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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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L U X U R Y

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The world’s fastest car Driving the Bugatti Veyron Page 8

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Nokia N8 reviewed Truth behind LEDs Diwali gifting ideas


WHAT’S HOT this week

Team Smartbuy Editorial Anushya Mamtora anushya@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

Thin is in MacBook Air

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

Apple has launched 11 and 13-inch models of its popular MacBook Air, which weigh as little as 2.3 pounds. These notebooks feature solid state drives, up to seven hours of battery life and 30 days of standby time. They are 0.11-inches at their thinnest and 0.68-inches at their thickest, making them ultra portable. They feature the glass multi-touch trackpad that’s found on the MacBook Pro, and have built-in Face Time camera for video calls between the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch. These notebooks ship with Intel Core 2 Duo processors and NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics, making them suitable for most computing needs. 11-inch: Rs 60,900 onwards; 13-inch: Rs 79,900 onwards

Cover photo: S. Muralidhar

‘Z’ooming in Lenovo IdeaPad Z Series

Oriental luxury Dior Shanghai Blue

Lenovo has launched the Z460 (14-inch) and Z560 (15-inch), which adds to its IdeaPad series of notebooks. The laptops are powered by Intel Core i5-460 processors and come with the ergonomic Chiclet keyboard. They include features like OneKey Theatre, which provides an enhanced movie experience, Dolby Advanced Audio for a superior audio experience, HDMI and eSATA ports. The notebooks, which come with a metallic finish near the palm-rest, are equipped with safety features like Lenovo Veriface Face Recognition technology and OneKey Rescue system. Rs 34,000 to Rs 46,000

The latest from the Dior family, Shanghai Blue, like all Dior phones, comes with an AMOLED screen, crystal sound and quad-band connectivity. My Dior is a partner to the Dior phone, which connects to the main handset via Bluetooth (within a 15 metre range) and enables you to receive and make calls, store the 10 most recent numbers, display time, show the address book as well as serve as a make-up check with its mirrored display screen. The Shanghai Blue edition is made of hand-chiselled pure sapphire crystal, for a luxe calling experience. Rs 2.7 lakh

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Guiding the way

Social station Nokia C3

Garmin-Asus A10

Following the success of the E63 and E71, Nokia has launched the C3, a full QWERTY handset. The phone has features like one-click access to SNS, email and chat via Nokia messaging, a WebKit-based browser and Opera mini client. It comes with a 2-meg camera with 4x digital zoom, a media player, FM radio, 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in hands-free speaker and support for up to 8GB of storage via microSD card. The C3 will be available in three shades - Slate Grey, Golden White and Hot Pink. Rs 7,249

The latest from the GarminAsus collaboration, the A10, is a navigation phone, which is based on the Android 2.1 platform, upgradable to Android 2.2. The phone comes pre-loaded with maps, so you don’t have to depend on third party applications, or be worried about losing network coverage. ‘Walking Mode’ is for pedestrian navigation and features an electronic compass. Features include a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen, 5-meg camera, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB RAM and Google Mobile services. Rs 18,990

‘LED’er of the pack Philips Series 5000 Philips has introduced 15 new models of LED TVs with sizes ranging from 24 to 55 inches. These full HD TVs will come with Natural Light 2 Engine, which adjusts the brightness of edge-light, as well as Digital Noise Reduction. The two-speaker audio system provides an enhanced audio experience, and energy efficiency quotient means you consume 40 per cent less energy. For increased connectivity, the TVs come with HDMI and USB ports. Rs 26,500 onwards

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SMARTPHONE review

Return of the Titan? Ketaki Bhojnagarwala n the good old days, there was only one brand that was almost synonymous with a branded mobile phone – Nokia. A flood of new brands and new handsets later, Nokia has been pushed out of the limelight, especially in the smartphone market. Recently, they launched the Nokia N8, a smartphone with an allnew and improved Symbianˆ3 OS. With a high price tag putting it on par with the big boys out there, we wanted to find out whether the N8 matches up to the smartphone benchmark.

The touch screen is capacitive, and you can program it to vibrate when touched. The screen was responsive and worked smoothly most of the time. The screen supports multi-touch, including pinch to zoom and swiping. You get a choice of two keyboards – the QWERTY keyboard in the landscape mode and the alphanumeric one in the portrait mode. We found typing in QWERTY mode to be slightly difficult, as the virtual keys were a bit small.

First glance

Media

At first glance, the N8 really impresses. It has a sturdy body, encased in an anodised aluminium casing. It feels hefty in your hand, although it is just about short of being called bulky. The 3.5-inch screen is a 16:9 HD AMOLED, which is a decent size for viewing videos and photos. It also ships with 16GB of internal storage, expandable by another 32GB through microSD. One of the USPs of this phone is the inclusion of a whopping 12-meg camera with Carl Zeiss optics and a Xenon flash. The camera protrudes out of the back panel, however this does not interfere with the overall look of the phone. The front of the phone is bare except for a single button on the bottom left, which brings up the menu screen when pressed. The right panel has a volume rocker switch as well as a dedicated camera button. It also features a lock button that you slide sideways to lock or unlock the phone. On the left is a slot for a microSD card slot, a SIM card slot and a mini-USB port. The back panel is fixed, so you don’t have to bother taking out the battery to put in your SIM. However, this also means that the battery is difficult to replace. The top of the phone has a power button, a 3.5mm headphone jack and best of all, an HDMI slot. The bottom only has the standard Nokia thin-pin charging point. The phone can be charged either through the thin pin slot or via mini-USB.

