Browsing All Posts By Catalin

Huawei Ascend D1

Huawei-Ascend-D1

Another new product Huawei decided to debut is, this time, not a tablet. But a smartphone. The Ascend D1 comes with a lot of promise made by its manufacturers. And, after testing it for ourselves, it looks like the company has every right to advertise this handset as their best yet. It was first announced almost a month ago. Let’s see what impressed us about it and what left us with dislike from our following review.

A powerful Android ICS smartphone

Staying true to its legacy of being a manufacturer who mainly creates smartphones, Huawei comes with a handset which they named Ascend D1. This model is described, by the company behind it, as having looks which only streamlines sports cars feature. From what we saw, the design was a very pleasant one to look at. This smartphone is the kind of handset which gives off a very nice feeling. When we held it, it didn’t feel as if we were handling a brick. Plastic has been used on the rear; however, it does not qualify as a con, because it doesn’t appear or feel as something cheap. Other than that, this model has a lot of design similarities with Huawei’s previous Ascend D Quad.

The features as well as specs that the 64.9 mm x 8.99 mm Ascend D1 packs are the following: an Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS, a 4.5″ touchscreen with 720 x 1,280 pixels, Texas TI OMAP 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, an 8MP camera, a second cam with 1.3MP, 1GB of memory, a 1800mAh battery, 8GB of ROM, Audience earSmart voice technology along with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound and GPS. Its weight is 132g.Huawei-Ascend-D1

The 4.5″ display is bigger than what today’s smartphones are used to. But that only means that you, as as user, will be able to watch content, play around with settings and so on on a screen that will let you see everything better. And yes, text and other essential things are very easy to read. What is more, the quality of colors, brightness, contrast and so on is very good. We did not really have problems when we used this smartphone outside where the sun was shining. We were able to enjoy what was on the screen without having to fear reflections and such. This phone was plenty responsive when we used multitouch gestures.

Improved battery life

The Ice Cream Sandwich OS makes it hard to recognize previous elements. And there are some cons about the main homescreen. Like, for instance, the fact that zooming out of the blue or having strange-looking icons.

Neither of the two cameras was any good. But you should never expect awesome results coming from a smartphone cam. Except if you are using Samsung’s or Apple’s devices.

The processor used by the Ascend D1 makes the experience feel quick. It is not enough to provide excellent speeds, but it most definitely doesn’t trail like a snake. And it does not freeze or lag in the middle of something.

The battery has enough juice for almost an entire day. It’s still better compared to nowadays’ smartphone whose batteries need to be recharged several times throughout a day.

As for connectivity, you get all the usual options. Nothing major seemed to miss from what we saw during tests performed by the review team. Audio quality was good.

Review conclusion

So this was the Huawei Ascend D1. This smartphones belongs to the mid/high category. As such, it performs well. It is already available in China. This month it will land on Russian shores.

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Samsung NX20

Samsung-NX20

A compact camera with good performance

Compact system cameras are some of the most sought-after products in the world. Even if smartphones and tablets are in first position when it comes to consumers’ needs. South Korean company Samsung used to make a lot of such devices which had great performance, design and so on. After a period of silence from them, the manufacturer recently revealed its latest compact system cam. Its name: NX20. This gadget is definitely one to own. In the next paragraphs we will tell you why we think so in this review.

Auto Backup technology

For starters, the Samsung NX20 comes with the company’s trademark design. And by that we mean that this camera looks very good. It is painted black, which offers it an elegant appearance. It will not get covered in hard to remove fingerprints while you use it. Also, you will have a great grip on it while snapping pics of recording clips. And it is going to be easy to operate, because it does not weigh a ton. We could put it in a bag with ease. But of course if you want a camera easy to fit in your pocket, this model is not what you you are after.

The type of display the NX20 packs is one that makes it very easy to read text, options and so on. The fact that it is articulated translated, during our test, into the fact that we could use the cam for many things. Which included the following: video capture, taking photos from a macro angle and from waist height. The device’s electronic viewfinder is not the same as on the old model. This time, this feature is able to deliver great sharpness. We especially loved the quality of colors. Since there is a resin that makes sure to eliminate reflections, the kind of black levels delivered is great-looking.

