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Hot hatch that’ll leave the competition sweating We test drive Maruti’s new Swift Page 7

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Acer Aspire Timeline X 5830GT reviewed Sparklers for 2011


WHAT’S HOT this week

Team Smartbuy

Now, even bolder

BlackBerry Bold 9900

Editorial Anushya Mamtora anushya@thehindu.co.in

Archana Achal archana.a@thehindu.co.in

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala ketaki@thehindu.co.in

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

The latest BB to come out of RIM’s kitty is the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which is powered by the BlackBerry 7 OS. Hardware enhancements include a 1.2 GHz processor, HD video recording, 24-bit high res graphics, advanced sensors for augmented reality apps and built-in support for NFC. The Bold 9900 is also the thinnest BlackBerry till date, at just 10.5mm, and features a touch display and brushed stainless steel frame. Rs 32,490

Cover Photo: S. Muralidhar

What a shocker! Redefining computing

Transcend StoreJet 25A Adding to its StoreJet line of hard drives, Transcend has launched the 25A, which boasts a slender, shock-resistant design. It is available in both USB 3.0 and 2.0 versions, with transfer speeds of up to 90Mbps on the former. It features a convenient One Touch Auto-Backup button for fast data backup, as well as Transcend’s own RecoveRx software to help you retrieve lost files. The hard drives are available in 3 capacities – 500GB, 750GB and 1TB. StoreJet 25A2 (USB 2.0): Rs 5,650 onwards StoreJet 25A3 (USB 3.0): Rs 6,150 onwards

ASUS X101 This ultra-thin notebook from ASUS runs on Intel’s MeeGo operating system and is powered by the Intel Atom N455 processor. Weighing just under a kilogram and measuring just 17.6 mm in thickness, it’s small enough to fit in your handbag. Features include a 10.1-inch LEDbacklit monitor, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi and webcam. The netbook is preloaded with Dropbox for cloud storage and comes integrated with the ASUS app store. Rs 12,499

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For the savvy executive

HP ProBook 5330m

Three cheers

Logitech Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10

Less than 1-inch thin, the HP ProBook 5330m features a unique dual-tone colour scheme with a brushed aluminum chassis and a backlit keyboard. The laptop is the first of its kind to feature Beats Audio, developed by HP and Beats by the famous rapper Dr. Dre. The 13.3-inch laptop is powered by the latest second-gen Intel Core i5 and i3 dual-core processors. Rs 40,000 onwards

These high-end earphones from Logitech integrate three individually-balanced drivers for each ear. Low, mid, and high frequencies are all directed to the appropriate driver so everything you hear is crystal clear. This lets you enjoy the most detailed and sonically rich audio, no matter what you listen to. The earphones come in a crush-proof case with two sets of Comply foam ear-cushions. Rs 15,995

Touch and type

Motorola EX119 This dual-SIM handset from Motorola offers a touch screen as well as a physical QWERTY keypad. Super-slim, at only 9.9mm thin, the handset features a 2.4-inch touch screen display with five different home screen styles, a range of interface themes, and built-in links to Facebook, Twitter and other popular social network sites. Other features include a 3MP camera, microSD card support up to 32GB, high speed USB 2.0 file transfer and support for multiple audio and video formats. Rs 6,190

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NOTEBOOK review

Going the Xtr

Mahananda Bohidar hat would a high-end notebook today need to bring to your lap? A powerful processor, superior graphics and a sleek design – for those who appreciate a bit of beauty and brawn. What if someone offered you all this and a bit more? Acer Inc. launched its Timeline X series of notebooks about three years ago promising a super-efficient and dependable work-buddy that you could count on for eight hours and more. The latest in this line is the Acer Aspire Timeline X 5830GT that promises more than the Timeline X series has ever before!