Unlike in most phone cameras, the 12-megger in the N8 doesn’t let you down. The closest we’ve seen to such good image quality is with the 8-megger on the Sony Ericsson Xperia. The camera comes with a variety of scene modes, and gives you manual options to adjust ISO, White Balance, Exposure, Contrast and Sharpness. Images came out with good colour reproduction, and the camera functioned quite well in low light too. The camera is also capable of taking good quality videos in 720p at 25 fps. The only downside we observed was the lack of adequate zoom – the camera offers only 2x zoom for stills and 3x zoom for videos. However, considering that this is a phone camera, those niggles can be overlooked. The phone also has a decent photo and video editor. The latter lets you add music clips and text, and we ended up with some really fun productions. Videos played beautifully on the N8, with crisp quality and no stagger. We used the provided USB connector to hook the phone up to a flash drive, and were able to browse its contents and play media straight off it. The phone acts like a mini-computer, letting you use external devices as a storage option. Transferring a 700MB movie file took less than three minutes, and we were able to navigate through the movie without any delays, stagger or pixellation. The music player displays album art, which is always a welcome addition. The ample storage means you can store all your media without the need for an additional Mp3 player. It also comes with an FM radio. The Social network manager from Ovi integrates Face-

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Interface The new Symbianˆ3 interface definitely appears to be an improvement over the last few versions. It includes features like HD video playback, three customisable home screens, multi-tasking and one touch switching between open apps. You can add widgets of your choice to the home screens, by long-pressing the screen until the edit option pops up. Switch home screens either by swiping to the left, or pressing the touch button at the bottom of the screen. Other touch buttons on the screen are Options and a Call button.

Love: Improved UI, outstanding camera Hate: High price tag, sluggish sensors Price: Rs 26,259

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book and Twitter into one handy application, displaying your updates on the home screen. What we missed was the lack of contact integration between Facebook and the phone book. What you can do however, is add someone’s social network profile to their contact details, so when you select that you’re taken to their SNS profile. However, the Symbianˆ3 interface, unlike the Android, doesn’t allow for automatic integration, so you tend to avoid the tedious, manual process. Events from your Facebook do get added to your calendar, which is a nice feature. The Browser on the phone hasn’t seen much improvement – what is on offer are just basic functions, so you can do a Google search or enter in an URL. We would have liked to see the addition of multiple tabs on this latest Symbian OS. However, it comes with Flash Lite, which supports most Flash Player 10.1 content. The phone comes with integrated GPS, and Ovi maps also worked really well, pinpointing our location in sec-


Specifications Form factor: Touch screen monoblock Protocols: WCDMA 850/900/1700/ 1900/2100 and GSM/EDGE 850/900/ 1800/1900 Codecs: AMR, NB AMR, WB AMR, FR, EFR Display: 3.5-inch AMOLED, capacitive touch screen, widescreen 16:9 HD with (640x360 pixels) 16M colors, active area 43.2 mm x 76.8 mm Processor speed: 680MHz

Photos: S.S. Kumar

Connectors: HDMI, 3.5 mm AV connector, micro USB interface to PC, uSD slot, 2mm DC jack, USB 2.0 High Speed, USB OTG, USB charging Memory: 256MB RAM, 512 ROM User Memory: 140 MB internal after boot-up, 16GB eMMC, Hot swappable microSD up to 32GB Camera: 12-meg AF with Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 28mm wide-angle optics. Xenon Flash, focal length 29 mm, 20x digital zoom camera Physical keys: application key, power key, camera key, lock key, volume up & down

onds and giving step by step directions to where we wanted to go.

Call quality We had absolutely no problems with call quality on the N8. We were able to hear people on the other end clearly, and our callers had no complaints about clarity, even when we were in moving vehicles.

Performance This is one area where we felt that the phone let us down. Although the Symbianˆ3 OS has made a huge difference to the overall experience, we observed niggling issues that made us think Android or the iOS 4 trumped Symbian. The phone comes with a 680MHz ARM11 processor, so it doesn’t match up to the 1GHz processors we’ve seen in some other smartphones. The accelerometer wasn’t very accurate, often it would continue in landscape mode for a couple of seconds even after we turned it to face us vertically. We also found that the menu and apps took a few seconds longer to load compared to some of the other smartphones in the market. The phone has a built in proximity sensor, but this is one area where it really failed. Often the sensor didn’t work, and even when it did, it only resulted in the screen timing out, so we ended up putting people on hold or activating

the speaker phone on numerous occasions. Symbianˆ3 does support multi-tasking though, so we were able to have the music player on when doodling with other functions on the phone. We were also able to use the accelerometer to put the alarm on snooze simply by turning the phone upside down. Battery life is estimated at 720 minutes of talktime and 390 hours standby. With the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on, all applications running in online mode, intermittent use of the camera and a few hours of talktime, the phone lasted about a day, which was pretty good. Putting the widgets in offline mode and turning off the Bluetooth increased battery life considerably.