This camera features a strong SVGA 1400 pixel electronic viewfinder, a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS light sensor able to capture the light with a ISO range between of 100-12800. This model is able to offer full HD movies at a resolution of 1080p, recording with stereo sound, 3D mode and a speed of the shutter up to 1/8000 seconds. The built in pop up flash and the 3 inch swivelling display completes the features of this impressive camera. Other characteristics are: the i-Function technology, the intelli-zoom and Smart Filters capabilities. The manual controls are able to increase capability to capture the dark and the bright zones of the image. The physical dimensions of the camera are 89.6 x 122 x 39.5mm.

Samsung-NX20

If you want to have the clips and pics on your laptop, there is something called Auto Backup. The process can be a hit or miss. For us it worked well enough, compared with other reviewed cameras. Even so, it’s nice to know that there’s this option to fall back on.

Wi-Fi included

We were also happy to see that Samsung finally decided to make the Remote Viewfinder better. The built-in Wi-Fi is always a good feature to have. Because it allows for many things to be done without the user sitting close to a home network.

We hoped to see more from this camera in terms of speeds. From what we saw in tests, the NX20 was really slow in most of the really important areas. Such as shot-to-shot option, continuous speed, capture and going from off to on/ready to snap pics or shoot videos.

However, all of that changed when we took a look at the quality of the pics we snapped with the Samsung NX20. Which was close to perfection. Even ISOs of 6400 produced good-looking photos. We already mentioned the superb sharpness and colors, so we’ll comment instead on automatic exposure and resolution: they were very accurate and great. So much so, that videos also looked almost flawless. You get all kinds of pro points, such as settings, modes and so on.

Review conclusion

A compact system camera with a great performance at a good price is kind of hard to find. So that’s why we recommend Samsung’s NX20. Well, minus the high price it has. And some cons. But overall, this is a good device to own.

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Motorola Atrix HD

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A new Droid phone

The new DROID line that Motorola launched continues to make waves among consumers. And this series includes a smartphone which we will review today. The name of this device: Atrix HD. It comes with a very good price offer, but when we sat down and tested the phone’s performance, we were disappointed. More on that below.

No ColorBoost technology

Motorola manufactured some very good smartphones. Among them, the Atrix 2 and the Droid Razr Maxx. So naturally, the follow-up – dubbed Atrix HD – was the cause of much interest. For us, too.

This phone welcomed us with looks that didn’t impress. If you were to compare it to the previous Droid Razr Maxx, you’d see that it looks the same, minus the dimensions. We searched for capacitive Android keys. But we saw nothing. They sit inside the device’s platform. Anyhow, this is a phone that is made to resist damage. So even if you don’t like its design, at least its body is not frail.

The 4.5″ touchscreen on the Atrix HD incorporates 720 x 1280 pixels of resolution. You will have no ColorBoost technology on this model. But its resolution offers plenty of rich details and colors. If you take it outside and the sun is shining brightly, text won’t be very clear. The levels of brightness are also good. As is the image contrast.motorola-atrix-hd

Fast browsing speed

This phone works very well with Android’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. The interface used here is also the kind that offers ease of use and fluidity. Motorola kept the old organizer applications which they incorporated in the older smartphones.

If you want really good Internet speeds, the Atrix HD does not disappoint in this area. Navigation works well, despite some jumpiness. We used AT&T and we experienced superb data speed. There is no NFC support here. But you get the following instead: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, mobile hotspot connectivity and, last but not least, Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR. If you want Adobe Flash – because, well, you don’t get it integrated – you can easily get it from Google Play.

The tasks that we performed during tests were dealt with without hair-pulling. Because the phone sports a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU, which offers plenty of good speed. A con in this department is storage capacity. With this model you are offered 4.97GB and that is all. To spark things up, use a microSD card. Memory is 1GB of RAM.

Weak battery life

Multimedia is well-represented. Even if there were no upgrades done. We tried out some videos in HD and they looked great. If you want to listen to a song, there are many sound effects which make the already good audio quality better.

The battery, on the other hand, is a con. Because it’s not able of greatness. It does not even last a whole day.

