REVIEWS

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

Google Home

Sennheiser HD-1 in ear wireless headphones

Motorola Moto E4

Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch

BlackBerry KEYone

Philips Hue Smart Lighting System

insta360 nano 360 camera for iPhone

2017 Cadillac CT6 Luxury

UAG Rugged Case for Surface Book

Motorola Moto G5

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum

Linksys VELOP Whole Home Mesh Network

Fitbit Alta HR

2016 Range Rover

2016 Ford Flex Limited

Timex IQ+ Move fitness tracking watch

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature

2016 Mazda MX-5

Sennheiser PXC-550 Bluetooth headphones

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan

Sudio Regent Bluetooth headphones

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

VisionTek SoundTube PRO Bluetooth speaker

Fitbit Charge 2

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Apple AirPods

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

808

Game of Thrones Season Six Blu-Ray

Michelin Premier all-season tires

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio +

Google Daydream View VR headset

ASUS ZenBook 3

Jaybird X3

JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod

Moto Insta-Share Projector for Moto Z

Google Pixel XL

Apalon's My Alarm Clock app

Lenovo Moto Z

Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

iOS 10

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless vacuum

Tablo by Nuvyyo

Samsung Gear Fit 2 fitness wearable

Ulysses for macOS and iOS

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format inkjet printer

HBO's Vinyl Season 1

Apple MacBook (2016)

