Beats has been in the news a lot lately. But this time is for their headphones. With all the hype going on, some missed that Beats came out with the Solo2 on-ear headphones. They redid the Beats Studio line late last year and it seems they are checking each line off the list. According to the press release, the original Beats Solo headphones are very popular:
“In 2013 nearly four Solos were sold every minute around the world. With no signs of slowing down, Beats is taking the beloved headphone to the next level with Solo2 offering a robust listening experience with a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity”
So whats new with the Beats Solo2 Headphones?
Sound: The Solo2 headphone has a more dynamic, wider range of sound, with a clarity that will bring you closer to what the artist intended, whether you’re into hip-hop, heavy metal, jazz, electronic, or country.
Design: The Solo2 headphone maintains the same sleek, streamlined aesthetic as the iconic Beats Studio with fast flowing curves and no visible screws. Starting at the center of the flexible headband, the frame of the headphone has been curved like never before, giving the Solo2 a custom-fit feeling. The earcups have been ergonomically angled to complete this natural fit, with pivots for optimal comfort and sound delivery. Finally, the earcups’ premium material helps dissipate heat and minimize sound leakage.
Colors: The Solo2 headphone will be available in Black, White, Red, Blue, Gray, and Pink.
Partnership: Beats has once again teamed up with project (RED), making the red Solo2 an official (RED) product, helping to fight the battle against AIDS.
Should I buy the Beats Solo 2?
The Beats Solo 2 are almost guaranteed to be very popular. They don’t trade away any of the things that attracted people to the Beats Solo HD, while making a few key improvements. Among their peers, the most impressive element is these headphones’ noise isolation. They block out more sound and are better suited for use in the gym. However, if you’re going to listen to your headphones in quieter environments rather than just running around noisy streets, you may want to consider another option.
Beats is continually improving its headphones, and the Beats Solo 2 are better than the Solo HD in a few respects. The continued bass-centric approach limits their appeal among fans of good sound, but if you’re looking for everyday walkaround headphones, the Beats Solo 2 are hard to beat.
They’re good-looking, they sound plenty good enough for most users, and they’re very comfortable. A variety of color options sweetens the pie, too. If you don’t care about fashion, you can find cheaper headphones that offer similar performance, but Beats has done an admirable job of earning up to their popularity this time around.
Famed for its quality memory modules, Crucial has also become one of the most trusted names in the solid-state drive business. Its RealSSD C300 made waves back in 2010 as the first consumer SSD series to natively support 6Gb/s SATA, and since then they’ve offered various successful upper-end products such as the M4 as well as the M500/M500DC.
But the company’s entry-level efforts have been less than laudable to date. In fact, the biggest hitch along the company’s road has been its budget-minded v4 series, whose controller was so bad that the drive was unusable.
Now Crucial is taking another crack at producing a cost effective SSD and things look more promising this time. Instead of a cheap controller, Crucial has outfitted its MX100 SSDs with the same Marvell chip used by the high-end M550 series, and cheaper 16nm NAND flash memory. This makes for a relatively small difference in performance but a big one in price.
Crucial’s new drive utilizes the tried and true Marvell 88SS9189 controller along with a Micron cache to improve small write performance and eliminate any stuttering issues. The MX100′s flash NAND memory (16nm 128Gbit MLC) is made by Micron, parent company of Crucial. This is the first mainstream product to use 16nm NAND. Crucial says the MX100 series can sustain a total of 72TB worth of writes before failing and is backed by a three-year warranty. That is a huge amount of writes, equivalent to 40GB per day for five years, which is well above what the average user will require.
Like all SSDs, the MX100 should consume very little power. At idle, all three models (128GB, 256GB, 512GB) use less than 100mW. When active they typically consume just 150mW. Crucial also states that the maximum amount of power these SSDs can consume is 3700mW for the 256GB and 4200mW for the 512GB model when working with 128KB data.