W Overview

The Acer Aspire Timeline X 5830GT is extremely sleek for a laptop its size. With a thickness of about an inch, the laptop is well-designed with its Cobalt Blue lid and a part-blue, part-aluminum keyboard. The island-style layout of the keyboard is comfortable to type on, a big advantage for those who tend to do all their work on a notebook. The plastic touchpad also has a soft, smooth feel to it. Also, the touchpad supports multi-touch gestures like ‘Pinch to zoom’, which increases the size of the icons on your desktop, as well as zooms in and out of photos and web pages. The screen is an impressive 15.6-inch one with an LED-backlit LCD screen. With a resolution of 1,388x768, the proprietary CineCrystal display has a 16:9 widescreen ratio – the internationally accepted format for HD videos and movies. To test the screen I decided to stay in for movie night with ‘In the mood for love’ by Wong Kar Wai. However, the glossy display was a bummer and the reflective bezel too proved to be slightly distracting. With the lights switched off though, these weren’t much of an issue. The slow, melodious soundtracks of the movie were reproduced excellently by the inbuilt speakers that are endowed with Dolby Home Theater v4 technology. We could tweak the EQ settings to enhance the bass or for clearer dialogue. The audio from the speakers had excellent clarity. No surprises there, considering it’s professionally tuned and Dolby certified. The laptop also features Acer’s proprietary Clear.fi technology that lets you set a multi-system home network connecting your laptop, PC, telly and smartphone through your internet router. You can create shared media libraries and transfer files from one system to another in two clicks. The software comes pre-installed and lets you tweak the network and sharing settings.

Performance The 5830GT has an old-school closed optical drive on the right. The plasticky latch of the drive makes it feel a little flimsy while opening. The body has a one-touch LED indicator on the front of the notebook that displays battery levels depending on whether the laptop is connected to a power supply and how much charge it is running on. On the top panel, next to the Dolby speakers, is the PowerSmart button. Once unplugged, you press this button to switch the laptop to a powersaver mode. After charging the laptop to a full battery, it entertained us for more than 8 hours, with the PowerSmart button on. Despite an ultra-compact chassis, we did not have any heating issues with the laptop. A big plus considering the fact that even a lot of high-end laptops end

up overheating after an hour or so of usage. The Acer Aspire Timeline X 5830GT runs on an Intel Core i5-2410M processor with 2.3GHz and Turbo Boost Technology that lets you overclock up to 2.9GHz. The laptop depends on Nvidia GeForce GT 520M discrete graphics chip for its graphics performance. Nvidia’s Optimus automatic switching technology (depending on the heavy or light graphics demanded by the programme used), made sure the unit remained battery-efficient. I ran a couple of benchmarking tests to test the prowess of the processor. It bagged a total of 5,018 on the test, a pretty decent score. (For com-

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parison’s sake, the new gen Macbook Pro 13.3-inch had scored a 6,910 on our earlier tests.) Connectivity options on the Aspire Timeline X 5830GT include three USB ports on the right side of the body. One of the three supports USB 3.0 connection that lets you transfer data up to ten times faster than the USB 2.0 port. You can also connect to an SPDF-in port which doubles up as the headphone 3.5mm jack , an HDMI to stream high definition content on your television, a VGA port and a card reader that can detect a couple of formats in the slot. Unlike some of its predecessors, the 6-cell battery on the 5830GT doesn’t clumsily stick out of the note-


Keep those juices flowing!

a mile

You know that annoying moment when you’re watching the last few minutes of a movie or finishing up a PowerPoint presentation, and your laptop starts flashing low battery warnings? For those of you who aren’t ready to upgrade to a powerhorse that’ll give you 8 hours of juice, here are some tips on how to extend your lappy’s battery life.

Photos: R. Ravindran

book’s chassis. The 6000mAh Lithium-ion battery let us work and relax for more than 8 hours – with multimedia running and the occasional video streaming and surfing the internet. Apart from the regular charger, the laptop also features an ultraconvenient USB charger that lets you power-up your smartphone or other USB devices without having to keep the notebook switched on.

Our Verdict The Acer Aspire Timeline X 5830GT has almost everything you can ask for in a modern day notebook – a bright 15.6-inch LED-backlit display, Dolby Digital-

powered speakers and a proprietary software to watch and share multimedia. Running on an Intel Core i5 processor, I didn’t encounter a situation where the laptop froze and it didn’t show any hint of slowing down while multi-tasking, a definite plus if you want to run heavy applications or games on the system. The USB 3.0 and an HDMI make it relatively future-proof. Little niggles like that of a glossy display might not be much of a compromise given the price tag that this sleek one comes with. Love: Great battery life, Dolby Digital sound, good processor Hate: Reflective screen, feels plasticky in places Rs 42,229 mahananda@thehindu.co.in

