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GADGeTSSunday MAGAZINE

BusinessMirror

www.businessmirror.com.ph

Sunday, March 27, 2011 B7

SAMSUNG GALAXY ACE S5380 SMARTPHONE

By Steven Vea The 3.5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen dominates the smartphone’s body, and can hold its own in terms of quality against other heavyweight competitors. It is accurate, responsive and images on the display are clear and vivid. Furthermore, the minimally reflective screen will pose no problems when using it in broad daylight. However, you will probably want to cover the display with a protective screen, and you may also be inclined to carry around a wipe cloth, as the Galaxy Ace is quite prone to retaining latent fingerprints. On the left hand side of the unit is the physical Volume Key, while on the right you will find the Power/Lock/Standby Key and the microSD card slot. On the top of the unit are the headset and the “multifunction” jack (a connector for the power adapter and computer via microUSB) and on the rear are the phone’s camera and the speakers. Below the touchscreen is a physical rectangular home key flanked by two LED touch keys (menu and back) that light up on contact. While the two latter touch buttons add useful navigation options, this is probably the only weakness in the Galaxy Ace’s design. First, the LED lights automatically fade out, making the buttons’ existence misleading for newbie users. Furthermore, they were quite sensitive to unintentional grazes, especially when using the phone in landscape orientation. An option to perhaps temporarily disable these two buttons would have been an intuitive addition. With the minor drawback out of the way, the Galaxy Ace shines in almost every other characteristic. If you’ve owned a Samsung product in the past, then you’ll already be accustomed to the Touch Wiz 2.0 interface. The home screen or idle screen provides side swipable panels or pages wherein users have the ability to place widgets, shortcuts and even folders for their favorite and most used applications for quick access. On the bottom of the idle screen are fixed quick shortcuts for calls, contacts, messaging and the application vault. What makes the Galaxy Ace a remarkable product in its class is that it comes with Android 2.2 (Froyo), which provides users a wealth of free applications to download. Social-network fanatics will never again be lonesome and app addicts will no longer suffer the dregs of boredom, as the Galaxy Ace fulfills any user’s entertainment needs. Some of the most popular applications are free and fully functional via Android Marketplace (i.e.; Angry Birds, Sound Hound, Photoshop

Express, etc.), but expect the presence of advertisements within the apps. Running on an 800MHz processor, rest assured that the Galaxy Ace is quite the performer, and you should experience no problems running any of your downloaded applications. After all, a special Apple-branded processor of Samsung was used in the first-gen iPhone, so expect a similar technology to be found within the Galaxy Ace. To utilize this smartphone’s processing power, however, you’ll probably want to download task-managing applications to effectively allocate memory usage and prolong battery life. Touchscreen phones are notorious for consuming a lot of power, but the Galaxy Ace was able to last a good number of hours. Under constant use of apps and Wi-Fi, the battery

The Galaxy Ace’s candybar form factor is quite the eye candy, sporting a minimalistic and elegant physical design, and users will immediately notice its obvious similarity to a more popular touchscreen smartphone. However, the Galaxy Ace is not only lighter (weighing approximately 113g), it is astoundingly cheaper, making it a more “pocketable” product.

lasted for approximately one-and-half-days before needing to be recharged. To conclude, the best thing about the Galaxy Ace is its budget-friendly price tag, as midrange spenders finally have access to a feature-packed touchscreen Android smartphone. There’s no need to compare the Galaxy Ace to other products, because in its class, it is quite possibly the cream of the crop. SPECIFICATIONS: Form Factor: Candybar Dimensions: 112.4x59.9x11.5 mm Weight: 113g Display: Color TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 320x480 pixels, 3.5 inches, Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 900/2100, WI-Fi 802.11b/g/n, DLNA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP Camera: 5 megapixels, Digital Zoom, Auto Focus, LED Flash OS: Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo) What’s Hot:  Bright, responsive touchscreen  Packaged with Android 2.2 (Froyo) What’s Not:  No Flash support Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Ace should find its way into the palms of any consumer looking for a relatively affordable Android smartphone.

