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G A D G E T S

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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Suite-able for... ...Heads of State and the electorate Page 12


WHAT’S HOT this week

The party’s right here!

Team Smartbuy Editorial Anushya Mamtora anushya@thehindu.co.in

Dell Venue Pro

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala ketaki@thehindu.co.in

The first Windows 7 phone by Dell, the Venue Pro is a 4.1inch touch-sensitive smartphone. The display is an AMOLED screen protected by Gorilla Glass. The Venue Pro features an unique sliding vertical QWERTY keypad and comes with XBOX Live and pre-loaded productivity and entertainment applications. A 5-megapixel camera, highspeed 3.5G wireless, and cloud-based services cater to all your multimedia, connectivity and storage needs. Rs 34,990

Mahananda Bohidar mahananda@thehindu.co.in

S. Muralidhar muraliswami@thehindu.co.in

Design Bryan Gaughan aqua@thehindu.co.in

Balakrishnan designkbala@thehindu.co.in

Advertising Contact R. Diwakar ramdiwakar@thehindu.co.in

Web Advertising Contact N. Amarnath amarnath@thehindu.co.in

www.blsmartbuy.com Become a fan of our Facebook page: BL Smartbuy Follow us on Twitter

Cover photo: S. Muralidhar Shot at: ITC Mughal Agra

Life proof Motorola DEFY

Digital dreams Infibeam Pi2 The new 6-inch e-reader is the second of its kind being launched by Infibeam. With a thickness of just 10 mm, the Infibeam Pi2 has a touch-sensitive screen and supports 15 Indian languages including Sanskrit and Hindi. The e-reader is Wi-Fi enabled and comes with an inbuilt browser, allowing you to connect to Infibeam and download e-books, digital magazines and newspapers. Rs 11,999 (Pre-order price)

This Android 2.1 smartphone from Motorola is dust proof and water resistant. The 3.7-inch WVGA touch screen is perfect for watching videos and browsing, and is also scratch resistant. Dual microphones filter background noise so that call volumes are amplified. The camera is a 5-megger, and comes with flash, digital zoom and auto focus. The DEFY is also DLNA enabled, allowing you to stream and share content with compatible devices. Rs 21,990

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February 9, 2011


Sound for life Bose Lifestyle 235 This 2.1 home theatre system from Bose is designed to make your living room come to life. The system features Gemstone ES speaker arrays, each of which have three drivers. Unify Intelligent Integration technology displays step-by-step instructions of how to connect entertainment sources on your TV, making it easy to set up. The Lifestyle remote can be programmed to control any of your entertainment devices. The system also features a built-in AM/FM tuner and iPod/iPhone dock. Rs 1.63 lakh

A winning click! Razer DeathAdder Black

Valentine’s surprise Fuschia MERDIIST Gift your lady love something to swoon over, with the new Tag Merdiist Fuchsia being added to its collection right in time for Valentine’s day. The body is constructed out of 316L stainless steel, with polished and satin finishing. The call button features a green East African Tsavorite garnet and the end button a red ruby. The screen is made of smoked sapphire crystal, with the fuchsia water snake battery cover adding a dash of pink to truly make it a girl’s best friend. Rs 3.55 lakh

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A mouse for the hardcore gamer, the Razer DeathAdder Black Edition pays tribute to a legacy built on precision and ergonomics to ensure that winning blow in your games. A highly ergonomic profile, 3500dpi 3.5G infrared sensor, 1000hz ultrapolling with 1ms response time, five Hypereponse buttons for increased accuracy, and On-the-Fly sensitivity adjustment all wrapped in a sleek pitch-black finish makes this the essential mouse for any discerning gamer. $59.99

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GAME review

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or a series that’s relatively young in video game years, Assassin’s Creed has grown in popularity faster than even Ubisoft could have hoped for. In an all too brutal industry, where most studios only get one shot at success, 2009’s Assassin’s Creed 2 was a rare chance at correcting the assorted foibles that kept the first game from being an instant classic. Having taken the time to spit-shine the core idea (an open world time shifting period action-adventure) they had with the initial release to near perfection over a two-year hiatus, it came as a surprise to everyone when Ubisoft announced a quick and dirty sequel due out only a year after the previous game. It was evident from the start that there wouldn’t be enough time to create a new character as deep as Altair or Ezio, or build a handful of cities that played host to intricately designed puzzles and a new set of real life personalities to guide you through your new adventure. Re-appearances What Ubisoft did instead was reuse Ezio Auditore da Firenze, most of the supporting cast from the last game, and set the semi-sequel back in good old Italy (albeit in a new city - Rome). Yes, there’s just one city to tool around in, an absolute shocker to anyone who loved the variety that the first two games offered. The upside though, is a city that’s absolutely colossal in scale, and without loading