A camera of 8 megapixels is the only one featured on the Atrix HD. And it is disappointing. As is the interface. We tried ameliorating photo quality with all of the cam’s effects and whatnot. But in the end, results were bad. Clips looked somewhat better. But we wouldn’t recommend this sort of camera.

The earpiece was another point of attraction and worthy of admiration. It successfully delivered great audio quality. Dropped calls never happened. Every voice we heard sounded great.

Review conclusion

The Motorola Atrix HD will never be like its predecessors. Despite its $99.99 price tag with a contract.

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Asus ET2701 INKI

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A new all in one desktop solution

We kind of missed seeing and using an all-in-one desktop. So when we heard that Asus made another one, we immediately signed in to review it. This product, starting at $1299, is called ET2701 INKI and it is a perfect example of the company’s prowess when it comes to great performance for the price. After subjecting this device to our standard tests, we can say the following about it.

Strong built

The ET2701 INKI unveiled by Asus this year comes as a very pleasant surprise for the company’s faithful consumers. Its looks are, by far, its major point of interest. Followed by its performance.
But returning to the design, this all-in-one desktop is sure made to attract the attention of whoever is looking at it. Its two main colors are grey and black. The panel is reflective, so it will get covered in fingerprints if you do a lot of touching it. The stand it uses for support has a strong built. In our tests we did not see it wobble if we hit it. In the end, Asus did a might fine job when it decided on this device’s design.

Moving on from its looks, let’s see what the screen is like. Just like the exterior, the display looks good. But it is not a touch one. Meaning that you won’t have to spend minutes dusting it off. The resolution of 1920x 1080 pixels is accentuated by a screen that is larger than usual. If you plan on watching content with 1080p, the ET2701 INKI will play it accordingly. And the resolution will deliver great image quality punctuated by superb details, colors, brightness and crispness. Asus-ET2701-INKI

The menu of this desktop contains keys for selecting the modes that are featured. Everything works in a smooth fashion once you tap your finger slightly on them.

Two partitions hard drive

Connectivity options are rich on this model. You are offered alternatives such as 1 HDMI-in, 1 eSATA/USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 2 USB 3.0, 1 SD card reader, 2 USB 2.0 and one antenna. For Internet activity, you get the following: Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi and one Ethernet port. Also, there is a Blu-ray optical drive. However, there is no video output to play with. But you can’t have everything now, can you?

The hard drive is a 7200-rpm 2TB. Meaning that it is made of 2 partitions. This will be a problem with some of the consumers. But alas, that’s what Asus decided. Video memory is 2GB. The processor is a Core i7. Which, again, may very well annoy some of you. But it didn’t become a con in our analysis. We did see any slow pace going on. So that’s not a drama waiting to unfold.

The quality of this device’s sound was good overall. Because Asus featured its ET2701 INKI with a SonicMaster Subwoofer that comes with a port. But the latter has the great disadvantage of occupying a lot of space. Ah well, without it we wouldn’t have experienced great sound. We listened to some songs and the subwoofer delivered excellent quality.

Review conclusion

The Asus ET2701 INKI is an all-in-one desktop which has the great pro of costing less than its competition. And of offering the same great quality as those models which are expensive. Even without a more powerful resolution or processor. In the end, this device remains one which will more than likely find a home with consumers who are after a no-frills all-in-one desktop.

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Samsung HMX-W300

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A special type of camcorder

Today it’s all about smartphones and phones. Most of the other gadgets have been forgotten. Including minicamcorders. But that does not mean there are no models left. There are and the one we’re reviewing here, Samsung’s HMX-W300, is one of the few which are bravely standing for themselves. This little device is very stoic, even if its looks don’t show what it is really capable of. We’ll tell you more about that in a moment.

Waterproof and shock resistant

Samsung took big steps when it came to choosing a design for its newest HMX-W300. And this effort shows big time. Everything was changed for the better. So that now, this model can easily resist attacks coming from shock, sand, water and other dangerous elements. This camcorder is able to come out safe from the effects of shocks from a 6.5 feet distance. And from a depth of 6.4 feet if you use it in water. To keep dust away, the HMX-W300’s holes for speaker and microphone are smaller than on the previous model. And there is no space anymore around the device’s pad.

