vol 7, issue 10


23 October 2012
By Simon Munk
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Archos GamePad

An Android tablet built around gaming with “proper” games-friendly buttons and dual analogue sticks

Philips PFL6900 series

Super slim Smart TV with a remote control with mouse style motion sensing pointing and QWERTY keyboard

Nokia Lumia 920

The 920 uses PureView camera tech to take in “five times more light” for better pictures, particularly in low light


A stylish Bluetooth speaker featuring NFC technology - simply tap the handle to pair a new device

Asus Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT

Asus applies its laptop/tablet hybrid smarts to Windows 8

Philips HomeCooker

Co-developed by Jamie Oliver, this is a stewpot for the 21st century

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All the fun of IFA fair - Berlin’s gigantic consumer electronics trade show - with Android games tablets, Jamie Oliver cookers and Windows 8 blowers.

Archos GamePad

£TBA (less than £130)

An Android tablet built around gaming - this is possibly the multi-purpose rival to strike fear into the people behind the Sony PS Vita and the Nintendo 3DS. The 7” capacitive touch screen is bordered by “proper” games-friendly buttons and dual analogue sticks, under the bonnet there’s dual-core 1.5GHz processing and quad-core graphics. And not only does Android 4.0 ICS onward support physical controllers, but Archos have developed patented “game recognition and mapping tools” to automatically transfer touchscreen controls to buttons. Of course, on top of that, there’s the usual Android tablet stuff - email, browsing etc. And at a keen price.


Philips PFL6900 series


This new series of Philips TVs features not one, but two utterly smart innovations. The first and smaller leap forward isn’t really a first - other TV manufacturers have managed to slim their bezel or frames down to nearly nothing. But the 6900 series not only has a mere 1.2mm frame, but while still only being 3.5cm thick manage to include two-sided Ambilight - Philips coloured wall-washing lights that match colour with on-screen action. Secondly, and more importantly, these Smart TVs come with a remote control with mouse-style motion-sensing pointing and QWERTY keyboard on the back. So you can tweet while you watch etc.


Nokia Lumia 920


In the shadow of the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy SIII, Nokia have announced their first Windows 8 phones. The 920 uses PureView camera tech to take in “five times more light than competing smartphones” for better pictures, particularly in low light conditions. The flagship phone also features Nokia’s augmented reality City Lens information app, wireless charging and media playback via NFC and a big 2000mAh battery. Other specs include: 4.5” 1280x768 screen, dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 8.7MP camera. It’s a serious smartphone - the question is whether app developers and phone buyers will choose Windows 8 over Android or iOS.




This stylish Bluetooth speaker is one of the first in a wave, no doubt, of NFC home electronics devices headed our way. NFC, or Near Field Communication, is tap-to-connect mobile tech similar to London’s Oyster travel cards. Here, the tech is used to let suitably equipped smartphones, laptops and tablets simply be tapped against the handle to instantly pair up. Music is then streamed over Bluetooth, wirelessly (so even if your phone’s not NFC, as long as it has Bluetooth, it’ll still work - but the pairing won’t be instant). A neat, and relatively simple idea - expect to see a lot more NFC gadgets coming soon.


Asus Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT


Asus applies its laptop/tablet hybrid smarts to Windows 8 ‑ the new Microsoft OS is built around touchscreen interaction. Using a reassuringly solid dock, the 11.6” Vivo Tab and 10.1” Vivo Tab RT are built to run as standalone tablets with carry-along keyboards. And the keyboards hold a neat trick - a second battery, boosting productivity time. Differences between the two laptops stretch beyond just screen size. The smaller RT is limited to a quad-core Tegra 3 chip (big brother gets an Intel Atom) and Windows RT - this, crucially, doesn’t let you run old Windows programs, only apps from Microsoft’s new store.


Philips HomeCooker


Co-developed by Jamie Oliver, this is a stewpot for the 21st century. The PerfectTemp and QuickSet timer means you can set the temperature (40-250 °C) and cooking time and leave the pot to its own devices - with an AutoStir rod that keeps three litres of food moving as it heats. There’s multiple trays so as well as simply simmering, you can steam, cook pasta, fry etc. also (even all at the same time). Really want a simple life? Add on the £100 HomeCooker Cutting Tower and it’ll automatically shred, slice or cut food into the pan for you. The HomeCooker comes with 25 Jamie Oliver HomeCooker recipes.


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