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Close all unwanted programs If you’re running iTunes in the background, intermittently checking your Facebook and working on that important Word document, you need to prioritise. Close any unwanted or unnecessary applications, which will cut down on your laptop’s processing power. Flick the dimmer switch Besides being romantic, dimming the screen on your laptop actually conserves battery power. Reduce the screen’s brightness as much as is comfortable, and rely on an external light source to help you finish your work. Bye bye optical drive Whether you’re using your DVD drive or have just left a CD inside, the spinning motion inside your optical drive consumes loads of unnecessary power. Remember to take out CDs when you’re not using them, and if you must watch a movie or transfer content, use your hard drive or download it from the internet instead. Disconnect Although they consume less power than CDs, all USB devices, including your mouse, camera cable and phone’s charging cable, drain your laptop’s battery. The same goes for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, both of which are major battery killers. Defrag your hard drive Regularly defragging your hard drives not only helps you to keep your drive healthy, but also makes your laptop more efficient, resulting in less power wastage. Be power efficient Most laptops nowadays come with power saver features. Simply go to the ‘Power Options’ feature in Control Panel to activate it on a Windows laptop, or tweak Energy Saver settings in a Macbook. Clean up Keeping your battery clean can actually improve your laptop’s overall battery life, by increasing power delivery. Remove the battery from the laptop, and wipe the metal connecters with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Ensure the battery is completely dry before reinserting, and repeat every couple of months. RAM it up If you use your laptop for power intensive tasks, increasing your device’s RAM will actually extend battery life. Low RAM means the laptop relies on virtual memory, which is less power efficient. Maintain your battery If you’re using an old laptop, it’s important to let your battery discharge completely before recharging it. This doesn’t apply to newer laptops which utilise Li-ion batteries though. Turn off scheduled tasks If you’re laptop automatically schedules virus scans or defrag exercises, turn it off so it doesn’t happen when you’re running on battery. These are important tasks though, so make sure you keep them up to date when you’re connected to a supply source.


SOUND

bytes

Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air Not exactly a dock, but a set of sleek speakers, the G-17 Air effortlessly pumps out signature Klipsch sound with deep bass and clear dynamic range. You play tunes wirelessly with this AirPlay enabled speaker system. Dual woofers are matched with a precisely tuned, flared port to reproduce tight, balanced bass. Complete with the proprietary Tractrix Horn, this dock delivers immense power and detail from within the compact cabinet. The elegant cabinet has a front baffle that curves on both sides to create a solid, lowresonance structure. The G-17 Air not only allows wireless playback from your Apple smart device running iOS 4.2 but also supports Android smartphones and tablets. $350

Philips Fidelio SoundSphere Hand-crafted in wood, the curved design of the Fidelio SoundSphere with its unique free-floating tweeters delivers sound in all directions for a deeper and wider audio impression. Philips’ proprietary FullSound technology efficiently restores acoustic details to compressed music, so you can experience CD music without much distortion. With Airplay, the Philips Fidelio SoundSphere docking speakers give you wireless access to all your music from iTunes. You can also download the free Philips Fidelio app to listen to radio shows, online music and share what you’re listening to with friends via Facebook and Twitter. ¤799

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air JBL OnBeat The JBL OnBeat docking station features a flexible dock connector to enable you to enjoy videos or movies in the landscape mode when you feel like it. The sound dock is designed with dual transducers for rich, detailed sound. With an optional composite cable in the box, you can stream videos on your telly for your buddies to watch. You can also download the JBL OnBeat App to browse and play music from your iPod, iPad or iPhone or make use of the additional alarm clock functionality. £149.99

This product from Bowers & Wilkins makes the phrase ‘Sound Dock’ a bit of an irony. Designed to work with Apple products that have the proprietary AirPlay technology, B&W’s Zeppelin Air lets you stream music wirelessly. Three years ago, the original Zeppelin’s unique shape was retained to help sound dispersion. However, it also features smaller mid-range drive units to produce a more open, natural sound than its predecessor. Having multiple Zeppelin Airs around the house helps you stream music from any unit you want to or maybe even all of them together for a house party. $600 Words by Mahananda Bohidar

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AUTO focus

Swift Transformation S. Muralidhar ore than six years after its introduction, the Suzuki Swift continues to be a huge draw with the Indian small car buyer. It has captured the imagination of a whole population unlike any other Maruti before. True, it didn’t look like a Maruti at all and didn’t drive like one too, but the fact remains that even if it had sported a different badge, it just might have been as popular. Proof of its popularity comes in the form of my son wanting to buy a red Swift when he grows up, despite the fact that he has sat in some of the swankiest luxury cars, BMWs, Mercs and Audis. Maybe it’s be-

M

cause he’s seen my bank balance or maybe he has his feet firmly planted on the ground even when he is dreaming. Proof of its popularity also comes in the form of the 40,000 Swifts that have been booked even before the next generation model has been seen or felt by those buyers who have put down their money on them. You may also recall that before the production of the previous generation Swift was stopped, it had a waiting period of about four months. So, even before the new gen Swift arrives, it has buyers sold on its charm.

