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Svelte challenger

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These days, there aren’t many weeks that go by without the launch of a new tablet that runs Android’s Honeycomb version. For the most part, I meet such news with a mild amount of interest. Don’t get me wrong — I really wanted to like Honeycomb, the tablet version that was designed to make mincemeat of the iPad. But the offerings have been mediocre at best. With the launch of the Galaxy Tab 750, Samsung has taken its experience in making successful Android phones and applied it to the Honeycomb tablet space. How does it fare? Let’s find out!

Form factor wise, Samsung seems to have pulled one out of the bag, with the new Tab actually thinner than the iPad 2 — 8.6mm versus the iPad 2’s 8.8mm. By forgoing the use of metal in the rear, they’re lighter as well than the iPad 2.

Round that out with excellent build quality and fit and finish, and the Tab makes all the right first impressions. It oozes quality and desirability from the word go. Switch it on, and the 10.1-in 1280 x 800 pixel screen offers excellent clarity and brightness. Now, while it’s no Super AMOLED Plus that the Samsung Galaxy S II sports, it is one of the best and most responsive screens I’ve seen on a tablet, bar none.

Despite its svelte dimensions, the Tab 750 packs some serious hardware under the hood, with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and 1GB RAM. The minor let down comes by way of the 16GB internal storage but thankfully that can be expanded via the SD card expansion slot. The cameras are perfunctory in nature — a 3.2MP version around the back and 2MP in the front. Even with such horsepower, the battery managed to last the better part of the day, giving me anywhere between seven to nine hours, depending on use.

The hardware seems to have checked off the necessary boxes but my complaint with Honeycomb tablets thus far has been the software, rather the lack of apps targeted at the Honeycomb platform and the overall lack of maturity of the Honeycomb 3.1 release.

With the Tab 750, you get a mixed deal. So while web browsing, multitasking and multimedia playback support are better than the competition (both Honeycomb tablets and the iPad), and Samsung has beefed up the software offering as part of its TouchWiz customisation of Honeycomb, it is evidently clear the 3rd party apps are just not up to scratch. There’s still a long way to go before the 750 unseats the iPad but if you’re looking for a capable Android tablet, this is the best on offer at the moment.

• Rating: 8/10 lPrice: 36,200 (with data plans with select operators as well)
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A smart projection

Professional projectors, especially the kind you’d put in offices and small conference rooms, don’t have it easy, and are often used in non-optimal conditions — excessive ambient light, non-white projection surfaces, the works! BenQ’s latest SH960 DLP projector seems equipped for the job — it packs in 1080p resolution, a 5500 ANSI lumens brightness lamp and horizontal and vertical lens shift. Now while the full HD resolution is fast becoming available across the board, it’s the other two that really make the SH960 worth considering. The extra brightness helps combating badly lit (rather, excessively lit) rooms and the horizontal and vertical lens shift allows you to place this just about anywhere in office settings, and still get the image onto the projection surface.

A feature I was particularly impressed with was the Wall Color Correction, which allows you to select the wall colour from a list and the projector automatically adjusts the projected image to make for a better viewing experience — perfect for when you can’t find a white wall in the office to use for projection. The sticker shock is bound to throw you off for a while, but the SH960 is well worth considering if you’re looking for an office projector and don’t want to remodel your room to suit a more budget projector’s requirements.

• Rating: 7/10 lPrice: Rs 3.27 lakh
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A solid looker

ThinkPads have always had a cult-like following but admit it, that had more to do with functionality and reliability than looks. The ThinkPad Edge E420s sets out to change that, with its sleek dark looks and chrome accents that are quite unlike its predecessors (in a good way, of course!) Having said that, the build quality is rock solid, as is expected of a ThinkPad. It’s a shame they had to make the battery non-removable to slim this baby down. Keep that in mind if you’re the sort who travels a lot and relies on a spare battery. Bear in mind that the average battery life is about two to three hours here.

Performance specs are respectable fora professional’s laptop, and the excellent complement of ports is let down only by the absence of a USB 3.0 port. All in all, a respectable addition to a famous family.

• Rating: 7/10
• Price: Rs 55,200 onwards
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The right connections

If you’ve bought an iPod/iPhone-only sound system or car accessory and then jumped ship over to an Android phone, here’s what you need to do. Pick up the dockBoss+ adapter from CableJive — one end goes onto your proprietary 30-pin connector iPod dock, and the other plugs into your new phone via micro-USB, and voila! Your Apple-only sound system now plays nicely with all your devices, and it certainly beats buying new accessories for every new device!

• Price: $30
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