Top 15: Gadgets of the year 2011
Top-drawer products: In the year 2011, many technological advancements, innovations and developments took place. A huge chunk of products were announced this year. While some devices managed to attract people’s eyeballs, others were big time disappointments. So after considering various factors including innovation, hardware, styling, performance, quality, speed and results, we have come up with a list of top 15 gadgets of the year 2011.
Samsung Galaxy S II: Powered by a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, the phone runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. With a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen that delivers eye popping colours, the phone includes an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2 megapixel front camera. The phone is a combiantion of great looks and speedy performance.
Price: Rs 30,498
Apple iPad 2: Apple launched the second generation of the world’s best selling tablet computer, the Apple iPad, this year. Named iPad 2, the new iPad is is skinnier, faster and slightly lighter. It comes with cameras for video chatting and snapping photos. The iPad 2 looks much like the first iPad, though it has a sleeker, lighter body with a curved back. Among the most noticeable changes is the inclusion of cameras, one on the front and one on the back. The new iPad has Apple’s new dual-core A5 chip, which helped applications open more quickly than on the older iPad. Add to that a new version of Apple’s iOS software. The new processor and the new iOS combined to improve Web surfing. It has a 9.7-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen multitouch display with IPS technology.
Price: In India, the iPad 2 with Wi-Fi costs for Rs 29,500 for the 16GB model, Rs 34,500 for the 32GB model and Rs 39,500 for the 64GB model. The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G is priced at Rs 36,900 for the 16GB model, Rs 41,900 for the 32GB model and Rs 46,900 for the 64GB model.
Nintendo 3DS: Produced by Nintendo, it is the first gaming console to create stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. It offers new control options. The screen is said to direct light in two different directions, one for each eye, thereby tricking your brain into seeing depth that is not there.
Sony PS Vita: Sony’s long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hit stores in Japan on December 17 as thousands of game enthusiasts lined up early in the morning to be among the first to buy it. The device is a touch-interface and motion-sensitive handheld seen as a successor to the PlayStation Portable. The Vita has front and back cameras, a 5-inch OLED multi touchscreen in front, a touch pad on the back and two knob-like joysticks. Gamers can connect over cellphone networks and Wi-Fi hotspots, and use GPS location-tracking technology. Vita’s launch will heat up competition with rival Nintendo Co.’s 3DS. The PS Vita goes on sale in North America and Europe on February 22, 2012. Reportedly, the company shifted 321,400 units of the PlayStation Vita in Japan in its first two days on sale.
Price: It will be priced at $249.99 for the Wi-Fi version and $299.99 for the 3G + Wi-Fi version in the US market
Apple MacBook Air: Though the MacBook Air has been with us since 2008, but this year the company introduced the upgraded version of the device. Showcasing Mac OSX on a fantastic LED backlit screen, the new Air’s brushed aluminium shell is a mere 1.7cm deep at its thickest point. It has a dual core processor, decent graphics chip, a gorgeous keyboard and trackpad. There is also solid state storage. The battery is touted to last for five hours. The new models are powered by new dual-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.
Price: Rs 56,900 onwards
Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime: Powered by Android 3.2 OS, the device has a unique design. It has a 10.1-inch LED backlight WXGA (1280×800) screen and a 1.2 megapixel front camera and an 8 megapixel rear camera. It is claimed to be the world’s first first Quad-core CPU tablet. It can be transformed to notebook mode with a full QWERTY chiclet keyboard dock. It comes in two variants – 32 GB and 64 GB.
Price: $ 599 onwards
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: It is the first smartphone that runs Android 4.0 OS, codenamed ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’. The Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65-inch high-definition Super AMOLED display with a 1280×720 resolution. The phone sports a 5 megapixel camera with 1080p video capabilities and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. With Face Unlock on the Galaxy Nexus, users can unlock the phone with a smile doing away with the need to remember and type in passwords. Galaxy Nexus has a Contour Display that sits perfectly within the device’s slim, curved and no button design. The device is just 8.84mm thick. The phone has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. However, the phone has not been launched in India yet, but it is expected to hit the Indian market sometime in early 2012.
