Monday, December 30, 2013

Sony Xperia Z1-S spotted !!!


Sony's long-rumoured Xperia Z1s, believed to be the upcoming international variant of the Xperia Z1 fand the mini-variant of the Xperia Z1, has been spotted in a leaked image.
The latest leaked image was first spotted by Xperia Guide on Chinese Digi-Wo forum. The new leaked image shows the rear panel of the alleged Xperia Z1s in black. The back panel includes the rear camera accompanied by an LED flash, Sony logo branding in the middle and also an Xperia branding embedded at the bottom. The purported leaked image of the Xperia Z1s shows a rear panel that is identical to the flagship smartphone's (Xperia Z1) rear panel.
The yet-to-be-announced Sony Xperia Z1s has made multiple appearances on the Internet previously via leaked renders but this is the first time the device's rear panel has been leaked.
Earlier this month, the rumoured Sony Xperia Z1s was spotted at the FCC under another name.
The FCC listing showed the alleged Xperia Z1s with model number Sony D5503, and notably, a codename: 'Amami'. Further, the FCC listing shows the alleged Xperia Z1s running few Android versions, with build numbers 14.2.A.0.144 and 14.2.A.0.78, which hinted that the device would be based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and not Android 4.4 KitKat.

The yet-to-be-announced Sony Xperia Z1s is rumoured to come with a 4.3-inch Triluminos HD (720x1280) display with X-Reality for Mobiles; a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8974 processor; 2GB of RAM; 16GB of inbuilt storage that's further expandable up to 64GB via microSD card, and a 2300mAh battery with STAMINA mode. Further, the Xperia Z1s believed to be much like the Xperia Z1 f and Xperia Z1 in terms of optics, sporting the same 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor alongside the BIONZ image processor engine and pulsed LED flash. In addition, like other Xperia Z smartphones, the Xperia Z1s is said to be waterproof and dust-proof.

Samsung to release Galaxy Note 3 Lite by end of Q1 2014

The Galaxy Note 3 Lite is Samsung's planned lower-end version of its popular Note smartphone. There were talks of it being leaked in four different variants earlier in the year. Well it seems that the rumors are still alive and it is quite possible that a Note 3 Lite may be released by the end of the first quarter, 2014.
Rumors say that the Note 3 Lite should make use of an LCD of either 5.5 or 5.7 inches. Apparently, the Korean manufacturing giant is testing both sizes. Since it is a "lite" version of the phone, it would be safe to assume that they will go with the smaller screen.
The source of the new rumor is SamMobile's twitter:
The tweet also tells us the model name for the LTE version of the smartphone - N7505. It's a safe bet that the non-LTE version will be labeled N7500. The Note 3 model names are N9005 for the LTE version and N9000 for the 3G version.

Specs-wise there isn't much news, but it is thought that the "lite" moniker will replace the "mini" series of phones, as there are rumors of a Samsung Galaxy Grand Lite in the works as well. Like Samsung's mini models, expect a downgrade in tech specs compared to their big brother variants.

Tegra Note 7 gets Android 4.3, some new Camera and Stylus Features

Nvidia on Thursday issued an over-the-air software update to its Tegra Note 7 tablet, adding new stylus and camera features as well as upgrading the device to Google's Android 4.3 mobile operating system.
The upgrade adds support for left-handed users of the 7-inch tablet's stylus input device, Nvidia saidof the "first significant software update" for its self-branded Tegra Note 7, released last month and currently made for the company by EVGA, Advent, Gigabyte, Shenzhen Homecare Technology, Zotac, and Xolo.
The Tegra Note 7 features a 1,280-by-800 resolution touch-screen display, a rubber-tipped stylus that fits into a slot on the side, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE and GPS, and comes in at 7.88-by-4.75-by-0.3 inches (HWD) and 12.3 ounces.
The tablet also makes use of Nvidia's DirectStylus technology baked into the 1.9GHz Tegra 4 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that powers it. More new capabilities to the input device added in the software update include a new stylus help option in the device's settings menu, notifications for when the stylus is removed or inserted back in its housing, and the ability to capture the notification bar with full-screen capture.

