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12 VOL 15

THE REGION’S FAVOURITE PC & CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY GUIDE An ITP Technology Publication DECEMBER 2010

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DECEMBER 2010

GITEX NEWS GITEX SHOPPER PICTURES GEAR OF THE YEAR 2010 CIVILIZATION V GAME REVIEW

GAME REVIEWS Civilization V, FIFA 11 and Medal of Honor

REVIEWS: Apple iPhone 4 RIM BlackBerry Torch Canon IXUS camera MSI Wind U160DX netbook and more tested... DHS15 • SR15 • LE12 • JD2 • KD1.5 • QR15 • LL7,000

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CONTENTS 1

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CONTENTS WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST

9 PICTURES 9

9

GITEX SHOPPER PICTURES

GITEX SHOPPER 2010 PICTURES There were a number of reasons to get down to Gitex Shopper 2010 such as the second run of the Windows Fashion Show. Here the latest gadgets, software and gear from Fujitsu, Kaspersky and PlayStation were walked up and down a catwalk by our glamorous models. If you were unable to make it however don't fret, Windows visited the show and grabbed photos of the fashion show. While we were there we also grabbed a lot of photos, two pages worth in fact, of various other goings-on from the show floor, so be sure to flip over to page 12 for your fill.

12 FEATURE 12 GEAR OF THE YEAR 2010

12

GEAR OF THE YEAR 2010 FEATURE

Every year Windows Middle East reviews hundreds of different products, in an effort to give you enough information so that you can make a sound purchase. Some of the products we test impress us and end up walking away with one of our three prestigious awards (Editor's Choice, Best Performance or Best Value). Given that most, if not all of these products, are still on the market but at lower prices than when they were first launched, now's the best time to snap them up as a holiday gift to yourself or a techie-friend. In this feature we look at the best components, desktops, digital imaging, handhelds, notebooks, peripherals, printers, software and storage products, so if you're looking to burn a hole in your wallet, this is the feature for you. We also tell you which single product we think is the year's best.

WIN DREAM MACHINE 2010

61


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2 CONTENTS 6 6 7 8

NEWS

33

'FLIP' COMES TO THE ME SKY SHOWS 'EXPEDITOR' SOLUTIONS AT GITEX AL HOSANI COMPUTER ANNOUNCES MINI WINNER

31 HOT KIT REVIEWS 33 34 35 36 38 39

APPLE IPHONE 4 BLACKBERRY TORCH 9800 CANON IXUS CAMERA MSI WIND U160DX NETBOOK TOSHIBA PORTEGE R700 ESCAN INTERNET SECURITY 11

41 BUYER'S GUIDE THE BIGGEST TECH REFERENCE GUIDE 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

COMPONENTS DESKTOPS DIGITAL IMAGING HANDHELDS MONITORS NOTEBOOKS PERIPHERALS PRINTERS SOFTWARE STORAGE

52 GAME ON 56 58 60

CIVILIZATION V FIFA 11 MEDAL OF HONOR

61 REGULARS 61

COMPETITIONS

62 64

CD CONTENTS LOGGING OFF

34

35

36


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4 REGULARS

Editor’s letter An ITP Technology Publication

LOGGING ON Visit WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST online and read this content and much more at www.itp.net

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

2010: THE YEAR OF TECH They say that time flies when you’re having fun. By that logic 2010 must have indeed been a fun-filled year, as I’ve absolutely no idea where the entire year went. From a technology perspective 2010 was a pretty busy year, fairly consistently in fact, from start to finish. The first half of this year, for me, was dominated by a fair few products and technology releases. For those of you lucky enough to visit CES, 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray players were the products hogging most of the limelight. Brands such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, LG and more all had a new range of 3D TVs, most of which have now hit the market. Now as far as 3D TV is concerned, I’m still on the fence. You see while you can get some interesting effects and depth when you’re watching the right content on a good 3D TV - with the somewhat clunky glasses - I reckon 3D TV will only really take off when you can experience 3D effects without the annoying glasses. This can be done using present technology but again, I’m not convinced even these newer TVs will have me running off to the store waving my debit card. So, if not with current technology what then I hear you say? Well, my bets are on holographic TVs. The technology, thankfully, is already in development with companies such as Videa and Claro managing some pretty amazing results. These 3D TVs don’t need you to wear glasses but instead work by using advanced projection techniques. The first half of the year was also a geek and gadget freak’s dream come true. The geek in me went absolutely bananas when Intel unleashed its ‘Gulftown’ Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition processor. This mammoth marvel though several months old now is still the undisputed king of the consumer CPU market. It’s a beast that eats multithreaded software for breakfast. On the flipside, the gadget nut in me couldn’t help but go ‘gaga’ over Apple’s fantastic iPad. Read all the reviews you want but ultimately this gadget sells itself - just give it two minutes of your time and I guarantee you’ll want one. The second half of the year, though quieter than the first half, was also tech-important because we finally got our first taste of USB3.0 external hard drives and USB memory sticks. The monumental performance increase the new interface offers over its predecessors makes these storage products far more versatile in terms of what you can do and run right off the drives. Needless to say, you’ll save a lot of time and hair (if you're impatient) with these drives. With that said I’d like to know which products and technologies caught your eye in 2010? Do write in on windows@itp.com.

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 0097 1 (0)4 210 8000 Fax: 0097 1 (0)4 210 8080 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP Technology Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director ITP Technology Karam Awad General Manager Peter Conmy Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton EDITORIAL Group Editor Mark Sutton Tel: +971 4 444 3225 e-mail: mark.sutton@itp.com Editor Jason Saundalkar Tel: +971 4 444 3635 e-mail: jason.saundalkar@itp.com Deputy Editor Clayton Vallabhan Tel: +971 4 444 3682 e-mail: clayton.vallabhan@itp.com ADVERTISING Group Advertising Manager Brett Pearson Tel: +971 4 444 3345 e-mail: brett.pearson@itp.com STUDIO Senior Designer Michel Al Asmar PHOTOGRAPHY Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers Efraim Evidor, Isidora Bojovic, Rajesh Raghav, Ruel Pableo, Lyubov Galushko, George Dipin, Mosh Lafuente, Murrindie Frew, Shruti Jagdeesh, Verko Ignjatovic PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Editor Emmalyan Robles Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Event Manager Preeta Panicker ITP DIGITAL Assitant Editor Georgina Enzer Tel: +971 4 444 3723 e-mail: georgina.enzer@itp.com Sales Director ITP Digital Business Websites Ahmad Bashour Tel: +971 4 444 3549 e-mail: ahmad.bashour@itp.com Group Sales Manager ITP.net Nathalie Akl Tel: +971 4 444 3502 e-mail: nathalie.akl@itp.com Internet Development Manager Mohammed Affan Content Manager Asad Azizi Web Advertising Manager Meghna Jalnawalla Creative Director Craig Willers ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K M Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 444 3672 Printed by Emirates Printing Press L.L.C.Dubai. Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact itp images@itp.com for further details www.itpimages.com The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader's particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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6 NEWS

NEWS CONTROLLING THE BEAST

INVALUABLE INTELLIGENCE

LOCKING OUT INTRUDERS

Al Batha CIO Saji Oommen on the challenges of IT management

How to avoid failure when rolling out business intelligence at your

Saudi Arabia’s KACST bolsters its defences with new IT system An ITP Technology Publication | Licensed by Dubai Media City BAHRAIN BD1.5 | EGYPT LE15 | JORDAN JD2 KSA SR15 | KUWAIT KD1.5 | OMAN OR1.5 QATAR QR1.5 | UAE DHS15 | UK £5 | USA $8

          

SEPTEMBER 2010 | VOL.23 ISSUE 9

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How Cisco is banking on a fresh wave of investment to drive its business in the Gulf

SEPTEMBER 2010

Critical analysis for telecommunications executives

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Why satellite operators are investing heavily in MEA

Why video conferencing has failed to take o

Slow progress Growth continues to elude Yemen’s fractured telco sector

Leaseback learnings

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How to get sale and leaseback agreements right ďŹ rst time

Muneer Farooqui, CEO, Warid Pakistan

The truth behind the failure of EMC’s Atmos

TRUST ISSUES

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Was the Blackberry safe in the first place?

Thee Abu u Dhabii-oowned teelco explainss the rationaale beehind d its strateg gy in Pak kistaan

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THE REGIONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S FAVOURITE PC & CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY GUIDE An ITP Technology Publication OCTOBER 2010

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REVIEWS:

GAME REVIEWS Blur, Crackdown 2, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Adobe Creative Suite 5 HP Pavilion dm4 notebook Asus ARES graphics card ECS Black Series GTX 460 and more tested...

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Cisco has launched its â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Flip Videoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; camcorders in the Middle East. The debut saw the introduction of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Flip Ultraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Flip Mino HDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The products were launched in Dubai and Jonathan Kaplan, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Consumer Products said, "The Middle East is a key market for Cisco Consumer Products. Flipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoot-and-share capabilities are an ideal way for its youthful and growing internet population to share experiences and stay in touch. We are confident that the Flip will prove to be a popular lifestyle accessory for consumers across the region.â&#x20AC;? Flip products are said to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;put the power of video into consumersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; pockets, enabling them to capture and easily share personal video anywhere, at any timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The Flip MinoHD is available in two forms; a one hour camcorder and a two hour camcorder. Both versions of the MinoHD feature built-in image stabilisation. The one hour MinoHD retails for an end user price of US $190 and US $245 respectively. The Flip Ultra HD on the other can capture up to two hours of HD quality video, features a two-inch LCD screen and retails for an end user price of US $218. All Flip models are expected to become available at retail outlets across the Middle East in November.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

MICROMAX ENTERS MIDDLE EAST MARKET Indian mobile handset giant Micromax Mobile entered the Middle East market last month. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s various handsets were available for purchase at GITEX Shopper 2010 and are now visible in stores across the region. The company, which manufactures phones in India as well as through partners in Taiwan and China, is initially offering several models, including the Q55 Bling. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Blingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; targets female users and as such features â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Enlightened Swarovski Elementsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The compact phone also features a swivel form factor and is able to accept two SIM cards. It weighs 75g, packs a 2-megapixel camera and includes a music playback application, Facebook compatibility and a FM tuner. Micromax Mobiles offers a wide range of handsets including long life phones, QWERTY keypad mobile phones, universal remote mobile phones and more.


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GIGABYTE ENJOYS ME SUCCESS

SKY DEMONSTRATES ‘EXPEDITOR’ SOLUTIONS Sky Electronics exhibited at Gitex 2010 to promote its ‘Expeditor’ range of solutions. “Expeditor is a one stop solution that delivers based on very specific usage models. When a customer approaches us we first look at his environment and the vertical he comes from. Based on that, we choose software and build the hardware around it. Expeditor is a local UAE brand that is customised as per the user’s industry requirement,” said Manoj Thacker, Managing Director, Sky Electronics. The Expeditor range includes workstations, consumer desktops, gaming PCs, small form factor PCs, servers, business desktops and more.

GOODRAM APPEARS AT CONSUMER ELECTRONICS Memory and storage firm GOODRAM appeared at Gitex Technology Week this year to promote and educate Middle East users about its various products and brands. “GOODRAM is a Polish company and while we started out as distributors back in 1991, since then we have expanded to include manufacturing. We first started manufacturing memory products in 2003 and in 2005 we began flash production,” explained Tomeq Cwienk, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, GOODRAM. The company was promoting a number of its products this year in categories such as internal storage, portable storage and more. “GOODRAM has a wide range of products. This year we are promoting our SSD drives. We have two different types; SSD GOODRAM Play and SSD GOODRAM Pro. The Play series drives can be had with 32GB or 64GB of capacity and target value buyers who want good performance on a budget. The Pro series however is for extreme users with no budget constraints. These drives are available with capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and even 512GB. All of our SSDs use Toshiba controllers and NAND Flash,” said Cwienk. The company is also showing off its range of memory products as well. “With memory we have three different types; GOODRAM Value, GOODRAM Play and GOODRAM Pro. The Play and Pro series target value power users and extreme users respectively,” Cwienk explained. GOODRAM setup a local office in Dubai back in 2006. The office is responsible for the Middle East and Africa. The range is built predominately on Intel platforms and when asked why this is the case Thacker responded, “Expeditor is a focused brand built on Intel platforms. We believe the technology is very good and is sold at an aggressive price point. But again our emphasis for Expeditor is that it should be built around your requirements. If a customer requests a quote for a specific configuration for a certain application, we give them a number of options and where necessary, we tell them that the same result can also be achieved with other specifications.” A number of Expeditor solutions were visible at Sky Electronics’ booth.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Taiwan-based Gigabyte is enjoying success in the region Windows Middle East has learned. “Gigabyte has 50% of the market share in the Middle East and we are continuing to grow,” explained Henry Ko, Vice President of Gigabyte’s motherboard department. “We ship 20 million motherboards each year. The Middle East is a highly attractive market to Gigabyte, as it is a market that appreciates quality. People here are willing to buy high-quality, high-performance products,” said Ko. Gigabyte manufactures a range of components and notebooks though the company first started off with a focus on components only. When asked about the development time for motherboards Ko explained, “Generally the development time for a motherboard from concept to production is one year. If however we’re starting from scratch and fully developing a new product then it can take between two to three years.” Talking about the future of motherboards with regards to forthcoming form factors Ko explained, “The ATX form factor will be around for the foreseeable future but in three to five years we will most likely see new developments.”