Our verdict Despite the improvements made on the new Symbian OS, it doesn’t match up to the Android’s user interface. This is definitely one of Nokia’s best attempts at the smartphone segment, and the N8 trumps the N97 Mini by far. But, Nokia is also pitching the N8 at a hefty price. However, if Nokia does decide to go down the Android road, other contenders in the market might find themselves in a spot of trouble. Send feedback to ketaki@thehindu.co.in

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Input methods: Finger touch support for text input and UI control: ITU keypad, full keyboard. Chinese handwriting recognition. Possibility to use capacitive stylus Stereo FM Radio Hands free speaker: Boosted Class D mono speaker Integrated GPS 3D Entry Accelerometer Proximity sensor Battery: BL-4D 1200mAh (inbox), up-to 7.7/5.4 2G/3G talk time, 719/603hrs stanby, 7.3 hrs H.264 video 720p playback, 3.2h 720p video recording Dimensions: 113.5x59x12.9 mm Volume: 86 cc Weight: 135 g


USER manual

Spotlight on LEDs! Mahananda Bohidar ith Diwali just around the corner, it’s time to hit the stores to pick up everything that you might have been saving up for. And if you have been eyeing that brightly lit, size zero display at the local electronics store but are confused by all that advertising blitzkrieg about LED and 3D TVs, allow us to enlighten you. The big-wigs in the display game like Samsung, Sony and LG have managed to grab your attention with their larger-than-life ads for their new ‘LED’ television displays, but here are a couple of things you should know about LEDs, before you shell out the big bucks. Some ‘unlearning’ first! LED TVs, as you might have been led to believe, are not truly LED (Light Emitting Diode) displays but are, in reality, LCD ones. The difference between a regular LCD and an LED TV lies in the ‘backlighting’. What’s that, you ask? Here’s a low-down. Remember the digital watch you had as a kid or the scientific calculator that you dad gifted you? The display on those were LCD displays too! The only difference being, that those weren’t backlit, unlike TV sets that adorn our living rooms today. LCD displays are based on liquid crystals, which are particles that can arrange and re-arrange themselves in response to an electric current. Each crystal can act like a shutter either allowing light to pass through or blocking the incoming light. One LCD panel constitutes millions of such liquid crystals arranged in a grid to let a backlight through and create

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images. As a source of backlighting, regular LCD TVs use fluorescent bulbs, technically known as CCFLs (Cold cathode fluorescent lamps). These had succeeded CRT television sets that were bulky and created pictures that were far from stunning. The LED TVs that are being portrayed as larger-thanlife displays in ads now, are an improvement on the existing LCD TV technology and are not truly a brand new technology altogether. Hence, LED TVs are actually just another type of LCD displays. These are called LED TVs because, instead of the CCFL bulbs, a panel of Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are the source for the backlight for these LCD TVs.

sive to backlit LEDs and results in a much improved contrast ratio than a traditional LCD or even an edge-lit one. Edge-lit LED – Like the name suggests, the LEDs on these sets are arranged only along the edge of the LCD panel but a ‘diffusion’ panel allows for the light to be distributed evenly throughout your TV set. Owing to the fact that this kind of display requires the LEDs to be placed only at the sides of the unit, it paves the way for manufacturers to build a set so slim that it would give size-zero models an inferiority complex. Edge-lit LEDs also score when it comes to power efficiency. Compared to the conventional LCD TV and even a backlit LED, an edge-lit consumes much lesser power.

Why the replacement? CCFLs are significantly more cost-effective for bigger displays like a TV set but when it comes to the overall picture quality, contrast ratio, colour gamut and power efficiency, LEDs can deliver better. This has prompted all major manufacturers to turn to the new lighting kid on the block.

Types of LEDs There are two-types of LED TVs based on how they provide the backlight for the LCD display. Backlit / Full array LED – Backlit or full-array LED TVs are made up of LEDs grouped in ‘blocks’ and placed behind the LCD panel in the display. These blocks of LEDs can be switched on or off independently of each other. This ability, popularly known as local dimming is exclu-

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Television setup Apart from the LCD panel, an LED TV has a couple of other layers or panels that constitute the display. One panel consists of ‘diffusers’ that ensure uniform brightness throughout the screen and ‘polarisers’ that sandwich the LCD panel to make sure that the picture relayed is aligned correctly. Depending on the manufacturer, there might be another layer of anti-glare coating apart from the main display. You have a light source behind the liquid crystal panel that shines light through the display. Even when it comes to LED backlights, there are two categories of backlighting possible. White LEDs – These LEDs aren’t actually white but a combination of blue LEDs and yellow phosphor that give


>> Glossary

wherein the horizontal lines are projected in an interlaced (i) manner.

