There’s no denying that the Acer Aspire S7 is an attractive-looking machine. It’s a super-thin ultrabook with a 1080p display that rotates 180 degrees, and when we reviewed it, we found there was a lot to love. If you can look past the weak speakers, limited 4GB RAM, and pretty dismal battery life, the S7 is the perfect minimalist notebook.
One thing stopping us from overlooking the S7′s faults was its slightly high price tag — the 11.6-inch model launched at $ 1,199, while a fully-specced 13.3-inch machine would set you back $ 1,649 — but the Microsoft Store is running a promotion that takes care of that. You can now pick up the 11.6-inch S7 for just $ 899, while the Core i5 and Core i7 13.3-inch models will set you back $ 999 and…
Google might have acquired photo software marker Nik primarily for its Snapseed mobile app, but it also got the company’s well-regarded suite of desktop software in the deal. And just like it made Snapseed free on mobile, it’s now taking a big chunk out of the price tag of Nik’s other apps, offering the six-plugin Nik Collection for $ 149, down 70 percent from its previous price of $ 499.95.
The package includes everything from Viveza 2 for making selective color adjustments (pictured above) to Silver Efex Pro 2 for recreating film-like black and white looks with your digital images. And the single $ 149 price tag will let you use the software with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Apple’s Aperture on both Windows…
Mophie caused a bit of a double-take by introducing not one but two rechargeable external battery cases for the iPhone 5 within a few days of each other. The Juice Pack Helium offers a sleeker body, but the Juice Pack Air, announced later, offers more stamina. I’ve been testing the latter for nearly a week now, and it lives up to Mophie’s good reputation, with a single trade-off that may or may not influence your buying decision.Long Version Info
- Battery size: 1,700 mAh
- Available colors: black, white, and red
- MSRP: $ 99.95
- Dimensions: 2.60 in x 5.54 in x 0.63 in
- Weight: 2.68 oz
The Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 will look and feel familiar to owners of previous Mophie Juice Packs. It has a rubberized texture that makes the matte back extra grippy, a smooth black plastic band extending around the entire sides of the device, and a button on the back that lights up indicators showing how much battery is remaining. Some of the elements have shifted to make up for the new iPhone’s design: the battery indicator and activation switch are on the back, not the bottom, and the micro USB port is on the bottom surface where the Lightning port would be on an iPhone 5 without a case.
One of the few unfortunate changes caused by the iPhone 5′s redesign is the shift of the headphone port to the bottom, which is where the business end is on Mophie’s battery pack cases. That means that on this Juice Pack Air, there’s around a half-inch hole any headphones have to go through to get to the iPhone’s 3.5mm stereo port. Mophie includes an extension cable to make sure your headphones will work no matter their design, but it’s an extra bit to keep track of and potentially lose, and that’s never good.
Overall, the Juice Pack Air feels like a quality accessory, however, and all the pass-through switches and buttons work well. There’s even mesh on the front-facing speaker ports, which do enhance sound to my ear, and an appropriately wide opening on the back to accommodate the camera lens and flash without impeding mobile photography.
The Juice Pack Air claims to be able to provide around 8 more hours of 3G talk time and Internet use, 8 more hours of LTE browsing, 10 hours of Wi-Fi web, and up to 40 more hours of audio playback or 10 more hours of video. Mophie says that’s up to 100 percent the normal battery life of your iPhone 5. I happened to be able to test charging a dead iPhone 5 from a drained state with a fully-charged Juice Pack Air, however, and it only got the iPhone up to around 80 percent charge. Your mileage may vary, however, and 80 percent from a cold, dead battery that has lain empty for a while is still pretty impressive, and in everyday use I found it was as close to doubling my iPhone 5′s life as made no difference.
The Juice Pack Air gets warm while charging, but that’s nothing new and I mention it more to make new users aware than to cite it as an issue. New users should also note that the Air features pass-through charging via the supplied micro USB cable: You can plug it in overnight and the iPhone inside will charge first, with the case getting its fill afterwards. One thing missing in this version is pass-through syncing, however. That could be a problem for some, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve done a wired sync of an iOS device, so it doesn’t bother me.
The Juice Pack Air is a solid performer, which isn’t surprising, given its pedigree. It has the same general downsides as its predecessor (mostly that it adds bulk to the iPhone), and loses a few tricks. But most won’t miss the lack of pass-through syncing now that iPhones are much more autonomous devices than they were in the past. And the Air for iPhone 5 is slightly thinner than the version for iPhone 4/4S. If you need the extra power that a battery case provides, the Juice Pack Air remains the case to beat.
