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Tools of the Trade: February 2022

By Michael Castelluccio
February 1, 2022

1. Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

Although it’s usually the innovative that gets the headlines at the annual CES expo, Samsung chose the event to release its new Galaxy S21 FE with a lower price but only incremental differences. This is the latest version of its very popular S21. The S21 FE (Fan Edition) now joins a confusing number of phones in Samsung’s midrange including the previously released S20 FE. Compared to the earlier S21, the S21 FE looks almost identical, and it comes with a camera with three lenses including a 12MP wide camera, 12MP ultrawide, and an 8MP telephoto camera with 305 digital zoom. The telephoto on the S21 has a higher resolution at 64MP, and it can record 8K video. The new budget-friendly S21 FE has a base price of $700, and it features a borderless 120Hz AMOLED display with FHD+ (1,080 5 2,400 pixels) measuring 6.4″ with Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The processor is a Snapdragon 888 octa-core CPU, and the phone’s fast-charging battery is larger than the one on the regular S21. There’s an in-screen fingerprint reader and facial recognition for unlocking. www.samsung.com

2. Asus Zenbook 17 Fold

If you’re looking for something more radical, Asus launched its Zenbook 17 Fold laptop at CES. This unique laptop/tablet has a 17.3″ display with a resolution of 2,560 5 1,920 that can be folded into a pair of 12.5″ displays with a resolution of 1,920 5 1,280 or a single 12.5″ display when the included Bluetooth keyboard is placed on the bottom half of the screen. It accomplishes this variety of formats—open book, tablet, and laptop—with a single foldable screen that Asus says can handle at least 30,000 foldings and unfoldings. The Zenbook Fold is available with up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of SSD storage. The processor is available up to the 12th Gen Intel Core i7U series with Intel Iris Xe Graphics. There’s a 5MP camera, quad-speaker Dolby Atmos audio system, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, and a 75Wh battery. www.asus.com

3. Dell XPS 13 Plus

Dell has redesigned its flagship 13″ laptop to accommodate room for improved performance with Intel’s new 12th generation chips with higher wattage and larger fans for greater temperature control. To keep the laptop the same size, three of the design changes include a haptic trackpad, the replacement of the top-row function keys with a touch-sensitive strip, no space between the keypads, and no headphone jack. The new design has an edge-to-edge keyboard and a full-width glass-fiber palm rest with the unmarked haptic touchpad centered directly below the spacebar, which complement the thin bezel of the display. There’s the choice of 8GB to 32GB of RAM and a range of storage from 256GB to 2TB. Overall dimensions are 11.6″ 5 7.8″ 5 0.6″, and the laptop weighs only 2.8 lbs. www.dell.com

4. Targus Cypress Hero Backpack

The Targus Cypress Hero Backpack is unique for a number of reasons. It’s designated as EcoSmart because it’s made from 26 recycled water bottles that are shredded, repolymerized into plastic chips, and spun into the yarn that creates the waterproof fabric of the bag. The interior of the bag includes a dedicated padded laptop compartment and a workstation for the usual accessories and gear for your computer. There’s a quick-access pocket in the front and a large main compartment. The back panel is padded, and the backpack features a luggage pass-through trolley strap and carry handle. It’s available in light gray or black. www.targus.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the technology editor for Strategic Finance for 26 years. His SF TechNotes blog is in its 23rd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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