screens and horse riding sessions across almostempty countryside standing between you and your campaign progression. Unfortunately, Brotherhood’s Rome is also all but devoid of the varied character and scenery that the changing cities brought to the table. Consequently, you’ll find yourself switching to the full screen map more often than you used to because learning the city’s layout is much harder this time around. You can also bring your horse inside city limits now, but what could have been a decent inclusion is rendered redundant with the removal of the gallop button. Hoofing it over rooftops makes a lot more sense than taking your horse for a Sunday stroll about town. The size of the city and the lack of load times also have a negative impact on game performance. There are framerate hiccups to suffer through, and instances of pop-up where soldiers appear out of nowhere and you suddenly have a fight on your hands at the most inopportune moment. Storyline The excellent (as is now de rigueur for the series) story picks up right where the second game left off, and follows Ezio and Desmond on a quest to recover the Apple of Eden in the past as well as the present. After a memorable intro that sticks you right in the middle of a surprise assault on your villa in Monteriggioni, you’re bundled off to Rome, where you’re tasked with building a credible resistance against Borgia rule. Aside from Rodrigo Borgia, Brotherhood introduces us to Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, two of the more interesting characters in the story and who share a rather interesting relationship. Cesare, in particular, is wonderfully acted and you’ll find yourself genuinely wanting to go after the guy, if only to see how soon he’d crack under the pressure. Characters from the last game, such as Da Vinci and Machiavelli return, and there’s also a subplot that introduces a gaggle of unfortunate French troops into the mix. You also now have the ability to leave the Animus (the device Desmond uses to relive Ezio’s memories) at any time, although there isn’t much point to it aside from having random

conversations with your crew and the odd collectible to find. Present-day Monteriggioni is beautiful, however, and it’s a shame that more wasn’t done to expand on the story in the present day. More of Abstergo would also have been welcome, and although things do pick up towards the end, the developers could have thrown in a lot more than the odd inconsequential email to make you want to exit the Animus more often. It’s also worth pointing out that with a mythos and story as deep as this, you really should play through the earlier games to get the most out of Brotherhood. Gameplay While there aren’t any gameplay changes of note, aside from chaining kills during combat, something you’ll immediately notice is just how packed the game’s map is. In addition to your usual memories, you’ll have Borgia towers to conquer, viewpoints to synchronise, treasure and collectibles to hunt, lairs guarded by the disciples of Romulus to raid, stealth missions from Da Vinci that end with you getting a hands-on with one of his over-the-top war machines, Subject 16 puzzles to decipher, shops to renovate, and monuments to purchase. Every renovated shop or acquired monument adds to an income that accrues at banks, which you can then collect and spend on more renovations or on better weapons and artwork for your assassin’s guild. There are also empty buildings that can be repurposed into factional headquarters with their own side-quests inside. With both a sizeable main campaign and a van-load of assorted tasks to keep you busy, a lack of content isn’t a complaint you’ll be voicing. The campaign missions can also now be replayed and there is some replay value in aiming for 100 per cent synchronisation in each of them. The Assassin’s Guild also serves as home to the assassins you recruit during the campaign. Saving citizens from the wrath of Borgia guards lets you train them as assassins and pack them off on missions around Europe that vary in difficulty. Successful missions allow these assassins to level up and you can also use them during your game time,

