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Posts tagged with 'gadgets and deals'

Prakash

Toshiba’s Portege R835-P56x is an in-expensive light-weight laptop. Here is what is cool.

  • 13.3″  at 1366 x 768 and LED Backlite
  • Dual layer DVD burner
  • Intel i5 (who needs more performance ?)
  • 640GB hard drive
  • 4 GB RAM (enough for atleast us Linux users)
  • Built in webcam and microphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 6-Cell battery
  • Ample ports: USB 2.0, USB3.0, eSata and HDMI
  • Can charge USB devices even when the laptop is on sleep mode.
  • Magnesium allow casing
  • Multi-touch pad

Whats missing

  • No bluetooth
  • No SSD

Final thoughts:

This is a good laptop at this price, the price is attractive because Toshiba is planning to launch the  Portege Z830 Ultrabook in November. The Z830 will be lighter and sleeker like the Apple Air but would not be having an DVD drive.

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Prakash

Asus has launched the X101 Netbook. This is low cost, light weight netbook. Good for browsing on the go.

This comes with Meego, however you should be able to install Ubuntu or other Linux. May not be able to run Windows.

 

Here are the specs:

  • Intel Atom N435 (1.33GHz)
  • 10.1″ LED Backlight WSVGA (1024×600) Screen
  • 8GB SSD (2.5″SATA)
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • 0.69-Inch Thin
  • 0.3M Pixel Camera
  • 2 USB 2.0 Ports
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • MicroSD card reader
  • Weight: 0.92kgs
  • Colours: Black, Red, White, Brown
  • Battery 3 Cell
  • Battery life 4 hours (claimed)

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Prakash

Olympus has released 3 micro four-third cameras with interchangeable lens.

First lets see what is common in them.

  • All follow the micro four-third standard which give you small lenses. Being a standard which means you can switch camera body and lens providers easily.
  • All the cameras are 12.3 megapixel. Which is enough for most users.
  • ISO 100-12,800 which is sufficient for low light conditions.
  • Inbuilt image stabilisation.
  • RAW photo support.
  • 3″ LCD Screen.
  • Live View.
  • Electronic View Finder (Optional)
  • All support shutter speeds up to 1/4000
  • Full HD Video support 1920×1080.
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card support
  • USB 2.0
  • HDMI port
  • Lithium ion Rechargeable battery
What’s missing.
  • No GPS
  • No USB 3.0 (I haven’t seen any other cameras having this either).
Here is what is difference between them:
Features Olympus PEN E-P3 Olympus PEN E-PL3 Olympus PEN E-PM1
White balance presets 12 8 8
Number of focus points 35 11 35
Screen dots 614,000 460,000 460,000
Touch screen Yes No No
Built-in flash Yes No No
Continous shooting 3fps 5.5fps 5.5fps
Weight 369 g 313 g 263 g
Pricing

While the E-P3 and E-PM1 have fixed LCD, the E-PL3 can be tilted to give you some flexibility. It’s not as flexible as some of the other cameras but it still is a nice feature to have.

The E-PM1 is also called the Pen Mini. If you are looking for a really small camera with interchangeable lens, then this is for you. However this is not the smallest in the category, the Panasonic is smaller. However the E-PM1 has built in-body image stablisation.

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Prakash

Motorola has updated the Defy with Defy + which is scheduled to launch in September.

Most of the specs remain the same of the earlier one like Gorilla Glass a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. The size and dimensions also remain the same with 3.7″ screen. Like the Defy, the Defy + is also waterproof, dust proof and scratch proof.

The processor has been upgraded to 1 GHz, a larger 1750 mAh battery and android has been updated to 2.3.3. This should improve the performance and user experience.

Still no front facing camera and HD video recording.

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Prakash

Google has acquired Motorola Mobility essentially for its 24,500 patents.

Google has been bogged down by patent hoarding companies which have put pressure on Android as a platform. They decided instead of focusing on innovating, they would focus on building a patent portfolio.

Google had no choice to pay for patents,else they would end up losing the wonderful Android platform that they built because of patent wars.

Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II Unlocked GSM Smartphone with 8 MP Camera, Android OS, 16 GB Internal Memory, Touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and GPS--No Warranty (Noble Black)What Google in going to do next is anyones guess.

Strip Motorola Mobility of its patents and software talents and sell of the hardware seems like a logical one.

If google decides to continue selling hardware, they would compete with other companies in the Android eco-system such as Samsung and HTC.

However what they would be able to do is tightly integrate hardware and software like Apple does.

The least I expect is to have the latest Android available for Motorola phones.So if you have a Motorola phone, have fun!

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Prakash

My Kindle review

 

I have been using the Kindle for a few months now, here is brief review.

  • Its very easy to use thanks to the e-ink technology which doesn’t emit light and feels just like paper.
  • Very good if you like to read a lot.
  • With 3GB of space, you can carry 1000′s books in a light form factor. Very good if you travel a lot or are moving residence, you can carry all your book collection with you when you move.
  • Can play music. It plays MP3, but you can’t select or browser. You can only hit the play button and it plays in a sequence.
  • Has Wi-Fi support and 3G as an option.
  • The 3G version allows you to use unlimited browsing anywhere in the world without any subscription or data plan. However you can’t use it for anything else such as email.
  • Works with Ubuntu, shows up as a drive and you can drag and drop files.
  • Uses standard Micro-USB chargers used by many phones today.
  • Its environment friendly as it replaces paper.
  • You can purchase any book, newspaper in a few seconds and they automatically get delivered to your kindle.
  • You can increase font size so it makes it easy to read.
  • You can add bookmarks and notes to your books.
  • The 6 inch size is quite handy, light weight and easy to manage.
  • Battery life in days (claimed 1 month) and not hours.
  • Lots of free e-books can be read easily.
Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6
What I don’t like.
  • For many books E-books are not necessarily cheaper than their print edition of the same book, althought the publisher is saving on printing cost. For some books the Indian edition/paper backs are cheaper in print.
  • The interface is not very intuitive, it could be better. Difficult to find books if you have too many of them.
  • No expandable memory, so you cant add more space if you need.
  • The e-ink technology renders quite slow so not very good for browsing only good for reading.
  • No color display.
  • Its not a replacement for a tablet.
  • While the Kindle shows PDFs, its not easy to zoom in. The text size is small on a 6 inch Kindle and if you zoom it, it then you need to pan left-right to read. Not easy to read quickly.
  • I tried Calibre on Ubuntu which converts PDF books to  MOBI format. While it was able to show the text correctly it missed out all the pictures in the PDF. This could be a limitations of MOBI format. Kindle has their own tool KindleGen which converts to their proprietary format. It can’t covert from PDFs. So I had to convert PDFs to Epub on Calibre but then KindlgeGen failed to convert to Kindle format.
  • Choice of colours is only Graphite (black) or white.
Note to Ubuntu Users: I was able to download KindleGen for Linux (32-Bit version) and use on my 64-Bit Ubuntu 11.04.

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Prakash

Apple iPhone 4G 16GB Quadband World GSM Phone (Manufacturer Unlocked)

Congratulations Apple users, you are soon going to have 11 new features which Android users already enjoy :)

Many Apple fanboys find Android a copy of the Apple.. now its Apple who is copying from Android. Apple iOS5 has copied 11 features from the Android platform which will show up in iPad2 and iPhone 5.

Here is the list:

  • Notification Bar
  • Cloud Synchronization
  • Wireless Syncing
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Voice Control
  • Split Keyboard:
  • Real time messaging
  • Over-the-Air Updates
  • Twitter updates
  • Multitasking
  • Widgets

Read the complete article.

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Prakash

ThinkPad X1 Notebook Intel Core i5 i5-2520M 2.5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless 13.3Lenovo has launches the Lenovo X1, which is the slimmest Think Pad and one of the slimmest Notebooks around. Finally we have some competition for Macbook Air.

Here are the specs.

