Page 1

Smartbuy Business Line

G A D G E T S

|

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A U T O |

L U X U R Y

Rover rafting Taking the Queen’s car through the woods Page 8

+

Asus Bamboo U43Jc reviewed Massage goes high-tech

www.blsmartbuy.com


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 R.Diwakar ramdiwakar@thehindu.co.in

Web Advertising Contact N. Amarnath

Get closer Fujifilm Finepix S1800

amarnath@thehindu.co.in

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

With 18x zoom, the Finepix 1800 from Fujifilm lets you get closer than ever to your subject. It comes with Instant Zoom, which lets you take a long distance shot of your subject with its surroundings, and then crop into the subject after the photo is taken. It has a stabilised CCD sensor and ISO 6400 for sharp shots in low light and also a variety of scene modes, Tracking Auto Focus, Smile and Shoot Mode, Blink Detection and Panorama mode. Choose from a full range of manual functions for professional users, or Automatic Scene Recognition for beginners.

Rs 14,999

‘Skin’ is in Iomega Skin If you’re tired of the same old monochrome hard drives, then the new Skin hard drives from Iomega might be just what you want. Available in three different designs – Radical, Red Hot and Knock Out – these drives come in a 500GB capacity. The drives are portable, and come with USB 2.0 for simple plug and play use. They also come with Iomega’s Drop Guard protection, which guarantees a safe fall of up to 51 inches onto industrial carpet. The drives also have Iomega Protection Suite which provides anti-virus protection.

Graphic content Fujitsu Lifebook AH530 GFX This laptop features a 15.6-inch HD glossy LCD in widescreen format and an HDMI output for viewing content on an external display. The keyboard is resistant to spills and offers a full numeric keypad for high usability. The Lifebook AH530 GFX is specially designed for demanding graphics, pictures and video applications with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD550v graphics on-board and a dedicated 1GB video memory. The model is available in glossy black and ink blue.

Rs 5,900

Rs 43,990 Smartbuy

2

September 1, 2010


Work ‘n’ play Razer Orca Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or music lover, these funky new headphones from Razer are the perfect companion for you. The headphones come with a plug and switch cable, as well as two braided cables – one shorter standard version for listening to music and a longer two metre one for gaming. With enhanced drivers, sound is optimised both in the middle of gaming action and when it comes to pumping up the bass in your music. The Orca comes in a ‘circumaural’ design to snugly fit around your head, and has a lightweight build, making it very portable.

Rs 3,599

The head-turner Panasonic TH-103PF12 It’ll be a tad difficult to keep your eyes off this 103-inch display adorning your living room or office space. Turn it on to watch your favourite action flick or catch up on the sports season or connect it to your laptop and use it for official presentations. The TH-103PF12 features Neo-PDP technology that gives you a display which is twice as bright compared to other plasma screens. This technology helps enhance the brightness and contrast while improving motion picture performance.

Rs 30 lakh

W‘ear’able trends Skullcandy FMJ & Titan series The striking new Full Metal Jacket and Titan earphones from Skullcandy are sure to up your style quotient. The swanky looking FMJ is specially designed to go with your Blackberry or your iPhone, apart from the usual Mp3 players. This pair has an integrated microphone with Noise Isolating and bass booster features. The Skullcandy Titan comes with precision-tuned drivers in laser-cut aluminium with noise-isolating features to give you superior audio playback. The earphone has a 3.5mm gold-plated plug to resist corrosion.

Rs 3,559 (FMJ) Rs 2,099 (Titan)

Smartbuy

3

September 1, 2010


LAPTOP review

Photos: S.S. Kumar

For geeks going green! Mahananda Bohidar hile most tech companies are trying to outdo one another by innovating and incorporating cutting edge technology in their products, some are also looking to do this while keeping the spirit of ‘going green’ alive. In an attempt to make the numerous gizmo-loving consumers more eco-conscious, Asus had launched their first Bamboo laptop in 2008. The ASUS U43Jc is the latest addition to the series loaded with some powerful tech specs even while keeping all the environment-friendly features intact.