The product turned out to be very easy to use in the tests we performed. You are offered every help you need for that. Even beginners will see that this camcorder is not going to give you a headache.Samsung-HMX-W300

Face detection technology

The HMX-W300 boasts a 3x digital zoom. It’s pretty good. Its autofocus could be better, though. And you should not forget that such a type of a digital zoom will consume quite a lot of battery life. And it will also make the quality of images look bad in the end. The device’s focus is 6″ from the subject you want to record. Which is not much. However, maybe one of the best pros on this product is its Pause key. This is not something sported by the other minicamcorders.

The shooting features sported by Samsung’s latest minicamcorder are many and varied. And also very well-chosen by the manufacturer.

Returning to those shooting features, the HMX-W300 sports the following possibilities. The user can record clips whose resolution is only 720p. But the filters you can play with are many. The device can record a total of 30fps at resolution of 720p and 1080p, too. The issue we were faced while testing this product underwater was that its Underwater mode can be accidentally triggered if you don’t pay enough attention. The electronic image stabilization is present. As are the following other options: back-light correction and face detection.

Up to 5.5MP pics

When we wanted to shoot a video in a room that was dark, the device prevented that clip from appearing hard to see. The quality of low-light clips was perfectly acceptable. There is a possibility to snap 2MP stills and videos at the same time. And also 5.5MP pics by employing the device’s Camera mode.

After you’ve taken your photo and recorded a clip, editing follows. That is possible via the minicamcorder’s special software. You will have to know how to work with it, though. We discovered that we did not have to install this software on our laptop. It is there to offer users help when sharing content or simply uploading it. The editing tools it sports are part of a good selection.

Review conclusion

The Samsung HMX-W300 is one of the few camcorders found these days on the market. It offers decent-looking photos and clips, compared with similar reviewed products. But the fact that it can resist against damage is a very good point in its favor.

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Disgo Tablet 8104

Disgo-Tablet-8104

A low cost gadget for masses

The category of low-quality products is made richer with the appearance of the £150 Disgo Tablet 8104. And, because it costs less, its performance, build materials and so on are not that brilliant. But there’s a ray of sunshine in the presence of apps and the possibility to use the gadget for Internet surfing. We took the product for a round of tests and this is what we came up with.

Interesting features

The Disgo Tablet 8104 looks very good on paper. But in reality, as our tests showed, the device is not all that great. The design is certainly underwhelming. Its 645g weight makes the tablet really light, which is an important pro, especially these days. But the cause of that are the cheap materials the manufacturer used.

The button layout is another con. There is only one back key featuring small buttons for On/Off, Menu, Volume and Home.

1.2GHz Corex-A8 processor

Connectivity is better. The new Disgo Tablet 8104 features the following: one headphone jack, one 32GB compatible microSD slot and one mini HDMI.Disgo-Tablet-8104

The processor that is used on this model is a single core 1.2GHz Corex-A8 based. It offers 4GB of onboard memory along with 512MB of RAM. Which is not at all exceptional. It took quite a lot of time to open applications, load the Internet and so on.

The screen that this gadget uses is poor. Its resolution is a mere 1,024 x 600 pixels, so quality has to suffer quite a lot. The narrowness of the viewing angles was frankly annoying during tests for this review. The colors were very dull.

We encountered no trouble when doing swiping gestures. But the screen did not recognize taps for what they were. Even if this is a capacitive display, it does not act like one.

Some lagging problems

Google Play market store is no more. Which is a pity, but expected from the low price tag. But you will have no Google Maps and Gmail and Google Maps.

The frames of games will drop a lot of times. The only thing that remains fluid is menu navigation. However, if you encounter sites which are more complex, performance will suck. Lagging is a constant with this tablet.

If you want a tablet that takes super duper photos, this model is not the one. The VGA camera on the front is poor. But a Skype convo with a friend or your family will go alright.

The battery assures an amount of 5 hours of power. Even when usage is at its medium. So it’s OK from this point of view.

