It may seem strange, but the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Note have one peculiar thing in common — both were received with mixed responses worldwide, with most folks balking at the difficult-to-slot category-creating hardware. Both ended up doing swimmingly well, as you probably know. Does the Note’s spiritual successor, the Android 4.0-based Note 800 10.1-in tablet, make a note-able impression? Read onů
Visually, the Note 800 has a lot in common with a previous 10.1-in tablet from Samsung, the Tab 750, and the unchanged plasticky exterior makes an expensive tablet feel cheap and flimsy. But that’s about where the comparisons end.
Crucially, the internals get a major boost by way of a 1.4GHz quad core processor, 2GB of RAM and a HD-capable 1280 x 800 pixels display. Also, by virtue of this being a Note, the S Pen stylus takes centre stage and continues to deliver on a trick the iPad still doesn’t have. And it works well — the stylus is pressure-sensitive, and the screen can actually tell the difference between the S Pen and your palm, so you can rest your hand on the screen while writing, just like normal. Or flip the pen around to erase. Bear in mind, it only works with certain apps, but Samsung’s done well in making it compatible with big apps like Polaris Office, Photoshop Touch and their own real-time-handwriting-recognition-enabled S Note note-taking app.
The excellent internals also allow another of the 800’s features — Multiscreen. With a limited set of apps — Polaris Office, Internet, S Note, Video Player, Gallery and Email — you can actually have two of them running simultaneously, side by side on the screen. Want to take notes while you browse the Internet? Or watch a video while typing an email. Yes, you can! No third-party app support for now, though.
In the end, the Note 800 does a few things that the iPad can’t, and does them fairly well, but winning the skirmishes doesn’t win it the war.
Price: Rs 39,990
Who let the dogs out!
Been to Hong Kong? If you haven’t, you’re going to get a crash course in the island city’s sights and sounds in Sleeping Dogs. You play Wei Shen, an officer from the San Francisco Police Department who is loaned to the Hong Kong Police Department to infiltrate a Triad gang and help take them down. The conflicts that you face leading a double life give your character and the gameplay some purpose amidst all that mindless killing. It also gives you a choice of gameplay — brutal acts will earn the respect of your gang members (and unlock valuable Triad points), while doing the same tasks with some degree of finesse and professionalism (such as reducing collateral damage) will unlock powerful Cop points and abilities. There are also Face points to be earned if you help keep the streets clean and help answer anonymous requests for help.
What I really liked about the game was the in-your-face hand-to-hand combat and the rich cast of characters deeply embedded within a realistic Hong Kong setting. A great game that takes a while to wrap up, one where you get so engrossed in the gameplay that you happily overlook the minor graphics deficiencies every now and then.
Price: Rs 2,799
Got an Android phone and want to play Bond? Check out the Sony SmartWatch, which connects to your Android phone over Bluetooth so you can discreetly view Facebook updates, tweets, emails, text messages, incoming calls and more on its 1.3-in screen, without needing to pull out your phone. All you need to do is download the SmartWatch app from the Play Store onto the phone, connect the phone to the watch and choose the apps you’d like to see on the watch.
In daily use, I had mixed feelings about this product. While it’s darn near impossible to read Facebook/emails on this screen, the call-handling app is handy, displaying who is calling on the watch face along with mute/reject options (no answer function, though). Or dial out address book contacts on your phone. I can’t say the watch looked classy enough to be used for all occasions, and while it does have some flaunt value, it’s crippled without the phone. Maybe an independent watch-phone next Sony?
Price: Rs 6,299