Luminance The display brightness is called Luminance. Its unit is Candela (cd/cm2), and the greater the luminance, the brighter the display is.

Black Level

Gamma Correction

A black level for a screen is its ability to reproduce the black colour. It is crucial for a display to produce the blacks as deeply and clearly as possible, which effectively helps the screen to reproduce the rest of the colour gamut with optimum vibrancy and clarity.

As a characteristic of CRTs and LCDs, the luminance doesn’t increase in direct proportion to increase of the input voltage. (It rises in a curve). A method to correct this is called Gamma Correction as CRTs to be compatible with them.

Advanced TFT (LCD)/ Multi-scene display

Grey Scale

PPI (Pixel Per Inch)

The Advanced TFT (LCD) Multi-Scene Display LCD can be used both in reflective mode and transmissive mode according to the brightness of the surroundings to view a high-definition picture.

The Grey Scale indicates the number of halftone levels. The more the levels, the richer will be the expressiveness of the image.

PPI is the number of pixels per inch. The larger the number, the more enhanced the fineness.

Halftone Level

A pixel is the dot element that, together with the others, constitutes an image on a video screen or in print. A video screen contains thousands of pixels, each of which is made up of one or more dots, or a cluster of dots. A monochrome screen would contain a single dot for each pixel which a colour screen will contain three dots (red, green, blue) for each pixel on a screen.

Contrast/Contrast Ratio In flat panel displays, the ratio between light state and dark state, or the luminance ratio is called the Contrast or Contrast Ratio.

The Halftone Level is defined as the luminance levels between the highest and lowest luminance. The number of levels is called a grey scale.

HDMI Crosstalk Crosstalk is a leak of drive signals on the panel to the areas that are not driven. This may cause shadowing. (The term originally meant interference).

Electro Luminescence (EL) Electro Luminescence (EL) is device (or display) that utilises a material that generates fluorescence (self luminous) when a voltage is applied. It has features such as high-contrast, wide viewing angles, rapid response, low power consumption, etc. Those that don’t contain carbon molecules are called inorganic ED, and those that do are called organic EL.

HDMI stands for High-Definition Media Interface. It is the latest digital connection available for consumer products. Its biggest advantage is the high bandwidth which allows it to carry, high resolution audio and video signals together at the same time. HDMI 1.4 is the latest version released for a HDMI cable. It also supports the 3D video signal.

Liquid Crystal (LC) Liquid Crystal is a material in a state between liquid and solid. In its natural status, molecules are aligned according to a loose regularity. The molecule formation changes when a voltage is applied.

Full HD (1080p)

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

With a resolution of 1920x1080p, Full HD i.e. Full Highdefinition signal is the highest possible video resolution available for consumer video products till date. 1920 represents the vertical lines in the video signal and the 1080 represents the horizontal lines on the screen, while ‘p’ stands for progressive which, implies that all these 1080 horizontal lines are projected in a progressive scan method. This is considered to be better than 1080i (HD Ready)

The LCD is a display device that utilises the nature of ‘LC’ wherein its molecule formation changes when a voltage is applied.

the impression of white light. Most edge-lit LED sets use this technology with the light diffusing panel behind the LCD panel to redirect and scatter the light in a way to ensure an evenly lit image. RGB LEDs – Owing to the fact that these LEDs work on the basis of all three primary colours, the colour rendered on the screen is way superior. The colours are deeper and more realistic than those produced by white LEDs. This makes most television manufacturers to go for RGB LEDs in their high-end LED-backlit television sets.

Plasmas

Why does LED score? Contrast – This parameter is usually denoted by a ratio of the brightest white to the darkest blacks that can be displayed on the screen. When it comes to contrasts, LEDs trump CCFLs because of their ability to ‘dim’ locally thus allowing the screen to show both light and dark details as well as possible, resulting in an improved on-screen contrast. Form factor – While the average thickness of LCD TVs could be anywhere between 6-inches to about 2inches, LED TVs, especially edge-lit ones are extremely sleek and space-efficient; apart from being easy to move around and wall-mountable owing to thickness that can be as little as 7-8 millimetres.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) This is a device that is composed of two kinds of semiconductors joined together. It emits light when a voltage is applied and excels in luminance (brightness).

Plasma TVs are based on electric current being made to pass through neutral gases to produce colour and consequently, images. These gases are trapped between two plates of glass and offer very bright, crisp images, even on a large screen surface. However, one factor that Plasma TVs lose out on is burn-ins or dead pixels. Due to the inherent technology

Regular LED versus 3D LED You must have seen the flashy new TVs being advertised as 3D LEDs. These displays are your regular LED TVs that come with inbuilt processing capabilities that enable you to watch 3D content on your telly with the help of accessories like Active Shutter glasses. Some of these televisions also come with 3D processors and emitters that allow for an auto-conversion technology that convert regular 2D content on various channels into 3D in real time. Do keep in mind that a regular LCD or LED will not be able to playback 3D content for you even if you have 3D-enabled players or 3D movies on a DVD. You would need a 3D LED TV to indulge in a 3D experience in your living room.