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8 NEWS

AL HOSANI WRAPS UP MINI COMPETITION Al Hosani Computer has concluded its Kaspersky Labs and BMW promotion: MINImize your Risks! The competition gave buyers of Kaspersky Antivirus 2011, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 or Kaspersky Pure a chance to win a BMW MINI with a special body kit and Kaspersky racing green paintjob. The lucky winner is Yousef Sarhan from Dubai, who bought a copy of Kaspersky Antivirus 2011 from Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates. The MINI was handed over to Sarhan at Kaspersky’s office located in Dubai Media City by Tarek Kuzbari, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab Middle East and Slava Raevski, CEO of Al Hosani Computer. The Mini itself was visible alongside the Windows Fashion Show 2010, which was held every hour on the hour at Gitex Shopper 2010. Retail stores across the UAE such as Carrefour, CompuME, Dubai Duty Free and many more ran the promotion alongside Gitex week.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

VISITORS WIN BIG AT GITEX 2010 WITH WINDOWS Windows Middle East ran its annual ‘Wheel of Fortune’ at Gitex and response was at an all time high. Numerous visitors partook and Windows is pleased to announce the following winners: Anna Sawokleina and Abdul Waheed have won a Gigabyte notebook each, Muhamed Ansari has won a PlayStation Move, Anas Mohamed Ellyas has won a Fujitsu notebook, Mujeeb Rahuman has won a HP netbook and S.M Khan takes home an iOmega Network storage device. Nael AbuZarih, Ryan Miso, John Paul Pujol, Dr. Riadh Al Dabbagh and Kachappilly are also the lucky winners of a Kingston DT Locker+ 16GB memory stick and a Kingston SSDNow V+ series 128GB SSD drive each. Madhu K.A, Amir Houssein Najabi, Rahil Promchod, Mohamed Ali K.M and Harbi Hammod also won a 500GB Western Digital external hard drive each, courtesy of Western Digital and the Wheel of Fortune.


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Shopper 2010 pictures

GALLERY 9

GITEX SHOPPER 2010

Windows Fa shion Show 2010 models show the Play Station Mov e

Kaspersky's latest security software was on display too Models showed off a range of Fujitsu notebook computers

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Sony's PlaySt ation Move co ntroller track s body

motions

latest

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

jitsu's one of Fu oses with A model p sters on mobile m


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10 GALLERY

Shopper 2010 pictures

tors ads of visi elcomed lo w e M u p m retailer Co Technology

Dell's notebo oks drew co nsiderable at tention

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

d visitors s attracte LCD screen A wall of

Acer's Timel ine X

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at every stan d

in droves

lot of attentio n

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gave away a LCD screen ev ery 15 minut es

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HP's booth lo oked unique and had tons of

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Shopper 2010 pictures

visitors s away to es balloon Jumbo giv

RIM had its latest BlackB erry

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devices on di splay

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d devices 3D-enable umber of n a ff o showed Panasonic

Sony VAIO la ptops were on display at Ju mbo

(TVs etc)

Electronics' stand

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HP's presence could be felt throughout the show

GALLERY 11


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WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

12 FEATURE

Gear of the year 2010

Each year WINDOWS reviews hundreds of products, some of which are absolutely tops. Here, we look at the finest products of 2010 so if you’ve got money to blow for the holiday season or you’re looking to buy a gift for a techie, read on…


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FEATURE 13

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Gear of the year 2010


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Gear of the yyear 2010

FEATURE 15

ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 MASTER COLLECTION REVIEWED: OCTOBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE Creative Suite 5 Master Collection is an amazing package that will make it easy to unleash your creativity, whether you deal with print or digital media. The enhanced performance on offer with the right hardware is reason enough to invest in this brilliant suite.

KASPERSKY INTERNET SECURITY 2010 REVIEWED: MARCH 2010 AWARD: BEST VALUE

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2010 REVIEWED: MARCH 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE A fast, slick and easy-to-use Internet security suite. Internet Security 2010 does a good job of protecting your PC using a wide variety of powerful features. Its successor builds on this and offers newer, more potent features. And as always NIS 2010 is an absolute doddle to use.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

This security suite is good value for money and with the tricks and tools it offers it’s able to keep your machines and your network free from viruses and other threats. The newer 2011 version, which is already on sale, adds yet more in terms of functionality and it’s just as simple to work with.


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16 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

ASUS ENGTX480 REVIEWED: AUGUST 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The ENGTX 480 is still nVidia’s fastest single GPU and while Asus’ ENGTX480 isn’t the fastest GTX 480 graphics card we’ve tested, it’s irresistible purely because it’s such good value.

GIGABYTE GV-R577D5-1GD-B REVIEWED: JANUARY 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The Radeon HD 5770 GPU is one of AMD's best GPUs to date. It is reasonably priced, supports Microsoft's DirectX 11 rendering API and offers plentiful performance to boot. Like most modern GPUs, you can also pair this card with other identical cards using AMD's CrossFire X multi-GPU technology for a cool performance boost.

INTEL CORE I7 980X EXTREME EDITION REVIEWED: MAY 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 20100

The 980X is the most potent processor we've ever tested. It packs six cores and because it features HyperThreading technology, it can execute 12 threads at the same time. A mammoth CPU then and one that offers rocket sled performance when running multithreaded software.

XFX RADEON HD 5970 LIMITED EDITION REVIEWED: NOVEMBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. What you see on the left is actually everything you get when you buy XFX's Radeon HD 5970 Limited Edition graphics card. Sure it costs a fortune but it has the 'x' factor in terms of both performance and presence. Buy two if you really want insane performance at an insane price.


Windows®. Life without Walls™. Acer recommends Windows 7.

More than just

circle-line.eu

time

More than 8 hours* of eXcellent performance in a thin and light design Aspire TimelineX 4820TG Intel® Core™ i5-430M processor Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium

Discover the new Aspire TimelineX at your nearest computer superstore. Acer and the Acer logo are registered trademarks of Acer Incorporated. Copyright 2010 Acer. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows and the Windows logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. Specifications subject to change without notice. Pictures are intended simply to illustrate the product. *Actual battery life varies by usage, settings, and operating conditions.


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18 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

ASUS RAMPAGE III FORMULA REVIEWED: NOVEMBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The Rampage III Formula has such a clean, distinctive look that it could almost be considered silicon art. And when it actually comes down to it, this LGA1366 motherboard truly does go on the rampage when it comes to performance and features. It's all the motherboard you'll ever need.

KIN KINGSTON HYPERX KH KHX1600C9D3K6/12GX REV REVIEWED: MARCH 2010 AWARD: A W EDITOR’S CHOICE

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Whe it comes to memory, more is generally better When and in that sense, Kingston's 12GB HyperX kit is brilliant. Besides the massive amount of RAM this kit brillia packs, it is super quick thanks to tight memory pack timings and a high operating frequency. The timin integrated heatspreaders are also a nice touch in integ terms of functionality and looks. term

ZOTAC GEFORCE GTX 480 AMP! EDITION REVIEWED: DECEMBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The GTX 480 GPU is the fastest single GPU on the market today. And with its GeForce GTX 480 AMP! Edition, Zotac has taken performance to a number level thanks to some fancy overclocking. It's no wonder this card was our choice for Dream Machine 2010.


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Gear of the yyear 2010

FEATURE 19

SKY EXPEDITOR/ X980/6/80SSD/1TB/480X2/RV2 REVIEWED: JULY 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE UAE-based Sky Electronics has always impressed us with its excellent, purpose-built Expeditor or machines. Thankfully, the beast on the right did nothing to shake e our confidence in the company. With its strong core components s the Expeditor X980/6/80SSD/1TB/480X2/RV2 proved a high-end gaming machine in every way. It is easily y the fastest off-the-shelf PC we've ve ever tested in the WinLabs.

ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22 We'd forgive you for thinking the ZBOX was an entry-level rig that would struggle to run modern games. It is after all small and lacks a discreet GPU. But as the saying goes 'you should never judge a book by its cover.' The HD-ND22 can in fact run most modern games at a decent resolution and at playable framerates. This is thanks to its trick internal components and nVidia GPU. It's a solid mid-range rig for all but the most demanding gamers.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

REVIEWED: NOVEMBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE


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20 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

CANON DIGITAL IXUS 200 IS REVIEWED: JANUARY 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE When we reviewed Canon's Digital IXUS 200 IS alongside other digital snappers in our grouptest, we were amazed that the Canon won so comprehensively. It offered strong but natural colours that looked as though they were going to jump right out of our screen. On top of that, the camera also captured loads of detail and was very easy-to-use.

CASIO EXILIM EX-H10 REVIEWED: JANUARY 2010 AWARD: BEST VALUE The Exilim EX-H10 was reviewed in the same grouptest as the Canon camera above and thanks to its blend of performance, features and price, the Casio walked away with our Best Value award. It is a brilliant choice for those looking for a strong value buy.

OPTOMA ES526 OP

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REV REVIEWED: JANUARY 2010 AW AWARD: EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHOICE Opto Optoma's ES526 was designed from the ground up for budget buyers looking for a multimedia projector and in testing we found it excelled at everything we threw at it. Text mult was sharp and legible, colours were natural and well contrasted and in terms of brightness, even a brightly lit room couldn't stop this projector.


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Gear of the yyear 2010

FEATURE 21

BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2 REVIEWED: MAY 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The original Bad Company was an entertaining title but its sequel, Bad Company 2 is in a completely different league. It's gorgeous to look at, an absolute blast to play and when you've got friends, the multiplayer offers absolute mayhem. It is mental but in the best possible way.

MASS EFFECT 2 REVIEWED: APRIL 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The original Mass Effect was the very definition of awesome and its sequel, believe it or not, is even better. The script is top notch, the graphics are razor sharp, the gameplay has been improved, so it really is the whole deal. If you're a fan of role playing games (RPGs) you have to play this.

STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY Despite being over 10 years old the original Starcraft is still played by millions of gamers every day. Its sequel then had massive shoes to fill and we're re happy to say that it looks like it's already dy off to a cracking start. There are thousands sands of Starcraft II games being played ed on Battle. net everyday and if that sort of thing isn't your thing, the single player campaign ampaign is s superb as well.

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REVIEWED: OCTOBER 2010 AWARD: 4/5 OVERALL


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22 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

APPLE IPOD TOUCH REVIEWED: OCTOBER 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE The Apple iPod Touch is, simply put, the only media player you'll ever need. It's stupidly easy-to-use, packs a brilliant LCD screen and with the right cans plugged in, can create an immersive audio experience. It's a must have if you demand entertainment when you're on the go.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE The Galaxy S is one of many Android smartphones on the market but despite the stiff competition, the Galaxy proved miles ahead of its competitors. For starters it offers a massive LCD screen that makes watching videos and browsing websites a much better experience and beyond that, the phone's swift response, iPhone-esque form factor and fair price just make it the best Android device we've tested to date.

BLACKBERRY BOLD 2 9700

WINDOWS WIN WI W IND DOW DO OW O WS M MIDDLE IDD IID DD D DLE LE E EAS EA EAST AS A ST DE D DECEMBER ECE CCEM EEM MBERR 2010

REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2010 AWARD: BEST VALUE Unlike the consumer-aimed Samsung Galaxy S (above) the BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 is a fully-fledged business device. In that sense it is simply unbeatable because its push-e-mail functionality is top notch. The Bold 2 also has a fantastic QWERTY keyboard that makes typing out messages, e-mails and more a simple and stress-free affair.


Al Hosani Computer LLC Official Distributor in the Middle East and West Asia 1703 BelResheed Tower, Buhaira Corniche,Sharjah, UAE Tel. +9716-575-444-3, Fax +9716-575-444-9 www.alhosanime.com, Email: sales@alhosanime.com


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24 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

ASUS U53JC BAMBOO COLLECTION REVIEWED: AUGUST 2010 AWARD: BEST VALUE Asus has a wide range of notebooks but the U53JC Bamboo Collection is the most distinctive we've tested by far. We're all for the Bamboo using environmentally-friendly bamboo over plastic in the construction of its notebooks. Beyond its eco-friendly nature the Asus is also a workhorse with a zippy 7,200rpm hard drive.

HP PAVILION DM3-1340EV REVIEWED: AUGUST 2010 AWARD: EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHOICE If you're on a tight budget you'll struggle to find a better notebook than HP's awesome Pavilion DM3-1340EV. It is aggressively priced, offers competition beating performance, sports good looks and has a LCD screen that is 720p HD compatible. What more do you need?

LENOVO IDEAPAD Y560 REVIEWED: NOVEMBER 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

The Y560 notebook proved a screamer in terms of both applications and games, so if you need a high-end notebook the Lenovo has your name on it. It's a beast that everyone will be able to enjoy.

TOSHIBA QOSMIO X500-11G REVIEWED: AUGUST 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE If games are your thing and you don't want a fully-fledged desktop PC, Toshiba's Qosmio X500-11G is second to none. It is quite simply the most powerful desktop replacment notebook we've ever tested. So, no matter what game (or application) you throw at it, you can expect top performance.


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Gear of the yyear 2010

FEATURE 25

BELKIN CONSERVE SURGE WITH TIMER REVIEWED: MARCH 2010 AWARD: EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHOICE No, we haven't all lost our minds at Windows. Belkin's excellent Conserve Surge With Timer made it on our Gear of the Year list for 2010 simply because it is so clever. Not only can it protect your hardware from electrical damage but it can actually save you money by automatically powering down devices that are plugged in after a preset amount of time.

BUFFALO DRIVESTATION HD-HXU3 Of all the external hard drives Windows has tested this year, Buffalo's DriveStation HD-HXU3 proved the most impressive by far. Why you ask? Well, quite simply, the Buffalo is a trail blazer in the performance department. The drive is so fast that multigigabyte file transfers are dealt with in a matter of seconds and, at the same time, it offers enough bandwidth and space to deal with HD and Full HD content. The reason this drive is so fast is because it is equipped with the new USB3.0 interface.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

REVIEWED: OCTOBER 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE


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26 FEATURE

Gear of the yyear 2010

BROTHER HL-3070CW REVIEWED: MAY 2010 AWARD: EDITORâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CHOICE Believe it or not the Brother HL-3070CW (pictured right) can print monochrome and colour and makes use of a laser printing engine, rather than an inkjet engine. That's an astonishing feat on Brother's part because it is easily the smallest colour laser printer we've ever come across. The print engine is quick at the same time so ultimately, this is a fantastic colour laser from every angle.

