Microsoft’s new Surface Pro remains on the surface!

microsoft-surface-pro-best-buy-front

Some dreams come true! With the release of the Microsoft Surface RT, I can bet a a good number of people wished for that tablet to run the revolutionary Windows 8. “Definitely charming!” wouldn’t it? Well, the Surface Pro from Microsoft has come and even with its chin itching price tags – $899 for the 64GB and $999 for the 128GB version, the Microsoft Surface truly makes a demanding statement – that from the looks of it, may be worth it.

Preceding the new Surface Pro was a Surface RT which as at now seems to be more or less a preview to the good things to come. True, the design was something new and some of the hardware features were worth a good chat over a cup of tea; but so many things seemed absent and yes! The Surface Pro delivers all of those inner cravings you desired for it. Microsoft Windows fans and Windows 8 enthusiasts will certainly not mind putting down all more than a couple of bucks for it. The Surface Pro gives the complete Windows 8 experience which still is the most popular and most dynamic entry in the world of operating systems as of date. The Surface RT would pretty much be for those who would just prefer a windows like tablet experience without paying too much for things they would not probably use. Its not a bad idea if you look at it; after all, it comes along with the very excellent Office 2013.

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The new Surface Pro competes on par with its ultrabook rivals in a unique and most challenging manner. Compared to the earlier Surface RT, it is larger and to house some of its powerful hardware components, packs in a little more weight with a thicker form of its “VaporMg” magnesium composite casing. It comes with the basic expectations of a regular ultrabook: front and back 1.2 megapixel  cameras, a full size USB port, an intel Core i5 CPU, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB of RAM, solid state storage up to 128GB, expandable memory through a memory card reader, Bluetooth 4.0 technology and Wi-Fi 802.11a, b, g and n. It also comes with exciting features as a tablet such as a scratch resistant glass surface, 720p HD video recording with video calling abilities, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass sensors. Surface is indeed a delight to behold and touch.

Surface Pro Press 3-580-90

One issue people may have with the Surface Pro though is its kickstand, which only gives a single angular view. This does not tend to be a problem until you get into a place with heavy fluorescent lighting or worse, the sunny outdoors. You might spend some extra time adjusting to suit your convenient viewing. Furthermore, an honest truth is that it doesn’t do as well as the earlier Surface RT in terms of battery life but you should be able to get about 4 hours out of it or so. Nevertheless, Surface will do pretty well to impress newcomers and  even existing customers in the tablet purchase market.

Surface Pro comes along with a Wacom-made, pressure-sensitive stylus that is is a very welcome accompaniment. Surely you would enjoy touching around Windows 8 with it. It has a nice feel; especially when you are using applications such as Adobe Photoshop and the like. The touch and type covers remain as optional accessories and require a separate purchase to an already quite expensive pricing but of course, that completely depends on the customer in question.

In conclusion, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a stylish welcome addition to the world of portable and personal computing. There are a number of things to consider though but it works. It is fast, beautiful, the screen is gorgeous and… it runs Windows 8.

Sony Xperia Z

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Combining incredible photography with style and power, Sony really are not  only competing in art and beauty anymore, they are taking the bazookers to the war front. The Xperia Z is a real master/power piece.

Being one of the new Z Xperia line smartphones by Sony, which was announced at the CES 2013 show, set to be released before April; it is the first smartphone with high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) full HD video and, at the moment, the phone with the highest resolution front facing camera at 2.2MP. Here are the goodies, Xperia Z will be bringing to our pocket (shortly after draining our wallets :p).

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Processor and GPU

The phone features a quad-core Krait processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz and an Adreno GPU and Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064 SoC.
RAM and Storage: A whooping 2GB RAM, with an internal storage space of 32GB, supports microSD/HC of upto 32GB

Display

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

A 5-inch screen full 1080p touchscreen smartphone, with a 1920×1080 resolution at a density of approximately 443ppi providing a superb display,

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

with the new Bravia Engine 2 for images and videos.

Camera

It has both rear and front facing cameras, with the rear Camera being 13.1MP in resolution, with a back-side illuminated sensor with LED flash and Sony’s Exmor RS sensor, thereby making it the world’s first smartphone with high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) full HD video (< >wiki). The rear camera can shoot 1080P videos at 30FPS.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

Its front facing camera is 2MP, which also is the highest resolution of any phone front facing camera.

Design

It will have 3 colour variants, black purple and white. It is lsightly longer and wider than the ZL, it is however thinner and more sleek looking, albeit its glassy cover may reduce grip, it is unknown how sturdy and strong it is when dropped.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

The ruggedized(water and dust proof) phone was stated to be 139mm long, 71mm wide and 7.9 mm thick, it is covered with Dragontail glass manufactured by Ashashi Glass Co.

http://www.sonymobile.com
http://www.sonymobile.com

The device was reported to weigh 146grams (including battery).