New vs. old For a nation obsessed with mileage, the

Smartbuy

Swift was the one car that very few seemed to want to drive with that fixation in mind. It was the one car that buyers didn’t mind discovering to be lacking in premiumness and space inside the cabin. So, will the next generation (globally the third) Swift be able to up the experience and draw in more fans for this iconic brand? Sportiness was always there in the Swift’s design DNA. What the previous gen Swift’s design was a bit lacking in was the ability to leverage its exterior dimensions to offer more space in the passenger cabin. The new Swift manages that very well thanks to its larger dimensions. At first glance, the ‘nex-gen’ Swift looks almost identical to the outgoing model. From upfront and a slightly acute front three-quarter angle it is almost like the original. But I walk around it and the differences slowly start to surface. Of course, the longer wheelbase and the more rounded features quickly start to become evident. The new Swift is a bit like a re-interpretation of the previous model. While the basic design highlights like the headlamps, taillamps and the floating roof concept have all been carried forward, they have all also been changed to meld with the increased length of the car and to abet the impression of size. A more rounded rear-end design now gets a slightly more tapered at the edge and elongated wraparound taillamp. The front of the car gets a similar treatment, with the

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headlamps getting stretched at the top to create an image of flowing down the top of the bonnet and on to the front of the car. The sharp rising angle of the front bumper grille and bonnet has given way to a more relaxed angle, in keeping with the 90mm increase in the length of the car.

New platform The bonnet grille and the airdam too get minor modifications, and the front bumper has now been designed to look like it has integrated skirts. Blacked out A-pillar and B-pillar strips continue to give the new Swift the floating roof effect. New design door-mounted rear view mirrors now also get integrated LED turn indicators. Rear quarter glass gets a minor change, grabtype door handles have been carried forward. Despite the visual similarities, the fact is that the new Swift has actually been built on an entirely new platform. The overall length of the new Swift is now 3,850mm, up 90mm over its predecessor and the wheelbase is now up 40mm at 2,430mm. Much of the remainder of the increase in length has gone into bonnet area. The front overhang is more and the increased space in the engine bay has improved the safety of the new Swift, say Maruti engineers. The width of the car has also increased marginally by 5mm at 1,695mm. The body of the new Swift is also said to be more rigid, though lighter. And despite the increased


dimensions, the kerb weights of both the petrol and diesel models are marginally lesser by 15 to 30 kgs. Other factors that have contributed to the weight reduction include the new 6-layer polymer fuel tank that is said to be nearly 7 kgs lighter than the previous metal tank.

Improved cabin If the exterior of the new Swift looked familiar, the interior is refreshingly allnew. I stepped into the new Swift during the test drive and was most impressed with the improved quality of every little part of the cabin. Finally, there is a feeling of getting into an upmarket hatch. There is huge jump in the quality of plastic used all around. The colour theme chosen has also lightened up, though it still has a very European quality to it. With matte aluminium flourishes and inserts on the dashboard, steering wheel and the doors, now there is no sign of the interiors seeming too Spartan and ‘plasticky’. On the contrary, the entire layout is now busy and much better finished. The centre console now sports a new ‘waterfall’ design (as Maruti designers call it). A new, better integrated music system

and automatic climate control system take up most of the space of the waterfall console and at the base is the familiar spherical knob of the gear shift stick. The whole dashboard is vertically stacked and looks more organised. I liked the new seat upholstery too. The chunky steering wheel is still a three-spoke unit, but now sports a more modern design. Top-end variants get steering-mounted music system controls. The instrument cluster is a neat duo of circular dials that feature the engine-rpm meter and the speedometer. Orange LED backlighting for the info counter and all the controls is pleasing to the eye. Of course, the other highlight of the new Swift’s interior is the increase in cabin space. Thanks to the longer wheelbase, the leg-room has increased by 20mm and the foot-space is up 28mm. Now, that doesn’t count to be much by sheer numbers. However, to add to the effort at improving comfort, Maruti Suzuki engineers have also scooped out the backside of the driver and front passenger seats to offer some more kneeroom for rear passengers and the angle of incline

of back rest for the rear bench seat has been increased. Maruti Suzuki engineers have also worked on reducing the cabin noise levels by improving the quality of insulation and sealants used. The result is said to be a three decibel fall in in-cabin noise. I could discern the difference during the idling cycle and during the city driving cycle. On the highway and under hard acceleration the engine seemed to be as audible as it was in the previous Swift.