CES today issued a press release announcing that DISH’s Hopper with Sling technology built-in is the “Best of Show” after all, an honor it will share with existing winner the Razer Edge for the 2013 show. The decision follows the revelation that CNET was ordered to remove the Hopper from consideration after CNET parent company CBS asked them to. CBS is currently involved in litigation with DISH over Hopper functionality.
Along with the granting of the award, CES also announced that it will launch an RFP seeking a new partner for the “Best of CES” awards “soon”, since it isn’t confident that relationship with CNET will continue to be beneficial for the CES brand.
“CES has enjoyed a long and productive partnership with CNET and the Best of CES awards,” CEA SVP of Events and Conferences Karen Chupka said in the release. “However, we are concerned the new review policy will have a negative impact on our brand should we continue the awards relationship as currently constructed. We look forward to receiving new ideas to recognize the ‘best of the best’ products introduced at the International CES.”
The DISH Hopper with Sling can record and play back programming within a 24 hour window after its airing, without commercials, which is the source of CBS’s legal dispute with DISH. CEA joined up with other tech organizations last week to file a brief in support of DISH around the Hopper, as the company is clearly eager to distance itself from the editorial decision made by CNET and its parent company, which came under fire from other media organizations (ours included) and tech industry watchers alike.
CEA came out in strong support of the DISH Hopper in a statement from Gary Shapiro included in the release:
We are shocked that the ‘Tiffany’ network which is known for its high journalistic standards would bar all its reporters from favorably describing classes of technology the network does not like. We believe that the DISH Hopper DVR is fully covered by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios Inc. The simple fact is making television easier to watch is not against the law. It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer.
The fallout for CNET has already resulted in the departure of Greg Sandoval from the network, who resigned his post, citing a loss of confidence in CBS’s commitment to editorial independence as his reason for leaving.
Google’s incoming 32GB Nexus 7 may be one of its worst kept secrets, with most estimates (and those leaks) pointing to a $ 249 price tag and a launch date later this week. However, it also appears that the 16GB model will drop its price down to $ 199, according to leaked images from both Office Depot and GameStop — great news for anyone who’s so far held off from grabbing the first Nexus tablet. While an official announcement’s been delayed by the forces of nature, we expect to hear more from Google sooner rather than later.
Ahead of taking on a fundamental shift in business strategy, Microsoft today announced revenue of $ 16.01 billion for fiscal Q1 2013. That fell just below Wall Street expectations that had called for $ 16.5 billion in sales. Net income plummeted by 22 percent to $ 5.31 billion as the company readies major hardware and software initiatives due in the weeks ahead.
As expected, Windows lagged significantly in the months preceding Microsoft’s much-publicized debut of Windows 8. The Windows and Windows Live divisions fell to $ 3.24 billion, a decrease of 33 percent compared to where things stood one year ago. That’s largely attributable to waning PC momentum: recent estimates from Gartner indicate that worldwide PC shipments fell 8 percent in…
The Droid Razr HD and Droid Razr Maxx HD have pranced their way across a stage or two, and they’re even the stars of a new commercial, but today you’ll get to go face-to-face with the hot new Googorola phones at a Verizon store for $ 199 and $ 299 respectively.
Sprint, as you may recall, will be getting the Samsung Galaxy Note II on October 25 for $ 299.
The Droid Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD mark the continuation of a profitable alliance in Verizon and Motorola, and solidify it with Google as a new backbone for Motorola after the $ 12.5 billion acquisition. But it’s also worth remembering that these phones ship with Android 4.0.4 ICS. Not Jelly Bean.
Whatever the case, these are top-of-the-line phones, with 4.7-inch Super AMOLED HD 720p displays, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processors, and an 8-megapixel shooter that captures 1080p video. Not to mention a super thin Kevlar fiber casing.
And to top that off, Motorola promises great battery life, which is a struggle for all of us. The Droid Razr HD and Maxx HD have 2530 mAH and 3300 mAH batteries respectively, promising something like 16 and 21 hours of straight usage.Related Posts:
ZTE might already be feeling heat from Congressional suspicions, but the company could soon take a more direct hit to the pocketbook. Cisco has reportedly dropped an already rocky seven-year deal with ZTE after it learned that the Chinese firm had been selling Cisco’s networking gear to the Telecommunication Company of Iran as recently as July of last year. Being implicated in an end-run around US trade sanctions isn’t great for business, as you’d imagine. While Cisco CEO John Chambers wouldn’t directly confirm the severed link in a chat with Reuters, he noted that we would “not see that [sort of deal] happen again” — an indication that his company at least isn’t happy with the current state of affairs. ZTE isn’t waiting for any public acknowledgment to voice its frustration and says it’s “highly concerned,” although it’s not helped by allegations from its own US general counsel that there was an attempt to cover up the Iranian link. Nothing is definite until the investigations go public, but the Iran connection could make it that much harder for ZTE to keep US customers regardless of its distance from the Chinese government.
