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EDITORIAL

By Chris N. Fernando, Managing Editor

EDITORIAL Managing Editor: CHRIS N.FERNANDO, chris@altus-publishing.com Technical Editor: VICTOR PHILIP ORTIZ, victor@altus-publishing.com Features Editor: NEHAL SAID ABD EL GHAFAR DESIGN Art Director: MUSTAFA KANCHWALLA ADVERTISING & SALES Head of Sales: Rajdeep Basu rajdeep@altus-publishing.com MANAGEMENT Publisher: DOJO JOSE, dojo@altus-publishing.com PC Magazine Middle & Near East is published monthly by: ALTUS PUBLISHING GROUP FZ LLC HOW TO CONTACT US Altus Publishing Group. Office 323, Building No 9, Dubai Media City, PO Box: 502155, Dubai, UAE. Tel : +971 4 4495344 Fax : +971 4 4495379 Email : info@altus-publishing.com Website : www.pcmagme.com www.altus-publishing.com This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in this issue. The opinions and views expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. The Middle East edition of PC Magazine is published under licence from Ziff Davis Media, Inc., New York, New York. Editorial items appearing in PC Magazine M&NE that were originally published in the US edition of the publication are the copyright property of Ziff Davis Media, Inc. Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other editorial items © 2012 Altus Publishing Group. PC Magazine is a trademark of Ziff Davis Media Inc.

W

Apple Drops YouTube App From iOS 6

hen Apple announced its iPhone way back in 2007, among many other features, it touted YouTube and Google Maps as one of the key features of smartphone to promote the device. Seems like Apple is now taking a step back – probably miffed by the growing demand for Android-based smartphones. The company recently announced that it is removing the YouTube app from iOS operating system, with beta 4 release of iOS 6. This news comes weeks after the company decided to drop Google Maps. Back in June, Apple announced that it would switch to a new in-house mapping service developed with Tomtom. Victor Philip Ortiz, the Technical Editor at PC Magazine confirmed recently - the YouTube app disappeared from his iPhone 4S after he upgraded the phone to beat 4 release of iOS 6. Apple claims that the reason for this was that its license to include YouTube in iOS had expired and hence it decided not to renew the license. The company also claimed that Google is now developing a standalone YouTube app for use in iOS devices, which will be available soon for download from the iTunes App Store. Meanwhile, according to many news reports, while iOS 6 devices will lose the stock YouTube app, iOS 5 devices will not. It seems that either Google’s licensing agreement permits it to stay on the older OS, Apple didn’t want to go to the trouble to push out a point update that takes away a feature, or some combination of both. Apple is expected to release iOS 6 in the last quarter of the year, along with the launch of its next iPhone. Google has also commented on the news, by issuing a statement that goes: “We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.”

The dedicated YouTube app has gone missing on iOS 6 beta 4.

ALTUS PUBLISHING GROUP’S PUBLICATIONS ‫ﺍﻟﺮﺍﻋﻲ ﺍﻟﺒﻼﺗﻴﻨﻲ‬

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‫ﺍﻟﺮﺍﻋﻲ ﺍﻟﺬﻫﺒﻲ‬

AUTHORISED PUBLISHER

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012| 3


PContents 18

35

49

FIRST LOOKS 16 MSI GT70 18 Samsung 750 Series Monitor S27B750V 19 Panasonic HC-X900 20 Canon imageFORMULA P-215 22 Google Nexus 7 23 BenQ XL2420T 24 Foxconn A55A 26 Airlive N.Plug 26 Promate proMaster 28 Lenco iPD-4303 28 G-Form Cases 29 HP Photosmart 7510 30 Brother MFC-J6910DW 32 Chrome (for Android) 33 Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

GAME NEWS & REVIEWS 88 90 94 95

Games News The Greatest Atari Games of All Time The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3) London 2012 The Official Video Game 96 Amazing Alex (for iPhone) 97 The Dark Knight Rises (iOS)

REGULARS 03 Editorial 06 Frontside

82 The Best Stuff 98 Dvorak

THE GREAT OUTDOORS SPECIAL 56 62 64 66 68

Gadgets for the Great Outdoors Photography Tips for Enthusiasts Best Photo Sharing Services How to Buy a GPS Summer Grilling: Now Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Cooking with Gadgets

FEATURES 70 Everything About Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion 73 Where Is the Tech Industry Headed? 74 Antivirus Apps for the Mac

GROUP TESTS DIGITAL CAMERAS 35 Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR 36 Canon Ixus 125 HS 38 Canon PowerShot SX240 HS 39 Fujifilm Finepix S2980 40 Samsung WB150F 41 Nikon Coolpix P310 42 Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 43 Nikon Coolpix P510 44 Fujifilm Finepix XP150 46 Canon Ixus 500 HS

4 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

46 BenQ GH200 47 Samsung DV300F SMARTPHONES 49 HTC One C 50 Motorola Razr Maxx 52 Sony Xperia S 53 Nokia 808 PureView 54 LG Optimus L7 55 Samsung Galaxy S III


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Front Side

Malware Hidden in Fake Groupon Email

Sophos did not disclose the sender's email address; it is unclear whether the message came from a Grouponrelated account.

C

ybercriminals are now offering group discounts on malware. Security firm Sophos has reported that coupon site Groupon is being used to front malware. Emails allegedly from Groupon, with the misspelled subject line of "Groupon dicount gifts," claim that one of your friends has shared a Groupon deal with you. Except

they probably haven't. "Now Groupon.com gives an opportunity to share a discount gift with a friend!" the spelling-challenged email reads. "Enjoy your discount gift in the attachement and share it with one of your friend as well." Groupon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The attached file, called "Gift coupon.

zip," contains a Trojan virus designed to infect Windows computers, Sophos said. "Be in a hurry," the email said, warning recipients that the weekend special is "due" in two days. The message had all the makings of a true Groupon newsletter – the company logo, the green border, the additional Groupon advertisements at the bottom. Sophos did not disclose the sender's email address; it is unclear whether the message came from a Groupon-related account. The security firm reminded people to keep anti-virus software up to date, and to pay close attention to any messages received. "It's easy for anyone to make a professional-looking email using the branding of a well-established website in their attempt to lure you into opening an attached file or clicking on a dangerous web link," Sophos' consultant Graham Cluley. The scheme comes shortly after security researchers discovered OSX/Crisis, a new Mac Trojan that eavesdrops on users by tapping into a computer's webcam, emails, and instant messages.

Rumour: Apple to Unveil iPhone 5 Sept. 12, Release Sept. 21

T

he wait for an iPhone 5 may not last much longer. Website iMore reported today that Apple is planning to debut its next-generation device at a special event on Sept. 12 and release the phone nine days later, on Sept. 21. According to iMore's unnamed sources, the iPad Mini and revamped iPod nano will also be announced at the same September event. Those devices, however, do not have specific release dates yet. Rumors point to a possible iPod touch appearance, as well. Previous reports said the next iPhone, and smaller iPad, would debut in October. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment. A 4-inch, 16:9 screen version of the device is expected to be unveiled in September, complete with a smaller dock connector, as well as a nano-SIM, possible in-cell display, LTE radio, and a bigger battery, according to reports. iMore points to last

year's iPhone 4S, which was announced on Oct. 4, then released 10 days later. This year, the site said, the iPad 3 was announced on March 7, then hit shelves nine days later. Both events included another device – the fourth-generation iPod touch and a 1080p Apple TV, respectively. Photos of what look like a close-to-final version of the iPhone 5 surfaced on the Internet recently, showing its curved backplane, all of its buttons, the speakers, and its screen, as well as a headphone jack that has been relocated from the top of the phone to the bottom. A September iPhone launch could boost the company's stock price, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said in a statement. "With the iPhone 5 launch on the horizon and other potential new products in the coming quarters, we believe Apple's stock is prepared for the next major leg up that could propel Apple to our $1,111

6 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

Rumours point to a possible iPod touch appearance, as well.

price target over the next year," White said. Last week, Cupertino reported sales of 26 million iPhone and 17 million iPads during the most recent quarter. The company announced revenue of $35 billion, and profit of $8.8 billion.


Skype Denies System Upgrade Will Help Spy on Users

According to Gillett, the network infrastructure updates are intended to improve performance, not spy on users.

S

kype has denied that the Microsoft acquisition has allowed it to spy on users and record their calls, calling such accusations "false." "In the last few days we have seen reports in the media we believe are inaccurate and could mislead the Skype community about our approach to user security and privacy," Mark Gillett, Skype's chief development and operations officer, wrote in a blog post. "I want to clear this up." Gillett's blog post was prompted by a July 20 Slate story that said Skype refused to reveal whether it can eavesdrop on its users' conversations. The report suggested that Skype has long been "considered by most to be virtually impossible to intercept," a point of frustration for some law enforcement officials. But the article pointed to recent hacker chatter that said "supernode" upgrades to Skype's infrastructure would make it easier to snoop on peoples' chats. After the story hit, Skype was somewhat tight-lipped, issuing a brief statement that said: "As was true before the Microsoft acquisition, Skype co-operates with law enforcement agencies as is legally required and technically feasible." That, however, prompted reports of "Big Brother" Skype+Microsoft and questions about just how much the VoIP service

knows about user activity, prompting Gillett's response. According to Gillett, the network infrastructure updates are intended to improve performance, not spy on users. "Skype was in the process of developing and moving supernodes to cloud servers significantly ahead of the Microsoft acquisition of Skype," he wrote. "Skype first deployed 'mega-supernodes' to the cloud to improve reliability of the Skype software and service in December 2010." "The move was made in order to improve the Skype experience, primarily to improve the reliability of the platform and to increase the speed with which we can react to problems," Gillett continued. "The move also provides us with the ability to quickly introduce cool new features that allow for a fuller, richer communications experience in the future." All Skype supernodes were moved to Microsoft's data centers earlier this year. "The move to supernodes was not intended to facilitate greater law enforcement access to our users' communications," Gillett insisted. The upgrades also do not allow for monitoring or recording of calls, he said. "Simply put, supernodes act as a distributed directory of Skype users. Skype to Skype calls do not flow through our data centres and the "supernodes" are not involved in passing media (audio or video) between Skype clients." Skype also denied upgrading in order to facilitate access to Skype instant messages. But Gillett conceded that "In order to provide for the delivery and synchronization of instant messages across multiple devices, and in order to manage the delivery of messages between clients situated behind some firewalls which prevent direct connections between clients, some messages are stored temporarily on our (Skype/Microsoft) servers for immediate or later delivery to a user."

Taiwan University Sues Apple Over Siri

A

Taiwan-based university has filed suit against Apple for infringing on two speech-recognition patents with its Siri mobile app. According to the suit, filed in Texas district court, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) owns the rights to two voice-recognition patents: one for a "method and system for matching speech data" and another for a "speech recognition system." NCKU claims that all Apple products that include voice-activated assistant capabilities infringe on its patents. At this point, that only includes the iPhone 4S, but Siri is coming to the iPad with the launch of iOS 6 and the feature will likely be included on the next-gen iPhone, rumored to be making its debut in September. "As a result of Apple's infringement ... NCKU has suffered monetary damages in an amount not yet determined, and will continue to suffer damages in the future unless Apple's infringing activities are enjoined by this court," NCKU argued. NCKU said it filed for the first patent in Oct. 2005 and it was issued in April 2010. It filed for the second patent in Dec. 2002 and it was issued in Sept. 2007. Apple acquired Siri in 2010 and introduced the iPhone 4S with Siri in late 2011. NCKU is asking for a permanent injunction that bans Apple from infringing on its patents, as well as damages and costs. The lawsuit comes shortly after a Chinese company filed suit against Apple for infringing on one of its patents with Siri. Zhizhen Network Technology sued Apple and Shanghai-based subsidiary Apple Computer Trading for infringing on a patent that covers "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," dubbed Xiaoi Bot, via Siri. In March, meanwhile, a New York man sued Apple for false advertising regarding Siri.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 7


Blizzard & Valve Pan Windows 8

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n the proverbial, "list of things that are bad," having developers and designers at some of the world's more popular and successful gaming companies trash your up-and-coming product is probably up there toward the top. At least, that's how Microsoft probably felt a few days ago, when Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell went on record to express his opinion about Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system. "We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It's a hedging strategy," Newell said, speaking at a video game conference in Seattle. "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we'll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that's true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality." But when it rains for Microsoft's Windows 8, it pours for Microsoft's Windows 8. Spurred on by Newell's

statements, Blizzard's executive vice president of game design, Rob Pardo, went on Twitter to confirm that Windows 8 isn't presenting much of a wonderful experience for his company. "Nice interview with Gabe Newell â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 'I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space' - not awesome for Blizzard either," Pardo wrote. Just to put each of these comments into perspective, Valve's Steam digital distribution platform remains the service to beat on the PC gaming platform. "Right now Steam is far and away the dominant distribution channel; no one else is even close," said DFC Intelligence's David Cole in an interview with VG 24/7 last year. And Blizzard, of course, maintains a healthy subscriber base to its big massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft, which numbers close to around ten million players (the last time Blizzard released numbers, that is). Additionally, the company's responsible for the muchanticipated Diablo III title that just hit shelves this year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which sold more than 3.5 million copies in its first 24 hours of life.

Tag Friends While Searching With Bing Upgrade

A recent Bing survey found that more than 90 percent of people tend to seek counsel from family and friends during decision making.

M

icrosoft's Bing search engine continues to build its social status with new additions to its social sidebar, which was unveiled in June. The Microsoft-based service announced recently that users can now tap into the knowledge of your foodie friend, travel guru cousin, or just invite your buddies to help you search for the best hiking trail. Bing users can now type a friend's name into the search bar, essentially tagging someone while searching. With the option to mention up to five people at a time, you can post your question to your Facebook Timeline, with permission. This will notify tagged friends and give them the opportunity to pitch

in a search. On June 1, Bing announced the official unveiling of its revamped site, complete with a three-column layout, the snapshot feature, and a new marketing campaign. The Microsoft service connected with Facebook two years ago, when it integrated the social network's famous thumbs-up "likes" into its search process. A recent Bing survey found that more than 90 percent of people tend to seek counsel from family and friends during decision making. Recently, checkin site Foursquare rolled its tips and recommendations into Bing's service, creating a feature that allows users to check out local places or events based on what their friends and family enjoy.

8 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

Google+ Hangouts Come to Gmail

Video chat was added to Gmail in 2008; Hangouts launched last year with the release of Google+.

G

oogle is revamping chat within Gmail by replacing it with Google+ Hangouts. "Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilize the power of Google's network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality," Google wrote in a blog post. "You'll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you'll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices." If both Gmail users have Google+ profiles, they'll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google Docs, and share a screen. The update also provides access to virtual effects, like pirate hats. Hangouts in Gmail will be rolling out gradually, starting today. Video chat was added to Gmail in 2008; Hangouts launched last year with the release of Google+. In May, Google unveiled tighter integration between Gmail and Google+. The change allowed users to stay in the Gmail environment when replying to Google+ notifications, and allowed people to comment on, view, and "+1" posts from within Gmail.


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2012

Small Business

F

or years, the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) / SMB (Small and Medium Business) community has been the target of many technology vendors for providing tailor-made solutions. However, due to the current economic scenario, many SMBs in the UAE market are looking at ways to cut operational costs and hence, thinking twice before investing in new technology. However, the fact remains that over 90 percent of businesses in the UAE, fall under the SMB/SME category. SMBs need to invest in IT that directly benefits their bottom line – either by reducing operating costs, improving employee productivity, or acquiring and retaining customers. Most SMBs in the Middle East region lack dedicated IT staff, and rely heavily on local technology partners to help them evaluate, implement and maintain the right IT solutions. Facing increasingly complex IT options and a challenging economic

environment, SMBs are now looking to these partners to provide more strategic guidance that is better tailored to their business, vertical and industry. Over the past few months, PC Magazine Middle and Near East has seen new trends in the way small businesses in the region work. For instance, smartphones have started replacing fixed line phones for many SMBs. According to industry analysts, anywhere from 25 percent to 35 percent of business users will employ a smartphone exclusively within the next 2-3 years. This is due to the versatility and power that come with modern mobile devices. The appearance of tablets in the last few years, has led to a fair amount of press coverage on how they could potentially replace full-featured workstations in businesses. Notebooks meanwhile remain a significant force for SMBs. However ultrabooks have redefined the way we look at notebooks. Fueled by dipping prices and

10 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

the increasing mobility of workers, it makes sense that products such as ultrabooks will continue to gain acceptance and market penetration. We have also registered a growing prevalence of social media messaging. For instance, employees are probably already using services such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and so on, and location-based services and imaging services such as Fourquare, Pinterest, Instagram and so on, for casual and business communication. Hence, PC Magazine Middle and Near East is joining hands with three leading technology vendors in the region – Fujitsu, OKI and GFI – to conduct the “SMB Technology Makeover Campaign 2012. The 2012 is the third edition of the campaign - the first two editions were held in the years 2010 and 2012. The campaign saw massive responses from across the regional SMB quarter. The 2012 campaign will allow one lucky SMB in the UAE to win a FREE


2012

complete technology makeover for his / her small business. ABOUT THE SPONSORS AND THE PRIZES PLATINUM SPONSOR: FUJITSU Fujitsu Technology Solutions is the leading European IT infrastructure provider with a presence in all key markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, plus India, serving large-, medium- and small-sized companies as well as consumers. With its Dynamic Infrastructures approach, the company offers a full portfolio of IT products, solutions and services, ranging from clients to datacenter solutions, Managed Infrastructure and Infrastructureas-a-Service. Fujitsu Technology Solutions employs more than 13,000 people and is part of the global Fujitsu Group.

For the SMB Technology Makeover Campaign 2012, Fujitsu is giving away three units of the LIFEBOOK SH531 to one lucky small business in UAE. The compact Fujitsu LIFEBOOK SH531 is the perfect everyday mobile companion – at home, in the office, at school or on the go. With its 33.8 cm (13.3-inch) display this 1.9-kg notebook is small and light enough for every trip. It allows you to stay connected with family and colleagues via WLAN. You can also upgrade the LIFEBOOK SH531 with an external UMTS solution in its 34 mm ExpressCard slot. GOLD SPONSOR: OKI OKI Printing Solutions is a global businessto-business brand dedicated to creating cost effective, professional in-house printing solutions. Our portfolio of award winning products and solutions assists businesses of all sizes and budgets. For the SMB Technology Makeover Campaign 2012, OKI is giving away one unit of OKI MB451 and one unit of OKI MC362 to one lucky small business in UAE. The MB451 A4 multifunctional mono printer is built on tried and tested, award winning digital

LED technology, delivering a new standard in mono multifunction versatility in the workplace. Thanks to its flexible media handling, the MB451 can print many document types from labels to spreadsheets, invoices, proposals, forms, technical drawings and more, making it ideal for use by a wide range of organisations and workgroups across sectors such as retail, hospitality, construction, financial and healthcare.

The OKI MC362 on the other hand comes with a colour print speed of 22ppm and mono print speeds of 24ppm. The MC362 is perfect for small businesses or workgroups providing a variety of functions and the flexibility of printing, scanning, copying and faxing in-house. It helps you manage your internal documents and those you receive. The MC362 also allows you to work smarter and manage your document flow throughout your business or workgroup.

provides web and mail security, archiving, backup and fax, networking and security software, and hosted IT solutions.

For the SMB Technology Makeover Campaign 2012, GFI will be equipping one lucky small business in UAE with its GFI WebMonitor solution. GFI’s WebMonitor helps companies to boost employee productivity by giving them the ability to monitor and control Internet access in real-time, ensuring that employee web browsing activity is aligned with business needs, and that any files downloaded are free of viruses and other malware. GFI WebMonitor features WebGrade, a site categorization database that gives you control over what sites users can browse and block access to websites in particular categories, such as adult material, online gaming, personal email, travel websites, P2P, social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, and more. This extensive database provides URL coverage for over 280,000,000 domains and is updated daily.

PLATINUM SPONSOR:

GOLD SPONSOR:

SILVER SPONSOR: GFI GFI Software pioneers powerful, award-winning IT solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – and we make them affordable and easy to use. The company says that its aim is to help small businesses access all their IT solutions from a single source. Hence, the company

SILVER SPONSOR:

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 11


2012

Please fill up the form below in order to participate in PC Magazine’s SMB Technology Makeover Campaign 2012. Please note that questions marked with * are required fields and should be filled in, in order for your entry to be entered into the lucky draw. Salutation (Mr./Ms./Mrs./Dr.): First Name *:_____________________________________________ Last Name *:_____________________________________________ Company *:______________________________________________ Job Title *:_______________________________________________ Address:_________________________________________________ P.O.Box:_________________________________________________ City *:___________________________________________________ Country *:_______________________________________________ Telephone *:_____________________________________________ Fax:_____________________________________________________ Mobile No. *:____________________________________________ E-mail *:_________________________________________________ Website:_________________________________________________ Which sector/industry does your business cater to *? Agriculture Construction Education Government Communications Healthcare Insurance Financial Services Hospitality / Service Banking Oil and Gas Telecom IT Services Manufacturing Retail and Wholesale Services Media and Marketing Logistics Facilities Management Others <<Box>> Total Number of Employees *: 0-10 11-25 26-50 50-100 100-50 Above 150 What is the Annual Revenue (in AED) of Your Company: Less than 5 million

5 – 25 million 25 – 50 million 50 – 100 million Above 100 million Which Country is the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK P772 with an Optional In-Built Projector Made in? * Japan China United States of Ameria United Kingdom Which Was the First Ultrabook to Have a Port Replicator? * Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U772 Fujitsu CELSIUS H720 Fujitsu LIFEBOOK UH572 Fujitsu LIFEBOOK P702 What Are the Benefits of Digital LED Technology used in OKI Toner-Based Printers and MFPs? * Highly Accurate Output (Clarity) Superior Print Quality (Colour) Ultra Reliable Environmental Friendly None of the Above All of the Above What is the Warranty on OKI Printers and MFPs if Registered Online Within 30 Days of Purchase? * One Year Two Years Three Years How Does GFI Reduce Productivity Loss? * Defining Web Browsing Allow / Deny Policies Set Internet Usage Time Thresholds Set Internet Bandwidth Thresholds All of the Above What is the Following Unique Feature of GFI Web Monitor Called: "Allow trusted users to override blocking after warning them that a URL is in breach of company policy; putting into practice the concept of self-policing”? * Soft Blocking Hard Blocking User Blocking Trust Blocking

After filling up the form above, please fax the form to +971 4 4495379. You can also email us the answers to the above questions to chris@altus-publishing.com. Please note that this campaign will run until October 10, 2012. 12 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com


2012

Terms and Conditions

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. 1. ELIGIBILITY: PC Magazine SMB Technology Makeover Campaign ("Contest") is a promotional contest sponsored by Acer ("Sponsor"). It is only open and offered to all Small Business Owners located within United Arab Emirates. The entrant of the Contest must be an employee (with decision-making powers) or member of the Board of Directors of the business and should enter with its permission and on its behalf. Employees of Altus Publishing Group, any sponsors, their related companies, contractors, consultants, representatives, agents and immediate family and household members of each such employee are not eligible to enter directly. However, they may be volunteers or member of the Board of Directors of an entering business. This Contest is subject to all applicable country and local laws and regulations. All business entrants are responsible for compliance with any contractual limitations and/or office policies, if any, regarding participation or prize acceptance in this Contest. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Each entrant has the responsibility to review and understand its policies regarding its eligibility to participate in this contest. If an individual is participating in violation of Entrant's policies or any applicable law or regulation, that Entrant may be disqualified from this Contest at PC Magazine’s sole discretion. 2. CONTEST PERIOD: The contest entry period begins on July 17, 2012 and ends on October 10, 2012. Qualifying Round judging will occur at GITEX Technology Week 2012. The announcement of the winner will be made at GITEX Technology Week 2012. 3. SPONSORS: The Contest is sponsored by Fujitsu, OKI and GFI ("Sponsors"). 4. AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES: Participation in the Contest constitutes each Business’ full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsors and Judges which are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest.

to be carried out at the Grand Prize winner’s facilities. The decision of the sponsors on the IT audit report will be final and binding. Installation and configuration services will be provided by the sponsors and proposed IT devices will be integrated with the winning organisation’s existing computer technology. 9. IMPORTANT PRIZE INFORMATION: • Prize components may not be resold, auctioned, bartered, assigned, exchanged, transferred or donated for a period of three (3) years from the date of their acceptance without the written permission of Altus Publishing Group. • The winner will be responsible at their own cost and expense for any kind of maintenance services of products installed at their facilities. The winning organization will also be responsible for obtaining at their own cost and expense any and all necessary, additional services required to operate a fully functional solution, including WAN connections, Internet connectivity, toners, ink cartridges, printing media, or other services deemed necessary. • All elements of the prize are awarded in Sponsors’ sole discretion based on their assessment and consultation of the winning organization’s IT infrastructure. • No cash or other substitutions in whole or in part are permitted except at the discretion of Sponsors who reserve the right to substitute a prize of comparable value if any portion of the prize is deemed unsuitable for winning organization. • Upon completion of the Sponsors’ analysis and at its sole discretion, unneeded, superfluous or duplicate equipment may be eliminated or other equipment or services substituted. • PC Magazine will have the prize winner participate in a case study and/or in other public relations (including photo and video shoots) or marketing activities. One case study will be created once the deployment is concluded by all the Sponsors participating in this campaign.

7. JUDGING CRITERIA: Qualifying Round: Entrants will be judged from their print and on-line application answers. Each answer will also be weighted. From all the entries and the scoring, up to 10 Finalists will be selected and the final winner ( ONE Winner) will be declared.

10. GENERAL CONDITIONS: All Entrants, Finalists, and the winner must comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules; winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements. In addition and without limiting any other provision in these Official Rules, Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify any Entrant who, in Sponsors' sole discretion: (i) is not in compliance with these Official Rules, (ii) tampers with the entry process, the Contest, or the website; or (iii) is acting in an uncooperative, unsportsmanlike, disruptive, abusive, or threatening manner. By submitting an Entry, each Entrant grants to Sponsors the right to print, publish, display, broadcast, and use, worldwide in any media including the World Wide Web and the Internet, at any time, the Entrant's name and basic, entry information, statements about the promotion, as news, information and for Sponsors' trade, advertising and/or promotional purposes without additional compensation or review.