OKI B411DN REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE When high-speed printing performance is a concern OKI's B411DN is impossible to beat. In our September grouptest the printer managed a staggering print speed of 30ppm. Feeding it more complex text and graphics documents didn't slow it down either, it managed a speed of 22.5ppm. A real rocket.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

HP P1102W REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2010 10 AWARD: BEST VALUE Users on a restrictive budget will find it hard to find a better home-aimed, monochrome laser printer than HP's marvelous P1102W. This monochrome master sports ultra compact dimensions so it's easy to place at home, great looks, is very reasonably priced and, at the same time, is also quite quick. It's no wonder then that this printer walked away with our Best Value award in our September grouptest.


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Gear of the yyear 2010

FEATURE 27

KINGSTON DATATRAVELER ATATRAVELER ULTIMATE 3.0 REVIEWED: NOVEMBER 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE The DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 was the first USB3.0 flash drive Windows tested and it blew us away with its performance. It's no wonder then that it made it on our Gear of the Year list.

KINGSTON SSDNOW V+ 128GB REVIEWED: MAY 2010 AWARD: BEST PERFORMANCE Kingston's SSDNow V+ 128GB drives offer killer performance and thanks to the added extras that Kingston throws in, the drives are actually great valuefor-money and very easy to install. However, based on the first point alone, we picked the V+ drives to feature in Dream Machine 2010.

PATRIOT TORQX PFZ128GS25SSDR REVIEWED: MAY 2010 AWARD: BEST VALUE Patriot's Torqx drive caught our attention earlier in the year, when we ran our SSD grouptest. While not as fast a drive as Kingston's SSDNow V+, the Patriot proved a value monster and thus walked away with our Best Value prize. If you're on a tight budget then, look no further.

REVIEWED: JULY 2010 AWARD: EDITOR’S CHOICE Western Digital's VelociRaptor packs serious performance whether you're after quick access times or heavy duty read/write performance. The reason the drive is so quick is because it sports a 10,000rpm spindle speed and no less than 32MB of cache memory.

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WD VELOCIRAPTOR WD6000HLHX


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Gear of the year 2010

FEATURE 29

t c u d o Pr the of ar ye

APPLE IPAD

The Apple iPad was launched early this year and despite months having gone by, there seems to be no stopping the iPad madness. Everyone we talk to either already has one of Apple's marvelous tablets or is saving up to buy one. At Windows we think the reason the iPad is so popular with the masses is because of the way it integrates itself into your life. Whether you're a hardcore PC user or just a light, infrequent user, you'll find Apple's iPad will automatically become your device of choice when it comes to tasks like checking e-mails, finding out what movies are running at your local cinema or even when you want to research a movie. And why not? Its LCD screen is absolutely gorgeous to look at, the screen is very responsive when it is being used to type on (like the iPhone) and more than anything else, it just makes you feel good. Besides its out-of-the-box usability there's also a world of applications just waiting to be unleashed, care of the 'App Store'. And since the iPhone and iPad use more or less the same operating system, you can run applications meant for the iPhone on the amazing iPad. So, if you've got an app or a game that you love on your iPhone, you're sorted with the iPad as well. The only reason the iPad didn't win our coveted Editor's Choice award is because it lacks a memory card reader, USB port and a camera. However, beyond judging a product's success by looking at how many people actually want it, even though it was launched months ago, the fact that companies like Dell, Samsung and many more are also now producing tablets is proof that Apple has a fantastic product. Imitation is the best form of flattery after all.

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REVIEWED: SEPTEMBER 2010 AWARD: 4/5 OVERALL


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Reviews

HOT KIT 31

33 PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

Awarded to outstanding Awarded to the most products that have excelled in outstanding product we've both value and performance. encountered during the month.

CONTENTS 33

Apple iPhone 4 smartphone

34

BlackBerry Torch smartphone

35

Canon Ixus 1000 HS camera

36

MSI WIND U160DX netbook

38

Toshiba Portege R700-15P notebook

39

eScan 11 anti-virus

39

Zotac GeForce GTX 480 AMP! Edition graphics card

34

35 WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Reviews


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32 HOT KIT

Reviews

HOTKIT

WINLABS

TESTING EXPLAINED when dealing with old and new game titles. As all three tests involve playable games, they are real world tests rather than synthetic and thus provide an accurate view of a graphics card’s performance. Each graphics card is tested at three different test resolutions; 1024 x 768 pixels, 1600 x 1200 pixels and, finally, 1920 x 1200 pixels. All of the games are run on the maximum settings with the exception of full screen anti aliasing, which we leave at 4x setting. Then, depending on the price and positioning of the graphics card, performance scores are awarded based on how well, or not, it has performed at a specific resolution. For example, low end or entry level graphics cards are graded mostly on their performance at 1024 x 768 pixels whereas expensive, ultra-high-end cards are graded based on their performance across all three resolutions.

HARD DISK TESTING

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

WINDOWS MID MIDDLE EAST is the definitive for PC and consumer electronics Buyers’ Guide fo products in the region. We strenuously test products in our dedicated Dubai WinLab in order to highlight the very best models for our readers. Here we explain just how we test new kit in order offer truly orde or derr to ooff ffer er ttru ru authoritative and objective recommendations, helping us keep WINDOWS recommendatio most relevant technology magazine. the region’s mos

CPU TESTING

GRAPHIC CARD TESTING

Testing processors is a time consuming process because there are a number of different tests that we employ. Depending on the CPU that has to be tested, we construct a testbed using a compatible motherboard. However, the 2Gbytes of OCZ memory, Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1Tbyte hard drive and optical drive remain as standard components. All benchmarks are run at 1024 x 768 pixels and we employ the following benchmark tests; Cinebench 9.5, PCMark 2005 CPU and memory tests, 3DMark 2003 and 2005 CPU tests and POV-Ray to test raw processing performance. To test multimedia performance, we run a Lame 3.97 WAV to MP3 encode test, a TMPGENC video encode, MPEG to DivX conversion test in addition to running F.E.A.R and World in Conflict. With the exception of POV-Ray and all the encode tests, higher numbers mean a faster processor and thus a higher performance score.

Our graphics card testbed comprises an Intel Core 2 Q6700 quad-core processor that runs at 3GHz, an Asus Maximum Extreme motherboard, 2Gbytes of Corsair DDR2 RAM, Western Digital’s 300Gbyte Raptor X SATA drive, a Serial ATA optical drive and a 750-watt PC Power and Cooling power supply. All of these components are housed in Thermaltake’s Armour+ chassis and we use Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system. To test a graphics card, we hook it up to this machine and this is then connected to our Viewsonic VX2835wm 28-inch LCD screen. The screen offers a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, which means it allows us to test graphics cards at all the major resolutions. To test graphics cards, we use three specific benchmarks; F.E.A.R, Company of Heroes and World in Conflict. The first benchmark uses older DirectX 9 rendering technology whilst the latter two game titles use DirectX 10. This enables us to gauge a graphics card’s performance

To test hard drives, we use our graphics card testbed. The drive in question is hooked up to the motherboard’s Serial ATA II controller (or USB or Firewire port if it’s an external hard drive) and tested using a combination of real world and synthetic benchmark tests. For internal hard drives, we rely on a copy test to ascertain real world performance. The test folder is stored on a SSD drive, ensuring that this drive won’t bottleneck the drive being tested and, to gauge write performance, we time how long it takes for the 4Gbyte folder to be transferred from the SSD drive to the test drive. To test read performance, we do the opposite and time how long it takes for the test drive to transfer the data to the SSD drive. Lower times in both cases equate to better performance. Next we call into action HD Tach3, a synthetic benchmark. This tests a drive in terms of its access time, average read and write performance, burst speed and CPU utilisation. In terms of access time and CPU usage, lower numbers are better. With external drives we use the same real world read/write test methodology but instead of using a 4Gbyte folder only, we also test the drive with a single 238Mbyte test file. Again, lower times give a drive higher performance scores.

OTHER PRODUCTS Products such as MP3 players, PMPs, mobile phone etc are tested for a period of one or two weeks. During this time we use the products as someone who purchased it would and this helps us gauge performance, features and value for money. In most cases the brunt of the testing is subjective and the testing always focuses on real world usefulness.


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HOT KIT 33

APPLE IPHONE 4 Is this yet another must have Apple product? PRICE TBC WEB www.apple.com

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he iPhone 4 is the successor to the 3GS and is Apple's fourth generation iPhone. Is it worth your hard earned cash? In terms of looks and design the iPhone 4 is a very handsome handheld and easily trumps its predecessor. The smartphone feels very solid in hand and the tactile sensation you get from interacting with Apple's latest smartphone is superb. There simply isn't another phone we've come across that we just wanted to hold on to. The reason the iPhone 4 looks brilliant and feels so great in hand is because of two aluminosilicate glass panels, one which sits on the front of the device and the other, on the underside. Apple claims the glass has been chemically strengthened to be 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic and while enhanced scratch resistance and durability are said to be much higher than previous iPhones, we actually noticed a few scratches on the device's underside after a week. One of the big features of the iPhone 4 is 'FaceTime'. This embedded video calling applications allows users to use either the front or back camera to make video/voice calls over a WiFi connection.

T

While this is an amazing feature that the 3GS lacks, the application is seemingly locked out on all Etisalat and du supplied iPhone 4 handsets. Bummer. Thankfully, for 3GS users looking for a reason to upgrade, that isn't the end of the story. The iPhone 4 is powered by an Apple A4 processor with an integrated PowerVR GPU and 512MB of eDRAM. The combination of processor and memory (the latter is double that of the 3GS) coupled with the iOS 4.1 operating system provides sublime performance. Opening applications, executing features and loading photos and websites is a snappy affair that simply leaves the 3GS in the dust. At the same time the iPhone 4 also boasts multitasking support. The 3.5-inch display, which Apple refers to as a 'Retina Display', is perhaps the iPhone 4's greatest selling point. The screen runs at a native resolution of 960 x 640 pixels and the visuals it produces are the best the WinLabs team has ever seen from a smartphone. Every visual is razor sharp, the colours it produces look ready to jump into your eyeballs and best of all, the multi-touch screen is just a dream to work on. Even if you're a speed

demon when it comes to touch typing, the phone just never skips a beat, while the predictive text makes backspacing and retyping a thing of the past. Ultimately, the iPhone 4's combination of a super fast processor and ample memory coupled with vivid graphics makes the user experience a truly unique one that no other phone we've tested to date can best. We were even impressed with the phone's battery life as it lasted a little over two days, even after intensive, mixed use.

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS Apple A4 processor, 512MB eDRAM memory, 32GB flash memory (16GB also available), 3.5-inch multi-touch LCD screen, 960 x 640 pixel native resolution, 5-megapixel digital camera with HD 720p video support, 0.3-megapixel forward facing camera, Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support, GPS support, 802.11b/g/n WiFi support, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 137g, iOS 4.1. PROS Marvellous LCD screen, lightning quick responsiveness, attractively designed, loads of paid for and free content. CONS No FaceTime, still no memory upgrade slot. VERDICT While the lack of FaceTime is disappointing, the iPhone 4 has a mile long goody list that makes it one of the most desirable phones ever.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

HIGH-END SMARTPHONE

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HIGH-END SMARTPHONE

34 HOT KIT

BLACKBERRY TORCH 9800 Too many features spoil the ‘crackberry’ broth PRICE $763 WEB www.blackberry.com

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he Torch 9800 is Research in Motion’s (RIM) latest Middle East smartphone release. Is it worthy of the BlackBerry name? The Torch is a two in one that combines the features of the Storm and Bold 9700. The result is what you see above, a smart looking handheld with a shiny gunmetal border and a 3.2inch screen. Slide this screen upwards and you’re greeted by a full QWERTY keyboard that takes design cues from the Bold. The phone is a little heavier and bulkier than the Bold, though the keyboard itself feels more cramped thus requiring users with bigger fingers to use their nails. The Torch is equipped with the long awaited BlackBerry OS6, complete with a Webkit browser and a Webkit/ HTML e-mail client, in addition to a new ‘Universal Search’. These features are eons ahead of its kin and add a refreshing touch to the platform. That said the 624MHz CPU and 512MB of RAM seem insufficient for the new OS; noticeable lag is the order of the day. However, the OS brings the BlackBerry up-to-date on the interface front, in that previously boring text has now been replaced by icons that are

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separated intelligently, thus making the user experience more fluid and intuitive. The Torch allows navigation through finger swipes on the touch screen display as well as through the trackpad. Whilst typing messages, the virtual keyboard is still clumsy unfortunately, so you’re better off with the physical equivalent, which is more accurate. The 5-megapixel camera is adequate at best in the best conditions but can’t handle low light situations at all, despite the presence of a built-in flash. As a multimedia device the Torch stumbles further because 640 x 480 pixel video looks far too compressed on the Torch’s 360 x 480 pixel screen. With displays that moved to 800 x 480 pixels and higher a year ago, Blackberry’s offering on this device is far too basic. The overall sensory experience of handling the Torch is unique however. It has a ribbed, rubberised back cover and faux metal frame. Clean lines accentuate the guise and the four essential Blackberry buttons on the bottom keep it collared up. On the whole the Torch, despite its new OS and features, is a better business device than one that everyday consumers will appreciate. The only

real trump card the Torch has is its free messaging applications though that isn’t unique to the Torch. We don’t think the Torch is a phone current Blackberry users would switch to. Not because it can’t handle anything that the Bold or Curve can but purely because it’s not a Blackberry in essence. It’s bulkier, thicker, heavier, it slides open, it has a touch screen, an iffy virtual keyboard and various other features that tries to serve one too many user types.

