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Tools of the Trade: February 2016

By Michael Castelluccio
February 1, 2016
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02_2016_tools_v2

 

1. THINKPAD X1 TABLET

 

Debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet from Lenovo is a business class tablet/laptop crossover with three unique clip-on modules: Productivity, Presenter, and 3-D Imaging. The XI Tablet weighs only 1.75 lbs. and is 0.3 inches thick. The 12-inch display features 2,160 × 1,440 IPS with excellent side-viewing angles. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, memory is available up to 16 GB, and storage is up to 1 TB on SSD. The thin keyboard offers three angles and the classic ThinkPad track point and touchpad. A stylus pen allows onscreen notes, edits, and drawing. But it’s the three clip-ons that make this new tablet unique: Productivity adds one USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and five hours of extra battery power. The Presenter module has a projector with a wide-angle adjustable lens that will cast a 60-inch image 6.5 feet. And the 3-D Imaging module is the most innovative. It has an Intel Real­Sense R200 Camera that scans in 3-D to create dimensional technical drawings, animations, or 3-D images that you can output directly to a 3-D printer. www.lenovo.com

 

 

2. SONY USB TURNTABLE

 

Also introduced at CES was a Sony consumer product that’s looking to capture some of the revived interest in vinyl recordings while also providing a convenient way to archive those recordings in digital formats. The PS-HX 500 is designed to produce hi-res audio playback using Sony’s native DSD (Direct-Stream Digital) recording process for producing SuperAudio CD (SACD) or WAV files. The HX500 includes new software that allows simple and intuitive editing on both PCs and Macs. There’s a two-speed belt drive system (45 and 33 rpm), a die-cast aluminum platter, and a thick rubber mat to stabilize rotation and reduce vibration. Release is scheduled for the spring. www.sony.com

 

 

3. OCULUS RIFT VR

 

The first consumer virtual reality headset is now available for pre-order from Oculus. Unlike the Google Cardboard or the Samsung Gear VR, which are systems that rely on content played on your smartphone, the Rift VR requires a separate computer to provide content. Despite the high price ($599), late March release date, and the fact that it’s only part of a system, the first run of the headset sold out in 15 minutes. For your money, you get the Rift headset, a sensor, two games (Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie), some cables, the Oculus Remote, and an Xbox One wireless controller. You can run the Rift on a gaming PC, and Oculus does have a pre-order offer of Rift plus a gaming PC for $1,499. When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg paid $2 billion for Oculus, he said it would not only expand gaming, but that movies and virtual social settings connecting friends will also be part of the interface’s new wave. www.oculus.com

 

 

4. D-LINK DIR-879

 

The DIR-879 is the first in D-Link’s new line of Wi-Fi routers called EXO. At the CES launch, D-Link said all the routers in the EXO line will combine performance and reasonable prices. All will have Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (for wired connections), a high-power amplifier for increased Wi-Fi range, and SmartConnect that will blend two Wi-Fi bands into one network. The 879 is an AC 1900 router that offers 1,300 Mbps on a 5 GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4 Ghz band. It also features Intelligent QoS to handle traffic optimization for Internet apps. The 879 will retail at $150, and a later EXO line 869 will be $130. www.dlink.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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