and at the press of a button, assassinate any marked target. Their use is also tied to a recharging meter, so you’re prevented from spamming them on every guard or target in the game. While they aren’t necessarily game changing, their presence does allude Ezio’s rise in stature and influence within the assassins. Multiplayer Adding to the replayability is a set of multiplayer modes that surprisingly recreate the campaign’s tension and improvisation in an online arena. You’re basically given a target to kill, and you’ll need to make the hit while skillfully avoiding other players, one of whose task is to take you out. Aiding you are several active and passive abilities that let you blend into crowds or cloak yourself as another character model from the game world. There are also team-based modes to try out and a leveling system in place. It’s all very strategic and contemplative, and a nice change from the usual online frag-fests that you get with other games. Our Verdict This is one of those rare series where the developers place as much emphasis on the overarching story and depth of the universe as much as on gameplay. The biggest takeaway from Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, as from the earlier games, is the encyclopedic lengths gone to by Ubisoft’s writers to educate (a dirty word in the big bad world of video games) the player about Renaissance era locations, events and personalities as Ezio goes about assassinating unfortunate Templars. This depth, along with a map stuffed to the seams with collectibles and side quests, and a story with some of the most nuanced acting and direction in the medium, are what ultimately save it from the dreaded ‘cash-in’ tag. While we used the Xbox 360 version of the game for our playthrough, we also had the opportunity to test out the PS3 version, and it’s safe to say that regardless of your platform of preference, you’re assured of an enjoyable gameplay experience. There were some instances like uneven framerates, screen tearing and texture pop-in, but again, this is common across both platforms. The only advantage the PS3 version has is the free, exclusive Copernicus Conspiracy downloadable content, which is a set of additional single-player missions. This may not be Assassin’s Creed 3, but that shouldn’t deter you from picking this iteration of the series up. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed 2 and absolutely must know what happens after the cliffhanger ending, you could do a lot worse than picking up Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Love: Packed with content. Excellent story and presentation. Deep mythos to pick through Hate: Rome is no Venice. Almost requires that you be familiar with the earlier games Rating: 4/5 Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Platform: Xbox 360, PS3 Price: Rs 2,499 CHIP


SOUND bytes

Marching ahead with the Walkman! Mahananda Bohidar t’s been almost three generations of listeners who have seen and experienced Sony Walkmans down the ages. The name was, at one point in time, almost synonymous to music players and in some way still continues to be, despite it having been battered to some extent by Apple that continues to unleash its army of iPods in the market. Sony still holds out strong and remains one of the top players in the PMP (portable media player) market and is constantly launching new ranges of Walkman models to cater to varying consumer needs and demands. The Sony Walkman NWZ-E353, a 4 GB, budget Walkman, loaded with all the goodies that the brand name is tagged with, was launched sometime ago and we’ve been plugged in to see if it can stand up to the rivals snapping at its heels.

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Look and feel The colourful plastic body feels nice to touch and looks classy with the almost glass-like display (although it’s just plastic). The matte back cover provides a decent grip while you operate the player. The controls almost look like they have been designed and positioned to make it look like a certain famous cartoon character by Disney. The Play/Pause buttons are at the centre with a fourdirection circular click button surrounding it. On the right, above the circular dials is the Power button which doubles up as the key that lets you access in-menu functions. While listening to a song or browsing through the playlist you can use this button to add a bookmark, search for a title among the various genres listed or return to the playback screen. To the left is the Home/Return button.

Music We listened to ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ by Bobby Darin, one of the popular soundtracks from American Beauty, and the vocals and the bass guitar throughout the song played loud and clear. The headphones bundled with the Walkman seemed a bit low-end but did not disappoint at all when we plugged the pair in and explored the playlist. It helps to add, the headphones offered a very comfortable fit too. One proprietary software used in the Walkman NWZE353 was the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine that works towards restoring the depth and clarity of digitally compressed music and it did seem to do the job quite well. You also have the option to upload videos to watch on the 2-inch TFT display but the player only supports .wmv files.

Radio You can use the Up/Down arrow keys on the circular dial to browse through the FM radio stations — single clicks to manually scan the radio stations and a long press for an automatic scan. Once saved as presets, you can directly jump from one station to another with the Next/Previous buttons. Most stations got scanned easily and the static was absent for most stations except just one or two.