23" P9,900 21.5" P8,900

Philips Blade 234CL2SB

LED Monitor

Sexify your rig with the Philips Blade 234CL2SB. Measuring in at only 12.9mm thick, this absolutely stunning LED monitor delivers stylish and modern design with top-of-the-range features in a package that’s unbelievably slim. SmartTouch controls replace protruding physical buttons which light up when you touch and disappear after you’re done. Fast 2ms response times make the Philips Blade 234CL2SB ideal for gaming and the 16:9 display combined with HDMI input make it the natural choice for watching HD movies.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones

There’s a right set of cans for the right job, and for professional mixing and monitoring, there’s only the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. Providing an exceptionally accurate response combined with longwearing listening comfort, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is designed especially for professional monitoring and mixing. Circumaural ear pieces swivel 180° for easy one-ear monitoring, and luxuriously padded ear cushions create an outstanding seal for maximum isolation. The adjustable headband is generously padded for the ultimate comfort during long mixing sessions. A coiled cable at the left earpiece terminates to a gold-plated miniplug with included screw-on 1/4-inch adapter.

ASUS HD6950 Videocard By John Nieves

When it comes to releasing videocards based on a new architecture, ASUS isn’t far behind. In fact, you can count on the Taiwanese manufacturer releasing its own interpretation of a new GPU architecture the day after the initial announcement; sometimes right along AMD or Nvidia themselves. The HD6950 has all the right things in all the right places. It’s slightly factory overclocked with a clock speed of 810MHz compared with the default of 800MHz. It also has 2048MB of GDDR5 memory, and is Direct3D 11 and OpenGL 4.1 capable. Probably one of the nicest features of the Cayman line is PowerTune. Essentially what PowerTune does is it adjusts the clock speed in real time so the card won’t use more power than its designed TDP (thermal design power, max power consumption for reliable use). While most cards are designed to not exceed its TDP, there are some applications (outlier applications, according to AMD) like the benchmarking software Furmark can make them exceed their limit. Physically, the ASUS HD6950 looks like a monster. It’s a pretty large card and some cable management might be in order before you mount it in your rig. Its design is pretty simple—just a rectangular box with the appropriate Radeon stripes running along the body with a single large fan for cooling. There’s a hefty metal back plate to further aid in cooling. The HD6950 comes with three-way and four-way CrossFire support. After mounting and the requisite software install, it was time to run benchmarks. I primarily use three programs to gauge a card’s performance: Futuremark’s 3D Mark Vantage and Unigine Heaven to asses the raw power of a card and Stone Giant to evaluate

AMD has come out with a new videocard architecture in its never-ending quest to push graphical boundaries. This time around the new architecture is code-named “Cayman,” and has two principal flavors—the Cayman XT, which forms the 6970 line; and the Cayman Pro, which forms the subject of this month’s GPU review, the 6950.

a card’s DirectX 11 performance. To evaluate real-world performance, I use DICE’s multiplayer extravaganza Battlefield Bad Company 2 and the newly released Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Right off the bat the ASUS HD6950 showed its mettle in 3D Mark Vantage, scoring an impressive 11619 points with the settings set to extreme and the resolution cranked up all the way to 1920 x 1080. It’s pretty much the same story in the Heaven benchmark, with the ASUS HD6950 scoring 1180 score with an average FPS of 46.9 with all the settings maxed out and the resolution set on 1920 x1200. It blazed straight on through the DX 11 benchmark Stone Giant, posting an average FPS of 42 with the resolution set on 1920x1200. Of course, no videocard review would be complete without real world tests. I started up EA’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and ran a couple of races with it, and together with Fraps (a program that captures in-game video and counts the frames of the game) managed to get a nice and buttery 58 FPS. It’s pretty much the same story for Battlefield Bad Company, with the card posting a nice 56 FPS average for most multiplayer games with the settings all on high. Of course, you’ll be paying a premium for this kind of performance, and while this particular card has not been priced locally yet, its projected SRP when compared to the US is around $350 or about Php 15,280.

What’s Hot:  Excellent performance  Factory overclocked  Good TDP What’s Not:  Expensive Bottom line: Looking for a top-tier card? Then you might want to give the ASUS HD6950 a spin. A bit pricey yes, but it’s got all the things a gamer needs.

P24,800

BlackBerry Bold 9780

Smartphone

The newest addition to the BlackBerry Bold series of smartphones, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 features a premium and iconic design with an incredibly easy-to-use keyboard and optical trackpad. It is elegantly styled and packed with advanced communications and multimedia features. It is also the first BlackBerry Bold smartphone to come with the new BlackBerry 6 operating system. This phone supports 3G networks around the world, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS for location-based applications and geo-tagging. Its 5-megapixel camera comes with a full complement of high-end features, including continuous auto focus, scene modes, image stabilization, flash and video recording. Inside is a 512MB flash memory and an expandable memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB of storage.


Gadgets@Business Mirror, March 27