Filed under: Networking
When App.net kicked off its Twitter rivalry, the $ 50 yearly subscription fee was based on the assumption that the ad-free social service would maintain 10,000 customers. Founder Dalton Caldwell may have underestimated year-one adoption by just a tad: he now has nearly 20,000 customers on his hands in less than two months, which throws the previous economies of scale out the window. The pain for Caldwell’s business model is a pleasure for fans, however. App.net’s price of entry has dropped to $ 36 per year, with existing memberships’ durations extended to match the new yearly rate. Anyone on the fence also has a chance to try the service for a short stint through a $ 5 monthly plan. While it’s hard to know if the price drop will sustain the early runaway pace, it reflects a determination to play for keeps in the social media game — an important trait when the chief opponent isn’t sitting still.
Filed under: Internet
Leica has long been a high-water mark in photography, and its digital offerings are no exception. Today, the company took the covers off of four new models in its lineup, owing to Photokina getting underway tomorrow. The D-LUX 6, V-LUX 4, M, M-E and S are all going to be on display at the show, and each boasts not only Leica’s signature killer looks, but also enhanced internals to match.
What you might notice if you’re a fan of Leica’s line is that the naming on the M and S-series shooters seem out of step with past versions, since they don’t include a number to indicate their relative place in the overall line. That’s because Leica’s taken a page out of Apple’s iPad naming conventions book, dropping the sequence and merely iterating on the hardware itself. The new M is a successor to the M9 rangefinder, and the S succeeds the S2. The D-LUX 6 and V-LUX 4 both replace earlier numbered versions of the same, of course.
Starting with the most affordable of these new cameras, the V-LUX 4 offers a 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, with a built-in 4.5-100mm f/2.8 zoom lens, ISO sensitivity ranging from 100 to 6400, and a burst rate of 12 fps at maximum resolution. It supports SDXC media, and captures video at up to 1080p with a cap of 29 minutes per clip. The sensor is new on the camera, as is the one stop higher maximum ISO and it basically stands as Leica’s answer to an entry-level DSLR, albeit with a fixed lens. The V-LUX 4 retails for $ 899 and will be available in November 2012.
The D-LUX 6 brings a new f/1.4 -2.3 4.7 to 17.7mm zoom to the compact camera, along with a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor and ISO sensitivity ranging from 80 to 12,800. It handles video recording at 1920×1080 at 60 frames per second, and has a 1.4MP resolution electronic viewfinder. The much faster lens and full HD video recording should be welcome improvements over the original. The D-LUX 6 will be available for $ 799 as of November.
Next up, there’s the M-E, a paired down version of the current M9 that should appeal to budget shoppers (relatively speaking – it still retails for $ 5,450 body only). The M-E operates an entry-level device for the Leica rangefinder line, providing an 18MP CCD sensor, with high light sensitivity and an emphasis on photography essentials, including straight up manual focus. The M-E overall is an interesting statement, and one that will probably appeal to a lot of core photographers looking to hone their art without the frivolities that things like scene modes and video shooting have brought to most digital photography. It’s available now from authorized Leica dealers.
By contrast, the new Leica M offers the frills, including a 24MP full 35mm sensor, which blends elements advantageous to CCD sensors like good color rendering with a CMOS design. 1080p video capability is also present on this monster, along with a 3-inch display protected by Corning’s fabled Gorilla Glass, all protected by a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. The M’s frills will cost $ 6,950 for the body when it arrives in early 2013.
Last but not least there’s the new Leica S, priced the same as many decently equipped small cars at $ 21,960 for body and available as of December. It pushes the envelope for medium format digital photography, thanks to a new image sensor and board that offers impressive buffer performance for continuous shooting (up to 32 consecutive, full resolution 37.5MP images at 1.5fps) as well as a new predictive autofocus system for better capturing moving subjects. The S also offers integrated GPS and a ton of other features that are no doubt worth dropping 20 grand on, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Alongside this refreshed camera lineup, Leica also dropped new S-series lenses, including a 24 mm f/3.5 prime ($ 7,450.00), a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 general purpose zoom ($ 9,950) and a 120mm f/5.6 tilt/shift lens ($ 6,950). So maybe like me you’ll just be looking at all this new gear and drooling rather than pulling out your credit card, but that’s some damn good dreaming material for amateur photographers.Related Posts: