April 2011 / 3
4 / TECH
OMAN’S ONLY TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE
Home Screen Cooler summers
Twenty-nine degrees and more mercury to rise; guess the dreaded summer’s here. First order of daily business: peek at the weather report to check if the CD in your car will melt, with the rest of the day spent fantasising about luscious cool drinks, delicious ice creams, and exciting dips in the ocean. But it’s not time to bid farewell to your winter coats just yet. Summers in Oman are not just the time for selling Pinkberry, but air conditioners too. People rush to choose the ‘coolest’ air conditioner – and by ‘coolest’ we are not talking only about the performance of the AC, but also the plethora of designs and options available. With this in mind we have enjoyed putting together a six-page coverage that will give you an insight in choosing an AC from among the latest brands available in the market today. There is also a surprise awaiting aficionados of electronics – a sneak peek at one of the largest IT, Telecom and Consumer electronics extravaganzas in the region – Comex 2011. Not to leave out our gaming reader base, check out our in-depth review of Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect, and our experience of Killzone 3 with the former. And guess what! We have just finished our 12th issue. We have done well, or so we’d like to believe – and surely you do too, but there is more to go. Sergey Brin had said, “Great… just isn’t good enough,” inspiring us towards a great-er second year. Now, enjoy this issue, we have work to do…
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CORPORATE Managing Director
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2010 © All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers; while every care has been taken in the preparation of the magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible if factual errors in product and pricing occur. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time. The publishers regret they cannot accept liability for errors or omissions contained in this issue. Please check any quoted hardware specifications and pricing with your supplier before purchase.
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ISSUE 12 - APRIL 2011
OMAN’S ONLY TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE
CONTENTS Tech News
April 2011 / 9
If you have any queries, mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to answer them in our next issue.
to the Editor
Hi TECH team,
Dear TECH team, I want to buy a camcorder. The videos I take must be compatible with editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Sony Vegas. Most camcorders have HDD mentioned on them. Would that be a problem in being compatible with the editing software? Also, how do I make use of the firewire port in my laptop, i.e. which camcorders or camera would support the transfer of videos through the firewire port? Thank you. Gayathri Rajiv
Dear Gayathri, The HDD on a camcorder refers to the deviceâ€™s use of a hard disk drive to store data and as such will not cause any compatibility issues whatsoever. On the same note most video editing software, including Adobe Premier Pro and Sony Vegas, are compatible with nearly all video formats that current gen camcorders are capable of shooting, stereoscopic 3D being the only exception requiring dedicated support. Firewire ports are now a rare commodity on camcorders and, to be perfectly honest, are not really necessary anymore since almost all modern cameras, both camcorders and regular point and shoot cameras, use USB. - Ed
Congrats on an amazing magazine. You have some really cool articles. I am planning on buying an iPad. I heard that the iPad 2 might soon be available here. Would you advice me to wait for that or just go ahead with my shopping? Thanks, Suraaj Sharma
Dear Suraaj, We would strongly suggest you wait for the new iPad for three reasons. Firstly, it has already been launched in the US and most of Europe and will surely reach Oman shortly. It is also significantly more powerful than the existing model; it is more portable owing to its thinner design and lower weight. It also has more features. Lastly, in all probability, the prices of the current iPads will drop when the new models are introduced into the market, thus giving you a better deal just in case the price of the new model gets too high (which it most probably will due to demand). As an added bonus we have also featured an article on the iPad 2 on page 28. It will provide you with all the info we have on the new iPad so far. - Ed
Oman gets the Countryman
Trade-in offers Mustafa Sultan Electronics (MSE) has announced a trade-in offer to take place from February 10 till April 20, on its leading brands – Philips, Haier, Whirlpool, Godrej, Universal, etc. You can bring in any old appliance such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, cookers and dryers of any make and in any condition to avail a discount of OMR20 to 50. This offer is available to customers at MSE’s Al Khuwair and Ruwi showrooms only.
MINI Countryman, the brand’s fourth family member, was officially unveiled in Oman last month. MINI, together with Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, presented its new crossover model as a car to bridge the gap between the classic MINI and a contemporary Sports Activity Vehicle. Larger and taller than its hatchback sibling, the new MINI Countryman is the
first MINI model to feature four doors, four individual seats (a three-seat bench is available at no additional cost), optional all-wheel drive and a unique MINI Centre Rail and a funky multifunctional guide rail running through the interior. The MINI Countryman also comes in 11 brand-new exterior colours, previously unavailable in other MINI models.
Celebrating Olympic Timekeeping OMEGA first served as the Official Timekeeper at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1932. When the curtain is raised on the next edition of the Games, the Swiss watchmaker will assume its Olympic Games timekeeping role at the world’s most prestigious sporting spectacle for the 25th time. To commemorate the occasion, OMEGA has created the Seamaster Aqua Terra 44 London Chronograph in two configurations. One features a bicolour case crafted from 18 Ct red gold and stainless steel, presented on an integrated black leather strap. The other is made of rugged stainless steel and is presented on a matching bracelet. The bold 44mm case is polished and brushed. It features a polished bezel. The distinctive blue PVD-coated dial features the characteristic vertically striped teak-pattern dial which has contributed to the enormous popularity of OMEGA’s Aqua Terra family. Omega watches are available at the Darsait outlet of Mistal.
12 / TECH
Millimetre-scale computing The University of Michigan has developed a prototype implantable eye-pressure monitor for glaucoma patients which is believed to contain the first complete millimetrescale computing system. In addition, they have also developed a compact radio that needs no tuning to find the right frequency. This could be a key enabler in organising millimetre-scale systems into wireless
sensor networks. These networks could one day track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or make virtually any object smart and trackable. Both developments are significant milestones in the march towards millimetrescale computing, believed to be the next electronics frontier and one step closer to computers that fit on a pen tip.
Breaking all barriers Last month, Nvidia unveiled its Tegra roadmap and gave people a glimpse of what the next processor would be capable of. Going by the name ‘Project Kal-El’ and demonstrated by running it in an Android tablet, the processor was capable of streaming 1,440p video content running on a 2,560×1,600 panel. Simply put, it will enable mobile devices to output to the highest resolution monitors or tablets equipped with a 10.1-inch display with 300dpi. It is the first mobile quadcore processor and also contains a new 12-core GeForce GPU that is capable of stereoscopic 3D. Production is planned for as early as August this year.
In addition to the new Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S II, Samsung unveiled three more phones to join the Galaxy family. The GALAXY Ace, Gio and mini all offer a unique take on the smartphone experience. The Ace offers a premium experience on a 3.5-inch HVGA display and doesn’t lack in capability either, with a 800MHz processor, voice search and ThinkFree document viewer. The Gio, with its attractive design, 3.2-inch HVGA display and enhanced social networking capabilities is perfect for stylish young professionals who want to stay connected. The mini offers great productivity and performance in a compact design with a 3.14-inch QVGA display. It also offers Google voice actions and Quick Office document viewer and a 600MHz processor.
Fast growing family
April 2011 / 13
In the last issue we featured a military grade iPhone 4 case. This month we found a new one that ups the ante – the Lifeproof iPhone 4 case. This is the first and only waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and snowproof case for Apple’s iPhone 4. Unlike most bulky protective cases, the Lifeproof case is sleek and slim, designed to meet military specifications. They are now available for pre-order with shipment in April 2011 at an introductory price of USD69.95 (approximately OMR27).
Apple has truly upped the ante with the launch of their new MacBook Pros. The new machines are equipped with next generation processors and graphics, and are the first computers on the market to include the groundbreaking highspeed Thunderbolt I/O technology, which is soon expected to be adopted as a new standard for high-performance I/O, and a new FaceTime HD camera. The 13-inch MacBook Pro features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.7GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The 15inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory for high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications. The entire MacBook Pro line is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.
Perfect Bargain The new GTX 550 Ti is the latest model to join the Nvidia Fermi line of consumer GPUs. It is designed to deliver stunning DirectX 11 (DX11) performance while bringing a new level of price and performance to mainstream PC gaming, all the while maintaining exceptionally quiet acoustics and requiring minimal power. The GTX 550 Ti delivers the world’s fastest performance in its class of DX11 games and, with Nvidia SLI technology, gamers will be able to increase their PC’s gaming performance by adding a second card. Alongside the launch of the new GPU, Nvidia also introduced a new version of its 3D Vision technology. The new 3D Vision wireless glasses kit costs USD50 less than the original version, but offers the same great 3D quality and features, and a rechargeable battery life of 60 hours, a 50 per cent improvement on the original. Both the GTX 550 Ti and the new Nvidia 3D Vision kit, which includes 3D Vision active shutter wireless glasses, a USB IR emitter and cables, have an estimated price starting from USD149 (approximately OMR58) each.
14 / TECH
The Gaming edge Sometimes, in a competitive online match, a good headset is all it takes to make the difference between all out victory or a humiliating defeat. To give hardcore gamers that extra edge, Razer has just introduced two new cutting-edge headsets for the Xbox 360 â€“ the Chimaera 5.1 Surround Sound and Chimaera Stereo Gaming Headsets. Both editions of the Chimaera are wireless and have extralarge ear cups for maximum comfort. Even battery life is great with up to eight hours on the 5.1 edition and 12 on the Stereo edition and when they do run out of juice, just hang the headset onto the base station. It not only provides you a stylish place to hang them, it also doubles as a charging dock and audio processing unit, letting you customise the game audio to your absolute satisfaction.
Best of both worlds If you are having trouble deciding between an Android-based tablet and a Windows 7-based one, why not get the new ViewSonic ViewPad 10 Pro. It is a ten-inch professional tablet PC with dual boot functionality, offering a quick switch capability between Windows 7 Professional for business use and Google Android 2.2 for personal and social entertainment. Dual-boot enables users to access business software that only runs on Windows and investigates Android without switching completely. The ViewPad 10 Pro is one of the first tablets to have the Intel Oak Trail processor combined with support for flash 10.1 and the new interface provides an excellent navigation experience. It has a 1,024x600 LED backlit capacitive multi-touch panel, is fully connected with 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and has at least six hours of battery life.
April 2011 / 15
The ST600 and ST80 are Samsung’s latest additions to its dual view and Wi-Fi camera lineups It’s all about memories when it comes to photography. There is a story behind every photograph. But browsing through the album at some point of time, you might have some regrets – you will probably find yourself wishing you had been photographed with your friends at your
birthday party, for example. You will regret that you were the photographer and not the one photographed. Well, with Samsung’s Dual View series of cameras, this is never a problem. Go ahead and feature in all those famous
photographic moments with your friends with the latest model to join the lineup – the ST600. And with the new ST80, a camera that has built-in Wi-Fi, you can email pictures and upload videos directly to YouTube directly from the camera.
Two screens with twice the fun – this is the key feature of the ST600. And with this feature self-portraits are not restricted to the professionals any more. The Dual Display feature lets you see the shot on the 3.5-inch WVGA touch LCD and the 1.8-inch front LCD before clicking. It can even frame automatically and take the shot, capturing the perfect moments that you have in mind. And with its tilt-back body, you can say goodbye to tripods now.