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Plasma Display Panel (PDP) PDP is a flat display that is equipped with two glass boards with electrodes between which gas is filled and utilises emission by plasma discharge.

Pixel/Dot

Projection (Display) It is a method to project the display contents on the screen such as projections. There are two types of LC projections – the front type projection that projects the display light from the front and the rear type projection that projects light from the back of the screen.

Reflective LCD It is a type of LCD that uses outside lights as a light source instead of a backlight, and displays the image with its reflections. As it doesn’t use the backlights, their power consumption is on the lower side.

Response Time It is the time period between the signal input and the start of operation or output; this means that in LCD panels, the time elapsed since the ‘on’ or ‘off’ driving signals are input until the transmission rate or reflection rate gets to the specified value. Often the sum of the response times for the ‘on’ and ‘off’ signals are used as response time. It is also referred to as response rate. AV MAX

that Plasma TVs work on, the chances of the display getting a burn-in are present while no such thing can happen with an LED TV set as they work on a completely different technology. Plasma screen, on the other hand, deliver amazing reproduction quality for fast-moving videos and are ideal for watching sports and movies. Adding to this, Plasma TV sets do not suffer from motion lags or ghosting while displaying fast moving images, a common issue with LCD TVs especially in those with larger screen size.

Moolah talk When it comes to display sizes, LED TVs can range from anywhere between 22-inches to 55-inches. The price obviously differs depending on the manufacturer, but on an average, an LED TV can cost you a minimum of about Rs 20,000 and can go up to Rs 2.5 lakh for a 55-incher. The low-end models would be ideal for a bedroom setting but might not have the capability to playback high-definition content. On the other hand, if you have a living room to adorn a mammoth LED TV with or are planning to set it up in your home theatre, you could go with a big-screen one that will also provide you with Full HD or even 3D capabilities.


AUTO focus

Photos: S. Muralidhar

A lesson in taming ‘The Speed Demon’ S. Muralidhar ew cars can compare to the Bugatti Veyron when it comes to exclusivity. If you were to own or drive one of them, the only experience that might count as being more exclusive would be rocketing into space and back! The Veyron was conceived to be an ultra-elite sportscar, just like the Bugattis of the past. It delivers exclusivity in every parameter conceivable for an automobile – materials used, engineering, performance, bespoke options and production numbers. It is the most powerful and the fastest street-legal car ever manufactured. “Give me statistics,” you say? Now dig this – it has a top speed of over 400 kmph and together with the Grand Sport and Super Sport variants, only about 500 units of the Veyron will be built. And the total number of Bugattis that have been built in all of the company’s history is yet to cross the five-figure mark! No wonder, the Veyron is called the supercar amongst supercars.

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Design There is something awe-inspiring about the design of the Bugatti Veyron. It is like no other and there is this sense of taut anticipation even when the car is standing still. Walk around it and there are inevitable comparisons to be made between the Veyron and a fighter jet or aircraft. There are more than a few hints – the extremely low-slung, aerodynamic profile, the massive twin air intakes on the roof and the trademark Bugatti oval grille at the front – that make the Veyron’s design look like a cross between a jet and a super sportscar.

The Veyron is an extreme interpretation of automotive engineering ability. Every part of it is over-engineered on purpose to make it capable of intense performance that is on the very edge of what is mechanically possible by a car. The top speed of the Veyron is not limited electronically due to legal restrictions, but is limited to about 407 kmph because the tyres can’t handle more!

Pure power To keep the Veyron’s abilities a rare mixture of power and sportiness Bugatti engineers have endowed it with a monstrous engine. Two V8 engines were effectively bolted together to get a 8-litre W16 configuration engine, which additionally gets the help of four turbochargers to spit out a mind-numbing 1001PS of peak power. That is almost Smartbuy

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twice the power generated by some of the top super sportscars of today like for example the Lamborghini Gallardo. Just for putting the Veyron’s raw power in perspective, consider the Suzuki SX4 for example – the Veyron weighs only one and half times the Maruti sedan, but is nearly ten times as powerful! To get a taste of the Veyron’s abilities, I travelled to Bugatti’s headquarters last month. I get to drive the newer Grand Sport, a roadster version of the Veyron, with the roof capable of only being manually removed, no electrical retraction (because there is no space and will also lead to an increase in weight). Stepping on the throttle of the Veyron Grand Sport, I immediately get the feeling of being in an aircraft. The rear-mounted engine hisses and growls at the same time. The noise of air rushing in is coming from the air intakes on the roof. The Veyron’s intakes sucks in as much air in one minute as an average human being would in four days! The handcrafted W16 engine itself is built with about 3,500 parts, twice as many as that of an average sedan. Many of the parts are made with Titanium, pistons are machined from solid aluminium, and there are a total of 12 radiators around the car to keep the beast from overheating. The Veyron’s engine also generates crazy loads of torque – as much as 1,250 Newton meters from as low as 2,200 rpm.I just tap the throttle and the Veyron feels like it is taking off. I feel the surge in torque in the pit of my stomach. In seconds, the car has already crossed the 220 kmph mark. Next to me seated in the car is Pierre, Bugatti’s famous