Papago! GoSafe 268 mirror mounted dash-cam

Piper all-in-one security

JayBird Freedom headphones

SF MoMA app

Fitbit Blaze fitness tracker

UA HealthBox

Dyson Pure Cool Link

Lola by Blue

HTC 10

Tuesday
Jul072009

Micro Four Thirds Photography and the Lumix G1

Pick a color: The Panasonic Lumix G1 Micro Four Thirds Camera Pick a color: The Panasonic Lumix G1 Micro Four Thirds Camera By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla The DSLR phenomenon has really caught up with prices coming down and consumers having more options than ever in terms of affordable semi-pro or prosumer cameras with interchangeable lenses. Camera processor and lens technology has become so advanced that, in the right hands, a cheaper DSLR can capture great looking photos that are comparable to expensive, higher end cameras. The question of whether there is something beyond DSLR, has been answered; it seems, by Panasonic with their Micro Four Thirds Lumix G1 and their HD Video shooting GH1. These cameras are a hybrid of high-tech point-and shoot, ultra-zoom and a DSLR-type form-factor with interchangeable lenses. Ditching the pentaprism and mirror of a DSLR while allowing for smaller lenses has enabled them to create a stunning new product that give the versatility of a multi-lens camera with the ease of use of a point-and-shoot. We will focus on the G1 since it is widely available and retails in places like Henry’s Camera and Canada Computers for around $699-$799. Tiny Revolutionary The most impressive aspect of the G1 is its diminutive size. Even the larger lenses, which already integrate the stabilization feature, are remarkably tiny compared to what you are used to with DSLRs. The G1 also has an electronic viewfinder as opposed to an optical only one that is a mixed bag. The viewfinder is super-clear and accurate but fails to deliver the instantaneous performance of a glass viewfinder. This is most evident when shooting multiple frames per second; they just don’t register quickly enough. So, if you are into action and sports photography, then consider any DSLR over the Lumix G1. The G1 also comes with a foldable rear screen, not unlike what one would see in a camcorder and this, coupled with the live-view feature, makes composing photos a bit easier. This lightweight camera fits well in the hand and is a joy to use, especially in situations where a larger DSLR may catch attention. Panasonic’s automated controls are so good that you really don’t need to mess with the settings, more seasoned photographers may be put off with this as it seems that manual features, while available, don’t feel as accessible as they would on a regular DSLR. The intelligent auto feature on the G1 is pretty darn good and can figure out, more or less, what kind of lighting and focusing is needed by each situation. Micro Four Thirds at the forefront The Panasonic G1 is the world’s first Micro Four Thirds Camera in the market, it uses a smaller sensor (similar to that on the Olympus E3 Four Thirds DSLR) but one that is still far larger than any point-and-shoot or ultra-zoom compact camera can offer. Ditching the mirror that makes a DSLR has allowed the creation of smaller bodies, smaller lenses and more technology and less mechanical functionality. So you can theoretically shoot thousands of photos on a Micro Four Thirds camera without worrying about the shutter giving way or mirror wear - a big concern for traditional DLSRs that tend to crap out after a lot of use. Some would say that the 12 Megapixel Panasonic G1 is really the future of the replaceable-lens camera at least in terms of technology. The biggest problem with this platform is that it is so new that there are only half a dozen lenses available for the system (you can expand this with adapters and connectors which allow you to use anything from Four Thirds lenses to Nikon, Canon and even Leica mounts). Aside from the G1 and the GH1, Olympus released the Digital Pen P1, which is more similar to a rangefinder in shape and size and comes without any optical viewfinder and built-in flash. Only time will tell if a proper evolution for this standard will take place but right now the G1 is a hot little camera whose price has gone down in the past few months and has even won prestigious awards for its innovation and performance, most notably Popular Photography’s Camera of the Year for 2008. Which is impressive considering it went up against the likes of the Nikon D90 and the newer Canon Rebels. Real World Usage The G1 performed admirably in clear and well lit situations but seemed to struggle while photographing musicians in a dark bar – a situation that a true DSLR would have been able to handle given the right settings. The electronic viewfinder in low light is just plain awful and without it you will need to guesstimate what is ahead of you – something that professional photographers will never do. Higher ISO performance is okay but not amazing; attribute this limitation to the sensor size. The stabilized lenses work well and are fatastic in terms of size and performance but they aren’t Leica lenses which is unfortunate since the G1 has a gold L, for Leica, badge on its body yet there is nothing remotely Leica-ish about it, You would think that for the steep price ($US 800.00) Panasonic would spring for some higher end glass to go with its landmark camera. The G1 performs excellently in daylight conditions manitaining bright colors. The G1 performs excellently in daylight conditions manitaining bright colors. We enjoyed the auto mode on this camera which gave consistent, pro-looking quality photos but realized that it could be a good camera to fiddle with. Casual photographers who want the state of the art and the option to change lenses but who are daunted by jumping into the DSLR world would benefit from the G1. Pluses: o Micro Four Thirds realized in a small and powerful package. o Lenses are compact and stabilized o With adapters, can use a gamut of other lenses including vintage Leica rangefinder lenses as well as full size Four Thirds Lenses o Amazing auto functions, good AI and clear, crisp photos in well-lit conditions. o Well built body, rubberized texture and grip make it easy to hold even If it is incredibly lightweight. o Pop-out 3-inch LCD screen is great for composing awkward or challenging shots. Minuses: o Lenses aren’t Leica glass o Expensive for a glorified point-and-shoot. o Electronic viewfinder is among the best but fails in low-light conditions and when firing multiple shots. o Only two lenses available in the system. Conclusion: While we embrace the innovation and boldness that the Panasonic Lumix G1 embodies, we’re a bit tentative on its practicality. With the addition of more Micro Four Thirds models, we should hopefully see more lenses and accessories round out this exciting new system. Photo courtesy of Firepixel.ca