Apps One of the icons in the interface is the SensMe function. This app quite efficiently groups your music into different genres or moods based on beats per minute in every song that you’ve stored in your Walkman. We tried out this feature when we didn’t want to manually jump from one track to another. But each time you add songs to the player, the SensMe channel does not automatically detect the new tracks uploaded. You’ll have to go to the infunction menu and choose ‘Updating Channels’ and only then does the software analyse each track and add it to whichever SensMe channel it deems the track suitable for. This feature was pretty accurate in assigning all the songs we had loaded on to the device in

Our verdict

Photo: R. Ravindran

to the right SensMe channel. For example, when we wanted to listen to something ‘Upbeat’, it

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played ‘Get The Party Started’ a, well, very upbeat number by Pink! Other songs that it got bang on to the ‘Upbeat’ list were the fast numbers ‘Only Thing That Looks Good On Me’ by Bryan Adams, ‘Sultans of Swing’ by Dire Straits and ‘I Want To Break Free’ by Queen. ‘Mellow’ triggered the all-time favourite ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by the King and ‘You Are My Sunshine’, a lovely tune you croon to on a sunny day, by Soggy Bottom Boys and a slow Sufi number ‘Tose Naina Lage’ from the Bollywood flick ‘Anwar’. ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police, ‘Drops of Jupiter’ by Train and ‘With Or Without You’ by U2 figured in the ‘Emotional’ genre and kudos to SensMe for that! Other g1enres include ‘Dance’, ‘Extreme’, ‘Morning’, ‘Energetic’, ‘Relax’ and ‘Lounge’. Transferring files was an easy drag-and-drop routine. We dragged pictures, videos and podcasts too in a list on the Windows Media Player window and all files were copied on to the Walkman in no time. With almost 4 GB of space one can store up to 50 hours of music playback. The battery life of the player was outstanding. Featuring a standby time of more than a week without any significant drop in the battery charge, the battery indicator hadn’t even gone down by 25 per cent after we had listened to almost 8 hours of music and FM Radio combined.

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The Walkman NWZ-E353 might not be the best top-end portable music player that Sony has recently come up with but for those of you who just want a simple, affordable, no-frills device that lets you listen to all the music you want without compromising heavily on the sound quality or ease of use, this one is definitely a good bet. Rs 4,990 Love – Sound clarity and depth, SensMe channels Hate –Earphones feel cheap, limited video format support mahananda@thehindu.co.in


TABLET review

Viewpad 7: What’s the difference? Photo: R. Ravindran

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala ith every major technology company vying to get their hands occupied in the tablet war, Taiwanese company Viewsonic also decided to bring out its own contenders, the Viewpad 7 and Viewpad 10. For a company that is known mainly for computer monitors, we were curious to see what Viewsonic could offer in terms of a tablet. We got Viewsonic to ship us the Galaxy Tab sized, Android 2.2 powered, Viewpad 7 and here are our thoughts.

W Build & Design

The first thing that strikes you when you flip open the black leather case that the Viewpad comes encased in, is how similar it is to the OlivePad. Then you look closer, and you realise, it’s not just that they look similar, but exactly the same! For those of you unfamiliar with the OlivePad’s design, here’s a lowdown on what the tablet looks like. Encased in a silver frame, the screen with a resolution of 800x480 is made of scratch resistant glass. The bottom of the shiny black bezel has the four standard Android operating buttons, for Menu, Return, Search and Home. The front has a 0.3-meg webcam, with a more powerful 3-megger at the rear. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in microphone and mini USB port on one side. On the other is a panel which encloses a SIM card slot and micro SD slot. There are also two separate up and down volume buttons. Encased in a slim steel grill on either side, are stereo speakers. The power button is slightly flimsy, and we can foresee the same problems we had with the one on the OlivePad.

User Interface Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Viewpad 7 looks like one big Android smartphone. Users will be familiar with the customary sweep to unlock the tablet. There are four customisable home screens, and you can flick between them with a simple swipe gesture. At the bottom of every home screen is a standard Menu, Call and Browser button. You can add shortcuts, widgets and folders to each home screen. The Viewpad is primarily landscape oriented, and it’s only in a few select apps that you can change the mode to portrait, like browser and messaging. The Viewpad 7 comes with a choice of keyboards. You can choose between full QWERTY, 12-key (like what you get on alphanumeric mobile phones) and CooTek T+. You can change between the keypads just by swiping. Typing on the Viewpad 7 was smooth and easy, but the 7-inch size does make it difficult to get up a good speed, because it’s only comfortable to type one-handed. While the tablet does look and feel like the OlivePad, we found the touch interface greatly improved. The screen had no trouble recognising gestures, and was quite responsive. The pinch and zoom function also worked well.

Media The Viewpad 7 has limited onboard storage, so no media can be used on it without a micro SD card. Transferring data was pretty easy - once you activate the USB data function, it’s basically drag and drop. The tablet supports only MPEG-4 files, which is a quite a pain because most videos come in Avi or DivX formats. We played a few videos, and they looked clean and played

without any stutters or delay. The speaker volume level was disappointing though – being barely enough to fill a room, so you’ll definitely need headphones if you’re going to watch a movie. The music player is the standard Android one, with music organised according to Artist, Album, Song and Playlist. You can shuffle your music too. The camera wasn’t so great - images came out grainy and lacked sharpness and colour. The front camera was just about acceptable as a webcam.

Performance The Viewpad 7 comes with a Qualcomm 600 MHz processor, which isn’t nearly powerful enough considering that many smartphones nowadays are shipping with a 1GHz processor. Having said that, however, the browser loaded fairly quickly. One problem is that the tablet doesn’t support Adobe Flash, which really limits the browsing experience. Battery lasted us close to 10 hours, which was really good for a tablet. The Viewpad 7 took ages to charge though, and we mostly had to leave it on charge overnight, much like our experience with the Olive Pad.

Bottomline The Viewpad 7 is a decent Android tablet, but we wish that Viewsonic would have attempted at least some changes in its hardware. We hope that the higher end Viewpad 10 resolves some of these issues. Until then, the Viewpad 7 is a tad pricey for what it has to offer. Love: Good touch sensitivity, long battery life Hate: OlivePad and Viewpad 7 look like clones, no flash support Rs 32,000 ketaki@thehindu.co.in

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February 9, 2011


AUTO focus

Skip buyback, choose the Maybach instead !

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February 9, 2011


Team Smartbuy n the niche, rarefied world of super-luxury saloons, legroom is one of the most important yardsticks that buyers use to make their choice. We are used to conceiving of cabin space and car size in millimetres (mm), but there is this super-luxury car brand that actually uses metres as a measure for the dimensions of its car! The Maybach from Mercedes-Benz has two basic models the 57 and 62, and the numbers as nomenclature represent the length of the two cars – 5.7 metres and 6.2 metres. The Maybach saloons were first launched in India in 2004. The new, refreshed Maybach 57 S and the Maybach 62, which were showcased at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, have now been launched in India, and have been priced at Rs 4.85 crore and Rs 5.1 crore respectively. The new Maybachs look younger and more distinctive than the predecessors. The powertrains have been tweaked for performance and emissions, the body sports new paint finishes and the interiors of the models get even more luxurious options to choose from.

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Exterior A large new chrome radiator grille confidently emphasises the legendary saloons’ exceptional status. The new dominant grille is produced in two different variants. In the Maybach 57 and 62 models it has 20 fine logitudinal bars, and in the Maybach 57S and 62S twelve solid double louvres and a ‘shadow strut’ flag up the vehicle’s power. The designers have also elevated the modified bonnet and given it sharply defined contours. A restyled, horizontally structured bumper trim gives the Maybach saloons an even broader look. Daytime driving lights featuring LED technology and bordered with a chrome insert have been integrated into the outer air intakes. New high sheen 21-spoke 19-inch wheels in titanium silver for the Maybach 57 and 62 models also add to the distinguished look. The Maybach 57S and 62S models will in future be sold as standard with new 12-spoke 20-inch wheels in noble sterling silver. The new Maybach’s exterior mirrors with optimised aerodynamics for less driving noise harmonise with the striking front design, whilst their large surface offers improved vision.

for all the models has also been enhanced. The look of the seat upholstery layout has been refined and given additional piping. On request the piping can also be hand-braided or adorned with valuable Swarovski elements. In the upper part of the seat backrest is a redesigned badge in 925 sterling silver with the lettering ‘Maybach Manufactur’ . For the very first time there is an extremely high-quality flacon perfume atomiser exclusively developed by Maybach is available on request. Till now was reserved only for the special Maybach Zeppelin model, limited to just 100 units. As an option a large, high-resolution cinema screen with a 19-inch diagonal can now be fitted to the centre of the of the partition - which can now also be personalised with motifs of the customer’s choosing - with an overview camera, through which the rear passengers can keep an eye on the traffic in front of them without being seen themselves. With the help of a new WLAN router it is also possible for passengers to enjoy wireless internet access during the journey in the car. The state-of-the-art connection uses the fast transmission standards HSDPA, UMTS and GSM/ EDGE. There are three new interior appointments with different leather, carpet and headlining colours. New trim in selected dark brown bird’s-eye maple, which can be combined with brilliant porcelain piano lacquer in the Maybach 57S and 62S.