The ST600 is a 14.2MP camera equipped with a 1/2.3-inch highresolution CCD sensor
By remembering up to 20 faces, the Smart Face Recognition technology automatically adjusts the focus and exposure on them when taking group shots
The Smart Auto 2.0 function analyses key elements of your composition and automatically adjusts to capture a shot with different photo and movie modes
16 / TECH
Smart Filter lenses such as the Tilt and Shift lens, the Vignetting Camera effect and the Fish-eye effect, plus the Sketch and Defog colour effects combine to deliver an artistic edge to your shots
Smart Album feature organises your shots by type, date, week and even face, making searching for a particular picture a whole lot easier
You never have to worry about shooting an image at an awkward angle – with Smart Crop function, all you have to do is select four points on the image and the ST80 adjusts them accordingly
The moment you feast your eyes on Samsung’s ST80, they are automatically drawn to the Wi-Fi notation on the side. Photographic moments are always one to be shared. With other cameras you can upload the really cool pictures and videos, or even browse your best moments on a big screen TV. But with Wi-Fi you can do it all wirelessly. Email your favourite photographic moments directly from the camera. Upload funny home videos to YouTube from the ST80 and enjoy with friends and family.
It also delivers 720p HD quality video at 30 frames per second
Like in the ST600, the Smart Face Recognition automatically adjusts the focus and exposure on up to 20 faces that you’ve designated
The ST80 has a touch of sophistication about it with its soft finish and rounded edges; it is equipped with a 7.83mm highresolution CCD sensor, in addition to an all-new image processor
Image Sensor Type
Main Display: 3.5-inch full-touch LCD
Three-inch WQVGA TFT LCD
Front Display: 1.8-inch TFT LCD Dimensions (WxHxD)
An extra-large three-inch WQVGA LCD display adorns the ST80; it is a touchscreen so you have space to navigate the interface
April 2011 / 17
Just when everyone thought the Tough range couldn’t get any tougher, Olympus launches the TG-810
Built to survive in conditions that would leave most cameras in more than one ‘intentional’ piece, the TG-810 is the latest flagship model to join Panasonic’s Olympus Tough line-up. Panasonic may
have been a bit optimistic in calling it the ‘ultimate indestructible camera’ but this is without a doubt one seriously tough piece of kit. Not only is it waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof, it is also crushproof.
And with its built-in manometer, unique three-sensor GPS, electronic compass and high-resolution, glare-resistant LCD, this is a stylish camera that will surely be an ideal companion for an active lifestyle.
In addition to GPS and electronic compass, the camera has three sensors to record the direction in which it is pointing (even when it’s turned off), making it an excellent piece of kit for finding your way in unfamiliar surroundings
A sliding double lock mechanism provides the necessary protection for the battery, card slots and ports
With multitude sensors, you can check your latitude, longitude, altitude, shooting direction, date and time or even air and water pressure while taking a picture
The Tough flagship is the world’s first camera that’s crushproof to a weight of 100kg, so an adult can tread on it and it’ll keep going fine 18 / TECH
The sliding double lock mechanism and additional metal lens barrier ensure the TG-810 is waterproof to a depth of 10m, shockproof to a height of 2m and freezeproof up to -10°C Thanks to double-durable lens and port technology, the camera is scratch resistant
The TG-810 is equipped with a 5x wide optical zoom lens (28-140mm) and a large three-inch 920,000 dot high-definition glare-resistant HyperCrystal III LCD In the water, the TG-810 really comes into its own; the i-Underwater Snapshot, one of four underwater settings, detects when the camera is submerged and adjusts white balance automatically – even in optional 3D
There’s a built-in manometer to make sure you don’t dive too deep
TG-810 offers most high-end features that make editing and sharing a breeze, including EyeFi card compatibility
The camera is capable of capturing HD video using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 movie compression format at a resolution of 1,280x720 pixels
Three-inch HyperCrystal III LCD, 920,000 dots
2m Shockproof, 10m Waterproof, -10°C Freezeproof, 100kg Crushproof, Dustproof, Scratchproof
SD / SDHC / SDXC Compatible, Eye-Fi Card compatible, Internal 19.5MB
The TG-810 is equipped with an improved TAP Control Mode for controlling the camera by tapping or tilting the body which is ideal when wearing gloves
3D photo shooting In case you were wondering how a camera that is natively 2D can shoot 3D images, here’s how – the camera captures two shots of a scene from two different angles to create still photos that can be viewed in 3D on a compatible display. In the TG-810 there are two 3D settings: Manual and Automatic. In both settings, the camera indicates when it is time to pan. In Automatic, when the camera is panned horizontally after the first shot, it automatically takes the second shot at the ideal moment. Manual is primarily for 3D experts because the user decides when to take the second shot. April 2011 / 19
Playtime The Sony Ericsson Play is the world’s first PlayStationcertified smartphone If anyone still has a doubt that convergence is the way of the future, the new Sony Ericsson Play should be evidence enough for them to change their minds. The Play is the latest phone in the XperiaTM range of Android-based smartphones. In portrait mode, the smartphone offers all the benefits that users have come to expect from the existing range of Xperia smartphones, including a five megapixel camera, four-inch multi-touch screen and great social networking features. But slide out the gaming controls and you enter a new world of immersive mobile gaming. This phone could very well be the next best thing to the all-new NGP, which we featured in last month’s issue of TECH.
Sony Ericsson has partnered with key publishers in the gaming industry to deliver a rich, vibrant ecosystem at launch and post launch with many leading new titles available via the Android Marketplace The Play will run on Gingerbread (version 2.3), the latest version of Google’s Android platform
In addition to the game pad there are two shoulder buttons present at the top corners of the gamepad
Leading franchises coming to the Play includes EA’s The Sims 3 and FIFA 10 for mobile, GLU Mobile/Activision’s Guitar Hero, Gameloft’s Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell
20 / TECH
The Play will come equipped with up to 400MB of internal space coupled with microSD card support of up to 32GB and will even ship with 8GB included in the package
The Play will be the first PlayStation-certified device which means it will have access to PlayStation game content provided through the PlayStation Suite initiative, currently under development by Sony Computer Entertainment and due to launch later this year
The performance comes courtesy of Qualcommâ€™s optimised Snapdragon processor with a 1GHz CPU and embedded Adreno GPU graphics processor, which will deliver silky-smooth 60fps play-back 3D mobile gaming and Web browsing with minimal power consumption
The four-inch multi-touch screen has a resolution of 480x854 pixels The Play will be available in a choice of two colours â€“ black or white
The slide-out game pad reveals a digital D-pad, two analogue touch pads and four buttons featuring the famous PlayStation icons: circle, cross, square and triangle
At the back you will find a 5.1 megapixel camera equipped with a flash and capable of Geotagging
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
1GHz Scorpion ARMv7
Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Four-inch, 16M colour TFT, Capacitive multi-touch, 480x854 pixels
5.1 megapixel, flash
400MB with microSD support
3.5mm audio jack, aGPS, Bluetooth, DLNA, Micro USB, Wi-Fi
April 2011 / 21
The LG Optimus 3D is a breakthrough smartphone bringing together high performance with full 3D experience We have seen a lot of innovative ‘world’s first’ technologies in mobile phones lately, namely the Motorola ATRIX netbook/ smartphone and the Sony Ericsson Play. LG has also joined the bandwagon with
their latest addition to the Optimus lineup – the Optimus 3D, which features the world’s first dual-core, dual-channel and dual-memory architecture as well as the first 3D mobile phone platform allowing
The highly advanced display allows users to view 2D (up to 1,080p) and 3D (up to 720p) multimedia content
for recording, viewing and sharing of 3D content. The Optimus 3D will be rolledout globally starting with Europe early in the second quarter of this year.
Similar to the Nintendo 3DS, the 4.3-inch WVGA display of the Optimus 3D faithfully recreates the 3D experience without the use of glasses
The Optimus 3D’s dual 5MP lens camera allows users to capture and record their best moments as images and videos in 3D anytime, anywhere
Making use of its 3D recording to its fullest, users can easily upload and stream 3D content and share each other’s creations on YouTube’s dedicated 3D channel
Users of the Optimus 3D can navigate through the device’s 3D interface with the click of LG’s unique 3D Hot Key which presents five 3D-dedicated UIs, including Gallery, Camera, Game&Apps, YouTube 3D and 3D Guide
The secret to the Optimus 3D’s superior three-dimensional showcase lies in LG’s unique ‘tri-dual’ configuration – dual-core, dual-channel and dual-memory. This configuration enables improved performance and run-time compared to smartphones offering 1GHz dual-core processors. The reason behind this is that unlike single-channel, single-memory dual-core smartphones, the Optimus 3D simultaneously transfers data between the dual-core and dual-memory. This configuration offers significant performance benefits and allows users to browse Web pages, multitask between programs, play games at a higher frame rate and enjoy movies much more smoothly.
1GHz Dual-Core Dual-Channel
4.3-inch 3D WVGA
8GB memory and 4GB LP DDR2
5MP dual-lens camera
Truly Galactic Samsung’s new Galaxy S II is among the world’s thinnest and best-looking smartphones with the hardware to match
Building on the phenomenal success of the original Samsung Galaxy S, the new Galaxy S II (Model: GT-I9100) is a natural and powerful evolution of its predecessor and is by far the most hotly anticipated phone from Samsung this year. Samsung has promised that this beautifully thin (8.49mm) and lightweight, dual-core smartphone will combine an unmatched viewing experience with incredible performance. Judging from what we have seen so far and taking into account that the phone uses an all-new and significantly superior Super AMOLED Plus display, the Galaxy S II is definitely looking like a promising replacement.
The Galaxy S II uses Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the latest version of the world’s fastest-growing mobile operating system
The smartphone includes access to Samsung’s four new content and entertainment hubs, seamlessly integrated to provide instant access to music, games, e-reading and social networking services
For added connectivity, Wi-Fi Direct allows consumers to connect to wireless-enabled PCs and printers without the need for wireless access points
A dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor delivers compelling features such as fast Web browsing, multi-tasking comparable to a PC-like environment, supreme graphics quality and an instantly responsive 3D user interface 24 / TECH
The new screen has a wider viewing angle and increased visibility in outdoor environments
With the new phone, Samsung has introduced the Live Panel, a service that aggregates live Web and application contents to a single customisable home-screen
Adorning the front face of the Galaxy S II is Samsung’s new Super AMOLED Plus screen, offering the best in quality, colour gamut, contrast ratio and edge sharpness that the company can provide
Samsung’s latest Voice Solution will recognise voice and convert it to text and vice versa and can also be used for a number of functions including, but not limited to, opening apps, controlling messaging, social media, email and calling
A significant reduction in power consumption from the Super AMOLED Plus display means it is more energy-efficient than other comparablysized devices, allowing Samsung to minimise device weight With the use of Kies air, consumers can manage their smartphone contents from their PC via local Wi-Fi connections, including downloading photos, listening to music, checking missed calls and sending messages in the Web browser on their PC Using Real-Stripe screen technology (Real-Stripe screens have 12 elements per pixel, compared to eight sub-pixels available per pixel in the current Super AMOLED screens using PenTile technology) the Super AMOLED Plus is capable of producing images that look clearer and more detailed than was ever possible before using standard Super AMOLED screens
A new customised Voice Translation application makes the Galaxy S II the perfect travel companion, translating voice or text into – and from – a range of languages: simply speak a word or phrase into the handset and it will instantly translate it, with audio and text output
The Samsung Galaxy S II has been equipped with an 8MP, high-profile camera and camcorder with 1,080p full HD recording and playback
Samsung Galaxy S II
Operating System Android 2.3 Gingerbread Processor
Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9
480x800 pixels, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
8MP Camera AF with LED Flash; Front 2MP Camera
Bluetooth v3.0 + HS, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC Connectivity (Optional), DLNA
16/32GB with microSD support
Accelerometer, Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope Sensor April 2011 / 25
Rocking Sound With Philips’ new three-directional angled speakers, enjoy music from anywhere in the room Stylish interiors are the ‘in’ thing now. And one way to complement the beautiful setting would be to fill it with innovatively designed equipment. The Philips 5000 series home theatre systems are a good choice with its high gloss finish, sleek look and unique touch controls. Moving beyond the appearance, they also have the power to match. With three-directional angled speakers that help disperse sound evenly throughout the room you can enjoy your favourite music from anywhere in the house. With the HTS5550 you can play most media formats – DVD, VCD, CD or USB devices. And with the HTS5580 you can also play 3D Blu-ray discs.
