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Tools of the Trade: December 2016

By Michael Castelluccio
December 1, 2016
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12_2016_tools

1. MICROSOFT SURFACE STUDIO

Shipping in early 2017, Microsoft’s new Surface Studio is worth a close look for the holiday season. The Surface Studio features a large 28-inch PixelSense display with true-color 13.5 million pixels that can fold down as a desktop for sketching, photo editing, or writing or can be raised as a monitor. The 4,500 ✕ 3,000 (192 dpi) screen is less than a half-inch thick. The processor is a sixth generation Intel Core i5 with 8GB to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of internal memory running on Windows 10 Pro. You can work with the Surface Pen or a new form of mouse-type controller called the Surface Dial that provides control of movement and palette choice as it rests on the surface of the screen in desk configuration. The 1,080-pixel camera and Dolby speakers provide impressive video calls and conferences that include Windows Hello face-recognition sign-in security. There are four USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card reader, and mini Displayport. Connectivity includes 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Xbox Wireless built-in. www.microsoft.com

2. SURFACE BOOK i7

The new Microsoft Surface Book i7 is a laptop with a detachable 13.5″ PixelSense display built for pen and touch interface. The Surface Pen has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and it has an eraser to complete the pen/pencil mode. The 3,000 ✕ 2,000 screen produces a brilliant 267 pixels per inch. The battery life now provides up to 16 hours of video playback. Memory includes 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and the solid-state drive can be 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. The case is magnesium, and the very slim convertible laptop weighs 3.63 lbs. in its lightest configuration. Ports include two USB 3.0 slots, a full-size SD card reader, headset, and a mini Displayport. There’s a Windows Hello face sign-in system and a 5-megapixel front-facing and 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. www.microsoft.com

3. MACBOOK PRO 2016

The new MacBook Pro 2016 is the fastest, most powerful, thinnest, and lightest Mac notebook yet and also has something entirely new—a Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard, which is a lighted color strip of glass that replaces the function keys. The Bar responds to touch and will give you volume and brightness controls, typing help with emojis, predictive text, and instant logins. Performance improvements include up to 130% faster graphics, twice-as-fast flash storage, and battery life of up to 10 hours. On the display, contrast is higher, there are 25% more colors, and the brightness is improved. You can connect the charger or draw power from any of up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports. www.apple.com

4. KODAK EKTRA

Kodak describes its new EKTRA smartphone as a photography-led smartphone designed for those with a passion for photography, from enthusiasts to experts. The smartphone has a 21-megapixel fast-focus camera system with f2.0 aperture and a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with Phase Detection Auto Focus and f2.2 aperture. The EKTRA has a haptic touch SLR-style scene selection dial to choose settings for HDR, landscape or portrait, macro, sport, nighttime, panorama, and bokeh (selective focus). Or you can opt for a smart auto mode. It features a built-in printing app, editing software from Snapseed, and social-media sharing. The smartphone runs Android 6.0 and has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, which is expandable with SD cards. www.kodak.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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