8. PRIZES: There will be ONE (1) Grand Prize winner. The value of the Grand Prize will be announced in due course. The winning organization will receive a complete technology makeover depending on the IT audit report. The IT audit will be conducted by the sponsor and a report will be generated at the end of it, describing the kind of IT implementation

11. SPONSOR'S RIGHTS TO CONTEST ENTRIES: By entering, Entrant represents and warrants to Sponsor that its entry and all information therein is accurate and truthful to the best of Entrant's knowledge, and further represents and warrants that the Entry does not contain any confidential or proprietary information of the submitting organization or any

5. HOW TO ENTER: To enter during the Contest Period, visit http://techmakeover.pcmagme.com/ or http:// pcmagtechmakeover.altus-publishing.com/ and follow the instructions to complete and submit a registration for the contest. Once submitted, entries may not be modified deleted or cancelled. Only completed entries will be considered. Multiple entries for the same business will not affect judging and will be consolidated into a single entry. 6. JUDGES: Altus Publishing Group will form the Judges Panel. The decisions of the judges are final.

third party. Submission of Entry grants the Sponsor and its agents the right in perpetuity to reproduce, publish, use, edit, adapt and/or modify such Entry, in any way, in any and all media, without limitation and without compensation to Entrant. The winner also agrees that the Sponsor may, at its sole discretion, use the name of the Winning Organization along with details of the Prize including technical, managerial, and other information in advertising, marketing, and other promotional material. 12. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: BY ENTERING THIS CONTEST OR ACCEPTING ANY PRIZE, EACH ENTRANT AND WINNER AGREE THAT THE SPONSORS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE AFFILIATES, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS ("RELEASED PARTIES") WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER FOR, AND WILL BE RELEASED AND HELD HARMLESS BY ENTRANTS AND BY THE WINNER FOR: (1) ANY INCORRECT OR INACCURATE INFORMATION, WHETHER CAUSED BY ENTRANTS, PRINTING ERRORS OR BY ANY OF THE EQUIPMENT OR PROGRAMMING ASSOCIATED WITH OR UTILIZED IN THE CONTEST; (2) TECHNICAL FAILURES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, MALFUNCTIONS, INTERRUPTIONS, OR DISCONNECTIONS IN PHONE LINES OR NETWORK HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE; (3) UNAUTHORIZED HUMAN INTERVENTION IN ANY PART OF THE ENTRY PROCESS OR THE CONTEST; (4) TECHNICAL OR HUMAN ERROR WHICH MAY OCCUR IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONTEST, THE PROCESSING OF ENTRIES OR INSTALLATION OF THE PRIZES; OR (5) ANY INJURY OR DAMAGE TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHICH MAY BE CAUSED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, NOW OR IN THE FUTURE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FROM ENTRANT'S PARTICIPATION IN THE CONTEST OR DELIVERY, MIS-DELIVERY, ACCEPTANCE, POSSESSION, SET-UP, INSTALLATION, RECEIPT, USE OR MISUSE OF ANY PRIZE, OR ANY PRIZE RELATED ACTIVITY, AND WHETHER OR NOT CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF ONE OR MORE OF THE RELEASED PARTIES. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL SPONSORS OR PRIZE SUPPLIER BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES ARISING FROM ENTRANT'S PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROGRAM , ANY PRIZE OR ENTRANT'S RECEIPT, USE OR INSTALLATION OF ANY PRIZE. Neither Sponsors nor prize supplier(s) are responsible for any delayed, lost, incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Entrants, by any of the equipment or programming associated with or used in the Contest, or by any technical or human error that might occur. Entrants shall be deemed to have read and agree to be bound by these Rules and Conditions and by the decisions of Infinity Network Solutions which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsors' failure to enforce any provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of any provision. 13. GOVERNING LAW: This Agreement and the obligations of the parties hereto shall be governed by and interpreted, construed, and enforced in accordance with the laws of the United Arab Emirates, without regard to the principles of conflict of laws and choice of law thereof. Subject to Section 12 hereinafter, the parties hereto further agree that venue and jurisdiction for any claims or actions arising out of this Agreement shall be in the Dubai Courts, UAE.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 13


Panasonic Shows Off a Wide Range of Cameras & Memory Cards at its Digital Imaging Seminar 2012 in Shanghai

P

anasonic concluded its Digital Imaging Seminar 2012, which was hosted in Shanghai, China recently, by launching a wide range of cameras and memory cards. The new arrivals included the company’s cameras such as LUMIX DMC-G5, FZ 60, FZ 62, FZ 200, LX7, LZ20, SZ5, and a new range of lenses to go with the mirrorless cameras showcased at the event. PC Magazine was present at the event to test out the latest gadgets from Panasonic’s stable. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G5

Panasonic announced a new addition of Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera – the LUMIX G DMC-G5 at the event. Taking advantage of the 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine, DMC-G5 is capable of recording 1920-by-1080

60p(NTSC)/50p(PAL ) full HD video in AVCHD Progressive with stereo sound. The camera’s Advanced AF system including practical full-time AF and tracking AF is available in video recording so that every photographer can enjoy high quality video recording with minimum ease. The camera’s precision Contrast AF system boasts high speed AF system “Light Speed AF”. Consecutive shooting is also improved for 6 fps in 16.05-megapixel full resolution. The 1,440,000-dot equivalent Live View Finder of approx. 1.4x (approx. 0.7x) with 100% field of view newly integrates eye sensor and it can be used with LCD at the same time as the new Touch Pad function. Level gauge is also newly adopted for precision framing. The camera’s popular Creative Control increases its filter option to 14 for the enjoyment of artistic expression. In addition to multi-capable shooting assist function iA (Intelligent Auto) Plus mode, the Scene Guide is also available for beginners to learn photography with ease. Available in decent black, silver or white colours, the DMC-G5 is backed up by its high picture quality, high speed response together with the advanced functions in easy operation. To see the sample images from our hands-on experience with the LUMIX DMCG5, please visit our Facebook Page: https:// www.facebook.com/pcmagarabia

14 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

Panasonic DMC-FZ60 (FZ62)

Panasonic also introduced the new DMCFZ60 (FZ62) from the LUMIX’s popular FZ series that packs a powerful optical zoom and full- HD video recording. The 25mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with powerful 24x Optical Zoom with Panasonic’s Black Box Nano Surface Coating technology minimises light reflection that causes ghost and flare. The 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm) can further be increased to 48x, through the camera’s Intelligent Zoom function. The cameras’ newly developed 16.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor and the advanced image processor Venus Engine feature high speed response and high quality image even in high sensitivity recording. It also boasts a quick start-up time of approx. 0.9 sec.


The DMC-FZ60 (FZ62) records 1,920 x 1,080 60i (NTSC) / 50i (PAL) full-HD video recording in AVCHD / MP4 with high quality stereo sound. The powerful 24x optical zoom and manual control are also available in video recording to make the video more attractive. The POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) with Active Mode powerfully suppresses blur even in video recording.

together with other improvements and upgrades. The newly developed LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX lens features F1.4F2.3 brightness at 24-90mm zoom range (35mm camera equivalent). Panasonic’s Black Box Nano Surface Coating technology minimises light reflection that causes ghost and flare, which help in shooting images with better resolution and detail.

(Intelligent Auto) assists in any shooting situations to get the best results. The DMCLZ20 is also capable of recording HD video in 720p. The 3.0-inch large 460,000-dot LCD assures high visibility in any lighting circumstances, which is excellent for both shooting and playing back images. It also features an ergonomic body design that offers stable and comfortable grip when holding the camera.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ200

Panasonic’s new DMC-FZ200 comes with 25mm ultra wide angle 24x optical zoom lens featuring full range F2.8 aperture (35mm camera equivalent 25-600mm). According to Panasonic’s representatives, the F2.8 aperture in 600mm has never been achieved by any digital compact cameras available on the market, which makes it possible to capture moving subjects clearly with fast shutter speed even it is distant away. The camera’s 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm) can further be increased to 48x through the Intelligent Zoom function. The camera’s 12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor and the advanced image processor Venus Engine allows the DMC-FZ200 to feature high speed response and produce high quality images even in high sensitivity recording. The DMC-FZ200 records 1,920 x 1,080 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL) full-HD video recording in AVCHD progressive / MP4 with high quality stereo sound. Panasonic DMC-LX7 The company’s new DMC-LX7 has been fully re-designed in the lens, the image sensor and the image processing engine

The aperture ring allows direct, intuitive control of aperture and the internal ND filter makes it possible to reduce light usage in order to use slower shutter speed. The DMCLX7 also newly integrates Level Gauge. The 3.0-inch large 920,000-dot high resolution Intelligent LCD has also been redesigned to offer remarkable visibility under virtually any circumstances. The hot shoe allows attachment of advanced accessories such as optional Live View Finder which helps shooting under strong daylight with high visibility. The DMC-LX7 records 1,920 x 1,080 60p (NTSC) / 50p (PAL) full-HD video recording in AVCHD Progressive / MP4 with high quality stereo sound. The 3.8x optical zoom and manual control are also available in video recording mode. Panasonic DMC-LZ20 The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LZ20 comes with a 25mm ultra wide angle lens and features 21x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-525mm) with Optical Image Stabilizer. The 16-megapixel high resolution CCD and advanced image processing LSI supports shooting high quality photo and video. For beginners, the LUMIX’s popular iA

Panasonic DMC-SZ5 Panasonic also launched the new 10x optical zoom DMC-SZ5 that integrates with Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11 b/g/n) in a slim and stylish form factor. Using the Wi-Fi functionality of the camera, users can connect the camera directly to their smartphone anywhere by using it as a wireless router without a need for cabling or searching a Wi-Fi hotspot. It is also possible to playback the images stored in the camera on the Panasonic DLNAcompliant VIERA TV via Wi-Fi. The 25 mm ultra wide angle 10x optical zoom (equivalent to 25 mm to 250 mm on a 35mm camera) LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens excels not only in shooting dynamic landscapes with its wide angle view but also in capturing the subject up close with its powerful zooming. The 14.1-megapixel CCD and the Venus Engine processes high quality images both in photo and video recording. The 720p HD videos can be recorded in MP4 format which has a high compatibility with smartphone or other portable electronic devices.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 15


OUR RATING KEY EXCELLENT | GOOD |

VERY GOOD FAIR |

POOR

MSI GT70

The Ultimate Gaming Notebook. Specifications: Type: Gaming Processor Name: Intel Core i7-3610QM Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Processor Speed: 2.30 GHz RAM: 16 GB Weight: 3.76 kilograms Screen Size: 17.3 inches Screen Size Type: Widescreen Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M Graphics Memory: 3072 MB 2nd Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 4000 Storage Capacity (as Tested): 128 GB (SSD) + 750 GB Networking Options: 802.11n Primary Optical Drive: Blu-Ray Disc Battery Type: 87 Whr (Watt hours)

“The MSI GT70 is a productivity and general performance benchmark monster.” $2989 | Grand Stores | +971 4 2170745 | www.grandstores.ae | Final Rating:

M

SI notebooks don’t really Pros wow in terms of design. Impressive But they are awesome performance. Fancy in terms of performance and backlit keyboard. Exceptional battery customisability. Another one of its life. gaming notebooks make their way to our PC Magazine Labs with the MSI GT70. The MSI GT70 laptop has a button for what the company calls its Turbo Drive Engine that purports to give extra graphics performance. We tried the button (which only verdict works under AC, not battery, power) Intel’s new “Ivy and found it gave anywhere from a 0 Bridge” CPU and a percent to 4 percent boost in gaming super-trick SSD benchmark scores. RAID storage The GT70 flaunts a spanking new system make MSI’s 2.30 GHz Core i7-3610QM quadGT70 laptop a core, along with 16 GB of DDR3 hardcore gamer’s memory and a particularly hardcore dream machine. storage system: Its 750 GB, 7,200rpm hard drive is relegated to secondbanana status behind a pair of 64 GB SanDisk U100 solid-state drives, yoked together under RAID 0 for blazing speed. Add Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M graphics, a SteelSeries multicolour backlit keyboard, and a Qualcomm cons Just a tick under 30 fps for full-tilt gaming. Big and heavy.

Atheros Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet adapter that promises to optimize gaming throughput at LAN parties, and you’ve got a ton of hardware for your two grand. The glossy plastic around the 17.3-inch screen of the GT70 is somewhat reflective, but the matte-finish display itself is not. It’s a full HD (1,920 by 1,080) panel with vivid colours, jet blacks, and ample brightness. The black tile- or chicletstyle keyboard offers a first-class, slightly clicky typing feel and fullsized numeric keypad. Next to the Blu-ray drive on the MSI’s right side are two USB 2.0 ports, with three USB 3.0 ports plus a memory-card reader and four audio jacks—headphone, microphone, line-in, and line-out—on the laptop’s left. At the rear are VGA, HDMI, eSATA, and Ethernet ports. Windows 7 Ultimate and the GT70’s software preload—a handful of utilities, Microsoft Office and Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security trials, and Magix photo, video, and music managers—leave 70 GB of the RAID

16 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

SSD drive C: available. A recovery partition leaves 687 GB free of the D: hard drive. Bluetooth and 802.11b/ g/n Wi-Fi are present on the wireless front. Two Dynaudio speakers and a subwoofer crank out fairly loud, fairly bass-worthy sound. The MSI GT70 is a productivity and general performance benchmark monster. In our game testing with Turbo Drive Engine enabled, the MSI flirted with the magic threefigure frames-per-second mark at medium settings (1,024 by 768) in our Crysis DirectX 10 and Lost Planet 2 DirectX 11 tests, hitting 99 and 86.4 fps, respectively. The GT70’s battery life is remarkable: Its 87Wh battery lasted for 5 hours 29 minutes in our MobileMark 2007 rundown test. That’s mainstream desktop replacement territory, virtually unheard of for a gaming laptop. Overall, Intel’s new “Ivy Bridge” CPU and a super-trick SSD RAID storage system make MSI’s GT70 laptop a hardcore gamer’s dream machine. – With inputs from PCMag.com


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8/8/2012 10:44:10 AM


Samsung 750 Series Monitor S27B750V Captivate Your Senses. Specifications: Screen Size: 27-inch (16:9) Type: LED Brightness: 300cd/m² Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1 Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Response Time: 2 ms (GTG) D-Sub: x1 HDMI: x2 Audio In/Out: x1 Speaker: Built-in Speaker(5W x 2 ch) Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL): Yes Dimension with Stand (W x H x D): 636 x 474 x 204mm Set Weight with Stand: 6.3 kilograms

“The Samsung S27B750V is a LED based monitor, which showcases a mega dynamic contrast along with wide viewing angles.”

Approx. $449 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae | Final Rating: Pros Great design. Brilliant colours. cons Average sounding speakers. verdict The Samsung S27B750V is one monitor that will look good on your desk, though the speakers can be better.

D

esign-wise the Samsung S27B750V definitely looks good when take it out from the box. The stunning curves and premium look are warm as well as edgy. With Mobile High-Definition Link, built-in stereo speakers and Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratio you’ll enjoy outstanding multimedia from compatible mobiles or PCs. The Samsung S27B750V is a LED based monitor, which showcases a mega dynamic contrast along with wide viewing angles. The colours on this monitor are superb, and the sheer brilliance of the images displayed on the screen is truly amazing. Samsung’s Magic Angle helps make sure that the movie looks great from different angles. This means, thanks to the 5-mode angle management, that you can watch your Samsung monitor and from many angles you will enjoy an exceptional visual experience with amazing picture clarity. So start

seeing your favourite movies and other multimedia in lots of comfort with the Magic Angle. For connectivity, the Samsung S27B750V offers dual HDMI inputs and a single D-sub input for legacy monitors. What we liked about this monitor is the Mobile HighDefinition Link (MHL) support. With it, you can experience entertainment from your MHL compatible mobile device with a full-size monitor and higher-quality-by simply connecting your MHL compatible mobile device to the monitor with the cable included in the box. While you are viewing your mobile content in stunning Full HD your mobile device can charge while connected combines mobile portability with the comfort of home for an optimised Full HD view. Connecting a Galaxy S III mobile phone was fast and it easily showed the phone’s screen on the S27B750V. The Samsung S27B750V also

18 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

comes with stereo speakers built into the device – though we wish it could have performed better. The speakers were audible, but it somehow lacks the basic sound output you would expect for this type of monitor. It’s not a deal breaker though, but this monitor could be enjoyed better if you connected external speakers. We used DisplayMate for the tests, and connected the Samsung S27B750V to our test bed using an HDMI cable. Additionally, we also connected it a Sony PlayStation 3 console. The colours are great, and the S27B750V nicely showed the varying shades of colours without any problems. Detail is present on photos that we viewed; and the same goes with high definition video. It works well with games, since there were no noticeable framing issues. Overall, the Samsung S27B750V is one monitor that will look good on your desk, though the speakers can be better.


Panasonic HC-X900 Extreme Clarity. Specifications: Optical zoom: 12.0x Digital zoom: 700x Sensor: 3x 1/4.1in CMOS Sensor pixels: 3,050,000 Widescreen mode: Native LCD screen size: 3.5 inches Viewfinder type: Colour Video recording format: AVCHD 2.0 Video recording media: SDXC Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Video resolutions: PAL, 1920 x 1080 Maximum image resolution: 3027 x 2270 Memory slot: SDXC Memory supplied: None Digital inputs/outputs: Mini HDMI out, mini USB Analogue inputs/outputs: A/V out Other connections: Charge jack, microphone, headphone, accessory shoe (cold) Battery type: Li-ion Size: 67 x 72 x 150 mm Weight: 482 grams

“The Panasonic HC-X900 definitely showcases great detail on some of the test videos we did.” Approx. $1018 | Al Futtaim Panatech | +971 4 8007262 | www.panasonic.ae | Final Rating: Pros Excellent video.

cons Expensive. verdict Despite the high price, the plethora of features coupled with the excellent picture quality and 3D support of the Panasonic HC-X900 make it an easy recommendation.

I

n terms of high-end camcorders, the Panasonic HC-X900 definitely belongs in that category. The HC-X900 is Powered by Panasonic’s 3MOS System Pro, Complete with a LEICA Lens and a High-Speed Processor to Capture True-to-Life Videos. This means that it has three separate sensors for the red, green and blue light – this in turn help the camcorder collect more colour and detail on each video that is shot. This particular camcorder also showcases professional-like features such as a manual ring for easy and convenient fingertip-control of commonly-used settings, like focus, zoom, exposure, shutter speed and white balance, a 5.1-channel surround sound, and an advanced Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S) system called Hybrid O.I.S. +, which uses five-axis correction to help thoroughly suppress blurring all the way from wide-angle shots to powerful zoom shots – allowing for steady images over the entire zoom

range. Another cool feature is that the HC-X900M can also shoot full-HD 3D – though you would need the new optional conversion 3D lens, which is sold separately. In addition, the new VW-CLT2 has 1.5x digital zooming. The HC-X900 features a bright F1.5, 12x optical zoom and 29.8mm wide-angle LEICA DICOMAR lens, meaning it allows for a wider-framed shot, which is convenient when shooting wide landscapes and large groups of people. The lens also features a new Nano Surface Coating Technology, which dramatically reduces ghosting and flaring. With an Octagon Iris Diaphragm, the user can apply a defocusing effect, so it is possible to shoot at a close distance from the subject while fitting both the subject and the surrounding area into the frame. This is beneficial so the voice of the subject is clearly recorded, but a full and wide frame is captured. The Panasonic HC-X900 is equipped with a 3.5-inch LCD that

allows 3D viewing without the need for special eyewear, so 3D images can be viewed on the spot. Naturally, the display can also be switched between 2D and 3D. And intuitive touch operation enables extremely easy control on the LCD. The Touch Zoom function allows the user to simply touch the LCD to activate slow zooming. The LCD also supports Touch Shutter, which automatically focuses and takes a still photo when the user touches the subject on the screen. The Panasonic HC-X900 definitely showcases great detail on some of the test videos we did. It’s fantastic during the day, especially when you use natural lighting. At night time, occasional noise appears, but it’s not a bad as other ones we’ve previously tested. Detail is excellent, and the HC-X900 gets high points for that. Overall, I wouldn’t mind paying for the high price, since these plethora of features coupled with the excellent picture quality and 3D support make it an easy recommendation.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 19


Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Portable Scanning Made Easy. Specifications: Maximum Optical Resolution: 600 pixels Mechanical Resolution: 600 pixels Maximum Scan Area: Legal Scanning Options: Reflective One-Touch Buttons: No Flatbed: No Automatic Document Feeder: Yes USB or FireWire Interface: USB Ethernet Interface: No

“The Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Personal Document Scanner is more than a little impressive.” Approx. $295 | National Stores | +971 4 3399171 | www.canon-me.com | Final Rating: Pros Automatic document feeder. Duplexes. Rated at 15 pages per minute for black and white as well as greyscale. cons Relatively big and heavy for a portable scanner. Application programs don’t install by default. verdict Although big and heavy for a portable scanner, the Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Personal Document Scanner’s fast speed, duplexing, & ADF make it well worth the extra size and weight.

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he Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Personal Document Scanner combines a not quite identical scanner with improved software. The result is an even more attractive package, both as a portable scanner and as a small-size personal desktop scanner. It’s also the new Editors’ Choice for its category. The P-215 comes with a 20-page automatic document feeder (ADF) and duplexing (the ability to scan both sides of a page simultaneously). Canon rates the scanner in both greyscale and black and white modes at 15 pages per minute (ppm) for both simplex (one-sided) and duplex (two-sided) scans, and at 30 images per minute (ipm) for duplex (with one image on each side of the page). Colour mode is a still reasonable 10 ppm and 20 ipm. The P-215 adds the ability to scan hard plastic cards, like embossed ID cards and driver licenses. The P-215 comes out of the

box ready to work. Setup can be as simple as connecting the supplied USB cable. The P-215 gets power over the same USB cable it uses for data. It can also get additional power from an optional AC power supply or from a second supplied cable that plugs into the scanner’s power supply connector on one end and a second computer USB port on the other. You also have the option whether or not to install software. If you don’t want to install any, you can use the Canon CaptureOnTouch Lite utility stored in the scanner’s memory. Connect by USB cable, and the computer will see the memory as a USB drive. The P-215 offers a 600 pixel per inch (ppi) optical resolution, which is much more than you need for document scanning. Its default setting is 200 ppi, which is generally sufficient. In my tests, using the default settings of 200

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ppi and automatic colour detection, scanning to a PDF file, and giving the scan command from PaperPort, a 10 page document in both simplex and duplex modes matched the claimed 10 ppm and 20 ipm for colour scans, but took an extra 35 seconds to save the file, so the effective speed was 6.3 ppm and 12.6 ipm. That’s an acceptable speed even for a personal desktop scanner. For a portable scanner it’s blazingly fast. The Canon imageFORMULA P-215 Personal Document Scanner is more than a little impressive. It’s fast, particularly for scanning to searchable PDF format; it offers an ADF and duplexing; and its text recognition is unusually accurate. The combination makes it a standout winner, both as a capable personal desktop scanner and even more so as a portable scanner that doesn’t force you to make compromises. By any measure, it’s an easy pick for Editors’ Choice.


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Google Nexus 7 One Tablet to Rule Them All? Specifications: CPU: Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-Core Processor Speed: 1.2 GHz Operating System: Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels Screen Size: 7 inches Storage Capacity (as Tested): 8 GB Dimensions: 19.81 x 11.94 x 1.02 cm Weight: 340 grams Flash support: No GPS: Yes Camera(s): 1 front-facing Video Chat: Yes

“The tablet also does a good job with your own media, although you have to be careful about codecs and file sizes.”

$199 for 8 GB; $249 for 16 GB | Google | www.google.com/nexus/#/7/ | Final Rating: Pros Fast. Well-built. Excellent battery life. Well worth the money. cons Very limited storage. Google Play media store doesn’t quite work. No HDMI or MHL to connect the tablet to HDTVs. verdict Google and Asus smack it out of the park with the Nexus 7, a terrific small-screen tablet that’s an incredible value.

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oogle’s Nexus 7 is a gamechanger. The first tablet with Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” it’s the most bang for the buck you can get in the market right now. It’s versatile, well-built, fast, and a lot of fun to use. It basically renders every 7-inch tablet priced at this range pretty much irrelevant. The Nexus 7 feels well-built, even classy for a low cost tablet. Kudos goes to the hardware manufacturer, Asus, a company that typically builds good stuff. A Gorilla Glass screen dominates the front of the tablet, and around back, there’s a slightly grippy, stippled black rubber panel. Turn the tablet on using the prominent Power button at the top right corner, and you’ll see a perfectly fine 1,280-by-800, 7-inch IPS LCD with a huge black bezel around it. A Wi-Fi-only device, the Nexus 7 supports Bluetooth for audio and NFC to transfer files to other NFCequipped Android devices. The quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset inside is one of the fastest

mobile processors around. This unit runs at 1.3 GHz in single core mode and 1.2 GHz when two to four cores are active. System-wise, the Nexus 7 performed on par with other recent Tegra 3 tablets. Geekbench is a crossplatform benchmark, and the Tegra 3 tablets score considerably higher on it than the dual-core Apple iPad does—in this case, 1,472 to the iPad’s 761. Graphics performance was rock-solid with a 55.9 fps rating in Nenamark, higher than the Asus Transformer Pad TF300. Games just rock here. I downloaded a few of Nvidia’s Tegra Zone titles, and both Zen Pinball and Riptide GP had the smooth ease of control which marks a really good gaming experience. There was no jerkiness, no lag, and no compromises. This is the first Google device to install Chrome as the default browser, and that’s great; it’s about 30 percent faster than the older stock Android browser, and it has a better tab interface. You’re going to find the range of apps designed for Android tablets to

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be in the single-digit thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands you’ll find on the iPad. But the success of this tablet might improve that, and you certainly have some decent apps to start working with. The tablet also does a good job with your own media, although you have to be careful about codecs and file sizes. The built-in speakers are fine for personal use, although they don’t fill a room; sound through headphones, on the other hand, is great, with plenty of bass. The tablet played all of our MPEG4 and H.264 videos up to 1080p resolution, but there’s no support for DivX, Xvid or WMV files. In terms of music, it handled all the usual music formats except WMA. The Nexus 7 doesn’t magically solve Android’s problem with a lack of tablet apps. But it may turn the vicious cycle into a virtuous one, and the spread of these affordable, highquality Android tablets will cause app developers to start writing for these devices.


BenQ XL2420T

Designed by Gamers for Gamers. Specifications: Screen Size: 24 inches Landscape/Portrait Pivot: Yes Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Supported Video Formats: 1080p Widescreen: Yes Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Video Inputs: DVI, HDMI PC Interfaces: Analogue VGA, Dualmode (DVI-I), HDMI, DisplayPort Pixel Response Time (Grey to Grey): 2 milliseconds Speakers Included: No Stand Supplied: Yes Tilt: Yes Swivel: Yes Height: Yes USB Ports: 4 Dimensions (HWD): 51.82 x 57.15 x 14.99 cm Weight: 6.08 kilograms

“The 1,920-by-1,080 resolution panel has a matte anti-glare coating that keeps reflection to a minimum.” Approx. $549 | BenQ Middle East | +971 4 2991000 | www.benq.co.ae | Final Rating: Pros Tons of I/O ports. Excellent colour and motion performance. Inky blacks. Highly adjustable stand. cons Expensive. Narrow viewing angles. verdict The BenQ XL2420T is a feature-rich 24-inch monitor designed for gamers, but it doesn’t come cheap.

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esigned by gamers for gamers, the BenQ XL2420T is a well-crafted, featurerich 24-inch monitor offering nearly all of the bells and whistles that serious gamers crave. A speedy pixel response, a wealth of connectivity options, lots of customizable gaming modes, and a 12 0Hz refresh rate are only part of the deal. The XL2420T is housed in a matte black cabinet and sports thin (.75-inch) bezels on all four sides and a glossy panel on the back where the cabinet attaches to the height adjustable arm. The T-shaped base provides plenty of support for the panel and offers tilt, swivel, and pivot adjustability. A red hook attached to the mounting arm gives you a place to hang your headphones, and there’s a red oval cut-out at the bottom of the mounting arm that helps keep cables organized while adding a splash of colour. There’s no shortage of I/O ports on this monitor. The rear of the cabinet holds two HDMI ports, DVI and VGA (D-sub) ports,

a DisplayPort, and two USB ports (one upstream, one downstream). Two additional downstream USB ports are conveniently placed on the left side of the cabinet along with a headphone jack. The XL2420T offers numerous picture settings. The 1,920-by-1,080 resolution panel has a matte anti-glare coating that keeps reflection to a minimum without affecting brightness. Colour quality is as close to an IPS panel as you can get from TN+ technology; colour samples from the DisplayMate LCD diagnostic suite were bold and well defined but not overly saturated. Colours looked extra punchy thanks to the panel’s ability to display solid blacks, a characteristic that also produced good shadow detail. Light greyscale performance was not quite as good as what you’ll get from a professional grade model, but for a TN+ panel it was better than average. My one performance-based gripe with the XL2420T has to do with off angle viewing. When viewed from an

extreme side angle the picture suffers from colour shifting; whites appear beige and shades of grey look blacker than grey. The view from the bottom is worse as the picture becomes way too dark. This is fairly common with TN panels and not what I would call a deal-breaker, but I expected better from a monitor this with this price. The XL2420T is a 120Hz display and is on Nvidia’s list of certified 3D Vision monitors that support LightBoost technology. Unfortunately, this model does not come with the 3D Vision Kit, but the XL2420TX does and we’ll be testing its 3D prowess in a separate review. The XL2420T comes with DVI (duallink) and VGA cables, an upstream USB cable, and a protective cover that you can throw over the screen when it’s not being used. HDMI and DisplayPort cables are not included. Granted, its viewing angle performance could be better, but it doesn’t prevent us from making the XL2420T our Editors’ Choice for midsized gaming monitors.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 23


Foxconn H61A More Power for Less. Specifications: CPU Socket Type: LGA 1155 Chipset: H61 Number of Memory Slots: 2 Memory Standard: DDR3 1600 / 1333 / 1066 Maximum Memory Supported: 8 GB Channel Supported: Dual Channel PCI Express x 1: 3 PCI Express 2.0x 16: 1 PCI Slots: 2 SATA 3Gb/s: 4 Audio Channels: 6 Channels Video Ports: 1 DVI-D port PS/2: 1 COM: 1 Form Factor: ATX

“Like all Foxconn products, a number of exclusive technologies make its way onto the H61A.”

$70 | Foxconn | +971 4 2045274 | www.foxconnchannel.com | Final Rating: Pros Decent performance for its price. cons Lacks support for newer ports (USB 3.0, SATA III) verdict The Foxconn H61A delivers good performance for its price, and while it lacks some of the newer ports available on mainstream boards, it still manages to achieve tasks to our expectations.

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t has been a while since we have covered some of Foxconn’s motherboards in our reviews. While they don’t really compare to much higher-end motherboards in terms of additional functionality, it still manages to perform at par with the more mainstream motherboards currently available. Designed to meet the demands of enthusiasts and gamers alike, the Foxconn H61A has support for the LGA1155 CPU from Intel. It’s primarily made for the Sandy Bridge CPUs, though Foxconn confirmed that this board can also support the newer Ivy Bridge 22nm CPUs. This motherboard supports Dual Channel DDR3 DIMMS on two slots, which can support a maximum of 8 GB of memory. Other features of the Foxconn H61A include DirectX 11 support – if you are using the onboard GPU, the updated HD graphics processing technology integrates highperformance graphics and media processing right from the processor, putting the two key gaming

components (CPU and GPU) together on a single chip. Additionally, the Foxconn H61A supports a 6 channel sound output – this should be good enough to you to enjoy watching your favourite movies or videos in true surround sound. One thing we probably missed on the H61A is the support for SATA III, but that is mostly because of the limitation of the chipset. USB 3.0 is also not present. Other than that, necessary ports are available and properly placed on the board. You have PCI-E Gen 3.0, which offers nearly double the signalling rate over the previous Gen 2.0 version. Like all Foxconn products, a number of exclusive technologies make its way onto the H61A. Fox Live Update lets you easily update the board’s BIOS along with the system drivers and utilities. Fox Care is a newly-developed easy-to-use utility of Fox series programs. If you have a complaint or an issue, you can just open up the program and submit the issue online. Much like Windows Error Reporting – but in comparison with

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Foxconn you could at least expect a response whenever you encounter an issue. Also included is Fox One, which is a utility that lets you control various performance settings on the motherboard. It works more like an overclocking tool. Along with that, you can also easily monitor hardware temperatures and voltages so you can safely tune your system without any danger of malfunctioning. The Foxconn H61A doesn’t necessarily break records in terms of its performance, but it was good enough. Using an Intel Core i5 2405S along with 3 GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 680 graphics card, it delivered good points for the benchmarks we ran. It performed greatly on the games we have tested as well, with Resident Evil 5 getting more than 65 fps and Left 4 Dead 2 getting 59 fps at 1080p resolutions. All in all, the Foxconn H61A delivers good performance for its price, and while it lacks some of the newer ports available on mainstream boards, it still manages to achieve tasks to our expectations.


Advertorial

C822 Ultra Compact Colour A3 Printers.

• Fast warm up (27secs from sleep) • Fast first page out time (less than 9.5 secs) • 300 sheet tray & 100 sheet multipurpose tray (MPT). • Network standard • Media weight up to 256gsm from MPT • 800MHz processor and 256MB memory (768MB Max) • 16GB SD card option for job storage and encrypted secure print • Numeric keypad for easy secure print PIN code entry. • Deep Sleep Mode (<1.0W) • Energy Star compliant

C511dn

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he smallest A3 LED colour printers have just got smaller. The C822 is a compact and versatile A3 colour printer which will easily handle all your business printing needs quickly and affordably in-house. An 800MHz processor supported by 256MB memory quickly sets about turning your creative designs into vibrant business documents which can be printed on media from A6 to A3 and even 1.3metre banners. The C822 prints at 23ppm (colour and mono). Standard paper capacity is 400 sheets including the multipurpose tray. Max capacity can be increased to 930 sheets. The C822 warm up quickly from cold and yet are extremely energy efficient. In deep sleep they consume less than 1.0watts and if the unit is unused for a long time an ‘auto off’ facility powers them down completely. Features • 23/23ppm (Colour / Mono) • ProQ2400, 1200 x 600dpi & 600 x 600dpi

Superior quality colour printers professional business needs

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uperb print quality, powerful print performance and low running cost equip the C511dn for life in the busy office. This high productivity tool will deliver colour document at an impressive 26ppm and mono documents at an even faster 30ppm, to keep wait times to the minimum. And with networking as standard, sharing is easy. Making the most of limited space its compact modern

design incorporates many energy and money saving features such as auto duplex, ‘Deep Sleep’ power save and ECO mode. Complementing these efficiencies is truly flexible paper handling and with 3 year warranty as standard the C511dn makes a superb office colour printer. Features • Fast, professional in-house colour printing with low running costs • Perfect for the demanding business or busy workgroup • Compact modern design makes the most of limited space • Automatic duplex is included as standard • Fast 26ppm colour and 30ppm mono printing • Fast time to first page of 8 seconds in colour and 7.5 in mono • Unrivalled paper handling from A6 to 1.32m banners at weights up to 220gsm • Ultra reliable digital LED technology and High Definition toner for documents with real impact • Easy to use operator panel with a 2 line LCD display, instantly and clearly showing printer status • Host based (GDI) emulation for use with MS Windows or Mac systems • Robust 60,000 page per month duty cycle • High capacity toners keep running costs and user interventions low • Enhanced power management functionality including ECO mode, ‘Deep Sleep’ mode and Auto Power Off features • OKI’s clever ECO mode saves time and power printing 1 and 2 page jobs • Auto colour balance ensures consistent results • Control and manage costs with Print Control software • Easy to create and print specialist documents with Template Manager

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 25


AirLive N.Plug Easy Networking.

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ortable and easy to carry, the AirLive N.Plug is a wireless B/G/N multimode (Repeater/ AP/Router) network device. By a simple flick of a hardware switch on the N.Plug, user can choose between three different modes of Repeater, AP, and Router. In repeater mode, the AirLive N.Plug is also great for users who are looking to extend their current wireless network but use as little configuration as possible. The device can be quickly configured by simple push of the WPS button on the router and repeater. With the build-in USB 2.0 port and WAN, the N.Plug can support either a 3G USB dongle or an xDSL WAN depended on the situation. User will be able to share its 3G mobile connection or ADSL internet connection within N.Plug’s wireless N

Pros Easy to use. Compact. Multi-mode. cons None to mention. verdict The AirLive N.Plug is an easy to use multimode network device that is featurepacked and very affordable.

radius range. The software system for the AirLive N.Plug is built upon the new AirLogic software architecture. It features firmware recovery system, multi-operation wireless mode, Virtual AP function, bandwidth control, and lots other features that make AirLive wireless products famous in the industry. The main thing we liked about the AirLive N.Plug is the impressive switching between router, repeater and AP modes. You have an option to use the device on a wired (802.11 b/g/n) or wireless mode, and with the easy to use interface, configuring your network will be easy and hasslefree. Overall, the AirLive N.Plug is an easy to use multimode network device that is feature-packed and very affordable.

Approx. $55 | OvisLink Corp. | +886 2 22186888 | www.airlive.com | Final Rating:

Promate ProMaster Wireless Beats.

M Pros Great sound. Decent bass. Can be used wired or wireless. cons Unoriginal design. verdict The Promate ProMaster is a great alternative to those overpriced headphones currently out in the market.

any companies try to shell out their own versions of popular products – but in the end come up with unsatisfying results. Honestly speaking, the ProMaster set of headphones from Promate almost resembles the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones from Monster – right from the carrying case to the packaging itself. But it still surprised us when we tested it. It is nearly as good as the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones – but of course costs a lot less. These set of headphones feature a wired or wireless solution. For wired, you can connect to the headphones using a 3.5 mm jack to any compatible device. The wireless connection allows the Promate ProMaster to connect to devices using Bluetooth. The Promate ProMaster also features an elegant design, though the smooth surface is a fingerprint magnet. It also has a

built-in microphone with the bulk of controls located on one side of the headphone. As mentioned, we tested the audio quality of the ProMaster and we were definitely surprised. Trebles were clear with no distortions of any kind. Along with that, the bass was good enough to deliver low

$136 | Promate | +971 4 8814444 | www.promate.net | Final Rating:

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frequency effects at a decent level. It was also hassle free to connect the ProMaster using Bluetooth, and calls made through it were clear and crisp. Overall, the Promate ProMaster is a great alternative to those overpriced headphones currently out in the market.


Advertorial

YES! It can be too late to patch your security holes!

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asy to set up and use, GFI LanGuard® acts as a virtual security consultant to give you a complete picture of your network setup, provide risk analysis and help you to maintain a secure and compliant network state faster and more effectively. GFI LanGuard will help you... » Reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by centralizing patch management, vulnerability assessment and network auditing

» Automate patching for Microsoft operating systems and software, and for many other applications » Carry out over 50,000 vulnerability assessments across your network, including your virtual environments » Deploy custom software and scripts » Gauge the effectiveness of your PCI DSS compliance program while safeguarding your network. Integrated vulnerability management solution GFI LanGuard is an award-winning solution that addresses the three pillars of vulnerability management: security scanning, patchmanagement and network auditing through a single, integrated console. By scanning the entire network, it identifies all possible securityissues and, using its extensive reporting functionality, provides you withthe tools you need to detect, assess, report and remediate any threats. Vulnerability scanning During security audits, over 45,000 vulnerability assessments are made and networks are scanned IP by IP. GFI LanGuard gives you: 1. The capability to perform multiplatform scans (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) across all environments, including virtual machines 2. The ability to analyze your network’s security health from a singlesource of data 3. The facility to set-up your own custom vulnerability checks throughsimple wizard-assisted set-up screens Patch management and remediation GFI LanGuard performs a scan of your network and gives you all the functionality

and tools you need to effectively install and manage patches on all machines across different Microsoft operating systems and products in all languages supported by the vendor. GFI LanGuardalso allows autodownloads of missing patches as well as patch rollback and custom software can be deployed, resulting in a consistently configured environment that is secure against vulnerabilities.GFI LanGuard also offers patchmanagement support for other (non-Microsoft) software, enabling administrators to detect, download and deploy missing patches for supported applications in the same way as is done for Microsoft updates. Network and Security Auditing Once you have scanned for vulnerabilities and patched your systems, you can use the GFI LanGuard auditing function to learn everything about your network’s security status, including what USB and other portable devices are connected; what software has been installed – both authorized and unauthorized; extended hardware auditing facility; number Secure your network, help provethe compliance andof open increase shares,productivity open ports, passwords withweak GFI LanGuard, your virtual securityno consultant. in use; users or groups longer in use; and the security health status of Linux Find out more and download your FREE trial: systems on your network.

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www.gfi.com Tel: +9714-4576500 fax: +9714-3908520 E-mail: gfi@comguard.net www.gfi.com / www.comguard.net All products and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Lenco iPD-4303 The Stylish Dock.

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nother one of Lenco’s stylish docks makes its way into our Labs with the iPD4303. It typically looks like any iPod/ iPhone dock out there. The iPD4303 offers what Lenco calls 3D Sound – which basically fills up a whole room with sound. It has 6.1 channels of sound – with a total of 80 watts RMS of sound output. The top part of the iPD-4303 houses the dock connector which can be connected to any iPod or iPhone. One thing the Lenco could have done is raise the dock connector so you can have the option to connect iPads as well. The top part also houses the main functions which lets you control playback on your device. On

Pros Decent sound output. Compact. cons Lacks low frequency effects. verdict The Lenco iPD-4303 is another iPod/ iPhone dock from Lenco that offers great sound from a small speaker.

the front part, there is a small LCD display that shows the time and what function is currently on. Next to that is the main power/standby switch. A handy ‘sync’ button matches the time from your device to the dock to ease setup. A remote control is also included. Upon testing the iPD-4303, it is clear it is not just an ordinary speaker. It’s loud, that’s for sure and the voices churn out in very good quality. What we didn’t like is the lack of bass. It present, but we didn’t quite feel that thumping feel when heavy bass is played. Otherwise, for its price the Lenco iPD-4303 is still a decently priced dock that offers great sound from a small speaker.

$215 | Lenco | www.lenco.eu | Final Rating:

G-Form Extreme Sleeve for iPad Extreme Protection.

I Pros True extreme protection. cons Not a big fan of the design. verdict The G-Form Extreme Sleeve truly provides extreme protection for your iPad.

’m sure most of you have seen that video of an iPad being dropped from miles high in outer space and it magically survived. That is how the G-Form promoted their Extreme Case for the iPad – a case designed for rugged use. The case is made from Poron XRD, a material that is soft and makes the case very light, and of course can absorb shocks when dropped – offering absolution protection for your iPad. The Extreme Sleeve comes with a large interior, which could nicely fit your iPad even if it comes with a case. The interior of the sleeve is lined with a smooth cloth as to not scratch your delicate Apple product. The zipper also looks durable and as

$54 | G-Form | www.g-form.com | Final Rating:

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G-Form said, it can withstand impact as well. In terms of protection, the Extreme Sleeve truly protects the iPad. I risked dropping my own iPad inside the case from a respectable height, and it came out without any scratches or dents. Somehow it did survive the fall. I can’t risk dropping it from a much higher place, but you can view online videos showing various methods on how the Extreme Sleeve can withstand shock. The design could be better though – but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. The Extreme Sleeve comes in colours of yellow and black. Overall, the G-Form Extreme Sleeve truly provides extreme protection for your iPad.


HP Photosmart 7510 e-All-in-One Next Generation Printing. Specifications: Printer Category: Ink Jet Type: All-In-One Colour or Monochrome: 1-pass colour Ink Jet Type: Photo All-Purpose Connection Type: USB, Wireless Maximum Standard: Paper Size Legal Number of Cartridges: 4 Number of Ink Colours: 4 Direct Printing from Cameras: No Direct Printing from Media Slots: Memory Stick Duo, Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card LCD Preview Screen: Yes Scanner Type: Flatbed with ADF (Standard or Optional) Scanner Optical Resolution: 600 pixels per inch Duty Cycle: 1250 pages per month Input Capacity (printer input only): 125 sheets Network-Ready: Yes Print Duplexing: Automatic Duplexing Scans: Manual duplex (software automatically interfiles pages)

“The 7510 features a 4.3-inch tilt-up touch LCD lies to the left of the It can print” $199.99 | HP Middle East | 800 4910 | www.hp.com/me | Final Rating: Pros Good photo quality. Reasonably fast. Touch screen. ePrint and AirPrint compatible. Runs HP Web apps. eFax. cons Running costs on the high side. No Ethernet. No port for USB thumb drive. verdict The PhotoSmart 7510 provides good photo quality and reasonably fast speed.

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he HP PhotoSmart 7510 e-Allin-One is a multifunction printer (MFP) geared primarily to home use, though its automatic document feeder (ADF) and paper capacity give it some home-office chops. It does print beautiful photos, and has a large touch screen and can take advantage of HP’s ePrint and Web app services. The 7510 features a 4.3-inch tilt-up touch LCD lies to the left of the It can print, copy, and scan (as well as fax wirelessly through eFax); work as a standalone Web-enabled device; print from and scan to a memory card (slots are limited to SD/ MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick Duo), but it lacks a port for a USB thumb drive. It has a 125-sheet main paper tray and a 25-sheet photo-paper tray, plus an automatic duplexer for printing

on both sides of a sheet of paper. A 25-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) lets you copy, scan, and fax multi-page documents. The 7510 can run HP’s Web apps; several come pre-loaded, with their icons appearing carousel-style at the top of the 4.3-inch touch LCD, and more can be added through the HP ePrintCenter. The 7510 supports HP’s ePrint: You can e-mail files as attachments to a unique address that HP assigns to the printer, and it will print out the e-mail and files. The 7510 is also compatible with Apple’s AirPrint, allowing users to print directly to it from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as long as it’s on the same Wi-Fi network as the printer. The 7510 turned in a respectable 3.7 ppm speed when tested on our business applications suite (timed using QualityLogic’s hardware and

software, www.qualitylogic.com). The Photosmart 7510 took an average of 1 minute 19 seconds to print out a 4-by-6 photo, an acceptable speed. Lack of ports for a USB thumb drive or Ethernet make the HP PhotoSmart 7510 e-All-in-One most appropriate for home use, as does its above-par photo quality, but its paper capacity and automatic document feeder make it suitable for homeoffice use as well. If your fax needs are limited, eFax Internet faxing is a plus, but when subscription fees kick in after your limited monthly faxing allotment, it might not be costeffective versus a dedicated fax line. There are faster MFPs in the 7510’s class. But the HP Photosmart 7510 is a capable and fun MFP for home (and home-office, if need be) use, with HP’s Web app and ePrint functionality behind it.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 29


Brother MFC-J6910DW Poster Size Prints. Specifications: Printer Category: Ink Jet Type: All-In-One Colour or Monochrome: 1-pass colour Ink Jet Type Standard: All-Purpose Connection Type: USB, Ethernet, Wireless Maximum Standard Paper Size: Tabloid Number of Cartridges: 4 Number of Ink Colours: 4 Direct Printing from Cameras: Yes Direct Printing from Media Slots: Yes LCD Preview Screen: Yes Scanner Type: Flatbed with ADF (Standard or Optional) Scanner Optical Resolution: 2400 pixels per inch Standalone Copier and Fax: Copier, Fax Duty Cycle: 12000 pages per month Input Capacity (printer input only): 500 sheets Network-Ready: Yes Print Duplexing: Automatic

“Setup is standard. The printer offers both Ethernet and Wi-Fi support.”

Approx. $300 | Brother Middle East | +971 4 8835878 | www.brother.ae | Final Rating:

T

he MFC-J6910DW is aimed at any micro, small, or home office, although it’s obviously of most interest if you need to print at up to tabloid size (11 by 17 inches), and want a single printer for both letter- and tabloid-size output. Two 250-sheet paper trays make it easy to load both paper sizes at once and switch between them. And if you need to print occasionally on different cons paper stock, the manual feed lets Duplex scanning you print without having to swap works with up to out the paper in either tray. It also legal-size paper only. lets you print on thicker paper sizes. In addition to the way above verdict average paper handling, the MFCThe MFC-J6910DW J6910DW offers all the basic features is a great printer any office needs, and more. For a that delivers start, it can print, scan, and fax over everything you a network and work as a standalone would need from copier, fax machine, and email an MFC. sender. It can also scan at up to Pros Prints and scans at up to tabloid size (11 by 17 inches). Duplex (two two-sided) printing. Duplexing scanning. Automatic document feeder.

tabloid size, using either the 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF) or the flatbed. Duplex scanning lets you fax duplex documents easily, while the combination of duplex printing and duplex scanning also lets you copy both simplex (one-sided) and duplex documents to your choice of either simplex or duplex copies. Note, however, that duplexing for scanning is limited to a maximum of legal-size pages, even though the ADF can handle tabloid size pages for simplex scans. Setup is standard. The printer offers both Ethernet and Wi-Fi support. For my tests I connected it to a wired network and installed it on a Windows 7 system. I clocked all three printers on our business applications suite (using QualityLogic’s hardware and software for timing) at 4.1

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effective pages per minute (ppm). Overall, the MFC-J6910DW’s output quality is equal to or better than most inkjets across the board. Text is suitable for most business applications, as long as you don’t have an unusual need for small fonts, and photo output on photo paper is roughly a match for drugstore prints, making it more than good enough for most business needs. Given that the MFC-J6910DW offers the ability to copy, fax, print and scan at up to tabloid size, and print in duplex, and it’s easy to recommend. Granted, if you never need to scan two-sided documents, you’re better off saving a few dollars and buying the older MFC-J6710DW instead. But if duplex scanning is something you need or think you might need, the MFC-J6910DW is the obvious choice, and is still a bargain.


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Ads (Aug 12).indd 6

7/11/2012 12:19:53 PM


Chrome (for Android) Simplify Mobile Browsing. Specifications: Dimensions: 12.19 x 14.48 x 8.13 cm Weight: 0.86 kilograms Type: D-SLR Megapixels: 36 Megapixels Sensor Type: CMOS Sensor Size: 24 x 36 (35mm Full Frame) mm Lens Mount: Nikon F Media Format: CompactFlash, Secure

“A lot of browsers do the tab thing, but Chrome does it best.”

Pros Fast. Streamlined interface. Easy navigation. Voice search. Excellent tab implementation. Quickly syncs between all platforms and devices. cons Requires Android 4.0 and higher. No Flash. No plug-ins. No support yet for Safe Browsing or sandboxed applications. verdict Chrome first full release on Android is a speed demon of a browser, combining a minimalist interface with advanced HTML 5 support.

Free from the Google Play Store | http://play.google.com | Final Rating:

I

f speed is your holy grail, Chrome is your mobile browser. With Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google finally replaced the stock Android browser with its very own Chrome for Android. Chrome first hit Google Play as a beta app, but now the full release brings an even slicker user interface, faster performance both in real life and in benchmarks, and mobile-only features like voice search and scrolling navigation. If you’re a desktop Chrome user, you’re probably already familiar with Chrome’s other flagship features, such as Incognito browsing, auto filling, and the unified search/address bar (called omnibox). That’s all in mobile Chrome too. What Chrome lacks is video-loving Flash. The stock Android browser supported the plug-in, but I guess Google is putting the final nail in Flash’s coffin—unsurprising, given Adobe’s abandonment of Android support last December. To make the most of Chrome’s

intelligent, fast searching, sign into your Google account when you browse. Chrome syncs pretty much every keystroke you enter into Chrome on a desktop or another mobile device, as long as you’ve signed into your Chrome account. A lot of browsers do the tab thing, but Chrome does it best. A single tap on the tab icon next to your omnibox opens up a new tab—in Chrome beta, it took two taps. You can open a seemingly infinite number of tabs and swipe the left or right edges to move from one to the next, though I found this gesture inconsistent. A more effective way is to simply scroll through the tab names themselves, which beats navigating on a desktop. If you’ve lost track of what tabs you’ve opened, simply open a new one to display a thumbnail view of opened tabs. We put all mobile browsers through two Javascript rendering tests, Sunspider version 0.9.1 and

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V8. I ran each test three times and averaged the results. Chrome came out on top for both, in a pool that includes the stock Android browser, Dolphin Browser Mini 7, Firefox 10, Dolphin Browser HD 7, Opera Mobile 11, and UC Browser. In Sunspider, where a lower score is better, Chrome scored 1,765ms. Next was Firefox (2,865 ms), Opera (3,251), and the previous stock browser a distant (4,172). In Google’s V8 Benchmark Suite test (where higher is better), version 6, Chrome trounced the competition. It scored 1575, more than twice as fast as the next fastest, the stock browser (627). Sadly Chrome is only available to devices with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and I am reluctant to give top marks to an app that so few of you can use. Still, there’s no denying that, if you are running Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome is the Editors’ Choice browser.


Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) A Yummier Android Flavour.

“While three major smartphone players remain on the scene, Jelly Bean cements Android’s status as a star platform.” Google | www.android.com | Final Rating: Pros Smooth, fast UI response. Excellent overall performance. Search and Notification updates are huge improvements. cons Upgrade schedule for new and existing devices is a huge question mark. verdict Android continues to mature with Jelly Bean, a smooth, surprisingly comprehensive upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich.

A

ndroid 4.1 “Jelly Bean” is a solid refinement of what is now the world’s most popular OS on new smartphones. While calling it 5.0 would have been a stretch, it’s more significant than you’d expect for a point upgrade. For now, you can only get Android 4.1 on a few devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Nexus S phones, and the Google Nexus 7 and Motorola Xoom tablets. There’s nothing revolutionary about Android 4.1. Still, there are so many minor updates and overall performance improvements that Jelly Bean adds up to our new Editors’ Choice for mobile smartphone OSes. For this review, I tested Android 4.1 on an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Most of the default options were already checked, for example, and I had no problem adding my existing Google account. Once you’re in, the OS walks you along with a series of translucent tip screens that

appear over the home screen and main menu. This hand-holding is definitely helpful if you’re new to the OS, though experienced users will already know many of the tips. There’s more going on here than just minor UI refinements, though. On the Galaxy Nexus, there’s definitely a noticeable improvement. You can now easily resize and move around icons and widgets on each home screen panel or delete apps by swiping the icon up, which cause it to disappear. But menu animations, finger swipes, and scrolling now feel at least as solid as they do on iOS, and possibly even a bit better in spots. The Galaxy Nexus is no longer one of the fastest Android phones on the market, but you wouldn’t know that from how nicely the unit responds with Jelly Bean loaded. The new predictive keyboard is another solid upgrade. One of the more significant upgrades is Google Now, which you can access via the search

bar or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Google Now uses your location history, email history, search history, and calendar to figure out exactly what you may be looking for and when you’ll need it. Notifications, which were already superior to what iOS offers, now include more information, and let you do more things. Starting with Jelly Bean, you can almost navigate the handset using just the notification tray. While three major smartphone players remain on the scene, Jelly Bean cements Android’s status as a star platform. It’s already the larger of the top two smartphone OSes available today (beating out Apple’s iOS), and still offers the most flexibility for the most people, as we’ll soon see it on every carrier in a wide variety of hardware configurations. But that’s not the main story here. Android 4.1 is refined, powerful, smooth, and attractive. Just focus on the software and Jelly Bean still shines.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 33


Capture The

Moment Deciding to buy a digital camera is the simple part, but with hundreds of models to choose from, selecting the best one for your needs and budget is no easy feat. Rule #1: Do your research. Read lots of reviews, and don't buy based on name brand alone. Big-name manufacturers have all produced top-notch compact cameras, but that doesn't mean they don't slip a lemon or two into their lineups every now and then. Even when a major manufacturer partners with another key industry player, you can't be assured that you'll always get a topnotch camera. So read the reviews before settling on a particular modelâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the brand of camera you end up choosing might surprise you. Rule #2: Megapixels mean less than sensor size. Higher megapixel count doesn't necessarily mean better pictures, it just means larger images. You'd be hard-pressed to find a recent-model camera for sale today with a resolution of less than 8 megapixels, and that's enough to print up to 11-by-17-inch images. If you're just making 4-by-6-inch prints or viewing your pictures online, megapixel count means even less.

Rule #3: Pay attention to must-have features. Image stabilization, which helps reduce the blur that can come from shaky hands, is an important feature to have. Virtually all modern cameras include face-detection technology, which finds and focuses on faces in the frame and improves the image's overall composition and quality. Optical zoom specs are also important, and the benefits of optical zoom are obvious. Rule #4: Size matters, but not for everyone. One of the major benefits of a point-andshoot camera is its small size, but thinner cameras are typically more expensive and sometimes sacrifice features. Unless you plan to keep your camera in a jeans pocket, there's no need to spend a premium on a super-slim camera. Rule #5: Don't overlook the display. Pretty much all pocket cameras have abandoned traditional viewfinders in favor of LCDs for framing your shots. So it's

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important to focus on getting the best LCD you can find. Currently, the sweet spot for screen size is 2.7 or 3 inches. Resolution on the LCD is measured in dotsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the higher the number of dots, the more detail you'll see, and the resolution is independent of the display's physical size. And beware: Touch-screen cameras are notorious power hogs. If long battery life is important to you, skip the touch screen. Rule #6: Go for HD Video. In addition to still images, almost all of today's point-and-shoot cameras can capture standard-definition video. Models that shoot high-definition video are starting to become commonplace and affordable. The resolution and frame rate of the HD video recorded by low-end or midrange cameras is typically 1280 by 720 pixels at 30 progressive frames per second (720p30). Also, if you want to watch your captured videos (or even view a still-image slideshow) on your HDTV, consider a camera with an integrated HDMI connector.


Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR LOVE IT:

Nice design. Decent built. HATE IT:

Boring camera interface. Similar-priced cameras have more features. PC MAG SAYS:

The Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR is a solid Superzooms camera, offering terrific shots at good close-ups. Final Rating:

Specifications:

$435 | Grand Stores | +971 4 2170700 | www.grandstores.com

Image sensor: 1/ 2-inch EXR CMOS with primary colour filter

T

Storage media: Internal memory (approx.30 MB); SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card*2 Lens name: Fujinon 20x optical zoom lens Wide: Approx. 45 cm / 1.4 ft. to infinity Telephoto: Approx. 2.5 m / 8.2 ft. to infinity Mode Dial: EXR, P, S, A, M, SP, Adv, AUTO Image stabilizer: CMOS shift type

Digital Camera group test

Face detection: Yes LCD monitor: 3.0-inch, approx. 460,000 dots, TFT colour LCD monitor USB 2.0 High-Speed HDMI output HDMI Mini connector Dimensions (WHD): 105.1 x 63.3 x 36.0 mm Weight: Approx. 234 grams

he Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR is of the few Superzooms to enter our Group Test. Part of the Finepix F series the F770EXR comes with a 16-megapixel half-inch EXRCMOS sensor, which is slightly larger than the 1/2.3-inch sensors that are generally found in Superzooms. The F770EXR has a 20x (25-500mm) Fujinon zoom lens. Fujifilm's proprietary super resolution technology offers an overwhelming 40x Intelligent Digital Zoom in a compact body. With more clearly defined outlines and reduced noise, you can take pictures of high quality. As the zoom can be used in the EXR AUTO mode, you can just leave optimal settings up to the camera, resulting in any photo you like. Long telephoto shots usually suffer from camera shake and subject movement which can ruin photos by producing blurred results. The FinePix F770EXR's highly effective CMOS-shift and high ISO image stabilization ensures that your shots stay extra-crisp and clear, even at the full 20x

zoom. This camera features Anti Blur that works when shooting dark scenes. This function adds the power of EXR CMOS and Multi Frame technology to combine 4 frames into a single, sharp blur-free image with remarkably low noise. The camera is equipped with a 460k-dot 3-inch LCD and support EXR Auto mode. This shooting mode, exclusive to cameras with the EXR-CMOS sensor, helps to improve image quality when shooting in low light by keeping the ISO as low as possible and using image stabilization to keep photos sharp. Video is 1080p30, complete with stereo audio, and the cameras can rattle off stills at up to 8 frames per second at maximum resolution, or 11 frames per second at medium resolution. The FinePix F770EXR also delivers a powerful array of functions and features in a slim dynamic design. The sleek form molds to your hand with all buttons and controls just where your fingers expect them to be. The camera supports RAW image capture and geotagging

via its built-in GPS. Other features include Face Detection with tracking auto focus. This feature uses the accelerated auto focus of FinePix F770EXR to find and lock onto the face of your subject without any manual setting. All you have to do is keep the subject in frame and later amaze friends and family with the crisply focused results. By enabling “Face Detection” Mode, the F770EXR will automatically detect and tracks the human face continuously. For an everyday camera, the Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR performed nicely. Open up the camera and its ready to shoot. Daylight scenes looks bright and brilliant, and images looked detailed when viewed on a screen. The camera interface though can be quite boring, while it tries to be user friendly, my iPhone or Android device has a better user interface. Overall, the Fujifilm Finepix F770EXR is a solid Superzooms camera, offering terrific shots at good close-ups. – With inputs from PCMag.com

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 35


Canon Ixus 125 HS LOVE IT:

Brilliant and sharp images. Compact. Wide-angle lens. HATE IT:

Average performance on low light conditions. PC MAG SAYS:

For a simple compact camera, the Canon Ixus 125 HS surely delivered the goods. Final Rating:

$271 | National Stores | +971 4 3399171 | www.canon-me.com

A

Features:

Digital Camera group test

Beautiful slim metal body with 24mm, 5x zoom HS System: 16.1 MP CMOS and DIGIC 5 Intelligent IS 7.5 cm (3.0") PureColor II G LCD Full HD movies Smart Auto (58 scenes) Face ID High-speed shooting Movie Digest (720p) Optional waterproof case

nother one of Canon’s new Ixus cameras makes its way to our Labs. The Canon Ixus 125 HS is an Ixus model that allow users to capture every moment with ease and in style. Combining advanced features with stand-out, compact design and Canon’s leading lens technology, this camera make it easy to capture high-quality still images and Full HD movies on nights out or holidays. The Ixus 125 HS is offered in various colours of pink, red, silver, green and blue, that allow users to express their individuality and stand out from the crowd. The new IXUS models offer a host of Canon’s advanced imaging technologies to help achieve the best shot in all conditions. This camera feature Canon’s HS System, combining the 16.1MP sensor with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, capturing detailed, flattering shots without needing to use the flash, even in low light. Additionally, the ultrawide-angle, 24mm 5x optical

zoom of the IXUS 125 HS allows users to capture more of the scene in front of them and feature a 3.5-stop optical Image Stabilizer for crisp, clear shots and smooth Full HD video footage. This camera also includes the new Intelligent IS technology that gives steady and clear results both in photos and movies by analysing the subject and automatically applying the most appropriate Image Stabilizer settings from seven different modes. It’s now easier than ever to capture great images thanks to Canon’s enhanced Smart Auto which detects 58 different scenes, applying the combination of camera settings to take the best possible picture automatically. New Face ID (Face Identification) works with Smart Auto to ensure that those who matter most to you always look their best in photos. By registering a person along with their age in the camera’s memory, the face will then be recognised and Smart Auto will automatically apply the most appropriate settings to capture

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a great shot, based on their age and activity, as well as the ambient scene. Another feature is a multiarea White Balance that ensures that images captured with many different light sources in the same scene – for example, portraits lit by flash with tungsten lights illuminating the background– look natural and any unsightly colour casts are eliminated. One thing we liked about the Ixus 125 is the ability to capture Full HD (1080p) video using the optical zoom, and movies can also enjoyed on a larger screen thanks to the integrated HDMI-CEC port. We took out the Canon Ixus 125 HS for a spin during a weekend at the beach. Shots were mostly excellent –and the wide-angle lens definitely made our shots even better. Colour was good, and showed clear details on the subject we were shooting. It performed average on night shots – as most of them appeared too soft. For a simple compact camera, the Canon Ixus 125 HS surely delivered the goods.


