Sony PlayStation 4

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We now know the release date, price, and specs of the Sony PlayStation 4. Read our updated hands-on first take for everything you need to know about the console, including a comparison to the Xbox One.

Techno Geek silhoutte‘s insight:

The PlayStation 4 is almost here.

Sony’s next-gen gaming console will hit stores in the US on November 15 at a price of $399. That price undercuts Microsoft’s Xbox One — also arriving in November — by $100.

The US launch will be followed by a European release on November 29. The console will cost £349 in the UK, and 399 euros on the Continent.

Along with the console, Sony has also confirmed a large list of PS4 games due to be released before the end of the year.

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BlackBerry Q5.. review

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“BlackBerry needs a new smartphone for the mass market, and the BlackBerry Q5 is its attempt to deliver. Cheaper than the Q10, though offering another sturdy QWERTY keyboard for text-addicts, the Q5 pares back the specifications (and, it has to be said, the design) to boost the BlackBerry 10 line-up by 50-percent.”

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Canon EOS 70D Hands-on Preview: Digital Photography Review

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Canon has announced the EOS 70D, a mid-range SLR for enthusiast photographers. Its headline feature is a brand-new 20.2MP ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ sensor which splits every single pixel into two photodiodes for on-chip phase detection, promising vastly improved autofocus performance in live view and movie mode. It also gains the 19-point AF module from the EOS 7D for viewfinder shooting, touchscreen control via its fully articulated 3″ LCD, and built-in Wi-Fi for image sharing and remote camera control from your smartphone or tablet.

The 70D be available at the end of August for £1079.99 / $1199 / €1099 body only, £1199.99 / $1349 / €1249 with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, and £1399.99 / $1549 / €1499 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

Just posted: Our hands-on preview of Canon’s latest mid-range SLR, the EOS 70D.

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Sony RX100 II: A Totally New Sensor, a More Perfect Point-and-Shoot

Last year, Sony overhauled basically its entire line of cameras from the very bottom to tippiest top. Surprisingly, the most exciting of the bunch weren’t mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, but fixed-lens Cyber-shots: The RX100, a point-and-shoot superior to all others, and the RX1, a compact full-frame sensor camera priced for professionals. Sony’s expanding on its success on both cameras with some well-considered fine-tuning.

What we’re looking at here are the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II (or M2), which at $750 will cost $100 more than the RX100, the and the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R, which at $2800 costs exactly the same as the RX1. Both are available for pre-order using the links above. The older cameras will remain in the line as before.

At a glance, the modifications from one generation to the next might seem minor. Many of the key specs we’re used to reciting don’t seem to change.These are hardly tweaks—they’re big changes. More detailed specs are listed below, but there’s too much good stuff to mention all the carry-over from before.

Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II

Sony RX100 II: A Totally New Sensor, a More Perfect Point-and-Shoot

The key differences between the RX100 and RX100 II are a completely new 1-inch Exmor R image sensor, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, as well as a new tilting three-inch LCD display and a new hot shoe.

The former two additions result in visible cosmetic differences to the camera. The tiling LCD adds only slight thickness to the RX100’s body but makes it easier to see the screen in certain siutations. Don’t worry, This remains the same awesome pocketable shooter as before. Same super-fast f/2 lens.

Sony RX100 II: A Totally New Sensor, a More Perfect Point-and-Shoot

Sony also added a “multi-interface shoe” on top for attaching external flashes other accessories to the camera.

The new Exmor R sensor is a lovely example of “trickle-up” technology. Exmor R sensors are “back-illuminated”, which basically means the traditional sensor architecture has been reworked so that the electronics sit behind the photo-sensitive diodes, allowing more surface area for actually capturing light.

Until now, the Exmor R design has been used only for small sensors in smartphones and junky point-and-shoots because Sony just couldn’t figure out how to manufacture these sensors larger. Until now. This one-inch sensor is a first, and Sony claims it’ll be up-to 40-times more light sensitive that the RX100’s one-inchers. That’s impressive.

There are no surprises about the camera’s Wi-Fi sharing capabilities, but it’s a nice addition to an already loaded camera. This NFC chip inside, however is new, and enables touch sharing between compatible devices, which actually sounds like a brilliant idea.

The main issue we might take with this camera is price. $650 was already a lot of money to pay for a point-and-shoot camera targeted mostly at a mainstream audience. But $750? Sheesh. Most of the cameras you’d consider competitors—like the Canon S110—are priced under $500

Sony Cyber-shot Rx100 II
• Sensor: 20.2 MP, 1-inch Exmor R CMOS
• Processor: Sony BIONZ
• ISO Range: 100-25600
• Lens: Carl Zeiss 28-100 (3.6) f/1.8
• Display: 1.2 million-dot fixed LCD
• Video: 1920 x 1080 (60, 24 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
• Price: $750

Sony Cyber-shot RX1R

Sony RX100 II: A Totally New Sensor, a More Perfect Point-and-Shoot

The RX1, was a superbly awesome camera that no-normal soul can afford. The image quality is unrivaled by a camera that size, but at the same time, the fixed focal-length f/2 lens that makes the compact size possible is also quite a limitation. The RX1R option is really a modified version of the former with no optical low-pass filter, which is exactly the kind of change people interested in this camera might consider important.