  • 13.3″ Screen
  • 3.7 Pounds/1.6 Kgs weight
  • Gigabit Lan port 10/100/1000
  • Optional SSD which can be combined along with Hard Drive or 3G/4G wireless broadband module (you can have either SSD or wireless broadband not both)
  • Upto 10 Hours of battery life
  • 16 mm thin
  • Strong: Carbon-fibre rollcage, spill-resistant keyboard, tough Corning Gorilla Glass.
  • High Definition web cam.
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports
  • eSATA port
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • HDMI
  • Display Port
  • Super Bright LCD Screen
  • Dolby

What I like: It has most of the ports that you would need and its strongly built. It also very slim and light weight.

What I don’t like: It only has Windows 7 option, Who wants Windows when Ubuntu works nice reliably and doesn’t have the virus blues? What would be nice if this model had a Linux option, right now you are forced to purchase the Windows even if you don’t use Windows.

It also doesn’t have choice of colours only black. Who says Business users don’t want a choice of colours?

Price in India: Rs. 90,000, US$2000.
Price in US: Rs. 58,500, US$1300

Available on Amazon.

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Prakash

Sony has launched a new camcorder which is can also project the videos that you have taken. All you need is a flat surface, a screen/wall or just carry a white paper. While the projector is LED based and has only 10 Lumens. So it won’t be very bright.. but good enough to review your videos quickly.

Sony HDR-PJ50V High Definition Handycam Camcorder (Black)

Here is the specs.

  • 1920×1080 Full HD 60p/24p Recording
  • 7Megapixel still photography
  • 220GB Hard Disk Drive for up to 91 hours of HD recording
  • Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/ SDHC/ SDXC expandable memory
  • Project your videos on the go
  • Wide Angle G lens to capture
  • Back-illuminated “Exmor R” CMOS sensor for low-light video
  • 12X Optical Zoom
  • HDMI Output so you can also connect to a TV or external projector
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Project is 10 Lumens and can project on 10″- 60″ screens

Sony should have used USB 3.0 which would be much faster to transfer HD videos. Nevertheless its very innovative product.

Amazon Link.

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Prakash

Nikon COOLPIX S9100 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 18x NIKKOR ED Wide-Angle Optical Zoom Lens and Full HD 1080p Video (Black)The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is a Super Zoom in a compact body. The advantage of a Super Zoom is you can take wildlife photos without getting too close to your subject such that you get extinct.

The problem with existing Super Zoom were that they were big and bulky which people had to carry around hoping to get their moment. Or they carried a compact and wished they had carried the big one! With S910 you no longer need to carry big fat cameras to get High Zoom. Its compact enough to fit in your pocket and you can use the 18X zoom when you need it.

Here is what’s cool about the Coolpix.

  • 18x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom
  • 12.1-megapixel
  • Full HD 1080p Videos
  • 3-inch Display
  • Continuous mode can shoot 5 shots per second at full resolution
  • 5-way VR Image Stabilization System

What was no so cool:

  • If it had a varied angle LCD, it would have been more flexibility
  • Its small enough fit into a bag, but not exactly pocket size.
  • The battery is charged by connecting the camera to the USB, while this is good as you have to carry less stuff around.. but a separate charge would be more convenient. The separate charger is available at additional cost.

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Prakash

Apple iPhone 4G 16GB Quadband World GSM Phone (Manufacturer Unlocked)Do you envy when your Blackberry friends talk about BBM, short for Blackberry Messenger. Time to show them Whatsapp.

What is Whatsapp?

Its a cross platform instant messenger, think SMS/BBM.

It works on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia. Currently BBM is restricted to Blackberries only.

It offer messages, videos, photos, audios and more.

No cost of sending messages because it uses your data connection. You can use WiFi or 3G. A world of caution: if you have a limited data plan or on roaming, you may be paying for sending messages.

Sounds too good to be true? Now the fine print :) Its a paid app, on no! For iPhone its $.099 and for Android its free for first year after that its $2.

Its still worth it. Enjoy Whatsapp.

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Prakash

.

Raspberry Pi Foundation is offering a $25 Ubuntu PC. Its very tiny, has an HDMI port at one end and USB at the other. This brings in a very low cost computing solution to the market. Its also low power consumption due to the ARM processor.