Ads (Sept 12).indd 5

8/7/2012 6:16:39 PM


Canon PowerShot SX240 HS LOVE IT:

Good performance in low light conditions. HATE IT:

None to mention. PC MAG SAYS:

The Canon SX240 HS is one decent camera that should be worth every buck. Final Rating:

$353 | National Stores | +971 4 3399171 | www.canon-me.com

Features: 25 mm wide-angle lens with 20x optical zoom, extending to 39x Optical Image Stabilizer with Intelligent IS 12.1 megapixel highsensitivity CMOS sensor Canon’s HS System, featuring a DIGIC 5 processor for excellent low-light performance Advanced full HD movies (1080p) and HDMI-CEC

Digital Camera group test

Large 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G LCD screen (460k dots) Smart Auto with Advanced Scene Detection for great results in 58 different situations Face ID can recognise and prioritise your family and friends Manual, Av and Tv modes for full creative control High-speed shooting functions

T

he Canon PowerShot SX240 HS basically is the same camera as the PowerShot SX260 HS. It is also a slim and compact camera yet it boasts an impressive 20x optical zoom. It is packed with features to help you capture great shots. It features Canon’s HS System and Intelligent IS to help ensure your images are sharp, clear and vibrant whatever the light conditions. The PowerShot SX240’s body boasts a 25 mm wideangle lens. At 25 mm, the lens allows you to fit more in the frame, which is perfect for group shots. However, when extended to its maximum range, the 20x optical zoom ensures you capture all the detail, even when photographing distant subjects. In addition to the optical zoom, this camera also has Canon’s advanced digital zoom technology, ZoomPlus. This extends the camera’s overall zoom range to 39x, without losing sharpness and detail in the image as a conventional digital zoom would. Whether you’re shooting stills or movies, the Intelligent IS feature automatically

identifies the shooting situation and then selects the most appropriate type of optical image stabilization from 7 modes. Canon said that the power of its HS System comes from the combination of the 12.1 megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and advanced DIGIC 5 processor. The PowerShot SX240 HS features a large 3-inch PureColor II G LCD. This high quality 460k dot screen makes framing and reviewing images easy, even from difficult angles or in bright light. Meanwhile, the outer layer of toughened scratch resistant glass ensures that the display has extra durability. Canon’s Smart Auto mode removes the worry of deciding which settings to select. It enables the camera to intelligently select the appropriate settings so you can concentrate on your subject. In Smart Auto mode, Canon’s Advanced Scene Detection Technology automatically analyses shooting conditions – detecting people, distance, brightness, colour and movement information – then

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selects the perfect setting from 58 specially defined scenes. Another feature introduced in the SX240 HS is Face ID that allows you to register up to 12 faces with names and birthdays so that the camera can automatically prioritise these individuals in every shot. Once the faces have been registered, Smart Auto uses the information to prioritise focus on these faces, regardless of how many other subjects are in the frame. This ensures that the camera always captures the best possible images of the people who are most important to you. It also makes it easy to search for photographs of specific friends or family members when you play back your images. Performance was good, especially in low light conditions. The zoom feature also makes it ideal for shooting while on a trip, making it easy to focus on your subjects. Overall, the Canon SX240 HS is a decent camera that should be worth every buck.


Fujifilm Finepix S2980 LOVE IT:

Good images. Panoramic mode. HATE IT:

Performs average on low-light conditions. PC MAG SAYS:

For its price, the Fujifilm Finepix is a decent Superzoom that should fare well with any causal user. Final Rating:

$244 | Grand Stores | +971 4 2170700 | www.grandstores.com

A

Digital Camera group test

Features: 14 Mega Pixels 18x Optical Zoom HD Movie Mode 3-inch LCD Screen 18x Fujinon Optical Zoom High Resolution Electronic View Finder Quick Response Auto Focus Image Stabiliser: CCD Shift type

nother Superzoom makes it way to our Group Test via the Fujifilm Finepix S2980. This camera features an 18x Fujinon optical zoom lens and a large 3.0-inch LCD screen along with a 720p HD (30fps) movie capture. The S2980 sports an impressive 28mm â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 504 mm high precision Fujinon optical zoom lens. The huge zoom range means that you can capture all the detail, even when you're at a considerable distance away. You can even operate the zoom during video shooting. Unlike a bulky D-SLR, bridge cameras allow you great versatility of zoom, without the hassle of carrying a bag of lenses. The Fujifilm Finepix S2980 supports an easy to use Panoramic shooting mode. With this feature, camera enables you to take three successive shots with a helpful tool which automatically releases the shutter once the images are fully aligned to seamlessly stitch the shots together in-camera.

It's so easy and the results are impressive. The FinePix S2980's highly effective CMOS-shift and high ISO image stabilisation ensures that your shots stay extra-crisp and clear, even at the full 18x zoom. Fujifilm mentioned that even at the longest zoom settings or in the most challenging of lighting conditions, the S2980 is able to produce crisp, clean results. With its mechanically stabilised 1/2.3-inch, 14 megapixel CCD sensor, and high ISO sensitivity settings, Fujifilm's Dual Image Stabilisation technology combines to reduce the blurring effects of both hand-shake and subject movement to provide superb pictures. The Fujifilm FinePix S2980 is also HD enabled and can therefore play-back both HD stills (Full HD) and movies (720p) in superb quality on any HD ready TV. And given that this camera has a mini HDMI port it's very quick and easy to connect it up to a HD ready TV

and play back your photos on the big screen. Another feature is Fujifilm's Smile and Shoot mode the camera can recognise the exact moment your subject smiles and releases the shutter only when this happens. A feature present on most Fujifilm cameras which is also supported here in the S2980, is the Easy Web Upload function that allows you, in-camera, to tag pictures for speedy upload to Facebook and YouTube once you connect to a PC and launch MyFinePix Studio. This software also allows you to organise your photos when you're on the move. During testing, the Fujifilm Finepix S2980 delivered good shots, even when the subject is zoomed in. The picture quality was good, and colours stand out. It didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite perform as expecting on low-light conditions, but generally the overall performance is good. For its price, the Fujifilm Finepix is a decent Superzoom that should fare well with any causal user.

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Samsung WB150F LOVE IT:

Built-in Wi-Fi. Sharp lens. 18x zoom. Compact design. Inexpensive. HATE IT:

Slow performance. Noisy images at higher ISOs. Video capture is limited to 720p. PC MAG SAYS:

It's not perfect, but the nicely priced compact Samsung WB150F camera packs a sharp 18x zoom lens and integrated Wi-Fi so you can email or upload your pictures to Facebook easily. Final Rating:

Specifications: Type: Superzoom

Approx. $229.99 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae

Megapixels: 14 MP

T

Sensor Type: CMOS Sensor Size: 6.2 by 4.6 (1/2.3") mm Media Format: Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity Battery Type: Supported Lithium Ion Maximum ISO: 3200 35-mm Equivalent (Wide): 24 mm 35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto): 432 mm

Digital Camera group test

Optical Zoom: 18x Image Stabilization: Optical Touch Screen: No LCD size: 3 inches LCD dots: 460000 LCD Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Video Resolution: 720p Interface Ports: micro USB GPS: No Waterproof Depth (Mfr. Rated): 0 feet

he Samsung WB150F packs a long 18x zoom lens into a compact body, but its sexiest feature is built-in support for Wi-Fi. Connect to a hotspot and you'll be able to upload photos directly to your Facebook account, email them to a friend, or view them on your TV. You can also download photos to your Android phone or iPhone, and even use the phone as a wireless viewfinder. The 14 megapixel camera suffers a bit from noise at higher ISO settings, and it isn't the fastest camera on the block in terms of start up speed. When you consider its 18x (24-432mm) zoom lens, it's amazing just how small the WB150F is. You can shoot in Auto, but there are enough physical controls to keep you happy if you'd like more control over the camera. These include buttons for the Self Timer, Macro mode, and Flash control. Pressing the Menu button brings up an overlay display from which you can adjust Exposure Compensation, White Balance, ISO, and other frequently

changed camera settings. To control more esoteric camera settings, turn the top Mode dial to the Gear icon, which brings up the camera's full Menu. The Wi-Fi menu is also accessed via the Mode dial. The camera can connect to any network—if you have a security key set you'll have to enter it, but the camera remembers the password. The WB150F gives you an experience similar to a smartphone, albeit sans touch screen, as each option is represented by a colourful icon. The final two Wi-Fi functions require an iPhone or Android phone to use. MobileLink works with a free app to wirelessly transmit your photos from the camera to your phone. The Remote Viewfinder app, also free for iOS and Android, lets you use your phone to control the camera. You can zoom the lens in and out, turn the flash on or off, and trip the shutter, but more advanced functions aren't supported. The camera's rear LCD is 3 inches in size and is packed

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with 460k dots, a bright and sharp combination. One area in which the WB150F lags a bit behind the competition is speed. The camera requires 3.8 seconds to start and take a shot, makes you wait 1.5 seconds between photos, and manages a 0.4 second shutter lag. The camera does much better in terms of sharpness. Where the camera does lag behind the curve is in terms of image noise. At ISO 400 the camera produces photos with 1.9 percent noise, but without too much loss of detail. Images are a little cleaner at ISO 800, but at that point detail is sapped by over-aggressive noise reduction, which gives photos an unnaturally shiny, waxy feel. The 720p30 video captured by the camera looks pretty good, although it isn't full 1080p quality. If you're interested in instantly sharing your photos online—but are unhappy with the capabilities of your cell phone's camera—the WB150F is worth serious consideration, especially given its price point.


Nikon Coolpix P310 LOVE IT:

Excellent images. Lightweight. HATE IT:

Cannot save in RAW format. PC MAG SAYS:

The Nikon Coolpix P310 is a slight upgrade to the P300, but it’s a decent point and shoot that is aimed more on advanced users. Final Rating:

Specifications: Effective pixels: 16.1 million Image sensor: 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; total pixels: approx. 16.79 million Lens: 4.2x zoom NIKKOR; 4.3-17.9 mm (35mm [135] format angle of view: 24100 mm); f/1.8-4.9 Digital zoom: up to 2x (35mm [135] format angle of view: Approx. 200 mm) Monitor: 7.5 cm (3 inches)

Digital Camera group test

Storage media: Internal memory (approx. 90 MB), SD/SDHC/ SDXC memory cards Interface: Hi-Speed USB Power sources: Rechargeable Liion Battery EN-EL12 (supplied), Charging AC Adapter EH69P (supplied) Dimensions (W x H x D): Approx. 103.0 x 58.3 x 32.0 mm Weight: Approx. 194 grams

$380 | Grand Stores, LLC | +971 4 2823700 | www.grandstores.com

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ositioned as a point and shoot camera, the P310 is the successor to the Coolpix P300. It is equipped with a lens offering the same fast maximum aperture of f/1.8 and exhibits a number of advances, including better image quality from its 16.1million pixel image sensor and a lens-shift vibration reduction (VR) function for camera shake compensation equivalent to a four-step increase in shutter speed. The P310 is equipped with a backside illumination CMOS sensor with an effective pixel count of 16.1-million pixels for significantly less noise with shooting at high sensitivities. This results in the beautiful images with little noise that users expect, even with shooting in dimly lit surroundings. It also offers a noise reduction burst feature that utilizes automatic image overlay technology, which is applied with shooting in Night Portrait, Backlighting, and Night Landscape scene

modes, to produce images with minimal noise. The P310 is equipped with a number of other shooting and editing functions, including Picture Control, which can be used to adjust the vividness of colours or degree of sharpening applied to images prior to shooting according to the type of subject or scene, shooting conditions, or intent. What's more, frequently used shooting menu items can easily be assigned to the new customizable function button, making the full-scale photographic capabilities demanded by users even more simple. In addition to photos, the cameras are equipped with functions for recording full-HD movies (1920 x 1080 pixels) with stereo sound. Lensshift vibration reduction (VR) function and optical zoom can be applied during movie recording, and Special Effects can be applied to movies. Movies recorded using the HS

Movie function play back in slow motion at 1/2 or 1/4 the normal playback speed for a dramatic effect, or in fast motion at twice the normal playback speed. Full-HD movies recorded with the cameras can be played back on a TV with an HDMI connector, and the cameras' support for the CEC feature for HDMI enables playback control using the TV's remote control. Images taken were of excellent quality and the colours truly stand out. Images taken at night were of good quality as well – though noise can get worse at ISO 400. It saves images in JPEG, though it would have been of it let you save Otherwise, all the pictures were of decent quality. HD movies were also good – and quality was clear and crisp especially since videos are shot in Full HD. Overall, the Nikon Coolpix P310 is a slight upgrade to the P300, but it’s a decent point and shoot that is aimed more on advanced users.

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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS LOVE IT:

Compact. Sharp, long zoom lens. Integrated GPS. HATE IT:

1080p video captured limited to 24fps. Loss of detail at high ISOs. Priced on the high side. PC MAG SAYS:

The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS delivers an impressive 20x zoom ratio and very good image quality in a compact package. Final Rating:

Specifications: Type: Superzoom Megapixels: 12 MP Sensor Type: CMOS Sensor Size: 6.2 x 4.6 (1/2.3") mm Media Format: Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity Battery Type: Supported Lithium Ion Maximum ISO: 3200 35-mm Equivalent (Wide): 25 mm 35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto): 500 mm Optical Zoom: 20x Image Stabilization: Optical Touch Screen: No

Digital Camera group test

LCD size: 3 inches LCD dots: 460000 LCD Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Viewfinder Type: None Video Resolution: 720p, 1080p Interface Ports: mini USB, mini HDMI GPS: Yes Waterproof Depth (Mfr. Rated): 0 feet

$380 | National Stores | +971 4 3399171 | www.canon-me.com

T

he Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is the successor to the very solid SX230 HS. Like its predecessor, it features a 12-megapixel image sensor and a built-in GPS, but adds a longer 20x zoom lens (up from 14x), without increasing the size of the camera. The SX260 HS can slide into a pants pocket with ease. It's comparable in size to other compact superzooms that we've tested. The SX260's 20x lens covers an impressive 25500mm (35mm equivalent) focal length range. The SX260 offers a sturdy-feeling metal exterior and is available in black, green, or red—although the red version looks pinkish to my eye. Controls are well thought out. The Mode dial is located on the rear of the camera, so you can adjust it while framing photos. The 4-way jog wheel makes it easy to navigate through menus and to adjust the Exposure Compensation, Flash mode, Self Timer, and to engage Macro shooting mode. There's also a dedicated Movie button, allowing you to

start recording a clip without having to change the camera's shooting mode. The pop-up flash is motorized, only opening when the camera settings call for it. There is a discrete mode available which disables the flash and all sounds. An overlay menu system, accessed by hitting the Function button, allows you to modify common shooting settings. From here you'll be able to adjust the GPS settings, change the Metering mode, control White Balance, set the ISO, and control the power output of the flash. The camera's rear LCD is 3 inches in size and packs a 460k-dot resolution. The SX260 did quite well in speed tests. The SX260 HS starts up and shoots in 1.8 seconds, records a very short 0.2 second shutter lag, and can grab a photo ever 0.5 second in continuous drive mode. High ISO shooting is where the SX260 falters. It only manages to keep noise below 1.5 percent through ISO 800, and even at that setting, images start to lose detail as a result of in-

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camera noise reduction. The built-in GPS works quite well. It was able to lock onto a signal in Manhattan after a few minutes, which can be a challenge for any camera. The camera's video capture isn't as robust as some others—it can record QuickTime video at 1080p24 and 720p30 resolution and it can zoom and refocus while recording. The video shot at 24 frames per second isn't as smooth as the 720p30 footage—1080p footage at a higher frame rate would have been nice. The camera supports standard SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, and includes mini HDMI and mini USB ports to connect to HDTVs for playback and PCs for image offload. The Canon SX260 HS isn't the least expensive compact superzoom on the market, but it is capable of capturing some very nice images—especially at lower ISO settings. Its GPS works quite well, and the camera is compact but offers enough physical controls to make shooting a pleasure.


Nikon Coolpix P510 LOVE IT:

Long 42x zoom lens. Sharp images. Snappy performance. 1080p video capture. Integrated GPS. HATE IT:

High-speed burst limited to 5 shots. No hot shoe or mic input. PC MAG SAYS:

Bigger than a compact, but smaller than a D-SLR, the 42x Nikon Coolpix P510 packs a high-quality lens that delivers sharp images. Final Rating:

Specifications: Type: Superzoom Megapixels 16 MP Sensor Type: CMOS Sensor Size: 6.2 x 4.6 (1/2.3") mm Media Format: Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity Battery Type: Supported Lithium Ion Maximum ISO: 3200 35-mm Equivalent (Wide): 24 mm 35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto): 1000 mm Optical Zoom: 42x Image Stabilization: Optical Touch Screen: No

Digital Camera group test

LCD size: 3 inches LCD dots: 921000 LCD Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Viewfinder Type: EVF Video Resolution: 720p, 1080p Interface Ports: Proprietary, mini HDMI GPS: Yes Waterproof Depth (Mfr. Rated): 0 feet

$543 | Grand Stores, L.L.C. | +971 4 2823700 | www.grandstores.com

T

he Nikon Coolpix P510 is the successor to the company's popular 36x P500. The P510 ups the zoom factor to 42x, although it does so by sacrificing some coverage on the wide-angle side of things. The camera adds a builtin GPS and ups the resolution to 16 megapixels. Looking a bit like a miniature SLR, the P510 comes complete with a handgrip and an eye-level viewfinder. Of course, you won't be able to remove its lens—but the integrated design is one of the factors that make such a long zoom factor possible. A number like 42x is quite impressive on its own when talking about zoom, and even more so when you realize that it starts out at a relatively wide-angle 24mm (35mm equivalent) focal length. It goes all the way up to 1000mm, which is the longest telephoto reach in its class. There are enough physical controls on the P510's body to satisfy demanding shooters,

and fully automatic operation is also possible for the set it and forget it crowd. The top of the camera houses the mode dial, Function button, zoom rocker, and shutter release—there's also a second zoom rocker located on the lens itself. The bulk of the control buttons are on the rear of the camera—these include Exposure Compensation, Flash Control, Macro Mode, the Self Timer, and a Record button for video. You can frame images via the camera's rear 3-inch LCD, which is quite sharp at 921k dots, or the eye-level electronic viewfinder. The LCD is hinged so it can be viewed from above or below, but it doesn't swivel out from the camera. Considering the size of its lens, the P510 is quick to start up and shoot. It manages to do that in 1.6 seconds, can rattle off a burst of five shots in a second, and records a relatively short 0.4-second shutter lag. If you want to shoot images continuously at a slower pace,

the camera can fire a shot each second for as long as you care to hold the shutter button down. The P510 is able to keep noise under this threshold through ISO 1600, although there is a loss of some image detail at this setting. At ISO 800, noise is very well controlled and image detail is very good. The P510 records 1080p30 and 720p60 video in QuickTime format. Footage is colourful and sharp, and the camera is able to zoom and focus while recording. The P510 records files to SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. The Nikon CoolPix P510 is a very versatile camera. Its 24-1000mm lens makes it possible to capture wideangle landscapes and to fill the frame with distant objects. Images from the camera are very sharp, and it does a nice job in low light. Add in a GPS, an electronic viewfinder, and a tilting rear LCD, and you have a camera that earns our Editors' Choice.

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Fujifilm Finepix XP150 LOVE IT:

Great built quality. Shockproof, dustproof, waterproof and freezeproof. HATE IT:

Low-resolution LCD. Average picture quality. PC MAG SAYS:

The toughness and the built of the Fujifilm Finepix XP150 still make it an ideal outside camera for people who live life on the extreme. Final Rating:

$353 | Grand Stores | +971 4 2170700 | www.grandstores.com

Specifications: Number of effective pixels: 14.4 million pixels Image sensor: 1/2.30 inch CMOS with primary colour filter Storage: Internal memory (47 MB); supports SD/ SDHC/SDXC cards Lens: Fujinon 5x optical lens

Digital Camera group test

Digital zoom: Approx. 6.8x (up to 34x, with 5x optical zoom) Sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 (Standard Output Sensitivity) Image stabilizer: CMOS shift type Face detection: Yes LCD monitor: 2.7-inch, approx. 230,000 dots, TFT colour LCD monitor Dimensions (WHD): 102.7 x 71.3 x 27.4 mm Weight: Approx. 205 grams

B

uilt to withstand any force you throw at it, the Fujifilm Finepix XP150 is the type of camera you need when you go outside for extreme sports, or even at the beach – since this camera is waterproof, dustproof, freezeproof and shockproof. The XP150 is waterproof to 10 metres, shock proof to 2 metres, sealed against dust and sand, and even works in temperatures down to -10 Celsius. The Fujifilm XP150 also has a bright 2.7-inch LCD that feature an anti-reflective coating for excellent visibility, even in full sunlight. Additionally, the LCD works well even when submerged – though the low resolution of the screen would make it hard to see shots. The design of the XP150 was made in a way that it could withstand extreme forces. The battery compartment is sealed with a double lock as an extra waterproofing safeguard using the camera underwater or in the field. Also, the reinforced lens cover is treated with a water-repellent coating. When

it gets wet, just shake the water off the lens and go right on shooting. A shockproof bumper protects the LCD in the midst of the action. With 14 megapixels, the XP150 incorporates the awardwinning Fujinon Lens of 5x zoom and image stability. You can also capture videos on the camera, and a one touch recording button enables you to start recording videos in the fly. Videos are saved in H.264 format, enabling you to have high quality videos at a smaller file size. Another cool thing about the FX150 is its built-in GPS. GPS embeds geo tags displaying latitude and longitude or place names for photo and video images, creating an accurate record of where each photo was taken. With the GPS, searching for images, classifying and creating your own Photobook can be done easily. You can even plot your route on the map with MyFinePix Studio – software which is also included with the camera. Additionally, when you take a photo, the

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built-in compass displays the direction the camera is pointing as the picture is taken. In playback mode, the compass indicates the orientation of the camera, helping you pinpoint the exact location where the photo was shot. The Fujifilm Finepix XP150 also includes a plethora of shooting modes. There pre-defined modes that automatically determine your shooting environment so that it can deliver the best image possible. There is also a Pro Low-light Mode that is ideal for shooting non-moving subjects in low light, this mode automatically takes a series of four high-sensitivity & low-noise exposures and then combines them into an image with less noise than the single exposures. Images were generally good – Though these images can start to exhibit high levels of noise around ISOs of 400 and above. Although the toughness and the built of the Fujifilm Finepix XP150 still make it an ideal outside camera for people who live life on the extreme.


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7/11/2012 12:36:05 PM


Canon Ixus 500 HS LOVE IT:

finish and minimalist design. This particular camera feature Canon’s HS System, combining the 10.1MP sensor with the latest DIGIC 5 image processor, capturing detailed, flattering shots without needing to use the flash, even in low light. A wide-angle, 12x optical zoom fully retracts into the glossy, futuristic, metal body.

Additionally, Canon’s ZoomPlus technology lets users zoom in even more. A 3-inch LCD screen is present, and is large enough to showcase details on each photo that was taken. Another feature called Smart Auto detects 58 different scenes, applying the combination of camera settings to take the best possible picture automatically. Taking images with the Canon Ixus 500 HS was fast and easy. Images were sharp, though detail isn’t exactly the best. But the quality is still better compared to other point and shoots. The menu was a little confusing to navigate at first, but offers a decent set of features for a camera this size. The metallic finish even makes it an elegant gadget to have. Overall, the Canon Ixus 500 HS might be on the steep side in terms of price, but it’s a decent performing digital camera.

features a 12.5x optical zoom, which is already good for a compact camera. It also has the O.I.S. anti-shake technology to eliminate blurriness when taking photos in zoom mode. Also, the 24 mm wide lens make it easy for you to capture images in a wide viewing angle – it’s also perfect for taking shots of tall buildings. It takes images in 14 megapixels – which is good

enough for poster size prints. Design-wise, the BenQ isn’t exactly striking in terms of looks. The main controls are located beside the 2.7-inch LCD screen. Controls are pretty basic, but the menu is somewhat frustrating to operate since after you set a function, it goes back to the main screen. If you want to set another function, you would have to go through the menu interface again. Additionally, the GH200 comes with 22 scene modes and adapts flexibly according to the users’ needs for a wide variety of situations. Image quality for the BenQ GH200 was decent even at maximum zoom. Very little noise was present, and the image stabiliser works well. Overall, the BenQ GH200 offers a good picture quality and is clearly aimed at users looking for a good camera on a tight budget.

Decent images. Great design. HATE IT:

Quite pricey for a camera of this type. PC MAG SAYS:

The Canon Ixus 500 HS might be on the steep side in terms of price, but it’s a decent performing digital camera.

Digital Camera group test

Final Rating:

A Approx. $413 National Stores +971 4 3399171 www.canon-me.com

nother one of Canon’s point and shoot cameras makes its way on our Digital Camera Group Test. The Canon Ixus 500 HS packs a 12x optical zoom into a tiny, 19.2 mm body and Canon claims it’s slimmest camera of its type in the world. The camera is available in four colours and comes in a futuristic, metallic

BenQ GH200 LOVE IT:

Affordable. Decent image quality. 12.5x optical zoom. HATE IT:

Boring design. Clunky menu interface. PC MAG SAYS:

The BenQ GH200 offers a good picture quality and is clearly aimed at users looking for a good camera on a tight budget.

Digital Camera group test

Final Rating:

B $143 | BenQ Middle East +971 4 2991000 www.benq.co.ae

enQ makes a comeback with the GH200, one of their digital compact cameras that feature a MagiQ filter. If you are familiar with Instagram – it works like the same as the MagiQ filter. It adds effects to currently shot photos so you can start sharing them the moment you connect them to your computer. The BenQ GH200 also

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Samsung DV300F LOVE IT:

Compact. Good image quality. Front-facing screen. HATE IT:

None to mention. PC MAG SAYS:

The Samsung DV300F is a great point and shoot camera that offers various shooting modes that should appeal to any casual user. Final Rating:

Specifications: Sensor Type: 1/2.3" (Approx. 7.76 mm) CCD Effective Pixel: Approx. 16.1 Mega pixels Total Pixel: Approx. 16.4 Mega pixels Image Stabilization Mode: OIS Display Size: Main LCD: 3" (7.62cm), 460K TFT LCD

Digital Camera group test

Front LCD: 1.5" (3.8cm) 61K TFT LCD ISO Equivalent: Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 Storage Media: Micro SD Card / Micro SDHC Digital Output Connector: USB 2.0 Dimension (W x H x D): 95.2 x 56.5 x 18.3(20.0) mm Weight: 120 grams (without battery and memory card)

Approx. $244 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae

S

amsung's new DV300F camera, the latest addition to the company's DualView series, is a 16-megapixel shooter with a 5x (25-125mm equivalent) lens. The most striking physical feature of the camera is its front LCD, which makes it easy to frame selfportraits. In this regard, the camera is similar in function to the flip-up rear LCD of the recently released Samsung MV800. The sleek, black camera is quite slim. The front 1.5inch LCD is a bit sparse on resolution, consisting of only 61k dots, but the rear 3-inch display packs in 460k dots for sharp display of photos. In part due to its small form factor, the camera supports only microSD memory cards. The camera offers an innovative way to share your photos with friends, social network contacts, and family.