Performance The output of the six-litre, twelve-cylinder engine in the 57S and the 62S has been increased by 13 kW to 463 kW (630bhp) with a torque of 1000Nm. The Maybach 62 features the 5.5-litre V12 that generates 550 PS of peak power at 5,250 rpm and a peak torque of 900 Nm within a 2,2003,000 engine rpm range. However, Maybach developers have managed to reduce the consumption figures of the engine from 16.4 litres/ 100 kms to 15.8 lit/100 kms. The CO2 emissions have also been brought down to 368 gms/km from the previous level of 390 gms/km. The output of the 57 and 62 models remain unchanged, though the consumption and emission levels have similarly been improved. All the Maybach twelvecylinder engines meet the EU5 standard.

Interior The rear reclining seat which till now has only been available in the Maybach saloons with a long wheelbase, can now be installed in the Maybach 57 and 57S models. The craftsmanship of the seats

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February 9, 2011

The Quasquicentennial of the car Mercedes-Benz celebrated the 125th anniversary of the invention of the motor car on January 29th this year. It was on that day in the year 1886 that Carl Benz filed an application in Berlin for a patent on his three-wheeled motor car. Mercedes-Benz India launched the Maybach to coincide with its celebrations to mark the anniversary. MercedesBenz is taking the opportunity to also reiterate the company’s culture of innovation and technological leadership, by pointing out that more than 80 per cent of all major innovations for the automobile were developed by MercedesBenz. The company has had over 80,000 patent applications filed since 1886. Here are selected milestones in the history of Mercedes-Benz’s safety technology: 1939 – Inception of passenger car safety development 1959 – World’s first safety body 1969 – Establishment of Mercedes-Benz accident research 1978 – Electronically controlled anti-lock braking system (ABS) 1980 – Pyrotechnic airbag, seat belt tensioner 1989 – Automatically raised roll-over bar 1995 – Electronic Stability Program (ESP) 1996 – Brake Assist (BAS) 1998 – DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control 1999 – Active Body Control (ABC), tyre pressure monitor 2002 – PRE-SAFE preventive occupany protection system 2003 – Active light function 2005 – DISTRONIC PLUS, Brake Assist PLUS, Night View Assist 2006 – PRE-SAFE Brake, Intelligent Light system 2009 – Speed Limit Assist, Lane keeping assist, Blind spot assist, Attention Assist drowsiness detection 2010 – Active lane keeping assist, active blind spot assist; LED high-performance headlamps


AUTO news

Boxster in Black T

he Boxster S Black Edition is the latest luxurious top model that joins the Porsche Boxster model line up, in addition to the sporty Boxster Spyder currently available. Limited to 987 cars and with its 320 bhp – ten bhp more than the Boxster S – this edition offers a substantially larger range of standard equipment and exclusive special options, all at a very attractive price. The ex-showroom price in India will be announced after the car is launched in March. It will be showcased at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. The new mid-engined sports car is black all over: Black body, black hood, and black 19 inch Boxster Spyder wheels accentuate the muscular appearance of the top roadster. The colour concept of the Boxster S Black Edition is consistent. The rear side air intake grilles are painted in black as is the twin tailpipe of the exhaust system. The model lettering painted in black on the rear luggage compartment lid identifies the Black Edition as much as the embossed Black Edition model designation on the side of the fabric hood. The roll-over bars are painted in black, too. The black line of the exterior is continued in the interior. The stainless steel door entry guards feature the ‘Black Edition’ model lettering in black. The standard Sport Design steering wheel with its double-spoke appeal has a non-slip rim of smooth-finish leather and sporty grips. The trim strips of the dashboard and of shift lever or gear selector are painted in black. The dials on the instrument cluster are black as are the partial leather seats with the Porsche emblem embossed in the headrests.