Connectivity

Supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE 850, HSPA and 4G LTE (80mbps). It also supports Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi, NFC and DLNA.

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Using NFC, the One-touch feature allows seamless zero-configuration connection with other NFC enabled devices

Sensors and Other Features

The mobile comes equipped with the usual motion, orientation, light sensors; noteworthy it also feature both GPS and GLONAS, a trend in the newest devices.

Software

The Xperia Z’s default OS will be Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it is expected to have the regular Sony apps preinstalled.
Overall the Xperia Z is a very powerful mobile phone, the incredible features greatly reflects in its proposed price. Expect the Z line of devices to start hitting our bill boards.

The Good

Very powerful, and with a good better pricing system, it a may topple the Iphone.
Supports both GPS and GLONAS.

The Bad

A little too Xpensive for the average Nigerian.

Click for more on “Xperia Z smartphone”.

Please Note Ratings and Scores are absent as device has not yet been released, and may be subjected to some unexpected modifications, full review and score will be given after released as competing products are considered when rating devices at Nijaspecs.

Buy the PS Vita? Maybe…

If you are yet to buy a Playstation Vita and you need to know the facts to consider, then this is for you.

When the Playstation Vita (popularly known as PS Vita) initially entered the Nigerian market in the second half of 2012, it did not have much of a warm welcome for many had already spent a lot on Sony’s four older editions of the PSP. As others had not even finished with their PSP devices, it would be only consequential that a majority saw it as a “wish list” device than a comfortable replacement for their existing handhelds. Of course, another issue was the pricing and availability of the device in the local market. It penetrated rather slowly and with the introduction of its new-found media and connectivity options, it looks like more money would be spent to ensure maximum use of the relatively powerful device.

The PS Vita comes with either just Wi-Fi or along with 3G for an extra cost. With two analog sticks (much better than the former and rather annoying PSP nub), two cameras, a front touch sensitive screen and rear touch pad, microphone, a “Six-axis” motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), three-axis electronic compass, built-in GPS receiver (only for the 3G version) as well as Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR connectivity, it is clear that the PSP Vita does show off some very impressive abilities. The two cameras bring to life face and head detection and a very solid array of customization options. Internally, the device features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 Mp-Core processor (3 of the 4 cores are usable for applications) and a quad-core GPU. The PlayStation Vita has 512 MB of system RAM and 128 MB of VRAM which can support cross game chats.

The 3G PSP Vita is carrier locked to very few networks across the world. Hence, the 3G option is not very relevant on Nigerian soil for the time being… well… until a hack or unlock or something of such sort is released or a contract has been signed. For those wondering if former PSP games would be playable on their PS Vita, the answer is yes. However, at the moment you would only be able to play games that are downloadable via the Playstation Store. PS One games compatibility is also enabled on the PS Vita; available on the Playstation Network. So i hope you have your wifi internet ready for some serious downloading. Reports surface that the PS Vita has been hacked by a reverse engineer named Yifan Liu to run source code and “homebrew”. This is usually the first step before everything else in that direction. Trust us to keep you posted on this development.

Good news would be that the PS Vita is equipped with a storage media slot in addition to the PS Vita card slot, so that users can choose their memory capacity based on their use. But the very bad news is that it is also not compatible with standard memory cards, such as SD cards, and instead stores data on more expensive proprietary PS Vita memory cards, which are available in sizes from 4 GB to 32 GB. Software for the PlayStation Vita is distributed on a proprietary flash memory card called “PlayStation Vita game card” rather than on Universal Media Discs (UMDs) as used by the PlayStation Portable. Some media applications and games require a proprietary PlayStation Vita memory card inserted to be used. 5–10% of the game card’s space is reserved for game save data and patches. You may also be interested to know that the PS Vita only supports mp4 based formats (precisely MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC) and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High/Main/Baseline Profile (AAC)). Yes! No .avi and .mkv for those who understand what that means. A PS Vita is considerably large for a handheld and could be a bit heavy. We don’t recommend you to be very fond of dropping the device – get it? Of course you do!

The PlayStation Vita web browser does not support the proprietary Adobe Flash. However, HTML5, cookies, and Javascript are available. Sony also has put in the PlayStation Vita official Recovery Menu to solve common firmware based problems. As a new feature of PlayStation Vita’s Live area, latest game information such as downloadable contents are shown on the game LiveArea. In addition, by scrolling down the game LiveArea, the “Activity” of other users who are playing the same game can be checked instantly.