With the update, the Tegra Note 7's camera now "gets always-on high-dynamic range (AOHDR) capability, which provides more lifelike images across a range of lighting conditions," Nvidia said. That improvement and things like the addition of video stabilization for shaky video captures take advantage of "Tegra 4's processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture," the company said.
Meanwhile, the Tegra Note 7 isn't the first Nvidia-branded device to get the upgrade to Android 4.3. In October, the company also updated its Shield handheld gaming system with the last major version of Google's Jelly Bean platform.
Android 4.3 (actually the minor 4.3.1 bug-fixing update from October) marked the end of the line for"Jelly Bean. Now rolling out to devices everywhere is Android 4.4 KitKat.
For more, see our full review of EVGA's Tegra Note 7 as well as the slideshow above.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sony Ericsson G502 review: Web as you go

The newest member of the Sony Ericsson G-lineup was only announced a few weeks ago with a stark commitment to deliver great internet experience. We were more than curious to find if it delivers on the promise to introduce a much larger audience to the niceties of good mobile internet. Compact and stylish, this bar has the looks and our preview has already lifted a corner of the curtain on performance. Join us as we start our answer-to-all-your-questions Sony Ericsson G502 review.

Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502
Sony Ericsson G502 official photos

Key features

  • 2" 262K-color TFT LCD display of QVGA resolution
  • GPRS, EDGE and 3G connectivity with HSDPA
  • Great web browser
  • Great battery life
  • Compact size
  • M2 memory card slot
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Media center
  • Comfortable keypad
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Bluetooth v2.0 with A2DP support
  • USB connectivity

Main disadvantages

  • Camera produces mediocre pictures
  • Poor display legibility under direct sunlight
  • No video-call camera
  • No document reader
  • D-pad might be uncomfortable at first

The market, at which Sony Ericsson G502 is aiming, is not really overcrowded. There are only a handful of budget handsets to feature HSDPA and at least decent browser capabilities. The strongest challenger is probably the Sony Ericsson K660 but it will probably be a bit more expensive due to the few extra features it offers. Whether the dedicated browser keys are worth the extra cash is debatable but, as these are internet-centered devices, they might just make a difference.

Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502 Sony Ericsson G502
Sony Ericsson G502 views

Motorola RAZR maxx V6 is also a reasonably priced HSDPA-enabled handset that comes with the Opera web browser. This might just be enough for some people to choose it over the G502. The form factor could also be decisive here as the maxx V6 is a flip.

The slider Samsung F330 may appeal to the music-lovers, as it features some dedicated music keys to compliment the HSDPA. Some people might prefer the sliding design to the Sony Ericsson G502 bar. We for one do happen to like the G502 browser and general interface more.

So, the few alternatives aside, let's cut to the actual reviewing of Sony Ericsson G502. You should keep in mind that despite being very close to retail version, ours is still a beta unit, so some minor improvements and bug fixes in the software department are not to be ruled out completely.

Sony Ericsson G502 measures 109 x 46 x 13.5mm and weighs 83.5 grams. Those numbers are sure to book it a spot on the compact side of handsets on the market. There are indeed only a handful of handsets fitted in an even smaller body, but most of those are mostly low-enders with features inferior to the G502.

Design and construction

As far as design is concerned, you will hardly be surprised. It is quite typical Sony Ericsson, except for the rather extraordinary D-pad. We did find the G502 quite eye-pleasing, albeit a bit too conservative.

The casing of Sony Ericsson G502 is entirely made of plastic, but that doesn't hurt looks much. The handset has successfully avoided the cheap feeling some other completely plastic devices just can't seem to help. Instead, it gives a rather solid impression and, despite a few minor creaks now and then, raises no doubts about durability and strength.

The earpiece is placed at the top of the front panel right above the display. Sony Ericsson G502 features a 2" 262K-color screen of QVGA resolution. Looking at the current market trends, 2 inches is about average in this class. We will get back with more on it a bit later on in the review.

Below the display are the D-pad and six keys arranged at its sides. Those are the two context keys, the Activity Menu key and the Clear key, along with the Call and End keys. The controls around the D-pad blend nicely with the alphanumeric keypad, which completes the list of controls on the front of Sony Ericsson G502.

The left side of Sony Ericsson G502 is where the M2 card slot is located. However, it's placed under the battery cover, which will have to be opened every time you want to access the memory card. Not the most comfortable solution in our point of view but, having in mind that it brings certain design benefits, we are willing to forgive that.

The volume rocker and the dedicated camera key are on the right of the G502. They are both rather thin but still offer good enough touch orientation. They are a pleasure to use, with decent press feedback.