The rear wing of the Veyron and its fine electronic control is also the reason why the car doesn’t take off literally; after all it can travel at speeds that are higher than the speeds at which jumbo jets take off. Ah, here is more of the comparisons with an aircraft. The body panels of the Veyron as crafted out of aluminium, the monocoque forming the passenger cabin is made out of carbon-fibre, there is titanium all around the car, including each individual bolt, and aircraft-grade stainless steel is used for the front and rear frame of the Veyron. The Veyron’s unique abilities also throw up unique problems. Like the risk of huge damage to the vehicle when even a seemingly harmless object like a bird strikes it at high speeds. After an incident where a gull hit the bonnet of a Veyron causing heavy damage, the cars now get Titanium honeycomb covers for the bonnet and airdam grilles. Titanium is one of the lightest and yet hardest metals known to man. We see it occasionally in a luxury watch strap or an expensive fountain pen. The Veyron has loads of it all around. And oh, the Bugatti oval bonnet grille lipping is made out of solid sterling silver!

test driver, who clocked the top speed of 431 kmph in the Veyron on a test track. Molshiem is a small sleepy town with a very small population, one McDonalds and one famous landmark – the Bugatti Atelier. This is not the place where I could have experienced the full potential of the Grand Sport I was driving.

Super-cruisin’ But, the ease with which the Veyron was cruising at speeds that other cars have to work hard to achieve is amazing. A glance at the horsepower control in the Grand Sport’s dashboard reveals this unique car’s full potential – constant 250 kmph speeds require merely 270-280 HPs of the Grand Sport’s output. More than 700 HP are continuously ‘on standby’ for quick and fast interludes. In other words: at 1,000 rpm, only slightly above idling, the Veyron has 730 Newton meter of torque available! To handle the extreme amount of power on tap, Bugatti engineers have given the Veyron a seven-speed, dual clutch transmission. We are all aware of dual-clutch transmissions where one clutch keeps the next gear on standby while the previous one is operating. In the Veyron, the gearbox shifts so fast that I don’t even feel the change – forget lurching, not even a faint hesitation is evident. I only hear the gear shifts, as the engine revs up, dips and rises again with every flick of the steering paddles. It takes only 150 milliseconds for the transmission to shift. That is about the time you would take to blink your eye. And because there is so much power available in reserve, I could not feel the gear change even when I shifted down to first gear from the seventh when I was cruising at a 170 kmph! The Veyron engine’s prowess boggles the mind. It can go from standstill to 100 kmph in 2.7 seconds, and 0 to 300

Ka-Ching!

kmph comes up in a mere 16.7 secs – that is on a par with modern Formula 1 cars. But, to make sure the Veyron is safe as it is capable, this super sportscar actually stops faster. Massive carbon-ceramic brakes (similar to the ones you will find in jumbo jets) and its rear wing or spoiler combine to generate twice the force of gravity in braking force to bring the Veyron to a standstill faster than it took to accelerate.

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The Veyron is not for the weak-hearted or for those with shallow pockets. The Grand Sport is expected to cost over Rs 20 crore (no, that is not a typo), when launched in India. A regular service of the Veyron can cost as much as an entry-level luxury sedan. Each titanium bolt that Bugatti engineers use in the Veyron cost about $ 130, and a set of four replacement tyres for the Veyron can set you back by as much as the price of a premium sedan! But, if you have about Rs 20 crore to spare and are looking for the exotic amongst exotics, the Veyron Grand Sport is it. Period.


History Here is a bit about the Bugatti brand and the company’s past. The Bugatti brand and the Manufacturing plant at Molsheim, in the Alsace region of France was founded by Etorre Bugatti, an Italian immigrant. The plant was set up in 1909 and for the next fifty years, Ettore Bugatti, his son Jean and later (after they passed on) other company engineers built some of the fastest, most technologically advanced and luxurious cars of their times. Bugatti cars were some of the most successful cars in the racing circuit. And Ettore Bugatti and his son’s passion for perfection and exclusivity ensured that the

brand and its cars enjoyed an unparalleled appeal amongst discerning buyers and collectors. With the outbreak of World War II, Bugatti’s sales petered out and the car plant stopped production and had to be handed over. Molsheim, originally in Germany became part of France after the war. Then, for a decade between 1987 and 1997, the Bugatti brand was owned by Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli, and registered as the company – Bugatti Automobili SpA. The Bugatti EB110 was the most noteworthy car that was launched during this period. Later, in 1998, the Bugatti marque was acquired by the Volkswagen group, and production of its future cars was brought back to the original site in Molsheim, France.

