Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sony Vaio Flip 13 SV-F13N13CXB


In the race to create a laptop that takes advantage of Windows 8's touch-friendly interface, manufacturers have developed a plethora of sliding and rotating laptop-tablet hybrids. While it already has the sliding Duo, Sony is introducing a new design with the VAIO Flip Series. Joining the existing 13-inch and 15-inch models is a new 11-inch version called the VAIO Fit 11A Flip PC. Smaller and lighter than the previous Flip PCs, this new ultraportable model weighs 2.8 pounds, and makes use of the same Sony TV Triluminos technology that has already worked its way into other Sony laptops. 

The flip screen

These laptops have a screen that can flip 180 degrees and then fold against the keyboard. Add in long battery life and good sound and you have a mostly satisfying laptop-first combo device. Release the latch above the keyboard and the screen spins through 180 degrees, strong magnets snapping it into place. That done, you can fold the screen flat against the laptop's body and use it as a tablet, or tilt it up and use the keyboard base as a stand.

Build quality

The 13-inch Sony Vaio Flip hybrid laptop is made using brushed aluminium (lid cover) and matte plastic (bottom). Despite quality materials, the tablet is not very solid; in fact, when we applied just a little force, the bottom (made of plastic) flexed quite a bit and even creaked. This shook our faith in the durability of the Flip 13N a little.

When it comes to portability, the Vaio Flip 13N is one of the best models in the market right now. Despite a 13-inch screen, it weighs just 1.3kg and feels quite light in the hand, especially compared to the likes of Dell XPS 12. If you are intent on buying a convertible laptop and not a tablet, but want a light model, then this model is a good bet.

The keyboard is backlit and feels good to type on; the trackpad is quite large and the buttons are sufficiently tactile.


The new Sony model has a 13-inch touchscreen with Triluminous Display technology, which also goes in its smartphones and tablets. We are not big fans of this technology and find that it does not fare well in direct sunlight. However, we will reserve judgement on the unit until a full review. Nevertheless, what we did see at the launch event (under optimal lighting condition) gives the impression that the display is decent, but nothing to brag about.

Under the hood, Vaio Flip 13N packs the fourth-generation dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.6GHz and 4GB RAM and is powered by Windows 8 operating system. We have encountered this configuration before and were pretty happy with the results. During our hands-on also, the laptop was quite fast and could perform commonly used tasks easily.


Vaio Flip 13N is one of the few tablets/convertible laptops to sport an 8MP rear camera. The image quality offered by the model is decent - the colours are quite warm, but the noise spoils the images indoors. We expect the performance to be better outdoors. However, we are not big fans of using tablets to capture images and would advise you to stick to a smartphone when you want to click photos.

Early Verdict

The Sony VAIO Flip is a premium addition to Sony’s growing range of notebooks. It’s very well crafted, looks premium and has the hardware to back it up. The elegant hinge design and glorious display are soured by negatives such as the noisy cooling fans and patchy build quality. The 13-incher is the most portable of the lot but you’ll be compromising on storage space as there’s only the 128GB configuration at the moment. We found the 14-inch to hit the sweet spot in terms of mobility and productivity. It’s not as compact as the F13N1A but it’s the cheapest at Rs 94,990 and for this, you get a 1TB hybrid drive as well.

iPhone 4 available in India again!

iPhone 4 is available in India again, but Apple won't call it a 'relaunch'. There has been much excitement in the Indian press about Apple supposedly relaunching the iPhone 4 in India. Several media outlets have expressed dismay and derision at news of the company supposedly trying to push the four-year-old model because sales of the high-priced iPhone 5s and 5c aren't meeting expectations.

The current official MRP is Rs 22,900, although stores are offering it for around Rs. 21,999. Apple itself refuses to comment on speculated launches, but other well-placed sources in the industry confirm that the iPhone 4 is no longer being manufactured. Sales have continued only because stocks still exist, and there are no plans to push the iPhone 4 as a budget-friendly model.

In the same price band, buyers can opt for the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, the HTC Desire 601, the Nokia Lumia 720, or Sony Xperia SP. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 1320 are available for just under Rs 24,000 each.

It seems that the pricey iPhone 5s and uninspiring iPhone 5c aren't doing it for Apple in India where users aren't thrilled by the company removing the iPhone 5. The iPhone 4S looks a more reasonable smartphone at that price, even though it's over two-years old itself.

Friday, 24 January 2014

iPhone 6 design said to be 'locked down', including bigger 4.8-inch display!

While the launch of the next-generation iPhone is months away, the speculation around it is endless. And Apple may have finally decided how its upcoming smartphone will look, now, an analyst has claimed that the Cupertino based company has finalised, or internally "locked down" much of the design of its next iPhone, believed to be dubbed iPhone 6.

According to a research note by Cowen & Co analyst Timothy Arcuri, Apple has "locked down" the design for iPhone 6. He says that the model will have a 4.8-inch screen and will be compatible with the faster Wi-Fi 802.11ac wireless standard.

Further, Arcuri, citing Apple's supply chain, has revealed that this year's iPhone, apart from hardware upgrades, will bring along key software innovations with the next major iOS platform release. Prominent among them is expected to be mobile payments, which will use existing technologies like Passbook, Touch ID and iBeacon. 