The DoubleBASS technology is responsible for delivering even the deepest possible bass tones from the compact-sized subwoofers
There is no requirement for an external decoder as this home theatre system comes with built-in DTS and Dolby Digital decoder that processes all six channels of audio information
One of the most unique aspects of the Philips 5000 series home theatre systems are the three-directional angled speakers that feature angled drivers to deliver sound not only towards the front but also the sides, letting you have a more immersive sound experience
26 / TECH
High Definition (720p, 1080i, 1080p)
Set Dimension (WxHxD)
High Definition (720p, 1080i, 1080p) 435x58x358mm
Mustafa Sultan Electronics, 24636015
April 2011 / 27
the e.oman way
We meet up with Fahad al Abri who believes in equipping every home with a computer 28 / TECH
graduate of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Fahad Sultan al Abri is a man who shows a lot of enthusiasm in developing the IT industry in Oman. Currently leading the Digital Development Society Division (DDSD) at the Information Technology Authority (ITA), Fahad has been with ITA since its inception in 2006. ITA was established to assume the responsibility for the implementation of Digital Oman Strategy, or e.oman for short. Through e.oman, the ITA is working to transform the sultanate into a sustainable knowledge society, aiming to enhance government services, enrich business sectors and enable individuals. Initially running the ‘IT Incubation’ programme as a project manager, he was made the director general of the DDSD in 2008, a division responsible for government licensing agreements.
a PC,” is how he puts it. “The goal of the National PC Initiative was for every house in Oman to have a PC. A generous grant, the Royal Grant in Support of e.oman, came from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to cover the beneficiary families of the social insurance having at least one child or more registered in the K-12 school system, in addition to students in these families presently enrolled in higher education studies. Three years from now Omani students studying in higher education institutions will own a laptop. And so, universities can invest less in equipping laboratories and focus on improving the connectivity. The government of Oman will be investing around OMR20mn and
With the efforts of ITA, Oman is on the verge of going all digital. e-content is an area where Fahad believes his division can make a difference. He adds, “We want to focus on developing Arabic e-content. The Ministries of Education, Higher Education, Tourism and Health are already looking to digitalise their content. So, we help digitalise books and create interactive tutorials.” Fahad is proud to unveil an important project that ITA has been involved in since January this year. It is the first project, he confesses, where people leave with something tangible. “They leave us holding
The whole process – from identifying the eligible candidates to purchase – is automated. And local companies that develop the application for this automated process and other software providers are supporters of this initiative. Fahad continues, “Along with the laptop, beneficiary families of the social insurance also get accessories like a laptop bag, a mouse, Microsoft Office Professional and a McAfee anti-virus tool kit.” And the most unique thing of all is that they also get a training voucher for two weeks. “We have arrangements with 40 training institutions. The two weeks training in computer basics also includes transportation to and from the institution. In this initiative, the Ministry of Social Development has been our generous partner. It is their initiative and not ours. They opened their doors for us. We use their offices as the distribution centres. They also helped us identify the eligible people with the help of their civil numbers.”
Fahad’s vision is to bridge the digital divide in Oman, and with his motivated team he has set out to do just that. On the responsibilities of his division he says, “Our focus is on training and capacity building. We take in talented Omanis from the civil service and give them the basic IT training required. We also train IT professionals, job seekers and people in the public, private and government sectors.” Industry development is another page in the portfolio of the DDSD. Fahad explains, “We have a number of programmes in Oman aimed at the development of industry, one of the most important ones being the IT incubation programme. There are other existing programmes such as the Total Quality Management (TQM) system, Sanad, Intilaaqah and the Youth Fund. We are not establishing anything new, but are just continuing to support the efforts of existing programmes with our focus on IT and IT companies.”
OMR150 is automatically deducted from the price. They have to only pay the balance, which can be paid in instalments.”
over 130,000 people will benefit from this initiative.” With support from local partners, this initiative has had an amazing start. Says Fahad, “With 100 per cent subsidy from His Majesty we visit the wilayats of the beneficiary families of the social insurance to distribute the computers. We have partnered with Bahwan IT, and also received a very generous contribution from Omantel. They are providing the families with free modems and free Internet subscription for up to three months. Another component of the initiative is the grant of OMR150 to students of higher education enrolled in the first year of study in the Sultanate, in addition to teachers who are graduates of the Government IT Training & Certification (GITTC) project. They can choose any laptop they want, one that is accredited by ITA and
Fahad proves success with statistics saying, “In Muscat, distribution of the computers is at 97 per cent. There are only 29 recipients who have not collected their machines. Alternative arrangements are currently underway to ensure they receive them. If required, we will go to their homes and present them with the laptop. In other regions the percentage of distribution is anywhere between 50 to 87 per cent. Out of the 13,000 who were eligible, almost 8,500 have benefitted so far.” With a sense of triumph, the DDSD is currently working on almost 40 projects. But we will have to wait to get a peek at any future projects as Fahad believes in keeping it a surprise.
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Thinner Lighter Faster The iPad 2 has finally been revealed to the public and itâ€™s thinner than even the iPhone 4
When it was first released, the iPad singlehandedly rekindled the tablet market. Today, with more than 15 million units sold, the iPad is by far the dominating force in the field. With the new model, Apple has significantly
raised the bar for the competition, one disappointing omission notwithstanding. The new system not only offers an all-new design that is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, it is also significantly faster while still retaining the battery life
of the old model. The iPad 2 also comes equipped with the latest version of the iOS and has a host of new features that are sure to get its competitors worrying again.
The new iPad retains the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen from the original, which is not bad considering the quality of the old screen; but those expecting the retina display from the iPhone 4 to make an appearance will be disappointed
iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 per cent thinner and up to 15 per cent lighter than the original iPad
The iPad 2 comes equipped with iOS 4.3; this new OS comes with a number of new features including faster Safari mobile browsing performance, iTunes Home Sharing, enhancements to AirPlay, choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio, Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi and the ability to run almost all of the over 350,000 apps available on the App Store
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Apple claims that the iPad2 offers up to nine times the graphics performance of the original model for even smoother and more realistic gameplay; while this claim may be a bit optimistic on Appleâ€™s part (there are a lot of factors taken into account when gaming is concerned such as the RAM and CPU and especially the battery life), it will definitely offer up a significant graphics jump from the current system
The iPad 2 will feature Appleâ€™s new dual-core A5 processor which should definitely provide a noticeable difference in performance
The iPad 2 is available in black or white, quite unlike the heavily hyped, and now MIA, white iPhone 4
Although it is thinner, lighter and faster, the new iPad should still deliver up to ten hours of battery life
The tablet now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video
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HDMI Video Mirroring will let you mirror the iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter
The iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G has HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds
The iPad 2 will be released in two versions, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G, each with a choice of three memory capacities – 16GB, 32GB and 64GB
The iPad 2 went on sale in the US on March 11 followed by Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and most of Europe, UK on March 25; it will make its way to many more countries around the world in the coming months
The new model also features a built-in three-axis gyroscope, in addition to a accelerometer and compass, for improved versatility in gaming controls
The Smart Cover Tech Specs
Apple iPad 2
9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 768x1,024 pixels
1GHz dual-core Apple A5
Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, ambient light sensor
Wi-Fi: 601g, Wi-Fi + 3G: 607g
16GB, 32GB or 64GB
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Launched alongside the new iPad, the Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes the iPad when it’s opened and puts it to sleep when it’s closed, and has a soft microfibre lining to help keep the screen clean. The cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in either polyurethane or rich leather, in a range of colours.
Systems for Dentists
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‘Shift to e’ is the theme of COMEX 2011, an event that will let you explore new technological horizons The most awaited IT, telecom and technology show is just around the corner. Covering an area of over 12,000sqm of exhibition space, COMEX 2011 will deliver a platform for business professionals to network and for consumers to shop. The theme of COMEX 2011 is ‘Shift to e’, and under the patronage of e.oman, it is set to take place at the Oman International Exhibition Centre from April 25 to April 29, 2011.
For 20 years, COMEX has provided both consumers and business professionals with a gateway to the world’s most empowering digital solutions. In 2010, COMEX had over 120 companies participating, with more than 70,000 visitors flocking in from Singapore, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Jordan and Qatar. COMEX has received great response
from the industry with CISCO as ICT ‘Lead’ sponsor. Microsoft, Omantel, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and Technology Resources Network are the other ‘Lead’ sponsors. Mansoft Qatar and Smart Vision Technical Services LLC are the ‘Gold’ sponsors. Finally, Ericsson Oman, United Systems and Huawei Tech Investment (Oman) LLC are the ‘Platinum’ sponsors of the show.
COMEX Business COMEX Business will feature the latest IT solutions. It will offer a wide range of opportunities for visitors and delegates to explore innovative solutions, with possibilities of boosting their business. Serving as an ideal platform for investors, manufacturers, vendors, system integrators and solution providers, COMEX
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Business will provide an outlook on the regional ICT industry. This will allow participants and visitors the opportunity to leverage partnerships, discover the latest developments and encourage joint business ventures and cooperation in Oman and the region. COMEX will have events and special
projects of business and government organisations aiming to create the most comprehensive information platform for the business sector. For the government sector, the focus will be on the ICT initiatives taken to enable efficient and effective delivery of products and services to customers and citizens by digitalising their life through information technology.
COMEX Shopper Enthusiasts on latest trends in technology, hardware, software, gadgets and consumer electronics will be able to explore new technological horizons at COMEX Shopper and bring home the experience. COMEX Shopper gathers providers of the world’s biggest brands and offers an excellent opportunity to take home the latest innovations at exceptional prices. This year, COMEX Shopper will feature a line-up of the latest technology gadgets – from audio and media players,
digital photography, e-books, gaming and peripherals, home entertainment, home networking, IT components and peripherals, mobile phones, PCs, notebooks and tablets, and SatNav, to TV, display technology and much more. New added features will incorporate a new and enhanced media centre, with activities providing information on new technology and entertainment to the visitors. A series of workshops have also been planned, that will run parallel to the exhibition.
e.oman vision COMEX embodies the vision of e.oman in transforming the Sultanate of Oman into a sustainable knowledge society by leveraging Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance government services, enrich businesses and empower individuals. Looking to the future, COMEX will continue to evolve and innovate, keeping pace with the ever-changing digital world while broadening its international horizons to integrate other dynamic markets.
