Samsung may sell the most Android phones, but Sony makes the best Android phones. The Xperia Z1 Compact from Sony is a testament to that fact. Unlike other Android phone makers who are getting out phones with increasingly bigger screens, the Compact goes head to head with the iPhone itself with a beautiful 4.3-inch Triluminous display running on the famous Bravia engine. The Compact retains the great hardware design that Sony brings to all its phones. Weighing a mere 137 grams, it has a state-of-the-art 20-megapixel camera and offers a battery life of up to 18 hours of talk time. While it is waterproof and dust-resistant like all other Xperia phones, the only downer is that it runs on the year-old Android 4.3 Jelly Bean even though Sony is promising an update to the latest Android Kit Kat in a few weeks. It is also expected to be priced a lot less than existing top range Android phones.
Lenovo Thinkpad 8
Four years after the introduction of the iPad, there is not one compelling competitor on the market. Lenovo wants to try and change that with the Thinkpad 8. Lenovo calls it a ‘business tablet with full PC experience in a productive, mobile, secure device’. Running Windows 8, the Thinkpad 8 has a 8.3-inch multi-touch screen with a 1920x1080 resolution. Inside you will find a 2.4-GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor and a battery that will give you eight hours of continuous usage. Keeping up with the ‘professional’ tag, it has a micro USB 3.0 port, a micro HDMI port and slots for a micro SD card and for a SIM card. With the addition of either a dock or a Quickshot cover, Lenovo says you can use the tablet in either of three modes—tablet, desktop and tent. That Quickshot cover, when peeled back a little, launches the camera app which makes use of the camera on the back or optionally the one on the front.
Despite efforts of tech giants like Samsung and Sony, the best and most popular smart watch in the world right now is Pebble. The only complaint previously has been that it looks like a sporty children’s watch. Pebble addresses that concern with the launch of the Pebble Steel. This updated version comes with a good looking strap available either in brushed stainless steel or matte black. Whichever variant you buy, you will get a free leather strap. The watch itself gets an upgrade with the help of Corning Gorilla Glass and a battery that lasts five to seven days. The tactile metal buttons are easier to use, it is compatible with all previous pebble apps, the display is readable in sunlight, there is a charger with a metal connector, is water proof, works with both Android and iOS, and ships worldwide from the end of this month for $249.
Vizio P-Series Ultra HD TV
Ultra HD 4K TVs are nothing new. Last year’s IFA in Berlin and this year’s CES in Las Vegas have been flooded with 4K TVs. Korean giants LG and Samsung went a step further and unveiled massive TVs that bend at the touch of a button. Out of all these Vizio’s P-Series Ultra HD TV stood out. It is not just because it is a 50-inch 4K TV coming from America’s most popular TV manufacturer. It was because Vizio promised to sell these TVs at astonishing price point of $999 (Approx. `62,000) signalling the falling prices of 4K TVs.
ASUS Transformer Book Duet TD300
Tim Cook once said that a toaster and refrigerator cannot converge. Many companies don’t seem to agree with him and keep bringing out hybrids. The Transformer Book Duet from ASUS is the epitome of that philosophy. ASUS boasts that this ultimate hybrid capable of running both Windows and Android is a combination of four devices. An Android laptop and a tablet, and a Windows laptop and tablet. The 13.1-inch screen will be powered by Intel’s Haswell processors and will have storage starting from 64GB in the tablet with upto 1TB in the keyboard. Starting from $599 (approx. `37,000) this is an indicator of the kind of hybrids that are coming up.
Makerbot has been making some of the most compelling 3D printers in the world. With its latest generation Makerbot Replicator along with the Makerbot Replicator Mini Compact, the maker of quality desktop 3D printers is signalling that it is ready to go mainstream. While the sleek design did not change, the biggest change this time around is the almost automated set-up process, the painlessly replaceable cartridges and best of all the digital store from which you can download 3D prints. And if you are tired of controlling the printer using the 3.5-inch full colour LCD display, you can get hold of a mobile app on which you can remotely monitor the printing using the on-board camera.
The Polaroid Socialmatic is the Polaroid camera for the age of Facebook and Instagram. It is born out of Polaroid’s philosophy that it is the original social network which allowed ‘people to instantly capture, print and share life’s moments’. This well-designed camera not only prints photos instantly but also lets you share them with your friends on social network. With a 14-megapixel front-facing camera and a two-megapixel camera, the Polaroid Socialmatic runs on Android and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth allowing for easy photo sharing. It prints sticker-backed 2 by 3 inch photos.