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Tools of the Trade: August 2015

By Michael Castelluccio
August 4, 2015
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1. ASUS ZENPAD S 8.0

At this year’s Computex Taipei exposition, ASUS launched another competitor for the Apple iPad Mini: the ZenPad S 8.0. This smaller handheld has an 8″ LED backlight screen with a brilliant 2,048 5 1,536 resolution, a Quad-Core 64-bit Intel Atom Z3530 processor, and the new Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. Not only is the 2K Asus TruVivid display bright, but it’s also 10-­finger multitouch sensitive, and the screen-to-body ratio is 74%. The internal memory available is 16GB or 32GB. You also get 5GB of Life Time ASUS Webstorage Space as well as two free years of Google Drive storage (100GB). There’s a Micro SD Card Reader that’s capable of up to 128GB, a Micro USB port, and an audio port. Wireless networks ­include WLAN 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1. The audio is provided via two front speakers with DTS HD Premium Sound. The front camera is two megapixels, and the rear is five mega­pixels. The rear Pixel Master camera features a low-light mode that captures up to 400% brighter images in low light. The Lithium-Polymer battery provides up to eight hours of running time. The ZenPad S 8.0 measures 8″ 5 5.3″ 5 0.27″ and weighs 11.2 oz. www.asus.com

 

2. SOLARTAB

The problem with a lot of portable solar chargers is that the array of cells just isn’t big enough to provide more than a short-lived supply. Designed for smartphones and tablets, the mono-crystalline solar panels of the Solartab are large enough to charge its 13,000 mAh Lithium-­Polymer battery. The polyurethane cover protects the solar panels in the closed ­position and provides a multi-angle stand for solar charging in the open position. When you want to top off the battery, a Micro USB port for a wall charger is included. Two other USB outlet ports are for charging your ­devices. A set of four battery indicator lights show the status of the internal battery. One bright white indicator shows when solar charging is active. The Solar­tab is a Kickstarter project that began delivering its premium chargers in May. www.mysolartab.com

 

3. SANDISK CONNECT WIRELESS STICK

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick looks like an ordinary USB flash drive, but it actually creates a wireless connection between your devices. You can plug it into any device with a USB port, but it can also stream data and video wirelessly from your pocket or across the room. The SanDisk Connect has an internal battery to power its Wi-Fi. A charge will give you about 4.5 hours of streaming video. The drive is available in four capacities: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. www.sandisk.com

 

4. KINDLE VOYAGE

The Kindle Voyage is Amazon’s top-of-the-line e-ink reader, with a hefty price tag of $199. Compare that to the basic Kindle at $79, and you might wonder what you get for the price. The screen is a standard 6″, but its 300 pixels-per-inch is the highest resolution for any e-reader. The micro-etched glass screen eliminates glare. For low-light situations, the adaptive front light automatically turns on and adjusts the brightness level. This Kindle is also the thinnest available at 0.3″. Page turning has been improved, and there are many other features. www.kindle.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 21 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 19th year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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