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS 624MHz processor, 512MB internal flash memory, 4GB built-in storage, 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD, native resolution 360 x 480 pixels, optical trackpad, 35-key backlit QWERTY keyboard, 5-megapixel digital camera with flash, 802.11b/ g/n WiFi compatible, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS, 3.5mm stereo headset, microSD memory card upgradeable, 162g, BlackBerry OS6, one-year warranty. PROS BlackBerry OS6 offers a splashy interface, keyboard is decent to work on, reasonable battery life. CONS Dated screen, camera is quite basic, touchscreen keyboard isn’t very accurate, poor performance. VERDICT In its current form the Torch 9800 is a solid business device but its star appeal is handicapped by its deadweight consumer features.


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HOT KIT 35

CANON IXUS 1000 HS The IXUS brand turns 10 in style PRICE $408 CONTACT +9714 391 5050 WEB www.canon-me.com

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he Canon IXUS 1000HS was launched to mark the IXUS brand’s 10 year anniversary. This point-and-shoot camera boasts a 10-megapixel sensor and features a 10x optical zoom lens. As you’d expect the camera is also capable of Full HD video recording. According to Canon, the IXUS 100HS is the first camera to feature such a capable super zoom lens in a body that is around 22mm thick. In hand the camera feels very well built care of its aluminium alloy shell and the lines of IXUS’ styling are instantly evident at first glance. The camera doesn’t have a viewfinder but the widescreen LCD is more than adequate for framing your photos before you capture them. Outdoors, the screen has enough muscle to overcome washout by natural light. The 1000HS is sparse in terms of buttons and controls, the most prominent piece of the interface is a control wheel for navigating menus that encircles a Func.Set button. Atop of this is a dual-function record button for capturing video; the button starts and stops the recording function. This is an odd inclusion given that most cameras use the standard shutter control

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button to start/stop video recording. Below the control wheel are two more buttons; Menu and Play. On top of the camera is a switch to toggle between Movie mode, ‘P’ shooting mode where the user can determine a few characteristics of the shot manually, and the amateur-friendly Auto mode. The On/Off button lies next to it and finally the shutter button sits to the right with a zoom lever surrounding it. Thanks to its dimensions, weight and design, the IXUS 1000HS sits firmly in hand and single-handed use is a doddle. When starting up the camera the user is greeted by a Canon wallpaper, and as you’d expect of a Canon camera, the interface and menu systems are simple to use. Features such as White balance, ISO setting, centre weighted or spot metering, image size and quality, flash, red eye reduction, iContrast and blink detection can easily be adjusted via the menu system. Image processing is done by Canon’s patented DIGIC4 processor and images captured by the IXUS ultimately proved to be of good quality. Colours appeared natural and vivid with the camera’s iContrast helping to correct a lot of deliberately under and over exposed

shots. The images the Canon captured also appeared very sharp and focused. Image stabilisation is effective and no loss of focus was evident even with our gruelling stability indexing test at no zoom. Zoomed stability was satisfactory but inconsistent upon repeated shooting. In stable hands though the zoom is the best we’ve seen in a point-andshoot camera. The Canon's autofocus is questionable when clicking multiple pictures in short sequence however.

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS 10-megapixel image sensor, DIGIC4 image processor with ISAPS technology, maximum still image resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels, maximum video resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24fps (Full HD), 10x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom, 3-inch LCD screen, PictBridge support, SD/SDHC/SDXC/ MMC/MMCplus/HCMMCplus memory card compatible, one-year warranty. PROS 10x optical zoom, compact body, striking choice of colours, great LCD screen, easy-to-use. CONS No dedicated delete button, could do with higher resolution sensor given its price. VERDICT The IXUS 1000HS is a decent point-andshoot that can produce great photographs in the hands of amateurs and skilled photographers alike.

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POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA

Reviews


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NETBOOK

36 HOT KIT

MSI WIND U160DX Does the U160DX have the wind in its sails? PRICE $408 CONTACT +9714 217 0700 WEB www.msi.com

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SI says its Wind U160DX netbook 'redefines the speed of light' and that it is 'chic and unique and simply irresistible'. Our test sample featured a coffee brown exterior with a plush pale gold interior and this contrasts with the black chiclet keyboard. The design works very well together and makes the Wind a real gem in a market saturated with similar looking, netbooks. In terms of dimensions the MSI is identical to other netbooks though the machine's battery sticks out like a sore thumb. On closer inspection however this design element serves to elevate the machine and thus the keyboard. This makes the MSI great to work on when placed on a flat surface. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for when you've got the netbook in your lap. Travel is this netbook's specialty; it measures less than 1-inch thick and weighs just 1kg, so it isn't a bother to slip into a travel bag or to lug around. The MSI's battery is also fairly resilient, as heavy use saw the netbook lasting for two hours and 59 minutes before giving up the ghost. An illuminated button on the right hinge powers on the netbook and on

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first boot, you get your first taste of the LED backlit 10-inch display. The LCD runs at a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels and while it offers a very bright and vibrant display, it lacks razor sharp crispness. That said, the U160DX's display is better than what is offered by most netbooks on the market. The Wind U160DX's core components are an Intel Atom N455 CPU running at 1.66GHz, Intel's NM10 chipset and 2GB of DDR3 memory. The netbook runs Windows 7 Starter and also includes MSIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own patented 'Turbo Drive Engine' technology, which MSI claims will enhance system performance. The technology works by overclocking the processor beyond its standard operating frequency thus improving performance across the board. Running our PCMark Vantage benchmark on the machine, it produced scores of 1,279, 431, 585, 1,925, 1,116, 1,058 and 3,060. While the TV & Movies test refused to run the netbookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s remaining scores are quite reasonable. Scores aside, the MSI proved a reasonably quick machine when it came to banging out e-mails and documents and working with e-mail clients. As an everyday machine the Wind

U160DX proved a mixed bag in terms of usability. Using the Wind to put together a few documents we found that we kept on, accidently, swiping on the trackpad, which caused the cursor to jump and mess up our document. A button to disable the trackpad would have been useful here. On the other hand, the keyboard itself is pleasant to use and the same can be said for the trackpad though as with most netbooks, we found ourselves wishing for additional tracking space.

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 CPU, Intel NM10 core-logic chipset, 2GB DDR3 memory, 10-inch LCD screen running at a native resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics chipset, 250GB hard disk drive, 1.3megapixel webcam, 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapter, Bluetooth 2.1, three USB2.0 ports, SD/MMC memory card reader, Windows 7 Starter, one-year warranty. PROS Distinctive looks, bright LCD screen, decent performance, travel friendly. CONS No button to disable the trackpad, battery stand can be a pain when the netbook is in your lap. VERDICT The Wind U160DX distinguishes itself from a number of other netbooks on the market with its blend of looks and performance.


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ULTRA-PORTABLE NOTEBOOK

38 HOT KIT

TOSHIBA PORTEGE R700-15P Time to hit the road

PRICE $1,662 CONTACT +9714 881 7789 WEB www.toshiba.com

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he R700-15P is an ultra-portable offering from Toshiba’s Portege line and it is designed for ‘ultramobile performance’. Like most Toshiba laptops we’ve tested in the past the machine’s build quality is excellent. The R700 features a classy matt black magnesium chassis, brushed metallic finish, black chiclet keyboard and chrome hinges, all of which make the notebook a powerful style statement. Beyond its looks, the notebook is also rock solid in that there is no noticeable flex across the notebook’s chassis, even at regular stress points where most ultraportables flex a little. Weighing a mere 1.5kgs this notebook is easy to carry and won’t occupy much storage space either. We found the Toshiba’s battery up to the task as well, as we noted a strong battery life time of three hours and 10 minutes. The R700-15P then is a fantastic machine for road warriors or jet set executives. The Portege we tested employed an Intel Core i7 620M processor which was clocked at 2.67GHz. The CPU was backed up by 4GB of super quick DDR3 RAM, while a 500GB hard disk drive

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cared for permanent storage. Being a business notebook the Toshiba features an integrated graphics solution in the form of Intel’s HD graphics adapter. This is connected to a 13.3-inch LCD screen. Despite its ultra-portable dimensions and positioning, the Toshiba features a DVD writer too and this gives the notebook an edge over the majority of ultra-portables on the market (most of these lack optical drives). In terms of connectivity the Toshiba is outfitted with an eSATA port, as well as two USB ports. It also has D-sub and HDMI video output ports. Running our PCMark Vantage benchmarks on the Toshiba we came away impressed. The notebook managed figures of 6,289, 3,383, 4,035, 3,408, 6,226, 8,054, 4,956 and 3,205 in the Vantage Suite, Memories, TV & Movies, Gaming, Music, Communication, Productivity and HDD tests. These are healthy scores and on a day-to-day basis, the Toshiba felt very quick no matter what we threw at it. Using the notebook on a daily basis we found the Toshiba was quite comfortable to work on. The 13.3-inch screen features a LED backlight and thus provides bright, vibrant visuals.

The screen runs at a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and is a star in terms of sharpness, everything displayed on screen appears crisp and easily legible. Another nice feature is Toshiba’s Ecoutility. When enabled this configures the notebook to run in an economical power setting thereby reducing power consumption quite drastically. Our only issue with the Toshiba had to do with its cooling system; the fan frequently spun up to full power and was very loud after we used the notebook for a few hours.

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS Intel Core i7 620M processor running at 2.67GHz, Intel QM57 core-logic chipset, 4GB of DDR3 memory, Intel HD Graphics adapter, 13.3-inch HD non-reflective display, native resolution 1366 x 768 pixels, 500GB hard disk drive, DVD/CD writer optical drive, two USB ports, one eSATA port, 802.11a/g/n WiFi adapter, Windows 7 Professional 64bit, 1.5kg, three-year warranty. PROS Toshiba’s Eco-utility, elegant design, sturdy build quality, lightweight, strong performance. CONS Noisy fan. VERDICT The Portege R700 boats an elegant design, sturdy build quality and it packs enough power under its hood to tackle applications with ease. A capable ultra-portable for road warriors.


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ESCAN Internet

Security Suite 11 New and vastly improved PRICE $27 CONTACT +971 50 352 0568 WEB www.escanav.com

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PCI-E GRAPHICS CARD

PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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REQUIREMENTS Pentium II 233MHz processor or higher, 256MB of memory (512MB recommended),

ZOTAC GeForce

Scan's Internet Security Suite turns 11 and like all security suites, targets users interested in securing their PCs. While its predecessor was somewhat rough around the edges in terms of its interface and design, eScan Internet security Suite 11 is a revelation that boasts an interface that's easy on the eyes and intuitive to use. The software is lightweight too in that it doesn’t gobble up memory or CPU time, thus meaning you can still use your PC when scans are underway. The scanning engine isn't as fast as the one employed by Kaspersky and ESET however. The suite boasts a wide array of defences against malware, malicious code and even phishing attacks.

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500MB of hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, Internet Explorer 6.0 and above, Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 32-/64-bit compatible.

he GeForce GTX 480 GPU is nVidia’s fastest single GPU and it is this GPU that powers Zotac’s GeForce GTX 480 AMP! Edition graphics card. Being an AMP! Edition card the Zotac ships preoverclocked and is covered by a lengthy five-year warranty. The GTX 480 GPU runs at a frequency of 756MHz, which is 56MHz higher than nVidia recommends. Similarly, the GPU’s shaders have been pushed from their standard operating frequency of 1401MHz to a barely believable 1512MHz. Zotac hasn’t forgotten about the card’s memory either, the 1536MB of high-performance GDDR5 memory has been tweaked

GTX 480 AMP! EditionT King of the single GPU world PRICE $572 CONTACT +9714 355 5520 WEB www.zotac.com

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PERFORMANCE FEATURES VALUE FOR MONEY

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SPECIFICATIONS nVidia GeForce GTX 480 GPU running at 756MHz, 1536MB of GDDR5 memory

running at 3800MHz, dual-slot cooling solution, two DVI output ports, one miniHDMI output port, five-year warranty.

HOT KIT 39 Some of its salient features are the ability to scan your computer for viruses, Trojans or spyware, as well as disinfecting or putting troublesome files into secure Quarantine. The software, like most modern security suites, also checks your e-mail client for suspicious e-mails and has a separate spam filter that can be easily tweaked to filter out annoying spam. Another very powerful feature is the software's Privacy Control, which gives universal access to the user to delete all browsing information, cookies, items in the Recycle Bin, Cache, browser history etc. The software also goes a step further to provide the user with the ability to hide specific files and folders and manage sub directories. VERDICT Retailing for only $27, about one third the price of competitors, eScan's latest is a solid purchase.

and now runs at 3800MHz rather than 3696MHz. With all this added muscle we expected the GTX 480 AMP! Edition to be a rocket and we’re happy to say that it didn’t let us down. Running our Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X benchmarks on the card it returned framerates of 140fps and 125fps at 1680 x 1050 pixels and 1920 x 1080 pixels respectively. Moving on to the more intensive Heaven v2.0 benchmark, the Zotac managed figures of 64.1fps and 56.8fps. Amazing! Running our World in Conflict benchmarks, the card was clocked at 98fps and 90fps respectively. These scores make the GTX 480 AMP! Edition the fastest single GPU card we've tested. VERDICT Zotac's GTX 480 GPU offers incredible performance, it's no wonder we used it in Dream Machine 2010.

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SECURITY SOFTWARE

Reviews


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BUYERS GUIDE 41

BUYERSGUIDE HOW TO USE THE GUIDE The Buyer’s Guide is a fully comprehensive guide to the best products that WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST has reviewed, and is intended to act as an effective resource for buyers of such products in the Middle East market. The Buyer's Guide is updated with new products each month, and out of date products removed.