Without getting to far into the science, cameras use low-pass filters to avoid ripply moire patterns and other distortions that might occur because of the patterned design of image sensors. These days, though, many manufacturers are confident enough in their camera designs to leave the low-pass filter on.

What’s the difference you say? Well, when you’re using a professional full-frame image sensor like the one in the RX1, pixel peepers will point out that a low-pass filter keeps a sensor from realizing the true potential of its resolution. And sure enough, Sony showed us samples taken with both the RX1 and RX1R, and the new model had better details in some intense situations.

The only cosmetic change you’ll notice between the older and newer cameras is the addition of an “R” to the name stamped on the front of its glorious body.

Sony Cyber-shot Rx1R

• Sensor: 24 MP, full-frame Exmor CMOS
• Processor: Sony BIONZ
• ISO Range: 100-25600
• Lens: Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2
• Display: 1.2 million-dot fixed LCD
• Video: 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 25, 24 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30, 25 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 25 fps)
• Price: $2800

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Sony Supersizes Its Xperia Smartphone Line With 6.4″ Full HD Xperia Z Ultra Phablet

It was only a matter of time before Sony jumped on the phablet bandwagon. And that day is today. The mobile maker has just announced the Xperia Z Ultra: a frankly gigantic addition to its smartphone line-up that packs a 6.4″ full HD display. This phone is so big that one of the accessories Sony is lining up is a slender Bluetooth handset for taking calls — you can leave the whopping slab on the table.

Sony is following in the footsteps of Samsung, with its Galaxy Note devices but obviously it didn’t say that. Pierre Perron, president of Sony Mobile Comms for NW Europe, said the mobile industry has  seen “increasing consumer demand for larger screens”, adding: “The big screen segment is one of the fastest growing segments.”

The LTE/4G Xperia Z Ultra slots into Sony’s line-up between its Xperia Z high end smartphone, announced earlier this year at CES, and its Xperia Z Tablet.


The Xperia Z Ultra is big across the front, but very slender around the waist: at just 6.5mm thin.

Sony’s head of global product design said the designers are approaching the limit of how thin they can make phones.  ”You can’t make the phone any thinner because of the connectors — we’re at the point we’re going to have start working on connector technology,” he said.

The overall look of the Z Ultra continues the Xperia Z and Tablet Z design language, with the same blunt-edged, high gloss slab form. It’s also waterproof and dustproof, as the Xperia Z is.

The display is full 1080p HD, and incorporates Sony’s Bravia TV display technology — including its Triluminos tech, which it said supports a greater range of colours, with natural shades, and also its X-Reality technology for improving the viewing experience of low res video.

Under the hood, the Xperia Z Ultra is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad-core chip. Its rear camera is 8 megapixels.

Sony’s phablet supports stylus interaction — Sony said “any pencil” can be used on the screen, rather than requiring a dedicated gizmo to poke it. Sony has also created a software keyboard designed for the larger phablet form to support one handed-typing.

The phablet is due to launch “later this year”. There’s no word on pricing as yet, or specific market availability.


Also today, tacked on at the end of the press event — entirely overshadowed by the attention being lavished on the Xperia Z Ultra — Sony announced a new smart watch, with the unimaginative name of SmartWatch 2.

Sony has been dabbling in ‘smart watches’ for years – literally – and made a point of trash-talking competitors who ‘may or may not be launching a smart watch’.

Sony’s new SmartWatch 2 can run a handful of dedicated Android apps, including Facebook and Twitter, plus a call handling app, email, Gmail, a music handling app, weather, Runtastic, a new aggregator app and a few others. The watch can also be used to remote control apps running on another Sony smartphone, by, for instance, being used to take a photo from the phone remotely without having to tap the phone’s screen.

Hardware wise, it has a 1.6 inch Transflective LCD display, which Sony says is designed for improved visibility in sunlight. The display has apparently been “optimised” over Sony’s prior SmartWatch, now rocking a resolution of 220 x 176 pixels. The watch itself is comprised of aluminium and plastic, and take a standard 24mm watchstrap.

Battery life — which remains the biggest hurdle to smart watch success — is good for three to four days “typical usage”, according to Sony, or five to size days low usage.

There’s no word on pricing as yet. Sony said the SmartWatch 2 will be available worldwide from September.