The top of the phone is completely bereft of controls. Turning to the bottom of Sony Ericsson G502, we find the lanyard eyelet, the Fast port and the microphone pinhole. As usual with Sony Ericsson handsets, the Fast port is used for connecting a charger, data cable or a set of earphones.

The back side of Sony Ericsson G502 features the 2 megapixel camera and the loudspeaker. The latter is smartly hidden in the cleft right above the camera lens.

Sliding the battery cover open reveals the Li-Polymer battery with a capacity of 950 mAh. The manufacturer claims the impressive 10 hours of talk time and 340 hours of stand-by. Those might not be actually achievable but we are in fact really impressed by the battery life of Sony Ericsson G502. It managed to last four to five days under moderate use, which is far beyond the power of most handsets we have recently tested.

We are pleased with the build quality of the Sony Ericsson G502. A few metallic parts here and there could have improved the general feel but it is still good enough as it is. Apart from being a bit too light for our taste, it fits perfectly in hand, and single-handed operation is no problem at all.

Display is good

As mentioned before, Sony Ericsson G502 is equipped with a moderately-sized TFT LCD screen of QVGA resolution. While this is far from the best on the market, it is surely one of the greatest in this price range. It has great brightness and contrast levels, well beyond what the competition offers.

On the other hand, we did experience the familiar Sony Ericsson display issue - poor usability in bright sunlight. The G502 is not the worst case we've seen but you need to spend some time finding a proper angle for working with it outdoors on a sunny day.

Keypad scores a point

We are really pleased with the keypad of Sony Ericsson G502. Its ergonomics are great, providing nice experience, both for navigating the menus and typing.

All of the keys around the D-pad are easy to work with, even if their size may seem doubtful. The wave-like layout does help a lot, with enough space between the elevated parts of the keys to ensure good tactility.

The only problem is that due to the fact that the D-pad isn't a single piece but instead consists of separate keys, thumbing your way from one direction to the other isn't as smooth. This however is an issue only during the first few hours of using the Sony Ericsson G502.

As far as the alphanumeric keys are concerned, we are equally pleased with Sony Ericsson G502. These are moderately sized, but elevation and spacing between rows make typing quick and typo-free. The nice press feedback also earns G502 a point here.

The backlighting of the keypad is also strong and despite being somewhat uneven we had no problem handling the handset in the dark. It does however have a somewhat negative impact on the looks of the otherwise stylish Sony Ericsson G502.

Snappy user interface

The user interface in G502 has the typical Sony Ericsson feature phone styling, spiced up with a few contemporary features. The Media Center, the Walkman 3.0 music player, and the Cyber-shot SE v2.0 camera user interface, along with Flash Lite themes support, are all on board. In addition, the user interface is really snappy and that makes it a joy to work with.

The menu structure and looks of Sony Ericsson G502 are well familiar. The selected icon in the main menu is nicely animated and there are also a few nice transition effects throughout the menus. As a whole, the menu is an eye-pleaser although we have seen Sony Ericsson do better in some other devices.

The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to selected functions. The Running Apps tab takes care of multi-tasking. A feature we first saw in K850 allows minimizing the dialog window when you receive files via Bluetooth and opening the window on demand through the Running Apps tab. Strangely, this is not the case when you are sending content via Bluetooth. The Activity menu also offers quick access to recent events, the web menu and the My Shortcuts tab, which is a user-configurable list of favorite features.

As most previous models, the G502 comes with a dedicated Flight mode. When turning on the phone, you may opt to start it directly into Flight mode. The Sony Ericsson G502 cannot work in Flight mode unless a SIM card is inserted, unlike competing Nokia S40 models.

As far as customization is concerned, Sony Ericsson G502 supports those cool looking Flash Lite themes. With our unit we got 5 themes preinstalled and those are all pretty eye-pleasing.

Phonebook offers plenty of space

Sony Ericsson G502 is equipped with a phonebook that can store up to 1000 entries with a total of 7000 phone numbers.

Contacts can be ordered by First or Last name. They are searched by gradual typing of the desired name. You can choose whether the SIM contacts or the phone contacts should be displayed by default. Unfortunately, there is no option for displaying both lists simultaneously. A cool feature of the phonebook permits you to auto save to the SIM card any new contacts that you're entering in the phone memory.

When adding a new contact, you put the different information in each of the five available tabs. The first is where you put the name and the numbers, the second holds the email and web addresses. The third is for assigning a picture, custom ringtone, custom message tone and a voice command. The fourth goes for postal details. The last, fifth tab, is for making an additional note and adding a birth date.