Each of our ten product categories contains ten recommended product buys. For each product we’ve included vendor (or local distributor) contact details, our Windows Middle East overall rating, our verdict on the product and details of which issue we reviewed it in (alternatively you can find all our product reviews - in full - on www.itp.net). Each of the products shown scored either 4/5 or 5/5 in its respective review, so instead of listing products in score order we have arranaged these by price, with the most expensive at the top of the page. This makes it quick and easy for you to find the product you can best afford. We also offer advice on how to go about buying products within each particular product category. This gives you, the reader, the ability to make a better-informed judgment about what kit is suitable for your needs.

RATINGS EXPLAINED

Awarded to products that offer you the most bang for your buck.

Awarded to products that offer impressive amounts of power and speed.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

The best product of the month is given this prestigious award.

COMPONENTS DESKTOPS DIGITAL IMAGING HANDHELDS MONITORS NOTEBOOKS PERIPHERALS PRINTERS SOFTWARE STORAGE

AWARDS are basically presented to products for their outstanding performance and value. A Performance or Value winner must have received five stars in that particular category. An Editor’s Choice award goes to outstanding products that have excelled in both value and performance.

FEATURES: What value-added features are included? Do they benefit the user? Are they innovative? PERFORMANCE: Does the product perform well? Is it quick? EASE OF USE: How user-friendly is the interface? Does it require expertise? VALUE FOR MONEY: Does the price represent a fair return on performance? DESIGN: Is the product well designed? Are buttons easy-to-access? Are ports and connections well-placed?

EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD AVERAGE POOR

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Awarded to outstanding products that have excelled in both value and performance.

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42 BUYERS GUIDE Components RATING WEB REVIEWED

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++ www.kingston.com June 2010

+++++ +9714 886 3300 www.giga-byte.com April 2009

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

+9714 369 2666 www.intel.com May 2010

+9714 299 3873 www.asus.com November 2010

Kingston HyperX LoVo KHX1866C9D3LK2 Dual-channel DDR3 memory kit

$200

Kingston’s fantastic LoVo HyperX memory kit offers tremendous performance at an unbelievably low operating voltage.

Gigabyte EX58-Extreme High-end LGA1366 motherboard

$512

If you’ve got a Core i7 processor and want the best performance or you intend on overclocking, this motherboard offers all you’ll ever need.

Intel Core i7 980X LGA1366 six-core processor

$999

This super-chip features six 3.33GHz processing cores and a ton of cache memory. There’s simply no better choice for multi-threaded software.

ASUS Rampage III Formula High-end LGA1366 motherboard

$350

The Rampage III offers tremendous performance, useful features, a BIOS that’s packed with overclocking options and is sensibly priced.

XFX Radeon HD 5970 Black Edition Limited PCI-E Graphics Card XFX’s Radeon HD 5970 Black Edition Limited is a serious graphics card for serious gamers with loads of money to spare. Despite its over the top packaging and carry case, the card is actually less expensive than Asus’ ARES Radeon HD 5970 card by a cool US $50.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 397 8035 www.xfxforce.com November 2010

BUYING TIPS COMPONENTS Before you buy a motherboard you should first decide on what processor you’re going with. AMD and Intel use entirely different CPU socket types and within each company’s processor ranks, there are different sockets for different chips. If you want a ‘Bloomfield’ Core i7 975 Extreme Edition processor, you’ll need a motherboard with a LGA 1366 CPU socket. On the other hand if you want a ‘Lynnfield’ Core i7 processor, you’ll need a LGA 1156 board. On the flip side, with AMD, you’ll need a Socket AM3 motherboard if you’re going to buy a Phenom II processor.

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Depending on what you expect your machine to do, you should consider a motherboard’s chipset and its accompanying features carefully. If you want to play games at very high resolutions consider a board that packs multi-GPU technology. This will allow you to run two or more GPUs in parallel for better gaming performance. On the other hand if you’re interested in building a high-end machine on a budget, consider an overclocking friendly motherboard that will let you squeeze the most out of your processor, memory and other components.

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IF YOU WANT TO PLAY GAMES AT VERY HIGH RESOLUTIONS ” CONSIDER A BOARD THAT PACKS MULTI-GPU TECHNOLOGY.

$1350


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BUYERS GUIDE 43 Desktops YOYOTECH FI7EPOWER MK3 High-end gaming PC

$8,175

Yoyotech’s PC has oddles of character and packs some serious performance under its distinctive hood. The only real issue is its price tag.

BenQ nScreen i91 All-in-one PC

$517

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

$1,200

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

While the nScreen i91 isn’t able to seamlessly playback Full HD content it is ideal for browsing the web, dealing with e-mails and working on office applications.

International Computer Company ZAI Mid-range gaming PC An attractive machine that can tackle apps and games with ease thanks to a balanced set of internal components.

Sky Electronics Expeditor EXP - X980/6/80SSD/1TB/480X2/RV2 High-end gaming PC

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 800 344357 WEB www.yoyotech.co.uk REVIEWED June 2010

$4,688

If you want butter smooth gaming framerates and wait-free application performance the Expeditor is the rig for you. It’s also very reasonably priced considering its high-spec components.

+9714 299 1000 www.benq.com November 2009

+9662 664 446 www.zai.com.sa June 2009

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 266 3774 WEB www.skyelectronics.com REVIEWED July 2010

ZOTAC ZBOX HD-ND22 I0N NETTOP Thanks to its 1.2GHz Intel Celeron processor and two memory slots, the ZBOX HD-ND22 is a highly flexible and capable, barebones to build a rig on. You can run games such as Modern Warfare 2 at 1366 x 768 pixels in medium detail and can expect playable framerates.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 355 5520 www.zotac.com November 2010

TBA

BUYING TIPS DESKTOPS Buying a desktop machine off the shelf can be tricky business. To get the most bangs for your buck you’ll have to pick a machine that satisfies all of your specific requirements. If you want to play games at high resolutions, with all the details turned on and with a smooth framerate for instance, look closely at the machine’s processor and graphics card; if money is no object opt for a high-end rig that packs a top-end dual or quad-core CPU and a highend GPU with dedicated texture memory. On the other hand if you’re on a constrained budget consider buying a machine that has a mid-range CPU but a high-end GPU.

PICK A MACHINE THAT SATISFIES ALL ” OF YOUR SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS.

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If content creation is your concern, make sure you buy a desktop machine with a triple- or quad-core processor. Most content creation software is heavily multi-threaded so they can take advantage of multiple processing cores and return better performance. At the same time make sure you have ample memory as content creation work is generally quite memory intensive. Aim for at least 4GB of memory if you’re working with images and page layouts and over 6GB if video editing and effects make up the brunt of your work.

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44 BUYERS GUIDE Digital imaging RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 391 8400 WEB www.sony-mea.com REVIEWED January 2010

Sony Bravia VPL-VW85 Full HD projector

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 391 5050 WEB www.canon-me.com REVIEWED June 2010

Canon Legria HFM306 Full HD camcorder

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 364 8600 WEB www.samsungmea.com REVIEWED November 2009

Samsung ST550 12.2-megapixel digital camera

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 391 5050 WEB www.canon-me.com REVIEWED February 2009

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera

$7,357

While the Sony isn’t exactly cheap at US $7,357 it actually offers a cost-effective solution if you’re looking for a way to go Full HD with a massive screen size.

$817

The Legria HFM306 offers high quality capture performance and ease-of-use. The only thing it lacks is a long life battery.

$354

The ST550 is an easy-to-use touchscreen digital camera that offers highly-detailed and colour accurate photographs. It also makes it very easy to take self portrait shots.

$3,133

An aggressively priced full-frame SLR camera that excels at producing high resolution images with little or no visible noise.

OPTOMA ES526 Multimedia Projector The ES526 doesn’t put a foot wrong as far as its projection performance and value are concerned. The projector offers a ‘Bright mode’, which boosts brightness noticeably, whilst the lamp will last for 3000 hours. We were also impressed by the sharpness and crispness of fonts projected through this device.

BUYING TIPS DIGITAL IMAGING There are thousands of digital cameras on the market and each of these models belongs to either the point-and-shoot or SLR camera categories. If you’re just getting started with photography you’re better off trying a standard point-and -shoot model first. However, if you’re a confident photographer and want full control over the images you take, a SLR camera is the way to go.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

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Going the SLR route the first thing you should do is invest in a high quality lens and a high capacity memory card. SLRs can be purchased with a standard kit lens or as ‘body only’ where the former is a little more expensive as you get a starter lens to begin with. While this lens will take basic photos, you’ll want higher quality ‘glass’ for the best image results.

2

Consider buying a tripod for your camera. These relatively inexpensive accessories help you stabilise your camera and are particularly useful for taking photos of distant subjects. The lesser the camera moves the better the photographs.

3

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+4419 236 91800 www.optoma.com January 2009

”IF YOU’RE JUST GETTING STARTED

WITH PHOTOGRAPHY YOU’RE BETTER OFF TRYING A STANDARD POINT-AND-SHOOT MODEL FIRST.

$531


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BUYERS GUIDE 45 Handhelds BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 Business smartphone

$626

RATING +++++ WEB www.blackberry.com REVIEWED September 2010

$700

RATING +++++ WEB www.garminasus.com REVIEWED June 2010

$653

RATING WEB REVIEWED

http://ae.lge.com October 2009

RATING WEB REVIEWED

www.samsung.com September 2010

While the Bold won’t blow you away with its user interface, it is still a great smartphone with loads of features for an attractive price.

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M10 Touchscreen smartphone The Nuvifone M10 boasts sharp, if unoriginal looks and some very useful GPS features. Great for on the go users.

LG KM900 Arena Touchscreen smartphone While the KM900 Arena offers solid features and a great looking interface, its touchscreen hinders overall usability.

Samsung Galaxy S Touchscreen smartphone

$735

The Galaxy S is a fantastic smartphone that’s fun and easy-to-use. The experience it delivers beats even Apple’s iPhone 3GS.

+++++

+++++

LG CHOCOLATE BL40 Smartphone Distinctive looks, great features and intuitive usability are the BL40s strong points. The phone sports a minimalistic design, so the front only shows a speaker, a camera, the 4-inch LCD and LG’s logo. It also features a standard 3.5mm audio jack so you can use most headphones without worry.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 800 54 http://ae.lge.com January 2010

$735

BUYING TIPS HAND HELDS Like fully-fledged notebooks, handheld devices fall into one of a number of different product categories; you can get standard mobile phones or data centric devices such as PDAs and Smartphones. If you’re after a device solely to make phone calls and perform text messaging, a standard mobile will do. These sometimes offer extras such as digital camera and MP3 functionality.

1

Today’s mobile phones, PDAs and Smartphones allow you to install additional software that you can download off the Internet. To store all this extra data however your handheld will need to have a solid amount of onboard storage. Most handhelds offer between 64MB and 1GB as standard but, if you want more to store additional software or even music or photos, check if the handheld has a memory card expansion slot.

3

CHECK IF THE HANDHELD ” HAS A MEMORY CARD EXPANSION SLOT.

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Pay attention to the size, resolution and colour capabilities of your handheld’s screen. If you’re buying a handheld with the intention of watching full motion videos, make sure the LCD’s colour palette supports up to 16million colours as these give the best playback quality and colour definition. Lower end LCDs are limited to colour palettes of only 64,000 colours and thus don’t produce the best video or photo outputs. In terms of a device’s screen size, just pick one that you’re happy with and as far as its resolution is concerned, opt for a screen that offers no less than 320 x 240 pixels.


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46 BUYERS GUIDE Monitors RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 362 7500 WEB www.samsung.com/ae REVIEWED June 2009 RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++ +9714 335 3666 www.phillips.com December 2009

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

+9714 881 2191 www.lge.com September 2009

+9714 299 1000 www.benq.ae September 2009

Samsung Series 6 UN40B6000 40-inch LED LCD

TBC

Although the initial outlay is high, this Series 6 model will ultimately prove less expensive in the long term due to its lower power consumption. It also packs killer visual punch.

Philips Cinema 21:9 56-inch LCD TV

$5,449

Although 21:9 content isn’t widely available as yet, the Philips is still worth having because of its impressive video-scaling.

LG Flatron W2261V 22-inch wide-screen LCD

$217

The Flatron W2261V offers killer visuals, an elegant and attractive design and won’t necessarily break the bank. A great buy.

BENQ E2200HD 22-inch wide-screen LCD

$195

BenQ’s E2200HD has aged very gracefully and is now an even better value buy than when it was originally launched.

LG M2294A LCD screen LG’s latest 22-inch screen is flexible in every sense of the word as it can function as a TV screen or as a computer monitor. It offers great visuals on the whole and, as we’ve come to expect from LG, looks the part too. The included remote will also make sure you never have to get off the couch again.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 881 2191 www.lge.com August 2009

$326

BUYING TIPS MONITORS There are two types of HD display types on the market; HD and Full HD. If a screen is marked as ‘HD Ready’, it will support the 720p and 1080i HD resolutions. A Full HD screen however supports both 720p and 1080p. HD screens are generally cheaper than Full HD screens but, if you’re after the best possible quality, opt for a Full HD screen as 1080p content is far superior to 720p and 1080i content.

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Keep an eye out for a screen’s response time. Response time is measured in milliseconds (ms) and in this case, lower numbers are better. Screens with response times under 5ms are less likely to blur when displaying quick moving content. Slow screens will show tearing or picture breakup and any screen with a response time above 8ms should be avoided.

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The most popular display technologies for wide-screen HD TVs today are Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Plasma. Of the two technology types, Plasma screens still offer slightly better colour richness and deeper, more accurate looking black colours, are less susceptible to motion blur and are cheaper when compared to an identically-sized LCD model. LCD-based TVs on the other hand don’t suffer from screen burn-in, are less power hungry, lighter and feature more compact cabinet designs.