Performance Part of the improvement in cabin comfort also comes from the improved refinement of the engines – both petrol and diesel. But, before we talk about the new tech for the engines, let me point out that the powertrains themselves haven’t changed. Both the K12M petrol and the D13A diesel engines have been carried forward, but much work has gone in for making better the fuel efficiency, lowering emissions and for a small boost in performance too. The tried and tested 1,248cc diesel engine has just been plonked into the new Swift too. The turbocharged and intercooled common-rail direct injection engine generates

the same 75PS of peak power at 4,000 rpm and torque peaks at a low 2,000 rpm and the same total of 190 Nm is available. The only change here has been the use of hydraulic engine mounts to reduce vibration. The 1,197cc K12M engine that was shoehorned into the previous gen Swift last year has been carried forward too, but with the addition of variable valve timing (VVT). The new K12M VVT delivers a marginal (less than half per cent) increase in peak power at 87 PS delivered at 6,000 rpm and peak torque too has been bumped up a bit at 114Nm and is delivered quicker at 4,000 rpm. Driving the new Swift on windy uphill roads and on long straights on the highway, I get the familiar feeling of driving a Swift. The new Swift continues to be great fun to drive and the diesel engine model has just a second of turbolag before all the torque becomes available. The petrol engine is clearly more eager and though it gets a bit noisy at high rpm levels, it is still one of the more refined units you can get in this segment. Thanks to a more rigid chassis, the handling of the new Swift has improved. Maruti engineers have also fine-tuned the front suspension for better stability and hand-


ling. The improvement can be felt, though there is just a hint of understeer when I throw the car into corners at high speeds. Electric power-steering and tilt adjustment of the steering column are part of standard ďŹ tment.

Bottomline The new Swift is being launched this week and it continues to be a great option for the hatchback buyer, offering a unique character. And mind you, that is despite the fact that it shares both its engines with many other models. The new Swift has every bit of the DNA that the predecessor had and some more. My guess is that the pricing will be in the range of Rs 4.2 lakh to Rs 6.2 lakh. There is an additional variant option (ZDi) that will be available with the diesel engine model. Adding some cream on the pie, the rated fuel efďŹ ciency of the new Swift is up 4 per cent for the petrol version at 18.6 kmpl and up 6 per cent for the diesel variants at 22.9 kmpl. Maruti’s game changer will change the game again for the competition! muraliswami@thehindu.co.in

Photos: S. Muralidhar


Ducati’s diabolical Diavel Matthew Oakley he biking world can be set in its ways, and cruisers like Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod are meant to be big, heavy, powerful and loud. They’re wrapped in black and chrome and nowadays are normally ridden by bankers over 45. Plonk one on the U.S. east coast, drive it in a straight line to California, rotate it, then drive it back. It’ll go fast, make noise and chug happily along all day. Just don’t expect it to steer much better than an oil tanker. So when Ducati released the first photos of its $16,995 Diavel, a so-called power cruiser to compete with the likes of the V-Rod and Yamaha’s V-Max, and claimed it would

T

handle almost like a sports bike, there were howls of disbelief. The Bologna, Italy-based builder of the world’s most famous sports bikes had sold out, betrayed its traditions. Then people began to ride the Diavel, and there were entirely different howls of disbelief. I rode it and I didn’t want to give it back. The Diavel is stunningly futuristic, one of the most daring factory designs to date, and the most head-turning. This is a machine for people who like to be stared at. Still, its front- heavy profile, long wheelbase and huge rear tyre suggest that it should have the agility of a water buffalo.