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The newly registered company – Bugatti Automobiles SAS – decided to manufacture the Veyron in the year 2000 and the first car rolled out in 2005. Today the Veyron and its variants are manufactured at the company’s Atelier (a French term for an artist’s studio) in Molsheim. Here a total of just 17 specialist workers put together the Veyron by hand after much of its hand crafted parts are flown in from around the world. Situated right next to the renovated château (see photos), where Ettore originally worked out of, the Atelier, featuring modern minimalist architecture, is a rare combination of the old and the modern being the home for what is arguably the world’s most advanced and most unique car.


AUTO news

New R-Class from Mercedes-Benz S

tepping into a new benchmark setting segment Mercedes-Benz’s latest launch, the new R-Class, claims to combine sedan like performance, all-wheel-drive SUV confidence and the brand’s trademark safety.

Exterior Designed like a crossover, the seven-seater boasts a fivedoor design with multi-element headlamps, standard front fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual chrome exhaust tips and LED lamps.

The in-cabin experience is enhanced by spacious seating, generous legroom and headroom, power windows that include flip-open 3rd-row quarter windows, electric sunroof, leather interiors, leather-covered tilt and telescopic steering wheel, three-zone automatic climate controls and a choice of high gloss wood trims. The R-Class also features an audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD/DVD changer, eight-inch screens for rear passengers, DVD player, wireless speakers and more.

Engine Interior

The 3.5-litre V6 engine, the R350 4MATIC is capable of

An Exclusive addition to the Honda City H

onda Siel cars India has launched an ‘Exclusive’ variant of the Honda City, with new interior and exterior luxury features. The new City gets a chrome trunk garnish and chrome door sash moulding along with an ‘Exclusive’ rear badge and body coloured mud flaps. The additions also include leather seats and leather steering in MT & AT and leather gear shift knob in MT. With the new entry, Honda City also gets a new colour – Urban Titanium – apart from the existing Taffeta white, Alabaster silver, Crystal black pearl, Bold beige metallic and Habanero Red. The Honda City Exclusive is priced at Rs 9.53 lakh (V MT) and Rs 10.25 lakh (V AT), ex-showroom New Delhi.

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generating 272 bhp of max power at 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 2,400 to 5,000 rpm. The R350 4MATIC is also equipped as standard with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The R-Class is equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s PRESAFE safety system that acts decisively to prepare for a possible accident using sensors from two of the active safety systems in the vehicle: Brake Assist and Electronic Stability program. The premium MPV will be available in the Long Wheel Base R350 4MATIC version with the V6 petrol engine. It is priced at Rs 58.79 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai.


DIWALI dhamaka

The time has come for vibrant colours to seep into your homes, to stock up delectable chocolate boxes and colourful hampers for friends and light up your home like never before. These are a few of our favourite things…

nds nal bra g io n t i a n t r e int reak igh Grandniqlue lighting optiotionnifsyfrooumwant tuost’ ake a b U a alakk What: Diwali decor brass ‘v d : n r a o f s Best al diya lhi adition r t De m o r f s, New quest jn li o Z : Where h: Price on re uc How m

Foodie delight

What: Hampers stuffed with chocolates, crispy cookies and crackers, sparkling drinks and exotic beverages Best for: A gourmet uncle or a gourmand friend Where: Godrej Nature’s Basket outlets How much: Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500

Choco bloc

Beauty basket

What: Festive chocolate platters from Patchi Best for: Corporate gifting, chocoholic boss Where: Patchi store, Select Citywalk, New Delhi How much: Rs 1,500 onwards

One for the Gods

What: Exotic beauty kits from L’Occitane’s vanity case – perfumes, gels, lotions, candles et al Best for: That bosom buddy who is always armed with beauty knick knacks Where: L’Occitane stores, New Delhi How much: Rs 2,590 onwards

What: Peacock-themed ‘puja thali’ with incense holder, diya and vermillion box Best for: Your spiritual mom who wants to add a classic touch to her prayer room Where: Select Citywalk, New Delhi How much: Price on request


Raise a toast What: David Redman’s amethyst cased crystal barware set with scotch decanter, whisky tumbler, whisky glass, vodka shot glasses are more Best for: Your own mini bar to steal the show at the Diwali bash Where: House of Raro boutiques, New Delhi and Mumbai How much: Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh

Get nut ty

What : Magp pi Best f or: Se e’s newest n r ut bow v toaste i ls d pista ng garlic fla v ch oured in fine steel Wher lightly e: Mag ios ppi How m uch: R e stores s 1,50 0 to R s 3,00 0

Crystal lights

Spiritual lighting

What: Sparkling sterling silver candle stands studded with Swarovski crystals Best for: Elegant lighting, with or without the celebrations Where: Momentz store, New Delhi How much: Rs 1,025 per piece

Roulette calling What: Sauza Tequila party kit containing a Sauza Gold and Blanco Best for: A game of roulette that comes with it if you are bored of the ‘taash’ party Where: Across retailers in select cities How much: Rs 3,000 (approx)

What: Lladro’s Ganesha diya crafted in porcelain with elegant carving Best for: Devout and classy grandma Where: Lladro boutiques How much: Rs 8,500