W

User Experience A sleek chassis made of matt bamboo and shiny aluminium lends the ASUS U43Jc a distinctive look. The bamboo exteriors also help in keeping it a relatively lightweight laptop. The ASUS U43Jc has a 14-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. The screen supports the widescreen format, providing a 16:9 aspect ratio for watching movies. While the viewing angles for the laptop are quite decent, the screen isn’t anti-glare and this could potentially be a dampener during your movie marathons. The laptop has built-in stereo speakers with SRS Premium Surround Sound. While the audio quality is good, the volume can’t really be pumped up enough for movies or music tracks to be audible in a crowded room. The fact

that the stereo speakers face downwards at the user-end of the laptop doesn’t help either. The chiclet keyboard looks neat and is nicely spaced out but the keys lack a firm tactile feedback. Also, the layout of the keys is slightly different than what you might find on other keyboards, with the ‘Enter’ key having been slightly modified along with a couple of other minor changes. Some of the keys double up as shortcuts to multimedia functions like launching the web cam or activating a screen saver. It’s only a barely visible and barely tactile depression demarcating the touchpad from the ‘woody’ palm rest. While the touchpad was sensitive enough at most times, the click buttons felt ‘rigid’. The right and left click buttons are also barely distinguishable and it takes an effort to click on either one to launch a certain function. The laptop has two ‘Power’ buttons, one on either side of the top panel. The one on the right is the main power button while the one on the left launches the company’s proprietary mini-O/S, the Asus Express Gate – now included only in ASUS’s high-end laptops. This is an instant booting OS (starts in about five seconds) that lets you surf the internet, browse through your photographs and play Flash-based mini games. You can also customise it to be able to access IM services like AIM, Google Talk, MSN and Yahoo through a software called Pidgin. You can configure your IM accounts and log in to multiple chats at a time.

Smartbuy

4

September 1, 2010

Performance This powerhouse U43Jc comes equipped with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-370M processor with 3MB shared cache, 4GB DDR3, 1066MHz RAM and 500GB of hard disk space for storage. For efficient playback of HD content or hardcore gaming, the laptop’s powered with Nvidia GeForce GT310M graphics with 1GB of dedicated GDDR3 video memory. This is the first Bamboo notebook to feature Nvidia’s Optimus technology that enables the system to switch between high-end discrete graphics and the usual browsing or other applications that do not require the use of dedicated graphics. This, in turn, helps conserve battery power and leads to prolonged battery life. The U43Jc also features what ASUS calls the Super Hybrid Engine. This engine automatically detects system requirements at any given point of time and regulates power accordingly thereby making it possible to increase power availability after a single charge by almost 50 per cent. The laptop has three USB ports with one of them being the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port that lets you transfer content with very high speeds. Ports for HDMI, VGA and ethernet are available and wireless connectivity are enabled with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1.


Green Quotient ASUS’s ‘4 Green Home Runs’ strategy that involves choosing to go green with design, manufacturing, procurement, service and marketing is what makes the Bamboo series special. Plus, the product is shipped in green product packaging that involves 100 per cent recyclable bamboo pulp and non-woven packing cloth to appeal to your green sensibilities.

Verdict The ASUS U43Jc is a decently powered machine with the necessary green quotient for the eco-conscious. The laptop isn’t sluggish and battery life doesn’t disappoint, though there’s room for improvement in its audio and video playback capabilities and touchpad experience.

Rs 61,999 Ratings Aesthetics: 4/5 User Interface: 3/5 Features: 4/5 Value For Money: 3/5

Up in the air

D

id you think Nintendo invented the motion-sensing tech in the Wii? Think again. Movea actually patented and leased the tech to Nintendo and Movea offshoot Gyration now brings the same tricks to your work presentations via the Air Mouse Elite.

Controls Lift this ambidextrous controller off the desk, squeeze the trigger on its underbelly and it becomes a motion controller. It’s impressively accurate from up to 100 feet away, bettering the Wiimote because it only needs to detect movement in two dimensions. This precision control isn’t the only weapon in Gyration’s arsenal. The bundled MotionTools software suite allows you to programme each of the four buttons’ functions, coupling button presses with gestures. Options are divided into ones for media playback, browsing at a distance via IPTV and those all-important presentations. Gesturing back and forth whips you through PowerPoint slides, while more complex options include zooming and air-drawing directly onto slides to highlight key areas. The result is polished presentations – you’ll have ’em eating out of your elegantly gesturing hands. The Elite manages about two weeks of regular use between visits to its recharging dock. Be aware that you’ll have to install software on any computer you want to use it on; something that may cause problems if you’re using someone else’s set-up. Still, if all else fails, you can always use the Air Mouse Elite as, well, a regular mouse.

For pleasure The Air Mouse isn’t just for the boardroom… The Elite’s programmable configurations go well beyond just making presentations. They’re good news for anyone with a PCconnected TV, making web browsing and navigating Windows Media Centre functions a breeze – it won’t work with Apple Front Row, alas – as well as letting you skip through musical tracks or videos with a flick of your wrist.

Rs 6,500 T3 India


CAMERA lineup With the price range between the point-and-shoots and the DSLRs visibly dipping, there’s good reason for photography enthusiasts out there to go for an upgrade. This hand-picked range includes established DSLRs as well as entry-level Micro Four Thirds cameras, so get ready to get snapping

Fairest of them all CANON EOS 550D With an 18-meg CMOS producing prints up to 26x17 inches, the EOS 550D is a camera for aspiring pros. Autofocus is lightning fast and pictures are consistently top class. The 550D also boasts the best video on test with 1080p recording, adjustable frame rates, low light shooting to ISO 12,800 and a handy HDMI output. On the debit side, the build is plasticky – but still robust feeling. Image stabilisation is only via stabilised lenses such as the 1855mm one bundled with this, but controls are well placed, making this extremely user friendly. Love: Semi-pro specs. Fast focus. Excellent video Hate: No built-in image stabilisation. Dull styling

Rs 51,995 Rating: 5/5

Tech heavy PENTAX K-7 The moisture and dust-resistant, 670g K-7 tops Pentax’s DSLR range, with a 14.6-meg CMOS sensor and 18-55mm kit lens. As you’d expect of the most expensive camera on test, the K-7 is brimming with tech, including automatic horizon correction and lens correction that aim to give your snaps a more professional sheen. Pictures are generally sharp, although the Canon’s autofocus is noticeably quicker. There’s a three-inch LCD or large viewfinder for framing pics and 720p HD recording at 30fps. Love: Plenty of built-in tech. Compatible with a wide range of lenses Hate: Bulky and pricey

TBC Rating: 4/5

NIKON GP-1 GPS Equip the Nikon D5000 with this optional GPS unit and it will record exactly where each photograph is taken.

Rs 14,200

Go


Pro!

High-end snapping PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G2 The G2 is a Micro Four Thirds camera that fits a host of top-end features into a compact casing by omitting the internal mirror mechanism, bringing the lens and 12.1-meg CMOS sensor closer together. Even the most inept will find they can take sharp, colour-rich photos using the G2’s Intelligent Auto mode. There’s also 720p HD video recording, with a dedicated record button and mini HDMI port, and a three-inch screen with limited touch screen control. There are real knobs, dials and buttons for traditionalists too. Love: Compact design. One-touch recording. Touchscreen controls Hate: It’s not the cheapest Micro Four Thirds cam

TBC Rating: 5/5

Lightweight companion SAMSUNG NX10 Slimmer than the G2, the NX10 has also jettisoned the internal mirror to achieve a smaller, easier to handle, 353g body. The 14.6-meg pictures delivered via the optically stabilised 18-55mm kit lens are sharp and colourful but remain natural looking. 720p video recording gives good results too. Unlike on rival cameras there’s no button to quickly swap viewpoint between the three-inch AMOLED display and the electronic viewfinder; eye sensors do the same job. For a relatively untried and untested camera system, the NX10 does a very decent job. Love: Portable, with top-notch picture quality Hate: Few compatible lenses available

Rs 42,990 Rating: 4/5

Jack of all trades NIKON D5000 The Nikon D5000 has a 12.3-meg CMOS sensor, 720p video shooting with an HDMI output and great shooting in low light thanks to an ISO range that goes up to 6,400. Stunningly sharp shots are consistently achieved with minimum effort thanks to advanced scene recognition and active D-lighting, while colours are realistic, if subdued compared to the Canon’s shots. The D5000 has the ability to shoot around corners with a quirky, adjustable 2.7-inch LCD which adds bulk, but at 560g the D5000 is still a manageable size and great for beginners with a very nifty auto mode. Love: Bundled anti-shake lens. Good auto mode Hate: Low-res screen

Rs 37,950 Rating: 4/5

PANASONIC DMW-MS1 Struggling to be heard? You need an off-camera microphone such as this stereo one, which is compatible with the G2.

Rs 9,300 T3 India


AUTO focus

Tackling the wilderness in Posh’s machine

S. Muralidhar any amongst us, of the current generation, might recall the scene in the movie ‘The Queen’ in which Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth II is shown weeping out of frustration and loneliness after damaging her Land Rover while trying to cross a river in Balmoral estate. It is a widely known fact that the British royalty has had a soft corner for Land Rovers, and though it is entirely possible to damage a Land Rover while driving it off-road, in the movie, the director was probably allowing himself an overindulgence of melodrama. Land Rovers are built to ford rivers, climb hilly and rocky terrain, and take on a lot of unexplored geography without leaving the occupants flustered. You’ll see them in National Geographic being used for transporting crew and cameras near the slopes of the Kilimanjaro for the latest documentary on wild Africa. You’ll see them on your trip to Leh and Ladakh, and you just might get to see a decades old model still doing errands in an older part of your town. Land Rovers continue to epitomise off-roading reliability, lifelong durability and luxury befitting royalty.

M

Testing times at Eastnor It is one thing though, to watch documentaries in which Land Rovers come out unscathed from the toughest of driving situations, and a whole different experience being in the centre of it all, driving one of these luxurious off-roaders, while you are at the wheel trying to pull it out of what seems like waist deep quicksand! My turn to put a couple of Land Rover / Range Rover

models through some serious rock climbing and mud-slinging came last month. I had been invited by Land Rover to one of its experience centres, a few hours away from London, UK. The Land Rover Experience Malverns, as the centre is called, is situated on the 5,000-acre Eastnor Castle Estate, at the foot of Malverns Hills in Herefordshire.Featuring steep slippery inclines, articulation tracks, ruts, open ground and deep water, Eastnor Castle and Land Rover have had a long-standing ‘ testing’ relationship. The terrain here is so varied and challenging that it has been used for decades as a secret test facility to refine and test the off-road capability of every new Land Rover. The courses at Malverns are used to improve the skills of police forces, the military, highways agency patrols, ambulance crews, and search and rescue organisations. If you use a four-wheel drive vehicle for the purpose of work, get your essential health and safety training here. Engineering tests on the first Range Rover were conducted on the estate and, as their names suggest, every track and route can tell a story – Gearbox Hill, Seager’s, The Steps, Gravestones and Roger’s Quarry. The centre itself is in a newly refurbished building in the Eastnor Castle grounds known as the Bothy and is a delicate balance of an old estate building combined with 21st century technology. There is more than 30 miles of country tracks and managed trails that run through the sprawling 5,000 acre spread. The estate itself is a mix of rolling hills and thick woods, and various obstacles resembling real-life off-road situations, have been created to give drivers some of the

Smartbuy

8

September 1, 2010

most demanding experiences.

On track, behind the wheels I choose the Range Rover Sport from the line up of vehicles being offered at the gates to the experience centre. Inside the Range Rover, there is no hint of it being capable of tackling rocky and slushy terrain. Instead, there is doublestitched, supple leather seating, real-wood trim, 2-zone climate control and a Harman-Kardon Logic 7 surround sound audio system, features that you’ll think are more at home in a vehicle that’ll drive up to the red carpet. First, we tackle a few prepared obstacles like big potholes, steep inclines and precarious slopes, testing the Range Rover’s range of technologies that help it stay upright and in control. Features like permanent four-wheel drive with high and low range, and the electronic centre differential, have been combined with fully independent electronic air suspension with variable ride height and Adaptive Dynamics to make the hulking Range Rover sure-footed. The ‘ wow’ moments are those when these technologies combine to pull the Range Rover out of situation on the track when two diagonally opposite wheels are in the air! After some more of the prepared tracks experience, including a sharp rocky patch, we head to the hills. The Eastnor experience is not complete without an element of unpredictability to it, despite the fact that the tracks are all managed – even those up the hills and through the woods. The element of uncertainty often comes in the form of sudden changes in weather. As we drive up the hill, the mild drizzle becomes a more steady rain and the clay track be-