The MX100 offers AES 256-bit encryption on hardware and is one of the only SSDs available that meets Microsoft eDrive, IEEE-1667, and TCG Opal 2.0 standards.
The MX100 series measures 100.45mm long, 69.85mm wide and just 7mm thick while weighing 70 grams. Crucial has included a spacer for systems that require the drive to be 9mm thick. The drives are compatible with both laptops and desktops, though you’ll need an adapter if your chassis doesn’t have a 2.5″ bay. They’ll also work in RAID if you buy more than one and are still backed by a limited three-year warranty.
The only area where Crucial is lacking compared to competitors such as Samsung is in software. Samsung’s SSD Magician utility is excellent, allowing users to optimize their SSD, clean it, measure performance, easily apply firmware updates, monitor health and track other statistics. Crucial offers no such software for any of their SSDs, so this is certainly somewhere to improve.
Crucial intended for the MX100 to be today’s most affordable SSD and given its pricing the company has certainly achieved that — no testing required. The 256GB model is a phenomenal buy at just R 1,518.12 Incl VAT, while the 512GB model will no doubt tempt many at R 3,126.88 Incl VAT.
The 128GB drive is well positioned at R 1,115.17 Incl VAT, though I find that model less appealing, in part because I no longer find 128GB to be enough for a boot drive. Between that and the huge hit in write performance, the 128GB model seems like it’s worth skipping.
The attractive pricing wouldn’t matter much if the drives were slow, and while the MX100 won’t set any new speed records, it proved very fast across tests — particularly in application performance, one of several similarities we saw with Plextor’s M6 SSDs. The MX100′s file copy results were mostly average despite stellar application performance, just like the M6s, and both ranges seem to retain their original performance well after they are full. Both the Plextor M6 and Crucial MX100 use Marvell controllers.
Pros: It’s 80% cheaper than go-to enthusiast SSDs by Samsung and others while still performing about as well and sometimes better.
Cons: Well, it’s still not as cheap as an HDD but you may have chosen the wrong hobby if +/- R1,500.00 is too much to ask for a 256GB SSD.
When it comes to creating and editing PDF files, it doesn’t get much better than Nuance’s new Power PDF Standard. And with 95 percent of the features of Acrobat at only one-third the cost (R999.99 Incl VAT), it’s a bargain. That said, the interface, while easy to use, needs more work and the OCR can’t match Acrobat’s abilities with complex documents.
Power PDF handles just about every aspect of PDF creation and editing that you could ask for, including layering, 3D, sound and file attachments, and security. The latter may be read-only, password, or certificate protection. Signatures are handled nicely and you can even draw your own on screen if you have a suitably fluid input device (a mouse if you’re really good, stylus or tablet for most of us). There’s also a nice stamp feature for marking documents as read, processed, cancelled, paid, etc.
Power PDF supports the latest in PDF forms technology, including conversion of plain PDFs to forms. There are a full set of form controls including buttons, radio buttons, check boxes—all the stuff you’re used to from dialog boxes. There are also the usual text editing and comment tools plus a nice drag-and-drop watermark feature with a number of templates. Other nice Power PDF features include cloud service conduits and integrated text-to-speech.
Power PDF’s paned interface is eye-catchingly rendered in the latest Microsoft style and has some welcome layout features. However, in my hands-on with 1.0, there were one or two immature moments. Dialogs continually popped up at the far left corner of the screen. Also, with a dynamic zoom tool (click/hold and move the mouse backwards and forwards to zoom in and out) that works wonderfully on its own, why the duplicative old-fashioned separate zoom-in and zoom-out tools? If you come up with a better way, people will use it—multiple methodologies confuse and waste space. I’m being a tad rough on the Power PDF interface, but there’s far more good than bad. On the whole, I found it much easier and more intuitive to navigate Power PDF than Acrobat XI.
I’ve been testing OCR and PDF programs for several years now with a very tough set of images and PDF files that stress OCR engines to the max. Power PDF did… okay. It’s useless with any text that’s curved, script, or handwritten, but that’s the norm in the industry—handwriting recognition is still in the dark ages in the consumer OCR space. Power PDF did fine combining scans into a PDF and rendering them as searchable. Editable, not so much, and the Word document it spit out was largely unusable for any page that was not mostly text. It’s not in Acrobat’s league in this respect.
Gripes aside, before you plop down a small fortune for, or subscribe to, Acrobat XI, you should without a doubt check out Power PDF. My quibbles are minor and the feature set covers everything the average user is likely to need. It’s not as good at reproducing complex documents via OCR as Acrobat XI is, but in every other aspect it’s every bit as powerful, as well as easier to use.
- Excellent form editing
- Good conversion between PDF types
- Attractive interface
- Mediocre Word output
- Interface oddities
- Limited vertical work area
Nuance Power PDF Standard is available now to buy in South Africa from the WebAntics Online Shopping Store for R999.99 Incl VAT. WebAntics Online Shopping Store (http://www.webantics.co.za/) is an Official Nuance Partner in South Africa and sells the full range of Nuance products.
In 1989, Corel introduced CorelDraw as the “first graphics software for the Windows platform,” according to the Corel website. These days, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 is brimming with ingenious features and tools designed exclusively for delivering quality results in the graphics industry. Designers around the globe continue to benefit from Corel’s continuous drive to be the best graphic design software, as they offer new technology, including mobile applications and 3D technology, and standout features, such as vector illustration, raster effects and layout.
Corel’s mantra, “If you can dream it, you can design it,” has definitely served it well, as it caters to the hundreds of millions who use their graphic design software. The X7 suite incorporates the best that this design software company has to offer into a powerful graphics suite.
The X7 suite embraces interactive design tools that will enable you to pump out professional results in the following design areas:
- Vector illustration
- Page layout
- Digital editing
- Web graphics and animation
This graphic design software includes six applications, each catering to specific design needs:
- CorelDraw X7 – Vector illustration and page layout
- Corel Photo-Paint X7 – Photo editing
- Corel PowerTrace X7 – Bitmap-to-vector conversion
- Corel Website Creator X7 – Designing and managing websites
- Corel Capture X7 – One-click screen capture
- Corel Connect X7 – Content browser and file management tool
Although you must open each of these applications separately to access their individual tools, all include similar elements that build upon one another. For example, if you are using CorelDraw but need to edit an image, you can use Corel Photo-Paint. Once you have tweaked your images in this application, you can drag it over to CorelDraw without having to save and reopen the image.
Yes, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 is a bit difficult to use if you have never used design software before, but honestly, all of the best graphic design software packages have a vast number of tools, which is actually a good thing. You won’t be overwhelmed forever. You will read the manuals, you will watch the video tutorials, you will visit community forums. You will become an expert soon enough.
“If you can dream it, you can design it,” says the Corel website. So, armed with some of the best graphic design tools, we say: Get dreamin’. CorelDraw Graphics Suite X7 brings some real solutions for the designer to the table. You can use this design software if you are a professional graphic designer quite easily. If you are new to the world of graphic design, you will experience a steep learning curve. However, Corel does offer a huge array of training materials that will make the process less painful.
The help and support available for this application is astounding.
Because the suite consists of several applications, there are an overwhelming number of tools and features; it may take you quite a while to learn how to use them all to achieve maximum results.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X7 Professional Graphic Design Software is now available as a Full licensed package, Upgrade version or as a 365-day Subscription License from WebAntics Online Shopping Store.
View the datasheet - click here
The EH-TW5200 is Epson’s latest home cinema projector, providing a low cost option with the promise of big screen action and increased colour brightness.
