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BW Businessworld

In Competitive Form

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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. Beyond the numbers, the Tab 750 feels pretty great in the hand, and I've actually started preferring the curved edges to the iPad's sharper edges. Being lighter helps as well, yet the Tab 750 manages it without any real compromises to the build quality.

Switch it on, and the 10.1-inch 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. Viewing angles are superb, there's no visible color distortion if you look at the tablet off-center either. Brightness is on par with the iPad, possibly even a tad brighter. The speakers are nice and loud, but a tad tinny.

Despite its svelte dimensions, the Tab 750 packs some serious hardware under the hood, with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and 1GB RAM. You get 3G SIM Connectivity, but the serious let down comes by way of the 16GB internal storage, with no memory expansion – what were Samsung thinking here? 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 7-9 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. The lack of tab optimized apps is really proving to be Honeycomb's Achilles' heel at the moment, with application selection in the few hundreds. And just so I'm clear, it's not the tens of thousands of iPad apps that are winning the battle for the iPad, but a selection of high quality apps that can let me get my everyday jobs done as well as on the iPad.

On its own, 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. TouchWiz also brings with it a number of different apps, like Media Hub, Social Hub and Samsung Apps, among others, but most are just more polished versions of the base Honeycomb apps. There is a larger concern with the TouchWiz update – a custom skin like TouchWiz only means update delays for future Android versions. Not the kind of compromise I'd like to accept when I'm looking to buy bleeding edge stuff. All in all, 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
Price: 36,200/- (with data plans with select operators as well)

Maximum Optimisation
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 Colour Correction feature, which allows you to select the wall color 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
Price: Rs 3,27,578/-

Divergent Thinking
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, so that's something to keep 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 2-3 hours here.

Performance specs are respectable for a professional's laptop, and this baby should have no problem in even processor and memory intensive tasks. Of course, given the integrated graphics, gaming won't be such a blast – that said, it isn't intended for a gaming audience, though can add a dedicated graphics card, should you wish to add more firepower to your work laptop. It also packs in an excellent complement of ports which is let down only by the absence of a USB 3.0 port. All in all, this is a respectable addition to a famous family.

Rating: 7/10
Price: Rs 55,200 onwards

Sound iDea
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 nice with all your devices, and it certainly beats buying new accessories for every new device!

Price: $30

technocool at kanwar dot net
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