COMEX Conference The 2nd COMEX 2011 Conference will be organised to provide participating delegates with an opportunity to learn and explore how the latest ICT trends and strategies can impact their existing and new business models and help their organisations to improve efficiency and achieve the bottom line. To be held on 26 and 27 April at the Golden Tulip Hotel Seeb, the conference will bring delegates up close and personal with people and products that will shape the future of information and communication technology. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Mobility as a driving force towards business transformation’. The conference will highlight various topics related to mobility including the latest mobile or wireless technologies and trends, and
discuss how they will impact Oman businesses. The conference will also focus on technologies and strategies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and will include a focus session for the SMEs aiming at providing the latest technological solutions, practical advice and strategies that will bring more benefits and value to them. The number of attendees this year, from both public and private sectors, is expected to cross 250. An unparalleled opportunity to showcase the latest technologies all under one roof, renowned international companies including CISCO Systems International and ORACLE have confirmed their participation – their first time at the COMEX Conference as the Main sponsors. They will be joined by another Main sponsor, Microsoft, participating at COMEX for the second year. April 2011 / 35
The new Gran Turismo brings the best of three BMWs into one unique package It is not always bad to be a jack of all trades, particularly if you can handle most jobs well. The same is true for automobiles and in particular the new BMW Gran Turismo. It is basically a luxury sedan, only taller, with a sportier suspension and a hatchback for added utility. It all comes together to result in an impressive vehicle with looks that you will either love or loathe, depending on your taste.
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The Exterior It is rather odd that BMW chose to call it the 5-Series Gran Turismo, rather than the 7-series, seeing as it uses the latterâ€™s chassis. It even looks very much like the 7-Series from the front, only higher. c The rear takes its inspiration from the X6 and features a boot lid that can either be opened like a regular boot or by using an alternate release, opens like a hatchback. This odd mash-up of the 7-Series and the X6 is what gives it its unique character. It has one of those looks that you will either love or hate, with very little room in between. Regardless, you are guaranteed to be noticed on the road if you drive one of these.
Inside the cabin Because of its increased height and ample seat adjustment, the Gran Turismo can give you quite a commanding view of the road ahead and beside you. Rear visibility doesnâ€™t fare so well because of the thick rear roof pillars and a tall boot lid. Space throughout the cabin is extremely generous and with such a high roof even the sloping rear doesnâ€™t have any effect
on the headroom. The cabin layout is very similar to the new 5-series, with every control easily accessible. It even uses the latest version of the iDrivecontrol interface, which is far more intuitive than its predecessor. As is to be expected, boot space is simply gargantuan. Standard boot space
varies anywhere from 440 to 590 litres depending on the position of the rear seats; but fold them flat and the space increases to a massive 1,700 litres. And thanks to the two-piece tailgate, selectable by two separate switches near the rear number plate, every inch of it is easily accessible. April 2011 / 37
Ride and handling The Gran Turismo’s ride quality is noticeably stiffer than the 7-series, most likely due to the sportier suspension and low-profile tires. The steering is precise and well-weighted but the body leans a little in corners. On the upside the grip from the fat tyres is incredible allowing you to chuck it around corners with ease. Like the X6 before it, the Gran Turismo definitely surprised us with its nimbleness and composure through the twisty stuff, despite its weight and size.
Performance The Gran Turismo weighs in at a hefty 2,135kg but despite this it can hit 100kmph in just 5.5s and effortlessly hits its electronically-governed top speed of 250kmph. The reason for its spirited performance is the 407hp and 600Nm of torque produced by the 4.4L twin turbo V8. It also uses BMW’s latest eight-speed automatic transmission which executes shifts smoothly and is quick to boot, even when the switching is done manually. With the help of such a smooth transmission and with maximum torque available anywhere from 1,750 to 4,500rpm, the engine’s power can always be called upon to deliver impressive acceleration regardless of when you need it.
Refinement Switch on the vehicle and the 4.4L twin turbo V8 will be barely audible. The same is true when you are cruising down the highway. Floor it however, and you are greeted by a beefy growl of the monstrous powerhouse lurking under the bonnet. When you are not feeling enthusiastic, you can expect the same levels of refinement as in the new 5-series, which is basically excellent. There is barely any audible wind noise while road and suspension noise are kept to a minimum. When complemented by its smooth ride, comfort and space, the Gran Turismo definitely lives up to its name. 38 / TECH
Technology & Equipment State-of-the-art technology has always been BMW’s forte. The new Gran Turismo easily stands as another testament to this fact. Engine and transmission technology aside, the vehicle features a vast number of other technologies to give you just the right balance of driving assistance. Chief among these are the Integral Active Steering, which combines active rear steering with variable steering on the front axle; Adaptive Drive, a package that allows you to an individually adjustable shock absorber level; and Driving Dynamic Control, which changes the driving
and behavioural characteristics of the vehicle at the touch of a button. What is truly impressive about these technologies is how they manage to keep the driving within acceptable limits without making the vehicle feel too electronic, giving us a similar experience to the new 5-series we tested in the May issue. Aside from these three you also get all the other bells and whistles that you can expect to find in such a car, either as standard or as an option. These include DSC, lane departure warning, lane change warning (blind spot monitoring), head-up
Conclusion While many may argue that there are other vehicles in BMW’s lineup that can do what the Gran Turismo does, such as the X6 which offers better versatility than the 7-series, better ride quality and space; or the new 5-Series that offers a better drive, it is a fact that only the Gran Turismo will offer all of these in one package. It is one vehicle that lives up to its claims and doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. So as long as you don’t mind its looks, we guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
display, adaptive cruise control, surround view, navigation and much more. The rear passengers are not left out either with each seat enjoying their own personal 9.2-inch LCD that supports DVD playback and provides navigation data. Both are remote controlled and provide connections for MP3 players, game consoles and headphones. The rear seats also have access to their own individual temperature control, should the vehicle be equipped with four-zone air conditioning.
4.4L Twin-Turbo V8
407hp @ 500-6,400rpm
600Nm @ 1,750-4,500rpm
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The Wii set the trend for motion controllers, and now both Sony and Microsoft have joined the fray
Following the success of the Wiiâ€™s motion controller, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft and Sony jumped on the bandwagon. Sony came first with the Move and was soon followed by Microsoft with its Kinect. All of the controllers use vastly different technologies with varying advantages and disadvantages. Since the Wii is already well established and the Wii motion plus attachment only serves to augment the controller, we have chosen to not directly include it in the comparison. Rather we will use it as a reference to compare the other two. So to not delay you any further, here is our joint review of the Kinect and the Move.
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How does it look and work? Of the two systems the Move is the one that is most similar to the motion controller, both in looks and use. The primary difference lies in the use of the camera. While the Wii uses an infrared light emitter placed either above or below the screen, which is detected and tracked by a camera in the Wii remote, the Move puts a camera below the TV. And instead of detecting infrared light, it detects the little glowing ball stuck to the end of the Move remote. This gives the PS3 the added advantage of detecting depth in addition to all the gyroscopic and accelerometer sensors that we are familiar with. Additionally, the camera can also be used for augmented reality games with rather average picture quality. The Kinect takes things to a new level and rids itself of controllers entirely. Instead, the
Kinect sits below your TV, using an array of emitters, cameras and sensors. It is, in a way, capable of 3D mapping the room and player, whereby one uses the body itself as a controller. Furthermore, it is also capable of voice recognition, face recognition and 3D motion tracking. In terms of build quality and comfort we favoured the Move’s button layout and comfort primarily because it felt better designed and had a more favourable layout, especially the addition of the all-new ‘move’ button, than the Wii and Kinect, since the latter doesn’t really have a controller or the resulting buttons to compare it with. The Kinect does however share its build quality and finish with that of the new Xbox360 which is really nice. The same is true for the aesthetic looks of both the controllers as well
and we have absolutely no complaints in this regard; but how a person looks using them is a whole different story. In a layman’s eyes, when using the Wii motion controller, it looked like you were actually playing a game. But with the Kinect, were it not for the noise and all the random jumping and limb flinging, one could easily be mistaken for a mentally challenged psychopath. As for the Move, and its wonderful glowing ball on the top, it will only take a frilly frock, a tiara and a pair of shiny wings to complete the impression of what the said layman has developed of you; worse still if you are unlucky enough to be assigned the pink colour light.
Move it Since the Move makes do with regular buttons, basic menu navigation is never an issue. Those players that are familiar with the Wiimote will also notice the vastly superior response and feel. The reason behind this is the technology. In the Wiimote the sensors and infrared camera were used to get a relative position and orientation of the remote from its last known position in a 2D plane. The sensors in the Move do the very same thing and offer a similar level of accuracy (taking into account the motion plus add on for the Wii). The advantage for the Move comes with the camera’s ability to track the cute little glowing ball’s position in 3D space with surprising accuracy. Not only does this give you far better control of the game but it also allows the game to superimpose 3D
graphical overlays in the ball’s place for an impressive augmented reality experience. This system is not restricted to the remote. It can be used in conjunction with the regular controller, a navigation peripheral or even another remote, allowing for a very versatile control scheme. Following suit with Nintendo, a large majority of Move-supported games are the casual puzzle, sports or fitness type. So you can expect them to work in the same way as the Wii albeit with some more depth and maybe some augmented reality features. Serious games are restricted to Move support in addition to that of a regular controller, such as Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5 and Killzone 3, which is our reviewed game for
the month (you can read more about the Move control scheme in the review on Pg. 42). But no matter the game, you will have little to complain in terms of performance. This is largely because it is the game’s performance and implementation of the move that determines the outcome and not the controller itself. But as with almost all technologies, there are some flaws. Because it uses a fixed camera, it resets itself each time you move off screen forcing you to set it up again once you get back on screen. The process is not really troublesome and only takes a few seconds but it can get quite grating. Also all those versatile control schemes can make quite a dent in your pocket. April 2011 / 41
Getting Kinected The Kinect is, for lack of a better description, a technological powerhouse. With its array of emitters, sensors and cameras, multiarray microphone, voice recognition, face recognition and 3D motion tracking, the sheer scope of its capability is truly impressive. It is a shame then that it is not quite as impressive in practice. First things first, clear your hall because you are going to need a lot, and we mean a LOT, of room for the Kinect. The system recommends a 6x6 foot block of space but if you truly want to experience it well you will definitely need about a foot and a half more. You start by waving at the Kinect and it will proceed to log you in using facial recognition. From then on you can proceed to wave your arms in the respective directions to scroll through the menus, holding your hands for about two seconds over the icon of your choice to launch it. Alternatively, you can do
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the same using voice commands. As nifty as these features are, they are in no way time savers nor are they more convenient than using a regular controller so you can expect the novelty to wear off quite quickly. There also seems to be some inherent lag with the system’s performance and some problems with recognising commands when sitting down but we think this has more to do with the software rather than the hardware and should be fixed in time with updates. By keeping with their marketing gimmick of “you are the controller”, Microsoft has severely limited the potential of the system. Don’t get us wrong, it is one impressive piece of kit, but because of the way it is being treated and marketed it is severely limiting its potential. Without the use of analogue sticks or buttons of any sort, or even a peripheral, its incorporation into any sort of serious game is next to impossible. This restriction is immediately apparent when you
play Microsoft Wii Sports counterpart, where the game has no proper input for orientation or angle, making it quite simplistic. This is also most probably the reason why no new or existing hardcore games seem to be showing interest in adding Kinect support. This is a real shame because when you see games like Kinectimals, Dance Central or even try out most of the games that comes bundled with it, you can just see the potential that the system has. But it is still fun and a blast at parties and if you want more than one person to truly enjoy it, it will even cost about the same as two full sets of Sony’s Move.
So, which one? Both controllers are a step up from the Wii but will still be relegated mostly to the casual crowd, the Kinect more so than the Move. For the hardcore gamer looking for a change, we feel that the Move will fare best because of its simplicity and familiarity. But when it comes to sheer potential, the Kinect is unmatched. What it needs is a peripheral of some sort, something with buttons, sensors and a trigger. Given its inbuilt technology, a combination like this would be well worth the extra cost. If this was a perfect world we would have had a combination of the Kinect and Move for something that was truly astounding, but alas this is not so.
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Killzone 1 failed to live up to its expectations; Killzone 2 blew them away with stunning graphics and gameplay; will Killzone 3 continue its legacy? Malcolm X Crasta reviews the game to find out
wing to its stellar production values, gameplay and eventual success, Killzone 2 set the standard for the franchise to follow and in many ways considerably raised the bar on the PS3 for every FPS to follow. Despite this and the strong fan following it didnâ€™t quite receive that classic status that every developer craves but is enjoyed only by a select few games such
the death of the notorious Helghan leader Visari at the hands of your war buddy Rico. In a fit of retribution, the enemy forces, with a bunch of generic new leaders at their helm, are hell-bent on making sure you and your compatriots do not leave the planet alive. The story constantly shifts between events taking place six months apart and focuses heavily on the political shenanigans of the Helghanâ€™s
the get go the stunning quality of the visuals is immediately apparent. While it may not be a generational gap in quality it definitely offers a significant bump. The textures are sharper, the environments more interactive and detailed, the lighting effects have improved and you are no longer restricted to war-torn cities and deserts. Your new exploits, in addition to the above, will even take you
as Half Life, Halo and System/Bio Shock. Killzone 3 aims to rectify this with improved visuals and gameplay, both online and off, by enlisting you back into the fierce war between the mighty Helghan dominion and the forces of Earth.
High Council, complete with an arrogant and aggressive commander and even an evil scientist of sorts. Killzone never really had a good story to begin with and the new one fares even worse, featuring long pointless cutscenes that break away from the intense action that permeates through the game; at least the stunning graphics do make them look good and there are some genuinely interesting action sequences worth watching.
to lush alien jungles and an icy landscape complete with aggressive and volatile fauna and the most realistic snowdrifts we have seen in a game to date. There are a few small glitches and frame stutters that are noticeable but these are only prominent due to the incredibly high quality standards and smooth framerate that the game normally delivers. For added visual pizzazz the game also supports stereoscopic 3D and, if you have the facility to run it, it is well worth the experience.
The game puts you back in the shoes of Sev, your protagonist from the second game and just one of the soldiers in a massive operation to invade the Helghan home world. The game starts right where the first one left off, with 44 / TECH
From there on it is purely uphill. Right from
Killzone with the Move Killzone 3 is compatible with the Move right off the bat but the results are a mixed bag. The basic movement, managed by the navigation controller or a regular PS3 controller, and weapon aim controls, managed by the Move remote, are intuitive and responsive, especially to anyone already familiar with any of the FPS games on the Nintendo Wii. The same is true for the melee sequences that have you jabbing forward on the remote to execute them. The twist to reload however will take time to master. However, we still favour the regular controller over the Move any day.
Publisher: Sony Computer Ent America Inc. Developer: Guerrilla Games Platform(s): PS3 Genre: Action ESRB Rating: Mature
The Good Stunning graphics, extremely good enemy AI, improved multiplayer, awesome new weapons The Bad
Lacklustre story and characters
But the visuals are only a small part of the equation; the true star is the gameplay. On the face of it not much has changed. Almost all the old weaponry is back, along with their awesome reload animations, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure. Among these new ones is a green orb shooting monstrosity that leaves only corpses in its wake and a new portable artillery cannon that allows you to rain death on your foes from above. These super weapons, which also include the likes of RPGs and Sniper
they have, switching to superior cover if needed; they will effectively dodge thrown grenades, are quite accurate with theirs. They will flank you and are dead accurate with their weapons too. Thankfully your companions share the same AI and will do their part in taking down the enemy and reviving you when needed. Also, unlike most other games you are not a complete bullet magnet, unless of course you stand out in the open like a complete dimwit. The enemies concentrate their fire on your companions just as much as
previous game intact and adding a few new ones. None of these are particularly noteworthy but are enjoyable nonetheless. The class system and levelling up is back and is now more streamlined. All classes are now effective from the get go, avoiding any unnecessary level grinding, but can be upgraded in time by earning experience. As an added bonus you can play both matches with all classes on max to test out each class before you spend upgrade points blindly. Taking everything into account, it is a very
Rifles, are now relegated to a third slot in the inventory and also replenish their ammo at the generous ammo dumps scattered around the levels. There is also the new jet pack which provides you with infinite ammunition and improved mobility that is insanely fun to use. While you may think this to be overpowered, believe us it isn’t; you will need all the help you can get to take on the new AI.
you, making you truly feel like you are part of a much bigger fight, rather than a one-man army. And if this wasn’t impressive enough the game also has some amazing set piece moments that will take your breath away, both in their intensity and visuals. The campaign can also be played in co-op only via split screen, which is a shame given the game’s impressive online repertoire.
comprehensive online package that alone is worth the purchase of the game.
The new AI is smart, and we mean really smart. They will make the best of the cover
Online, the game hasn’t changed much, bringing with it all the modes from the
Overall, Killzone 3 is a notable improvement over its predecessor on every possible front, aside from the story. While it may still not achieve the cult status that the developers were hoping for, it will definitely garner a host of new followers who will be anxiously awaiting the next game in the series. We know we are already.
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Game Release Calendar April 2011 April 01 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Publisher: EA Developer: EA Sports Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii Genre: Sports ESRB Rating: R/P PEGI Rating: 3
April 12 World of Tanks Publisher: Wargaming.net Developer: Wargaming.net Platform(s): PC Genre: Action ESRB Rating: Teen PEGI Rating: 7
April 21 Operation Flashpoint: Red River Publisher: Codemasters Developer: Codemasters Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360 Genre: Action ESRB Rating: R/P PEGI Rating: 18
Portal 2 Publisher: Valve Developer: Valve Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC Genre: Action ESRB Rating: R/P PEGI Rating: R/P
April 19 Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Platform(s): PSP Genre: Action ESRB Rating: R/P PEGI Rating: 12
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Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Developer: NetherRealm Studios Platform(s): PS3 Xbox 360 Genre: Fighting ESRB Rating: Mature PEGI Rating: 18
Date with destiny Boyle’s latest hit, 127 Hours, is pure emotion, writes Poornima Ramani A formula that pulls it off a second time – director Danny Boyle has joined forces with his Slumdog Millionaire production team for 127 Hours. The movie is based on a real-life incident. Tremendously crafted, it does Aron Ralston, the protagonist, justice. With compelling visual style and great performance from James Franco, the formula for success has been perfected. However, 127 Hours is not for the faint of heart – or the weak of stomach. The movie might be considered a bit too graphic. Still, it’s hard to imagine how a filmmaker could have told this story without diving into the pain, both physically and mentally, of the event. Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) is a climber and extreme sports enthusiast who one weekend goes out hiking in the beautiful, remote Blue John Canyon in Utah, USA. He tells no one where he is going; doesn’t have a mobile phone; and is staggeringly self-confident. To top it all off he encounters two attractive women hikers who invite him to a party they’re throwing later that night. As it happens, though, Ralston’s date is not with the two attractive women; rather it’s a
date with destiny – one that begins with a dangerous canyon climb. Unfortunately the climb takes a turn for the worse. Following a hair-raising fall he gets trapped, jamming his arm under a colossal boulder. From there on it’s a touching story about one man’s survival instincts kicking in. Boyle’s execution of the in-canyon reality and the Ralston mindscape is compelling. For some the ending will not be unfamiliar. You would know it if you had been following the news of Ralston’s ordeal in 2003, or if you have read his autobiography, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. In spite of the knowledge, Ralston’s five days of thirst and pain with his arm stuck under a boulder still makes you shudder. Shot with a gripping camera work on Franco, the movie shows him jumping and crashing into rugged terrains. The camera not just manages to capture the hounding beauty of the area, but also brings to life the minute feelings which Aron had felt as hours ticked into days, and he longed for freedom. It just might be a movie where a guy is trapped under a boulder. But Franco helps humanise the story. Conclusion: A gutwrenching film that you will leave feeling good about. Because, after the tragedy comes a fantastic sense of triumph.
APRIL DVD RELEASES Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole 11 April Animation | Adventure | Fantasy
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest 11 April Crime | Drama | Thriller
Tron Legacy 18 April Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 18 April Adventure | Family | Fantasy
The Tourist 25 April Action | Drama | Romance
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Summer Chills With ‘greener’ solutions and innovative technology, get ready for the blistering heat this month When the temperature outside begins to climb, many people seek the cool comfort of indoor air conditioning. Gone are the days when you had to worry about your electricity bill. Air conditioners are now ‘greener’ and energy-efficient. We have tried to give you certain tips on choosing an AC for your new home.
Deciding on capacity Give your dealer information to help him advise you on the type, tonnage and the number of air conditioners you will need for a particular room. Measure the area of your room. Make a note of the number and size of the windows in that room. Know how much shade your room gets, the thickness of the walls and how high the ceiling is. Also consider the number of appliances that are in use, like computers. Note: bigger is not always better. An over-sized unit will lower the temperature too quickly and will shut off before it has an opportunity to properly dehumidify the air being conditioned. And excessive humidity can facilitate the growth of mould.
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Energy Efficiency To find out if your air conditioner is efficient, you require the combination of a high EER (Energy Efficiency Rate) and an EnergyStar qualification. An EnergyStar-qualified air conditioner will save you about 30 per cent in energy costs. And air conditioners that have been certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) carry the EER. The higher the number, the less in operating costs.
Maintenance Your work doesnâ€™t stop with just choosing the perfect air conditioner, though. Maintenance is also important. It is not always necessary to order dealer service when a little bit of care on your part will go a long way in improving the working life of your air conditioner. Split air conditioners are a good way to go as they are affordable, quiet and energy-efficient. They are also more hygienic and prevent birds from making their nests in air gaps, rodents creeping in and air from leaking.
fresh air to enter. Do not spray any type of deodorant or perfume into your split ACs. Doing so will result in foul smell, necessitating a cleaning of the indoor unit.
Try to clean the filter of your AC at least once a fortnight. Dirty air filters force your system to work harder to push cool air through your home. This uses more energy and places extra strain on the air conditioning system. Keep the doors of your rooms open for a few minutes every day to allow some
10 things to look for when buying an air conditioner BTU Output: This denotes the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. You should choose one with the proper British Thermal Units (BTU) Output for your space.
Variable Fan Speed: Look for an air conditioner that has at least three fan settings. Adjustable fans help control noise levels and system efficiencies.
temperature of the night, letting you sleep undisturbed and feeling bearably cool.
boost the performance of your filter and help in air purification.
Quiet Mode: The noise level of an air conditioner is one of the largest factors you need to consider before buying air conditioning units. Such units operate at a relative whisper and provide comfort.
Programmable Thermostat and Automatic Timer: Being able to set an air conditioner to run automatically will help it function at its peak efficiency. Setting a timer for your unit to operate only when you are home is a big moneysaver in the long run.
Adjustable or Oscillating Vents: These help distribute the air evenly throughout the room, sweeping the cool air from one side to the other.
Remote Control: This is a great feature for units placed in larger rooms. If you have just got comfortable on the sofa and then decide that you are not quite cool enough, just have the remote within reach.
Sleep Mode: Ever wondered why you wake up in the chilly pre-dawn hours shivering? Itâ€™s probably because your AC doesnâ€™t have a sleep mode. This feature automatically raises the
Filters and Air Purifiers: Look for washable filters instead of replaceable ones. Some air conditioners can act as air purifiers and have ionic cleaning mechanisms. Ionising the air can
Electronic Controls and Digital Display: Gives you greater precision in finding your comfort zone within a range of one degree.
Energy Star Rating: Qualified air conditioners are at least ten per cent more energy efficient than the minimum industry standards.
April 2011 / 49
Daikin FTD60FV1K A Titanium apatite photocatalytic air purification filter removes airborne dust particles, ensuring a steady supply of clean air
Outdoor units are equally important when considering air conditioners and with a special acryl pre-coated fin on the heat exchanger for anti-corrosion, the unit is protected against severe weather conditions The wide angle louvers provide comfortable air flow
General’s new five-speed wall-mounted, environment-friendly AC efficiently handles distribution and circulation of air in the required space
With the airflow increased by almost 30 per cent and a reinforced heat exchanger, the air conditioner delivers efficient cooling
The unit has a high-efficiency DC fan motor that helps the strong air flow
The new ‘Straight Air Flow’ design technology reduces resistance to return air, thus allowing more air contact with the heat exchanger
50 / TECH
The external parts of the outdoor unit are corrosion-resistant, which works perfectly, given the climatic conditions in the sultanate
Hitachiâ€™s split-type air conditioner has a Green Fin condenser which is durable, thanks to the green rustresistant coating
It comes with a new multi-dimensional heat exchanger with a wide suction One of the most important features of this air conditioner is the Nano Titanium technology that it employs in its stainless steel filters; with this technology, the filter prevents bacteria and odours from getting into the indoor unit
LG Titan ArtCool
The unit also comes with anti-bacterial treated T-fan that prevents the growth of bacteria, providing better room hygiene
Condensers are coated with GoldFin anti-corrosion coating, enhancing the durability of the heat exchanger
LG Titan incorporates the newly developed Virus and Allergy Safe Filter certified by the British Allergy Foundation (BAF); it eliminates house dust mite allergens and viruses, helping you breathe easier and healthier
Larger fans allow you to feel the air up to 10m away and so the cooling is fast and powerful
The Multi-stage Tropical Compressor used in the ArtCool is also reliable, even under extreme conditions such as high temperature, sandstorms and 24hr operation
A perfect buy for a country like Oman, the Titan has a 14 FPI (fins per inch) outdoor unit that protects the air conditioning unit from dust particles
April 2011 / 51
The CS-C12MKF split air conditioner is a new range from Panasonic, incorporating the ECONAVI technology
Advance+Plus e-ion technology in the CSC12MKF is designed to monitor changes in the degree of air cleanliness; it activates the air purifying function when necessary
ECONAVI is an innovative technology that scans the area for human presence and activity rate, directing the air flow to the area that is occupied
This new range of ACs use 30 per cent less energy when cooling and up to 40 per cent less energy when heating
AUTOCOMFORT is another feature incorporated into the ECONAVI series of air conditioners, enabling consumers to enjoy the same functions as ECONAVI with lower energy saving mode when additional cooling/heating is not required
Samsung AS18UU Samsung’s silver-coated filter eradicates microscopic dust particles, fungi and unpleasant odours; and the Virus Doctor system improves indoor air quality, eliminating biological contaminants such as viruses and bacteria
The AS18UU has a ‘Good Sleep’ feature with a precise temperature control system and automatic moisture adjustment
52 / TECH
Comfort Care technology measures the humidity and temperature of the room and adjusts both automatically until the comfort index is reached
Samsung’s Blue LED lamp lets you breathe easy knowing that your AC is pumping out clean, healthy air
For easy maintenance, Samsung’s ‘Filter Clean’ indicator shines a blue alarm light so you know exactly when the filter needs to be cleaned
The AHA18LME is a split-type wall-mounted air conditioner from Sharp
Sharpâ€™s Plasmacluster Ion technology creates a positive and negative ion shower, thus purifying the air
Other features include the auto and turbo operation modes and the auto swing louvers
Another important feature is the computerised dry mode operation
Toshiba RAS-18SKP The RAS-18SKP is a 1.5-tonne capacity split-type wall-mounted air conditioner The IAQ filter also helps eliminate virus, mould, bacteria and other pollutants from the air
Other features include five fan speed levels in AUTO mode, an economy mode, washable front panels and a dry or dehumidifying function
It has a seven-layer air filter and a self-cleaning function that eliminates mould
The SKP series has a new, compact chassis
April 2011 / 53
Invigorating freshness Air purifiers are now employing technology to kill viruses in the air The key to healthy living is to breathe in clean air. Everyone wishes for a clean, germ-free home. With technology advancements, it is now possible to kill viruses in the air, letting you take in invigoratingly deep breaths indoors. So
enjoy clean air with aesthetically designed air purifiers. Panasonicâ€™s new series of air purifiers incorporate nanoe as its core technology. nanoe is a water-based ion that has longer
life. It is also different from â€˜ionisersâ€™. nanoe is more than just for purification, though. It can penetrate fabrics and deodorise odours in clothes from things like tobacco smoke. It also hydrates skin to prevent dryness.
nanoe are particles created from water that can penetrate the fabric of curtains and sofas to deodorise and eliminate pollutants
The sensors in the air purifier detect the quality of air in the surrounding area and indicates it with the help of the luminous display
In the Quiet Mode, the F-PXC50M nanoe air purifier operates at a low noise level of about 18dB
This latest Panasonic air purifier is of a very compact and sleek design; it is available in white and silver
nanoe air purifiers are found to be effective in suppressing influenza virus (H1N1, H5N1), Escherichia coli (O157), staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), canine distemper virus, feline calicivirus, allergens and other odours
54 / TECH
The nanoe air purifiers unleash powerful ions created from water molecules, targeting an area that is at least 30cm above the ground; known as the ‘danger zone’, this is where dust and other allergens abound
Super alleru-buster filter inhibits almost 17 different types of allergens; it combines three effects in one – anti-allergen, anti-virus, anti-bacteria protection – to keep room air clean and healthy
These nanoe air purifiers are equipped with two powerful long-life filters – super alleru-buster composite and super nano technology deodorising filter – to get rid of odours caused by adhesives, pets, and even cigarette smoke
The 3D circulation airflow is divided into two modes – the upwards and the front airflow modes; it eliminates harmful allergens with the help of a more powerful intake of air
nanoe F-PXC50M Air Purifier
Power Consumption (W) 12 (Low), 16 (Medium), 24 (High), 70 (Super) Noise (dB)
18 (Low), 29 (Medium), 39 (High), 52 (Super)
Super nanoe technology
Price (OMR) Available at
135.000 OMASCO, 24564310 April 2011 / 55
Spruce-up your gardens with Makita’s petrol-powered hedge trimmer Makita’s petrol-powered hedge trimmer HTR5600 is suitable for gardens of all sizes – from medium to large ones. It features a 24.5cc engine and a double-sided blade with a length of 56cm. The dual action blade provides a finer cut for a fast professional finish to your beautiful garden. Makita tools are usually quite light to use and are ergonomically designed to provide comfort for prolonged usage. The powerful two-stroke engine is powerful and easy to start thanks to the manual choke. The electronic ignition ensures that the unit runs smoothly when idle and even when under load. This is a professional machine that uses unleaded fuel.
The powerful two-stroke engine has an easy start system thanks to the manual choke
The multi-function handle is fitted in with an anti-vibration system
With its sharpened upper and lower blades, the 56cm double-sided blade of the professional hedge trimmer provides a finer cut
For comfortable operation, the petrol-powered HTR5600 is provided with a wide trigger control and a soft grip
Gulf Services & Industrial Supplies, 24811238
56 / TECH
Fax to 24693569
Choose the correct answer and send in your entries for a chance to win
1. In email terminology, what does BCC stand for?
2. What is the permanently installed mechanism inside the computer that stores all data, even after the computer is turned off?
(a) Blind Corrected Copy (b) Blind Carbon Copy (c) Better Carbon Copy (d) Better Corrected Carbon
(a) Output Device (c) ROM
(b) RAM (d) Hard Drive
3. Which one of the following is a search engine?
4. What does GPS stand for?
(a) Netscape (b) Internet (c) Webcrawler (d) Java
(a) Global Positioning System (b) Global Positioning Standard (c) General Positioning System (d) General Positioning Standard
Previous quiz answers: 1 – (b) 2 – (d) 3 – (a)
4 – (c)
Please send us your entries by April 22 for a chance to win a Sony DVD player. Gift courtesy of EMax
Name ___________________________________ Age ______ Mobile ________________________ Email ____________________________________ Occupation _______________________________ Company _________________________________
Last month’s winner:
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Employees and family members of Deenar Press and Publishing and Emax cannot participate in the quiz. Judge’s decision is final. Please email the answers to email@example.com or fax this page to 24693569 by the deadline. Correspondence after the deadline will not be entertained. PLEASE WRITE CLEARLY. Incomplete or illegible entries will be disqualified. Winner must provide valid ID to claim the prize. Allow up to two weeks to process. April 2011 / 57
Welcome to our ‘TECH Favourites’ section. With these lists we aim to keep you updated with our favourite products in a concise format. Please give us your feedback on the basis of which we can further improve it.
Flat-Panel Displays LG 42LE5300 OMR479.900
This is a 42-inch, full HD, 2MP, LED TV with 100Hz motion flow. It sports four HDMI/PC input, and has an AV and energy-saving mode.
Philips 46PFL9704 OMR1205.000
Besides the excellent design, this 46-inch LED TV is known for its ‘Ambilight’ technology. It supports various types of multimedia playback and has a three-way hybrid tuner that supports CI+ encryption.
Sharp LC46LE820M OMR799.000
This is a full-HD 1080p 46-inch TV with 2MP RGB LED screen. It has four HDMI/PC inputs and supports USB DIVX HD.
3D TVs LG 72LZ9700 OMR3499.900
3D LED 72-inch screen, 400Hz motion flow, four HDMI/PC input, two USB port, two megapixels
Sony KLV40HX800 OMR699.900
3D Plasma 40-inch screen, full HD, four HDMI/ PC input, Internet TV, 200Hz motion flow, Bravia Engine III
Panasonic TH-P42GT20M OMR511.900 3D full HD 42-inch display, 600Hz sub-field drive technology, over 5,000,000:1 native contrast
Sharp LC60A77M OMR1359.000
Samsung UA55C9000 OMR2099.000
Sony KLV40EX710 OMR499.900
This 60-inch LCD television has a full-HD panel and a pure black filter that reproduces deeper black. It also has STS TruSurround, bass enhancer and RGB backlight system.
This is a 40-inch, full HD, 2MP, edge-lit LED display with 100Hz motion flow. It sports four HDMI inputs, a USB port, P.I.P and Internet TV.
Sony KLV40NX700 OMR549.900
This is a 2MP, full-HD 40-inch edge-lit LED TV with 120Hz motion flow. It has four HDMI inputs, Internet TV, Wi-Fi, USB port and P.I.P.