Review conclusion

But if we are to perfectly honest – not that we haven’t been so far -, the latest Disgo Tablet 8104 is not going to stick with you. Even if its price is very good. Because that alone does not excuse this gadget from being poor. Its build, the response of its touchscreen and the overall performance are all a con. And the fact that there is no Google Play anymore is another thing to make the tablet substandard. But, well, the device’s Twitter, Facebook, Skype and the possibility to surf the World Wide Web are very welcome. It’s just that they do not really save the Disgo Tablet 8104 from being an underachiever in our eyes. And, we are sure, also in the eyes of consumers who only want the best there is today.

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Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700

Asus-Transformer-Pad-Infinity-TF700

A high class tablet PC

The Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 is truly the first tablet today that has a full high definition screen. There are two versions: one costs $499 and it features 32GB and the other has a price of $599 and it sports 64GB. Our review will tell you more about this new gadget.

10.1 inch display

There is absolutely no difference in design between the Transformer Prime and Asus’ latest Transformer Pad Infinity. On the front is the same beautiful 10.1″ touchscreen and bezel painted black. The display is covered in Gorilla Glass, which automatically means protection against accidents. The rear of this tablet is made of aluminum. Measurements are 10.4″ x 7.1″ x 0.33″; the weight is 1.3 pounds. In the tests we performed, we carried the Transformer Pad Infinity without breaking our backs.

On the device’s rounded sit the following ports: one microHDMI, one 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, 2 docking ports, a microSD card slot and one connector port.

The screen is an amazing 10.1 with 1920 x 1200 pixels of resolution. This full HD touchscreen has better pixel density than the Prime was 1280 x 800. Image quality was stunning. Colors were very bright and crisp. Skin tones on the Transformer Pad TF700 were very realistic. Sharpness was also excellent.Asus-Transformer-Pad-Infinity-TF700

Two display modes

The new Asus tablet supports the same 2 display modes: Super IPS+ and Standard IPS. The latter is best used when you have the tablet inside; the former works very well when you use the gadget in your garden, because it makes brightness amazing. We did not have issues with holding the tablet in direct sunlight. If you press down with firmness on the screen, the image will look distorted. But that goes once you lock or unlock the display.

The virtual keyboard that the Infinity model uses is very similar to the one on the Transformer Prime and the one used on the stock Android version. The spacebar button, though, is larger here. We got fast feedback from it. The predictive text feature never failed to work very well. A Swype-style trace feature is also present; it is accurate enough. For people who don’t want a virtual keyboard, the tablet can also work with a keyboard dock, but you have to buy it separately.

The processor on this model is an Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 T33. From games to web surfing, the Its performance was top notch. Load times were very fast, thanks to its 1.6GHz (for the 2 to 4 of its cores running at a given time) and 1.7-GHz (when only 1 core is used). Our synthetic benchmarks showed that CPU put on a very good show.

64GB internal storage

There are 64GB of onboard storage in Infinity TF700 tablet. They can be extended to a grand total of 32GB with the help of the tablet’s microSD card slot.

In our real-world testing, however, the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity was a champ.

The 2MP cam on the front sports an improved aperture: F2.2. The photos we took with it looked excellent. The camera sitting on the back behaved very well when we recorded videos in 1080p.

Our LAPTOP Battery analysis told us that the device could last for 7 hours and 20 minutes when the brightness of the screen was set at 40% and the Internet was open. That is very good compared to other tablets in its category. But the third-generation iPad continues to rule this segment with its over 10 hours of battery life.

Test conclusion

The Asus Tran former Pad Infinity TF700 will prompt you into buying it asap. It has many pros and fewer cons than compared to rivaling brands.

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Sony NSZ-GS7

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A Google TV set

Sony and their completely new $200 NSZ-GS7 is the second Google TV released by the Japanese manufacturer. It is a major improvement compared to the company’s Sony NSZ-GT1 Blu-ray player. What this device offers as a great feature is its remote control. We tested the set and thought it was good, even if it had its fair share of cons. Here is the review to prove our idea.

Good connectivity

If it weren’t for a rather annoying sticker saying Energy Saver on it, the new Sony NSZ-GS7 would have looked perfect. Even so, it remains a set with a slick design. This black box is glossy and it features no buttons.