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Friday
Jul032009

Apple iPhone 3GS - Full Review and Test

Apple iPhone 3GS iphone3gs Launched a few weeks ago via Rogers Wireless, the new Apple iPhone 3GS has been put through its paces and our experience with the new upgrade is that it does offer features that might benefit power users and those relying on the iPhone’s 3G data functionality and speed. Regular users, those whose use of the iPhone is primarily to make calls, listen to audio and run a few non graphic intensive applications- we fell the iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade is more than enough to sustain their current iPhone 3G handsets. Overview The iPhone 3GS is so named for the overall increase in Speed. A new 600 MHz ARM processor powers the new models. The extra horsepower is further boosted by improvements to the graphic architecture with a PowerVR SGX graphics chip that now enables 30 frames per second video recording at VGA mode. RAM has also been doubled from 128MB to 256MB as has the 3G data throughput of 7.2 Mbps where available. Our initial impressions of the iPhone 3GS is that it is clearly twice as fast than the iPhone 3G, especially when rendering complex websites or when loading graphics intensive games. The increased RAM and the graphics boost do make things run a lot faster. Even negligible tasks like booting up or synching with iTunes are much faster because of the new components. Not to take anything away from the iPhone 3G, which is still an excellent device, but next to the 3GS it just seems slower. Compass, camera and voice commands The iPhone 3GS also offers a digital compass that works in tandem with the GPS and Google Maps to enhance location and direction based applications. The compass is accurate and although a bit gimmicky, is a good thing to have. Apple also bundled the Nike+ component that interacts with the Nike sensors for managing and tracking your workouts. All you need are the Nike+ sensors and you are good to go. Shutterbugs will love the improved 3 Megapixel cameras that does video, offers geotagging, auto-focus and white balance plus exposure. A neat add on is the touch-to-focus feature that can help when separating an object from the foreground. The camera, even at 3 Megapixels, sealed the deal for us since we often need to take snapshots of events, products or people but don’t want to lug our digicams with us. The addition of video is a big bonus, especially since videos can be edited in camera and uploaded to MobileMe or YouTube. One of he biggest pluses for us, and a good enough reason to upgrade, is the availability of a 32GB model that is even more storage capacity than some netbooks offer. As a journalist who often needs to bring a camera, voice recorder, video recorder and notebook on the road –the iPhone 3GS with its new features is an astonishing replacement. The Voice Memos function works great and we managed to get a clear interview from a person in a noisy bar. Audio can be easily synched to one’s PC and filed away or even sent as an email attachment. We’ve not really had a chance to use the video feature much but the results so far have been good. The quality of video and audio is as good or better than a Flip video camera. Although not in HD (which is fine for most uses), the video is crisp and clear even in a darkened concert venue and can be shared instantly via email or upload to YouTube. The camera and its auto white balance, auto focus and auto exposure makes taking photos on the fly a lot better. Is there marked difference between the 2 Megapixel camera and the old 2 Megapixel camera, it doesn’t seem to be noticeable. The increase in storage on the high end from 16GB to 32GB, however, give users more room to play with in terms of the number of files they can keep. Unchanged yet Reduxed Apple kept the basic design of the iPhone 3G for the iPhone 3GS and for us who have already spent a small fortune on cases, accessories and battery extenders (like the amazing Mophie Juice Pack Air) can breathe a sigh of relief. Apple focused on squeezing even more features in the package and adding only one once more of weight while extending the battery life by 30% specially for web surfing on Wi-Fi. Tethering, currently being offered by Rogers Wireless to those with a data plan greater than 1GB a month, works exceedingly well and is surprisingly fast. iPhone 3G or 3GS owners with a netbook or notebooks should be able to access the web and email from their cottages this summer without much fuss provided they have the coverage. The screen seems similar to the iPhone 3G and side-by-side there is very little difference. The iPhone 3G S also features a new fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating that attracts fewer smudges and wipes off easily. With its speedy processor, increased storage space and multimedia and communications features, The iPhone 3GS is a handheld computer as much as it is a phone. An evolutionary, rather than revolutionary leap, the iPhone 3GS is the definitive smartphone to beat today.

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Wednesday
Jun102009

Apple drops prices, boosts MacBook Pro lines

overview-gallery1-20090608 Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla Adding faster processors, larger memory capacities (up to 8GB), FireWire 800 plus a SD Card Slot, Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line by formally inviting the unibody 13’ inch MacBook to the fold. More after the break. Available in Canada this week, the new MacBook Pro 13 starts at $1,399, offers a backlit keyboard, a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, 160GB HD and most surprisingly a built in 7-hour battery (non-user removable). A 2.56GHz model is available for $1,749 and offers a 250GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM. features_battable20090608 The entire Macbook Pro line now has improved battery life, thanks to an innovative but non-user replaceable battery that was introduced in last year’s MacBook Air. The addition of a Firewire 800 port on the 13’ inch MacBook is also a welcome addition that many users were clamoring for. For the 15-inch MacBook Pro, a new 7-hour battery (built-in), a 3.53GHz, 2.66GHz or a 2.8GHz processor with 4GB RAM (upgradeable to 8GB), up to 500GB hard drive capacities. NVDIA GeForce 9400M is standard on the base model. You can still get the white polycarbonate MacBook, which is a great value at $1149.00 and offers a 2.13Ghz processor, 2GB RAM and a 160GB Hard Drive. Apple also announced the availability of Snow Leopard for a surprising price of $29.00. $100 less than previous OS X updates. Snow Leopard will be available in September. One month before Microsoft’s Windows 7 is released. Snow Leopard is an evolutionary upgrade to the Mac OS and will be faster to install than the previous version and will also reclaim around 6GB of disk space. Offering reduced prices on its most popular hardware and its operating system shows that Apple Inc. is seriously challenging the perception that they are expensive and out of reach.favicon

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Tuesday
Jun022009

Next revision Netbooks going from Tiny to Slim and Light

msi By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla Netbook manufacturers are redefining the form factor of the latest batch of Netbooks and moving from the 9-10 ' inch subportable style and moving to slim and light designs with larger screens and keyboards. Using the latest low-consumption processors as well as improved battery technology and design cues taken from Apple's Macbook Air, we see prices going up a bit accompanied by better functionality, increased connectivity, HDMI video out and improved battery life. About a year ago, many mocked the Apple Macbook Air for being slim but sparse in features and overpriced. Apple's take at a subnotebook went towards a thin and light profile but sacrificed much in terms of functionality, lack of input and output as well as fixed battery made the Macbook Air seem inflexible. Cheaper than Air The newer netbooks from MSI, ASUS, Acer and others are touting slim-and light profiles but promising increased battery life (due in part to Intel's Atom low-voltage processor). Many of the new skinny netbooks are taking design cues directly from Apple's Air but since these are clad in plastic, offer cheaper components and come in a variety of operating systems (from Ubuntu to Windows), they are a lot cheaper. -Asus Eee PC Seashell 1101HA Netbook Looking very similar to the Macbook Air is Asus's 1101HA Netbook, also dubbed the seashell. Touting a long (they claim 11-hour) battery life and a weight of 2.42lbs and a 10' inch glossy screen-Asus seems to be going for style, portability and longer battery life. Asus's take on Apple's thin and light design Asus Asus does include two USB 2.0 ports, multiple audio jacks, a 1.3MP camera, 160GB Hard Drive although its long-life battery is not easily replaceable since it is sealed within the body. Early reviews have been quite good and if we were in the market for a netbook for travel, Asus’ seashell would definitely be on our shortlist. -Gigabyte ThinNote S1024 Under two pounds and touting a 10-inch screen, Gigabyte’s S1024 flaunts a Windows XP OS is powered by Intel’s Atom Intel processor and can be topped off with 6 cell battery and can be had for roughly US$600. Gigabyte goes light with the s1024 Gigabyte goes light with the s1024 Should it be made available in Canada, the ThinNote will offer a compeptetive feature set including 2 USB 2’0 ports, 60 or 80 GB HD capacities, SIM slot for 3G Internet connectivity (should be standard on netbooks by now), a 1.3Megapixel webcam and a surprisingly meager 1GB or RAM. Gigabyte may not have the brand recall of many of its competitors but this feature set and a good price point should make its ThinNote a viable choice for new netbook buyers. -MSI X340 Known for its Wind line of netbooks, MSI has upped the level of design, integration and sexiness of its thin and light 13’ inch line of laptops. The lines, contours and the shape of the X340 are textbook Macbook Air design replicated in shiny plastic. A more economic Intel Core 2 Solo (1.4Ghz) processor runs things inside the MSI but the battery life is surprisingly short for a light notebook and we think it is because of Windows Vista. The MSI does offer a generous and reasonably fast 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM as well as HDMI and Wi-Fi in b/g/n flavors making it transcend the netbook plane and level up to specs seen in a serious business notebook territory although the US $800 price point might put some people off. We expect more thin and light models in 9-11’ inch screen netbook and notebook configurations to continue hitting the market hard, specially as the back-to-school sales come closer. People clearly want power and convenience but are going for style, light-weight and functionality.

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