Price: $799.99 [Device only (No plan)]
Asus Zenbook: Asus has recently come up with a new ultrabook named “Zenbook UX31”, which is believed to be a competitor of the MacBook Air. The Zenbook UX31 comes in 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch size variants. Its exterior lines are sleek and hence it is touted as the thinnest notebook in the market. The device weighs less than 1.4kg and is powered by a core i7 processor. It also includes 4GB RAM, 256GB hard disk and a chiclet style keyboard. The device has a thickness of 0.11-inch at the front and 0.67-inch at the rear.
Price: Rs 89,999
Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is the first full-color, touch-screen Kindle. It’s more of an all-purpose computer than an e-reader. It shows movies, TV shows and Web pages. It does email and lets you play games. It’s amazing that it costs half of what the first Kindle cost, just four years ago, yet does so much more than display books. Amazon says the Kindle Fire doesn’t need more memory because the company provides an online storage locker, where users can stuff all your music and other content. The device is low-cost, but still includes a lot of features.
Sony NEX-5N: Expanding its NEX-5 series, Sony released NEX-5N this year. The company has not only made the body marginally thinner, but has also included a touchscreen and a truly top-notch image sensor. It is the fourth model in Sony’s NEX line of APS-C format mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 5N is actually a replacement for its predecessor the NEX-5. It uses the company’s latest 16.1MP CMOS sensor in lieu of the previous 14MP chip.
Samsung Galaxy Note: Samsung has launched another attractive smartphone – the Galaxy Note – in 2011. The smartphone has been positioned as a smartphone-tablet combo and its 5.29-inch display is the largest in the smartphone segment. The phone has an HD Super AMOLED screen. The device comes with an S Pen, a new age avatar of the stylus. The S Pen (that stands for Smart Pen) offers additional features that a normal stylus does not have. The Galaxy Note runs on Google’s Android 2.3 operating system, and sports an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED Flash and a 2 megapixel front camera. Powered by a 1.4GHz dual core processor, the phone offers 1080p full HD video recording and playback. Weighing 178g, it has an internal memory of 16GB, which can be expanded up to 32 GB using a microSD card. It has a 2500mAh Lithium-ion battery.
Price: Rs 34,990
Apple iPhone 4S: It was highly predictable that Apple would come up with the refreshed iPhone in 2011. However, the company didnot make much hardware improvements, but it included a piece of software that makes the phone stand a part. And that is Siri, the new voice-activated personal assistant that helps users get things done just by asking. The app, however, does not do deliever excellent results as it promises, but the app is a real leap forward. It has actually set benchmarks for the developers and other technology companies. The phone features a 3.5-inch retina display at 960x640p resolution. Users can record videos in 1080p HD and also use the front facing VGA camera for video chatting. The iPhone 4S is powered by Apple’s dual-core A5 chip, the one that is also present inside the iPad 2. It includes an autofocus 8 megapixel camera that has a new custom lens with a larger f/2.4 aperture, and runs iOS 5, Apple’s latest mobile operating system(OS).
Price: Rs 44,500 for 16GB model, Rs 50,900 for 32GB model and Rs 57,500 for 64GB version.
Samsung 8000 Series (UE55D8000) TV: This is Samsung’s debut second-generation 3D TV. It includes LED backlighting, active 3D, wireless content sharing with your Samsung mobile devices, and internet at TV, which gives you instant access to BBC iPlayer, Lovefilm, YouTube and many others.
Price: Approx. £1,999.99
Microsoft X Box Kinect: It is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console. It is an add-on peripheral for the Xbox 360 console that enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 – without having to touch a game controller – through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands. Technically, it is a 2010 product, but the product was launched at the time when the year 2010 was about to end. So, it is rational decision to include the device in the list. The device is said to have sold a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days.
Price: $137.95 approximately
Nokia Lumia 800: The embattled Finnish mobile phone giant came up with its first Windows Phone powered device – Nokia Lumia 800 – in 2011. The phone is sleek and looks handsome. The Lumia 800 looks like a N9 clone, albeit with a different soul. The phone has a curved 3.7-inch AMOLED ClearBlack glass touchscreen display with 800×480 pixels resolution. The ClearBlack display does reduce reflections on the screen and improves visual image quality, especially outdoors. The phone is engineered with an 8 megapixel camera with f/2.2 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, autofocus, dual-LED flash and 3x digital zoom. Powered by a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 512 MB RAM, the phone is fast and multitasking a breeze. The phone offers 16GB of memory. However, there is no front camera and a slot for the memory card.
Price: Rs Rs 29,999