Sony S-Series Walkman
Sony NWZ-S738F (8GB)
Sony has come a long way since they released the NW-MS11 Network Walkman. This was the company's first flash-based MP3 players and it didn't even play MP3s.
The S-Series Walkman shows us why Sony is the original king when it comes to portable music devices. The flash player, which comes in 4GB and 8GB models, is sleek, compact, easy to use, and packed with a bunch of features.
SO if you are in the market for excellent sound quality, integrated noise-cancelling functionality, and several smart music sorting options, then make sure you check out the Sony S-Series Walkman.
The Sony S-Series Walkman's design is anything but flashy. The player only comes in one colour Ė black. But, that still doesnít mean that the device itself does not have style. The brushed-metal face and backside are joined together by a glossy black border that wraps all the way around the edges of the player, which is compact enough to fit in any pocket.
With the dimensions of 86 x 40.6 x 7.6mm, it's only slightly shorter and thicker than the nano. A bright, 2-inch QVCA TFT which has 240 x 320 resolution takes up most of the front while a circular five-way control pad and two function buttons--back/home and option/off--fill out the remainder.
The physical controls of the S-Series are very responsive and intuitive, and thanks to their varied shape and texture, blind navigation can be mastered with minimal practice. But itís the onscreen interface that is worth looking at. The main menu is organised into an attractive three-by-three icon grid, and you get the choice from a number of different wallpapers and themes.
Your music is organised by ID3 tags, so sorted by artist, album, playlist, and so on Ė not much change there. Or you can choose to use folder navigation. The Walkman supports MP3, WMA and unprotected AAC files for music, JPEG photos and slide shows, and MPEG 4 and M4V video. While purchased and rented videos from Amazon's Video On Demand service can also be transferred to and played on the device.
In addition to the usual multimedia support, the Sony S-Series Walkman offers many other desirable features. There's an excellent-sounding FM radio with an auto scan mode and you can preset up to 30 channels. It's also the first Walkman which has the function to support podcasts. A small piece of software that comes in the package allows the users to drag-and-drop podcasts and other media directly from the iTunes interface.
Sony has introduced a brand-new extra on the S-Series which is a smart playlist function called SensMe Channels. Very similar to the nano's Genius feature, SensMe analyses the songs in your library to create playlists. But unlike Genius, SensMe doesn't create lists on a song-by-song basis. Rather, it analyses the entire library on the device and creates a selection of Channels. You can then access them from a dedicated icon on the main menu. This feature could sell anyone quickly who spends a lot of their time creating custom playlists.
It may be a bit more expensive that the competition, iPod Touch, but one of the great things about the S-Series Walkman is that it sounds great right out of the box. By this I mean you donít have to worry about finding decent headphone because the packaged ones are already decent.
All in all, the S-Series Walkman really has rose to the occasion when it comes to performance. The photos look crisp, clear, and bright with great colour saturation. The short clips look decent and viewing angles are very good. With a battery life of 40 hours for audio and 10 for video what more do you need.
The 13.3-inch display screen that the Dell Inspiron 13 offers has gained itself a place in the portable computer race. Dellís first attempt to venture into this market with the Vostto 1310 did not do so well, it was labeled as the no-frills machine lacking in consumer features. But Dell has made a come back with the Inspiron 13. This little Core 2 Duo processor can be picked up for the small price of only $1,300.
The Dell Inspiron 13 may lack in the dashing looks of a VAIO SR notebook but it still maintains a pleasing design for a thin and light notebook. The glossy blue exterior, slot in optical drive and rounded hinge gives it that classy look. And with a footprint of only 318 x 238 x 38.37mm, it doesn't take up too much space in your backpack or messenger bag.
Unlike the rest of the Inspiron series, which come in a range of eight shades, this series only a single colour option--Pacific Blue. But it did not compromise on any other features such as the multimedia control and battery meter.
You will find a row of touch sensitive playback and volume control keys above the full sized keyboard, giving the Inspiron 13 some entertainment value. The charge level is diplayed in 20 percent increments by 5 LED lights and the touchpad is responsive enough with the two scroll zones. Also the generously sized mouse buttons are a plus at the bottom of the trackpad.
The attractive integrated DVD writer is the slot in variety and some consumers have been concerned that the disc surface may get scratched if used frequently. However, the optical drive not only reads and writes to most DVD and CD types it is also able to take the smaller 8mm disc formats as well.
Unfortunately the audio system is not something you would shout about. The Inspiron 13 does offer a reasonable quality of sound but it is not that fantastic. At the higher volumes you can hear that sound does get a little bit distorted. But donít worry, if you enjoy the loud music the sound quality can easily be fixed by getting yourself a set of headphones or a pair of external speakers.
Under the hood of the Inspiron 13 it offers offers fairly competent connectivity options. There is no modem port or Bluetooth available but you will find a 802.11a/b/g/n wireless radio and wired 10/100 Ethernet port are provided. As well as two USB 2.0, mini-FireWire and an ExpressCard/54 slot that allows you to link to external peripherals. You will also find a Webcam with an integrated microphone that can provide you with the option for video conferencing. A final touch is the memory card reader that accepts SD/SDHC/MMC, Memory Stick and xD-Picture Card formats.
