Sony SRS-XB41 Price: Rs 16,990
- Published 8.07.18
Price: Rs 16,990
Bluetooth speakers are a sea of sameness these days, so it’s good to see the Sony SRS-XB41. With its IP67 dust and water resistance and a funky bunch of party tricks, the speaker stands out from the crowd, but it’s let down by a lack of sonic detail compared to peers in the same price segment.
It’s not the lightest portable speaker around, but the SRS-XB41 more than makes up in terms of durability. Build quality is top notch, staying rugged yet premium, and it can take a proper dip in the pool or a roll on the beach and not miss a beat. Yet, the big draw is the LED setup around the speaker and around the two 58mm drivers, which pulsate to the tunes and beats you play and really liven up a party setup (they can be turned off for regular, non-party use). Battery life is stellar (at around 19 hours) and the USB port can be used to charge your smartphone as well.
Buttons on the top are hard to press. The Live Mode (widens the soundstage) and Party Booster (tap the sides of the speaker to add sound effects) are fun initially but get old fast. The bass is punchy but many will find it excessive, while the mids lack detail.
Dell XPS 13 9370
Price: Rs 1.68 lakh
Dell’s XPS laptops have been a safe pick in the premium Windows laptops category, and the 2018 spec XPS 13 9370 is a timely iterative update of Dell’s flagship ultraportable. If a splurge is on the cards, you couldn’t go wrong with this one.
The top-end variant ticks off many boxes in my ultraportable wish list — an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB of memory and a 512GB solid state drive — all of which guarantee class-leading performance. And then there’s the star of the show — the edge-to-edge 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display. The 4K UHD touchscreen panel is plenty bright and impressively sharp, and once you start watching 4K content on a screen this portable, there’s really no going back. All this fits into a stunning form factor that’s deceptively small and light, courtesy Dell shaving off every possible inch and using the newer USB Type-C ports (no full-sized USB, though). The keyboard, thankfully, sees no compromise and the 1.3mm of key travel offers a tactile typing experience. Responsive trackpad too. Battery life, given the 4K panel, is an acceptable eight-nine hours.
Despite its speedy internals, don’t confuse this with a gaming machine — there’s no dedicated graphics processor on board, so the built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620 is what you get. The webcam, placed below the screen to achieve those insanely thin 4mm bezels, results in an odd angle of view. The white and rose gold colour trim may not be for everyone. No SD card reader.
Canon Rayo i5
Price: Rs 50,000
Compact, portable projectors cater to a number of diverse uses around projecting in smaller spaces or while on the move. The Canon Rayo i5 fares well on projection quality and portability but stops a few steps short of earning an unqualified recommendation.
Despite the compact (111x111x17.2 mm) dimensions, the i5 delivers 100 ANSI lumens, which is good enough for use indoors with the shades drawn, and the built-in 1,900mAh battery lasts about two hours of use. Aside from HDMI, wireless connectivity options abound, with support for Miracast, DLNA and AirPlay standards — just connect to the i5’s peer-to-peer network. Setup is convenient, save for some initial issues connecting to the devices. The i5 has stereo speakers but they’re tinny at anything but the lowest volume. So, it’s best paired with a pair of external speakers.
The standard tripod screw mount is convenient for placing the i5 anywhere without having to rely on a flat surface, but there’s no keystone correction to adjust an off-centre image. The 854x480 pixel resolution isn’t the highest around, but you should be fine if you stay within the recommended projection distance (5m) — you can go all the way to a massive 4m/157-inches screen if you’re pushing it.
OnePlus Bullets Wireless
Price: Rs 3,990
OnePlus has an enviable reputation across its product portfolio, that of products that are well designed and higher quality than their price would suggest. And so it is with the Bullets Wireless, OnePlus’ first pair of wireless headphones, that boast of high resolution audio support, fast charging and a neat, magnetic feature you’ll grow to love… for a price that’s just right!
With a flexible neck ring design, the Bullets Wireless sits comfortably around your neck or your collar, without weighing you down or swinging around needlessly. The soft, silicone coating resists getting tangled, and the sweat and water resistance is a nice bonus. With support for the aptX audio codec, the earphones sound better when paired with an Android phone than with an iPhone, albeit a little on the treble happy side. The OnePlus bonus — a pause/resume feature when you magnetically join the earphones together — is a nice touch, though it works best with recent OnePlus phones. Battery life meets the claimed eight hours, and extra-fast Dash Charging support juices them up in a jiffy.
With an all-black design save for a red ring around the bud, the earphones are a little generic in look. The included silicon carry case stands out (it’s bright red) but I wish it were a little larger to accommodate the earphones easily.
Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator. Follow him onTwitter @2shar. Mail your tech queries to firstname.lastname@example.org