Built-in Wi-Fi makes it possible to email photos and videos or send them to Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and YouTube. If you feel limited by the quality of your phone's built-in camera you will be happy to have an easier way to get high-quality snapshots to Facebook, without having to first download them to your PC. The DV300F also allows you to transfer photos wirelessly to your PC, or to Samsung's AllShare Play and Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud services. The DV300F has a number of special shooting modes, including a Magic Frame feature that allows you to frame your photos with one of 12 backgrounds. A Picturein-Picture function lets you surround one photo with another, and the Split Shot mode lets you merge three different images into one. Funny Face mode has a slew of grins, odd noses, and crazy

eyes that can be added to photos. Artistic Brush converts your photos into colour or black and white art, and the Motion Photo function makes it possible to freeze time around a movie subject for a cinematic effect. The Samsung DV300F takes images very nicely. Most shots taken were of brilliant quality and the colour simply stands out. The front facing camera makes it easier to take selfportraits â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and we know most of you do that. What sets this camera apart from the other ones are the brilliant shooting modes included in the camera. The best feature is Motion Photo that lets you take consecutive photos and decide which part of the photo can be animated. The Samsung DV300F is a great point and shoot camera that offers various shooting modes that should appeal to any casual user.

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With hundreds of handsets to choose from, it can be tough to find the right one. Our ultimate guide gives you all you need to know to dial up the perfect mobile phone.

I

f you thought choosing a smartphone was difficult last year, it's even tougher now. That's a good thing, though, because it means innovation in the wireless industry has skyrocketed. The latest crop of Android smartphones is more diverse and powerful than ever. And Apple's gamechanging iPhone has become one of the best Smartphones to come out in the last years. What should you be looking for when buying a smartphone? Here are key points to consider: Operating System Sometimes, a platform's user interface or app selection just speaks to you, and that's all there is to it. With that in mind, and at the risk of attracting flames, let's break it down as well as we can for those who aren't so fully vested. At the time of this writing, Google's Android and Apple's iOS have the buzz. The iPhone has the best app store, the smoothest user interface (which some people don't like, but many do), and the best media features. Many Android

phones offer rich features like dual and quad-core processors, 4-inch screens, and free GPS navigation, and Android's opensource nature makes it a tweaker's dream. But it also means fragmented third-party app compatibility, occasional bugs, carrierinstalled bloatware you can't remove, and scattered, sporadic OS updates. Form Factor Touch screens allow for slimmer devices, smoother user interfaces, easy Web browsing, and a quality video-playback experience. And thanks to a lack of hardware buttons, third-party app developers can design their dream control schemes without worrying about differences in button layouts. But, for some, typing on a touch screen can be a drag. Hardware QWERTY keyboards are easier to type quickly on, and are still ideal for many messaging fiends. But hardware keyboards either add bulk, in the case of horizontal and vertical sliders, or they reduce screen real estate, in the case of BlackBerry-like slabs.

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Apps For many folks, apps are the primary reason to get a smartphone. If that describes you, go iPhone or go Android. Apple's App Store leads with more than 300,000 apps that are put through a rigorous quality check process. The iPhone also plays the best games. Android Market is catching up quickly, though. Many independent developers like the freedom Android Market offers, as Apple can put the kibosh on whatever app category it feels like (such as vintage game console emulators), but not all apps run on all Android phones; there are so many phone models that maintaining quality control is tough. Other smartphone OSes can run apps, but there are much fewer available, and usually don't match their iPhone or Android counterparts in sheer power. So we currently have 6 of the latest products that will battle it out on our Smartphones Group Test. Read on and find out which one is the best.


HTC Desire C LOVE IT:

Ice Cream Sandwich. Beats Audio. NFC. HATE IT:

Low res screen. No flash. PC MAG SAYS:

For a budget user, the HTC Desire C offers a decent set of features – and it runs on the latest Android version as well. Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100 Dimensions: 107.2 x 60.6 x 12.3 mm Weight: 100 grams Display Type: Capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches Memory: 4 GB builtin; 512 MB RAM WLAN: 802.11 a/b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v4.0 with A2DP NFC: Yes

smartphones group test

USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0 Primary Camera: 5 Megapixels Operating System: Android OS v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 MHz Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity Battery: Li-Po 1230 mAh

$228 | HTC Middle East & Africa +971 4 2991771 | www.htc.com/mea-en

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he HTC One C is what we would say the ‘little brother’ of all the Smartphones in this Group Test. It is more of an entry level smartphone. But don’t let the entry-level label fool you. For a budget Android smartphone, it’s good enough to deliver what you need anytime. The HTC Desire C comes packed with Beats Audio, ensuring the best sound quality from the tunes saved on your PC. The phone is running on a

600 MHz single core processor. It isn’t the best, that’s for sure, but it is good enough to run some of the apps we’ve loaded onto the mobile phone. The good thing about the Desire C is that it is currently running on the latest Android software, Ice Cream Sandwich. Coupled with HTC’s own overlay, HTC Sense, it gives you a much better interface compared to the stock Android interface. Like the Apple iPhone 4S, the HTC Desire C comes with a

3.5-inch touchscreen – but at a much lower resolution. The 320 x 480 pixel resolution is a little washed out when you view it, but it’s decent enough to view text and some images. For its price, it’s already a very good touchscreen. Also, the HTC Desire C's 5-megapixel camera allows for instant sharing, letting you post seconds after pictures have been captured. This mobile phone is also deeply integrated with Dropbox and comes with 25 GB of free online space for 24 months, allowing you to securely back-up, browse and share thousands of photos, videos and documents, whether stored locally or in the cloud. Size-wise, the HTC Desire C is small enough to fit in your hand and easy enough to operate with a single hand. The phone comes in colours of red, black and white. What we liked about the HTC Desire C is how the colours match everything inside the phone. For example, the sample we got comes in red. When you pop open the back panel, you will see a redcoloured battery and interiors as well. Overall, the built-quality and looks of the HTC Desire C is truly top notch. The camera comes in at 5 megapixels – without flash. Photos taken on the HTC Desire C were of good quality – though some softness occurs. But the images are decent enough, especially when taken outside in bright sunlight. One thing we didn’t like is that the camera takes a while before taking another shot – considering the processor speed; we can let this one slide out. The HTC Desire C gave decent call quality – and there were no noticeable noises when talking to the person on the other line. Calls also worked well when connected to a Bluetooth headset. Battery life was acceptable, lasting about two days of normal usage under a single charge.

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Motorola Razr Maxx LOVE IT:

Compact. HATE IT:

1080p video captured limited to 24fps. PC MAG SAYS:

The Canon PowerShot SX260 Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 Dimensions: 130.7 x 68.9 x 9 mm Weight: 145 grams Display Type: Super AMOLED Advanced capacitive touchscreen, 540 x 960 pixels, 4.3 inches Memory: 16 GB builtin; 1 GB RAM WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE, EDR NFC: No

smartphones group test

USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0 Primary Camera: 8 Megapixels with autofocus and LED flash Operating System: Android OS v2.3 (Gingerbread) CPU: Dual-core 1.2 GHz Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass Battery: Li-Po 3300 mAh

$625 | Motorola Mobility, Inc.| www.motorola.com

O

ne of the fastest Android smartphones you can buy today, the Motorola Razr Maxx combines the best materials, a fast processor, and a truly gigantic battery. What you get is a smartphone that's ready to be used to the max. The Razr Maxx is thicker than the original Motorola Razr, but considering how slim the Razr was, that isn't a hardship. Basically, the whole handset is now as thick as the camera "bump" up top, smoothing the body out. This is a BIG phone. There's no getting around that. But it's still by and large operable one-handed: it isn't overly heavy, and it's as handsome as a large phone can be. More importantly, like the

Razr this is an extremely wellbuilt phoneâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;rock solid, with a water-resistant back, a steel core, and a Gorilla Glass display. The back panel has a black and grey pattern and feels slightly grippy; the front resists even greasy fingerprints. A door on the side panel hides the SIM and MicroSD card slots, and the phone comes with a 16 GB card as well as an additional 16 GB of internal storage. And the 3300 mAh battery? It's awe-inspiring. You can get extended batteries for other phones, but they often aren't this capacious, and they tend to make the phones chunky. The Razr Maxx's battery is a great combination of relatively unobtrusive and juicier than a

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cart full of melons. In tests run over the past few days, the Razr Maxx checked in with 16 hours, 45 minutes of continuous 3G talk time. Other than the battery and physical design, the Maxx is a like the previous Razr. It benchmarked almost identically to the Razr in our tests. That's a very good thing. Up until now, the Razr was one of our favourite Android phones overall. It has a good-looking 960-by540 screen, gets excellent reception with fine call quality, is speedy, and is a "complete multimedia powerhouse." It also has Motorola's kooky but appealing Webtop software, which turns the phone into a desktop or laptop PC with the right accessories. Our only hardware qualm is a mediocre 8-megapixel camera that isn't up to the standards set by the Apple iPhone 4S or the Samsung Galaxy S III. There's only one thing holding this phone back from a five-star review: the lack of Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich." While Motorola promises an upgrade to ICS at some point in the future, the nation's best Android phone should be running the most current version of the OS. ICS brings a faster browser, better address book and more consistency between tablets and phones, which should improve the Android experience overall. Word is that the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade have started rolling out, but the unit we have received is still running on Gingerbread (2.3). The Razr Maxx can be superior for many reasons including better battery life, better physical materials, and better call quality and radio reception, for instance. That all outweighs the OS downgrade; although we wish we didn't have to choose between the best hardware and the most current OS. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With inputs from PCMag.com


Ads (Sept 12).indd 6

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Sony Xperia S LOVE IT:

Fast and zippy interface. Excellent camera. Brilliant screen. HATE IT:

Non-removable battery. PC MAG SAYS:

The Sony Xperia S ranks up there with the quad-core giants Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X in terms of performance – even if its only dual-core. Truly an excellent smartphone. Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 Dimensions: 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm Weight: 144 grams Display Type: LEDbacklit LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.3 inches Memory: 32 GB builtin; 1 GB RAM WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR NFC: Yes USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0 (MHL) Primary Camera: 12 Megapixels, autofocus with LED flash

smartphones group test

Secondary Camera: Yes Operating System: Android v2.3 (Gingerbread) upgradable to v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) CPU: Dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer

$630 | Sony Mobile Communications | +971 4 3919880 | www.sonymobile.com

T

he Sony Xperia S is the first mobile phone from the new Xperia series since Sony acquired Ericsson’s share last February. It’s an Android-powered mobile phone, currently running on version 2.3 (Gingerbread) and can be upgraded to version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). As with all high-end Android mobile phones, it packs a 12 megapixel camera, 32 GB of internal storage, a dual-core 1.5 GHz and an HDMI out. The Xperia S showcases a new design approach Sony is referring to as "Iconic Identity." The design will be replicated across the Xperia series to create a strong, simple look that is instantly recognizable. The transparent element at the base of the phone looks awesome; it also provides illumination effects and integrates the phone's antenna components. The screen of the Sony Xperia S is one of the best screens we have seen on a smartphone. It packs a 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen with a

resolution of 720 x 1280 – which matches the resolution of the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S III. The display features a Sony Bravia engine that is capable of displaying 16 million colours. All usual connectivity options are there, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. The Sony Xperia S is also PlayStation certified, which allows you to play PlayStation Suite games and can be connected to the Sony Entertainment Network. It is also DLNA certified. Just as I was testing the Sony Xperia S with the default version Gingerbread (2.3) operating system, a notification popped up saying that a system update is available. To our delight, it is the promised Ice Cream Sandwich update the Sony promised that will be rolling out for the Xperia S. The update brings a number of new and improved features, such as resizable widgets, better control of your mobile data consumption, and a recent apps button to speed up the launching of frequently used

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apps. In addition to ICS, Sony is providing three new media applications as part of the update—Walkman, Album, and Movies. The Walkman app integrates with Facebook and lets you share your favourite songs with friends and also discover new tunes they like. The Album app offers some new ways to sort and browse through photos, as well as share them on Facebook. The new Movies app displays films in high-quality format and provides a searchable database with movie posters and other information about a given title. Call quality on the Sony Xperia S was decent and no other distortions were heard during the calls even when connected to a Bluetooth headset. Also note that the Sony Xperia S uses a micro SIM like every other mobile phone in this Group Test. Battery life was also good, lasting almost three days of normal usage after a full charge. – With inputs from PCMag.com.


Nokia 808 PureView LOVE IT:

Groundbreaking 41megapixel camera. Unlocked; compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile 3G networks. Nifty screen lock switch. HATE IT:

Archaic Symbian OS is a relic. Hit-or-miss touch response. Few apps. Expensive even for an unlocked phone. PC MAG SAYS:

The Nokia 808 PureView is a curious unlocked smartphone with an amazing camera, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about it. Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 Dimensions: 123.9 x 60.2 x 13.9 mm Weight: 169 grams Display Type: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 360 x 640 pixels, 4.0 inches Memory: 16 GB builtin; 512 MB RAM WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v3.0 with A2DP NFC: Yes

smartphones group test

USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0 Primary Camera: 41 Megapixels, Carl Zeiss optics with autofocus and Xenon flash Operating System: Nokia Belle OS CPU: 1.3 GHz ARM 11 Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass Battery: Li-Po 1400 mAh

$665 | Nokia Middle East | +971 4 3399141 | www.nokia.ae

T

he Nokia 808 PureView is an engineering exercise and a collector's item. It's also a near-total failure as a modern smartphone. It The 808 PureView is an odd beast. It's slightly bulky and misshapen. It's not actually thick all the way through, though, as there's a very prominent bump around the camera lens. As always, Nokia has a fine touch with hardware design. The 808 PureView feels very well made, with quality plastics, a Corning Gorilla Glass front panel, and button housings that seem laser-cut in their precision. You get a topmounted micro HDMI port and a dedicated Camera button as well. Nokia also packs in a microUSB charger, a data cable, a wired stereo headset, and a wrist strap in the box. Gorilla glass aside, the 4-inch, 640-by-360-pixel capacitive AMOLED touch screen is old news. Fonts look pixelated, and you can't see

much of desktop Web pages, but at least it's bright and colourful, with deep blacks. Touch response is uneven; during testing the phone lagged finger swipes by about half a second, which made navigation tricky. The PureView 808 is a true world phone. Underneath the hood, there's a 1.3 GHz ARM 11 single-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 16 GB of onboard storage that you can expand to 48 GB by installing up to a 32 GB microSD card underneath the battery. Unfortunately, the phone runs Symbian, which dates back an entire decade. The 808 PureView has Symbian because the company has been developing the phone for several years, and had started well before deciding to throw in with Microsoft. All things considered, Nokia has done a decent job of modernizing Symbian. The reason the phone has gotten any buzz at all is

because of its PureView camera system, a 41-megapixel image sensor married to a Carl Zeiss f/2.4 prime lens. But how is the camera to actually use? We can say with confidence that, in good light, it's the best phone camera we've shot with. The resolution is excellent, but there are foibles. The automatic white balance is a little finicky. The camera does do a very good job of nailing exposure, even in mixed lighting. And that, in a nutshell, is why the 808 PureView exists. But is it enough? The phone rides entirely on the basis of its camera and exclusivity. It's a 2014 camera in a 2007 smartphone. Otherwise, we can't recommend the 808 PureView to anyone else. The software is too archaic and balky, there are too many bugs, and after all those revisions, Nokia still didn't get the touch UI right. Symbian's glory days preceded touch screens, & Windows Phone is Nokia's future.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 53


LG Optimus L7 P705 LOVE IT:

Runs Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. HATE IT:

Sluggish at times, especially when playing games and 3D applications. PC MAG SAYS:

The LG Optimus L7 P705 is a decent and competitively priced Android mobile phone. Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 Dimensions: 125.5 x 67 x 8.7 mm Weight: 122 grams Display Type: IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inches Memory: 4 GB builtin; 512 MB RAM WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v3.0 with A2DP NFC: Yes USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0

smartphones group test

Primary Camera: 5 Megapixels with autofocus and LED flash Secondary Camera: Yes Operating System: Android OS v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) CPU: Qualcomm MSM7227A Snapdragon 1 GHz Cortex-A5 Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, compass Battery: Li-Po 1700 mAh

$359 | Al Sayegh Brothers | 800-54 (LG) | http://ae.lgmobile.com

T

he LG Optimus L7 P705 is the latest mobile phone from LG that runs on Ice Cream Sandwich – and it’s priced competitively, which is much lower than the other high end mobile phones we have in this Group Test. The LG Optimus L7 P705 runs on a 1 GHz processor, with a 4 GB built-in memory and 512 MB of RAM. The 4.3-inch screen is big, though the resolution is only 480 x 800 – which pales in comparison with the 720 x 1280 screens of the other higher end smartphones. LG said that the Optimus L7 comes with an IPS display – which enrich your viewing experience as images and videos come across with more vibrant colours and precise details to provide you with the utmost viewing quality whether you are indoors or outdoors. That is somewhat true though – we get the brilliant colours on the screen but it can reflective at times, which most of the time you get to see your reflection instead of what is showing on

the screen. The LG Optimus L7 P705’s design is nice but not great either. It’s not the type of mobile phone that would turn heads when you put it out. The mobile phone’s design is mostly plastic, with a coated material that is a fingerprint magnet. There sharp edges, unlike the rounded ones found on the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S III. LG employs its own custom interface over the default Ice Cream Sandwich like Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense. It’s nothing special though, as I find the apps and widgets on the other mobile phones more appealing. The standard Android programs are preloaded on the P705. As with all Android mobile phones, initial setup requires you to sign in with a Googlebased account. This will also let you download apps on the Google Play Store. I tried installing a couple of apps from the Play Store with no problems at all. However, there was a noticeable delay when

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launching apps, especially the games. Temple Run nearly took 40 seconds to load and when we started playing the game, it starts framing – so we don’t know if it a hardware or software issue. The P705 also features a 5 megapixel main camera and a front facing camera. Image quality taken with the P705 was good, but not great. Comparing it with other mobile phones in this Group Test, it showed some noise on most if the pictures we’ve taken. Like the HTC Desire C, the images aren’t the best, but it its good enough. Call quality was good with no hisses or issues on either end of the call. Battery life was good, considering the 1700 mAh was lower than the competition, though it managed to last two and a half days of usage after a full charge. The LG Optimus L7 P705 is a decent Android mobile phone – priced competitively and offers the same set of features as with the other smartphones sometimes only slower.


Samsung Galaxy S III LOVE IT:

State-of-the-art everything. Advanced call-quality features. HATE IT:

Plasticky body. PC MAG SAYS:

The Samsung Galaxy S III is definitely one of the best Android phones available. Final Rating:

Specifications: 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 Dimensions: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm Weight: 133 grams Display Type: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.8 inches Memory: 16/32/64 GB built-in; 1 GB RAM WLAN: 802.11 a/b/g/n Bluetooth: Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, EDR NFC: Yes USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0 (MHL)

smartphones group test

Primary Camera: 8 Megapixels, autofocus with LED flash Secondary Camera: Yes Operating System: Android v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) CPU: Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Battery: Li-Ion 2100 mAh

$639 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae

T

he new flagship smartphone from the world's number-one mobile phone company, Samsung's Galaxy S III is literally a huge achievement. If you love big phones with lots of options, the GS3 will deliver state-of-theart performance with bonus sharing and media features that you're likely to continue discovering a year from now. The all-plastic body feels a little less high-end than the exotic materials of the HTC One series, but the phone is solidly built, and light despite its size. The front of the phone is dominated by the 4.8-inch, 1280-by-720-pixel Super AMOLED HD screen. Yes, it's PenTile, which can sometimes look slightly pixelated. But, no, you probably won't notice. Below the screen, there's a physical Home button, as well as light-up Back and Multitasking buttons that start out invisible, so you have to memorize where they are or change a setting to keep them illuminated. Unlike the competing HTC One X, the S III has a removable 2100 mAh battery. Taking off the back cover also reveals

the microSD card slot, which supports cards up to 64 GB. Default call quality is good. You can also connect to Wi-Fi on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC are also onboard. This phone has solid battery life, and considering the battery is removable, you can carry a spare. That's something you can't do with the iPhone 4S or the HTC One X. The Galaxy S III runs Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" with a whole lot of exclusive Samsung extensions. Performance was excellent in my tests. The processor running at 1.4 GHz is the fastest one we've seen in smartphones so far, and it's able to take on any app challenge you throw at it, including games on the HD screen. Exclusive new features include S-Beam, the ability to transfer files by tapping two phones together and using a combination of NFC and WiFi Direct; S-Voice, Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri; TecTiles, NFC-enabled accessory tags that can change the settings on your phone, and lots of

sharing and tagging options in the camera, such as the ability to automatically tag your friends' faces, and the ability for multiple GS3s within a few feet of each other to automatically share all of their photos. The 16 GB Galaxy S III we tested had 12 GB of available memory plus support for microSD cards up to 64 GB. It also plays all the usual music and video formats, including MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, Xvid, and WMV at resolutions up to 1080p. The 8-megapixel camera takes good-looking, saturated photos that are sharp with little noise, at least in decent light. You get tons of gimmicky camera modes. HDR is considerably slower than on either the iPhone 4S or the HTC One X. The Samsung Galaxy S III is definitely one state-of-the-art phone. The Galaxy S III has a removable battery, better video recording quality, and no hiss in quiet audio output. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S III is definitely one of the best Android phones available. â&#x20AC;&#x201C;With inputs from PCMag.com

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 55


Sponsored by:

Gadgets

for the Great

Outdoors

Everyone enjoys vacations. However, during vacations our favourite times are when technologies and the great outdoors collide. Like typing a blog post or updating Facebook status on a smartphone while laying on the beach in Spain, or reading a book on your tablet, while sitting pool-side in India. There are a great number of gadgets on the market that can help you enjoy, document, and survive the wilderness (or your vacation). This month around, we talk about everything to do with technologies that can enhance your vacation experience. 56 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com


Sponsored by:

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Sponsored by:

S

ummer’s the time of year when most of us finally take a vacation after months of long hours at the office. The kids are out of school, and even those without little ones get that lazy summer feeling saying “it’s time to relax and kick up your feet.” Still, we love our gadgets and we hate to be without them for any extended period of time. That’s why, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite devices for the great outdoors, which can take their share of sun, sand and surf while keeping you entertained and in touch. To start, you’ve gotta have a camera to snap candid photos of all of your misadventures. There are dozens of digital imaging devices out there, but it’s hard to find one that can survive the open water. There are cameras available on the market which can go with you right into the pool or ocean where you can snap photos underwater as deep as to 33 feet down. If you’re taking a vacation to polar climates, no problem: some cameras can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. You also don’t have to worry too much about damaging such cameras either—we have dropped a few of these devices from as high as 5 feet and were still able to snap pictures like nothing had happened. For pure entertainment purposes, portable speakers/docks are a nice way to get the party started in the hotel room, tent, cabin or beach house. Sure, they don’t sound as nice as your home stereo, but these devices are compact and ideal for travelers. Some weigh as little as 200-gms and some comes cases that wrap around the dock for easy carrying, and folds out to create a handy kickstand when in use. Such portable speakers use a rechargeable lithium ion battery and many come with a remote. Once you’ve got the entertainment taken care of, it’s a good idea to equip yourself with a GPS device in case you get lost. It’s no fun stopping for directions at a creepy gas station in the middle of nowhere. Finally, if you really must take a laptop with you on that hike, check out some of the toughest notebooks available on the market from companies such as Panasonic. Many come with protection from drop shock, vibration, dust, and water spills. Of course, everything you carry on your vacation doesn’t necessarily have to be “rough and tough” – only if you are careful with your gadgets.

Fujifilm FinePix XP170 Fujifilm’s latest rugged point-and-shoot has pulled together some pretty standard specs with some more contemporary connectivity features, all in a hardy shell. The 14-megapixel CMOS sensor is paired with 5x zoom lens, while the rubberised lug is capable of 1080p video, and can increase video capture up to 240-fps at 320-by-240 resolution. Available in blue or orange, the device should survive up to 10 meters of water, a two meter drop and still work at -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). Sharing with mobile devices requires Fujifilm’s own Android or iOS app and a Wi-Fi signal.

Foil&Film Anti-Glare & Fingerprint Series Foil&Film’s Anti- Glare & Fingerprint Series features a special smooth matte coating that covers and shields your device’s screen from unsightly fingerprints as well as dust, scratches, and stains, keeping it in a like-new condition. The precision cut Anti- Glare & Fingerprint film easily applies directly to your device and provides durable, anti-fingerprint, anti-scratch, anti-glare protection. It offers greater flexibility to cover the curves and corners of your screen. It transforms a glossy screen surface into a matte surface reducing glare and giving you added texture and depth.

Panasonic CF-F8 Ready to move at the speed of business, the lightweight, 1.67-kg Toughbook F8 is the world’s lightest 14.1-inch PC with a built-in DVD drive. It offers a large 14.1-inch widescreen LCD, integrated handle, draft-n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional Gobi mobile broadband access. It features a circular scrolling touchpad for effortless scrolling through long documents and an integrated handle for easier portability. The durable Toughbook F8 also comes standard with a 250GB shock-mounted hard drive, spill-resistant keyboard, and Intel Centrino 2 with vPro technology, for added security and remote management.

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Ads (March 12).indd 11

2/10/2012 2:26:51 PM


Sponsored by:

Targus New Dart Backpack The New Dart backpack from Targus is packed full of clever features that make it easy to carry lots of stuff around. It also has a modern, paired back look with cool colour accents. It is made from durable polyester exterior and water-resistant base with vibrant accent colours. It comes with dedicated laptop and tablet sections to protect your devices. Multiple pockets are included to organise and store day to day accessories. It also accompanies comfortable padding and soft material on touch points, mesh padded back panel, and contoured adjustable straps with builtin hidden rain cover.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm has a history of making beautiful cameras, particularly in its X series. In January at CES, Fujifilm stole the show by releasing a camera that could be your one and only: the X-Pro1, which pairs the company’s flair for retro design with interchangeable lenses. The camera features a 16-megapixel APS-C X-Trans sensor that Fujifilm claims could rival many full-frame DSLRs, ISO range up to ISO 25,600, a hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder, a 1.23-million-dot LCD, and Fujifilm’s fast EXR processor. It’s beautiful inside and outside, and can be a perfect companion for your weekend getaways.

Camp Recipes App Tired of hot dogs, baked beans and trail mix as the go-to food on a camping trip? The Camp Recipes app just might add some flash and flare to otherwise dull camp food. Quick recipes, long recipes, backpack recipes, large recipes, meat recipes, veggie recipes, dessert recipes, and even survival recipes! And that’s just a few. You just have to search it, tap it, and there’s the ingredients and all the instructions how to prepare and eat. The cool thing about the app is that the entire database is uploaded to your iPhone so you are not stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a backpack full of delectable ingredients... and no network signal!

Monster iSport Whether you’re running, biking, snowboarding or pumping iron, iSport’s advanced in-ear speakers deliver the pulsing rhythm and bass. Super-comfortable and easy-touse, the Monster-exclusive SportClip keeps your iSport earbuds in your ears no matter how hard you play. Use them with glasses, goggles, and helmets. And the noise-isolating ear tips make listening to music, pure bliss. Water and sweat won’t stop iSport. Just rinse them out when you’re done to keep them fresh, and they’ll still sound amazing.

60 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com


Sponsored by:

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is the rather wordy successor to the popular Galaxy Tab 10.1, an Android tablet which managed to challenge the iPad in almost every department, which are some pretty big shoes to fill. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is available with 16GB of internal storage and support for Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 isn’t huge, with its 9.7mm deep body meaning it’s actually a shade slimmer than most tablets available on the market.

Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U772 Ultrabook

Motorola Razr Maxx

With its small size, frameless display and light weight, the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK U772 Ultrabook is the perfect business traveler. This stylish and fully-featured Notebook uniquely combines an outstanding small form factor with a frameless display and weighs just 1.4 kg. Its extended battery runtime, high responsiveness plus advanced security features offer you the mobility you need.

Motorola’s Razr Maxx is not a new handset - instead it builds upon the Razr with a buffed up 3,300mAh battery as well as Ice Cream Sandwich. If you’ve seen the Motorola Razr, you’ll find that the Razr Maxx is exactly the same, down to the slightly curved edges. The rear also features the same Kevlar material and gives the handset a very good grip. The biggest difference is the thicker frame - the original Razr was 7.1mm at its thinnest point, the Maxx is thicker at 8.99mm. The difference is due to the addition of the 3,300mAh non-removable battery. Still, it’s not that thick and the Maxx is about as slim as other handsets such as the 8.9mm thick HTC One X, for instance. www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 61


Photography Tips for Enthusiasts You don’t have to be a pro to really love photography. If taking pictures is your passion, consider these tips and ideas to help expand your skills and bring new perspective to your work.