comes slippery. The track becomes narrower and I was soon driving through thick under-brush, loose gravel slopes and squeezing the vehicle between trees. To test the Hill Descent Control feature, going down steep descents, I let go of the throttle and brake pedals of the Range Rover allowing the vehicle’s on-board computer to take control of the braking at each wheel to avoid skidding and slippage. Inside the luxurious cabin of the Range Rover nothing seeps through except for the occasional swoosh of the wiper blade and the mild hum of the 3.6-litre LR-TDV8 turbocharged diesel engine. Outside, the rain is unrelenting and I can see the rain water gushing downhill in narrow gullies alongside the track and collecting in the large canal we are about to negotiate. The Land Rover instructor seated next to me sees the concern on my face and starts to assure me that the water level will be under control. We take a right turn,

glide down the embankment and there it was - a long, windy tree-lined canal - that hardly looks like it is a managed track. In front of me another driver is gingerly negotiating the flooded track and the water level is so high it almost seems like it will swallow the bonnet of the Freelander 2 he was driving. To make the experience more challenging the instructors had markers hanging down from branches. Set close to the dimensions of the vehicles we were driving, the challenge was to avoid knocking on them (with the door mirrors open), even as your heart is pounding with the water level visibly rising up the side of the car. The Range Rover hardly complained, even though the tail pipe was completely submerged and the exhaust was burbling up from under the muddy waters.

Wanderer in features and spirit The Land Rover Experience Malverns is a unique showcase of this legendary British marque’s off-roading prowess. It really

is an adventure that encourages drivers to push both the vehicle and themselves to the limit. But the real heroes here would be the Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles. Built with a purpose, they sport some pretty impressive statistics. Consider these - ground clearance, off-road height of 283mm (almost twice as much as the average sedan), wading depth of 700mm, an off-road approach angle of 34 degrees and an off-road ramp angle of 30 degrees. Lowered in height and relieved of the need to keep its four-wheel drive systems engaged, Land Rover’s vehicles are equally capable on regular roads. Most Land Rover owners aren’t going to be putting their vehicles through the kind of extreme conditions that the Experience centre had, but the fact that they can handle such abuse can be quite comforting to know when you are stuck in the middle of a flooded street or if you have to take a diversion to avoid a landslide. Send feedback to: muraliswami@thehindu.co.in


Photo: S. Muralidhar

Victoria to ‘Evoque’ design magic Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles have been popular amongst both male and female owners. There is a natural tendency to feel safe and secure in any of these models. But, the appointment of Victoria Beckham, in July this year, as the Creative Design Executive for developing the Range Rover Brand’s special edition vehicles, created quite a controversy. While the logic behind choosing the ex-pop star, who is also the wife of world-renowned footballer David Beckham, was her much-acclaimed taste in luxury and design, critics claimed that the image she would bring to the brand might dilute it, moving away from its age-old association with serious motoring. The first product on which the design collaboration between Land Rover and Range Rover Design Director, Gerry McGovern’s team and Victoria will work on is the new Range Rover Evoque. Called the baby Range Rover, the Evoque features a compact, two-door crossover design, a first for the brand. Based on the LRX prototype developed a few years ago, there will be more firsts in the Evoque, including a two-wheel drive-only option. It will also be one of the greenest Range Rovers ever

made, featuring the best ever fuel-efficiency figures and lowest ever CO2 emission for a vehicle from the brand. The Evoque is due to be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this month. Despite the criticism for the new vehicle and its brand ambassador (so to

Smartbuy

day), the Evoque really represents the future. In the company’s portfolio, Range Rover brand is chronologically younger than Land Rover and clearly it needs to become even more so to be attractive to the younger buyers. Whether the association with Victoria

10

September 1, 2010

Beckham proves beneficial to the brand will only become evident in the years to come. But with her own fashion label to boot and a fine taste in design, she just might do the trick in spicing up the interiors of the Evoque. She is ‘Posh Spice’ after all.