PLASMA SCREENS STILL OFFER ” SLIGHTLY BETTER COLOUR RICHNESS AND DEEPER, MORE ACCURATE LOOKING BLACK COLOURS


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BUYERS GUIDE 47 Notebooks HP Pavilion DM3-1340EV Budget portable

$600

Cash strapped buyers will appreciate the DM3’s aggressive price tag and, suave looks and strong overall performance.

FTS M2010 Netbook

$408

A handsome netbook that boasts quick performance and lengthy battery life. The M2010 is competitively priced too.

Asus U53JC Bamboo Collection Desktop replacement

$1,635

Although the Asus has a green element to it, this machine packs serious firepower at a very attractive price point.

Toshiba Qosmio X500-11G High-end desktop replacement

$2,479

The Qosmio X500-11G is a heavy-duty desktop replacement that can tackle applications and games without breaking a sweat.

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++ +9714 391 6000 www.hp.com/me August 2010

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 501 5716 WEB http://ts.fujitsu.com/ REVIEWED November 2009 RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++ +9714 299 3873 www.asus.com August 2010

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 881 7789 WEB www.toshibame.com REVIEWED August 2010

APPLE MACBOOK PRO Desktop replacement notebook The MacBook Pro boasts a large 17-inch LED backlit LCD and despite its large, desktop replacement dimensions, it weighs less than 3kg. The LCD is a stunner when it comes to visual quality; videos look superb and photos are vivid and look very accurate when compared to the original subject.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

TBA www.apple.com May 2009

$3351

BUYING TIPS NOTEBOOKS There are a number of different laptop types available so, depending on your needs, you should pick an appropriate laptop: • Desktop replacements are exactly what their name implies; they are designed to act as a fully-fledged replacement for a desktop computer. As a result they focus more on providing high performance rather than portability, which generally makes these laptops the heaviest type (2.5kg and heavier). They are also the worst in terms of battery life, as a result of their high performance components. These laptops can be configured with components and features that other notebooks just wouldn’t be able to accommodate such (as 17-inch screens). • Portable laptops are designed to balance performance and portability. These laptops sit in a weight class between 1.9kg and 2.4kg, which makes them lighter than their desktop replacement counterparts. Along with this, these notebooks also offer greater battery life. • Ultra-portable notebooks are, as you can imagine, designed for portability exclusively. This laptop type generally offers the longest amount of battery life though they are normally equipped with entryor mid-level components, particularly in terms of the processor, graphics processor and hard disk. These notebooks generally weigh under 1.8kg with the lightest models weighing as little as 1kg. • Tablet PCs are similar to ultra-portables except for one difference; these laptops offer a touchsensitive screen. This screen can normally swivel and sit flush against the laptop’s body so the user can write (using a stylus) as if the PC were a notebook. • Netbooks are the newest member of the portable PC market. They are designed for budget mobile computing. The focus of these devices is primarily light application use such as word processing and web browsing. Size and weight wise, they mirror ultra-portables.

NETBOOKS ARE THE ” NEWEST MEMBER OF THE PORTABLE PC MARKET. THEY ARE DESIGNED FOR BUDGET MOBILE COMPUTING.

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48 BUYERS GUIDE Peripherals RATING WEB REVIEWED

Sansa Fuze +++++ Sandisk Media player

www.sandisk.com October 2010

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 883 6244 WEB www.microautomation.ae REVIEWED December 2008

The Fuze packs mighty punch despite its low cost and compact size. It’s usable, sports loads of functions and features a memory expansion slot.

Powermatic PE4G-25 Power protection strip

+++++

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++ Belkin Washable Mouse +9714 391 7000 www.belkin.com March 2009

$23

The PE4G-25 offers a cost-effective way to protect your electricial hardware from all types of electricial damage.

RATING WEB REVIEWED

www.apple.com October 2010

$70

Apple iPod Touch 64GB Media player

$486

The iPod Touch is a superb media player that’s capable of providing hours of entertainment either via content or the apps you put on it.

$32

Waterproof mouse Belkin’s Washable Mouse works as claimed, so you needn’t ever worry about buying a new mouse when the next liquid-disaster strikes.

Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4500 Desktop mouse The Comfort Mouse 4500 offers both tracking and precision which really makes it ideal for users that work for long periods of time. The mouse is also flexible in terms of the surfaces it can function on. All-in-all a sound investment for a fair price.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 391 7000 www.microsoft.com October 2010

$27

BUYING TIPS PERIPHERALS Two of the most important peripherals you can buy for your desktop PC - or even your laptop - are the keyboard and mouse. It’s these two devices that you rely on to physically interact with your PC, sometimes for very long periods at a stretch. It’s wise then to invest in quality devices that sport ergonomic designs so you can work without aches and pains. If you’re a hardcore gamer and want every possible advantage consider looking for devices that are designed specifically for gaming. These peripherals will likely offer a number of extra buttons, enhanced responsiveness and more.

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If you want an immersive experience when you’re gaming, watching movies or even listening to music, a fully-fledged surround sound system is a must have. A 5.1 system that’s compatible with the Dolby Digital and/or DTS audio standards is a great starting point that provides six different audio channels (five for the speakers and one for the subwoofer). Depending on the size of the room you should pick a system with an appropriate amount of power, so you don’t have to crank the volume up to maximum. Even high quality sound systems will suffer from reduced quality when running at their top volume setting.

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”IF YOU’RE A HARDCORE GAMER

AND WANT EVERY POSSIBLE ADVANTAGE CONSIDER LOOKING FOR DEVICES THAT ARE DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR GAMING.


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BUYERS GUIDE 49 Printers Brother HL-3070CW LED-Colour printer

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

$360

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

$323

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

$360

Lively performance, compact dimensions and flexible connectivity make the HL-3070CW a worthwhile buy.

OKI B411dn Monochrome laser printer OKI’s B411dn is ideal for small businesses thanks to its super quick print performance and wide array of standard features.

HP P1102w Monochrome laser printer The P1102w is well priced, is reasonably quick and sports built-in WiFi connectivity as standard. A solid buy for a SOHO or small business.

Xerox Phaser 6280N Colour laser printer

$495

A well-priced workgroup colour laser printer that offers high print speeds, top-notch quality and features that adapt to your demands.

+9714 883 5878 www.brother.ae May 2010

+9714 204 5813 www.oki.com September 2010

+9714 391 6000 www.hp.com September 2010

+9714 883 8838 www.xerox.com September 2009

XEROX PHASER 6130N Colour laser printer Xerox says its Phaser 6130N is an ideal solution for workgroups of up to seven people that deal with small but frequent print jobs - and it’s right; the printer offers snappy performance. We also found text to be sharp and free of any anomalies. Overall, a well priced colour laser that performs well and also packs in solid features.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 883 8838 www.xerox.com March 2008

$424

BUYING TIPS PRINTERS When you’re in the market for a printing device and performance is a concern, don’t base your decision solely on manufacturer quoted ‘ppm’ (pages per minute) figures. Each manufacturer uses a different testing methodology to produce their ppm figures so you can’t compare one brand’s figures to another.

1 2 3

Printing devices can have a number of different connectivity options such as USB, parallel, Ethernet or even WiFi. If the printer is only going to be used by a single machine, opt for a printer that features USB connectivity. If however you want to share the printer amongst multiple users, consider going the WiFi or standard Ethernet route.

A DUPLEXER IS ABLE TO AUTOMATICALLY FLIP PAGES, SO YOU CAN TAKE ” ADVANTAGE OF DOUBLE-SIDED PRINTING WITHOUT ANY MANUAL LABOUR.

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If you want to save paper without hurting productivity consider a printing device with a built-in automatic duplexer. A duplexer is able to automatically flip pages, so you can take advantage of double-sided printing without any manual labour.


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50 BUYERS GUIDE Software RATING WEB REVIEWED

+++++

RATING WEB REVIEWED

+++++

www.abbyy.com

August 2009

Abbyy PDF Transformer 3.0 PDF conversion software

$96

A feature-packed PDF tool that does it all with minimal fuss. It’ll run well on low end machines as well.

www.adaox.com March 2010

ESET Smart Security Security suite

$69

While Smart Security lacks a very strong anti-spyware component it is very easy-to-use, packs a decent scan engine and a tough firewall.

RATING +++++ WEB www.symantec.com REVIEWED March 2010

Norton Internet Security 2010 Security suite

RATING +++++ WEB www.kaspersky.com REVIEWED March 2010

Kaspersky Internet Security Security suite

$77

A fast, slick and good-looking internet security platform that does a good job of protecting your PC with its wide-variety of features.

$60

With its vast number of features, brilliant performance and US $60 price tag, Kaspersky Internet Security is excellent value-for-money.

ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 MASTER COLLECTION The latest version of Adobe’s Creative Suite is an amazing package that offers huge improvements over its predecessor. If you’ve got the talent it has the capabilities to produce fantastic work, regardless of whether you want to create for the real- or digital-world. With the right hardware CS5 is also much faster than its counterpart.

CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+9714 336 8482 www.adobe.com October 2010

$3340

BUYING TIPS SOFTWARE If your PC is connected to the Internet, is part of a local area network or you connect flash drives that have been attached to other machines, it’s worth investing in a fully-fledged security suite. Most security suites offer anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall protection, so they can keep your machine and its data free from harm. Avoid standalone anti-virus products unless you’re prepared to manually ensure your machine is safe from hackers, spam etc. If you’re on a tight budget you can also benefit from a number of free security solutions that are easily available online. WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

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If you’re keen on upgrading to a newer operating system (OS) and your PC has 4GB of system memory (or more), make sure you buy a 64-bit OS rather than a 32-bit variant. A 64-bit OS can address much more memory than a 32-bit OS (32-bit operating systems are limited to around 3GB), so your OS and software can actually take full advantage of all your memory. Running a 32-bit OS with 4GB of memory, the OS and all your software would only be able to use 3.5GB.

2

AVOID ” STANDALONE ANTI-VIRUS PRODUCTS UNLESS YOU’RE PREPARED TO MANUALLY ENSURE YOUR MACHINE IS SAFE FROM HACKERS, SPAM ETC.


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BUYERS GUIDE 51 Storage Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 USB3.0 memory stick

$117

While pricey, the Ultimate offers lightning quick speed, making it much more usable than USB2.0 flash drives.

Hitachi XL Desk 1000 External hard drive

RATING +++++ CONTACT +9714 507 8888 WEB www.hitachigst.com REVIEWED October 2010

$440

RATING WEB REVIEWED

+++++

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

+++++

Although performance hasn’t sky-rocketed compared to its predecessor, the second generation Intel X25-M SSD offers better value and reliability.

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX Internal SATA hard disk

+++++ +4401 932 738888 www.kingston.com November 2010

$80

The XL Desk 1000 offers 1TB of storage capacity, a three-year warranty and backup software for an unbelievable price. It’s a steal.

Intel 160GB X25-M SSD Internal SSD drive

RATING CONTACT WEB REVIEWED

$329

The latest update to Western Digital’s VelociRaptor range brings higher storage capacities and better performance. It is the fastest Serial ATA spindle-based drive you can buy.

www.intel.com October 2009

+9714 881 3234 www.wdc.com July 2010

BUFFALO DRIVESTATION HD-HXU3

$170

External USB3.0 hard drive Buffalo’s awesome DriveStation HD-HXU3 is really a no brainer for users with a need for capacity and speed. The sample we tested offered 1TB of storage and thanks to its USB3.0 interface, proved a trailblazer when it came to data transfers. Simply put this is one of the fastest external hard drives Windows has ever tested.

CONTACT +9714 214 9667 WEB www.buffalotech.com REVIEWED October 2010

BUYING TIPS There are many different types of storage devices but the most common is the internal hard drive. There are a wide variety of drives available; some target performance seekers, some are designed for low noise and lower power and some aim to offer a mix of performance and price. Thus you should buy a drive that fits your specific needs; if you’re after top performance, opt for a drive that features a spindle speed of 7200rpm or even 10,000rpm.

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If you’re after super-quick read and write performance and money is no object consider buying a solid state drive (SSD). These drives use high speed memory to store data – rather than rotating storage platters - and because there are no moving parts they are extremely quick and, should prove more reliable as well. The only downside with these drives, apart from their high cost, is that they are only available in limited capacities. 512GB is the largest SSD available on the market today. When buying a flash drive look beyond just how much capacity the drive offers. Today it’s possible to buy flash drives that feature password protection, hidden secure partitions and much more. You can also buy flash drives that are designed for rugged use, are water proof and even dust proof.

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”THE ONLY DOWNSIDE

WITH THESE DRIVES, APART FROM THEIR HIGH COST, IS THAT THEY ARE ONLY AVAILABLE IN LIMITED CAPACITIES.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

STORAGE


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52 GAME ON

News

GAME ON NEWS CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS LEAKED Call of Duty: Black Ops was leaked and a video of the game in action managed to find its way onto YouTube. A gamer that goes by the alias of “Computer Healer” got wind that an original copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops was available near his home in New Orleans. After consulting an Xbox 360 piracy related website, Computer Healer got the information he needed to get in touch with “Ungodly”, the alias for the alleged possessor of the game. Ungodly wanted donations before he could let go of the copy and Computer Healer decided that he would pay any price to get his hands on it before anyone else could. This led him to make a two hour trip to meet Ungodly. According to Computer Healer he “took care of business” and drove home, put his phone on charge and retired for the night. Once he woke the next morning he became aware that a swarm of people where looking for him, including representatives from Treyarch, along with a private investigation agency that goes by the name of IP Cybercrime, hired by Activision. Computer Healer also said that he was being followed by a vehicle with tinted glass.