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ushing the envelope for performance motoring fans, Audi India has introduced the new R8 V10 in here. Winner of the ‘World Performance Car’ 2010, the new Audi R8 V10 will be priced at Rs 1.33 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai). The R8 V10 features the more powerful 5.2-litre, tencylinder FSI engine that produces in excess of 510 bhp and is said to be capable of a top speed of over 315 kmph. The super sports car is capable of accelerating past the 100 kmph mark from standstill in just 3.9 seconds. The Audi R8 5.2 FSI will be available with a manual six-speed transmission or R-tronic which enables the driver to change gears in an instant via rocker switches on the steering wheel. The exterior of the R8 5.2 FSI is refreshed with newly designed sideblades to increase air intake and maximise performance. A very distinctive design highlight of the R8 V10 is the all-LED headlights which are part of standard equipment.

As a standard, the Boxster S Black Edition features the otherwise optional ‘Comfort’, ‘Infotainment’, and ‘Design’ equipment packages, and therefore comes at a more favourable price than a series model with comparable equipment options. The wind deflector is on board right from the factory as are the anti-dazzle interior and exterior mirrors with integrated rain sensor, cruise control and a climate control system. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) including navigation module are also standard. Upon request, the Boxster S Black Edition can be individualised even further with other options of the Boxster programme. A 3.4-litre, six-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, mounted in front of the rear axle of the Boxster S Black Edition, supplies power to the car. Its output is 320 bhp and the engine reaches its rated power at 7,200 rpm. Torque of 370 Nm boosted by ten newton metres is available at 4,750 rpm. With its standard six-speed manual transmission, the Boxster S Black Edition has a top speed of 276 kmph and accelerates from zero to 100 kmph in 5.2 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the Boxster S. The mid-engined sports car is modest only in its thirst for fuel. During the NEDC test cycle, the Boxster S Black Edition contents itself with as much fuel as the Boxster S: 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres. To raise dynamics and efficiency even further, the Boxster S Black Edition may alternatively also be fitted with the seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK).

Audi R8 V10 launched

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February 9, 2011


MELANGE luxury redefined

Romantic gesture Sling it on!

Ralph Lauren’s Summer Romance can bowl her over with scents of blooming flowers, exotic fruits and apricot musk. Available in select lifestyle stores in a glowing pink bottle. Rs 4,100 (50ml) and Rs 5,800 (100ml)

Adding to her red collection is this Hermitage quilted bag from Hidesign made in soft lamb and smooth ranch leather with chic contrast stitch detail. Head to Hidesign stores and take your pick from the whole collection. Price on request

Heart overdose! Exclusive sunglasses with little red hearts adoring the arms along the inner frame, a cleaning cloth printed with hearts and a striking pink and red gift case… Love Vogue is one for the lovesick girlie! Check it out at select eyewear outlets. Rs 5,800

Wristlet in red

Fragrance of love Fleur Cherie. The favourite orange blossom flower blooms this season of love in the slew of new products from L’Occitane. This solid perfume held in a pretty heart-shaped case is an ideal gift to get that smile back on her face. Available at its stores. Rs 600 (10g)

This is ‘Erika’ from Swarovski this Valentines for that mobile addict girlfriend. With a heart in red vinyl, face in epoxy on vinyl strap and two little crystal sparkles, Erika is available at Swarovski boutiques. Rs 6,000

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February 9, 2011


LUXURY abodes

For all the President’s men! Amidst the splendour of a luxury five star hotel, the cherry on top is always the Presidential Suite. Lavish in design, well-appointed in service, yet elegant in its own way. The ‘suite of suites’ is always the largest, with a lounge, two to three bedrooms, gym, spa room and study, ideal for the country-hopping Head of State, corporate honcho or top notch entrepreneur, entourage in tow. And that’s just the basic! ANUSHYA MAMTORA picks out five of the most exotic presidential suites to have been offered by the hospitality industry in recent times

‘Rajput shaan’ in the City of Lakes The Maharaja Suite, The Leela Palace Kempinski Udaipur

Palatial from the very first step, a stay in this 3,585 sft magnificent suite is sure to take you back to the days of the yore. A time when Maharanas and Maharanis, dressed in finery and pearls, glided around the rooms with subjects hanging to their every word. Yes, Leela, gives you an experience only the mighty kings enjoyed. Recreating the magic, the suite, apart from the usual, has a separate walk in closet for leisure dressing, an ESPA massage parlour for some private pampering, plunge pool for a midnight dip and sprawling courtyards for a quiet stroll. Tariff: About Rs 2.5 lakh per night

