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Tools of the Trade: June 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
June 1, 2020
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1. iPHONE SE

 

In a surprising reversal away from $1,000 smartphones, the latest iPhone SE is available for $399 (or an even better $229 with a trade-in). And it isn’t a downgrade to fill an empty price category. The SE has Apple’s most powerful processing chip, the A13 Bionic, which Apple describes as the brains of the iPhone 11 Pro and the fastest chip ever in a smartphone. The chip enables Portrait mode in the camera system that isolates the focus on the main subject, a slider for depth control, and six studio-quality lighting effects. Video is 4K. Touch ID will enable secure unlocking and can be used with Apple Pay. The 4.7″ Retina HD display is housed in a sturdy aluminum case that’s water-resistant up to one meter for 30 minutes. The battery provides up to 13 hours of video play, and it recharges on a wireless charger or the 18W fast-charge adapter that reaches 50% after only 30 minutes. Haptic Touch in the icons allows press and hold for shortcuts, videos are recorded in stereo, AR (augmented reality) apps run on the system, and there are dual SIM cards for business and personal phone numbers on the same phone. www.apple.com

 

2. MICROSOFT LIFECAM

 

If the camera on your laptop isn’t up to conducting a steady stream of communications and presentations while you’re working from home, you might consider an upgrade to a dedicated webcam with a wider range of possibilities. The Microsoft LifeCam Studio for Business is part of a line of Skype-certified HD LifeCams from Microsoft. It has sharper image quality from a glass element lens, and the 1,080p HD sensor provides 720p HD video chat output. The camera is 4.45″ long × 1.57″ wide with 360-degree rotation, halfway in both directions, for all-around coverage. The mount is designed for standard tripods or other stationary surfaces. The wide-angle lens is autofocusing, and the microphone is wideband for clear, detailed audio. The cam supports Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. bit.ly/2YXCDNV

 

3. LOGITECH DIGITAL OFFICE PRO BUNDLE

 

Logitech has created a number of combination desk sets that will let you easily relocate around the house without trailing a nest of wires behind you. The Digital Office Pro Bundle includes a wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, both plug-and-play, as well as a USB stereo headset with microphone. The mouse has five buttons and a scroll wheel with a sensor resolution of 1,000 and tilt-scroll function. Two AA batteries will last 36 months, and the mouse has a range of about 30 feet, connecting to a USB sensor on your computer. The keyboard also can operate at a distance of about 30 feet from your desktop or laptop. It has a 3.5″ touchpad, and the two AA batteries will last about a year. The keyboard is Windows compatible. See other Logitech combinations for macOS and Chrome OS compatibles. www.logitech.com

 

4. TP-LINK RANGE EXTENDER

 

The TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender should solve any weak signal problems at home. The AC1750 is an 802.11ac range extender with a maximum data rate of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. It plugs into a wall outlet and establishes a connection to the router wirelessly. It will eliminate Wi-Fi weak or dead zones with a wireless connection for up to 32 devices. There’s also an Ethernet port on the side for wired devices. Three adjustable antennae are for tuning the best connection. A signal light guides you to the best locations with a blue or red glow. The extender measures 6.4″ × 2.6″. www.tp-link.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 25 years. His SF Technotes blog is in its 22nd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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