M

ore and more people are getting serious about photography as a hobby. Digital cameras have made it easy to get instant feedback on your shots, and large memory cards allow you to experiment with angles and lighting without racking up the costs associated with shooting film. If you’re past the beginner stage, photography is your passion, and you’re looking for some new ideas to help improve your shooting experience, check out these advanced tips for some inspiration. If you have any tips that you’d like to share, please feel free to add them to the comments section. Shoot in Raw Most digital cameras are set to capture files in JPG format by default. This is very convenient, as it allows you to quickly share files with friends and family—without the need for post-processing. But you’re giving

up a lot of control by not shooting in Raw— which is an unprocessed file that contains the image as the camera’s sensor captured it. A Raw file allows you to tweak colors, exposure, black levels, sharpness, and other attributes with much more flexibility than an already-compressed JPG allows. Consider Off-Camera Lighting You may have already added a dedicated flash to your camera so that you can avoid the harsh light created by the on-camera flash. But if you really want to experiment with flash photography, moving the flash away from the camera is key. Consider a PocketWizard system of wireless remotes to do so. If you’re looking for tips and techniques on how to really use off-camera flashes effectively, check out the Strobist. Try Some Different Lenses Chances are you’ve already moved away from the 18-55mm kit lens, either opting

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for a better quality zoom or a fast prime lens. But if you’re stuck in a creative rut, or just want to experiment with some new types of photography, a specialized lens can really come in handy. You can opt for a super-sharp macro lens that can focus close and fill your frame with small objects. You can go in the opposite direction and grab a Lensbaby, a fun lens system that allows you to adjust the plane of focus, creating photos that have a sharp point of focus that gives way to soft, swirly, dreaminess. If you have a mirrorless camera like


a Sony Alpha NEX-C3 or Olympus E-P3 your choices are even more vast. There are numerous lens adapters available that make it possible to mount virtually any lens to these cameras for use in manual focus mode. More interesting options include CCTV lenses, which are generally very fast, but produce images with extremely soft corners, Russian rangefinder lenses like the Industar-69, and lenses from toy cameras like the Holga. Keep Your Sensor Clean If you’re the type to change lenses in the field, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some dust on your image sensor. This is often invisible at wider apertures, but if you take a photo at f/5.6 or smaller these spots can distract from your photo. Visible Dust and Lenspen both offer systems for cleaning your camera’s sensor. Get a Warm Balance Cap White balance is important in digital photography if you’d like to get accurate colors, but there are times when you’d like those tones to be just a bit warmer than normal. Using a surface that is just a bit cooler than a true white to balance the camera will result in photos that are a little bit warmer—closer to the red end of the visible spectrum than the violet—which can be perfect for portraiture. BRNO makes lens caps that ship with translucent domes for true white balance as well as warm balance. Simply cap your lens, point the camera at a light source, and take a manual white balance measurement. It’s a quick way to help you get the right colors in the field, which can save you time in your workflow application when you get home.

by BlackRapid are often used by event photographers who carry multiple bodies with heavy lenses attached. Op/Tech also makes a wide variety of straps in styles that are suitable for use for everything from light mirrorless cameras to heavy D-SLRs. Invest in a Workflow Application You’ll need some software to process your Raw images. The best options are Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Apple Aperture. Both offer nondestructive approaches to editing photos—which basically means that the programs record a list of changes that should be made to the Raw file and then output a JPG or TIF version for sharing and printing. And, best of all, both are available in free 30-day trial versions, so you can try out the software before buying. Experiment With Post-Processing It’s fun to experiment with the final look and feel of your photos. You can do a lot in Lightroom and Aperture, but sometimes you’re looking for a very specific feel that is out of reach for those applications. Nik Software has a suite of applications that apply different film looks to photos, and can also be used for HDR processing. Print Your Work It’s easy to share your photos online or to view them on a digital picture

frame, but if you take a photo that you truly love, it deserves to be printed. You can print at home on an inkjet, but for the best results you’ll want to go with a dedicated printing service. Sites like Smugmug and Mpix offer fun ways to display your work, including prints on canvas, metallic paper, and true black and white photo paper for a classic look. You can also opt for a custom photo book, an update on the classic family album with your photos printed directly onto the pages. Upgrade Your Camera for the Right Reasons If you’re enthusiastic about your photos, you might be itching to buy a new camera. There are plenty of reasons to upgrade, but you don’t always have to have the latest camera to take good photos. If you’re using an entry-level D-SLR, you’d be better served moving up to a higher-class body rather than a higher-resolution camera of the same class. Semi-pro D-SLRs offer betterquality viewfinders, more physical controls, and sturdier construction.

Replace Your Strap If you’re going to be doing a lot of shooting, you should be comfortable. If you’re lugging your D-SLR or mirrorless camera around on the neck strap that came in the box, don’t. There are dozens of thirdparty options out there—many of which are more comfortable and practical. Straps

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The Best Photo Sharing Services

Ready to graduate from Facebook photo sharing? These thirteen dedicated services offer much more when it comes to showing off your digital photography.

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ew people in the modern world don’t have some kind of digital camera these days, whether that be the one inside their cell phone or a standalone high-end DSLR. But there’s little point in ever taking a single photo if no one else ever sees it. Enter, the Internet! Some people just want to show their occasional pictures to friends and family, some want the notice of a community of serious photographers. The traditional way to handle the first option has been through email, but Facebook is rapidly replacing that mode of photo sharing. For those who want more than Facebook’s limited presentation, photo specific sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, and SmugMug are better choices. Flickr is the mother of all photo sharing sites, with a huge community of users and tons of ways to interact with them. Or you can just use it to store all you digital photos privately. Really all—for $25 a year, you get unlimited highest resolution photo uploading. 500px takes a different tack: The site only wants your very best photos, and gives you the opportunity to sell your work. Another benefit you get from uploading to a photo-sharing site is the ability to send your images to professional photo finishers.

Even more ambitious than this is to create a book from your photos, something Blurb. com excels at. iPhone apps that double as social networks have become a craze of late, with Instagram the prime mover. So much to the point that Facebook paid 1 billion, with a B, dollars for Instagram. The reigning social network very recently released a camera iPhone app that makes use of some Instagram features—filters for making photos look old, tinted, black and white, or in some other way interesting. But those aren’t the only apps that let you share and edit photos: Adobe Photoshop Express, Path, and Tumblr have apps suited to sharing photos online. Whatever your photo sharing needs, whether desktop Web or mobile, you’ll find a site or app that suits your needs from the group below. Happy snapping. 500px Rating: 3.5 Free - $49.95 per year A photo site that’s about uploading only your best photos and discovering those of others (and possibly purchasing them), 500px looks great, and offers an excellent way to find and display beautiful images. But its lovely interface sometimes perplexes,

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and it trails Flickr by far in number of users and community features.

Adobe Photoshop Express Rating: 3.0 Free - $49.99 per year

Edit, store, and share your images online using this service from the best-known digital image editing company of all. Photoshop Express also let you share edited


photos to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. iOS and Android apps work seamlessly with the service. You get 2GB of online storage free, and for $49.99 a year that goes up to 20GB.

Fotki Rating: 3.5 Free - $24

your work to email, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. Path Rating: 3.0 Free

Blurb.com Rating: 4.0 $10.95

Fotki is a good place to host your craigslist or eBay listing photo. It also offers a photocentric social network and photo contests, and you can sell prints of your artistry. But other photo services offer more tools. A free account gets you 3GB online storage, while a $24-a-year premium account gets you unlimited storage and the ability to customize galleries and sell photos online. Sure it’s not a photo sharing site like the others here, but Blurb does indeed host photos online, but just in the form of a preview of a photo book you’ve designed for the service to print. Of course, creating a photo book using an online photo service is online photo sharing in a broad sense, so indulge us here. The site where people can view full size previews of your photo books even has Facebook commenting. Flickr Rating: 4.5 (Editors’ Choice) Free - $24.95 per year

Google Picasa Rating: 4.0 Free - $29.88 per year for 25GB

Picasa offers simple yet powerful editing tools in a local app that syncs well with online galleries. Its geo-tagging works with Maps and Face recognition that works with People tags for new and exciting ways to organize and share your photo collections. The service also features an abundance of output methods, including collages and video slideshows. Instagram Rating: 3.0 Free

The largest photo-focused community on the Web has just undergone some welcome overhauls, with larger and better photo views, and a slick new HTML5based photo uploader. This is where you’ll find the most options for interacting with photos and photographers on the Web. A rich ecosystem of apps and third-party plugins adds to an already rich set of included tools, like maps for geotagging. The $24.95 a year Pro account gets you unlimited full-resolution online storage for your photos.

If you want a simple, elegant, and intuitive way to share your photos with your closest friends, Path is worth taking. You get a streamlined interface, but less functionality. You’ll need an iPhone to play, preferably the iPhone 4. Pinterest Rating: 3.5 Free

Of course it’s not just about photos, but Pinterest is certainly an effective way to share photos. With commenting, sharing to Facebook, email, and Twitter, Pinterest does a respectable job of online photo sharing. But you don’t get bulk uploaders and photo editors the way you do with some of the other services listed here. Photobucket Rating: 3.0 Free – Pro Account: $24.95 per year

Instagram is a new kind of community that has been restricted to the iPhone until recently. Now Android users can take part, and sites like Pinstagram let you view your photos in any Web browser. The app/ service can be addictive in the way it lets you discover new photo contacts’ work. It’s few simple image enhancements can add a surprising amount of interest to otherwise pedestrian snapshots. You can also share

The Photobucket sharing site should appeal to people who like to jazz up their images and get lots of free photo hosting. It even offers tolerable video mixing. But free accounts feature tons of ads and downsize images and videos.

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how

to buy a

gps

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Follow our directions to find the best stand-alone GPS device to get you where you’re going without breaking the bank on the way.

I

t’s a great time to buy a GPS. The category has matured, and competition from nav-equipped smartphones has helped drive prices way, way down. As a result, you can get a capable stand-alone GPS that can do much more than just help you find your way, for a lot less than you would have paid just last year. Still, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right GPS: Do you need a big display? Should you spring for a live traffic subscription? Lifetime map updates? Should you even bother with a GPS, or can you just use your phone for directions? Here’s what you should consider when navigating the GPS market. The Basics: Screen Size, OnBoard Maps, and POIs Screen size is an important factor in choosing the right device. The current sweet spot for displays is 4.3 inches, with the majority of models on the market hitting this mark. You can typically save a bundle if you’re willing to settle for a smaller display: The oldie-but-goodie Editors’ Choice 3.5inch Garmin nüvi 265T rings up for as little as $75 these days. On the flip side, if you have trouble reading small text, you may want to opt for a larger unit like the Magellan RoadMate 9055 $219.95, whose bright, brilliant 7-inch, 800-by-480-pixel WVGA display almost guarantees you’ll never have to squint to read a street name. Remember though, the larger the screen, the more of your dashboard or windshield space the unit gobbles up. The 5-inch screens on the TomTom VIA 1535TM $159.95 or the Garmin nüvi

3590LMT $358.64 nice compromises since they’re thin and not terribly unwieldy, but large enough to display easy-to-see type and graphics. Virtually every GPS you buy today will come with preloaded maps. If you need additional maps, you can typically buy them from the device manufacturer and download them via PC or sideload them on an SD card. Since construction is inevitable and roads are constantly changing, keeping your maps up to date is also important. These days, most vendors include free or one-time-pay map updates for a wide variety of the devices they sell. (The aforementioned TomTom VIA 1535TM and Garmin nüvi 3590LMT both come with free lifetime maps.) But some companies charge for each map update—and they can be expensive. Be sure to check the map-update policy before you settle on a particular model. Along with maps, every GPS comes with an integrated points-of-interest (POI) database so you can find, say, the closest Chinese restaurant, Target, auto body shop, or tourist attraction. POI database sizes can vary wildly, and each device handles searches and delivers results differently. Some are far-reaching and are intuitively designed to serve up logical, accurate results, while others have slim databases and leave you scratching your head, driving in circles trying to find a gas station. Some devices even integrate cellular radios to perform POI searches on the Web, so you get real-time results. The best way to get a handle on a particular product’s POI handling is to read hands-on reviews. Live Traffic and Data Besides keeping you from getting lost and serving up POI recommendations, some GPS devices can keep also help you avoid the single greatest driving inconvenience: the traffic jam. To sidestep snarl-ups you’ll want a unit with live traffic updates. The “T” in the Garmin nüvi 3790T’s model name means it’s equipped with a traffic receiver so it will let know if you’re heading into a bottleneck, and will offer up an alternate route so you keep moving. The 3790T also includes a free lifetime traffic subscription, so you don’t need to pay monthly fees. Even better, Garmin and TomTom have introduced next-gen traffic services (called 3D Traffic and HD Traffic, respectively) that check for traffic as often as every 30 seconds (instead of approximately every 15 minutes with traditional traffic services), though only newer, high-end models like the Garmin nüvi 3590LMT and the TomTom

GO 2535 M LIVE $299.99 at Crutchfield. com offer this feature. Other Extras If you want some entertainment with your directions, some devices include media players that support common audio, photo, and/or video formats for playback from an SD card. A much more practical extra feature, however, is an integrated phone interface, so you can connect your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and access your contact list to make hands-free calls through the GPS, rather than wearing a clunky headset. While you’ll find this feature on many mid- to high-end GPS models, not all devices support all phones. If this feature is important to you, check the manufacturer’s Web site to make sure your phone is compatible before you settle on a device. Find Your Way With Your Phone A small crop of “connected” GPS devices has emerged in the past couple of years. These models build in a cellular radio so they can provide the aforementioned live traffic updates along with Internetbased POI searches and other Web-centric features. The TomTom GO 2535 M LIVE, for example, tracks local fuel prices, offers weather forecasts, and contains a separate Google Local Search section for live Webbased POI searches. While Web connectivity and everpresent search ability mean you’ll never have to worry about an out-of-date POI entry, these devices often cost more than their traditional counterparts, and some come with hefty yearly subscription fees. And they beg the question: Why not just use my always-connected smartphone for directions? Well, you can. Thanks to beefier processors and built-in GPS radios in smartphones, the mobile market has seen a flood of iPhone and Android navigation apps in the past year or two. TomTom has a full-featured app that turns your iPhone into a GPS, as do Garmin and Magellan. Also, the Android smartphone OS features Google Maps Navigation with spoken, turn-by-turn directions and Google POI searches—and it’s free. Of course, you’ll need to buy a windshield mount for your phone, and your handset’s battery life may take a hit, but you can’t deny the appeal of carrying (and paying for) one less gadget. On the flip side, the idea of a dedicated device you can leave in the glove box is more attractive to some.

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Summer Grilling:

Now You’re Cooking with Gadgets Grilling might be ancient, but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from some technology.

S

o you want your grilling to have some geek cred, but you’re not going to go as far as Lauren Hodge, who won the 13-14 age group of the Google Science Fair for her research on “Can marinating chicken prior to grilling reduce the formation of heterocyclic amines?” There are plenty of ways to represent. Though they might not garner you the money, Google and Lego internships, the chance to speak at TED Women, or the meet-and-greet with President Obama that Hodge got, at the very least you’ll earn the admiration of your guests. While purists might say that a backyard barbecue requires nothing more than an open flame and a hunk of meat, you know better. Technology has its place at every step of your grilling events, whether you’re dining en famille or hosting a shindig. Planning out a menu, selecting cuts of meat, setting up, and keeping drinks cold and food hot are things you can (mostly) outsource with just a few items. Even if, in the midst of having fun, your guests don’t directly praise your party planning, cooking

technique, or sense of humor, they’ll talk all summer long about the perfectly cooked steaks that they enjoyed and great time they had. But before you fire up that grill (which you might want to think about replacing with something more high-tech), whet your appetite with these items on our menu, we mean wishlist. Work Up an App-etite BBQ Planner (99 cents, Android) gets you organized, whether you’re going to be grilling at a campsite or keeping it cozy in the backyard. It lets you know what you’ll need to feed and serve a crowd, and clean up afterward. When you’re deciding on just what to grill, you may want to Ask the Butcher (iOS, $2.49), an app from Australia’s Vic’s Meat that details the qualities of cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and suggests recipes. Weber is interchangeable with “grilling,” both in its name and its distinctive black bowl-shaped grill. So it makes sense that it has more than a little something to say about grilling.

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Weber’s On the Grill app ($4.99, iOS) piles on a grocery list; recipes for dishes, rubs, marinades, and sauces; tips; instructional videos; a timing guide for meat, fish, and veggies; and a grill timer. Get Grilling Grilling might be ancient, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t follow trends. Right now the hottest thing—literally—is infrared. Infrared grills can get to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit in about seven minutes, meaning you have more time with your guests and they get to eat soon after you get everything on the grill. The Char-Broil Patio Bistro Tru-Infrared Grills ($179.99)


deliver infrared in a small space and come in electric and gas models. If your “patio” is more of a balcony, you should be able to get the tiny Weber Q 140 ($229.99) out there with the attached six-foot grounded power cord. It doesn’t use infrared technology, but the compact electric solution lets you enjoy grilling in even the smallest of spaces with 1,560 watts of power. Propane and Propane Accessories To get things going, use the Looftlighter ($79.95). The igniter starts a fire up immediately without the lighter fluid that would alter the taste of food and add chemicals to it. The Looftlighter plugs in to deliver 1,800 watts of power. There are a lot of jokes about the temperatures of some iDevices, and your friends might exhaust them all as you use the iGrill Bluetooth Thermometer ($79.99), but ignore them. The iGrill connects to iOS devices from up to 200 safe feet away from your grill to let you know what temperature your food is, enabling perfect doneness. When paired

with the iGrill app, you’ll be able to monitor several items at once, time everything, and get recipes. If Apples are not on the menu, then you can go with a Thermapen ($89) for precise digital readings. If you’re a latenight griller, snap the Handle-Mount Grill Light onto your grill to keep an eye on things. Drinks and Things Even if your guests are sweltering, their drinks can keep cool in the Soleus Air Party Fridge ($389.85). The stainless steel cylinder holds cans and bottles of your favourite beverages and keeps everything between 39 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If that’s not chilly enough, be sure to have some carbonite on hand. While it’s not normally known for being cold, you can just add a little H2O and pop Han Solo in carbonite ice cube trays ($9.99) in the freezer to do the trick. Cracking a brew or two doesn’t usually require the strength of Thor, but it couldn’t hurt, so you might as well use the Hammer of Thor bottle opener ($17.99) to do it.

would be so riled. Maybe instead go with something you know will be a blockbuster hit: Avengers party goods. (We recommend springing for the piñata and the Marvel Create Your Own Comic Book.) Keep it Clean While you’re cooking, you might want to play dumb about this grilling thing (making your results will seem that much more impressive). Put on the OMGWTFBBQ apron ($22) and you’ll look good (and barbecue sauce-free). When it’s clean-up time, your friends might split. So it’s a good thing you thought to get a motorized grill brush ($29.99). The battery-powered brush powers through the remnants clinging to the cooking grate while steam cleaning along the way.

Set the Table Don’t make your guests wait too long to eat, or they might get flashbacks to the days when they’d wait for their Macintosh to dial in to AOL. Or maybe they feel that way because you’ve set out the Salty Pixels salt shakers, 8-bit hand icon coasters, and file icon placemats. If your menu tends toward the porcine, you could fly in some of your favorite feathered friends to handle the décor and go with an Angry Birds theme. But be careful if you’re serving poultry, because it’s no wonder that those birds www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | september 2012 | 69


Things You Need

to Know About

Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

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Mountain Lion isn’t about underthe-hood changes. It’s about making OS X easier to use and–not coincid– entally more like iOS.

A

pple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion— released yesterday doesn’t feature the massive under-the-hood changes Apple implemented with Lion, also known as Apple OS X 10.7. There’s no equivalent in Mountain Lion to the switch to 64-bit computing, for example. But that’s not to say OS X 10.8 isn’t a substantial upgrade. In fact, many users may see Mountain Lion as a bigger deal than Lion was, because the changes to Apple’s desktop operating system are things average users will be able to appreciate from the minute they start using the OS. Especially users who also have iPads or iPhones. Why? Because out of the 10 biggest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion improvements touted by Apple, about half involve changes that bring OS X more closely in line with iOS. In some cases, it’s a pretty big deal: Messages replace iChat, for example. In

others, such as pulling Notes out of email and giving it the iOS treatment, it’s more about consistency. Apple iOS users will be pleased, too, at the degree to which Mountain Lion meshes with iOS, given the new OS X integration with iCloud. All sorts of apps and services can be synced across your iOS and OS X devices. There are even options built in at the menu level, where you have the choice to save a doc not only to your local machine but also directly to iCloud, for example, a paradigm shift that Microsoft looks set to follow with Windows 8 and Skydrive, it’s worth noting. Both companies, it seems, are cloud believers. For all the convergence with iOS, Mac OS X Mountain Lion still looks and feels like a desktop operating system. It’s still OS X, not iOS. With the imminent release of Windows 8, which takes more drastic Metro measures to tablet-ify Microsoft’s OS, it will be interesting to see which approach wins the day. For now, however, it’s Mountain Lion’s day in the sun. And a great day it is, too, because, as our review says, whereas what we’ve seen of Windows 8 feels (so far) like a 1.0 release: big ideas, paradigm shifts, and a lot of work still to be done,” Mountain Lion Mountain Lion feels like the fine-tuned product of years of careful thinking about how an operating system should combine innovation and consistency. Here’s a list of ten of the biggest changes in the Editors’ Choice winning OS.

1

iCloud, Integrated Apple’s first real foray into the world of cloud computing (unless you count the ill-fated and soon- departed MobileMe) was iCloud, and it wasn’t released until October 2011, well after the release of OS X 10.7 Lion. Mountain Lion makes it much easier for iCloud users to sync documents between Macs and iOS devices.

directly from the file system. If you save a doc to iCloud, any revisions that you make on one device are instantly available on all your other Apple devices. There’s a Documents Library for easy access to your iCloud documents, with the most recently used documents sorted to the top. Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Messages, Notes, and many more Apple apps and services work with iCloud in Mountain Lion, and there’s an API that will allow developers to create iCloud-enabled apps, too.

2

iChat Is Dead, Long Live Messages The extremely popular iMessage service has displaced the venerable iChat on Mountain Lion. The result is a crossplatform service that lets users on Macs, iPhones, and iPads chat with each other. It allows for unlimited messaging, including the sending of high-quality photos, HD video, and attachments as large as 100MB.

Mac users will want to restrain themselves when chatting with friends on metered mobile data plans, although the iOS version of the app is smart enough to route messages through Wi-Fi when it’s available. Messages shows delivery receipts by default, and there’s also an option to turn on read receipts. Messages are encrypted end to end, and there’s a button to escalate your chat to a FaceTime video call. Messages works with other instantmessaging services, including AIM, Google Talk, Jabber, and Yahoo.

3

Mountain Lion-aware apps let you save documents to iCloud or your local system

Game Center Now Playing on Mac Game Center has made the move from iOS to Macs. If you don’t know it from iOS, Game Center is a social gaming platform. Looking for a new game or someone to game against online? This is where you’ll do it on your Mac. You’ll be able to play against anyone with a connected iPad, iPhone, or Mac, too.

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Game Center enables multiplayer games, in-game voice chat, and notifications of friend requests and game invitations. There will be an API for Game Center that lets developers leverage in-game chat, leaderboards and more.

release of Mountain Lion, but word is it’s coming soon.) The share button is baked in throughout the system: Safari is a nobrainer, but it’s a little cooler to find out that anything you can preview or QuickLook can pop up a Share Sheet. There’s a developer API for Share Sheets, too, so third-party apps can also get in on the sharing action. Twitter gets special mention. Click Twitter on a Share Sheet and you get a “Tweet Sheet” that contains whatever it is you’re tweeting about: link, picture, etc, with the usual character countdown. Once you’ve got Twitter set up, it gets added to the Notification Center, by default.

with iCloud, all your Notes are synced across all your Macs and iOS devices.

9

Gatekeeper Keeps Mountain Lion Safe Mountain Lion beefs up security with Gatekeeper, a powerful line of defense against future threats. Gatekeeper prevents malware by only running apps it deems safe because (at Gatekeeper’s most restrictive setting) you downloaded them from the Mac App Store, or (by default) because they were downloaded from the App Store or written by licensed Apple developers and contain digital signatures that are destroyed if hackers modify the code.

4

AirPlay Mirroring Makes Your TV an Apple Television If you’ve got an Apple TV device on the same network as your Mac (with a secondgeneration Intel Core processor), Mountain Lion makes it simple to mirror your screen on your HDTV (at 720p resolution). AirPlay Mirroring pops up to let you know when it detects an Apple TV, and it handles all the resolution matching. Combined with Game Center, AirPlay Mirroring can more or less turn your Mac into a game console.

5

New Notification Center Mountain Lion unifies system and app messaging, giving all messages a consistent look and bringing them into one place. The Notification Center slides in and out from the right-hand side of the screen when you use a new trackpad gesture (a two-finger swipe from the right edge). Or you can click the Notification Center button in the upper right corner of the screen. (It turns blue when there are new notifications.) Apps can pop up banners, which last on your screen’s upper right corner for five seconds before moving into the notifications center. Alerts, on the other hand, pop up and persist until dismissed. There’s an API for developers, too, so that their apps can appear in the Notification center and conform to the Mountain Lion style.

7

Reminders Reach the Mac The Reminders app you know from iOS—the same one that works with Siri on iPhone 4S and has geo-location reminder abilities – is now available for your Apple desktop. This simple organizational app keeps you on track with lists, due dates, and sorting by date. Apple iCloud can keep it synced across all your devices, and it also works with CalDAV services, such as Google Calendar and Yahoo Calendar (though you can keep local-only reminder lists, too).

8

Take Note of Notes Mountain Lion takes another page from iOS and pulls Notes out of email, promoting it to its own app. Notes can be fairly rich, content-wise; you can drag and drop photos and attachments to Notes and format them with bullets, fonts, numbered lists, and so on.

6

Share Sheets Mountain Lion-enabled apps get Share Sheets. Press the share button from within the app and you get a menu (a “sheet”) of services for sharing links, pictures, videos, etc. At the preview stage, we saw links for AirDrop (to share directly to Macs on your network), email, Flickr, Message, Twitter, and Vimeo. (Facebook isn’t available in the initial

You can pin Notes to your desktop with a double click, and the Share button makes it easy to send them to collaborators. Finally,

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There is a third setting you can choose, too, that will let you run apps downloaded from anywhere. Apple will provide digital signatures to every registered developer for inclusion in their software, so by the time Mountain Lion ships, most safe apps should be signed.

10

One More Thing: China Apple has a chance to get some positive China-related coverage for a change with its OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion one more thing: A big push for improved Chinese localization. And why not? It’s a huge market, and Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed earlier this year that Mac adoption in China doubled last year versus 2010. New features include improved text input, for example, with better suggestions for Chinese characters, and typing for English and Chinese characters without toggling between the two for more convenient input of names or words without Chinese equivalents. Apple also promises to more than double the number of Chinese characters supported in handwriting recognition, auto-correction, and improved text input for those who type Pinyin with regional pronunciations. Apple also gives a nod to local services: Users will also be able to set up Mail, Contacts, and Calendar with services like QQ, 126, and 163. Also planned is Baidu search in Safari, as well as access to Chinese social-network site Sina weibo and video sites Youku and Tudou via share sheets.


expert view

Where Is the Tech Industry Headed?

By Tim Bajarin. After two weeks of being disconnected, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve come to realize that the tech industry is getting stale. Major players other than Apple must now step up and innovate.

F

irst, I want to thank the many folks who offered me support after they found out through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that I had a major heart attack that led to a triple bypass. So many of you sent get well notes and kept me in your thoughts and prayers. I greatly appreciated everything. The doctors told me I was 30 minutes from a major stroke and 60 minutes from

Where is the innovation going to come from? Where is the next iPad that will revolutionize personal computing?

losing half of my heart muscle. I am glad I listened to my body and went to the emergency room. That saved me. I am now in serious healing mode and am told I will be good as new by August. One interesting outcome of this was that, for two weeks, I was completely disconnected. I suppose if you keep a guy on morphine, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to keep him disconnected. So once I was switched to a regular room, the first thing I asked for was my iPad and Macbook Air. It took me a week to catch up and when I got home, I devoured as much industry info as I needed to do my job. Although a lot of news passed under the bridge, to be fair, I found nothing earth-shattering. Even more disappointing was the fact that all the products I perused from Computex seemed the same. Most of what I saw was just some type of variation on the same theme. This was played out later in the week when Microsoft introduced its Surface tablets. It also was a variation of things already done, albeit with its unique touches. It seems to me that the industry is at a standstill. Where is the innovation going to come from? Where is the next iPad that will revolutionize personal computing? Where is the new user interface that will change how we interact with our computer? Where are the flexible screens that will transform

the way we view things? When will the network become the computer? It seems to me that Apple leads and the industry will spend the next five years trying to close the gap. That has been good for Apple but devastating for competitors. At some point, the industry needs to step up and take some bold action on its own. HP has one of the richest labs known to man. It needs to commercialize some of its great technology. Xerox PARC is known for its technology but mostly for things that got away, such as PostScript, the mouse and the graphical user interface. It will have great stuff inside. In fact, nearly all of the OEMs have innovation labs of their own and it is time for them to dig deep and start inventing from within. I expect Apple to continue to pioneer, but for this industry to start changing the computer landscape dramatically, it is going to take more than just the labors of Apple. I am normally an industry optimist but the two weeks I spent away from everything has made it clear that we are stuck in a rut. Apple forges ahead and the rest of the industry chases to catch up. Apple should advance but the rest of the industry needs to advance as well, and at warp speed. If others do, the future of personal computing can be bright. If not, it will only be bright for Apple.