Mighty light or powerful feeling Lowering myself into the deep seat, the enormous front end looms ahead like the nose cone of an aircraft, the brushed aluminium air scoops on either side like turbines, an impression enhanced when I flick the starter switch and the twin displays flash to life, accompanied by the whirring and sighing of motors. It’s a bit unnerving. Even at a standstill, the bike feels like it needs manhandling, and with 162 horsepower on tap I don’t want to be worrying about whether this thing likes to turn. Pressing the starter button brings to life one of the most


satisfying engine sounds in motorcycling: deep, gurgling, throaty and rich with menace. I select Touring - one of the three riding modes - which offers full power, softens the throttle response and bumps up the traction control level. Then, as I ease it away from Ducati’s Singapore showroom into a slow, narrow 90-degree bend, all sense of size and weight disappears. It’s almost magically easy to steer, seemingly confounding the rules of engineering.

Twists and turns Picking up speed and confidence, I zip round the next bend to discover that a flat-bed truck is parked in the perfect spot to swallow motorcycles, blocking my path on a blind corner on a slippery, painted concrete surface. Uh-oh. This is my early chance to test the Brembo brakes, which stop the Diavel with room to spare. By the time I emerge onto the highway 10 minutes later, all concerns have vanished. I’m having fun. Lots of it. The acceleration from the 1,198cc engine is phenomenal - we’re talking 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds - yet it isn’t terrifying. Even in Sport mode, with full horsepower and the sharpest throttle response, the delivery is smooth and the torque seems endless, making you hunt constantly for overtaking opportunities. On twisty roads it’s supremely able, very stable and only marginally less nimble at flicking between corners than its smaller cousin, the Ducati Monster. It’s happiest on smooth, constant-radius bends, when you can pick your line, roll on the power through the apex and slingshot out the other side without unsettling the bike even slightly. Even on the soggy Singapore roads after a torrential tropical downpour it felt nailed to the tarmac, solid and assuring, the traction control and those astonishing brakes providing an extra layer of confidence.

The verdict Suddenly comparisons with the V-Rod - cheaper than the Ducati at $15,000 in the U.S. but 1,000 pounds more expensive in the U.K. - felt ridiculous. The upright, comfortable riding position is cruiser-like, but the similarities end there. This is really a different class of bike. The Diavel isn’t perfect. The gearbox was occasionally stiff; the low-speed fuelling from the 11-degree Testastretta engine is better than last year’s Multistrada yet still not perfectly smooth; the factory suspension settings were too hard, making heavy work of bumpy roads - though it wasn’t difficult to dial this out - and the wide seat began to chafe the inner thighs after five hours in the saddle. Those minor niggles aside, the Diavel is a phenomenal machine. (The author writes for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)


JEWELLERY trends

It’s the bling thing! The curtains rose. The leggy models scorched the ramps. But what stole the show was the exquisite jewellery that wrapped their necks, adorned their ears and shone from their hands. At the second India International Jewellery Week (IIJW) it was the latest trends at display. ANUSHYA MAMTORA takes notes from ground zero

Tanishq

A

midst the razzle dazzle of jewellery extravaganzas, interesting trends surface. Simple additions, elaborate designs, unique twists… it’s all about discovering something new and exciting for your treasure trove. This year’s amalgamation of fashion and gorgeous jewellery was no exception.

a whole lot of dainty and elaborate tiaras, awe-inspiring regal head jewels and sparkling head bands. Highlights included Gehna Jewellers’ majestic diamond tiara that wrapped the model’s head like a band and Golecha’s Jewels’ elegant tiaras made of diamonds, pearls, rubies and emeralds. We also loved Amrapali’s pearl and gold head ornament that is a bridal winner.

Fun with beads Beaded jewellery has always been popular, especially those that use semi-precious stones to string up a large pendant. But this year saw pretty gold beads doubling up as gorgeous neck pieces. Either just as a single strand with a pendant or multiple strands that cover the décolleté line, the beads can be glossy, matted, with antique finish, rhodium finished and even elegantly carved with enamel and precious stones as embellishments. Alpana Gujral’s pearl and gold beads raani haar was a stunner and CVM Exports too had some neat diamond studded and coloured stone studded gold beads.

Dress the tress Tanishq

Maangtikas get some gorgeous acquaintances in the form of precious baubles for the hair and head. This season saw

Alpana Gujral

Lace work Elegant lace has left its intricate traces in jewellery crafting too. C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons displayed jewellery in diamonds, rubies and emeralds in ‘minute shimmer and lacy designs’. Also spotted on the ramp were large diamond collars and chokers in lace patterns. Johara Jewels’ Parisian Couture range further reiterated the lacy trend with its tubular earrings and giant choker, in this graceful style.

