FUJIFILM X-PRO1

  The Fujifilm X-Pro1 has retro written all over it. But looks can be deceiving. Beneath the 1970s vintage designing is a ultra-modern mirror-less imaging machine that pushes the limits for compact interchangeable lens cameras. The retro looks mean this camera is peppered with buttons and dials. Shutter speed and exposure have dials near the trigger, while aperture can be adjusted directly from the lens like in some old cameras. The new X-Trans CMOS sensor has been designed to reduce moire. And the results are obvious. The colours are more lifelike, and it is hard to tell that they were not taken by a high-end DSLR. This 16MP camera also packs a lot of picture quality options, accessible from the Q buttons on the body. This button also lets you adjust most of the other settings on the camera. You can take pictures in full-auto by selecting the settings in both shutter and aperture. And it is better to stick to this option if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, you need to focus with the lens and this can take a bit of time for those not used to manual modes. One of the best results with this camera is when you use the continuous or HDR modes, where the click sound is more like a galloping sound. You will love the sound as well as the results. When you playback, the pictures clicked in continous mode appear like a slow motion image. There is also Full HD video recording. Just make sure you have a fast CF card to get the best out of the above functions. With a slower card, the camera actually hanged up on us a couple of times. The image quality of this camera is also due to the FUJINON XF Lens series, designed especially for this camera. We reviewed the camera with an 18mm F2R fixed lens and the portraits and landscapes were superb. We could not test the quality of pictures in zoom, though. There are two other lenses to choose from: a 35mmF1.4R and XF60mmF2.4 R Macro. You will also need to buy a speedlight. The camera comes with a 3-inch LCD monitor and a Reverse Galilean hybrid multi-viewfinder which can switch of the electronic image if needed. So you can compose images and change settings entirely through the viewfinder, whatever mode you are on. Overall the X-Pro 1 is an excellent camera. The only hitch is that you will see this camera more with Japanese businessmen than Indian tourists —the price will take care of that. THE TALKING TYPE With almost everything moving towards touch interfaces, physical keyboards in smartphones are on the way out. The larger displays on tablets donleave much scope for attachment to a keyboard either, prompting companies to come up with wireless keyboard accessories. Trying to be different from the others, Elecom has combined a wireless keyboard and a Bluetooth headset melded into a single accessory. The compact and stylish keyboard has a display on top for notifications such as Bluetooth connectivity and battery status, incoming and outgoing call numbers. Typing with the keyboard, which has to be paired with your device, was difficult thanks to the display which splits the first two rows of the keys. But with time we got used to the placement of the keys. The device worked quite well as a handset too. While the front had the number keys, the actual call can be made only from the rear of the device. Incoming numbers flashed on the small screen, a handy feature when the phone was in the handbag or pocket. It also has a 3.5-mm port for headphones, just in case you want to listen to music from your phone.

EPSON WORKFORCE DS-30

NOT QUITE THERE Epson has entered the portable scanner space with its WorkForce DS-30, a tiny rectangular block that does not occupy much space. The top panel only has an LED light with a scanning button. However, there is a catch. Like regular scanners, the DS-30 also needs to be connected to a PC or laptop for scanning. We had to first install the software for the system to detect the DS-30. Once done, we inserted a page face down and pressed the scan button. Instantly, a window opened on the PC displaying options such as page size (auto, A4, A5, A6, etc.), resolution (ranging between 75 and 600 dpi), image type and adjustments for brightness and contrast. You can also initiate scanning by double pressing the scan button on the gadget, which takes less that 30 seconds to scan an A4 sheet. By default, the scanned documents are saved in JPG format. Be it blacks or colours, the scanned results were of good quality.

CORSAIR VENGEANCE M90

MIGHTY MOUSE The Vengeance M90 gaming mouse from Corsair is as niche as they come. While you wonbe happy using this piece of equipment for your daily computing, gamers will be twiddling their thumbs at the sight of the 15 programmable buttons on this mean little mouse. Yes, there are 13 buttons in addition to the left/right and the roller that we are all used to. Build like one of the weapons you see in these games, the M90 has a lot of chrome with a streak of blue light here and there. Though a tad heavy for regular use, this extra weight makes the movement for gaming a bit more precise. In fact, the mouse has an aluminium base with a soft touch surface. The roller has a rubber grip and this way you move just as much as you want during multiplayer games. Plus, there is an extra-long 1.8-m fabric cable. You can download software from the Corsair website to configure the additional buttons on the mouse. The software also lets you choose DPI settings and response times. Overall, a great option for gamers, and only gamers.

