Page 1

WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

AN AL ROYA PRESENTATION

OMAN’S FAVOURITE MAGAZINE, NOW A TABLOID

TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

Computing Enigma

HP Spectre XT TouchSmart unravelled

Get Smart

Samsung NX300 features 3D

e Reader

face-off

We do a spec-by-spec analysis of the best eReader on the market

Assertive concept

Subaru WRX gets street wise


Issue

41

Home Screen

Risky business Produced by

Deenar Press and Publishing LLC PO Box 139, PC 102, Al Qurm, Sultanate of Oman Tel: + 968 24696868, Fax: +968 24693569 E-mail: info@deenarmedia.com

Printed at Ruwi Modern Printers

2013 © 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.

As more small companies embrace the smartphone as a way to keep in touch with the office, it is very tempting to save money by kitting out a phone with free apps. But there is a hidden cost; the allure of running a business software on a smartphone for next to nothing may be attractive, but while the developers won’t make money from you, they can make money from selling your personal details. We can expect apps to collect some data like a crash report that helps the developer fix problems, performance data or location data for a navigation app, but some applications collect large amounts of data, ranging from highly personal to little snippets that can be pieced together to identify the person using the smartphone. Research carried out by a security firm Bit9 last November, found that more than 100,000 Android applications on Google’s Play app store were

‘suspicious’ or ‘questionable’ because of what they did without the user knowing. Such activity includes location tracking, contact list access and reading through email messages, activities that go beyond the stated purpose of the app. According to David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab, “Understanding app permissions can be a daunting process, even for security professionals. It isn’t always clear what the permissions allow the app to do, what data it will collect and impor tantly, what it will do with that data.” This week, we give you our take on the best eReaders you can buy in the months to come. Summer is almost here and to make sure you keep your electricity bills low, we feature Panasonic’s latest air conditioner. As a part of our special feature, we tell you about the technologically advanced places your data is stored.

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4

news WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

The new S-class spied ot

Sp

h

y s

s

Twitter to introduce Music Application Twitter is introducing a music feature that is expected to use the listening habits of users’ friends and contacts to recommend music for them to listen to, giving its more than 200 million users more to send tweets about and another reason to stay logged in. After weeks of rumors, Twitter announced on Thursday, April 11 that it had bought the company. Recommendations based on social media interactions have become common throughout digital media, Twitter’s advantage may lie in the devotion of its customers. AllThingsD, a technology news site reported that the service would at first be open only to ‘influencers’ like celebrities and for a while Twitter’s music page even said it was ‘invite only.’

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class designated W222, is one of the most highly anticipated debuts of its model year. Every generation of the flagship sedan has broken new ground in technology and innovation for the entire industry, and the German automaker appears determined to raise the bar much further with its latest arrival as it promises to deliver “the best automobile in the world.” Mercedes-Benz has just released nearly two dozen interior images of the new sedan, showing off style in design, craftsmanship in execution and pioneering advancements in technology.

Unlike all previous generations. the first S-Class officially arrived in 1972, the 2014 model completely discards a traditional instrument cluster and replaces it with two high-resolution color displays in 8:3 format with a screen diagonal of 12.3 inches. The left unit displays traditional analog gauges digitally, while the right unit is reserved for infotainment and comfort settings with the automaker’s all new mBrace2, a cloud based entertainment and information delivery system that is rolling out this year.

Passengers will be pampered with energising massages, active seat ventilation with reversing fans, heated seats, steering wheel and armrests.

HP targets a cloud-friendly future

HP on Monday, April8th announced the availability of a new platform of microservers in its Project Moonshot program, as it tries to carve out a new energy efficient, lower-cost niche in the server market. The company says the new servers are designed to help companies and organizations deal with the challenges of current computing trends such as cloud computing, Big Data, mobile and social usage. HP will use processors from Intel, AMD and other vendors in the Moonshot servers. In a press release, the company said Project Moonshot servers will use chips that normally show up in smartphones and tablets, which will allow the servers to be more energy efficient and take up less space in data centers.

Brainwaves could make passwords old school Thought control takes on new meaning with research that replaces passwords for user authentication with brainwaves. A team at the University of California at Berkeley says it has combined affordable technology with its research to introduce a way for computers users to login by thinking of certain things and the resulting brainwaves would unlock their PC’s. It has the potential to bypass stolen/hacked passwords, but doesn’t necessarily solve all data security issues. UC Berkeley’s John Chuang presented the team’s findings at the 17th International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, held in Okinawa, Japan last week.

Intel tries to secure its footing beyond PCs Intel became the world’s largest semiconductor maker through a partnership with Microsoft that dominated the personal computer business for a quarter of the century. PC sales are now collapsing, as users are relying more on mobile phones and tablets that rarely contain Intel chips. Intel’s other mainstay business, chips for computer servers, is also changing. Cloud computing is creating huge demand for basic servers, but its simpler and cheaper designs may drive down prices and profit margins and offer openings to new competitors. Amidst this turmoil, Intel is scrambling to find a new leader. In November, Paul Otellini, the chief executive since 2005, unexpectedly

The Smart watch’s time may be upon us It seems every tech company is building a smart watch and startup Pebble already has, but it isn’t quite clear whether they’ll become as common on consumers’ wrists as those distinctive white iPod cords hanging from their ears a few years ago. Smart watches have never been cool, despite several efforts to market them over the years. Can Apple change that? Can Microsoft? What will it take to sell consumers on wearable tech?

announced his resignation. “It’s time to move on and transfer Intel’s helm to a new generation of leadership,” he said at the time, declining to elaborate on why he was leaving three years vbefore reaching the company’s retirement age of 65.