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Royalty, Nizami style Nizam Suite, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad Packed with luxuries, design and comfort of the highest order, the Nizam Suite is the newest epitome of royalty to join the Taj Group with the launch of this once-upon-a-time abode of the Nizams. Housed in the Zenana suites and brimming with history, what adds to its residential splendour is the elegant blend of contemporary with the artistic inspiration of the Nizam era. Nawabi style bedroom with walls hand painted with royal motifs to Emily Griffin glass paintings from the early 1900s, restored antique furniture with ancient elephant tusk details to a private swimming and whirl pool, the balance is harmonious. The winner experience is the exclusive jasmine or sandal wood ‘ittar’ bath the personal butler draws for the guest. Tariff: About Rs 5 lakh per night

A solitaire in Maximum City The Kohinoor Presidential Suite, The Oberoi, Mumbai

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Sparkling atop the 21st floor of the property with a calming view of the Arabian Sea, the Kohinoor is Oberoi’s crowning glory. The entry is magnificent with a formal entrance foyer opening up to white Thassos marble flooring and large picture windows of the living room that offer a panoramic view of the ocean. Ideal for the crème de la crème who mean business, the fully equipped workspace is also part of this elegant setting. Some interesting highlights of the 2,050 sft are a luxurious en suite four-fixture bathroom with a treadmill, a powder room, a Baby Grand piano located in the living room and the pleasure of enjoying Mumbai like no other. Tariff: About Rs 3 lakh per night


Luxury for all Seasons Presidential suite, Four Seasons Hotel, Mumbai More of the serene Arabian Sea and a spectacular skyline of Mumbai and the Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Four Season’s Presidential Suite sits on the 32nd floor and is seeped in contemporary décor. Timber flooring, exquisite hand-tufted rugs, mahagony and maple wood furnishings, rich silk and mohair accessories, silver accents and modern artwork adds to its modern and luxe appeal. The 3,336 sft packs in a spacious living area with chaise lounge, sofas, home theatre system and a bar, a dining space for eight with a well-appointed kitchen, a private well-equipped study and a plush bedroom with bath. The suite can also be configured as a two-three-bedroom suite with the addition of connecting rooms. Tariff: About Rs 2 lakh per night

Live life, Queen size Nur Jehan and Mumtaj Mahal suites, ITC Mughal Agra

Photo: S. Muralidhar

The very names conjure up the image of the regal Mughal queens fussed around by a retinue of women. Pampering unparalleled. Recreating this experience, the new wing of the award winning Kaya Kalp – The Royal Spa, ‘Khwab Mahal’ has 42 opulent suites and the gem among them all are the two royal presidential suites for guests who seek indulgence in the privacy of their ‘chambers’ but without compromising on the aura that envelopes Kaya Kalp. Simply done in gorgeous shades of grey, off-white and gold, the décor is well, befitting a queen! Despite being smaller (1,091 sft each) compared to its peers, what bowls the guests and lures them is the luxury spa abode within the suite, glimpses of Mughal gardens with ‘jharokhas’ and a personal plunge pool. And yes of course, a ‘khidmadgar’ who is there to do a ‘jo hukum mere aka’! Tariff: About Rs 1.25 lakh per night anushya@thehindu.co.in

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BLING corner

Prized possession!

Chopard gets ‘Happy’er

With a pink gold chain pendant, gold and chocolate-brown cotton cord bracelet and white gold ring, Piaget’s ‘declaration of love’ is its new Possession range. What catches the eye is the diamonds and the engraved ‘possession’. Head to its boutique in New Delhi. Price on request

Gorgeous with a triple row of diamonds in a heart and brilliant captive diamonds, this Happy Diamonds pendant from Chopard is a stunner when teamed with a décolleté gown. Available at its boutiques in New Delhi and Mumbai. Price on request

Linked-up! Two interlinked hearts, one in white gold the other in pink, a sparkling diamond that reveals a pattern of hearts and arrows when seen through a special magnifying glass - ORRA has a quite a treat lined up this month. Check out its boutiques for more. Rs 13,015 (in pic)

Little hearts Brilliant diamonds encrusted in 18k white gold makes this pretty pair of earrings from Minawala’s Freya collection a neat pick. Available at its outlets in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Rs 50,600

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Smartbuy issue dated February 9, 2011  
Smartbuy issue dated February 9, 2011  

Smartbuy issue dated February 9, 2011

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