TASTER’S choice

Photos: Bloomberg

Finding a match for roast pork John Mariani mericans may still eat more beef than pork about 63 pounds per capita each year versus 48 - but the current foodie fascination in the U.S. with all things porcine has crowned the pig king. Whether it’s roast Italian maiale or a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich stuffed with slices of ham, pork hasn’t had better press since Charles Lamb wrote “A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig” back in 1823, in which he nailed the appeal of the savoury porker as a kind of “animal manna.” Yet unlike beef, which demands a big, brawny Cabernet Sauvignon to match its mineral-rich, juicy flavour, roast pig, sausages, and ham require a bit more thought as to what wine truly enhances the meat. This year, I decided to find out which wines would go best with a backyard roast. I collected a dozen bottles of various varietals. I had already eliminated a few I knew wouldn’t work, including those big Cabernets, expensive Pinot Noirbased Burgundies and Super Tuscans. To some extent I relied on cultural tradition, that is, I asked myself what wine would be drunk by people who historically do pig roasts - Italians, Spaniards, Central and South Americans. I eliminated the Chinese, who tend to sweeten the meat with soy sauce, caramel and ginger.

A

Lite beer Pig roasts are certainly a part of the American South’s culinary tradition, but wine has never played a big role in that history. Rather like in the hillside barbecues called lechoneras outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico, where a cold Medalla Light beer seems to work wonders. Because I basted with a puree of garlic, onion, chilly pepper and orange juice, I needed a wine with tannic backbone and an undertone of sweetness to complement the richness of the meat. Those two characteristics happen to be part of the appeal of the best California Zinfandels and their Italian counterparts, Primitivos. A Joel Gott Zinfandel 2008 ($18) from Lodi and Amador had the right intensity, spice and peppery notes, providing a counterpoint to the smoke and basting juices. Primitivo is the Italian name for the same grape as Zinfandel (both came from Croatia), and a 2007 example from Piana del Sole in Puglia, where the varietal has flourished, had a perfectly pleasant, cherry and raspberry component. Yet overall the wine didn’t do much for the roast pig’s big flavours.

Spanish blend More complex but still a bit pale were two other Italian bottlings, a Masi Campofiorin Ripasso 2005 ($18) and Tre Roveri Pico Maccario Barbera d’Asti 2007 ($25), while a Spanish Mas de Can Blau 2005 ($42.50), a blend of Carine-

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na and Garnacha, had the depth and brawn those grapes are known for, marrying well with the meat. My favourite match-ups were two Amarone della Valpolicellas. These wines from Italy’s Veneto region are made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes left to dry out on straw mats to achieve a raisin-like status, intensifying the sugars. A decade ago this traditional process resulted in unique, high-alcohol wines that tasted of leather, with more than a hint of sweetness and oxidation. Today the wines are better made, cleaner and intended to be drunk earlier, and the result is a wine of enormous body and 15 per cent alcohol, but without the musty oxidation.

Two Amarones I tried two Amarones, a Vaona 2006 ($44) and a Speri Amarone 2004 ($92). The former was right on target to match the big flavours of the smoky meat, melding fruit and soft tannins with fat and smoke. It is a silky, sensual wine and the meat seemed blessed by it. The Speri, considered one of the finest Amarones now made, has the benefit of aging, and its layers and layers of dark ripe fruits and its Port-like bouquet seem tailor-made to go with my backyard meal. At $92, it’s one you save for a special occasion - such as a major meal like this or a birthday - which it was: mine. (The author writes on wine for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)


MELANGE luxury redefined

>>Zig Zag shoe >>Lush lashes

Kitsch at its best, Reebok’s latest ZigTech collection for the fall winter season is vibrant in its ten colour versions and zigshaped sole. The technology also reduces wear and tear of the shins and hamstrings by 20 per cent. Grab a pair to forget muscle catches at Reebok outlets. Rs 6,999 and Rs 7,999

With a name like Grow Luscious by Fabulash, Revlon grabs attention this week with its newest mascara for longer and fuller lashes. Equipped with a patented formula, the all-day wear mascara is available in ‘blackest black’ shade at lifestyle and cosmetic stores. Rs 470

>>Vintage glory It’s rich burnished leather, hand-beaded accents and large dose of old-world charm for Fossil in its Long Live Vintage collection. This floral handbag with tasteful thread work is a neat pick. Available at select lifestyle stores. Rs 2,995 onwards (bags)

>>Loco Love

>>Breathe in, breathe out

The sprightly and fun metallic lime colour is Loco Loewe’s way of summing up the ‘diva’ in today’s woman. The fragrance is fresh like the quirky bottle itself with exotic floral notes. Pick one up at select lifestyle stores. Rs 4,925 (100ml)

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That’s what Thalgo claims your skin will do after you treat it to its Oxygen antipollution skincare range. Take your pick from Oxygen SOS Serum, 3Defence Cream, 3-Defence Fluid and Cryodetox mask at leading spas and salons. Rs 1,715 to Rs 3,125

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Smartbuy issue dated October 27, 2010