The ingredient missing from this building frenzy is market demand. Weather consumers actually get on board and embrace such devices has always been unclear. So far, apart from very specific uses, the general reaction to the smart watch and other new personal gadgets has been lukewarm. Yet they are coming, and from the looks of things, that trickle may soon become a flood.


COVER STORY TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

5

Unmatched eReader

We see who wins the spec battle and emerges as is the best eReader you can buy

A

mazon has been the reining the eReader arena for a while; but it’s time they start looking at its contenders. Kobo refers to the Aura HD as the ‘Porsche of eReaders’ as it claims to offer the most paper-like display with a built-in light to cater to night-time readers.

Build and design

Kobo Aura HD: At 240g the Aura HD is lighter than the Kindle Fire HD but with a 11.7mm thickness is also not quite as slim-line as the Amazon eReader. With the touchscreen as you main means of navigation and swiping through pages, the only physical buttons on the device are the on/off and light on/off buttons which can be found on the top edge of the device. Unlike Amazon, who did not reveal details in terms of the power, the Aura HD has a 1GHz processor under the hood should mean a speedy page turns and overall general user experience. Amazon Kindle Fire HD: Measuring

in at a slender 9.1mm thick making it slimmer than the Kindle Touch and weighs 395g, which means it still matches the Touch in the weight department. In terms of the interface, Amazon has taken inspiration from the Kindle Fire incorporating the ability to swipe through content and head into the cloud to browse through your digital library

Screen and built-in light Kobo Aura HD: Branding a 6.8-inch Pearl E-ink touchscreen display, the Aura HD offers a decent 1440x1080 resolution and 265 dpi that along with ClarityScreen+ offers a clear, detailed reading experience according to Kobo. There’s also 30 per cent more reading surface than previous devices and a micro thin coating to help protect against knocks and scratches. If you want to read at night the ComfortLight illuminates the screen much like the Paperwhite does and offers even light distribution across the display.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD: The 7-inch touchscreen display offers a higher resolution, and sharper images than previous Kindles managing 62 per cent more pixels. With a considerably improved 216ppi you can expect clearer, sharper text but that is considerably less than the Aura HD in terms of clarity levels. The new built-in light delivers an ambient lighting effect across the screen and is spread evenly across the display with the brightness adjusted by a simple stroke making it ideal for reading in dark and brightly-lit environments. The increased contrast

ratio and resolution also means the opportunity to add new fonts previously not capable on Kindle devices.

Content

Kobo Aura HD: There’s access to over 3 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines and with support for ePub and Adobe DRM formats you can also borrow books from public libraries. Amazon Kindle Fire HD: The Kindle Store boasts 1.5 million books, newspapers and magazines with around 300,000 titles that exclusive to the platform and the ability to display comics and children’s books.

Battery, storage and capacity

Kobo Aura HD: Matching the Paperwhite with its promise of up to two months of battery life, internal storage is actually larger at 4GB that can be expanded to 32GB. Books can be downloaded only over WiFi but they can be stored in the cloud giving you access to them via the device or apps, available on PC, Mac as well as Apple and Android mobile devices. Amazon Kindle Fire HD: Amazon claims that you can expect it to stay juiced for eight weeks, and that is with the light on. In terms of capacity, there’s 2GB on board and free storage courtesy of Amazon Cloud. On the connectivity front, the Kindle HD will work over free 3G, so there’s no need for data plans or annual contracts with WiFi support also an option.

Verdict Both the eReaders are strikingly similar while considering their dimensions and specs. Although, the Kindle HD slimmer than the Aura HD, the former is heavier, but that doesn’t weigh it down. The Amazon Kindle Fire HD emerges as our favourite eReader with respect to its price. While the Aura HD fetches approximately USD213 (RO82), the Kindle Fire HD comes for about USD116 (RO64).


HOMEZONE

6

WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

Beat the heat A new range of tropical inverter room air conditioners have been unveiled

P

anasonic has unveiled a new range of tropical inverter room air conditioners. It is ideal for tackling the region’s alarming rate of electricity consumption. These air conditioners are now available with advanced features that are not only designed to provide cooling comfort to homes, but are more energy efficient and have increased air purification capabilities. The air purification systems embedded within these air conditioners capture 90 per cent of harmful microorganisms from the air and deactivate those trapped on the surfaces and the filter. It utilises nano-technology to purify the air and clean microorganisms attached onto the fabrics in the room. The existing range of tropical inverters air conditioners have been upgraded with the new Econavi Sensors that can sense human absence, human activity and sunlight conditions. These sensors automatically adjust cooling power to save energy efficiently with uninterrupted comfort and convenience.

With this new product, cooling is possible even when the outside temperature is 55 degrees Celsius. The new air conditioners through inverter control not only cool 1.5 times faster than conventional air conditioners, but do so by consuming 30 per cent less power compared to the non-inverter units. In addition to

energy savings, the Intelligent Inverter Technology also delivers constant comfort with wide power output range and quick cooling during the start up period. These air conditioners offer other features like reduced indoor operating noise

deluxe non-inverter models also come with the new nanoe-G air purifying system that utilize ions and radicals to purify the air in the room. It works effectively on airborne impurities and fabric, ensuring a cleaner living environment.