The TW5200 is certainly a looker, with its gloss black finish and curvaceous chassis, whilst the build quality is reasonable. The lens is mounted off to the right and there’s a cover that can be slid across to protect it from dust and accidental damage. Keeping dust out of the lens assembly is important because, as with all LCD projectors, it isn’t sealed and thus susceptible to the dreaded dust blobs. The lens itself is quite small and cheap but at this price point you really can’t expect anything else and above it are some basic controls for zoom and focus but no lens shift.
At the rear you will find two HDMI inputs that support 3D and HDMI1 also supports MHL, so you can project content from your smartphone or tablet. There’s a USB (Type A) port for connecting USB devices and a mini-USB for for any service requirements. There’s also a VGA input, a RS232 serial connector, a composite video input, audio in for the built-in speaker and audio out. The built-in speaker is also positioned at the rear, to the right of the connections.
The remote control is quite small and fiddly and doesn’t have a backlight, which makes it even more difficult to use in the dark. We much preferred the larger remote control that Epson provides with their higher-end models but obviously costs have to be reduced to meet the price point. Still, the remote as all the main buttons you need and they are laid out in a sensible fashion. The TW5200 doesn’t come with any 3D glasses but if you want to use that feature you can buy some Epson’s excellent RF rechargeable glasses for about R1,400.00 Incl.
3 x Brighter Colours and reliable performance* – 3LCD, 3-Chip Technology. Look for both high colour brightness and high white brightness.
High-definition, 1080p, widescreen performance – For movies, games and more; up to 300″ on virtually any wall or screen.
Exciting 2D and 3D adventures – Delivers eye-popping 3D entertainment at home with RF 3D glasses (sold separately).
Versatile connectivity – Two HDMI ports, including one MHL, and more for all of your favourite HD devices.
Adopting the 3LCD display technology, this 3D-ready projector provides 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, 2000 ANSI lumens brightness, 15000:1 contrast ratio and up to 6,000 hours of lamp life. It also comes with a built-in 2W mono speaker and a number of connectivity ports including 2x HDMI, D-Sub, Composite, 2x RCA and USB Type A. The EH-TW5200 is now available to ship from WebAntics Online Shopping Store for the current price of R16,979.48 Incl VAT.
WebAntics Online Shopping Store (http://www.webantics.co.za/) was founded in 2005 and is a South African company based in Johannesburg. It is one of South Africa’s leading Online Computer and Electronics Stores and their aim is to provide customers with an easy way of shopping from the comfort of their chair while at the same time benefiting from the cost saving from operating online. WebAntics Online is an official Epson Partner and carries the full range of Epson products and accessories.
Durable Design that keeps up with the Demands of Mobile Use.
The HP 350 G1 Notebook PC balances affordable style with productivity, that’s perfect for everyday computing. From leading processors to Windows 8.1 technology, you’re ready for work.
The HP 350 G1 is a budget-friendly laptop featuring a choice of 4th generation Intel processors, a 15.6″ LED-backlit HD display, and up to 750 GB of internal storage. The options on this laptop start out modest, but with available discrete AMD Radeon graphics, core i7 processor, and up to 16 GB of RAM, it can really get moving. Integrated microphone and HD webcam ensure you stay connected wherever you go.
- Built with durability in mind – inside and out – to meet the needs of professionals on the move.
- Impact and bumps happen. HP 3D DriveGuard helps protect your data when you’re on the go by sensing sudden movement and protecting the hard drive.
- Help protect sensitive electronics and key components from minor spills with a thin layer of Mylar film under the keyboard.
- HP CoolSense technology automatically adjusts your notebook’s temperature based on usage and conditions. It keeps the notebook cool for your comfort.
- With a user replaceable battery, you have the convenience of easy maintenance.
Powered for business.
- Gain the tools you need to stay in the driver’s seat at work. From leading processors to Windows 8.1 technology, you’re ready for work.
- Get up to 1TB hard disk drive for storing documents, images, videos, and more.
- Durable Design that keeps up with the demands of mobile use
- Get more done with the new fast and fluid Windows 8.1.