Vital Stats!

  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

 

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Prakash

I have been using the Siemens Gigaset A580 with Nonoh.net for a while. It works well, and allows you make inexpensive calls. The voice quality is also good.

What also worked was if another user using Nonoh can call you. For example if your nonoh ID is user1@nonoh.net another user called user2@nonoh.net can call directly user1@nonoh.net. The voice quality for this was not very good.

Note: Siemens Gigaset allows you to receive VOIP calls, however it doesn’t allow you to dial only numericals no alphabets, so you unfortunately you can’t dial a VOIP ID like above you can only dial numbers.

Here is the steps to setup Nonoh. I tried this with  Siemens Gigaset A580. It should also work with other gigaset models.

To setup first setup your Gigaset, so its up on the network. Default setting should work on most routers.

Now go into Settings-Telephony-Connections

Select the IP connection, if the first one is available select it, else select which one one is available, click on edit.

Connection Name: Nonoh

Select VOIP provider: Other Provider

Authentication Name: your nonoh login name

Authentication password: your nonoh password

Username: your nonoh login name

Display name: What ever you want to display when you call another viip user. I use my nonoh user name here.

Click on Show advance setting.
General Provider Data
Domain: sip.nonoh.net
Proxy server address: sip.nonoh.net
Proxy server port: 5060
Registrar server: sip.nonoh.net
Registrar server port: 5060
Registration refresh time: 180

Network
STUN enabled: No

Outbound proxy mode: Always
Outbound proxy: sip.nonoh.net
Outbound proxy port: 5060
Click on Set. Now it should show registered. If it doesn’t,  you just need to restart the Gigaset. Once it shows regstered, you are ready to make calls.

The default dial out is usually on the landline, to use VOIP, you need to hold the dial button a longer. To make VOIP your default outgoing line go to.

Settings-Number Assignment

Default Connection
Linetype for outgoing calls: Select VOIP

and click on Set

You can also dial a number and suffix #1 at the end to use the first voip . For example if nonoh.net is the first VOIP you have setup, and you are trying to call number 1234, then you type.

1234#1 to call 1234 using nonoh.net

Here is a screen shot of the settings.

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Prakash

HTC has launched the HTC Incredible S, which is an update over HTC Desire HD. Here are the improvements of HTC Incredible S over HTC Desire HD.

  • Its lighter, 135g vs 165g
  • Incredible S has 4″ display, while the HTC desire is 4.3″. Incredible S however has better quality Super LCD with the resolution remaining the same 480 x 800 pixels. Aparently HTC had LCD supplies Delays from Samsung and hence has switched to Super LCD from Sony.
  • Incredible S ships with Android 2.2 just like the Desire HD, however is upgradeable to 2.4. No word yet on whether Desire HD will be upgradeable to 2.4 althought 2.3 is expected.
  • Incredible S has secondary front facing camera for video conferencing.
  • Has image stabilisation
  • Touch sensitive control buttons

Both the phones have:

  • 1 GHz Processor
  • 8 Megapixel Camera
  • HSDPA 14.4 Mbps

My two cents: If you already have the HTC Desire HD, then stay with it. If you were planning on buying the Desire HD, then this is for you. Battery life is nothing to write home about.

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Prakash

I have been using an Android phone for more than month now. I used the original iPhone which I upgraded upto iPhone 3.0. I have used newer iPhones 3GS, 4 occasionally. Here is what I find better in the Android platform:

  1. No Need for iTunes: Apple insists for syncing music, video and other things, you need iTunes. Which requires a PC/Notebook with Windows or Mac. This is a big limitation for me for two reasons. One, you need a computer, today cellphones are out-selling computers so why have the need for a computer. The second is I don’t use Windows or Mac, I use Linux. So every time I needed to add an MP3 into my iPhone, I had to re-boot into Windows.. newer version of Ubuntu, allow you to sync with iPhone without iTunes, which is nice but it still requires a PC.
    With Android, I can stick-in a memory card full of music and it will allow you to play it. You can also transfer from another phone/PC via Bluetooth.
  2. No Apple Tax on data usage: In India Vodafone charges higher for data usage if you have an iPhone, essentially a part of the data revenue gets shared with Apple.  Do I get any benefit of paying the Apple Tax? No, so why should I ? Android phones data plans are the standard plans and they are cheaper.
  3. Choice of Vendors: With Android, you have a choice of vendors to choose from. Android has the large number of vendors supporting it, while iOS is only available from Apple. Competition is always good for the customer.
  4. Cheaper and pricing options: You can purchase an Android phone from Rs. 6800 ($150) up to Rs. 32,000 ($710), while the iPhone costs $800 in India.
  5. Faster availability: iPhone 4 is still not available in India, while 3GS is priced very expensive. Android phones are hitting the markets faster pace.
  6. No Vendor lockin: When you buy an iPhone you are locked into apple and also with the service provider due to contracts etc.. With Android you can choose to buy your own handset and take the plan of your choice without any contracts.
  7. More Free Apps: Lots of free apps right from Wi-Fi hostspot to games are available. While many of these apps are charged on the iPhone.
  8. Play you own ring tone! Apple doesn’t allow you to select any music from your collection as your ring tone, while Android has no such restrictions.
  9. Expandable Memory: When you buy an Apple product, you better be sure how much memory you are going to need. You would either end up buying more than what you need or if you buy with less, you would always feel wish I had bought the model with higher memory. With Android, you have a choice of phones which has expandable memory slot. So if you every run out of memory in the phone, you can always add expandable memory.  This also works out cheaper.
  10. OS upgrade make your phone faster. With iPhone, every time I would upgrade the OS, my phone would slow down.. it was tell me time to get the new  iPhone. With Android, upgrading to the newer version of the OS actually makes your phone faster. The upgrade on Android also doesn’t require iTunes or a PC, so can be done directly

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Prakash

Motorola Atix the most powerful Android phone is now available for purchase.

US$599 without any contract and $129 with 2 year contact with AT&T.

Order Motorola Atrix on Amazon.

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Prakash

Samsung has announced the I9100 Galaxy S II, here is whats new..

  • 8 MP Camera
  • 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen
  • 16 or 32GB memory
  • HSDPA 21 Mbps for high speed data downloads
  • USB on the go, so you can connect other USB devices
  • Full HD, with 1080p video recording
  • Gyroscope sensor for gaming and other applications which require 3D orientation
  • Dual Core 1GHZ processor
  • Near Field Communications (NFC) support, which doesn’t have any application today but could be used in future for payments, etc.

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Prakash

Samsung has discontinued Samsung I9000 Galaxy S and has replaced it with Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL, here is the difference:

  • Sumer AMOLED display is replaced by Super Clear LCD. Resolution remains the same.
  • Slight heavier 131 grams vs. 119 grams.
  • Preloaded with Android 2.2, while Galaxy S has 2.1 but is upgradable to 2.2
  • Has 16G storage, while the Galaxy S has 8 or 16.
  • 1GHz Hummingbird (Samsung) processor is replaced by TI, speed remains the same.
  • Battery has been bumped up from 1500mAh to 1650mAh, that answers the increase in weight.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t see much change in specification,  If you are using Galaxy S, you need not upgrade. If you are planning to buy a new one, you could get a good deal on Samsung Galaxy S. You can always add additional memory if you need and change the battery to 1650mAh.. since battery life was one big complain for Samsung Galaxy S users.

Samsung Galaxy S is available on Amazon for $539.

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Prakash

Intel CEO Paul Otellini agrees with me :)

Otellini said Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop received “incredible offers — money” from Google and Microsoft to switch.

“I wouldn’t have made the decision he made, I would probably have gone to Android if I were him,”

Otellini said Nokia would find it hard to differentiate using the Windows platform: “It would have been less hard on Android, on MeeGo he could have done it.”

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Prakash

After the Motorola Atrix which runs both Android and a Linux based OS, ARM showcased a TI OMAP4 based phone that runs Ubuntu and Android.

Todays phones have become powerful enough to as a phone as well as provide basic PC functionality. This should get more PCs accessible to People, as more people today have mobile phones than PCs.

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