In addition to the Econavi and intelligent inverter features, the

Available at OMASCO, 24564310

special feature

Mega servers

These are a few high-tech places where your digital life is stored

Facebook, Prineville, Oregon

This is the place all your ‘likes’ are registered and your profile pictures are stored. Powered by a field of solar panels, Facebook’s primary data centre is one of the most energy efficient in the world. It has one of the most impressive cooling systems too, with purified water-humidifying air that is then blown over the 180,000 servers. This prevents them working up too much of a sweat updating the timelines of Facebook’s 900 million users.

Google, Council Bluffs, Iowa Made up of ten server racks, each packed with ten IBM Power 750 servers and two large refrigeration units to keep them cool, Watson is an incredibly advanced form of data-rich artificial intelligence, able to communicate in natural language rather than code. It calls on 16TB of memory to produce evidence-based answers to almost any question. If you want to test it, IBM is set to make Watson accessible via the web. We wonder what we would like to ask Mr Watson.

IBM’s Watson, Yorktown Heights, New York

The big G has six major data centres across the US, connected by a fibre-optic network that can exchange information up to 200,000 times faster than an average home Internet connection. Every Google Search or YouTube upload connects you to this cathedral of information, with each piece of data stored simultaneously on at least two servers, with a third version of the most important copied to digital tape.


timezone TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

Mechanical Art Triad, will make its debut at the Baselworld watch fair

The power of trinity

T

he first piece in the recently launched new collection of the Geneva-based British watchmaker Peter SpeakeMarin is eponymously called the Triad. A favourite demographic for all luxury timepieces, the number three appears in this watch brand more than once. It has an open dial with a triple hour-minute indication, placed inside a steel case embellished in 18k rose-gold bezel. The three separate heat-blued hour-minute indications reflect the meaning of the term Triad which in music is a three-note chord played at the same time to create a single, rich melody. The hands rotate over three gilded wheels shaped

like watchmaker’s tools which are a hallmark of Speake-Marin. The three-dimensional Roman numerals in white mark the hours at the four cardinal points of the dial that act as separators among the areas of gold text encircling the dial’s perimeter. One can spot Speak-Marin’s automatic Eros 2, through the viewing window in the case back. The aesthetic appeal of the silverand-grey movement is enhanced with the addition of the blue rotor, which has three arms and is shaped like a topping tool. The periphery is segregated into three distinct sections of engraved text. The Triad will be produced in a limited edition of 88 pieces.

Movement: Speake-Marin Caliber Eros 2, automatic Power reserve: 120 hours Functions: Triple hours and minutes display Case: Piccadilly stainless-steel case and 18k rose-gold bezel

Strap: Natural alligator leather strap with ecru stitching and rose-gold tang buckle Dimensions: 42x13mm Dial: Circular-grained, rhodiumplated central dial; outer black dial with white numerals in relief and hand-finished text

Your most wanted and yes, needed apps of the week

Apps this week 1

2

3

Tap Tap Revenge 4

Wordly

Enigmo

Tapulous are back with the fourth instalment (plus spin-offs too numerous to mention) of their legendary tap-to-the-beat music app, featuring a host of new tracks Platform: Android, iOS

A finely executed cross between an oldschool word search and Countdown, find any possible combination of letters from a seemingly random grid of letters

A clever, 50 level puzzle-based game that requires you to move drops of water from one area of the map to another in the shortest time possible

Platform: Windows Phone, Android

Platform: Android, Windows Phone

(Free)

4

(USD2)

5

Earthlapse

6

TuneIn Radio

(Free)

(Free)

(Free)

A collection of free games, sharing with friends is at the heart of this app, letting you connect with Facebook so you can play against friends on other mobiles

A combination of the International Space Station and time-lapse photography of the Earth makes this a great ambient app

Listen to radio stations from across the globe using a global directory of radio stations, RadioTime over Wi-Fi or 3G

Platform: Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, iOS

Platform: Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone

Platform: iOS

7

(USD3)

Playtomo

8

9

The Lost City

Anytune Pro HQ

Zeebox

Although not the most demanding puzzles in the world, this is a gently engaging adventure with neatly designed problems and lovely looks

Load a song and change its speed and pitch. Includes custom named ‘audiomarks’ and looping, enabling you to master tricky solos and figure out chords

Merging an electronic programme guide, instant messenger and Foursquare, the app lets you interact with what you’re watching and who’s watching it

Platform: Android, iOS

Platform: iOS

Platform: iOS, Android

(USD1)

(USD16)

7

(Free)


SELECTION

This section showcases our selection of electronics in the market today. Let us know if you have any favourites on tech@deenarmedia.com

Smartphones RO198

RO240

RO241

RO200

47

10

Blackberry Z10

Samsung Note II

Nokia Lumia 920

Samsung S III

Blackberry 10 OS, Dual Core 1.5GHz, 2G/3G/4G, 8MP primary and 2MP secondary camera, 16GB storage, available in black and white

Android OS v4.1, Quad Core 1.6GHz, 16GB storage, up-to 32GB, 3G, WiFi, A-GPS, 2MP camera

Microsoft OS Windows 8, Dualcore 1.5 GHz Krait, 8MP, dual LED flash, 32GB storage, 3G, WiFi, A-GPS, NFC

Android OS v4.0.4, Quad Core 1.4GHz, 8MP camera, 16GB storage, 3G, WiFi

RO156

10

Samsung Galaxy GRAND Android OS v4.1, Dual Core 1GHz, Dual SIM, 8MP camera, 8GB storage up-to 32GB, 1GB RAM, 3G, WiFi, A-GPS

Tablets RO100 RO285

RO250

Microsoft Windows Surface

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (N8000)

10.6-inch screen, Quad Core, 1.3GHz, 2GB RAM, 32GB HDD, Nvidia Tegra 3, WiFi, Bluetooth, 8MP camera

