Friday, 30 January 2015

Dell XPS 13 (2015)

Engadget has published a review of what is currently the world's smallest 13-inch laptop.

Summary & 'Pros & Cons' follow:

"With Intel's new fifth-generation Core processor, the redesigned, 1.2kg XPS is notable for its nearly bezel-less display -a design feat that allows it to have the footprint of an 11-inch machine. And a starting price of $800 (or, if you are in the UK, £1,099! Ed.)."

Other than an update to the touchpad, there's very little we would change about Dell's redesigned XPS 13: It's compact and well-built, with a gorgeous screen, fast performance and surprisingly good audio quality. You'll pay dearly to get it with a touchscreen, but even then, it's priced in line with other flagship Ultrabooks.

Pros:

- Nearly bezel-less display
- Vibrant screen
- Excellent audio
- Attractive & well-built
- Comfortable keyboard
- Powerful

Cons:

- Average battery life
- Touchpad not great
- Expensive with touchscreen
------------

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Seagate Seven Portable External Drive

The Register reports: [edited]

The Seagate Seven is a 7mm thick, 500GB portable external drive. It has a bare drive look with its steel enclosure punched into shape via a deep draw manufacturing process.

Seagate claims its low profile motor technologies include "extreme Gyro handling capabilities with tablets and thin computing in mind".

It hooks up to host computers with a braided USB 3.0 cable.

Price: $99
------------

Monday, 22 December 2014

Nikon D750

Digital Photography Review has published a glowing (90%) review of Nikon's mid-range full-frame DSLR.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"The D750 is essentially a lower resolution, less expensive version of Nikon's D810 but if actually offers quite a bit more, including a better autofocus system, faster burst mode, tilting LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi. The major trade-offs are build quality/durability and resolution. If that sounds like an impressive camera to you, then you're absolutely right."

"The Sony-designed sensor in the D750 produces high resolution images with very little noise and an exceptional amount of dynamic range. Noise levels are very low, even at the highest sensitivities."

"One of the other high-points on the D750 is its expansive dynamic range. What's really impressive is what the camera can do when you expose for the highlights and let everything else go dark. So much is captured in the shadows that you can brighten them to the desired level with very little increase in noise."

"It's not often that we review a camera that does nearly everything right. The Nikon D750 is one of those cameras, due in large part to its top-notch sensor and autofocus system. It also wins points for its responsive (but buffer-limited) continuous shooting mode and video quality. While it has a few flaws, they're minor and won't affect the majority of photographers."
------------

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Better Portable Graphics (BPG)

Fstoppers reports: [edited]

There is a new image format called BPG (Better Portable Graphics) designed by the French programmer Fabrice Bellard and it promises to deliver better visual quality at half the file size of JPEG.

JPEG has been around for over 20 years and has become the accepted means of displaying images on the web. As our web experience grows ever more visual, and as mobile browsing becomes the preferred method for many folks, JPEG begins to show its limitations.

BPG is a format based off the H.265 video codec by utilising the open source x265. This means BPG offers the ability to render 14 bits per colour channel as opposed to 8 with JPEG. It also offers an alpha channel, and a lossless compression option.

To give BPG a test run and see how it compares to JPEG you can go here and go through a variety of comparison images.
------------

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Solid State Hard Drives reliability test

Engadget reports: [edited]

Most heavy data users can't wait for the day when conventional hard disks are put out to pasture for good. But just how much better are SSDs? Despite any horror stories you may have heard, the answer is a lot, according to tests on recent models by The Tech Report. It forced six drives - including Kingston's HyperX 3K, Samsung's 840 Pro and Intel's 335 series - to continuously write and rewrite 10GB of small and large files.

Two drives - the Samsung and Kingston models - have both written two petabytes worth of data and are still going. Given that a typical user might write a couple of terabytes of data a year on an SSD, that adds up to a thousand or so years based just on usage. It's worth noting that it was just a small, informal test - but it bolsters the case that SSDs are far less likely to give you failure stress than hard drives.
------------

Friday, 5 December 2014

High-end pocketable compact cameras

Digital Photography Review has published a review of the following cameras.

- Canon PowerShot G7 X
- Canon PowerShot S120
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III
- Fujifilm XQ1
- Nikon Coolpix P340
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

Snippets from the conclusion follows:

Best high-end pocketable compact - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III

With the RX100, RX100 II and now the RX100 III, Sony has had three opportunities to perfect the concept. The RX100 Mark III offers advantages in its superior battery life, added options/features for video shooters, better image quality, and its built-in EVF.

Best affordable high-end pocketable compact - Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 is not the newest high-end compact around, nor does it offer the biggest sensor, or the cheapest price tag. That being said, it is still an incredibly capable compact with a built-in electronic viewfinder for under $300 [£250, Ed.]. The Panasonic also leaps ahead of the pack in its massive zoom range, a 28-200mm equivalent. The other compacts all max out at 120mm or less.
------------

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Google Devices and Activity dashboard

Google reports: [edited]

A new Devices and Activity dashboard gives additional insight over the devices accessing your Google account. The page shows a comprehensive view of all devices that have been active on an account in the last 28 days, or are currently signed in. And in case any suspicious activity is noticed, there’s a setting to immediately take steps to secure an account and change a password.
------------