AUTO news

Merc launches E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY

M

ercedes-Benz India is launching new models with a vengeance. Continuing its spree of new launches and taking the fight to a new level in the competitive category which is populated by the likes of its E-Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz India has now rolled out the E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY. Marking the debut of CGI technology in the E-Class range, the new E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY is being offered in Elegance trim styling. Mercedes-Benz claims that CGI technology combined with BlueEFFICIENCY measures ensures optimised efficiency, performance as well as environmental compatibility in the new E-Class model. The new model features the 1,796cc, four-cylinder, petrol engine that develops a peak power of 183 bhp at 5,600 rpm and a peak torque of 285Nm at 2,400 – 4,000 rpm. The engine is paired with a five speed transmission with touch-shift. The E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY has been aggressively priced at Rs 38.76 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune). The E-Class range now has eight models on offer in India and prices range from Rs 38.6 lakh to Rs 64.5 lakh for the E 350 Cabriolet.

Ritz now gets a Genus M

aruti Suzuki’s celebration for the first anniversary of its hot hatch – the Ritz takes the shape of a new special, limited edition. Much of the changes to the new Ritz Genus are cosmetic with the most visible being the new dual tone interiors. The new dashboard tone combination matches the exclusive new Blue body colour that the Genus is being offered in. While the Ritz Genus retains the best features of the original it also features exciting new inclusions such as the distinct body graphics, body side mouldings, rear wiper-cum-washer and keyless entry. The interiors also boast tilt-adjustable steering, rear parcel tray, radio and CD player with speaker and a dual tone dashboard with blue-grey shades. The Genus also gets a brand new signature body colour ‘Emerald Blue’ which is further accentuated through matching door handles and body coloured door mounted rear view mirrors. The new special edition will continue to be offered with the existing powertrain options of the Ritz – the 1.2-litre, four-cylinder K-Series petrol engine and the 1.3-litre, DDiS diesel engine. Ritz genus will be available as an option on the Ritz VXi (Petrol) and Ritz VDi (Diesel) models and will be priced at Rs 4,52,349 and Rs 5,31,410 respectively (ex-showroom, Delhi).

Smartbuy

11

September 1, 2010


In the ‘knead’ for homely pampering

MASSAGE trends

Getting a massage done need no longer involve a trip to the spa or dialing in a personal masseuse. With the press of a button, rollers, vibrators, tappers and air bags team up to give you a massage just the way you want it. ANUSHYA MAMTORA sinks into some luxe leather massage chairs and wraps around eye massagers, to tell you how pampering gets its new high with compact and accessible personal massage equipments OSIM iPamper handheld massager

A

ct 1. Scene 1. After a tiring day at work you fill a tub with hot water, add those essential oils and bath salts and soak your feet in for ten minutes of bliss. You then cut two slices of cucumber and place it on your eyes to ease the strain, switching on the music to add to the experience. Act 1. Scene 2. You come back home after a tiring day at work and plonk yourself on the massage chair, set it to the ‘relax’ mode and sit on it for 10 minutes as it kneads your every muscle for complete relaxation. You then zap on the eye massager and click on the remote for the most soothing eye massage ever and perhaps that special head massager that combines air pressure technology and vibration, and yes, set it all to soothing music. Thanks to innovative technologies and easy accessibility of massage equipment, you no longer need to look pleadingly at your reluctant spouse for a quick foot rub, nor will you need to fix a monthly appointment with the masseuse. Now, you have your own, at home.