10.1-inch 1280x800 screen. Android 4.0.4, Samsung Exynos 4 Quad Core 1.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 5MP camera, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G, A-GPS

RO140

RO200 Asus TF-101 10.1-inches 1280x800, Android honeycomb OS, Nvidia Tegra 2, Dual Core, 1GB RAM, 16GB Storage, Bluetooth, 5MP camera

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch display1280x800, 16GB built in memory, Wifi, Dual Speaker Dolby, 1.2Ghz Dual Core processor, HD camera

Toshiba Excite AT200 7.6-inch screen, Android, 1G (LPDDR2), 1066MHz, Nvidia Tegra T305L, WiFi, Bluetooth, 32GB. 2MP front and 5MP back camera

Computers

N

RO340

Sony Vaio SVT13115FAS 13.3-inch, TFT colour display, Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz Processor, Windows 7, HDD 500GB + SSD 32GB, 4GB RAM

N

RO330

HP 11-g0003 11.6-inch display, 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z2760, 2GB SDRAM, 64GB SSD Hard drive, WiFi, 8MP Camera, 1080p HD Webcam, Windows 8

RO300

RO375

N

RO200

Samsung XE500T1C-A01

Dell Inspiron 5520 0378

Toshiba SAT C850-B887

11.6-inch LED HD, Intel Atom Z2760, shared graphics, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 8

15.6-inch HD WLED, Intel Core i73612qm 3.1GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB HDD, 1GB VRAM, webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 8

15.6-inch HD LED screen 1,366 x 768Â , Intel Core 13-3210M, 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 8, 5 in 1 Multi Card Reader

Compact cameras

RO60

RO200

Casio JE 10

Sony Alpha NEX-F3

16.1MP, 5x optical zoom, 2.7-inch LCD, HD movie, Make-up mode

16.1MP, 5.5FPS, 18-55mm lens, 3-inch LCD touch screen. Full HD movie

RO200

RO120

Samsung Galaxy camera GC100

Canon PowerShot SX240

16MP, 21x optical zoom, 4.8-inch LCD touch screen. Full HD movie, Android, WiFi

12.1MP, 20x optical zoom, 3-inch HD movie, Full HD movie, image stabilizer

RO170 Sony TX200 18.2MP, 5x digital zoom, 3.3-inch LCD screen, full HD movie, CMOS sensor


N New

Disclaimer: Prices quoted in this tabloid may be subject to change. Please check with your local dealer for the current costs. Lists are not in any particular order. Prices as of April 17, 2012.

Updated

Pro cameras

RO822

RO525*

RO500

RO400

RO260

Canon 7D

Fujifilm XE-1

Canon 650D

Panasonic Lumix G5

Nikon D3200

18.0 Megapixel CMOS Sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors. 19-point, all cross-type AF system equipped with dual diagonal cross-type sensors in center at f/2.8 and f/5.6 and AF area selection modes

16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor, ISO 200-6400, 2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder, new kit zoom: 18-55mm F2.8-4R, 2.8inch 460k-dot LCD, Built-in popup flash, full HD movie recording

18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor, Phase detection AF, continuous autofocus, 14-bit DIGIC 5 processor, ISO 100-12800 standard, 25600 expanded, 5 fps continuous shooting, 9 point AF system, 1080p30 video

16MP, 6FPS, 3-inch LCD touch screen, 14-42 + 45-150mm lens; 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD Video Recording; ISO 160-12800; Shutter: 1/16000; Burst: SH : 20.0 frames/sec, H: 6.0 frames/ sec(with AFS)

24.2MP, 4FPS/11 AF point, 3-inch LCD screen, full HD movie, 18-33mm lens; ISO 100 to 6400; Shutter: 1/4000 to 30s; TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor; Hi-Speed USB

* Photocentre

Televisions

N

RO450

RO270

N

RO300

RO600

RO1,400

LG 47LM5800

Samsung UA40EH6030

Sony KDL40EX650

Sharp LC-60LE630

Samsung UA55ES8000

47-inch LED 3D, 2MP Full HD, 3HDMI PC in/AV in, USB port, DIVX HD, 200Hz True Motion, Intelligent sensor, Energy Saving

40-inch LED TV, 2MP Full HD, All share/ 200Hz clear motion rate, 1 USB Port, 2HDMI, Connect share movie, SRS HD Theatre sound

40-inch Edge LED TV, Motion Flow XR 100, X-reality Picture Engine, Wifi, Dolby Digital Plus, 3D combo filter

60-inch LED TV, 2MP, full HD, USB movie playback, 3 HDMI, XGEN Pannel with UC2A Technology, Low power consumption

55-inch 3D LED Smart TV, 2MP, Full HD, Smart interaction (face, voice, motion), Smart evolution and content, micro dimming ultimate, built-in camera, 800Hz, Dual Core processor

apple

Courtesy: Gadgets, Muscat Grand Mall

RO269

RO194

RO44.9

6

RO129

RO450

Apple TV

iPhone 5

iPad Mini WiFi+4G

iPod 5 (32GB)

MacBook Pro MD 101

Single-core A5 chip, 2 HDMI, optical audio, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, built-in IR receiver, Micro-USB, WiFi, Bluetooth

16GB, 4-inch, 1,136x640p, Retina display, 8MP iSight, 1.2MP Facetime, Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, Bluetooth, WiFi

16GB, 7.9-inch LED-backlit, multi-touch with IPS technology, 1,024x768p, Dual-core A5, Bluetooth, built-in 16.3-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery

4-inch, multi-touch IPS technology, Retina display, 1136x640-pixel resolution, 5MP iSight, Lightning connector, 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack, built-in speaker, microphone

13.3-inch, LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 2.5GHz dual-core, Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, 500GB storage, 720p FaceTime HD camera, WiFi, Bluetooth

UFC Personal Trainer on PS3

TECH RECOMMENDS JVC UXVJ5 Dock For Apple

UFC Personal Trainer delivers a challenging and motivating UFC fitness experience that includes the best and most effective exercises utilized by today’s renowned UFC fighters. Users will learn over 70 MMA and NASM approved exercises, including moves from disciplines such as wrestling, kickboxing and Muay Thai; designed to improve strength, endurance and conditioning.