When you enter a birthday, Sony Ericsson G502 prompts adding it to the calendar and setting a reminder, which we found to be a handy feature.


Sony Ericsson G502 did manage to perform well in terms of call management too. The presence of the Smart Search feature is more than welcome. It looks up all the contacts whose numbers contain the digits you type on the stand-by screen. In addition, it also lists the names that start with the letters corresponding to the digits.

The Call log keeps track of your recent communications. It is divided into four different tabs. They are: All, Answered (Received), Dialed and Missed. When there are several calls made to a single contact, only the last call gets recorded.

Here is how the Sony Ericsson G502 stacks up against some of the other handsets we've measured in our speakerphone loudness test. The integrated loudspeaker sounded great - the Sony Ericsson G502 turned out to be one of the loudest handsets we have tested.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Sony Ericsson G50277.7 75.774.8Excellent
Samsung D880 Duos66.2 65.066.0Below Average
Nokia 6500 slide74.272.878.2 Very Good
Nokia N8168.867.875.7Good
Samsung E25071.9 64.769.8 Average
Sony Ericsson W91077.5 70.782.7Excellent

You can find more info about our loudspeaker test, as well as the results of other tested devices here.

Messaging is a joy

Along with the standard messaging functionality, Sony Ericsson G502 offers the latest Sony Ericsson Manage Messages feature, plenty of settings for accounts, and the option to assign categories to messages.

The Manage Messages application allows messages to be moved to memory card or phone memory, arranged by categories, date, size, and contact as well as other functions or improved message handling. It truly is a great application that allows the user of Sony Ericsson G502 to keep messages perfectly ordered.

Sony Ericsson G502 handles all common types of messages. They all go to a shared folder - the Inbox. No matter what kind of message has been received, it goes to the Inbox. Only emails have their own dedicated Inbox.

When composing a message a warning is displayed when you exceed the 160-character limit. If you proceed typing any further your message will be divided in two (or more if necessary) parts for sending. There is also a rich T9 dictionary but this is hardly any news any more.

With the GSMArena RSS feed we tested the G502 reader accessible through the messaging menu. It is in fact working very nicely with a pop-up on the home screen indicating new content available.

The email client in G502 supports dozens of settings and all types of encodings, just like the some of the most advanced messaging devices out there. With internet experience in focus with this handset, it's hardly a surprise. Sony Ericsson G502 can save attachments, no matter if they are supported or unknown file formats. Email messages can be sorted by size, date and time.

Unfortunately the phone is unable to handle any documents that are attached to emails (such as .xls, .doc, or .pdf files for example) due to the lack of a document reader. So the options are limited to plain text only and you should have that in mind if you're going for the G502.

The final available options in the Sony Ericsson G502 email client are viewing a message fullscreen and changing the font size (small, medium, large). We did find them both quite handy.

Multimedia capabilities are great, but not Walkman-great

The Sony Ericsson G502 Media center menu allows one-click access to available Photos, Music and Videos. The current pick is highlighted and the count of included files is displayed. The menu is not nearly as rich as the one on the Walkman-series phones but at least all the basics are covered. There is no built-in accelerometer but you can still switch between portrait and landscape orientation from the menu.

Picture gallery

The Photo gallery of Sony Ericsson handsets is undoubtedly one of the best to find on feature phones. In this case, G502 is equipped with a convenient tool for managing a vast collection of photos with great customization capabilities.

From here you get access to the latest snapshot you've taken, your camera album in timeline view, and the rest of your images, such as wallpapers, etc. You can also tag photos with custom tags that can be used for filtering later on and, finally, you can access favorite photo feeds straight from here.

The Timeline view of the Camera Album displays image thumbs filtered by the month they've been taken. When you highlight a photo it gets a bit larger for better viewing.

When browsing the images fullscreen, the next to come doesn't simply pop up but slides in from left or right instead. This might just be eye-candy but it doesn't make it any less noteworthy. Again, when exiting the full screen view of a picture, it smoothly zooms out to thumb view. We were pleased to find that viewing images one by one didn't involve any lags at all. As a matter of fact the whole multimedia performance of Sony Ericsson G502 is really fast and generally deserves a very good mark.

Music player is good

The Sony Ericsson G502 features the Walkman 3.0 music player. This is in fact a brilliant application that supports numerous file formats and has several equalizer presets including the Mega Bass one. You also get the Album art which is a nice final touch to the player. As with previous versions, the music player offers step-by-step filtering of the tracks you want to hear.