Royal lines The opulence of the Mughals and the magnificence of the Nizams were rekindled in the form of lavish jewels. Royal inspirations this year can be used as stand alone pieces for a red carpet appearance or for a regal bridal look. We loved the gorgeous haath phools, raani haars, cummerbunds and kaan phools that adorned the models. Collections like Tanishq’s Jewels of Falaknuma, Alpana Gujral’s Mughal’s vision of Paradise on earth and Amrapali’s Mughal inspirations are interesting ranges to look forward to. Some eye-catching pieces include Amrapali’s multi turquoise and jade cummerbund and Alpana Gujral’s pearl and diamond haath phool.

Playful tassels Tassels for gowns and sarees maybe passé. But ruby, emerald and pearl tassels adds a fun spirit to jewellery. Not just in contemporary jewellery, tassels lend a pretty touch to traditional styles too. Golecha’s Jewels’ fusion range with tasselled rubies, pearls and emerald earrings and Rosily Paul’s five strands of pearls with three black beaded tassels draped over the shoulder stood out. Our heart also went out to Alpana Gujral’s medallion pendants with tassel ends hanging from pearl strands matched with fringed pearl Tanishq earrings. Other common styles that ran through many collections were peacock motifs, large emerald stones and chokers in traditional and modern styles. anushya@thehindu.co.in


International Gemological Institute

C. Krishniah Chetty and Sons

Amrapali

Bejewelled catwalk! T

he rising gold prices notwithstanding, it was a celebration of jewellery crafting and styling at the second season of Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s (GJEPC) India International Jewellery Week (IIJW). A relief from the umpteen fashion shows doing the rounds, the focus here was more on the stunning jewelled accessories from 32 of India’s best design houses and designers, rather than eye-ball

grabbing ensembles and Bollywood showstoppers. The show kick-started with the Gitanjali Group’s unveiling of its new brands and collections, which had something for all women and all occasions. Tanishq showcased its Jewels of Falaknuma collection that was inspired from the regal Nizams of Hyderabad while Amrapali featured three collections – silver, Art Deco and gold with

Kashi Jewellers

jadau work. C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons displayed exquisite bridal as well as elegant cocktail jewellery whereas Anmol Jewellers set the mood with Manish Malhotra’s flowing lehengas and anarkalis, live classical music and classic Indian jewellery. Other brands and designers who participated in IIJW included Alpana Gujral, Kays Jewels, Gehna Jewellers, Surana

Kashi Jewelers

Gems & Jewellery, Golecha’s Jewels, Kashi Jewellers and others. The highlight of the event was Parisbased designer Boucheron’s ‘The Queen of the Night’ collection that wrapped around Sonam Kapoor’s neck during her last walk at the grand finale. A gorgeous neckpiece that resembled floral branches crafted in rubies, diamonds and sapphires, it was a fitting end to the jewellery extravaganza.

CVM Exports


A sip of summer

TASTER’S choice

Elin McCoy azing in a hammock, chilled glass in hand, I’m sipping my new favourite summer wine, Moscato d’Asti. Who knew that this would bond me to the hip-hop community? Ever since rapper Kanye West started giving shout-outs five years ago to the lightly fizzy, perfumey white wine, moscato has been a varietal on the rise. There are four main varieties of the versatile muscat grape, which can be made in styles from dry to sweet. The star of the family, though, is moscato bianco, used in Italy’s classic Moscato d’Asti, from the Asti area of Piemonte. These wines mostly fall in the middle of the sweetness spectrum and are gently sparkling or as Italians say, frizzante. They’re the frivolous, under-$20 whites in a serious region that produces collectible, expensive Barolos. While the grape has been a local staple since the Crusades, only with modern cellar technology was the current style of Moscato d’Asti possible. Thanks to heady aro-

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mas of orange blossom and rose petals, refreshing citrus and pear flavours, and only 5 to 6 per cent alcohol, today’s gulpable fizzy moscato could practically be a breakfast wine. It has day-drinking written all over it. With light sweetness balanced by zingy acidity, most examples play well as an easydrinking aperitif, weekend brunch wine, sunset-watching beach pour, dessert partner or late night sipper while stargazing in the hot tub. After years of being overlooked except by hard-core Italophiles, the wines now have buzz - as well as the inevitable cheap copycat versions from California and Australia. According to research company Nielsen, moscato is the fastest growing white varietal, or as vice president Danny Brager told Wine & Spirits Daily last month, one of this year’s “speeding bullets”.