- Confidently tackle tasks and projects with the power of the latest 4th generation Intel® Core™ i3/i5 dual-core processors.
- Immerse yourself in stunning visuals thanks to AMD Radeon discrete graphics and 2GB of video memory.
Connect without hassles.
- Say goodbye to dongles and have all the connections you need, including VGA display, HDMI, Ethernet, USB ports, and an optional built in DVD drive.
- Connect with colleagues via the Internet and email at the office or your favorite hotspots with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ WLAN.
- Print from your favorite hotspot or when you have internet access with HP ePrint. Now you can print without the cables.
- Face-to-face conversations are considered to be more productive. The HD Webcam makes them possible even in low light
Nuance has launched Dragon Dictate 4, a new edition of its dictation and transcription software for the Mac. The app has switched to a fully 64-bit codebase, allowing it to better exploit modern processors and RAM. Nuance says it has also improved the accuracy of voice recognition, optimizing it for newer technology.
Likewise new is the ability to transcribe from recorded sources, instead of having to pull from live audio. Compatible formats include MP3, MP4, M4A, M4V, AIF/AIFF, and WAV. This support extends to memos from smartphones and voice recorders, and users can also mix multiple sources. Another transcription improvement is the ability to keep all of the customization and vocabulary from a profile without having to switch to a different one.
The software can now also control Gmail in Safari or Firefox, interplaying voice commands with editing and dictation functions. Voice can further be used to open links and emails, and mixed talking/typing support has been added for Pages 4.3.
Dragon is the world’s best-selling speech recognition software. It turns your talk into text and can make virtually any computer task easier and faster. From capturing ideas and creating documents, to email and searching the web, to using simple voice commands to control many of the popular programs you use every day at home, work – and beyond. WebAntics Online is an Approved Nuance Partner and sells the full range of Nuance products. Visit www.webantics.co.za for more information.
The Dell XPS 15 takes on Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display in almost every category, even beating it in a few. The Dell XPS 15 has a better-than-HD display, decent casual-gaming chops, and a slim, lightweight 15-inch body
XPS 15: Powerful performance with stunning display.
The XPS 15 is Dell’s most powerful XPS laptop ever, combining an ultrahigh resolution display with powerhouse performance. 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors, Windows 8.1 and an UltraSharp™ QHD+ display to power your passions.
Visionary display: The 15.6″ UltraSharp™ QHD+ touch display provides an amazing viewing experience.
Premium materials: XPS 15 is designed with machined aluminum, carbon fiber and Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ for maximized durability and style.
Powerful performance: Now faster with up to Intel® Core™ i7 processors (Quad Core) and up to 2GB NVIDIA® graphics.
Stylish mobility: Stunning wedge design and surprisingly lightweight at 8-18mm thin, with a starting weight of 4.44 pounds
Dell has put nearly everything you could ask for from a slim, premium 15-inch into the XPS 15, including a great higher-res screen, a discrete GPU, and a powerful CPU. Perfectly executed, the R22,000.00 Incl VAT and-up price seems fair, then this is the closest you’ll find to a current-gen MacBook Pro without switching to OS X. Available now in South Africa from the WebAntics Online Shopping Store.
In line with its “In Search of Incredible” brand spirit, ASUS has announced a series of promotions for the IT Show 2014, the largest IT, digital, mobile, and consumer electronics event in Singapore. Among the star products unveiled at the ASUS booth during the IT Show 2014 was the latest Republic of Gamers (ROG) G56JR, a 15.6” gaming notebook which will be available in South Africa at the end of March 2014.
Featuring the latest addition to the ROG series, the ROG G56JR 15.6” notebook delivers advanced performance for PC gaming enthusiasts thanks to its fourth generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M graphics. The notebook comes with 1920 x 1080 HD resolution display, a sleek form factor, a long battery life supported by ASUS Super Hybrid Engine power management technology, and powerful speakers and subwoofer that are larger than mainstream notebooks. Furthermore, the display sports an anti-reflective matte panel that reduces distracting reflections and lessens eye fatigue from prolonged usage.