New technologies While air pressure technology and vibrations ruled the roost in the massage world, newer tech is being experimented with in the personal equipment category. Hydro: Cashing in on the natural, hygienic and therapeutic properties of water, high-end massage equipments are blending in hydrotherapy with other massage therapies for a wholesome massage experience. The latest to hit the Indian market is the Aqua Spa, where one steps in fully clothed, is blanketed with a water-proof cover and

Did you know? While most massage chairs come with remote controls and even touch screens to browse and pick an ideal massage session, there are some who take it a tech step further by making it an app. One can wirelessly control the functions with an iTouch, iPhone or iPad!

Smartbuy

12

September 1, 2010

is massaged upon using 36 computer controlled water jets for a ‘finger tip’ stimulation. Customers can manually customise it to mimic a gentle shower or extreme force. And yes the best part, one steps out as fresh as a daisy but as dry as a bone! While it’s difficult to house the same in individual homes, it is ideal for office spaces where the bosses want to earn some brownie points. Music: Usually teamed with massage equipments, especially chairs, head and eye massagers, music is used to complement the experience as well as act as a therapy of its own. Most manufacturers give users options on the kind of music which usually ranges from chirping birds, flowing water and breathing. The equipments usually have in-built speakers with a choice of music and programmes. Some also provide the option of plugging in your iPod and listening to your personal favourites Heat: Usually peculiar to massage chairs and back massagers, companies recreate the traditional ‘hot water bags’ therapy by incorporating a heating system in the equip-


ments that can either be a default option or be adjusted to suit personal needs. Light: Chromatherapy is the latest tech to step into personal massage equipment, beginning with the massage chair. OSIM’s uSpace uses this therapy as the user gets cocooned in the chair and chooses from ‘relax’, ‘balance’ and ‘rejuvenate’ which soothes with the perfect blend of light and colour.

Ergonomically sound If one were to check out the timeline of Panasonic massage chairs, it’s easy to see how much the product has evolved from boxy compartments to those that boast of ace design, take the shape of your body and simply blend in with the home environment like a piece of décor. The massage chair has been the most ergonomically evolved from an eye-soar of a humungous dentist-chair-like design to a chic and colourful unit such as Panasonic’s Sofa Chair or the uSoffa Petit of OSIM. The use of luxurious fabrics, high-end leather and wooden accents has made the ‘convertible’ massage chair swivel from a masseuse to a classy office chair or living room cynosure. The introduction of smaller equipments that are compact, aesthetically designed with apt features too have won customers across the globe. Massage cushions to relax your back, strap-ups to don on for targeted body massages, one to wrap up just your head or your eye, or simply just your calves and feet or neck and shoulder, and hand-helds to focus just anywhere, the equipments are getting compact and specific by the day. This is of advantage to those who don’t want to go the whole hog with a chair and shell out anywhere between Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh but still want to indulge in a little pampering. Smaller equipment start from as little as Rs 6,000 and go up to Rs 1 lakh depending upon the features offered.

Natuzzi’s Genny chair with massage technology

The magic chair From airport lounges to five star hotel rooms, office spaces to a personal library, massage chairs have made their presence felt in every nook where one feels the need to relax. These chairs have evolved from regular massage techniques to advanced tech which aims at making the experience as close as possible to a trained masseuse. The advanced ones also let you choose from various programs and moods to give you just the perfect massage. If you are looking for one to lounge in, here are some popular brands to consider: OSIM: Its massage chairs are popular and range from full body ones to designer options. While its latest, vibrantly hued uSoffa Petit is an eye turner, one can choose from the basic Rs 1.20 lakh NORO Melody or the highly advanced uDesire (Rs 2.49 lakh) and uSpace (Rs 3.99 lakh). Panasonic: Specialising in massage chairs, their latest is the New Real Pro claimed to be the world’s first ‘massage technique selector’ chair with 1,117 combination of massage variations. OSIM’s uSpace

Trendy the traditional way The latest in the massage scene is to take a leaf from traditional techniques and present it in its modern avatar. No wonder then that brands like Panasonic and Omega have massage chairs with Swedish massage options. Massage chairs are equipped with rollers, heating elements, tappers and vibrators to effectively perform the six important techniques of the Swedish style: traction, vibration, friction, effleurage, petrissage and tapottement at the click of the remote button. Japanese manufacturers have also brought in the oriental massage Shiatsu to the massage table… err chair.