He also said that the iPhone 5S, with technologies like fingerprint scanner and 64-bit processor, was a "set-up" for the next generation smartphone. He said that these technologies will enable the iPhone maker to debut new services that will give it an edge in the smartphone market.

Apart from iPhone 6, Arcuri also mentioned the next-generation iPad in the research note. He wrote that the next model will have a 13-inch screen and will "blur the lines between tablets and PCs." This is in line with previous reports about a large-screen, professional-grade iPad that will replace the Macbook Air.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pebble Steel Smartwatch!

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 Pebble kicked off CES 2014 by announcing a high-end version of its popular smartwatch called Pebble Steel. The new timepiece includes a band with metal links and a leather strap, as well as a few subtle improvements from the original polycarbonate design.

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Although the original Pebble brought about as much style as could be brought to a plastic watch, well, it's still a plastic watch. The stainless steel Pebble Steel feels less like a tech gadget and more like a piece of jewelry that happens to have some cool tech inside. The Steel fits in among any number of mid-range watches that you could wear to a business meeting or an evening out. Pebble created Steel as a response to frequent requests from users for a classier design that’s appropriate for all sorts of occasions. The only big difference in appearance between the Steel and a watch used for keeping time is that its watchface is thicker.

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Steel costs $249 and begins shipping on January 28. It also includes a new tricolor LED that will be used for notifications when Pebble opens it up to developers. The new design shortens the length of the watch by 4mm from lug to lug, and it also runs the antenna along the outside of the watchface for better signal propagation. The SDK 2.0 apps that you'll find in Pebble's upcoming app store will all be built in Javascript. That means a more focused (no long list of apps to install) and consistent (the same on iOS and Android phones) user experience.

Yelp’s Pebble app also adds a ton of utility. You’ll be able to shake your wrist to get a recommendation on a nearby place. You can scroll through nearby venues and even click through to see reviews. The upcoming Pebble apps from Pandora, ESPN and Mercedes and were pleasantly surprised by how well-thought out they were. Rather than trying to mimic a full native mobile app, the developers thought through simple micro-interactions so you don’t have to pull out your phone that often.
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There's no doubt that the Pebble is one of the favourite gadgets from CES and rightly deserves the hype being generated despite only adding metal and toughened glass to an already potent mix. Given that stocks are going to be limited, this is sure to be a sellout device.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

2014 Indian Auto Expo - Mercedes-Benz to unveil CLA45 AMG

Riding on the success of its cars last year in India, Mercedes-Benz India will unveil the dynamically styled Concept GLA and CLA45 AMG at the 12th edition of the Auto Expo.

Focusing on the company’s ‘Year of Excellence’ strategy, the company would also launch its sports utility vehicle the M Guard during the show.

2013 turned out to be the most successful year for Mercedes in India. It sold a record 9,003 vehicles during the year.

Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said; “Auto Expo 2014 is a much awaited event in Indian Automotive Industry and we are all set to bedazzle our customers with excellence. The Mercedes-Benz pavilion will be a perfect embodiment of modern luxury, high performance, innovative design and exemplary safety which are synonymous with our brand promise ‘Best or Nothing’.”

Besides, German carmaker Audi will unveil the Audi A3 Sedan and 'Special Editions' of SUVs - Audi Q3, Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 during the expo. It will also showcase its RS 7 Sportback, alongside Le Mans 2012 winner 'Audi R18 e-tron quattro'. Audi R8 V10 plus Spyder will also be displayed.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas, Sony's latest 4.3-inch handset is quite unlike its competitiors. Compared with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One Mini. the Z1 Compact packs a hefty punch in the form of high-end hardware such as a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.


It features a MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2 GHz, an Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage expandable by up to an additional 64 GB via microSD. Both the Z1 and the Compact feature the same 20.7 MP main camera with LED flash and a 1/2.3 inch sensor size, complemented by a 2 MP front-facing sensor.

Furthermore, the Z1 Compact is dust and water resistant (IP55/58 rating), features Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box, and offer MHL, DLNA, NFC, Miracast, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and compatibility with Sony CyberShot Lenses.

Display, Battery, Size and Weight

The Xperia Z1 Compact is equipped with a 4.3-inch LCD IPS display. Screen resolution, which is set at 1280 x 720, due to the Compact’s smaller dimensions, the 4.3-inch display offers a pixel density of 342 ppi, which is enough to deliver a crisp, jagged-edge-free image.

The Z1 Compact has a smaller battery of 2,300 mAh, whereas the full-sized Xperia Z1 is powered by a 3,000 mAh unit. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that the Compact has poorer battery life. Since the Compact’s display is smaller, it doesn’t need as much energy as the 5-inch gadget in order to function.

The Xperia Z1 measures 144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm, and weighs 170 grams. The Compact measures only 127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm.


A smartphone’s range of colors can be a main factor in deciding whether or not you should buy it. If that’s the case, then you should be glad to know that the Xperia Z1 Compact is being offered in black, white, pink and lime. In contrast, the Xperia Z1 comes in black white, and purple.

The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact bucks the trend, and proves that good things can come in small packages. The 4.3-inch form factor seems the right size, not too small like the iPhone 5S and not too large that you can't use it comfortably with one hand. Sony looks like it could have a winner here.