There’s not much you can do to spice up speaker docks at this point, they’re pretty much old news. But what if that dock allowed you to plug in your iPad, iPhone, or iPod simultaneously? Sporting the usual AM/FM tuner, video out and a PC input, it’s the VJ5 that’s the real standout here; with its six apartment-blending color options, USB port and ability to rip MP3s from a built-in CD drive.

RO100

Custom routines can be built and modified to increase or decrease intensity of the product’s pre-set pace, enabling users to fully maximize their training experiences.

RO70 Seen at Emax, Muscat City Centre


10

PHOTOGRAPHY WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

Smart dimension

The newest edition to Samsung’s compact camera range boasts some competitive qualities

T Samsung NX300 Product type: Interchangeable lens compact camera Sensor size: APS-C Video resolution: 1080p Image stabilisation: Yes Available colours: Black, white, brown

he Samsung NX300 is its first interchangeable lens compact system camera since the NX1000, NX210 and NX20 were launched before. At first glance it appears to offer the best of all three, in boasting the compactness of the entry level NX1000 and mid-range NX210 with the tilting AMOLED screen of the flagship NX20. This allowed for creative stills and videos from different angles. Rivals from the Olympus Pen and Sony NEX ranges have offered adjustable screens via a compact chassis for a few years, but this is the most compact of the NX range to carry the feature. Like its ancestors the 20.3-megapixel NX300 has various additional selling points, namely its combination of both a larger APS-C sized sensor as found in consumer digital SLRs, plus WiFi connectivity. The latter has allowed Samsung to take inspiration

from the world of smartphones and bless this smart camera with Android and iOS apps available to link it to other connected devices, including Samsung’s own tablets and phones. The larger chip should draw in photo enthusiasts as well as gadget geeks. Thanks to that APS-C sensor, the Samsung’s closest

rivals remain the Canon EOS M, Sony NEX and Fujifilm X series, arguably the cream of what’s currently out in the market. While Panasonic has offered a 3D lens for its Lumix G range for a couple of years, Samsung’s is the first that allows the shooting of both 3D stills and video.

Resolution: 20.3 megapixels Optical zoom: 3x Picture frame rate: 8.6fps Video frame rate: 60fps Screen size: 3.31-inch LCD Weight: 284g Dimensions: 122x63.7x40.7mm Price: TBA

AUDIOZONE

Submerge in music Keep the music flowing with Sony’s waterproof mp3 player

R

unners, riders and gym enthusiasts can easily strap-in a MP3 player but those who prefer some aquatic aerobic activity, have slightly fewer options to keep you motivated in the pool. Many other waterproof MP3 players that have attempted to solve the music in the water dilemma and now the Sony NWZ-W273 all in one MP3 player setup has the potential to offer the same package in a much sleeker design and sound that will satisfy even the most ardent audiophiles. Taking them for a dip in the pool, a session in the gym and run around town, we feature the Sony NWZ-W273 Walkman to find out if it can cut it in dry and wet conditions. Available in glossy black, white, pink and blue Sony has stayed true to the look and feel of previous W-Series MP3 players,

building everything into the earpieces with a single connecting flexible rubber neckband all of which is 100% waterproof up to 2 metres. The flexible neckband is comfortable and the ear buds can be replaced with large or small sizes, and fit perfectly snug inside the ear. They are secure when it comes to wearing them out of the pool. They do a brilliant noisecancelling job, blocking out exterior noise and leaving you to focus on the swim. When outdoors, they allow for ambient noise that is ideal if you are running out in busy areas. It ticks the important comfort box and is secure enough to wear while running or in the gym without worrying about them falling out. The battery life is also great and with the addition of a three-minute quick charge, it gives you 60 minutes of playback.

Sony NWZ-W273 Walkman Memory: 4GB Input/output terminals: Hi-speed USB 2.0 Power source: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery/USB power Recharging method: USB-based charging

Recharge Time: Approx. 1.5hours, 3-minute quick charge Weight: 29g Clear Audio: EX headphones Play Mode: Repeat/Shuffle & Repeat


computing TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

Computing

enigma

11

The XT is a rare super-slim, 15-inch laptop with a touch screen for the premium price

T

he HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook is a little confusing; it’s a jumble of chips in a tiny box that does a number of things brilliantly and a few, quite poorly. The laptop’s biggest impact point: It’s thin. Of course ultrabooks are meant to be thin, but this beauty has a deliciously brushed metal lid and wonderfully tactile siliconcoated base. Opening it up, the style continues with a huge raised, glassy-feeling touchpad. The island-style keys are almost impeccably laid out. The best part about the HP Spectre XT is its screen. Not only is it enormous, touchable, generous with the viewing angles, it’s a Full HD panel running at 1920x1080p. With a 15inch screen, the Spectre XT is indeed a significant slab of computing. Everything within is very sensible. The processor, Intel Core i5 3317U running at 1.7GHz is just enough. There’s 4GB RAM on board, which is decent too and we wouldn’t like to contemplate upgrading that quotient, given the stature of the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook’s perfectly ventilated underbelly. For storage, HP has opted for a 500GB/32GB hybrid drive, straddling the line between realistic internal capacity and the solid-state speed that Windows 8 doesn’t really demand.

HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook OS: Microsoft Windows 8 Display: 15.6-inch, 1920x1080p display With a brushed aluminium shell accompanied by a sweet flush 15-inch touchscreen running at Full HD, it really stands out from the competition. It looks decent, sounds decent thanks to the Beats Audio branding and it’s a veritable entertainment cornerstone. The fact that it’s packing a hybrid drive means Windows 8 boots quickly and the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook is up and running in a couple of seconds.

Memory: 8GB RAM Storage: 500GB HDD/5400rpm Dimensions: 376x254x20.3mm Processor: Intel 3rd Gen Core i7 3517U, 3GHz Price: Approx. USD1,300 (RO500)


12

nuovotech WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

Survival tools of this week Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750

We’ll have you questioning why you don’t have these quirks at home or your workplace

Bedol Alarm clock

The Bedol Water Clock keeps perfect time without batteries or electricity. Cutting-edge technology enables this amazing clock to generate its own clean energy and current within it to power the clock for three months or more. A built in memory chip ensures you never need to reset the time while changing the water. The hassle-free alternative energy makes this clock a must have for the environmentally conscious.

It doesn’t get more hasslefree than this. The keyboard charges itself whenever there’s light and stays charged for at least three months in total darkness, so you can say good-bye to battery hassles. Your desk is about to get sleeker and you can treat your hands right with keys that feel good and make every keystroke comfortable, fluid and whisperquiet. The Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connection virtually eliminates delays, dropouts and interference.

Price: USD17 (RO7) Available on amazon.com

Price: USD60 (RO23) Available on amazon.com

Light Up iPhone Cable

Remote Control Spy Tank

Give your room a one of kind lighting effect every time your phone needs charging with the light up iPhone cable. The cable’s clever design lights up to simulate the flow of electricity and conveniently notifies you once your iPhone or iPad is fully charged by turning off. It even let’s you synchronise your apple products and comes with the option of two colours, white with blue light and black with violet light.

Go on recon missions with this remote control spy tank that is controlled by any smart device such as an iPad, iPhone or even Android. Simply install the app into your device and control the video capturing spy tank in any way you want and even see in the dark using Rover’s built-in night vision. Stream and record live video and stills and upload them directly to Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

Price: USD150 (RO58) Available on amazon.com

Price: USD34 (RO13) Available on hi-fun.com

Moviezone

Scary Movie 5 This franchise has always been entertaining us with their parodies and slapstic humour

Y

ou’d have an easier time reading a zombie’s pulse than finding a single good laugh, in this newest installment to the series

You should probably steer clear of Scary Movie 5, a film composed almost entirely of jokes that were much funnier when you read them on the internet years ago. Hitting theaters seven years after the last Scary Movie, the new film doesn’t even feature the redeeming presence of Anna Faris, who gave the earlier films a certain spoofy grace. In her place is High School Musical refugee Ashley Tisdale, her face frozen in an eye roll of mild irritation. Who can blame her? The film bounces between the too-late riffs on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Insidious and Black Swan.

Director: Malcolm D. Lee Genre: Parody comedy

Cast: Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Regina Hall, Lindsay Lohan

Simon Rex and newcomer Ashley Tisdale log the most screen time as married couple Dan and Jody Sanders, who live in a Paranormal Activity home with adopted children from a Mama

nightmare. Dan works as a primate researcher for a Rise of the Planet of the Apes company while Jody tries to make it as a Black Swan ballet dancer. Director Malcolm D. Lee’s yet another attempt at parody barely even scratches the surface this time. Strangely, the central plotline of the film is taken completely from Mama — a movie that hit theaters just three months ago. It gets points for topicality but that only increases the sense that we’re watching a rush job. In a film this bad, you look for bright spots. Molly Shannon, Heather Locklear, Usher, and Darrell Hammond all stop by for parts that last about one minute onscreen and probably took less time to shoot. Thankfully, franchise mainstay Simon Rex is much funnier than anyone and the ape costume is pretty decent. This franchise has never been quality cinema, but it did have a bawdy energy and the occasional good gag. Now it’s just a frightful waste of time.


DASHBOARD TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

Rally King We bring you Subaru’s WRX concept – and hope they build it

T

he Subaru concept blends the WRX’s famous power and roadholding prowess with an even greater focus on sharp handling, steering and communicative chassis. To further improve handling dynamics, the concept features a carbon-fibre roof to enhance the already low centre of gravity and reduce weight. Considerably lower, sleeker and wider, the WRX delivers even more street presence than previous generations. The new grille design is larger and bolder and sets off the classic WRX hood scoop. A pronounced ‘power bulge’ provides clearance for the new turbocharged engine and intercooler. A prominent hexagonal grille form and deep lower valences with air intakes are designed to enhance aerodynamics, add down force and aid engine cooling. The three dimensional mesh pattern of the grille denotes the sporting nature of the WRX and sets the Subaru star cluster apart, while the new hawk-eye headlights integrate the Subaru family design heritage.