He then admitted to playing the game for a little while before handing the copy back to a Treyarch courier. Fans in the Xbox community wanted him to leak the copy but he said he was not going to do such a thing and would only give it to a few friends whom he trusted would “not leak it”. Ungodly and some of his accomplices are presently being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

PANASONIC LAUNCHES NEW GAMING SYSTEM Japanese electronics titan Panasonic announced its new handheld gaming system last month, known as the ‘Jungle’. Panasonic says it developed the Jungle so gamers could play online games such as massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs) when on the move. This makes the Jungle less of a direct competitor to other handheld gaming devices like Sony’s PSP and Nintendo’s DS. The device features a QWERTY keyboard, a touchpad and shoulder buttons in addition to a d-pad. The device also boasts HDMI and micro-USB ports. Linux is the operating system (OS) that will run the Jungle and its games. Panasonic once tried to enter the console gaming market with its 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (better known as the 3DO) back in 1993. The console competed with the likes of the already well accepted Nintendo SNES, Sega’s Mega Drive and Atari’s Jaguar. The 3DO was eventually discontinued in 1996 amid growing competition and lacking interest in the console. It is widely believed that only a mere two million 3DOs were sold in its lifetime. Its successor, the M2, was subsequently canceled.

JAMES BOND: BLOOD STONE DATED Activision has confirmed that James Bond: Blood Stone, developed by Bizarre Creations, will be out in Europe on November 5th. The game is scheduled to appear on the PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS gaming platforms. The game offers third person cover based gameplay, hand-to-hand combat and car chases. The title’s storyline is being written by Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein. The take-downs are all brutal and all very physical, all like Daniel Craig," says Level Designer Pete Collier. "We've got a huge variety of enemies so you've got to strategise the way you approach a fire-fight; whether you're going to use takedowns or use your focus aim," explains Collier. The soundtrack is composed by Richard Jacques, who previously worked on Jet Set Radio and Mass Effect.


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News

GAME ON 53

BLACKLIGHT: TANGO DOWN COMES TO THE PLAYSTATION 3

ARABIC ASDA STORY RELEASED The Dubai based developers of Arabic ASDA story, Game Power 7, have released the game with new features and a cash shop where gamers can purchase items to make their experience better. Arabic ASDA story (World of Secrets) is a free to play Anime style MMORPG. Game Power 7 say that they will continuously update the game in response to player feedback. “The time has come to start building the World of Secrets (Arabic ASDA Story) along with the players to form a safe virtual world full of pleasure and excitement. It has been our dream to make the World of Secrets a unique virtual world that closely links real life with the cyber life, this launch is our first step in our long journey,” says Reem Sabbagh, Project Manager at Game Power 7. The game is said to be based on a sweet, colourful, bright and cheerful world. It features a unique ‘Soul Mate System’ and is a free to play anime – 3D MMORPG. The Soul Mate system offers players the chance to become soul mates, wear unique costumes and use different skills. You can play Arabic ASDA story: World of Secrets at http:// secrets.gamepower7.com.

Blacklight: Tango Down is a multiplayer-only first person shooter that has now been released for the PlayStation 3. After a successful run on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform, Ignition Entertainment has confirmed that Zombie Studios’ release of Blacklight: Tango Down is available on PlayStation 3 through the PlayStation Network. The game costs US $15 to buy and includes new features including a ‘Join in Progress’ mode, which will allow a player to jump into a game that is already taking place, rather than waiting for the next interval to join. Blacklight: Tango Down did not sit well with many game reviewers and only managed tepid reception during its Xbox Live debut. However, gamers managed to nab more than a million downloads on Xbox Live Arcade. A sequel is also currently being developed and is scheduled for a summer 2011 release.

Polyphony Digital’s Kazunori Yamauchi says motorbikes may feature in Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) as downloadable content. While speaking to PSM3 magazine, Yamauchi said that Gran Turismo 5 would not ship with motorbikes included in the game but it would be technically possible to integrate them into the title if there is a ‘strong demand’ from fans. “The environment we have right now allows us to drive motorcycles but we need to get Gran Turismo 5 done first. Once that’s out of the way, if there’s a strong demand for bikes, that’s something we’d consider,” explained Yamauchi. Polyphony Digital has the ability to develop bike-games, like the bike simulator Tourist Trophy which was designed by the company for the PlayStation 2 platform. It is however the

first time bikes would feature in Gran Turismo, if development for the downloadable content actually goes through. GT5's delay has caused some disappointment in the PlayStation sphere but it was some consolation when Taku Imasaki, Producer of Gran Turismo 5 wrote on the official PlayStation blog, “We can confirm that Gran Turismo 5 will not be available this November 2nd but the game’s release will be coming this holiday season. We sincerely apologize to GT fans for the delay, however, creator Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital want to make certain they are creating the perfect racing experience, and we are confident that this ambitious game will exceed expectations when it launches.”

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

GRAN TURISMO 5 MAY HAVE MOTORBIKES AS DLC


In the Gitex issue of Windows Middle East we detail how to build Dream Machine 2010 and at the end of it, give three lucky readers the chance to win a machine each. Each Dream Machine will comprise the following superb components: Intel Core i7 980X processor with HyperThreading running at 4GHz Coolermaster V8 heatsink Gigabyte X58A-UD9 motherboard 6GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3 memory Zotac GeForce GTX 480 AMP! Edition graphics card 2x Kingston SSDNow V+ Series 128GB SSDs running in RAID 0 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive LG BH10LS30 Blu-ray writer Coolermaster HAF X ATX casing 1200-watt Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold Series powersupply LG E2380VX 21.5-inch LCD screen Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit operating system Logitech G19 keyboard Logitech G700 Wireless gaming mouse Pick up the November cover of Windows and turn to page 12 to read how we built Dream Machine 2010. To win one of these amazing machines for yourself however, turn to page 61 of this issue.

TURN TO PAGE 61 OF THIS ISSUE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A DREAM MACHINE FOR YOURSELF


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News

GAME ON 55

WII REMOTE SALES STILL VERY STRONG There are an estimated 46,000 Wii remotes sold every day in the US alone. Although console sales are now apparently falling behind in comparison to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (according to September’s US console hardware sales), it is said the Wii is still the best selling current generation gaming console. According to Nintendo, 65.3 million Wii remotes and 52.9 million Wii Nunchuks have been sold since the Nintendo Wii launched in 2006. This works out to an average of 46,000 remotes per day. Nintendo further stated that 30.41 million Wii remotes were included with Wii hardware and 12.92 million with Wii Play. Current prices for a Wii remote are approximately US $40 and come in many colours. Nintendo said it sold 18.56 million white Wii remotes, 2.44 million black, 467,500 pink and 465,200 blue remotes. These statistics only cover US sales. Nintendo has also announced a few new controllers that will hit the market soon. The Wii Remote Plus, a FlingSmashbundle and limited Mario 25th anniversary bundles, that have the console and the Wii Remote Plus finished in red.

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS REACHES ONE MILLION PLAYERS

Interplay showcased a teaser website for its impending release of the Fallout-themed massive multiplayer online title, Fallout Online at E3 earlier this year. More recently Erin Caen, President of Interplay has told British gaming title ‘Edge Magazine’ that in spite of legal issues between the firm and Bethseda, Fallout Online will be released in beta by the first half of 2012. He also said that the commercial version will roll out later in the same year. The legal issues surrounding Fallout Online involve a dispute which says that Bethseda bought the Fallout IP for $5.75 million in 2007 and then licensed the MMORPG rights back to Interplay. The license agreement stated that Interplay had to start full time development within two years, or the MMORPG rights would lapse back to Bethseda. Bethseda then attempted to terminate the agreement in a lawsuit, and after a countersuit, Interplay won against Bethsdeda’s attempted injunction. The game is now being developed in full swing.

Star Wars: Clone Wars reached its one millionth player just one week after its release. Clone Wars is a free to play, family friendly game where the community lives in a virtual world based on the popular Clone Wars Adventures. John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment said, “Combining the technology, design infrastructure and lessons learned from Free Realms with the amazing Clone Wars brand, we knew we could make a great game and we’re happy to see that fans of all ages are enjoying the content as much as we enjoyed creating it.” As a thank you, SOE gave free virtual pets in the game the ‘Golden Mouse Droid’ and held a virtual party.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

FALLOUT ONLINE IN LEGAL LIMBO


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56 GAME ON

Sid Meier’s Civilization V

PC

✪✪✪✪✪

Price: $60 Contact: +9714 299 7980 Controller: Xbox 360 controller Requirements: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of memory, 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600XT or 256MB nVidia GeForce 7900GS or better, 8GB of hard disk space, DVD-ROM drive, DirectX 9 compatible soundcard, Windows XP SP3/Vista/7 compatible. Best Bit: Civ V is even more addictive than before thanks to its new hexagonal tile setup. The sheer number of tactical options will keep you playing until your fingers bleed. Verdict: The Civilization series just seems to get stronger and stronger with each new game. Be prepared to lose hours of your life once you start playing this addictive turn-based strategy title. he Civilization series first hit the market in 1991 and since then it has sold more than eight million copies around the world. Sid Meier’s Civilization V (Civ V) has massive shoes to fill then and this reviewer is happy to say that it does so with aplomb. Since Civilization was first launched the basic premise hasn’t changed, you still have to lead a civilization from prehistoric times into the future. You can achieve victory via a number of different conditions such as research, economic development and even government and military conquest. While this sounds like a basic premise,

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

T

th Ci the Civilization ili ti games h have consumed d hours and hours of many a gamer’s life. Compared to Civilization IV, Civ V is a different beast in a number of ways. The biggest change is that it now uses a new game engine that features hexagonal tiles, whereas older Civilization title used squares. The result of this shift affects combat heavily. Whereas in older Civilization games you could stack military units into one large group or several smaller ones which could simply rip across a map as an unstoppable force, now, your units must occupy separate tiles on the map. Due to this, you’ll have to be careful when it comes to waging war as you could lose a group of units if your foe simply attacks that group with units that exploit the weakness of your units.

Beyond B d this thi the th new tiles til open up strategic options, all of which make Civ V even more addictive than its predecessors. With the new game you can, for instance, have your soldiers positioned ahead of your long range weapons so that they can strike at enemy positions and soften them up before your close range combat units get busy. The sheer number of tactics that you can now use kept this reviewer glued to his desk well into the early hours of the morning. Another very welcomed change to Civ V is its far more user-friendly interface. The interface’s biggest triumph over older Civilization games is that it makes figuring out what to do next simple and straightforward. As a result you’ve more time to plot world domination and carry out your plans rather than fumbling around trying to figure out what’s next. Similarly, the game throws much less information at you so rather than getting


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Civ V does away with square tiles in favour of hexagonal tiles that won’t allow you to pile your army into one single tile

You’ll have to be a lot smarter to win battles in Civ V, pitting your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses is a clear cut way to victory

ld be all yours, This land could ur turn properly. if you play your dictive as ever Civ V is as addictive k your life and will wreck

Long range artillery can soften up targets before your foot soldiers get to them. It’s a tactic that has won many battles

GAME ON 57

overwhelmed, you have just what you need in quick time. While Civ V has received a number of new features and tweaks (as mentioned earlier), the game has also been stripped of certain features. Most notably, espionage and religion have been removed completely and while some gamers may not miss these aspects of the game, this reviewer reckons that they should have just been left in, as they never really took anything away from the game. To enjoy Civilization V you’ll need a fairly powerful rig because although it may not seem as intensive as a modern FPS title or a racer, it does pack some serious visual punch. The visuals are bright and vibrant and if you pay close attention to the map, you’ll notice waves gently breaking on shorelines, clouds and much more. There really is a lot of detail, most of which will be missed unless you pay close attention. On the audio front classical music lovers will fall in love with Civ V because there’s nothing but elegant, soothing orchestral tunes from numerous composers such as Mahler and Grieg. Besides music, the sound effects fit the game perfectly and battles are particularly entertaining to listen to, and watch. One complaint with Sid Meier's Civilization V is that, like all Steam-reliant games, you need to have an active Internet connection to install the title. For users still using dial-up connections this could be a bit of an issue. Considering most gamers will buy the game off store shelves in this region (to avoid the multi gigabyte Steam download), it should be possible to enjoy Civ V without an active Internet connection at all. Likewise, the seemingly constant automatic updates that you’re forced to put up with, can take a long time even on the fast fastest Internet connections (a recent Steam update took 30 minutes to complete) c mplete) and, co and as Steam users users know, yyou can’t play when w hen a game is being updated. Surely with a game Sur as addictive as Civilization V, it Civ should be possible sh tto o play the game while w hil an update downloads quietly in d ow tthe he background, so yyou ou can install it at yyour our convenience.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

Sid Meier’s Civilization V


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58 GAME ON

FIFA 11

XBOX

✪✪✪✪✪ Price: $73 Contact: +9714 299 7980 Controller: Xbox 360 controller Best Bit: Dribbling and goalkeeper intelligence are a marked improvement over FIFA 10. The game just feels more realistic with these improvements. Verdict: There’s no mistaking FIFA 11 for its predecessor, it’s more playable, a lot more fun and thus offers hours of footy gaming. IFA 11 was developed by EA Canada and for the first time ever, the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 versions of the game use exactly the same game engine. On starting the game you’re presented with options to choose your level of football gaming experience; beginner, intermediate and experienced. Depending on the level you choose FIFA 11 will give you varying degrees of control over its play settings. The game then also asks you to choose your controller layout and this reviewer found the ‘Classic’ setup the easiest and most natural to live with. A couple of minor options later and you can finally play. EA’s latest football simulator throws a dizzying number of match options and career modes at you, so there’s plenty to keep you coming back for more, even after months of play. Before starting matches the game

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

F

allows you to setup your team in terms of the squad (players), formations, tactics, roles and even man marking. All fantastic options if you’re a proper football nut and want control of every aspect of your team. Once you’re actually on the grass you’re even allowed to assign behaviour to each player, so you can set them up to be offensive, defensive etc. Playing tough matches, micromanaging these options can make all the difference to the outcome of the game. Although FIFA 11 asks you to select an experience level when you start the game, you can still change the difficulty of your opponents from the ‘Game Settings’ menu. The difficulty options on offer are Amateur, SemiPro, Professional, World Class and Legendary. This reviewer found that the Professional difficulty setting offered a challenging but fair balance. World Class and Legendary on the other hand proved beyond this reviewer’s skill level (and most other peoples’ skill levels in the office), as the computer controlled opponents’ surgical precision and tricks

Improvements in terms of goal keeping, dribbling and shot control make FIFA 11 an entertaining and challenging game

proved impossible to beat. One area that FIFA 11 is way ahead of its predecessor is with goalkeeping intelligence. Whereas in the past you could, fairly easily, trip up the AI goalkeeper and score an easy goal, with FIFA 11 the keepers are more agile and perceptive and are capable of making some truly spectacular saves. Dribbling and passing have also been improved in FIFA 11 as well, so if you’ve got the skills, you can manage some amazing moves and passes. In terms of presentation FIFA 11 is supremely polished. The menu system while packing loads of options and settings is easy to follow and never comes off as overwhelming. On the visual front the game looks great, player animation is spot on and there’s enough detail to keep hardcore fans happy. Audio too is impressive, there’s fairly diverse commentary and the menu music is perfect for a footy sim.