FUJIFILM X-PRO1CANON POWERSHOT SX260 HS

ZOOM OUT For a pocket camera to have 20x zoom is nothing great these days, but a 20x optical zoom is really out of the box. The Canon Powershot SX260 HS sticks out from the competition with its three-tier telescopic lens which protrudes almost six inches out of the body at full zoom. Another gimmick you might say. Well, no. This is a zoom that actually works, despite all the shake a telescopic lens brings into the picture. At full zoom it is very hard to avoid tremors, but the image stabilisation in the camera takes care of most of it, at least in good light. In low light you will need to hold your breath in and hope that your hands are steady enough for the job. Else, switch to easy mode where you get assistance from the flash. So, one way or the other, you are sure to get good pictures even at full zoom. The camera has all the features you would expect of a point and shoot and some that you are more likely to see in DSLRs. There is an Auto mode and an Easy mode, which is like Auto mode for dummies. Then there is the Movie Digest mode which records a small clip with each snap so that at the end of the day you can put together clips taken over a period of time. It is the new Digic 5 processor that makes features like these and burst mode possible. There is also GPS for you to keep tag of where each shot is taken. The zoom works even with Full HD video recording and the record button is separate just in case you want to click a picture in between a shoot. The SX260 is a good camera for beginners and those who want more features than what their camera phone gives them. The advanced features also make this a good camera for serious amateurs. SONY VAIO SVE14A SIZE MATTERS After the overdose of Ultrabooks over the past six months, we did not quite know what to do with a full-sized laptop. Here was a device twice the size and weight of an average Ultrabook, with no two second resume and with all the extra fittings that its cousin has abandoned for the sake of a size-zero figure. The Sony Vaio SVE14A is part of the new E series which epitomises flashy design and high-end performance. The design is intentionally kitschy with a crimson band running across the black matte finish body The crimson also finds its way to the backlit keyboard as all keys seem to have an undertone of the colour, which comes to life every time the keys light up. The keyboard itself is smooth, though it looks a bit too busy with so much happening all over. The three trademark Vaio one-touch buttons are also there, just beside the eject for the optical drive. The touchpad has pinch and zoom and scroll. The performance is smooth and fast as you will realise if you try fiddling around with some high-resolution pictures. The AMD Radeon graphics card and dedicated video memory is really up to the task as far as graphics and HD video is concerned. This model has an Intel Core i5-2450M Processor 2.50 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz, we are not sure if that is a good idea when Intel has started selling the third generation. This does not mean the laptop lacks power, it s just a bit fashioned”, to borrow an Intel phrase. This is a good entertainment device and has a 14-inch LED backlight monitor and really loud speakers with Xloud technology. Like other Vaio models, there is a dock that will let you keep the desktop really clean. There are many other software preloaded in the device, including Adobe Photoshop Elements 10. If you are looking for a fully loaded laptop and not really bothered about size, the Sony Vaio SVE14A is a good buy at 47,990. TOSHIBA SATELLITE U840 Price: 53,500 Specs: Windows 7 Home Premium; 14-inch LCD; Intel Core i5-3317U; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics 3000; LAN, USB 3.0, SD card reader, Wi-Fi; 19.9mm thick; 1.59 kg. ACER ASPIRE S3 Price: 51,499 Specs: Windows 7 Home Basic; 13.3-inch HD 1366x768 LED; Intel Core i5-3317U; 4 GB DDR3; 500 GBHDD+SSD; Intel HD Graphics 4000; SD/MMC card readers; 2 USB 3.0, HDMI; 13.1 mm thick; 1.36 kg. A BIGGER HEART When we tested the Acer Aspire S3 in January it used to run a 2nd generation Intel iCore processor. Six months on, the device has been upgraded to a 3rd generation Intel Ivy Bridge chip. The S3 is still the slim device it used to be. In fact, it is still among the thinnest Ultrabooks and looks a lot like the MacBook Air, and we mean that in a positive sense. There are no major changes in the design, though we noticed that the arrow keys on the keyboard are really small for any one with regular-sized fingers. Some corners have had to be cut to maintain this size, and the keyboard is definitely one of them. The device we got had a 450GB HDD, but did not seem a gram heavier than the earlier S3 which has SSD. But then it is the 3rd generation 1.7Ghz i5-3317U processor that is new here. Intel claims one of the real strengths of the new processor is its video encoding capabilities. We decided to put this to test. We converted a 1080p .mov file weighing 22 MB into .avi format. On a Pentium dual-core CPU it took 12 seconds to do the job. On the S3, this took all of four seconds —three times faster. Acer has also worked on the anti-theft features of the 3rd gen chip to create its own Theft Sheild, which lets users lock their device in case it gets stolen. Power on took 32 seconds, while from sleep the Ultrabook woke in just 2 seconds, thanks to the additional SSD storage. But, no surprises here. After having seen the first wave of Ultrabooks, we could not help notice that the S3 has a 1366x768 screen which is a bit of let down. The sound, however, seems to have gone up a notch with the new processor. Again, one of the best things about the Acer Ultrabook is the price. It is still the most affordable Ultrabook at 51,499. NIKON D3200 Price: ? 37,950 (with AF-S DX 18-55mm lens) PUSHING THE LIMITS Wait... entry-level DSLRs are not supposed to have 24.2 megapixels? So what is a DX-format CMOS image sensor with twice as many pixels as regular DSLRs doing in the new Nikon D3200. Well, the D3200 seems part of Nikondesigns to push the limits for cameras. First the 36MP D800, and now this. The D3200 is an ultra lightweight DSLR. Weighing just 505 gm with the battery and memory card, this can be very handy for amateurs. However, professionals might find it a bit too light, especially while using the zoom lenses. There is a viewfinder as well as a three-inch LCD monitor, which you can use for live view and for shooting HD videos. The menu button is at the left of the LCD and is covers almost everything you want to do with the camera. But we would have liked one touch access to the ISO and White Balance —which you now have to select after clicking the Info button. We loved the fact that the LCD display changes orientation as you flip the camera around. However, we did not like the red body option, which has a very plasticky finish. The black body, of course, retains the traditional feel of a DSLR. The new DX-format CMOS image sensor completely negates noise, certainly in the full frames. You can crop out any part of the frame to make a high-resolution picture on its own. You will see noise only at the last zoom in and that is quite ok. This is also a very fast camera, thanks to the EXPEED 3 image-processing engine. It will lock on to moving subjects with ease and keeps the focus. You see this even while shooting Full HD videos as the camera is almost always in focus. It is hard to miss the sharpness of the image, whatever the light you are shooting in. As in most new cameras, there is a Record button near the trigger to initiate video recording. EASE OF USE There is a guide mode where the camera will tell you what to do and how. Though not recommended if you are shooting in a hurry, this can be a real boon for beginners. There is also a retouch menu where you can give effects to pictures already saved. We liked the red-eye correction and image overlay option, which are usually not found in cameras.

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