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12

Antivirus Apps

for the Mac

The myth that Macs don't need malware protection has officially been busted. Fortunately there are plenty of choices for Mac security, some from companies familiar to PC security enthusiasts, & some from companies focused solely on Mac solutions.

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ecent Mac-directed malware attacks have made it abundantly clear that Mac owners can no longer go without an antivirus. Fortunately, security vendors have made a wide variety of solutions available. Most come from the familiar vendors who make the security software for your PCs; a few are Mac-specific. We've rounded up a dozen for your consideration. Free Protection Given the long-time perception that Macs don't need antivirus protection, you may not have budgeted for such a purchase. Don't worry! Fully half of those we've rounded up here are free. Norton's iAntivirus (Free) is a

lightweight model that specifically performs on-demand virus scanning, without onaccess or scheduled scanning. On the plus side, it can detect and remove Windows malware as well as Macspecific threats, so your Mac doesn't serve as a carrier. Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99 direct) isn't quite free, but the price is low. It, too, detects both Mac and Windows threats and scans only on demand. Avira Free Mac Security (Free) detects both Mac and Windows malware, and does offer on-access & scheduled scanning. Comodo Antivirus for Mac (Free) and Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition version 8 (Free) are straightforward

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solutions that scan on demand, on access, and on schedule. avast! Free Antivirus for Mac (Free) omits scheduled scanning, but does scan for threats in email. ClamXav (Free) is a bit different from the rest. It relies on the open source ClamAV engine and aims to please the more technically inclined user. It does scan email, but in place of full on-access scanning it just scans each new file that appears. Social Engineering Protection Social engineering threats like phishing work by fooling the user, independent of the computer platform or operating system. Straight antivirus protection can't do


anything to block such an attack. However, quite a few Mac antivirus solutions include some type of Web reputation reporting, to steer users away from dangerous or fraudulent sites. Website rating is a strong component in Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac ($49.95 direct) and Intego's VirusBarrier x6 ($49.95/year direct). Trend Micro checks over 50 million IP addresses daily and offers three levels of protection. Intego blocks fraudulent and malicious sites and also protects against Web-based attacks such as cross-site scripting & malicious JavaScript. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($39.95 direct) focuses specifically on blocking

access to fraudulent sites. The similar feature in avast! relies on user ratings to determine a site's reputation. You can see at a glance whether the site is safe or dangerous, with an indication of how many votes support the rating. Users can also tag a site with specific safe or dangerous attributes. Unusual Features While quite a few of the Mac antivirus products stick to malware protection, others offer a range of additional security features. For example, Panda Antivirus for Mac ($49.99 direct) can scan any iOS device that's attached to your Mac. VirusBarrier and F-Secure Anti-Virus

for Mac ($39.99 direct) both offer firewall protection along with antivirus. VirusBarrier also offers a private data protection feature, to help avoid inadvertent transmission of user-specified personal information. Trend Micro's antivirus includes optional parental control features. The field of Mac antivirus solutions spans a wide range of prices and of features. Choose the product that suits you best, but don't take too long deciding. The next Mac-specific threat is just around the corner. Note that we haven't tested these products, yet, but are currently examining the possibility of adding Mac antivirus testing to our Windows and Android security testing.

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avast! Free Antivirus for Mac

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ith the recent Flashback outbreak still not completely under control, more and more Mac

users are waking up to their need for antivirus protection. The latest avast! Free Antivirus for Mac (free) boasts a new GUI and automatic updates. It scans for malware on demand and in real time, and offers the bonus of Web reputation reporting. Like Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition version 8 (Free), Avast is specifically free for non-commercial use. Avira Free Mac Security (Free) has been released as a free product for any users, commercial or consumer. In addition to scanning the whole system, Avast can specifically scan local, network, or removable volumes, scan the user's home folder, or perform a custom scan. It specifically looks for Mac viruses, unlike Avira, Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99 direct), and VirusBarrier x6 ($49.95/year direct) which also check for

Windows viruses passing through the Mac. However, users can oversee both Mac and Windows systems using the free Avast Account system. Real-time protection comes in the form of three shields. The Web Shield ensures that you don't accidentally download malicious files. File System Shield checks all files on access. A malicious file that tries to launch will get quarantined instead. The Mail Shield checks your email communications and quashes any malicious attachments. You can view the level of activity for each shield in a realtime graph, or dig into reports on exactly what actions they've taken. Popup notifications keep you apprised of the program's protective activities in real time. You can limit popups to critical messages and control how long they stay onscreen.

may follow." The server-based Avira Management Console lets businesses install, configure, update, and monitor security from one central location. At present it only manages PCs

and Windows servers or Unix servers and workstations, but Mac support is pending. Use of the management console "requires a separate license file that will be available from Avira soon."

Avira Free Mac Security

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erman security firm Avira, maker of the popular Avira Free Antivirus 2012 (free, 4 stars), has released a new free product for Mac users. Avira Free Antivirus for Mac (free, direct) isn't limited to non-commercial users. Avira has made it "truly free for everyone—private consumers, professionals and even businesses—without exception and without any advertising or marketing pop-ups." The product's user interface "shields the casual user from configurations and complexity they may not want" but still allows power users to drill down for fine-tuned control. Press materials characterize it as "the best antivirus you'll never experience" and "a smart application that almost never needs attention." The user can launch a scan of the entire system, of common

malware attack points, or of a specific file or folder. In addition to on-demand scanning, a built-in scheduler runs periodic scans and keeps the product up to date. The real-time protection feature scans all files on access to make sure no malware sneaks onto the system between scheduled scans. According to Avira COO Travis Witteveen, "we’re seeing more viruses, worms and Trojans designed specifically for Mac, and also more Macs transporting Windows viruses when they collaborate with PCs." For that reason Avira Free Antivirus for Mac detects and removed Windows-oriented malware as well as malware aimed specifically at the Mac. Witteveen went on to proclaim that "we are giving away Avira Free Mac Security to everyone so that we can all live free, no matter what OS religion you

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Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

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ith the rise in malware that targets the Mac platform, more and more Mac users are seeking antivirus protection. Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($39.95) scans for threats on demand, on access, and on schedule, and also steers users away from phishing sites. It promises protection against all forms of Mac malware, including viruses, spyware, Trojans, keyloggers, worms, and adware. In addition, it will eliminate any Windows malware it finds, to ensure you don't accidentally transfer those files to a PC. Where F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac ($39.99) looks almost exactly like the corresponding Windows antivirus, Bitdefender is completely different in appearance. The main window for Bitdefender's PC antivirus uses a gray color scheme, with four large panels representing

various antivirus components. On the Mac, the background is white, and five big icons report security status using small green, yellow, or red overlay icons. Action items get their own row of smaller icons. Here you can manually launch a scan, check for updates, or adjust the product's configuration. This is also the place to manage any exclusions or quarantined files. Across the very bottom of the window you'll find buttons that, among other things, link to your Bitdefender account online and connect with tech support. By default, Bitdefender attempts to clean infected files and quarantines them if disinfection fails. Like Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99), it speeds subsequent scans by looking only at new or changed files.

Like most antivirus tools, Bitdefender can perform a full scan of the whole system, quickly scan the most likely malware hangouts, or scan any file or folder you choose. It offers a number of additional scan types, along with the ability to create and save user-

defined types. Among the other predefined options are a scan of active processes, the home folder, removable drives, and network drives. As with Panda Antivirus for Mac ($49.99), you can drag any file or folder onto the main window or dock icon to scan it.

documents, and desktop folder. You can add other folders to this source list. However, there's no option for a full scan of the entire drive. According to the FAQ, if you try to do so "there are some situations which can cause ClamXav to enter a neverending loop." Toolbar buttons let you start or stop the scanner, which lists found threats immediately. By default it makes an alert sound

for each threat and a sound when the scan finishes. At that time you can choose to delete the found threats or move them into a quarantine folder. Note that you must define the quarantine location before using the latter feature. If the scan source includes a store of email messages in mbox format and you have enabled email scanning, ClamXav will scan the mailbox for malware. However, the manual warns not to quarantine or delete threats found in email. Depending on your email client, doing so might quarantine or delete your entire mailbox. avast! Free Antivirus for Mac (Free), among others, handles email protection more smoothly by scanning incoming and outgoing messages for malware. You can schedule scans and updates to run every day, on weekdays, on weekends, or any

day of the week. The manual warns not to schedule two events at the same time. Typical antivirus utilities like Panda Antivirus for Mac ($49.99 direct) and Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac ($49.95 direct), and others supplement on-demand scanning by scanning every file on access. The ClamXav equivalent is a helper utility called ClamXav Sentry, but it's not quite the same. ClamXav Sentry simply watches the folders you specify and scans any new file that appears in them. It can also scan removable drives upon insertion. The manual warns that "if you have just inserted a large disk or mounted a large network volume" the sentry scan may take extra long. In that case you can abort the scan and run a manual scan at whatever time is convenient.

ClamXav

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ans of Open Source software will be happy to learn that the free ClamXav antivirus for Mac is powered by ClamAV, an Open Source project. Those not familiar with the Open Source concept may find using this tool takes a bit more hands-on effort than they're accustomed to. The simple interface lists locations to be scanned at the left, including your home,

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Comodo Antivirus for Mac

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hilosopher Blaise Pascal famously concluded that while we can't prove the existence of God, believing is a much better wager. If believe and you're wrong, you lose nothing; if you disbelieve and you're wrong, you lose eternal salvation. Diehard adherents to the "Macs don't get viruses" religion should consider

Pascal's wager. If you install a free, lightweight antivirus like Comodo Antivirus for Mac and malware never shows up, you've lost nothing. But if you reject protection and do get attacked, you could lose a lot. Both consumers and commercial users can get a free lifetime license to use Comodo. Like Panda Antivirus for Mac

($49.99 direct), it's designed to be a set-and-forget solution. It scans for malware on demand, on access, and on schedule. To keep its impact on system resources light, in the on-access scanner's default mode it skips scanning any file that was already scanned after the most recent update. If the on-access scanner detects a threat, it will pop up a notification and ask what to do. You can choose to clean the threat by disinfecting it (and deleting if disinfection fails) or just send it to quarantine. There are three options if you don't think the file should be removed. You can ignore it once, add it to your exclusions list, or submit it to Comodo as a false positive detection. You can run a full scan or a user-defined scan at any time, or check off days of the week for a scheduled scan. Like Panda

and Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac ($39.95 direct), Comodo lets you scan a specific file or folder by dragging it onto the main window or the dock icon. The product's summary screen shows current security status, including a timestamp for the latest scan and the latest update. A screen of antivirus tasks lets you take various actions: run a scan, manually check for updates, view quarantine or logs, submit a file for analysis, schedule a scan, or define a scan profile. If the product reports a problem with security status that's not cured by updating or running a scan, you can launch a built-in diagnostics routine. This routine verifies the program's files and Registry entries and also looks for incompatible software. When possible, it automatically fixes found problems.

F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac

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ou may find that looking at F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac ($39.99 direct) gives you a sense of dĂŠjĂ  vu. That's because its layout is exactly the same as that of F-Secure Anti-Virus 2012 ($39.99 direct for three licenses, 3 stars), the company's Windows-based antivirus. In both products, the main window dedicates three big panels to status, tasks, and statistics. A large icon at left uses icons and colors to visually represent your security status. A checkmark on green means everything's fine, while an "i" on blue indicates that the program wants to give you some information. If things aren't quite right, it changes to an exclamation mark on yellow; when there's real trouble you'll see an "x" on red. Clicking the status panel lets you get more details on security

status. Here you can also make any configuration changes needed to restore full security. From the scan panel you can manually launch a scan of your home folder or any folder you like. Wonder what the product has done for you lately? The statistics panel offers details. Unlike iAntivirus (Free) and Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99 direct), F-Secure also includes real-time protection against infestation by new malware. Any time a file gets accessed, it checks to make sure that file is safe. A malicious file will never get to launch. F-Secure takes care of such problems immediately, without asking for permission or confirmation. You simply get a notification of what it did. Modern Macs include a built-in system firewall, but this component is often turned off. Upon installation, F-Secure

warns if it detects a disabled firewall, and offers to turn it on. F-Secure Anti-Virus for Mac

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runs under Max OS X 10.5 and up. You can purchase it directly from F-Secure; a free trial is also available.


iAntivirus

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everal years ago PC Tools launched an antivirus tool for MacOS called iAntivirus. Around the same time, Symantec acquired PC Tools. The original PC Tools iAntivirus never really took off. The new Norton-branded iAntivirus (free) doesn't have all the features of the original, but it handles the essentials and focuses on protecting "your iPhoto, iTunes and all the other stuff on your Mac you can't live without." The breezy and very simple user interface lets you choose from four different scan types. You can scan the entire system, scan just your home folder, scan any selected file or folder, or check your Facebook wall for threats. IAntivirus scans for modern Mac malware, of course, but it will also seek and destroy any Windowsoriented threats, so they can't

get transferred accidentally to a vulnerable PC. To ensure up-to-date protection it automatically updates in the background. Like Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99 direct) scans for viruses but doesn't include real-time proactive protection. avast! Free Antivirus for Mac (Free) does include real-time protection. It scans strictly for Mac threats and doesn't attempt to detect Windows malware passing through. Other Norton products offer stronger Mac protection. Norton Antivirus for Mac can keep your Mac speedy by scanning only during idle time, and it checks files on access to stop threats the moment they appear. Norton Internet Security for Mac adds a firewall and warns when you visit websites that might be malicious or fraudulent.

Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac)

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ver the past few weeks, security anxiety is growing for Mac users. Yes, the current Mac OS includes XProtect, a simple antivirus tool, but malware has

been known to disable XProtect updates, rendering it useless. Mac users looking for a bit more protection can now obtain Kaspersky Virus Scanner ($9.99) from the Mac App Store. That's a

lifetime license, with no annual renewal required. This tool doesn't have the full malwarefighting power of Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac 2011, but it offers useful added protection.

Like the full-scale product, Kaspersky Virus Scanner offers on-demand scanning and daily updates. However, it doesn't get real-time updates from the cloud the way its big brother does, and it doesn't include real-time proactive detection. On the plus side, it uses less system resources. The low-cost scanner speeds subsequent scans by skipping files known to be safe, just as Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 ($59.95) does. It detects PC and Linux malware as well as Mac malware. Of course the nonMac threats can't actually run on your Mac, but eliminating them ensures you won't spread them to friends. Kaspersky Virus Scanner's user interface supports English, French, or German. The product is currently available from the Mac App Store for a one-time price of $9.99.

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Panda Antivirus for Mac

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ne thing's certain â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you won't confuse Panda Antivirus for Mac

($49.99, direct) with any other Mac antivirus. With its round, frisbee-like main window it's

one of a kind. This utility seeks and destroys Mac viruses, Trojans, worms, adware, scareware, dialers, and more. It also detects and removes viruses that target Windows and Unix, so your Mac doesn't become a carrier. And it checks for new malware signatures every day, in order to protect against new attacks. That round user interface doesn't leave a lot of room for textual information, so Panda uses color in a variety of ways. When malware signatures are up to date, the signature version displays in blue. If they're out of date it will change to yellow, orange, or red, depending on how badly outdated the signatures are. After a scan that found no threats, the entire round window glows green. If threats were found it changes to a menacing red. Where iAntivirus (Free) and

Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99 direct) only scan files on demand, Panda scans files on access, in real time. According to the manual, that means all you need to do for full protection is install the product. However, you can launch a full scan manually at any time. During a scan, one sector of the round window keeps a tally of files analyzed and another sector displays a representation of the file currently being analyzed. Clicking that second sector expands it to show the actual filename and the last part of the file path. You can choose "Scan Custom Location" from the Scan menu to scan a specific file or folder. However, it's even easier to just drag the file or folder onto the middle of Panda's window. Dragging onto its icon in the Finder also works.

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition version 8

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ith Mac malware attacks more and more common, antivirus protection is a must. The ten most dangerous Mac viruses aren't the only threats, and Sophos's Graham Cluley has traced the history of Mac malware all the way back to 1982. In light of the growing problem, Sophos has released an updated Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition version 8 (Free). Sophos scans all files on access, eliminating any malicious files before they can launch. At any time you can scan the entire Mac or just specific folders. Sophos can immediately delete found threats or put them into quarantine; you choose. New in the current edition, you can set up a schedule of regular scans. Like VirusBarrier x6 ($49.95/ year), Sophos can send an email when it encounters a threat.

The adddition of scheduling brings Sophos's feature set on par with Avira Free Mac Security (Free). Note that where Avira is free for all users, Sophos's free product is strictly for noncommercial use. Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99) cuts resource use by omitting real-time cloud updates and real-time protection. Sophos's new cloudbased Live Protection feature "gives you a direct connection to SophosLabs for the very latest threat information." This feature uses real-time lookups to catch the very newest threats. In addition, Sophos has redesigned the user interface to make it "cleaner and easier to work with than ever before."

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Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac

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ewly nervous Mac owners looking for antivirus protection have quite a few choices. Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac ($49.95) offers full-scale protection against viruses, Trojans, spyware, and other types of malware. It can steer users away from dangerous or fraudulent websites, and it even includes a simple parental control system. At a minimum, a Mac antivirus must scan and remove malicious programs on demand. Some, including Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99) and Norton's iAntivirus (Free), stop there. Trend Micro adds real-time protection against incoming threats, eliminating malware before it can launch. The program's straightforward main window includes two big buttons, one to launch a scan and another to check for updates. The update button

isn't strictly necessary, as the product keeps itself updated automatically. From this main window you can also enable or disable Web threat detection, real-time protection, and automatic updates. As with most antivirus programs, you can choose between a full scan of the entire system and a smart scan that looks specifically at known malware hangouts. There's also an option to scan any folder or file. Trend Micro protects against Web threats, warning users who inadvertently try to visit malicious or fraudulent sites. A similar feature in avast! Free Antivirus for Mac (Free) rates Web sites by reputation. VirusBarrier x6 ($49.95/year) offers also protection against phishing and malicious sites, and adds protection against such Web threats as crosssite scripting attacks, drive-

VirusBarrier x6

by downloads, & malicious JavaScript. The Trend Micro Smart Protection Network checks over 50 million IP addresses daily to identify dangerous ones. Trend Micro's three levels of Web protection rely on this network to identify bad sites. At the Low level, it will only block sites that have been confirmed as fraudulent or malicious. At the High level it blocks anything suspicious, even if it hasn't been confirmed. At the in-between

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ffering antivirus protection since 1997, Intego is the only major security vendor focusing solely on Macs and Apple products. VirusBarrier x6 ($49.95) protects Macs against viruses, spyware, Trojans and all kinds of malware. It also includes phishing protection, a twoway firewall, and "antivandal" protection against hack attacks. You can run a full scan any time, or define one or more scheduled scans. Like Avira Free Mac Security (Free), VirusBarrier x6 will detect and eliminate Windows malware, so your Mac doesn't become a carrier for PCs on the network. Naturally virus signatures are updated frequently and automatically. VirusBarrier x6 watches for threats in real time, to prevent malware attacks before they start. It can also use behavioral analysis to detect threats based on abnormal behaviors.

Normal level it strikes a balance, blocking dangerous sites without "aggressively blocking minor security risks." If children use the Mac you may want to enable content filtering. You can choose to block sites in a custom collection of categories, or just go for one of the three predefined profiles: Child, Teenager, or Mature Teenager. Parental control settings are locked using the Mac Admin password, so the kids can't just turn it off.

The low-cost Kaspersky Virus Scanner (for Mac) ($9.99) will scan on demand but doesn't include real-time protection. To scan a single file or folder, just drop it onto the center of VirusBarrier x6's main window. You can also select a specific drive or folder for scanning. As a bonus, if you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or AppleTV connected to the Mac you can scan those as well. VirusBarrier x6 can optionally send an email anytime it detects a threat. You can choose five levels of firewall protection: no restrictions, no network, client with local server, server only, or client only. As you shift between these choices, a graphical representation of your computer, your local network, and the Internet clarifies which connections are permitted or blocked. The firewall's advanced mode allows more detailed control.

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The Best Stuff TABLETS & SMARTPHONES Apple iPad (3rd Generation)

OUR RATING KEY EXCELLENT | GOOD |

VERY GOOD FAIR |

POOR

LG Optimus Net Dual SIM P698 Pros Good build quality, good feature-sets, dual-SIM, and good price tag. cons No flash LED & no front camera. verdict The LG Optimus Net Dual SIM P698 is a bargain to sum it all up in one word. The smartphone managed to impresses us with its features and is definitely a good option for those looking for feature-rich Android-based smartphone at a low price point. $210 | Al Sayegh Brothers | 800-54 (LG) | http:// lg.com/ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine April 2012 Cover.

HTC ONE V Pros Breathtaking display. The best app selection of any tablet. Excellent 3G and 4G network capability. cons No camera settings. 4G data usage is difficult to monitor. Apps are starting to strain the processor. verdict With a gorgeous ultra-high-resolution display and the widest selection of apps you can get, the new iPad is the best large-screen tablet around. $499 - $829 | Apple Computer | www.apple.com/ipad | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine May 2012 Cover.

SAMSUNG SERIES 7 SLATE PC Pros Laptop capabilities in a tablet form factor. Core i5 CPU and 4GB of RAM. 128GB SSD. cons No tether or storage for stylus. Without the dock & keyboard, the tablet loses some of its functional appeal. verdict The Samsung Series 7 Slate fills the gap between wimpy Windows tablets and clunky convertible laptops, providing a powerful processing and portable solution. $1358 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine June 2012 Cover.

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Pros Great built quality. Fantastic camera. cons Non-removable battery. verdict If you’re looking for a budget Android phone that utilises the latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, the HTC One V is a good choice. $328 | HTC Middle East & Africa | +971 4 2991771 www.htc.com/mea-en | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 7.7 Pros Thin and light aluminium construction. Beautiful Super AMOLED Plus screen. Outstanding battery life. cons Doesn’t ship with the latest version of Android. verdict The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is one of the most beautifully designed Android tablets you can find, offering up solid performance and a stunning Super AMOLED Plus display, but it’s simply too expensive compared to other tablets in the market. $733 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 www.samsung.com/ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover


Apple Macbook Pro With Retina Display Pros Brilliant Retina display. Thin profile. Good port selection. Discrete graphics. Speedy storage. Has 8GB of memory. Ready for Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

NOTEBOOKS Sony Vaio VPC-F237HG/B

cons Ethernet use requires adapter. Not all apps currently work well with Retina display. verdict With a higher-resolution display, thin chassis, and up-to-date components, the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display is the new king of high-end desktop replacement laptops. Starts at $2199 | Apple Computer www.apple.com/appletv | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

Lenovo U300S Pros First-class design. Excellent design. WiDi.

Pros Impressive performance. Handsome 1080p HD screen. Spacious keyboard. 3D is gorgeous. cons A mite pricey. Graphics fall short of full-resolution gaming nirvana.

cons No memory card slot or Ethernet port. Sealed battery. Premium price.

verdict The Sony Vaio VPC-F237HG/B is a potent quad-core desktop replacement laptop that targets multimedia buffs with a striking 1080p screen.

verdict The Lenovo IdeaPad U300S, Lenovo’s entry into the ultrabook arena, is as well-engineered as you’d expect, but it’s not a knockout blow to its competitors.

Approx. $3700 | Sony Gulf FZE | 800 7669 | www.sony-mea.com/vaio Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

$650 | Lenovo Middle East | +971 4 4294300 www.lenovo.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine May 2012 Cover.

Lenovo ThinkPad T420s Pros One of the lightest 14-inch business laptops. Phenomenal typing experience. Excellent battery life.

Samsung Series 5 530U4B-S01 Pros Superb specifications. Excellent performance. Top notch design. cons None to mention.

verdict The Lenovo ThinkPad T420s is an amazing device when you realize that its power, feature set, and battery yields are usually found in much heavier laptops.

verdict The Samsung Series 530U4B-S01 Notebook is a stylish and incredibly slim notebook that comes with an optical drive. A must have for travellers and people on the go.

Approx. $1518 | Lenovo Middle East | +971 4 4294300 www.lenovo.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

Approx. $998 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www.samsung.com/ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

cons A backlitkeyboard would be nice.

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ACCESSORIES

Panasonic Sc-Hc27gS-K

BANG & OLUFSEN BEOLIT 12 Pros Decent feature set. Good sound quality. cons No AirPlay support.

Pros Excellent sound output. Portable, retro-feel design. AirPlay support. cons None to mention. verdict The Bang & Olufsen Beolit 12 is one of the best sounding portable speakers we’ve tested. It’s on the premium side, but its elegance, style and performance is what matters. $870 | Bang & Olufsen Middle FZ LLC | www.bang-olufsen.com Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

DENON DHT-1312XP

verdict The Panasonic SC-HC27GS-K is a good pair of speakers that should fit nicely into any living room. $84 | Al Futtaim Panatech | +971 4 8007262 www.panasonic.ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

LaCie LittLe Big Disk Pros Fast throughput. Compact form factor. Sturdy construction. cons High price per gigabyte. Noisy fan. Thunderbolt only. Thunderbolt cable costs extra. verdict The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt (240GB SSD) is currently the least expensive way to obtain Thunderbolt speeds for your late-model Mac.

$899.99 | PRO TECHnology Co. LLC | +971 4 3435501 | www.protech-me.com Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

MONSTER INSPIRATION Pros Strong bass response. Doesn’t distort even at top volumes. Not only is the cable removable, but the headphones come with three cables total. Works with iPhones and most other mobile phones. Pros Excellent sound quality. Inexpensive for this type of equipment. cons Clunky speaker build. Messy cables. verdict The Denon DHT-1312XP provides a solid performance in providing the best possible sound output for your Blu-rays and other devices. For its price, it’s highly recommended. $435 | V. V. & Sons | +971 4 8132541 | www.denon.com Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

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cons Exaggerated highs and lows won’t appeal to audiophiles seeking flat response. Removable headband and overall design is not for everyone. verdict With super-crisp highs and booming lows, the Monster Inspiration pair of headphones offers a very sculpted sound signature that never distorts. Approx. $300 | www.monsterinspiration.com Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.


Kingmax SmP35 Client

Pros Super-fast performance. Affordable price.

COMPONENTS Zotac GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition

cons None to mention. verdict The Kingmax SMP35 Client is one fast SSD that delivers great performance at an affordable price. $207 | Golden Systems Middle East FZCO | +971 4 8863330 | www.kingmax.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine June 2012 Cover.

Intel Core I7-3770K Pros Good performance for the price. Highly energy efficient. Supports DirectX 11. Backward compatible with previousgeneration motherboards. cons Offers only minor performance improvements on highest-end last-generation CPU. Graphics still not comparable to what you get with a discrete video card.

Pros Superb performance. Cool and quiet. Includes Assassin’s Creed games. cons None to mention. verdict The Zotac GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition is another great graphics card that pushes the boundaries of performance superbly.

verdict The new flagship CPU of Intel’s mainstream line, the Core i7-3770K blends speed and power usage in one impressive package.

$598 | Golden Systems Middle East | +971 4 8863300 | www.zotac.com Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

$313 | Intel Middle East | +971 4 3692666 www.intel.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

MSI R7970 LIghtnIng

SEAGATE BARRACUDA (3 TB)

Pros Fast speed and performance. cons None to mention. verdict The Seagate Barracuda isn’t the fastest HD on the market, but its decent transfer speeds and large space make ideal for storing your precious data. $258 | Seagate EMEA | +971 6 5576310 www.seagate.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.

Pros Great performance. Easy to customise and configure. cons None to mention. verdict With a high end chipset and a high end performance, the MSI R7970 Lightning is one beast that simply delivers. Approx. $599.99 | MSI | +886 3234 5599 | http://ar.msi.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine June 2012 Cover.

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CAMERAS & DSLRS

Fujifilm Finepix T300

Nikon D4 Pros Full frame sensor. Every physical control you could ever want. Integrated vertica grip. Shoots at 10 frames per second. Very low image noise. Uncompressed 1080p video output. cons Big and heavy. 16-megapixel resolution. Only one CF card slot. verdict The Nikon D4 is a pro shooter’s dream, with controls galore, and a big, bright optical viewfinder. Approx. $5999.95 (Body only) | Grand Stores, LLC | +971 4 2823700 www.grandstores.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine June 2012 Cover

FUJIFILM X-PRO1

Pros Inexpensive. Sharp 10X zoom lens. Good image and video quality. cons None in particular.

verdict The Fujifilm Finepix T300 packs an impressive 10x zoom lens and is capable of capturing nice photos.

$156 | Grand Stores| +971 4 2170700 www.grandstores.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine May 2012 Cover.

Panasonic Lumix 3D-1 Pros Compact size. 3D support. Excellent point and shoot performance. cons Non-3D display. Expensive. verdict The Panasonic Lumix might be on the premium side for its price, but the decent set of features including the 3D support makes it a good point-and-shoot. Approx. $500 | Al Futtaim Panatech | +971 4 8007262 | www.panasonic.ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine May 2012 Cover. 