Panasonic THP-46U20M OMR309.900
This is a 2MP, full HD 46-inch TV with a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 and 600Hz sub-field drive. It has three HDMI inputs and an SD card slot.
3D LED 55-inch screen, full HD, four HDMI/PC input, USB port, Internet TV, 100Hz motion flow
LG HB994PK OMR999.900
1,00W RMS, full HD 1080p, Wireless Rear Speaker, iPod dock, Blu-Ray playback, supports DVD, VCD, CD, MP3 and DIVX, iPod dock
Philips HTS7140 OMR309.900
Surround sound, full HD 1080p, DTS-HD, Dolby Tru-HD, Blu-Ray playback, supports DVD, VCD, CD, MP3 and DIVX
LG HX-995TZW OMR349.900
Full HD, Blu-Ray, DVD, VCD, CD, MP3, DIVX playback, USB port, Internet, HDD playback
Samsung UA32C5000 OMR299.000
This is a 32-inch LED TV with stunning picture quality and a 1080p display. It has two Dolby Digital and DTS decoders for a lush soundscape and includes four HDMI inputs.
SEVEN DAYS EXERCISE T U O H T I W EAK W E N SO MAKE
Disclaimer: Prices quoted in the magazine maybe subject to change. Please check with your local dealer for current costs. Lists are not in any particular order.
Eecellent range of fitness equipment at fantastic prices!
57 HP ENVY 14-1111ee OMR690.000
Intel Core i7 720QM processor, 1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz, 6GB RAM, 1,024MB VRAM, 500GB HDD, 14.5-inch HD LCD, DVD super multi drive, Wireless, Bluetooth, 5-in-1 digital media reader, 1.3MP web camera
Asus G51J OMR759.900
Intel Core i7 720QM, 1.6GHz Turbo Boost, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 640GB HDD, 1GB VRAM, 15.6-inch HD Glare LED, DVD multi drive, Wireless, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
Asus K42J OMR334.900
Intel Core i5 460M, 2.53GHz Turbo Boost, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 500GB HDD, 2GB VRAM, 14.1-inch HD LED, DVD multi drive, Wireless, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
Alienware M15-ALNW-0181 OMR1049.900
Intel Core i7 740QM processor, 1.73GHz CPU speed, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 15.6-inch HD WLED screen, DVD super multi drive, 1.5GB dedicated graphics, Wireless, Bluetooth, card reader, 1.3MP web camera
HP Pavilion dV6-3171SE OMR399.900
Intel Core i7 720QM processor, 1.6GHz CPU speed, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, 1,024MB VRAM, 500GB HDD, 15.6-inch full HD LCD, DVD super multi drive, Wireless, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
Toshiba QOSMIO X500-14H OMR955.000
Intel Core i7 740QM processor, 1.73GHz CPU speed, 18.4-inch TruBrite full HD screen, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1,500GB HDD, 1.5GB VRAM, Wireless LAN, Bluetooth
Toshiba Satellite L655-1EL OMR345.000
Intel Core i5 480M processor, 2.66GHz CPU speed, 3GB RAM, 1GB VRAM, 500GB HDD, 15.6-inch TruBrite HD LED screen, Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
Packard Bell TM86-JO-103AC OMR314.900
Intel Core i5 430M processor, 2.26GHz CPU speed, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB HDD, 15.6-inch HD LED LCD, DVD super multi DL drive, Wireless, Bluetooth, 5-in-1 card reader, 1.3MP web camera
Sony Vaio VPCEB46FA/B OMR389.900
Intel Core i5 480M processor, 2.66GHz CPU speed, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 15.5-inch LED, DVD super multi drive, ATI RADEON HD 5650 Graphics (1GB), Wireless, Bluetooth
Lenovo Y560A-3 OMR424.600
Intel Core i7 740QM processor, 1.7GHz CPU speed, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 15.6-inch HD LED screen, DVD super multi drive, 1GB VRAM, Wireless, Bluetooth, 5-in-1 card reader
Netbooks & Ultra Portables Dell 1090-INS-0179 OMR279.900
Intel Atom Dual Core N550, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, 10.1-inch HD WLED touchscreen, Wireless, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
Asus 1201N OMR199.900
Intel Atom processor, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 250GB HDD, 12.1-inch LED display, Bluetooth, 1.3MP web camera
HP Invent TM2-2199 OMR489.900
Intel Core i3 330UM, 1.33GHz CPU speed, 3GB DDR3 SDRAM, 320GB HDD, 512MB VRAM, 12.1inch LED HD widescreen, Wireless, Bluetooth
Apple iPad OMR314.900
16GB, 9.7-inch LED backlit screen, 1GHz processor speed, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR technology, Wi-Fi and 3G
Lenovo S10-3t OMR211.400
Intel Atom N455, 1,024MB RAM, 250GB HDD, 10.1-inch HD LED touchscreen, Wireless, Bluetooth, 5-in-1 card reader
Computer Accessories Microsoft Arc Keyboard OMR21.900
2.4GHz wireless keyboard, stowable nano transceiver, battery life indicator, lightweight and compact
Seagate GoFlex Pro 500GB OMR39.900
Features USB 2.0 plug-and-play connectivity, illuminated capacity gauge, 500GB portable drive, 1 x Serial ATA-300 interface
WD TV Live Hub OMR93.900
With 1TB capacity, users can centralise video, music and photos, and play full-HD 1080p video on HD TVs throughout their home
SteelSeries Siberia v2 OMR62.200
Full-size headset with retractable microphone, a 50mm driver unit with clear sound, integrated volume control on the cord, earcups feature noise reducing foam
58 Cameras Leica DLUX-3 OMR275.900
The D-Lux 3 is a premium compact digital camera featuring a ten-megapixel sensor. It sports a 2.5-inch LCD screen with face detection mode. It also has manual and auto focus features and supports 4x optical zoom.
Panasonic FT2 OMR170.000
The FT2 is waterproof (up to 10m), dustproof, freezeproof (up to -10 degrees Celsius) and shockproof (up to 2m). It has a 28mm wide-angle lens with a 4.6x optical zoom.
Fuji HS10 OMR219.900
This is a 12-megapixel, 2.7-inch LCD camera with 30x optical zoom. It supports HD movie recording. It also has Panorama Mode for capturing beautiful landscapes.
Canon IXUS-1000 OMR154.900
This is a ten-megapixel CMOS sensor, three-inch LCD camera with 10x optical zoom. It comes in a compact, stylish metal body with smart auto and smart FE functions. Super Slow Motion Movie captures video at 240fps.
Olympus mju8010 OMR179.900
The mju8010 digital camera from Olympus features a 14-megapixel sensor with 3x optical zoom. It is waterproof (up to 10m) and dustproof.
Sony α NEX-5 OMR279.900
This is a 14.2-megapixel, 4x optical zoom camera. It comes with a three-inch tilt LCD screen and a 16mm wide-angle lens. It supports AVCHD movie recording capability.
Samsung ST1000 OMR99.900
This has built-in GPS, Geotagging technology, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The camera has a recycling bin, preventing the accidental deletion of photos. It has a 5x optical zoom lens with a resolution of 12 megapixels.
Samsung ST500 OMR79.900
This is a 12.2-megapixel, 4.6x optical zoom camera. It comes with a three-inch LCD screen. It has HD movie capture capability and image stabilisation.
Fuji Real 3D W3 OMR209.900
This is a ten-megapixel, 3.5-inch LCD 3D camera with 3x optical zoom. It lets you shoot high resolution 3D photos and movies.
Camcorders Sony Bloggie MHS-PM5K OMR79.900 5MP resolution, CMOS sensor, three-inch LCD screen, HD Video 1920x1080, built-in USB, 270-degree swivel lens
Panasonic HDC-SDT750 OMR485.000 Full HD 1080/60p progressive movie recording, advanced 3MOS System, Intelligent Auto function, Hybrid OIS
Sony HDR-XR550 OMR509.900
12 megapixel resolution, 10x optical zoom, Exmor R CMOS sensor, 240GB HDD, Image Stabliliser, 3.2-inch LCD screen
Canon LEGRIA HFM36 OMR339.000
8GB dual flash memory, relay recording, easy HD shooting, 2.7-inch touchscreen LCD, Dynamic OIS and Powered IS
Sanyo XACTI-CG10 OMR64.900
10MP resolution, 5x optical zoom, digital image stabiliser, 720p HD videos, three-inch LCD screen
DSLRS & Micro Four-Thirds Sony α 500 OMR259.900
12.3 megapixel, three-inch LCD screen, Live View mode, nine-point auto focus, 5fps, plus 18-55mm lens
Nikon D300S OMR639.900
12.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor, 51-point auto focus, three-inch super-density VGA LCD monitor
Canon EOS 1000D OMR284.900
10.2 megapixel, 2.5-inch LCD screen, Live View mode, shooting speed of 3fps, seven-point auto focus
Canon EOS 1D Mark 4 OMR2329.900 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 10fps shooting, three-inch Clear View LCD, HD video recording
Sony W580 OMR89.900
This is a 16.1-megapixel, 5x optical zoom camera. It comes with a three-inch LCD screen and a 25mm wide-angle lens. It supports Sweep Panorama Mode for the perfect landscape images.
Disclaimer: Prices quoted in the magazine maybe subject to change. Please check with your local dealer for current costs. Lists are not in any particular order.
59 Phones Motorola Backflip OMR134.900
This phone sports a 5MP camera and a 3.1-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 320x480 pixels. In addition, it has Wi-Fi, A-GPS and Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP.
HTC Desire OMR219.000
This phone sports a 3.7-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen and a 5MP camera. It comes with internal memory of 576MB RAM and 512MB ROM. It also supports Bluetooth, WLAN, A-GPS and Geotagging.
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S OMR219.900
Samsungâ€™s Galaxy S smartphone is Android-powered and boasts an AMOLED touchscreen. It includes a 5MP camera with autofocus, HSDPA Internet connectivity and 8GB storage. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
Apple iPhone 4 OMR370.000
The iPhone 4 sports a 3.5-inch LED-backlit TFT capacitive touchscreen. With an internal memory of 16GB, and a 512MB RAM, the iPhone 4 supports Wi-Fi, A-GPS, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP. It has a 1GHz Apple A4 processor.
Motorola Milestone OMR199.000
Milestone has a full QWERTY keyboard with five-way navigation keys, multitouch, high resolution screen. It is a smartphone that is Android-powered, with a 5MP camera and dual flash.
Nokia NK N8 OMR197.900
The Nokia N8 comes with AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. Its features include a 12MP camera, 680MHz ARM 11 processor, A-GPS support and Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP.
Samsung S5570 OMR90.900
The Samsung Galaxy Mini has an ARMv6 600MHz processor powering it, and it operates on Froyo 2.2. It features a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen.
Samsung S8530 Wave II OMR179.900
It sports a 3.7-inch super clear capacitive touchscreen, 5MP camera, ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor and Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP.