The rear design echoes the hexagonal design motif from the front grille and features a dramatically curved trunk lid that also acts as a rear spoiler. The distinctive wide rear bumper of the WRX concept adds to the powerful street presence of the car and is offset by large quad tailpipes denoting the powerful turbocharged engine. The aggressive rear diffuser improves vehicles aerodynamics.

It features a new paint colour, ‘WR Blue Pearl III’, which modernises the iconic WRX look. Fluorescent Yellow is used as an accent on the WRX badge on the front grille; the brake callipers and the exhaust tip finishers, adding character notes to the design. Filling out the broad fenders are BBS ‘RI-D’ One Piece Forged Duralumin wheels and featuring 245/40ZR20 Dunlop tires with an exclusive tread pattern.

13


MOBILEZONE

14

WEEK 17, APRIL 24 - 30, 2013

Xperia’nce

A mid-range marvel with an impressive spec list leaves you somewhat impressed, albeit without the usual absolute satisfaction

S

ony created quite the stir in the Android high end with its Xperia Z flagship - a slick device of elegant design and impressive spec sheet. Now, it’s looking to capitalize on that momentum with a new higher midrange offering in the face of the Xperia SP. Sony’s most competitive devices have historically come from the midrange, so naturally we are eager to see how the SP will do.

Size and build Taking a few design cues from the Xperia Z, the SP sports a mostly square design with a similar metal-finished power button lending a premium touch. It’s a sharp-looking phone and the matte finish on the back panel gives it a bit of extra grip. Measuring 130.6 x 67.1 x 9.98mm and weighing in at 155g, it stands out from the crowd thanks to the clear plastic strip that runs along the foot of the phone, under the screen; once again lit up by coloured lights when listening to music.

Features The Xperia SP has an 8MP camera with 16x digital zoom, Exmor RS for ombile along with HDR and Sony’s Superior Auto. Like its big brother, the SP also sports NFC connectivity, making one-touch connections possible to wirelessly share content. Battery Stamina Mode turns off non-essential apps to conserve battery life. Powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 dualcore processor, the phone includes built-in memory of 8GB (with up to 5.8GB accessible by you) along with a micro SD card slot.

Screen The 4.6-inch screen sports a high-def 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels) which runs on Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2, making for a sharp screen that’s packed with detail and vivid hues.

Available in black, white and red

Verdict

Camera The camera, an 8MP option, is a design win thanks to the central rear sensor and is programmed with all the technology from the larger Xperia Z. There is a single LED flash and a variety of effects which can be applied to your photos as well as the option to snap a panorama. The camera app takes a couple of seconds to load up but once in, the auto-focus is fast and the shutter speedy. Interestingly though in the camera settings the picture quality only goes up to 7MP, even though the Xperia SP sports an 8MP lens on its rear.

In terms of design, the SP isn’t quite as slick as the Xperia Z, but then it won’t cost you as much and the inclusion of some of the flaghship phone’s features - such as the Battery Stamina Mode and the Bravia Engine 2 powered screen - is good news. The light-up plastic strip is likely to divide opinion though.

Xperia SP Dimensions: 130.6x67.1x10 mm Weight: 155g OS: Android OS, v4.1 (Jelly Bean) Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720x1280p resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass Sound: Vibration, MP3 ringtones, 3.5mm jack Memory: 8GB (5.8 GB user available), 1GB RAM, micro SD up to 32 GB Camera: 8MP primary, VGA secondary Processor: Dual-core, 1.7 GHz Price: TBA

WEBZONE www.thisiswhyimbroke.com

Take my paycheck T

hisIsWhyImBroke (TIWIB) is a free online magazine runned by a couple of geeks who participate in way too much online window-shopping. Their staff compiles an ever-growing list of cool, useful, funny, and unique products. They say that their philosophy is very simple; all they want to do is display the coolest stuff you can buy on the web. They are strictly against spamming any useless or lame products and don’t wish to compromise the integrity of their site by paid product advertising. When you visit thisiswhyimbroke. com you’ll only see unique products that their staff was so fond of, and felt it needed to be shared with their viewers. Many items listed on this site do return a small commission for product referral, however this is not the sole motivation for featuring an item. TIWIB regularly lists products that they receive absolutely no compensation for.

Buy the quirkiest and most outrageous gadgets from this very interesting online magazine


LISTING TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM Company

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15

Service Dept.

Bahwan Electronics

Asset, Carrier, Toshiba, Seiko, Casio, Titan, Sony Ericsson, Benq, Daewoo

Ruwi 24796629

24501965

Emax Electronics

Multi-brand retailer

MCC 24558062

n/a

Extra

Multi-brand retailer

24212421

n/a

Genetco

Sanyo, Hitachi, Gree, TCL, Finlux, Canon, Asus, Lenovo, RadioShack

Qurm 24568806, Al Araimi 24561948, Seeb 24422797, MCC 24558418

24503653

HiTec Centre

Boston Acoustics, Denon, Leica, Polk Audio

Azaiba 24497384

24497384

Jumbo Electronics

Sony, VAIO, Blackberry, Supra, Casio, Brother Sewing Machines, Acer, HP

MBD 24818358, Al Araimi 24565845, QCC 24470529, MCC 24558291

24814815

Moayyed Integrated Enterprises

Daewoo Electronics

24488795

24488795

Muscat Air-conditioning & Electronics

Sharp, Midea, General, Wansa, MDV

24796591, 24796202/31/40

24562943

Muscat Electronics

Daikin, Ricoh, Chigo, G-Hanz, Sony Professional Prod., Lexmark, Hitachi

Ruwi 24702982, 24780407 Sohar 26845647, Salalah 23291617

24813408/24789542

Mustafa Sultan Electronics

Haier, Philips, Nevica, Whirlpool, Universal, Westpoint

Al Khuwair 24636015

24818018

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Bose, NEC, JVC, Nakamichi, SONOS