party’’ in Atlanta in 2005 and then mentioned it in a remixed version of Teairra Mari’s “Make Her Feel Good’’, orders poured in to the importer, Brian Larky of Napa Valley-based Dalla Terra Winery Direct. Lil’ Kim slips the line “Still over in Brazil/Sippin’ moscato’’ into her best-selling single “Lighters Up.’’ Canada’s Aubrey Drake Graham, who acts and records as Drake, pairs a glass of moscato with lobster and shrimp in Trey Songz’ “I Invented Sex.’’ And a song called “Moscato’’ appears on an Ab-soul disc with Kendrick Lamar that came out earlier Photos: Bloomberg this year.

Hip-hop hit In the US market, retail sales overall grew more than 100 per cent last year. It’s hard to know how much the hip-hop community has helped the market. After Kanye West chose Saracco Moscato d’Asti to pour at a “listening

Aussie alternate The buzz is there, ditto the sales, and the name moscato is easy to pronounce and remember. No wonder Australian plonk label Yellowtail released their first one this spring. To see how the ubiquitous big brand copies compare with real Moscato d’Asti, I set up a blind tasting of nearly two dozen bottles. The taste gap reminds me of the way remakes of classic films rarely succeed as well as the original. Most are simple and, frankly, yucky. I don’t find the Yellowtail ($7) “more refreshing than a scoop of sorbet’’ as the press release promises, but people who like lemon-lime soda will probably love it. I’d dismissed the pale pink

2011 Innocent Bystander rose moscato ($15) from Australia because of its oh-so cutesy name. But I find it’s lively and refreshing, with watermelon and rose petal aromas and attractive strawberry and citrus tastes that are definitely adult. The wine comes with a crown cap, like beer, and in Australia more than a dozen restaurants and hotels are serving it on tap.

Tasting the wine My highest scores, though, go to Italy’s Moscato d’Astis from the 2010 vintage, which cost between $14 and $16. Both vie for top place. The Saracco, made by moscato specialist Paolo Saracco, has fresh lemon-drop acidity, savoury elegance, and a seductive creamy texture (I’m with Kanye on this one). The Elio Perrone Sourgal is delicate, more complex than most, and has a tantalising orange blossom aroma and a balance of citrusy fruit and minerality. But I also like the sweeter Vietti “Cascinetta” with its ginger and peach aromas and round, peachy flavours. Same for the La Spinetta “Bricco Quaglia,’’ the first single vineyard moscato in Italy, made by renowned winemaker Giorgio Rivetti. Silky textured and frothy, it has a sweet spiciness. These are fun wines you don’t have to think about, only enjoy. Just right for summer. (The author writes on wine and spirits for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)


MELANGE luxury redefined

Match-maker Find your match with Azzaro’s new perfume, Duo. The women’s fragrance has notes of red apple, gardenia and cedar while the men’s perfume has notes of grapefruit, purple ginger and vetiver. Available at select lifestyle stores. Rs 1,620 (30ml); Rs 2,460 (50ml); Rs 3,200 (80ml)

Masculine musk Feel the magnetism of the For Him fragrance by Narciso Rodriguez. The notes of deep musk, patchouli, amber and violet leaf form a perfume that celebrates the enigmatic male. Available at select lifestyle stores. Rs 2,900 (50ml) and Rs 3,950 (100ml)

Snap it shut! Hold on tight to one of the new clutches and wallets launched by Hidesign this season. These bags and accessories are made of vegetable tanned leather and come in a variety of colours. Available at their stores. Rs 1,345 onwards

Diva alert Loewe launches its new fragrance, Loco Loewe for the diva in you. With hints of vanilla, this fruity and floral fragrance comes in a funky, twisted bottle with no edges, only curves. Available at select lifestyle stores. Rs 2,600 (30ml); Rs 3,375 (50ml); Rs 4,925 (100ml)

Smartbuy

A smooth finish Babor, the German luxury cosmetic brand launches its range of skin care products for men in India this summer. The range includes shaving foams, face washes and an eau de toilette to complete your look. Available at the Caressa Day Spa in Mumbai. Rs 1,316 onwards

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August 17, 2011


Smartbuy issue dated August 17, 2011  

Smartbuy issue dated August 17, 2011

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