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Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27 “Table PC”.. review

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“The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27, “Table PC” as they call it, is easily one of the most unique PCswe’ve seen in the past several years. This machine works with a massive display that sits on a hinge holding it up – or allowing it to lie flat – for tablet gaming with touch. It’s as if someone decided they weren’t having as much fun as the potential for a tablet would allow them, and blew the whole thing up with Lenovo behind the wheel.”

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ASUS Fonepad Note FHD 6 Android phone (preview)

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“Large smartphones seem to be as popular as ever and ASUS has just jumped into the game with the Fonepad Note FHD 6. It’s a 6in Android smartphone that comes with a stylus and it’s likely to compete directly withSamsung’s Galaxy Note II.

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E3 2013: Dell Unveils New Trio Of Alienware Laptops

Called simply Alienware 14, Alienware 17, and Alienware 18, veteran Alienware-toting gamers will recognize the design language instantly. Dell is essentially refreshing the 14-inch, 17-inch, and 18-inch Alienware laptops with a critical eye on refinement and durability.

While manufacturers like Razer and Gigabyte are slimming down their hardware, Alienware is content to keep the chassis beefy at 1.6-inches up to 2.2-inches depending on the model. Alienware’s Chris Leonard says the team wanted to build it like a “structure protecting the technology inside.” Based on my experience with the rugged M17x R4, I’m perfectly OK with this approach, though your mileage may vary.

Obviously Dell has a couple advantages going into this next-generation laptop battle, namely the AlienFX-lit keyboard, mouse, and anodized aluminum chassis which allows context-specific lighting customization — or just your eyecandy of choice.  If they haven’t deviated from the keyboard design, the new trio of notebooks should still boast those wonderfully responsive, springy keys with a steel plate beneath them for added durability.

Doubling as a monitor, each model also features an HDMI port capable of both input and output.

It’s tough to jump to conclusions based on a PDF of tech specs, but here they are to give you an idea of what these upcoming Alienware systems will be packing. (Remember, these are major specs only and don’t represent the full picture — there simply isn’t enough space!)

Alienware 14: Baseline Price $1199

  • 14-inch 1366×768 Anti-Glare 200 Nit Display OR 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS 300 Nit Display
  • Intel INTC +1.67% Core i7-4700MQ through Intel Core i7-4900MQ
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M OR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
  • Up to 16GB DDR3L Memory at 1600MHz
  • Single Drive Options:
  • Multi Drive Option 1: 256GB mSATA Boot + 750GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s
  • Multi-Drive Option 2: 512GB RAID 0 (2x256GB SSD) + 256GB mSATA SSD Storage Drive
  • All Models: 7.1 Digital Audio Out, Powered by Klipsch (2.1 external output with subwoofer)
  • 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 5G WiFi Broadcom BRCM -1.44% 4352 802.11n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0

Alienware 17: Baseline Price $1499

Alienware 17 Notebook

Alienware 17 Notebook

  • 17.3-inch HD+ (1600 x 900) Anti-Glare 220 Nit Display OR 1920×1080 400 Nit 3D Display
  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ through Intel Core i7-4930MX with overclocking options
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M, 770M, or 780M
  • Up to 32GB DDR3L Memory at 1600MHz
  • Multi Drive Option 1: 256GB mSATA SSD Boot + 750GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s
  • Multi Drive Option 2: 1.5TB RAID 0 (2x750GB 7200RPM) + 64GB mSATA SSD Caching
  • Multi-Drive Option 3: 768GB RAID 0 (3x256GB SSD) + 256GB mSATA SSD Storage Drive
  • 4 User-Programmable Keys
  • 8-cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 5G WiFi Broadcom 4352 802.11n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0

Alienware 18: Baseline Price $2099

Alienware 18 Notebook

Alienware 18 Notebook

  • 18.4-inch 1920×1080 WLED TrueLife 350 Nit Display
  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ through Intel Core i7-4930MX with Overclocking Options
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M, 770M, or 780M with SLI Enabled
  • Up to 32GB DDR3L Memory at 1600MHz
  • Multi Drive Option 1: 256GB mSATA SSD Boot + 750GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s
  • Multi Drive Option 2: 512GB mSATA SSD Boot + 750GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s
  • Multi Drive Option 3: 1.5TB RAID 0 (2x750GB 7200RPM) + 64GB mSATA SSD Caching
  • Multi Drive Option 4: 768GB RAID 0 (3x256GB SSD) + 256GB mSATA SSD Storage Drive
  • 9 User-Programmable Keys
  • 8-cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 5G WiFi Broadcom 4352 802.11n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0

Alienware has suggested these prices may not be final, and may vary by country. 

Remember to watch this space for an exhaustive preview of these systems from my hands-on demo, as well as a conversation with the Alienware team at E3 2013.

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