less than 16mm in thickness.

Even though it is quite slim, it is still sturdy enough to handle a the knocks and bumps of daily life thanks to the magnesium alloy casing. Other than being vPro enabled, secure and tough, the U772 also offers optional 3G connectivity in addition to the existing WiFi.

The Lifebook U772 Ultrabook comes in Core i5 and Core i7 processor choices and offers up to 8GB of memory. The battery is claimed to be powerful enough to last for 10 hours. We will have to wait for real life use feedback to verify that claim.

Both notebooks are very similar in their dimensions with the Lifebook U772 being slightly larger and also somewhat thinner. It is surprising though because the UH572 is a 13.3inch model whilst the U772 is a 14inch model.

The U772 is coming to the US towards the end of June with a starting price of $1149. The UH572 is available in only configuration and that will cost $999. Since Fujitsu is targetting the consumer market with the UH572, the price makes some sense because it falls in line with the rest of the Ultrabooks on the market in terms of price. The U772 however makes for better value it seems because it targets the business audience and is sure to have a better build quality. With the built in security features, the U772 is quite well configured for the corporate world. It has options for both HDD and SSD and you can also have a combination for both to combine speed and storage capacity. The most common option is to include a small SSD for speedy boot times and using a regular HDD for storage.

The Fujitsu Lifebook series is already availble in the US but they do not have much of a presence. The company has traditionally targeted business users rather than consumers per se. So it is heartening to see them trying to woo the consumers with their lower priced model.


Sony PlayStation 3, PS Move Updates From E3 2012

PlayStation 3 320GB CALL OF DUTY MW3 Bundle

PlayStation 3 320GB CALL OF DUTY MW3 Bundle on Amazon

Sony presented at the E3 conference earlier this week and revealed quite a bit of new content for the aging PlayStation 3 platform. A new AAA game from the developer Quantic Dreams (the makers of the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain) was announced as an exclusive for the PS3. It would be featuring Juno star Ellen Page as a lead voice talent.

God Of War: Ascension go its second big trailer shown off at the event too. This and Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time will both feature stereoscopic 3D support, meaning you can play them in 3D on supported systems. Other than these two, highly anticipated titles such as The Last of Us, LittleBigPlanet Karting and PlayStation All Star Battle Royale also got announced. Sony also spoke about new PSN titles —Journey Collection, When Vikings Attack, Sound Shapes and The Unifinished Swan.

In the meantime, LittleBigPlanet 2, a title that was released last year, is soon to get a cross-platform support from PS Vita. This would enable gamers to pick up the game on either their PS3 or PS Vita and continue seamlessly. A similar amount of cross-platform performance was also announced for PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, which is also coming to PS Vita.

Other than game titles, Sony also made some hardware announcements for the PlayStation 3 and some for PS Plus. PS Plus will now get a lot of free content, which will big game titles from PS3, said Sony at the same E3 event. PS Plus subscribers will able to access popular Sony and third party titles by paying les than $5 per month. Also, the list of free games for PS Plus will be updated with new additions every month. For example, in June the free games would include the following: -

Just Cause 2,

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light,

LittleBigPlanet 2,

Hard Corp: Uprising

Saints Row 2,

Shoplifer HD

iNfamous 2,

Ratchet and Clank,

Warhammer 40K:Space Marines

Zombie Apocalypse

Sideway NY

…and some more.

But there’s no information on whether these titles would be released for the PS Vita.

A new game was announced for PS Move called Wonderbook: Book of Spells. The game is tied to a new piece of equipment called Wonderbook that uses augmented reality to tell stories to children. This is the firt product of Sony’s collaboration with Pottermore and the company said it would feature exclusive content written by JK Rowling — the author of the Harry Potter series and its spinoffs.

A new PS Move Racing Wheel was also launched. It has been designed to incorporate the PS Move controller and it offers twist grip throttle on folding motorcycle handlebars, fast access paddle shifters. It also has enhanced vibration feedback. Users will be able to use it out of the box with LittleBigPlanet Karting, Motostorm Apocalypse, Gran Turismo 5, Need for Speed:Hot Pursuit, Burnout Paradise and a few more racing titles.

In other new, PlayStation Suite has now been renamed to PlayStation Mobile. It will be available on Sony handsets as well as on some handhsets made by HTC. HTC’s One X, One S and One V have all received PlayStation certification with more to come apparently.


Acer Aspire 7600U & 5600U All-in-One Touchscreen PCs: A Quick Overview

Acer AZ5771-UR31P 23-Inch All-in-One Desktop (Black)

Acer AZ5771-UR31P 23-Inch All-in-One Desktop (Black) on Amazon

Like all other companies at Computex 2012, Acer too showed off Windows 8 PCs. And amongst its devices were the Acer Aspire 7600u and 5600U All-In-One touchscreen PCs. These were running on Windows 8 with the Metro UI shining prominently through the touchscreen.

The 7600U is the larger of the two, measuring in at 27inches. It comes with a full HD resolution and also a slot-loading optical drive on the side. The touchscreen is quite nice, allowing up to 64 simultaneous touchpoints. This means the whole family can join in on the fun. And of course, it also has its implications for muti-tasking and collaborating in any situation using Windows 8. And if you think the vertical form factor of a PC is not conducive to this, it can be swung low and made to lie flat like a tablet. Voila, instant touchscreen for the family. And hopefully it will be much cheaper than Microsoft’s Surface — which is the only thing that it commercially available and close to this.

Attendees all agree that the screen quality is excellent on these two all-in-ones, based on what is apparent from an initial look at the device. The Metro UI was very well suited to the larger screen and really came to life. The product manager from the company jokingly told the gathered press that by lying this Acer Aspire series AIOs flat, they turn in to the world’s larges eReaders. CNET mentions sharp text on the screens that would actually be conducive to reading books.

The Acer Aspire 5600u does comes with a 23inch display and does not get to lie flat on it back like the 7600u. It has a limitation of 85 degrees. Both the models come with Dolby Theatre Surround Sound and the rest of the specs are likely to be the same between the two. The build quality doesn’t look to impressive but then these are likely to be early, pre-production units that are meant for running demo.

The models also have the cool ability to rotate 90 degrees when they are in the vertical position. So you can use it in the portrait position also. There’s a clear panel of plastic on the bottom of the device (when in normal orientation), which seems to do nothing at the moment except for serving as a grip when rotating the device to change the orientation.

There are no internal part specifications for these Acer Aspire desktops but at least some of the ports were visible. There seem to two USB3.0 ports, headphone and microsophone jacks and also a multicard reader up front with at least a pair of USB2.0 port out back. The PowerSupply is through a breakout cable.

These two all-in-ones are definitely different from what we have seen so far. With their touchscreen and flexible positioning options, they are going to be quite well-matched to Windows 8 and its touch-first philosophy.

Acer Aspire 7600u 5600u Windows 8 All In One  PC

Acer Aspire 7600u 5600u Windows 8 All In One PC


Nintendo Wii U Shown Off At E3 2012

Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U on Amazon

Nintendo had the Wii U on display at E3 last year but then a lot of things have changed since then and it is good to see the console in its full glory this time around. The Nintendo Wii U Gamepad controller has undergone some tweaks and this time around the company has made actual games available for the demo. This has made it is a lot easier to understand the true purpose of the GamePad.

All hands on reviwers have mentioned how good the GamePad feels in the hands, despite being of plasticky build quality. All the buttons and controls are very intelligently placed and they are within reach exactly where they should be during a game. The touchscreen on the GamePad is quite bright and the whole things is very light — both of which are very essential for proper Gameplay.

The Wii U console box itself has become quite understated, which is a nice change from the original Wii. Many have been of the opinion that the original Wii was needlessly flashy and gimicky in its design. This new one is absolutely the opposite. It it is very unassuming and looks more like a modern DVD player. It has a disc tray and a button and that’s about it. Its compact looks and curved edges give it an elegant look. And its size is perfect for those who want to hide it away from sight in their A/V cabinet under the TV.

The console will only accept Wii U discs apparently, which means there’s no external DVD playback and certainly no Blu-Ray. So it remains a true console it seems. Now lets move on to the games that were on hand for the reviewers.

The Wii U GamePad is a wireless piece of gadget for ease of use but the demo units were tethered for all reviewers is seems. This was probably for a security and connectivity purpose. And the demos consisted of multiple Wiimotes too.

Amongst the several games available for demo, there were games like ZombiU, Project P-100, a new Super Mario Bros. U and also Nintendo Land. And the best part is that the new GamePad controller actually conributes to the game instead being just another gimmick. It does genuinely contribute to GamePlay and takes the console experience forward.

And it comes in handy during hardcore games like ZombiU also. For example, you can hold up the GamePad to the screen and you will get a scope for sniping zombies from a distance. And we strongly believe that you developers will come up with even more uses for the GamePad and its secondary screen. We saw it being used as a map in many of the earier demos and also some of the information gathered from a Nintendo Patent showing direct interaction between the main screen and the GamePad. But there’s much more to be done. And it is a good thing to see the Wii U walking a fine line between hardcore gamer and family friendly. The latter is still going to be its target audience but it might slowly start winning over the hardcore crowd as well, giving this console a audience like no other.


Lenovo ThinkPad Windows 8 Tablet Revealed At Computex

Lenovo ThinkPad 1838-25U 10.1" 32GB Tablet (With Stylus)

Lenovo ThinkPad 1838-25U 10.1" 32GB Tablet (With Stylus) on Amazon

Computex 2012 has been a Windows 8 fest so far, with all the big names showing off multiple device previews for the upcoming Windows 8 Platform. Amongst them is the Lenovo ThinkPad Windows 8 Tablet. This is a 11.6inch slate that runs on Intel’s Medfield Atom chip designed for mobile use. This is a prototype device that does not have a specific product name yet but it is certain to be a part of the ThinkPad line up. This means we are looking at a business device, just like the rest of the ThinkPad line up.

It has a very traditional Lenovo ThinkPad design with its squared off look and strictly functional appeal. With the sober design approach, it is clearly targeted at the enterprise and beyond. It has a soft touch chassis that comes in a matte finish. No shine or attention grabbing feature. Just a serious looking tablet running on Microsoft’s latest OS.

This ThinkPad device features a primary camera at the back and a camera up front. There’s a miniHDMI connector as well for connecting the tablet to an HDTV or a HD projector. There’s also USB and a microSD card slot for expandable memory. It also has a SIM slot for cellular service, showing that it means business when competing with the rest of the market.

Lenovo has not been very forthcoming about the device and even though it is not officially mentioned – WiFi and Bluetooth are quite certain to be there on the device. And if this Lenovo ThinkPad is serious about its enterprise focus, there’s the distinct possibility of there being hardware security features and heightened security within the software too.

Lenovo has been describing it as a prototype, so there has been no talk of a release date or pricing either. Given the kind of hardware that this is has inside (no details about RAM or storage though) and the OS it will be running, there’s a distinct possibility of this being as expensive or slightly more, as the Apple iPad. Since Lenovo will have to pay a licensing fee to Microsoft and Intel chips tend to be more expensive than ARM ones, there’s so far no visible way through which companies like Lenovo can bring their prices down. However, a nicely priced slate that competes with the iPad and runs Windows 8 might be quite a hit on the market. However, that is hard to tell with any degree of certainty at the moment this Lenovo ThinkPad tablet.

Lenovo is one of the many companies who showed of tablets running Windows 8. There was a healthy mix of Intel-powered tablets as well as ARM devices. Most are working on some kind of a hybrid design for a convertible tablet/notebook for Windows 8. This is showing in the number of Asus Transformer like devices we have seen so far from people like Acer.


Asus TAICHI Convertible Notebook With Dual Screens Announced A Computex 2012

ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH52 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (Silver Aluminum)

ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH52 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (Silver Aluminum) on Amazon

Taipei has been buzzing with new innovations from the Computex 2012 event and Asus has been one of the first companies to announce a slew of new devices. Most of these are based on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS and that is also the case with Asus’ big new reveal at the event — the Asus TAICHI Convertible notebook. This is a convertible device that comes with two displays in one device. Yes, that’s right — a dual screen set up in a notebook.

The TAICHI device is a strange and perhaps wonderful new concept that puts a display both on the front and the back of what should have been the lid of the notebook. So when you have the device open, it is a regular notebook with a baklit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. Nothing extraordinary there. However, when you close the device, you find yourself staring at another display on the back of the previous display. This one acts like a tablet.

TAICHI is powered by a current generation Intel Core Series Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, which is paired with 4gigs of RAM, SSD storage and dual-band 802.11n WiFi, FHD/Supr IPS+ display and of course — dual cameras as well. So no matter which mode you are on, you will always have a camera to use for video calls and such.

It comes in two sizes — 11.6inch and 13.3inch. And here’s the best part — both sizes claim to be as light and as thin as the Asus Zenbok lineup, despite packing two displays instead of one! Both sizes have a resolution of 1920×1080, which means it can display videos and images at full 1080p HD resolution. And since the displays can be used indenpendantly, you can show two completely different things on the two displays. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities when you think of live collaborations sessions and presentations.

The devices that are on hand at the event at early prototypes of the device but they are quite well made and polished, proving that it is not just a mere concept right now. The devices clearly work as descrived by Asus and the touch panels have been reported as being quite responsive. The displays were apparently quite bright too, even when the settings were turned down low.

Even though the chassis is thin, Asus has not skimped on connectivity options. You have a full line of ports and buttons on either side including VGA out, USB 3.0, power connector, microDVI, volume controls, rotation lock and also the power button. So you have all the advantages of a full blown tablet and a full blown notebook all rolled up in to one. Looks like Asus might be on to something big this time around.

Sure, it is not as portable as  standalong tablet but think of it as a tablet tacked on to a notebook because the notebook side is quite standard fare. Given on Windows 8 is designed for touch and keyboard/mouse use, this form factor might actually make a lot of sense for that platform.

Asus TAICHI Convertible Dual Screen Windows 8 Notebook


30 New Touchscreen Ultrabooks Coming, Claims Intel

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 13.3-Inch Ultrabook

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 13.3-Inch Ultrabook on Amazon

Intel recently claimed there are as many as 30 touchscreen equipped ultrabook models that are coming out next month. This announcement was made just ahead of the official Computex launch of the special Ultrabook Ivy Bridge processors. These ultrabooks will be amongst the fresh wave of ultrabooks sporting the special Ivy Bridge processor that will be launched at Computex. Some of these touchscreen ultrabooks will even be convertible, said Intel. These would have displays that would fold back to turn the device in to a tablet. So it looks like we do have a very interesting few months coming up.

The convertible ultrabook tablet description sounds similar to what Lenovo display at CES this year. Called the IdeaPad Yoga, this was the first notebook/ultrabook to show off a 360 degree hinge that allows the display to go all the way back and become a tablet. This design is also rumored for Acer and multiple other companies now. And neither Lenovo nor the other companies have said anything about pricing so far.

Dell is also planning to launch tablets around the same time as the Windows 8 launch. CEO Michael Dell spoke to the press recently and told them the touchscreen products running Windows 8 will likely be priced higher than similar products running on other platforms — namely iOS and Android.

Ultrabooks are still waiting on the next generation to bring the prices well below the $1000 mark where they are hovering at the moment. Intel said the latest ultrabooks with the new Ivy Bridge chips will likely be entering around $699 by the end of this year. However, the company did not mention whether the entry level models would have touchscreens. So right now there’s not a loto clarity about what to expect.

Intel said there were about 110 models under development at the moment, which is a significanlty larger number compared to the 21 ultrabook models that were developed based on the previous generation Sandy Bridge model. The new wave, as mentioned earlier, is going to be based on Ivy Bridge models. The new chips will have embedded graphics cores and will provide performance boosts as well as boosting battery life by consuming less power.

Ultrabooks equipped with SSD will wake from sleep in 7 seconds and will also have remote tracking and disabling facilities as a safe guard against theft. Intel in the meantime has levied new specifications for any notebook to carry the Ultrabook brand. These new ultrabooks would have to pack in at least 5 hours of battery life. They must have either USB3.0 or Thunderbolt for super fast data transfers. Any ultrabook with a screen size of less than 14 inches should not be more than 18mm thick. And all other systems should not be more than 21mm thick. This is what Intel has to say about it.

Intel is already working on a new line of processors codeamed Haswell and these will initiate the third-wave of ultrabooks. Till then, it looks like the second generation will be interesting enough to keep us occupied.


Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20: A Tough Little Point And Shoot

Panasonic Lumix TS20 16.1 MP TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom

Panasonic Lumix TS20 16.1 MP TOUGH Waterproof Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom on Amazon

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20 is one of the cheaper rugged point and shoot cameras that you can buy right now. It features a hardy outer shell that can survive shocks and drops, as well as survive underwater with a tolerance of up to 16feet. So that means you can also take underwater photos in your swimming pool or when you are snorkeling. The camera can be dropped from heights of 5feet without having to worry about damaging it and it can also be used in 14ºF or -10ºC temperatures — that’s much lower than  the freezing point of water.

It has a decent lens, which won’t give you DSLR sharpness (and it is wrong to expect it at this price range) but it will definitely get the job done. It has a fair amount of noise tolerance but you will begin to notice it at ISOs above 1600. However, for a price point of below $200, this is a really good option to have.

The design of the camera is common enough. The lens has been pushed all the way to the corner of the body and most of the controls are at the back. Going by the size and weight of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20, it compares favorably to other similar models from companies like Pentax. It is both slimmer and lighter but only by tiny bit. The camera comes in four different body colors — Red, Black, Blue and Orange.

The rear LCD on the camera is quite nice. It has a 230,000 dot resolution on a 2.7inch screen. It is definitely not the largest or the sharpest but then it is great for the budget. It holds its ground when compared to the TG-320 from Olympus, which has a similar price, screen and other features. Adjusting the brightness on the TS20 makes it easier to view it from various angles. The only way to get more dots per inch is to spend more money and that is a no no when you are trying to stay within budget.

The TS20 is a dust proof camera that has only one Achilles’ heel — its memory card door. It needs to be properly closed before you submerge it under water. You do get a door open warning (like a car, if you would) but then that is only when you start up the camera.

Other than that little snag, we have a very nice little camera here in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS20. It has a continuous shooting mode speed of 1FPS, a shutter lag of 0.1 second and can be ready to take a shot in 2 seconds. You ca of course find cameras that have much better figures in all of these departments but then you will probably end up spending about double the price of the TS20. It is the price versus the features that really makes this camera worth having when you are on a tight budget and need a rugged point and shoot.