The latest G56JR gaming notebook will retail at R 14,599.90 Incl VAT at a special package price that comes with a subwoofer included. Visit WebAntics Online Shopping Store for more information as well as details on the full range of Asus products available in South Africa.
The World’s Most Accurate 3-D Motion-Control Technology is to be Bundled with ASUS New Premium All-in-One Computers and High-End Notebooks using Intel’s Haswell Platform
Leap Motion, the motion-control software and hardware company changing the future of human/computer interaction, today announced one of its first global OEM partnerships. ASUS, a leading innovator in personal computing products, will bundle the revolutionary Leap Motion controller with select new computers. In an industry first, ASUS will also bundle the world’s most accurate 3-D motion-control technology into new high-end notebooks and premium All-in-One (AiO) PCs later this year.
ASUS is one of the world’s largest consumer notebook vendors and the maker of the world’s best-selling and most award-winning motherboards. The ground-breaking partnership brings the future of computer interaction—Leap Motion’s incredibly fast and accurate natural user interface—to millions of potential consumers around the world.
Leap Motion’s incredible speed and precision are helping fuel its momentum and leadership in the industry. Leap Motion’s technology can track movements to 1/100th millimeter—smaller than the tip of a pin—with no visible lag time. The Leap Motion controller has a 150-degree field of view, and tracks individual hands and all 10 fingers at 290 frames per second.
ASUS plans to bundle the Leap Motion controller with its upcoming premium All-In-One (AiO) PCs and high-end notebooks for global distribution.
“Our commitment to innovation and exceptional quality drive us to provide the best technology to our consumers,” said Albert Wu, Desktop Division Senior Director at ASUSTek. “Leap Motion has developed an exciting technology that will truly enhance the experience our customers have with their ASUS devices, opening a world of opportunity for personal use and business, from entertainment to architecture to education. We’re proud to be one of the first companies to partner with Leap Motion.”
“As OEMs adopt 3-D motion control technology, they’re spurring a rapid evolution in computer interface innovations and helping free the full power and potential of computing for consumers,” said Leap Motion co-founder and CEO Michael Buckwald. “This historic partnership with ASUS is an important step in building global adoption of the new computing paradigm Leap Motion’s technology offers. We’re delighted that ASUS shares our outlook on the future of human/computer interaction.”
In May 2012, Leap Motion revealed its technology and controller to huge global excitement, with its introduction video garnering more than 7 million views. More than 40,000 developers worldwide have requested to work with Leap Motion, and the company has sent out 12,000 free units to developers to foster the creation of new applications.
Leap Motion has won innovation awards from Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and Fast Company, and will present a featured session at the 2013 SXSW conference. The Leap Motion device will ship to consumers early this year, and can be pre-ordered for $70 at www.leapmotion.com.
ASUS, the world’s top 3 consumer notebook vendor and the maker of the world’s best-selling and most award winning motherboards, is a leading enterprise in the new digital era. ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home, office and person, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktops, EeeBox and All-in-One PCs, notebooks, netbooks, tablet devices, servers, multimedia and wireless solutions, networking devices, and mobile phones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 3,398 awards in 2010, and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with the Eee PC™. With a global staff of more than 10,000 and a world-class R&D team of 3,000 engineers, the company’s revenue for 2010 was around US$10.1 billion.
About Leap Motion
Based in San Francisco, Leap Motion is a motion-control software and hardware company developing the world’s most powerful and sensitive 3-D motion-control and motion-sensing technology. Leap Motion’s first product, the Leap Motion controller, will be available in early 2013. Leap Motion is 200 times more sensitive than existing motion-control technology, making it the first product to let users navigate and interact with computer applications using natural hand and finger movements. Leap Motion was founded in 2010 by Michael Buckwald and David Holz