La-Z-Boy: One of the biggest name in recliners also have massage options on some of their plush recliners in interesting colours and fabrics. Natuzzi: International furniture brand has some exclusive ‘modern armchairs’ with massage technology that can blend seamlessly with your living room décor. Proline Fitness: Has a range of luxury massage chairs in collaboration with Johnson Health Tech. OSIM’s uSoffa Petit

Smartbuy

13

September 1, 2010


MELANGE luxury redefined

Velvety baguette

For the trousseau

Black velvet with a gold-fringe taking pride of place, gold-tone hardware and brown satin lining, this Baguette Fringed Velvet bag from Fendi is a delightful gift to own. Available at its store in Emporio Mall, New Delhi. Rs 52,978

Swarovski pleases the brides this season with a sparkling collection to choose from. This Power Jet evening bag is a hand-held crystal mesh minaudiere with a removable rutheniumplated snake chain handle that can make heads turn on that special day. Available at Swarovski boutiques. Rs 42,000

Kiehl in India For those who swear by this New York brand, the good news is that the yummy lip balms, nourishing shampoos, creams and moisturisers, and other skin and hair preparations can be picked up right here. October onwards, Ambience Mall, New Delhi. Rs 495 to Rs 3,800

Enchanting trinkets A bracelet with a giant crystal, claw set pearl ring and one in black crystal too – MAWI’s little pieces of statement jewellery does make the point loud and clear. Available at Ozel, New Delhi. Rs 15,000

Zip it up! This trendy black jacket apart, Esprit has quite a collection up its sleeve in its Rodeo-inspired range this season. Vintage looks, motorcycle fashion or the classic relaxed, men and women can head to its exclusive stores to sink into them effortlessly. Rs 590 onwards

Run along... … with these new pairs of Running shoes from FILA. The range includes Intercept, Skylite, Hexon, Surge, Alloy and Racer, all highly competitive with cushion support. Available at leading footwear stores. Rs 1,699 to Rs 2,399

Kit for ‘him’ Tathaastu’s latest is this little hamper for the man – body deo, shaving gel and aftershave which has the right dash of fragrance and is free of sulphates and paraben preservatives. Pick one up at its store in DLF Promenade, New Delhi. Rs 750

Smartbuy

14

September 1, 2010


EVENT meter Neeta Lulla for Nakshatra Vivah Jewellery

Dazzling display Getting together ace jewellery designers under one roof, the recently concluded India International Jewellery Week had models and showstoppers showcasing gorgeous pieces of bling. From brands like Mirari, Gitanjali, Ganjam Nagappa, Amrapali and Tanishq to designers like Farah Khan, Varuna D Jani, everyone had exclusive collections lined up.

Swarovski’s new concept boutique The luxury crystal major has launched its new boutique design concept in Chennai. Located at the newly opened Express Avenue Mall, the 450 sqft boutique interprets the ‘Crystal Forest’ theme using an array of stainless steel prisms, fascinating displays, vibrant colour touches and light and floating window boxes. The boutique features the Autumn Winter 2010 collection of Swarovski which include limited edition pieces and specials, and its jewellery and watch range.

FCUK it!

Lounge bar for connoisseurs

Chennaities can now look forward to add glamour to their wardrobe with French Connection opening its first exclusive store in the city at Express Avenue mall. Like its edgy style, the store too has been made spunky yet sleek and houses the latest collection as well as some all-time favourites. And the models sporting the key looks didn’t sizzle the ramp but had visitors gaping in admiration as they doubled up as mannequins. FCUK went the live installation way!

If you are travelling to Italy the coming month and have a thing for champagnes, then a visit to the first Dom Pérignon Lounge bar at The Bulgari Hotel Garden in Milan is a must-visit. While one can savour Dom Pérignon Blanc and Rosé champagne paired with caviar and an exclusive selection of titbits, the high red beech hedge that surrounds the stylish bar can add to the experience. A toast to that!

Smartbuy

15

September 1, 2010


Issue dated September 1, 2010  

Smartbuy issue dated September 1, 2010