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60 GAME ON

Medal of Honor

XBOX

✪✪✪✪✪ Price: $73 Contact: +9714 299 7980 Controller: Xbox 360 controller Best Bit: MOH rams home the chaos and intensity of battles. It really makes you think about what real soldiers go through in the heat of battle. Verdict: Medal of Honor offers plenty of action in both its single- and multi-player modes. There are a few weak areas but there’s no denying it is a marked improvement over its predecessors. he first game in the long running Medal of Honor series was released on 11 November 1999 and every game since then focused on a certain part of World War II. With the latest game, Medal of Honor (MOH), the focus shifts to a more recent conflict. That conflict is none other than Operation Anaconda, which took place in Afghanistan in March 2002. The shift is apt considering the game is meant to be a reboot for the franchise. The game features two different play engines and this is obvious when you first fire up the title; it immediately presents you with a choice between launching the campaign or multiplayer mode. The single-player campaign uses a heavily-modified version of Unreal Engine 3, whereas multiplayer uses the Frostbite Engine, which was developed by EA Digital Illusions CE. Playing the single-player component of Medal of Honor can be difficult at times because the game suffers from major framerate stutters when the action becomes intense. On one occasion assaulting an enemy position was extremely difficult simply because the game ran at slideshow pace and only recovered after about 30 seconds.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

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We observed this behavior in a few areas of the game and this really is a shame because it destroyed what could have been an exciting and immersive firefight to the death. What Medal of Honor gets right is the authenticity of modern combat; there’s constant radio chatter calling in support, reporting enemy positions and as the player, your squad mates always talk to you over the radio. The weapons are thoroughly up-to-date in terms of looks and most of them have just the right amount of kick to them. This reviewer found the sniping segments of the game particularly satisfying. The title features a few driving/ flying segments as well and these change the pace of the game quite nicely. Unfortunately, framerate issues also became apparent in these parts of the game which made completing objectives unnecessarily difficult. Medal of Honor's campaign, like most modern FPS titles, is quite short in length. There are 10 missions in all and playing on the medium difficulty level, you'll be done

in less than eight hours if you’re a reasonably good shot. That said, the game is quite challenging, enemies constantly move from cover-to-cover, will attempt to flank you where possible and when you’re behind cover, will call in heavier weapons such as RPGs to destroy your cover. The class-based multiplayer is brilliant and provides tons of replay value. Matches can feature up to 24 players and there are the usual game modes such as deathmatch, team-based deathmatches, sector control and more. Winning these multiplayer skirmishes helps you rank up your character’s stats as well as giving you a variety of offensive and defensive abilities such as mortar strikes and radar jamming. You’ll find yourself storming houses, running through caves and much more in Medal of Honor


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Competitions

REGULARS 61

COMPETITIONS… As always the Windows team has worked to ensure you have the chance to win some killer, high-tech kit. For your chance to win, just follow the instructions below...

DR MACHIEAM NE 2010

MONSTER MACHINE Each year Windows builds a kick-ass machine and gives it away to one lucky reader. This year however we decided to change things around. While we still brought together the fastest components on the planet to build Dream Machine 2010, this year, we decided to build three of these stupid-fast machines. Getting together three machines of identical specifications, especially considering their high-end components, was a difficult task but with the help of our ever willing friends in the industry, we did it. Thus each of this year’s Dream Machines comprises the following components: an Intel Core i7 980X processor, a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 motherboard, 6GB of Corsair Dominator-GT memory, a Zotac GeForce GTX 480 AMP! Edition graphics card, two Kingston SSDNow V+ 128GB SSD drives (running in RAID 0), a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive, a LG BH10LS30 Blu-ray writer, a Coolermaster V8 CPU heatsink, a Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 1200-watt power supply, a Logitech G19 keyboard, a Logitech G700 Wireless gaming mouse, a LG E2380VX 21.5-inch LCD screen, a Coolermaster HAF X chassis and, last but not least, Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition. (Once again, Windows would like to thank each and every company and their respective PR agencies for the vital support with Dream Machine 2010. Without them a project of this scale would merely be a Dream.) That’s a heck of a lot of gear and while it took tons of effort on our part, knowing that we were giving each one of these machines away to our loyal readers made it all worth it. That’s right readers, this year Windows Middle East is going all out and three of you will walk away with one of these fantastic PCs. To win one of these super fast and fully-featured machines for yourself, visit our website on www.itp.net/ competitions and answer us this simple question: Which is the region’s favourite PC & Consumer

Technology Guide? a) Windows Middle East b) PC Magazine c) T3 Middle East

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

DREAM MACHINE 2010


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CD contents

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

OUR PICK OF WINDOWS CD

MAXTHON BROWSER 2

AIMP2

RE3 NEMESIS DEMO

SEND LATER

A fresh, alternative browser that gives you all the functionality that you are already used to, wrapped in a simple and easy-to-use interface. Maxthon Browser 2 can be customised in a whole new way to the style of browsing you like; you can use menus, hotkeys, toolbars, word aliases or mouse gestures to navigate. It even supports 1400 plugins to give you everything you want at your fingertips.

AIMP is a comprehensive music player that supports a variety of audio and video formats. It has been coded with sound quality and customisability in mind so audio is processed in 32-bit quality for amazing sound. The player also features an 18-band graphics equaliser with sound effects. It can converts audio CDs to MP3s and WMA files, along with cross support for grabbing audio from any audio device.

This game won't blow you away with its gameplay. What it delivers though is more than enough zombies and blood to lend a gruesome and borderline frightening experience to the player. If you enjoy blowing up the un-dead and running to save your life, you will certainly enjoy Resident Evil 3. The demo is in its most primal form; it is a fantastic, nail biting story enhanced by scary underpinnings.

With â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Send Laterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; you never have to wait around to send e-mails out; simply draft them and let Send Later take care of it. You can schedule a date and time to send out your message, thus allowing you to plan ahead in case of reminders to clients or sending out greetings. Send Later will work as long as your computer is left online, even if the e-mail client is closed. A nifty app then and one that will make life easier.


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REGULARS 63

CD contents

P O T CK PI

HOW TO USE CD BROWSER Place your CD in your PC’s CD-ROM drive. If you have disabled autoplay, double-click ‘CDBrowser’ on the CD instead. When CD Browser starts, six buttons will appear listing software categories. Click a category and the software titles will appear in the left window. Simply choose which title you wish to view and click its name. Program details will appear along with three buttons: Install runs the installation program, Website takes you to the vendor’s site, and Screen displays a larger image of the software in action. In the middle of the window is also an option to change the CD browser’s skin.

CD 164: SUPERB SOFTWARE INTERNET

GAMES

MOZILLA FIREFOX 3.6.1 MAXTHON BROWSER 2 TWEETDECK

RESIDENT EVIL 3 NEMESIS DEMO SCAVENGER STARCRAFT FLASH GAME

MULTIMEDIA

LIBREOFFICE LibreOffice is what Open Office (trademark owned by Oracle) previously was. It is a productivity suite that is offered as freeware by its developers, The Document Foundation. Now only in beta form it has a raft of improvements scheduled for delivery. As it is open source, it is free to download, use, improve and distribute. LibreOffice is compatible with major productivity suites and the files created can be viewed and edited by commercial Office productivity apps too. It has Text Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, Database and Formula. LibreOffice also comes with a few templates to help start you off.

ESSENTIAL FILES

AIMP 2 OTS TURNTABLES FREE WEIRD METRONOME

UTILITIES AUSLOGICS DUPLICATE FILE FINDER PC BROTHER SYSTEM CARE

PRODUCTIVITY EASY CASH MANGER LIBREOFFICE PROACTIME PRO SEND LATER

ATI RADEON HD 5000 SERIES DRIVERS (WINDOWS 7 32-BIT) NVIDIA GEFORCE 400 SERIES DRIVERS (WINDOWS 7 32-BIT) JAVA RUNTIME MICROSOFT ACTIVESYNC 4.2 DIRECT X 9C DOT NET FRAMEWORK 3.0

INTERNET

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.1 Maxthon Browser 2 TweetDeck

MULTIMEDIA Aimp 2 OTS Turntables Free Weird Metronome

UTILITIESte File Finder Auslogics Duplica PC Brother System Care

TY PRODUCTIVI r Easy Cash Mange LibreOffice Proactime Pro Send Later

GAMES

Resident Evil 3 Nemesis Demo Scavenger Starcraft Flash Game

FILES ESSENTIALseries drivers

ATI Radeon HD 5000 (Windows 7 32-bit) drivers nVidia GeForce 400 series (Windows 7 32-bit) ActiveSync 4.2 Java Runtime, Microsoft ork 3.0 Framew Net Dot Direct X 9c,

E LIBREOFFIC(tradem usly ark owned by Oracle) previo

Office LibreOffice is what Open freeware by its developers, suite that is offered as of the software suite and was. It is a productivity This is the beta release as The Document Foundation. It is free to download, use, tivity s offered by Open Office. tible with major produc improves on the feature compa ute. LibreOffice is well as improve and distrib them can be viewed and edited on commercial d on suites and the files create Office. tions such as Microsoft office productivity applica

Sponsored By www.itp.net

164

PC BROTHER SYSTEM CARE PC Brother System Care Free, as its name might suggest, is a powerful system application that can protect and optimise your PC for free. The application boasts features such as 'Computer Evaluation', 'System Maintenance', 'Computer Optimiser', 'Hardware Maintenance', 'Software Management' and 'Data Analysis', all of which can help your PC operate more efficiently and run faster. A must have application then for users looking to maintain their machines and keep performance strong.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Windows Middle East free CD, which contains programs and applications, is provided as a free service to readers of Windows Middle East magazine for personal use. You may not rent, lease, assign, re-sell or otherwise transfer the rights to anyone for any product contained on this CD. The contents of the CD-ROM are provided as is, and although every effort has been taken to ensure the disk and contents are virus and defect free, Windows Middle East, nor The Information & Technology Publishing Co. Ltd., accept liability for any loss or damage resulting from the use of this CD-ROM or the programs on it. We recommend that you make a back-up of all your data before installing any of the software on this CD. Windows Magazine does not provide technical support for this CD-ROM or the programs on it. If your CD-ROM is physically defective, please return it to Reader Services, P.O. Box. 500024, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, so we may issue a replacement.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010 010

tion | December 2010 An ITP Technology Publica


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Logging off

LOGGINGOFF UMBLICAL CORD FEEDS THE IPHONE It seems that Japanese artist Mio I-Zawa has a rather odd sense of design. The artist has recently targeted the charging cable for Apple’s popular iPhone and has designed a replacement that looks like, believe it or not, an umbilical cord. The umbilical cord swallows a chunk of the iPhone when it is connected and the cord doesn’t just sit there and charge your iPhone either, it actually squeaks and wriggles as it passes potent nutrition in the form of electrical energy to the device. With his creative - or some would say odd - thinking Mio I-Zawa has ventured into the previously unchartered route of custom cable design. Who knows what’s next on the table for Zawa, it could be a charger shaped like yet another internal organ but based on the umbilical cord design, we’re sure it’s going to be disgusting.

MARILYN MONROE STILL SPINNING MILLIONS THROUGH EBAY Beverly Hills widow Elsie Poncher, aged 80, put up a listing on eBay for her dead husband’s grave that is located above the crypt of the much admired siren Marilyn Monroe. The auction was started at US $500,000 and the description reads: ‘Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe.’ Elsie mentioned she wanted to move her beloved husband, Richard Poncher’s remains from the famous Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery. The final winning bid was a whopping $4.6 million. The identity of the winner is confidential but he is said to be a huge fan of the actress. Elsie said she’ll use some of the money to offset the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.

WINDOWS MIDDLE EAST DECEMBER 2010

TAIZOU CAUSES HEART ATTACKS Taizou is the latest robot created by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. His purpose is to calm elderly people in Japan and make sure they are comfortable along with motivating them to exercise. Taizou is white with a huge smiley face and a soft fluffy exterior. He sports claws to take care of various tasks. While Taizou sounds like an interesting idea in theory, its performance test results have been far from successful or impressive. The fear of seeing a robot approaching with a bedpan or medicines managed to scare quite a few of the elderly people in the test program and unfortunately, even triggered heart attacks for a few. The results have thus prompted officials to take Taizou out of service soon, as officials are concerned about the implications on the health of its elderly patients. Robots helpers sound great but we reckon they should be put to use in applications where they deal with younger people, at least for now.



Windows Middle East - Dec2010