Qurum 24565490, Connexions 24558529

24830606

Oman Modern Electronics

Sharp, OMEC

HO 24706004, Ruwi 24832891, Sohar 26840763, Salalah 23291405

24704494

OMASCO

Panasonic, Yamaha, Stanley, Black and Decker, GE, Aftron, Raymond Weil

Qurum 24564310, Ruwi 24833630

24560232

Oman Trading Establishment

LG, Bosch, White Westing house, Pearl, Prolux

Wadi Kabir 24811572, Al Khuwair 24479448, Ruwi 24831544

24810522/80075545

Photocentre

Fujifilm, Olympus, Hasselblad, Sigma, Lowepro, EPSON, STEINER

Qurum 24565305, Al Khuwair 24479296

24571708

SARCO

Samsung, Technoflame

Ruwi 24593025

24593025

Sharaf DG

Multi-brand retailer

22009280

n/a

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Tick the correct answer and send in your entries for a chance to win

1 What is the name of Apple’s portable

Please send us your entries by April 24 FAX: 24693569

EMAIL: TECH@DEENARMEDIA.COM

issue 40 quiz winner

kanwal K

Previous quiz answers: 1 – C, 2 – A, 3 – B, 4 – B NOTE: Employees and family members of Deenar Press and Publishing cannot participate in the quiz. Judge’s decision is final. Please email the answers to tech@deenarmedia.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.

operating system?

2 Google Docs and TurboTax Online can be categorised as what type of software?

A

Android

A

Shareware

B

iOS

B

Commercial Software

C

Mac OS X

C

SaaS

3 What is the opposite of downloading?

4 What is a search engine that searches multiple search engines called?

A

Reloading

A

Meta Search Engine

B

Uploading

B

Universal Search Engine

C

Unloading

C

Search Portal

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16

GAMING WEEK 17, april 24 - 30, 2013

One Shot. One Kill. One Note. The sequel returns with more satisfying shooting and stealth than seen in its predecessor

W

e all witnessed the first game’s shortcomings with its terrible artificial intelligence, absurd bullet physics and an overall level of difficulty on par with solving a Rubik’s Cube while navigating white-water rapids blindfolded. This time around, however, developer City Interactive has addressed almost all of the sore points that made the earlier game so disappointing. You spend most of the game time on a three part campaign as Cole, a special-ops sniper helping out assault teams in hot zones ranging from the Philippines to Sarajevo to Nepal. Not long after, you are completely involved and rooting for Cole and his buddies through this seven to eight hour riveting tale of betrayal and revenge. The journey begins from today, bounces back to 1993 for a look at the civil war that ravaged the former Yugoslavia and then jumps to the present to wrap everything up along the border between Nepal and India.

Publisher: City Interactive

The game has a great action movie vibe because of its authentic looking visuals and CryEngine 3 powered animations. The excellent sound effects pull you in and leave nothing to the imagination; be it weapon noises, shouts of enemy voices or the background hum of a jungle. Amongst the many things refined for this sequel, enemy Al’s cunningness is perhaps the best. Where bad guys tended to run around mindlessly and freeze in place before, now they smartly respond to fire by taking cover. Foes react like real soldiers. There is more focus now on stealth than shooting. All of the pure action episodes of the last game have been replaced by a more intense sniping approach where you stay hidden as much as possible, only popping out for quick headshots and silent knife kills.

Genre: Action, Tactical shooters Developer: City Interactive Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PS3, PS Vita, WiiU, Mac ESRB Rating: Mature

Score

The frustratingly few and far between checkpoints and MIA multiplayer action on the other hand are disappointing, but given the game’s budget price, it is a worthy sniping experience. This thoughtfully designed sequel makes good on the promise of its highly flawed predecessor.

Plot.............................................. 5/10 Gameplay ............................. 6/10 Visuals...................................... 6/10 Overall............................................... 6

IN-DEPTH

REALITY OR

WISHFUL THINKING

The rumours mills are churning with the possible launch of a XBOX 720 this year

T

appendages – such as fingers and toes and up to six players at one time.

here’s no concrete information about the release of Microsoft’s nextgeneration console but Sony’s PS4 reveal event has speculation going rampant. Solid predictions have not been made yet but the received wisdom is that Microsoft isn’t about to sit on its hands and let Sony steal all the limelight. According to the information published on VGLeaks.com, and this is by no means official the next Xbox will be powered by an 8-core CPU running at 1.6GHz, alongside 8GB of DDR RAM, boasting a custom 800-MHz graphics processor, which “can effectively issue 1.2 trillion floatingpoint operations per second.”The console will also contain 8GB of RAM and a Blu-ray disc drive, 32 MB of fast embedded SRAM and as far as connectivity goes, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct networking will be included.

More impressively ground breaking though is the console’s IllumiRoom feature, which allows the Xbox 720 to augment the user’s surroundings with in-game environments. The feature shows how the new Xbox can make the area around the user’s TV set part of the in-game experience, adding effects such as falling snow and screen projections on surrounding walls.

The leaked specs also indicate that Kinect’s latency will improve by about a third and it will boast improved skeletal recognition and be capable of tracking smaller movements and

Excited yet? As the eagerly awaited nextgeneration console edges ever closer to reality, we hope that it meets all the impossibly high expectations garnered amongst its fan base. Mark your calendars for late 2013.

TW, Issue 41, Week 17, April  

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