All of the TV’s connectivity options are located on the rear. You will get 2 USB ports, one HDMI input and output, one IR blaster post and one Ethernet jack.

If you concentrate on other things than the exterior looks, we recommend you do so when you see the remote control. Because it is a very nice one. It is vastly superior to any remote Sony made for its past TV sets.

On the front, it has one large touch pad. Its sensor is tons better. Above it sit one directional pad and the standard Android keys. Other buttons: TV, DVR and guide. The most important part is the full keyboard that is housed on the remote’s other side. It makes searching a very easy experience. On the whole, this is a simple remote. But it will nonetheless confuse beginners.Sony-NSZ-GS7

Some problems

What makes the NSZ-GS7 not that exceptional is the fact that it is a Google TV by nature. Which means a less functional and more buggy experience than it should be. Sure, there are really good features – the best being full Chrome. But that does not mean we should forget the bugs it also comes with. And we had plenty of those in our testing phase for this review. There were some major ones.

We downloaded an app called BeyondPod for Honeycomb and we had issues with it. In the sense that it rebooted the TV when we searched something on it. And we heard awful screeching noises via the home audio system we used. We did another reboot and the app had the same problem, minus that annoying sound. Then we wanted to open the Google Music collection via that application. However, it didn’t work. Another con we dealt with was the fact that we were offered the Chrome browser whenever we wished to play content on Amazon.

Chrome browser

Browsing content by using streaming services can be done via a section called TV and Movies. It’s not the set’s greats pro, but it works decently. What struck us as really odd was the lack of movie and TV rental service that belongs to Google Play. You only get Amazon Instant. When you buy a movie via Google Play on a smartphone using Android, you cannot watch that movie on a Google TV set.

The Sony NSZ-GS7 sports the standard Chrome browser. But it also is not a smashing experience. There is no way whatsoever to watch TV and Hulu free of charge. The latter and an army of other programs such as Comedy Central, MTV, NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS are currently blocking Google TV from being able to stream videos on their Web sites. But even with this cons, Chrome offers great user experience.

Review conclusion

The idea of having Google TV is an attractive one. Still, this is not as modern an idea as in the beginning. The Xbox 360 wins major points, because it boats a lot of applications. And there’s the possibility to open live TV. In the end, we can’t really say that the NSZ-GS7 is an exceptional Google TV set.

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Sony Bravia KDL-55HX850

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A high end HDTV

Sony proved that its HX850 series of HDTVs is able to deliver models that are very reliable. And which are very good-lookers. The version we tested a couple of days ago is the company’s $2,599.99 Bravia KDL-55HX850. It does not offer 3D glasses, which may very well be its biggest con. Below you will find our opinion on this HDTV.

Gorilla glass panel

The Sony Bravia 55HX850 looks very good. It features a silver trim that offers sleekness. As does the Gorilla glass. The cabinet is a slim 1.4″ one. The stand is black, but shiny. It won’t leave a deep impression and it will get dirty with fingerprints. The TV’s 47 pounds were very well supported by this stand when we rated it.

The remote measures 7.9″ and it is extremely comfortable when held. And very light. But the buttons are small and there is no illumination. Another con: the lack of a 3D key. Browsing the menu system will offer the needed adjustments for content in 3D.

Internet connectivity is possible via wireless and wired, too. There are many web services to play with.

Connectivity options are serviced by the likes of a pair of USB ports, 4 HDMI ports, 3.5mm PC audio in / out jack, an RGB (PC) video input and many more.Sony-Bravia-KDL-55HX850

Active 3D technology

The Bravia KDL-55HX850 has a wide array of picture settings. They are fun to use and respond very well. The colors that are delivered by this HDTV swim in accuracy. We enjoyed them to bits.

The darkroom calibration we did in our test finished with a not so great peak brightness: 94.82 cd/m2. Black level reading was decent, though: 0.04 cd/m2. Contrast ratio was also decent. It was saved by the product’s X-Reality Pro processing technology. The latter was responsible for lots of details and sharpness in the Cinema mode.