Nikon D800 Pros Excellent high ISO performance. High-resolution full-frame sensor. Fast focus & performance. Excellent viewfinder. Pros Decent design. Excellent photo and video shooting. cons Expensive verdict Despite the steep price of the Fujifilm X-Pro1, it’s a solid performing camera that you should definitely try. $1712 | Grand Stores | +971 4 2170700 | www.grandstores.com Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine July 2012 Cover

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cons Slower to focus in Live View. verdict The full-frame Nikon D800 manages to deliver 36 megapixels of resolution, without sacrificing image quality at high ISOs. Starts at $2999.95 (Body only) | Grand Stores, LLC +971 4 2823700 | www.grandstores.com Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine August 2012 Cover.


Oppo BD P-93

DISPLAYS & BLU-RAY PLAYERS

Pros A wealth of high-end features including 3D support and all the connections a home-theatre enthusiast could ever want. Top-notch video processing. Very fast.

LG IPS236V

cons Expensive. Larger than most other players. verdict Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll cost you twice as much as other high-end Blu-ray players, but the Oppo BDP-93 delivers enthusiast features along with top-notch speed and video-quality performance. $499 | Oppo | www.oppodigital.com Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine February 2012 Cover.

HARMAN KARDON BDS 570

verdict The LG15EL9500 OLED TV manages to showcase Pros Plethora of connections. of the best images we have 3D capable Blu-ray drive. seen from this type of screen. While it is mainly Small and compact. geared towards the luxury cons user, the price is still lesser Might be expensive for than other OLED TVs some. available. Approx. $1189 | Harman House | +971 4 8873336 | www.harmankardon.com | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine January 2012 Cover.

LG Cinema 3D TV Dm2350a

Pros Very good colour and text quality. Wide viewing angles. Relatively affordable. Good greyscale performance. cons Tilt only stand. Stingy feature set. Some motion blur. verdict The LG IPS236V display brings In-Plane Switching technology to the desktop at a reasonable price. This 23-inch monitor offers rich colours and excellent viewing angles, but you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a lot of features. Approx. $367 | Sharaf DG | 800344357 (Toll free) | www.lg.com/ae Rating: | Reviewed: PC Magazine June 2012 Cover.

Samsung HDTV Monitor TA950 Pros 3D support. Elegant design. Includes TV tuner. cons While the 3D is smooth, active shutter glasses still tend to induce minor headaches when used over a long period of time.

Pros Good design and features. cons Average sounding speakers. verdict $380 | Sharaf DG 800344357 (Toll free) www.lg.com/ae

$380 | Sharaf DG 800344357 (Toll free) www.lg.com/ae Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine November 2011 Cover.

verdict The Samsung TA950 Series 9 3D monitor is one of the best designed monitors we have seen in a while. Despite the flaws in 3D viewing, it is still offers brilliant picture quality and excellent customisation.

$951 | Samsung Middle East | +971 4 3399607 | www. samsung.com/ae | Rating: Reviewed: PC Magazine November 2011 Cover.

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Game News GameDock Takes iPhone Gaming Old-School

Minecraft Tops 3 Million Xbox 360 Sales

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ildly popular PC building game Minecraft set off the streamers this week when its Xbox 360 version proved just as beloved, surpassing 3 million in sales. Gamemaker Mojang founder Markus “Notch” Persson tweeted the news recently, writing “I got told Minecraft for XBLA passed three million sales today!” The Xbox 360 version was unwrapped May 9. An ever-growing number of registered users continues ticking upward on Minecraft.net, where more than 35 million people have signed up to play, and almost 6.7 million purchased the game. It’s no surprise that it took just two months for

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ith all the waves that new, increasingly sophisticated iPhone games have been making and are continuing to make, there is one genre of mobile gaming with an appeal that will not be left in the dust. We’re talking about vintage game remakes, ranging all the way from the PlayStation back down to the NES. Enter GameDock. While you can’t shake the oldschool feeling of playing classic decades-old games in the palm of your hand, it you want to truly relive those past experiences, GameDock is for you. It’s a docking station for your iPhone that looks kind of like a wildly modified NES system. In front are two controller ports for specially programmed NESstyle gamepads. And in the back, it plugs into a TV. Right now, it’s just a Kickstarter project, with $100 set as the price for the unit. The controllers and gamepads will set you back another $25. And at least for the time being, the set is compatible only with iCade-compatible games.

the video game to reach such great sales heights, since it sold more than a million copies in its first six days on the market, enjoying record-breaking first-day numbers, Gaming Blend reported in May. Mojang released an Xbox 360 edition update last week, with a slew of new features and fixes, including the addition of stackable fences, lighting improvements, sugar cane, cacti, and clay, as well as the debugging of the flint and steel tooltip, Netherracks, and non-saving games. Minecraft is an openworld building game where players can roam the game, collecting materials and constructing wherever and whatever they want. A “pocket edition” of the game was released last August, bringing the pixilated game to Android and iOS devices. The Xbox 360 version is in fact simply an older version of the PC game, which has gained more updates over the years. Still, players are willing to drop about $20 (the equivalent of 1,600 Microsoft points) to purchase the console game.

EA Settles Football Game Class-Action Suit for $27 Million

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lectronic Arts has reached a $27 million settlement over price-fixing charges for its top football games. According to the law firm of Hagens Berman, which is representing the plaintiffs, the deal sets up a $27 million fund for those affected by EA’s alleged scheme. Consumers stand to receive a refund of $2-7 per game. The case dates back to 2008, when EA was sued for negotiating exclusive license agreements with the National Football League (NFL), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the Arena Football League (AFL). The deals gave EA the exclusive right to produce football video games with the teams, players and other assets of the NFL, AFL and NCAA, according to the lawsuit. This violated antitrust and consumer protection laws and resulted in customers being overcharged for the games, the firm said. The deal also bans EA from signing exclusive license arrangements with the AFL for five years or renewing its current

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contract, which expires in 2014, for at least five years. Under the deal, which still requires court approval, those who purchased a sixth-generation game for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, or Xbox could receive up to $6.79 per game, while those who bought seventh-generation titles for the Wii, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3 can get up to $1.95 per game. “After more than four years of hardfought litigation, we have reached a settlement that we strongly believe is fair to consumers,” said attorney Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.


OnLive Games Coming to Ouya Android Console

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uya, the Android-based gaming console that has secured more than $5 million in funding from Kickstarter, has a new partner: online gaming firm OnLive. “We are pleased to announce that OnLive will be available on Ouya at launch, extending and building on our commitment to make the best games available to everyone, everywhere,” Bruce Grove, general manager of Ouya, said in a blog post. Los Angeles-based Ouya emerged earlier this month with a Kickstarter campaign aimed at developing a sub-$100, Android-powered video game console that offers free-to-play titles. Initially, it looked to raise $950,000 in 30 days, but by the end of day one, it had surpassed $1 million and now has more than $5.6 million with 12 days left to go. OnLive’s Grove said he was excited by the idea that console gaming might become “more available and open.” “Ouya is rethinking the console business, making waves by using standard technology to make gaming for your living room accessible, affordable and more innovative than ever,” Grove said. “In OnLive’s case, we pioneered a groundbreaking, cloudbased system that instantly delivers games to any device on demand.” OnLive said that once the Ouya ships, OnLive will provide on-demand access to

the games from more than 80 publishers. Gamers can start playing on the Ouya and pick up on the PC, smartphone, or tablet. OnLive promised free, 30-minute demos “for nearly every game in our ever-growing library,” including Ravaged and Darksiders II. Last week, Ouya said its first official game will be Human Element, a post-zombie apocalyptic game from game developer Robotoki. “Robotoki is the first studio to commit to building a game exclusively for OUYA: an episodic prequel that will set the stage for his eventual release of Human Element in 2015,” Ouya said. Recently, Ouya released new images of its console and controller. “Please note that the design is still in progress - but we couldn’t hold out any longer. We needed you to know that the controller has two handles. You can hold it in both hands,” the company said.

Ubisoft Updates DRM Following Malware Intrusion

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ame publisher Ubisoft has already caught flack for its games’ digital rights management (DRM), which requires an Internet connection to play, but recently the company felt some heat when it’s always-connected DRM opened some players to malware. Ubisoft’s Uplay system – which checks that a game is legal, and provides game achievements, multiplayer, and additional content – was found to contain a virus. The company responded quickly, issuing an update the same day that PCMag’s

sister site, Geek.com, reported the news. Prior to that update, however, game installations were also accompanied by a browser plug-in that allowed any website continued access to and control over a machine without the user’s permission, Geek.com said. Ubisoft updated Uplay to the current 2.0.4 version today, and fixed the browser plugin. “Ubisoft takes security issues very seriously, and we will continue to monitor all reports of vulnerabilities within our software and take swift action to resolve such issues,” the company said in a statement. Google information security engineer Tavis Ormandy first discovered the malware while downloading Assassin’s Creed: Revelations onto his laptop. Uplay carries 21 titles, including five Assassin’s Creed games, three Tom Clancy games, plus a number of popular titles.

Square Enix Reveals Gamescom Android Lineup

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inal Fantasy publisher Square Enix is mostly known for its sophisticated, multi million-dollar console game projects, but at the upcoming Gamescom trade show it will have a definitive presence to show off its upcoming games for a much more low-budget platform: Android. The headline title for the company’s mobile roadmap is Final Fantasy Dimensions. In addition to the roleplaying goodness of yet another Final Fantasy title, Square Enix will also be showcasing a Bejeweled-on-steroids game called Qwirkle and another match-three game called Motley Blocks. In addition, numerical puzzle game KooZac, classic platforming title SolaRola, and brain training mini-game compilation Mensa Academy will also be on display. It goes to show that Square Enix is as bullish as ever in the mobile gaming space, with more and more attention slowly shifting there, though of course its high-end $60 PS3 and Xbox 360 games aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

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The

Greatest of All Time

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The Atari 2600 was once attached to millions of televisions, providing 8-bit joy to the first generation of gamers. These are the ten titles no home would have been without during that console’s heyday.

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orty years ago today, Atari was officially incorporated. Established a year earlier, in 1971, by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney as Syzygy Engineering, the company went on to become the dominant force in household console gaming. Atari truly set the stage for today’s Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii consoles. By 1976, Bushnell hired Cyan Engineering to work on a project that would let users play all the then-current Atari games. That project spawned the Atari Video Computer System (VCS), later renamed the Atari 2600. He sold Atari to Warner Communications to raise enough money to bring the console to market, but it was worth it (at the time). Atari became wildly popular thanks to the cartridges it and other developers sold for at-home play. So popular, in fact, that its

logo was featured prominently in the sci-fi film Blade Runner (which is celebrating its own 30th anniversary this week). The flick indicated that Atari would still be thriving in the “far-flung future” of 2019. Unfortunately, the future as predicted lacks more than replicants. In 1982, the video game market crash began and the industry’s revenues began contracting rapidly. This may have been caused by the many third-party junk consoles that flooded the market, but Atari took a hit, losing half a billion dollars and two-thirds the price on its stock. After a lot of restructuring, failed reboots, and lawsuits, Atari eventually became a a division of Hasbro in 1998, then a part of IESA in 2001 (where it became Infogrames Interactive). IESA changed its name to Atari, SA, in 2009. Bushnell returned to serve on the company’s board in 2010.

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Does that mean Atari could rise to be a powerhouse by the end of this decade, in time for the Blade Runner prophecy to come true? Probably not. Besides, the competition is fierce and Atari would never, ever be as cool as it was when it supported our favorite classic games. They may be 8-bit, pixelated, and woefully underpowered, but they were, for their time, all spectacular. Here, in order, are what we consider the top ten greatest Atari games of all time.

1

Pitfall! This Activision masterpiece was the console’s first side-scroller, moving your character left or right as you traversed the jungle filled with gator-infested swamps, treasure, and the occasional other pitfalls.

The second-best selling game for the 2600, Pitfall! (1982) sold four million copies. Only Pac-Man, from Namco, sold more with seven million copies, but that criticallyderided port was poor in comparison to its arcade predecessor. Pitfall!, however, was totally original and deserving of its place in history.

2

Yars’ Revenge Yars’ Revenge (1982) was Atari’s top-selling title for the 2600. Why was it so successful? Because the gameplay, graphics, and even the sound design were intense. You play a Yar, trying to nibble or shoot through a barrier to reach the Qotile who you must destroy.

You have to get through before the barrier turns into a swirl that can take you out. The pulsing rainbow neutral zone could protect the Yar, and, possibly, hypnotize you.


3

Missile Command Missile Command (1981) didn’t have a trackball like the arcade version, but still provided hours of fun. You moved the target across the screen to the incoming missiles, praying your guns could take them out in time, before total destruction rained down—which it typically did.

three dragons, Yorgle, Grundle, and Rhindle, 8-bit terrors that resembled ducks. You had to poke the dragon with your sword avatar to vanquish them and get the treasure.

6

Atlantis Imagic’s Atlantis (1982) was also like Space Invaders, but players protected a city under the sea. There was really no way to win at Atlantis completely; the game only ended when you quit or when your seven bases were destroyed, inevitably.

graphics may have you thinking a biplane should look like more than a sock with a stick jammed through the middle, but zipping along the jaggie clouds or driving tanks amid the field of carefully placed barriers felt pretty magical in the 70s.

9 4

Asteroids Asteroids (1979) was another port from an arcade game. It didn’t quite look like the original, as you shot at big, solid blobs of asteroids with the nipple-shaped ship that jetted around the screen, moving off one side and returning on the other. But it was a big hit because, quite simply, the gameplay was perfect.

Then, a submarine took off with survivors, setting the stage for a sequel. You didn’t do any targeting with Atlantis like you did with Missile Command. Rather, this game was all about timing your strikes just right as the Gorgons came to destroy.

Kaboom! Activision’s Kaboom! (1981) became another million seller. The game starred a mad bomber who dropped bombs, which the player caught with three buckets at the bottom of the screen.

7

Demon Attack Imagic—a company that started with an “I” before starting with an “I” was cool—released Demon Attack (1982) for several consoles and computers, including Commodores, TRS-80, and of course, Atari 2600. It was based in part on the Galaxian arcade game.

5

Miss a bomb, lose a bucket. Original owners of the game who scored more than 3,000 points could mail in a picture of their screen to get membership to the Activision club. (No bombs or buckets provided to members.)

10

Adventure There’s little argument that Adventure (1979) started the action-adventure game genre. It even created “Easter eggs,” those little surprises that hard-core gamers find as they play (in this case, the actual credits for the game’s creators).

Space Invaders One of the first shooting games ever, Space Invaders’ lines of lurking aliens appeared in arcades before it became the first arcade game officially licensed for a console. Gameplay was very Space Invader-y, as you use a canon on the planet surface to fire at demons above you. Why there are demons on an alien planet, I’m not sure, but it is a cool name. Atari actually sued Imagic since Demon Attack looked like Phoenix, a game to which it owned the rights. They settled in time for DA to be a big hit.

This Atari game was like a graphical version of the text games popular at the time and Adventure went on to become a major million-selling hit. It’s still famous for the

8

Combat Combat (1976) was one of the first Atari games. It contained 27 games in one, each representing different forms of combat, but all using tanks, jets, or biplanes as vehicles with weapons capability. Today, the 8-bit

In fact, Atari 2600 may owe its success to the port, as the game quadrupled sales of the 2600 console in 1980, making it the first game to sell more than one million cartridges. Face it: without Space Invaders, we may not be playing games at home. Thank you, creeping alien overlords.

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Pros:

Great story.

Cons:

Repetitive gameplay. Spoiler-filled storyline – especially if you haven’t seen the film.

Bottom Line:

The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t the best Spider-Man game we played, but it manages to give a fun gameplay experience.

PS3 | $73 | Red Entertainment | +971 4 2997980 | www.theamazingspidermangame.com | Rating:

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he Amazing Spider-Man game is of course the tie in to the new ‘reboot’ by Columbia Pictures. The game is pretty much like any movie tie-in game, though it has some good parts. It is also worth noting that this game takes place after the film – so expect a spoiler-filled gameplay. In the game, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy sneak into the restricted areas of Oscorp after hours, where Gwen reveals her suspicions that they may be continuing Curt Connors’ cross-species experiments. In the process, they are caught by Alistair Smythe, the new director, who explains that some scientists were indeed secretly continuing Connors’ cross-species experiments by injecting animals with human DNA; said cross-species carry a powerful virus and are currently being shipped to the bio-lab for disposal. At that moment, the cross-species all react to Peter’s presence and escape, infecting all of the scientists, including Smythe and Gwen, in the process. Peter quickly dons his

Spider-Man suit and gets the infected to quarantine, fighting off Smythe’s security robots in the process, but is unable to stop the cross-species from escaping into the city. To combat the cross-species, Alistair Smythe develops a large group of robots but winds up causing more harm to the city than good. It’s now up to Spider-Man to save the city from both the cross-species experiments and robots. Spider-Man villains Rhino, Iguana, Felicia Hardy, Vermin and Scorpion are featured as the main antagonists of the game. The Lizard also has a role in the game. The game has an open world/freeroaming concept. The combat system uses a free flow design and counter attacks. Players can collect full, vintage comic books, such as Amazing Fantasy #15, as they progress in the game. The game uses a unique damage system, where the more damage you take, the more the suit is damaged – though after you return to the main hub

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of the game, it is repaired. By finding different spider symbols in certain parts of New York and taking photos of them, alternate costumes can be unlocked, such as “Big Time” Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider (Kaine), a colour-inverted version of the Future Foundation costume, two exclusive costumes, the Sam Raimi trilogy red and blue suit and the Spider-Man 3 black suit, a new version of the black suit and a party hat for Spidey’s 50th anniversary, which can be changed when the player goes to Peter Parker’s apartment. The whole story of this game was great, and while it kind of spoils the movie itself, it manages to give a different experience in playing the game compared to watching the movie. Graphics isn’t the best, and the sound pretty much does the job. The gameplay can be repetitive at times, but the boss levels prove to be challenging. Overall, it isn’t the best Spider-Man game we played, but it manages to give a fun gameplay experience.


Pros:

Fun, varied contests. Accessible controls that don’t rely on button-mashing. Solid TV-style presentation.

Cons:

Lacks real-world athletes. A few character models take a trip to the uncanny valley. A few bland events.

Bottom Line:

London 2012 captures the highs and lows of the Olympic Summer Games using varied control schemes that won’t wreck your fingers, but the lack of real-world athletes deflates the experience a bit.

Xbox 360 | $73 | Red Entertainment | +971 4 2997980 | www.diablo3.com | Rating:

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he lengthily named London 2012: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games puts players in the position to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in over 30 world-class competitions. London 2012 features 36 nations competing for Olympic gold in such varied competitions as the 100 meter dash, archery, skeet shooting, table tennis, and weightlifting. When you select a nation to represent, London 2012 displays relevant background information such as the country’s first year of Olympic participation, total number of medals won since, and the sports in which it excels. Unfortunately, London 2012 lacks real-world athlete names (like Usain Bolt), so players spoiled by FIFA Soccer 12 and Madden NFL 12’s painstaking player recreations won’t feel like they are playing a true Olympic game. That said, you can edit characters’ names and appearances, so if you’re diligent and have the time, you can recreate your favourite athletes. Each in-game day you can choose to

participate in a handful of events. You can opt to play a tutorial before each event to get the flow of the mechanics, or dive straight in—the latter isn’t recommended. London 2012 focuses on rhythm and precision, not button-mashing, so if you leap into the game with a button on rapidfire, you won’t medal. This is exemplified in the racing events where you tap a button to fill a momentum meter. Keep it in the green and your sprinter runs at a fast, steady pace; have the meter go red by pressing the button too rapidly and she or he will burnout. Swimming works in a similar time-based fashion but you use analogue sticks instead of buttons. It’s truly a refreshing change of pace. That said, some of the simplified controls lack a certain pizzazz. The gymnastic events are quick-time events, which essentially sees you tapping buttons in time with their onscreen appearances. Some will appreciate the simplified controls, but I found them a bit too simple. London 2012 also supports the Kinect and PlayStation Move motion

peripherals. I played the game using Kinect (it supports a dozen events), and found the controls hit or miss, depending on the event. Sega includes multiple modes to keep gameplay fresh. Besides the single player, local multiplayer (up to 4 players), and online multiplayer modes (8 players) there’s Event Play where you pick and play a group of sports in four-player competition, and Party Play that lets you play one-off events. You can also save these event “playlists” so you can load them up and continue playing at a later time. London 2012 is a solid title that manages to capture some of the competitive glory that is the Summer Olympics. It is, essentially, a collection of mini-games, so there isn’t much connection between events even in career mode. The game excels in multiplayer modes—either online or local—as the computer competition ranges from pushover to tough-as-nails. If you’re looking to live the Olympic thrill, London 2012 is a silver-medal game for the less athletically inclined.

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Pros:

More challenging than Angry Birds but just as addictive. A hundred challenges for only $0.99. Create and share your own challenge boards.

Cons:

Too many boring, easy challenges to overcome before it gets fun. Infinite chances to succeed per level lessens fun.

Bottom Line:

If your Angry Birds addiction is wearing off, Amazing Alex is a fun, more challenging alternative.

iOS | $0.99 | Available at the Apple App Store| www.amazingalex.com |

A

mazing Alex topped Apple’s App Store chart for paid apps almost immediately after its release. That’s unheard of—did iPhone users know something I didn’t? Absolutely. After spending some time on Rovio’s followup to its former app “drug” Angry Birds, I discovered that Amazing Alex was just as addictive as, but also more cerebral and complex than, its predecessor. There’s no flinging or violence against animals in this game. In Amazing Alex you rearrange toys and household items to create a Rube Goldberg machine. As an item drops on your design, it sets off a chain reaction that sends existing objects ricocheting off each other; your goal is to collect the three stars located in every challenge board by hitting them with these flying objects. For $0.99, you get loads of game time and a good mix-up of challenges to keep your noodle flexed. You just have to get through a few too many minutes’ worth of boring, easy challenges first, and

then the fun finally begins. Fortunately for most of the world’s smartphone users, Rovio launched iOS and Android versions of the app at the same time. I tested Amazing Alex on an iPhone 4s, but with all the objects on screen it’d be more fun playing this on a larger screen. It doesn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment, but I wasn’t excited about the storyline or simplistic graphics. Amazing Alex puts you in the role of a genericlooking kid named Alex, a “whiz kid with a boundless imagination and a houseful of fun toys” which is far less creative (and controversial) than the violent birds in Angry Birds. Every new challenge board presents you with a few items: three point-amassing stars, random objects to build your Rube Goldberg device, and a trigger object—like a balloon or magic eight ball—that starts off the chain reaction. Drag objects around your screen to rearrange re-orient them. When you hit the “play” button, the trigger object starts your Domino effect. Unlike in

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Angry Birds, you can take as many turns as you need to pass each challenge board. It’d be more fun to limit this, however. What keeps this game interesting is that every level presents different objects with different levels of kinetic energy. After you pass the classroom level (containing 16 challenges), the app unlocks a fifth level, My Levels, where you can create your own challenge boards and share them with the Amazing Alex community. Once you’ve created a level, which can take anywhere from 30 seconds to hours depending on how difficult you make it, you can share a download URL for other Amazing Alex players. Angry Birds was like a comfort-food app and something I could play on a train without straining my eyes. Amazing Alex, not so much. It’s a game that requires concentration, making it perhaps more suitable for a plane ride. But if your Angry Birds addiction is wearing off, Amazing Alex is a fun, much more challenging alternative.


Pros:

Dark, moody graphics capture the look of Gotham City. Excellent, cinematic score. Decent voice acting. Impressive levelling system. Frequent saves.

Cons:

Camera can get out of control during intense fights. Lifeless Gotham streets.

Bottom Line:

Gameloft’s The Dark Knight Rises tie-in game to the blockbuster summer film manages to capture the Batman feel by featuring hard-hitting combat, dark environments, and plenty of wonderful toys.

iOS | $6.99 | Available at the Apple App Store| www.gameloft.com/iphone-games |

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he Dark Knight Rises iOS game, Gameloft’s official action tie-in with Christopher Nolan’s smash hit conclusion to Warner Bros.’ Batman trilogy, brings hard-hitting street justice to the iPad and iPhone. The $6.99 game lacks Nolan’s strong narrative, but captures the look and feel of The Dark Knight movies while delivering what’s important fun, engaging video game experience that stretches from Gotham City’s rooftops to its underbelly. The game spans six chapters (with multiple missions per section) that take place in well-rendered indoor and outdoor settings. You bash baddies in diverse locations ranging from rooftops to subway stations to skyscraper interiors to Gotham’s streets. Gameloft, thankfully, mixes up the action so that gameplay never gets repetitive. You glide from rooftop to rooftop, hop on the Bat-Pod, and fight foes mano-a-mano. The familiar Batman themes accentuate the action, adding a sense of drama and peril. The game saves

frequently, so if you blow a mission, you’re not set back too far back. That’s a welcome touch, especially in a mobile game that you may play in short sessions on a commute or in a waiting room. Combat consists of striking, evading, and countering—each action’s mapped to an individual virtual button when you’re in close proximity to an enemy. You as the Caped Crusader can stun enemies from a distance with the Batarang or drag them toward you after ensnaring them with your grapnel gun’s cable. You can unleash some truly impressive combo strings (highlighted by very cool slow-motion effects) that are reminiscent of Rocksteady’s critically acclaimed Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games. The Tech Shop is where Batman powers up his abilities and related gadgetry. You can increase weapon potency, Bat-Pod capabilities, and also outfit Master Wayne with abilities that make him even more bad ass. These upgrades, naturally, are earned; some are unlocked when you reach a

certain level (Bat-Pod weapons are available at level 26), and there is also a system for outright purchase with credits. Yes, credits. You earn them in-game by bringing sweet street justice to urban vermin, but you can also purchase them with real-life cash. The base purchase is 2,000 credits for $1.99. The camera can prove troublesome, too, which is a direct consequence of having touchscreen controls. As there’s no physical button to let you know when your finger has slipped off of it, you can accidentally swipe the screen, which shifts the camera. It took me a bit of time to acclimate to the tap controls so that I wouldn’t be fighting villains blind. The Dark Knight Rises is another extremely solid game from Gameloft, a company that has mastered bringing nearconsole quality games to the mobile space. It’s a tight movie tie-in that manages to avoid disappointment—a rarity in the video-game industry. If you’re looking for iOS Bat-action after seeing the film, The Dark Knight Returns is worth a download.

www.altus-publishing.com | www.pcmagme.com | SEPTEMBER 2012 | 97


COLUMNS

World Leaders Do Not Tweet for Themselves

By John C. Dvorak

But let’s not just pick on the politicians. Barely any celebrities actually tweet for themselves either.

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Twitter is becoming a fiasco as it morphs into completely uselessness.

ccording to a post on Mediabistro’s All Twitter blog, only 30 of the 264 world leaders on Twitter actually tweet for themselves. The study was done by Twiplomacy, a website that tracks “connected” world leaders. What a farce. This same assertion—that proxies, a.k.a. public relations specialists, tweet for almost all world leaders—can be made about others. I suspect they also tweet for most CEOs and at least half, if not all, of the A-list celebrities. Twitter is becoming a fiasco as it morphs into completely uselessness. The problem stems from the never-ending bullcrap and self-promotion flooding the site. I’ve even fallen prey to it. If you follow me, you will notice that I’ve begun to plug my columns more and more, something I swore I would not do because I knew it would cheapen my value. I can name a dozen friends who used to tweet interesting things and post cool links that were perfect for what it was supposed to be: a microblog. But now, all they do is promote themselves. “Read what I just wrote” is a typical post. Tons of followers retweet it and reply with compliments, which get retweeted. (And, yes I’ve retweeted praise too, but only when it is truly great.) Now notice how this column is going. Have you seen a trend regarding me and my relation to Twitter? I’m developing the same onerous habits because Twitter itself has become a toxic environment. I blame the big celebrities and their publicists. They started the downward spiral. Next, I blame members of the media who routinely cite

98 | september 2012 | www.pcmagme.com | www.altus-publishing.com

tweets as real quotes. This works to stir up the mud on sports talk shows, but just adds to the toxicity of the site for real news. In the beginning, the service was referred to by the investors as a microblog. Users could post a short comment with maybe a link that was interesting. Many of us also found it as a great way to connect with readers almost instantly. I used it for crowdsourcing and posting links that I did not feel like posting on my actual blog. Back then, I had actually predicted that when the real celebrities began to crowd into the site, things would change. I knew they would change, but I have to admit I did not know how they would change. I knew it would not be good since the biggest celebrities are always part of a huge machine that exploits the public in any way possible. The celebrity is essentially controlled by the machine and he or she may or may not be at the top of it. Whatever the case, this creates all sorts of phoniness needed to maintain image, sell tickets, and get attention. This is very lethal stuff and poisons everything around it. This is what is happening with Twitter but from more than one angle. Fake tweets by world leaders is one thing. Using Twitter to coordinate a revolution or to distribute “unconfirmed” videos of atrocities is another. It’s all bad. And I hate to say it, but the service, as a whole, is unhealthy. With all that in mind, the big question is: who are the 30 world leaders that actually tweet for themselves? Shouldn’t they find better ways to spend their time?


PC Magazine Middle and Near East - September 2012