A truth is that there really isn’t any device that can give everything that everybody wants. But whether the PS Vita would be a device that is worth your saving money to buy immediately or not would be a choice that we hope this post would at least equip you to decide.

Nintendo WII-U : What To Expect

Just like Nintendo opened the door to the 7th generation of gaming consoles  they have also announced the first gaming console of the 8th Generation, “The Nintendo WII-U” whose specs show Nintendo really wants to appeal to more than casual gamers this time around.

Wii-U box Picture, Courtesy http://www.gametrailers.com

Image from http://www.gametrailers.com

Technical Specifications:

Processor:

Ninendo claims the WII-U is 20 times more powerful than the Wii. Which from its specs, may even be an understatement as its tone isn’t too geared at Motion Sensor technology but power, unlike the Nintendo WII (which comes with a processor clocked around 729mhz), the WII-U comes with an IBM Power Architecture based multi-core processor (Details of the number of cores and clockrates have not been released yet, but the Power Architecture processor lines have nothing less than 7 cores, the WII-U may have more.), we can expect more life like games with incredible details (as long as developers can push its limits).

GPU:

An AMD Radeon GPU, not much is known about the WII-U GPU yet, but it sure is going to be stronger than all of the ones featured in the 7th Generation systems. According to Videogamer , MCM (Multi-Chip Module) will be used, in which both the CPU and the GPU will be integrated on the same chip/module,  to speed up data exchange and reduce cost.

Storage:

From 8GB – 32GB internal flash memory, with SD and USB hard-drive support. Its an improvement from the inbuilt 512MB of the WII. Its features a proprietry 12cm optical disc drive with capacity of up to 25GB ( info ) but lacks Blueray and DVD  format support.

Memory:

Fitted with 2GB ram (23 * that of WII, 2 * that of PS3 and Xbox 360 combined). With 1GB dedicated for games and the other 1GB for System software. Well, I think you can imagine how much next gen looking its game will be (maybe a soccer game, with one processor dedicated to the shirt and wind physics, with life like blowing effect).

Controller:

Wii-U GamePad vs DreamCast Controller
Wii-U GamePad vs DreamCast Controller

Aside from the games powerful hardware, another attraction is the WII-U’s controllers. Although it fully supports all WII controllers.
There’re going to be 2 kinds of WII-U controllers, The WII-U GamePad and WII-U pro controller;
WII-U GamePad, a Dreamcast controller + VMU looking device, a first glare at it takes you down the memory lane of the classic dreamcast controller. The WII-U GamePad is the main form of attraction, aside from the games power, it features;

WII-U GamePad:

slashgear.com
  •  A 6.2 inches touch-screen display with FWVGA (854×480) display resolution (Stylus and Finger support).
  • – Features the traditional NES-like D-Pad and 2 anolog sticks. 4 digital buttons (A/B/X/Y), 2 Bumper (L/R) and 2 trigger buttons (ZL/ZR), Select, Start buttons, a TV Control button, a Home and Power button.
  • Front Facing Camera and Inbuilt Microphone (video-chatting and Multi-player chatting).
  • Motion Control support (Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer)
  • Rumble/Vibration support
  • Stereo Speakers and Headphones.
  • NFC support. 🙂
  • Relatively flat, less than an inch in fatness, but a whooping 10.2 inches wide.
  • Extension connector/port for additional accessories (info)
  • IR sensor and Wireless communication.
  • Ability to supplement the TV display by displaying in place of the TV. (yeah! bro watching movie on the TV, u playing game on the GamePad screen :)).
  • Remote Control for TVs.

WII-U Pro Controller:

Is the second form of controller, which is targeted at more hardcore gamers. It looks an feels more like the Playstation controller with weird analog positioning.  Its going to be way cheaper than the WII-U Gamepad but more traditional for MGS like games but no TV replacement feature 😦 .

Others:

  • Supports all WII video formats and finally brings the 1080p, 1080i, 720p HD video formats.
  • An SD memory card support/slot, 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front and rear).
  • AV multi-out
  • HDMI

The WII-U is slated for November release and it is supposed to go for 50, 000 Naira to 60,000 Naira for basic and premium versions respectively.

The Good:

– HD Format Support
– Powerful Hardware, potential for quality games.
– Reasonable Introductory price judging from its hardware specifications
– Backward Compatibility (all WII Controllers and most of WII games).
– Fifa 13 among launch titles

The Bad

– Lack of Blueray and DVD support,
– WII-U GamePad Lacks Multi-touch support
– Awkwardly positioned analog sticks
– lack of internal storage or external SD card support for the WII-U GamePad.
– Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 13 is absent from the launch titles

WII-U has clearly set the tone for the 8th generation of video game consoles,  just like the 7th generation is characterized by the “Media War”, “The Power War”, may be ignited.