Active 3D technology is used on this HDTV. But you are not offered 3D glasses. The set doesn’t come with glasses. A pair usually costs $49.99. When we watched 3D content with them, picture quality was good. The kind of depth that was delivered was satisfying. Winter X Games and their snowboarders, for instance, looked very good and detailed. Snow seemed to splash us at every second. There was crosstalk in objects that had very high contrast, but it was kept at a minimum.

Energy efficient

Power consumption by the Bravia HX850 was 47W. But we registered that when we did not turn on energy saving features. So this amount is really a pro point. This model can easily receive a GreenTech stamf for being a very energy efficient set.

The kind of $2,600 expensiveness of the Sony Bravia KDL-55HX850 can easily turn potential buyers off from the very beginning. For the sake of comparison, the $1,430 Vizio M3D550KD is very cheap. Well, it is aimed at people with low budgets anyway. The LG 55LM9600 has the same size as the model we review here, but it is way cheaper. Even its performance is almost the same as the one displayed by the latest Sony HDTV. Except the contrast ratio. But the HX850 makes up for the price by delivering sharp images filled with colors that are very accurate. Its design is also great and the Gorilla glass looks very well wherever you decide to place this product.

Test conclusion

So in the end, the Bravia KDL-55HX850 will offer many moments of quality time, even if it is not the greatest HDTV in this part of the town.

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ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A

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A 13 inch new ultrabook

Asus created their first ultrabook because they wanted to be a worthy rival to Apple’s MacBook Air. But ultimately, even if it did encounter success, it did not manage to stay on top. So the manufacturer rethought things and produced something completely new: the $1,499 Zenbook Prime UX31A. This sequel to the original laptop called Zenbook Prime got everybody excited about its capabilities. The outside is the same as that model, but the inside went through major changes. Let’s see what they are from the following review.

Solid design

The design of the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is not at all different from the one sported by its predecessor. Which is not something bad. We greatly enjoy the elegance it exudes due to the lid which is both brushed, made of metal and painted black. On the bottom and the inside, the laptop features a brushed finish made of aluminum, which is lighter. The corners of the device will not make a great first impression if you are like us and cannot stand sharp corners. But overall, the body has a very solid build. If you use a backpack, you will be able to insert the Zenbook Prime UX31A quickly inside.

The keyboard we typed our review with has all its buttons located in the exact same place as the original Zenbook Prime. However, the general feel they left on us in tests was of better quality than the ones on the predecessor. You are also offered the backlit option. The con here is that you get the same faulty keyboard design as on the first Prime: you have to perform a button combination to turn the keys into direct access ones. The touchpad also received an enhancement. It offered a navigation experience that was loads satisfying. But, to have that, we needed to tweak some of the laptop’s settings. We saw no issues with multitouch gestures. The one problem we had with the touchpad was that two-finger scrolling was not consistent.ASUS-Zenbook-Prime-UX31A

Some heat problems

The 13″ screen of the UX31A is a downright pro point. It comes with an amount of 1920 x 1080 pixels. And, most importantly, it has a matte finish. The brightness it delivers is very good. Better, actually, than what the Samsung Series 9 and the MacBook Air produce. And viewing angles are of the 178-degree variety.

As for heat, this laptop will get warmer than its elders. But it won’t reach that point where it’s impossible to keep the device on your lap. The laptop never broke the 95 degrees point during our analysis.

Intel i7-3517U CPU

The type of CPU used on this version is a 1.9-GHz Intel Core i7-3517U. A 256 GB solid state drive and 4GB of RAM complete the picture. As such, speed was very fast. A 5-minute 1080p video was converted to an iPhone friendly format in 28 seconds. A Laptop Spreadsheet Macro Test was completed in 4 minutes and 50 seconds. 23 seconds lapsed till the system booted into its Windows 7 OS.

There are not many ports. For instance, you can’t output video to an external display. What you get are the following: one microHDMI, two USB 3.0, a power jack, one mini VGA, an SD Card reader and one headphone jack.ASUS-UX31A

The Prime UX31A battery life lasted for a total of 6 hours.

Test conclusion

Tests done on the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A showed us that the manufacturer took their first ultrabook and improved it greatly.

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