Performance And Battery Life
Two benchmarks were ran to compare with the Inspiron 13, the MobileMark 2007 and the 3DMark06. The former reported a score of 146., meaning that the majority of productivity tools should not have an issue with the Inspiron. However, it was confirmed that thin and light Inspiron was no gaming machine.
The Inspiron 13 shines the most in its battery life. Compared with the MobileMark 2007, the Inspiron ran an impressive 4 hours and 20 minutes before shutting down. Even on the demand of a DVD playback, the Inspiron lasted nearly 3 hours before giving up, so if you want to watch full-length feature films a single charge is all you will need.
The INNOV8 is not the first S60 handset from the Korean phone-maker but they are perfecting it every time they try. This phone really could give the Nokia N series a run for it money.
With the right mix of plastic and metal (Duralumin) for the INNOV8 chassis, this phone has a very solid feel to it, similar to recent Samsung handsets. It gives a similar experience when compared with the 8GB Nokia N95 and the choice of black makes it look quite classy.
A cluster of buttons, which control most of the phones function can be found under the 2.8-inch QVGA display. Plus when you slide it open there is another set of shortcut buttons which will be helpful to the user and prevent them from searching the many menu options once the phone has been personalised. Even though the D-pad and silver keys on the navigation cluster are not lit from behind they are large enough that it does not effect the use of the phone in dark surroundings.
Like the Omnia, the INNOV8 also has a optical joystick, but this can be turned off in the settings. However, instead of a mouse pointer, it replaces pressing a directional button on a regular D-pad with a swiping motion. The joystick turns into a mouse pointer in the Web browser and this is where Samsung has shone in the technology stakes.
On the side of the phone you will find a three-stop switch for changing between the various shooting modes, camera shutter,
microSD expansion card slot (supports up to 16GB microSDHC media), volume rocker, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a micro-USB port for connection to both your PC and charger.
In the same line as the NV-series of digital cameras, the INNOV8 does have a blue ring on the circumference of its camera module. On the same side of the phone there are stereo speakers and an LED flash.
It evident that the Nokiaís have been working on the Symbian S60 platform for some time now, but Samsung is stepping up to the plate with their recent S60 devices like the G810 and the new INNOV8. However, Samsung has managed to throw in some cosmetic changes to enhance the core S60 architecture. This is clear in the software skin and the minor adjustments to the user face.
Clearly, the highlight of the INNOV8 is its 8-megapixel camera. The camera is accompanied by a built-in LED flash. And like every phone these days, you have all the choices such as auto panoramic shooting mode, smile shot option, face and blink detection and geo-tagging capabilities. We also must mention the VGA video capture which is at 30 frames per second and there's also a slow-motion QVGA recording mode at 120fps.
Seeing that this phone is one of Samsungís flagship products, the INNOV8 does come with a full suite of connectivity features. Beside from the side-mounted 3.5mm audio jack, it also has dual-band HSDPA and quad-band GSM cellular radios, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth with A2DP, DLNA streaming and integrated GPS with support for Assisted-GPS. The NAVFone navigation program will have to be manually installed.
The INNOV8 comes in 8GB and 16GB. One of the more logical routes Samsung has taken with the INNOV8 are its surfeit of third-party applications out-of-the-box. You will see the list of programs, which do came preinstalled. These applications include Fring (for instant message and VoIP), ShoZu (multimedia upload app), Yahoo! Go, GyPSii (location services and social media platform), RoadSync (push email with Microsoft Exchange), video editor, QuickOffice (read-only) and Smart Reader (business card reader). And because the INNOV8 is based on the S60 platform, third-party applications are readily available on the Web.
Now what about entertainment. The INNOV8 comes with an FM radio, the standard S60 music player, Real Player and two full version games--FIFA 08 and Asphalt 4--at your disposal. And you can download more games onto the phone if you want to. Like most music players the common formats such as MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, AMR and Real Audio, are all supported on this phone.
Finally, I think that the INNOV8 is probably the Korean Chaebol's best attempt so far at the S60 platform. However, in saying that, we have to keep in mind that this phone is an important product to the Samsung portfolio. It will be surprising to see what the company has to offer next in the technology race.
The INNOV8 retails at S$1,098 (US$745.42), which is a little more affordable than the S$1,258 (US$854.04) Nokia N96, the Finnish company's latest flagship product.
ASUS Eee PC Series
Weighing in at under 1kg this little gem is a fantastic buy for less than AUD500. It is loaded with programmes which do not take up valuable disk space and has pre programmed keys to enable fast access to Internet sites. The opening menu has six basic categories being Internet, Open Office, Learning, Games, Settings and Favourites.
Everything you would want on the Internet is pre-programmed whether you want instant access to Web Mail, POP e-mail, your browser, iGoogle, MSM Messenger, or Skype it is one click away. One click gets you into GoogleDocs where you can store and access your documents and files from any online computer anywhere in the world.
Its small, its inexpensive but its loaded with the programmes you want. Yes it has a relatively small memory but if you save your data through Google Docs you don't need a huge memory. You will still have 2 gig internal storage for your data and documents but with the addition of a 5 gig flash drive you have everything you need for convenience and that's what this product is all about.
Go to www.asus.com and check it out. We think you will be pleasantly surprised.
If you have tried the product let us know what you think.