BlackBerry Torch 9800 OMR264.900
This smartphone sports a 5MP camera and a 3.2-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 360x480 pixels. In addition, it has Wi-Fi, A-GPS and Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP.
iPod Docks Boston Acoustic IDS3 OMR183.000 iPod/iPhone compatible, wireless subwoofer, 100W RMS
Logic3 iStation Studio OMR49.900
Dock and Play, recharge for iPod, video output for iPod Video, wall-mountable
Altec Lansing M602 OMR84.900
Dock and Play, recharge for iPod, video output for iPod Video, wall-mountable
Bose Sound Dock-10 OMR279.000
iPod and iPhone dock, recharge and play, remote control, audio input
iHome Studio Series OMR89.900
Speakerphone stereo system for iPhone/iPod, features Bongiovi Acoustics Digital Power Station, Class-D amplifier technology
MP3 Players Creative Zen Mozaic EZ300 OMR32.900
4GB, 1.8-inch video screen, built-in FM radio, voice recorder, picture viewer, built-in speaker
Apple iPod Nano 5G OMR82.000
16GB, VoiceOver gesture-based screen reader, 1.54-inch (diagonal) colour TFT display, Live Pause feature
Apple iPod Touch OMR103.000
8GB, 3.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen, multitouch display, 720p HD video capture, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Creative Zen MX OMR45.000
8GB, 2.5-inch 320x240 resolution display, integrated SDHC port
Sony Zappin NWZ-W252 OMR36.900 Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro (U201) OMR123.900
This smartphone sports a 5MP camera with auto focus, QWERTY keypad, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This phone runs on Android OS 1.6 and has a 600MHz processor.
2GB, high speed connectivity, built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, water-resistant
60 Air Conditioners Whirlpool AMD-333 OMR139.900
This 1.5-ton capacity split air conditioner is a super tropical model that can withstand temperature up to 52 degree Celsius. It comes with an LED on the front panel.
Samsung AS18UU OMR179.500
Samsung’s 1.5-ton capacity split air conditioner is best known for its antivirus plasma filter and silver nano health system.
General ASG18-HTR OMR253.900
This 1.5-ton split air conditioner comes with a Blue Fin coated condenser, silver nano health system, hyper tropical compressor, deo air filter and a plasma pure filter.
Samsung AWT18WHBM OMR118.500
Refrigerators LG GRP277ZGG OMR639.900
721L capacity, automatic ice maker, adjustable tempered glass shelves, deodoriser and humidity control
Toshiba GRY-60 OMR190.900
580L capacity, double door, frost free, insulated wire shelves
Samsung RL-52VEBTB OMR219.500 350L capacity, LCD touchscreen, bottommounted freezer, blue LED display, silver plus anti-bacterial coating
Hitachi RW-660FUK OMR364.900
Samsung’s 1.5-ton window air conditioner with a rotary compressor has a digital temperature control, anti-corrosion body, fuzzy logic feature and a silver nano health system.
660L capacity, ice maker with water dispenser, nano titanium cooling system, four-door top mounted no-frost freezer
Panasonic CS/CUC18KKF OMR180.000
Sharp SJK42SSL OMR149.900
With power cooling at 55 degree Celsius, this 1.5-ton capacity air conditioner has a Blue Fin coated condenser and an Eco sensor/ plasma filter.
382L capacity, double door, frost free, nano deodoriser, insulated wired shelves, twist ice tray
LG E2463PP OMR381.000
This is a two-ton capacity Art Cool air conditioner with a three-way air flow system. It comes with a slim design and a picture panel frame.
Electrolux ESSD-18 OMR127.900
This 1.5-ton window air conditioner has a reciprocating compressor with a digital temperature control and smooth air flow. It also has washable filters.
Hitachi RAN-209CP OMR132.900
This 1.5-ton window air conditioner has a high energy-efficient compressor with a super quite air flow. There is a symmetric twin flow air discharge, washable filters and a rotary compressor.
Toshiba RAS-18G OMR135.900
With a compact design and precise operation, this 1.5-ton window air conditioner has an eight-in-one air filter system. It is a flat type window air conditioner.
Sanyo SA186M5 OMR116.900
Sanyo’s 1.5-ton window air conditioner is a low noise design with a rotary compressor and comes with an anti-bacteria filter. It is easy to clean and allows smooth air flow.
Ariston AQ7F091 OMR179.900
7kg capacity, 16 programmes/1,000rpm, delay start, easy iron, extra rinse, Woolmark Platinum Care certified
Toshiba AW8570SB OMR89.900
7kg capacity, six wash programmes, digital display, water level selection, child lock, top load washer
Panasonic NA-F140T1 OMR220.000
14kg capacity, fully automatic, top load washer, twin lint filter, Aqua Beat Plus technology
Samsung WD1822CVB OMR399.500
12kg washer, 7kg dryer, 12 programmes, 1,200rpm, ceramic heater, silver wash, child lock
Disclaimer: Prices quoted in the magazine maybe subject to change. Please check with your local dealer for current costs. Lists are not in any particular order.
61 Microwaves & Ovens Samsung CQV513S OMR169.500
A 36L oven with 800W microwave output power and 1,540W grill power, Samsung’s family-size combi steam oven has six power levels for cooking. It also has auto steam cook and auto power defrost.
Sanyo EM-C7586V OMR54.000
Vacuum Cleaners Philips FC-8146 OMR48.900
1,800W power, bagless, HEPA filter, special parquet nozzle with soft brush hairs, 300W suction power
This is a 32L convection microwave with grill function. With an output power of 1,000W, this oven has an electronic timer. It includes auto defrost and auto delay start feature. It has five power levels and ten auto menus.
Panasonic MC-CJ905 OMR78.600
Sharp EO18LW OMR19.900
Rowenta RWRO442711 OMR74.900
This is an 18L electric oven with knobs for adjusting the temperature. It has a 60-minute timer with chime and automatic off feature. Selector knobs for lower, upper and both heaters is a part of the appliance.
Samsung GE107Y OMR49.500
This is a 28L microwave with grill function. It has six power levels and four auto cook menus. It has a microwave output power of 900W and a grill power of 1,300W. It features the Triple Distribution System and Steam Clean function.
Samsung GE109MST OMR69.500
This is a 28L grill microwave oven. Designed for performance, it has a wide tempered glass door. This microwave features the Triple Distribution System and Steam Clean function.
GE GMOH30UCPSS OMR56.900
A 30L convection microwave/grill with electronic touch control, GE’s latest in this series has time and weight defrost feature and express cook. It has a 1,000W grill power and 900W microwave power.
LG MC-8088FRR OMR89.900
This is a 30L convection microwave with grill function. It includes quick defrost and auto defrost functions. Additional features include the speed cook and sweet menu buttons.
LG MS-2349H OMR27.900
6.2L dust bag capacity, anti-bacteria filter, fourspeed control, 2,000W power 2,100W vacuum cleaner, anti-bacteria HEPA filtration, Delta Silence Force technology
Karcher SV1802 OMR230.000
Steam vacuum cleaner, four suction settings, five steam-flow settings, coarse dirt filter, foam filter, HEPA filter
Samsung VCC8780 OMR59.500
HEPA H13 filter, 1,800W power, Infrared Remote handle, Multi Chamber Plus + for longlasting suction power
Domestic Appliances Philips HD9140/90 OMR30.500
9L food steamer, three tiers, water level indicator, overheat and dry boil protection, 900W power
Philips HR2800 OMR28.500
500W power smoothie maker, 2L glass jar, two speeds and pulse, detachable blade unit
Braun MR 740CC OMR58.500
This is a 23L microwave oven with 800W power output. It has automatic cooking, defrost and timer settings.
Cordless hand processor, 1,000ml capacity, ultrahard stainless steel blades, chopping, ice-crushing and blending
Panasonic NN-CD997S OMR159.900
Tefal TFVS400171 OMR34.600
With a 42L oven capacity, three stage memory, delay start, and two level shelf cooking, Panasonic’s exclusive Inverter technology offers real power level control.
Black & Decker TRO2000 OMR26.700
This is a 1,380W toaster oven that features a 19L capacity. It comes with an adjustable timer, a wire rack and a food tray handle. It also has a removable crumb tray for easy crumb disposal.
Food steamer, Vitamin+ function helps retain more vitamins, 50 recipes included, adds sauces to the food
Krups XP5200 OMR70.000
Espresso machine, optimum tamping system to extract flavours and aromas, Thermoblock system, clean ejection system
62 Gaming Consoles & Accessories PSP 3000 + 2 Games OMR75.500
This current version of the PlayStation Portable has a built-in microphone and a better screen that is able to resist glare and so works better outdoors.
PS3 320GB + Move Bundle OMR185.000
The Move is broken into three parts: the ‘Motion Controller’, the ‘Navigation Controller’ and the ‘PlayStation Eye Camera’. The Motion Controller contains built-in motion sensors.
Nintendo 3DS OMR149.900
A built-in 3D Depth Slider allows you to adjust the intensity of the 3D settings on the new Nintendo 3DS system. Other features include the built-in motion and gyro sensor.
Logitech G13 OMR42.800
The GamePanel LCD in this gaming keyboard keeps you informed of the game stats and other vital information to help you claim victory. It includes programmable G-keys that let you create macros on the fly.
Logitech G27 OMR160.000
Logitech racing wheels and flight controllers simulate remarkable realism. Force feedback lets you feel every slip of the tyre, every shudder of the wing and the controls feel like the real thing.
XBOX 360 Kinect 250GB OMR177.200
With a stylish design, the integrated internal memory of 250GB allows you to save games and content. It has built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) and 5.1 channel surround sound.
World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse OMR53.600
It allows incredible customisation with 15 programmable buttons with more than 130 preset game commands. It also lets you create your own custom macros or use the in-game macro scripting language.
SteelSeries Spectrum 5XB OMR53.600
This is a premium quality, wired headset designed for Xbox 360. With the custom-built soundscape via 40mm SunDancer (SCS) units, you can pinpoint the direction of noises and movement throughout the game.
Thrustmaster T500RS OMR241.000
The T500RS employs new H.E.A.R.T (HallEffect AccuRate Technology) on the wheel’s steering and so offers precision, force feedback and a realistic angle of rotation. The controls feel like the real thing.
Our Current Top 5 Recommended Games Bulletstorm OMR28.900
Publisher: EA Developer: People Can Fly Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC Genre: Action ESRB Rating: Mature
Dead Space 2 OMR28.900
Publisher: EA Developer: Visceral Games Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC Genre: Action ESRB Rating: Mature
Dragon Age 2 OMR28.900
Publisher: EA Developer: Bioware Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC Genre: RPG ESRB Rating: R/P
Killzone 3 OMR28.900
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. Developer: Guerrilla Games Platform(s): PS3 Genre: Action ESRB Rating: Mature
Marvel vs. Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds OMR28.900 Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3 Genre: Action ESRB Rating: R/P
Nintendo Wii Sports Resort Pack OMR107.000
This is Super Mario Bro.’s 25th Anniversary Edition and comes with two games. The Wii now sells its Wii Sports Resort and Wii MotionPlus accessory bundled into a console package.
For a copy of TECH on your desk
Al Khalili Group
Wadi Kabir 24816303
Asset, Carrier, Ignis, Napro, Toshiba, Seiko, Casio, Titan, Sony Ericsson, Tempstar, Cooline, Corning, Print electronics, Dolphin, Benq, Ausonia, Daewoo, VIP, Dometic, Corby
24501965 / 66
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Mustafa Sultan Electronics (MSE)
Samsung, Haier, Philips, Nevica, Whirlpool
Al Khuwair 24636015
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Oman International Electronics & Trading Co.
Bose, Nec, JVC
Oman Trading Est.
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OMASCO - System Solutions
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Sharp, JBL, Mastergas, Harman/Kardon, Onida, Nikai,
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Technical Trading Co.
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Macintosh, Benq, Epson, Sokkia, Acer
Al Moayyed Integrated Enterprise
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April 2011 / 65