Sony Ericsson G502 "Now playing" interface is simple and intuitive. The D-pad is in charge of the music controls and also brings up a list of all the tracks in the current playlist or album. Naturally you can also minimize the player to play in the background.

FM radio with RDS and TrackID

The integrated FM radio of Sony Ericsson G502 has memory for 20 stations and supports RDS. It has nice interface and makes great use of the TrackID music recognition service which comes preinstalled. The radio can be minimized in the background much like the music player but offers none of the fancy fullscreen graphics.

Video player as good as it gets

Sony Ericsson G502 is also equipped with a really nice video player. It supports fast-forwarding and rewinding, as well as playing clips in slow motion. It has landscape mode, as well as settings for video size like Original, Auto Fit and Fullscreen.

A really cool feature of the video player is the screenshot capability. It allows you to save a picture directly from your video and add it to the gallery.

A mediocre camera

The Sony Ericsson G502 is armed with a 2 megapixel camera with a maximum image resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. It is obvious that photographic capabilities are not in the focus with this handset but it is still somewhat disappointing.

The camera interface is the better half of the imaging capabilities of the G502. It is very close to what we have seen in some of the latest Cyber-shot handsets and those are really meant to be used for shooting. However, the G502 is depraved of some of the features the high-end Cyber-shots have.

Sony Ericsson G502 uses the toolbar layout, which is our favorite among camera interfaces. Accessibility is quite good, with the more important settings conveniently placed. The Settings multi-menu has pretty much standard digicam looks. All the camera settings are displayed in two menu columns: the left displays the features and the right shows which setting is in use. Some of the available options on the menu are: Picture Quality, Review, Save to, Shutter sound and Reset counter. Unluckily, the BestPic feature is not present here.

The quality of the images taken with Sony Ericsson G502 is, as you might have guessed, not the best around. It is at about the average level for a 2 megapixel shooter but that is no longer considered even passable. The precise colors are the only thing to praise the camera for but the lack of detail and high noise levels simply cannot go unnoticed.

As far as video recording is concerned, Sony Ericsson G502 manages QVGA resolution clips at 15fps. As you can see for yourselves, those are not numbers that hint of some spectacular performance. In fact producing a usable movie clip is more than a challenge. The slim beam of sunlight here is the user interface, which like the one of the still camera is really user-friendly and responsive.

Connectivity: a pleasant surprise

Now that's where Sony Ericsson G502 becomes a showoff. The Internet-centered device boasts a load of connectivity options and is surely (one of) the best in its price range. GPRS, EDGE and 3G are all on board, so there is virtually no spot on earth where you will be unable to connect. In addition, you've got the fastest data transfer around, provided that a HSDPA-enabled network is available.

Besides the network-based connectivity, Sony Ericsson G502 offers the usual Bluetooth v2.0 and USB options. There is also support for the A2DP profile allowing listening to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. Last, but not least, there is also the M2 card slot which might just turn out to be one of the quickest means of transferring data on some occasions.

With Wi-Fi still a hallowed smartphone ground, it is hard to think of anything the Sony Ericsson G502 is missing.

Web browsing in focus

Sony Ericsson G502 uses the latest Access NetFront HTML browser 3.4. It's pretty much the same as the one on the Sony Ericsson K660, which we previewed not so long ago. If you have been keeping track, you would know that we are in fact great fans of this edition of the NetFront browser application. Elaborate web pages are rendered brilliantly and there are lots of configurable settings too.

There are fullscreen and orientation mode settings. Those are very helpful if you use your Sony Ericsson G502 for reading longer texts online. The Panning/scrolling speed is also up to the high standard.

The Sony Ericsson G502 web browser offers a virtual mouse pointer, which is a real pleasure to work with. Another interesting and practical feature is the "Find on page" option. It searches the loaded web page and the first match is immediately listed as soon as you type a letter.

Organizer is good

Organizing your time with Sony Ericsson G502 is nice and easy. The handset offers a pretty much standard set of applications: File manager, Alarms, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Timer, Stopwatch, and Calculator. All but the alarm are accessed through the dedicated organizer icon in the main menu. The alarm has its own reserved spot in the menu and, having in mind that it is the most frequently used feature, this seems as s good decision.

There are also two relatively rare applications - Synchronization and code memo. The first one is used for synchronizing your Sony Ericsson G502 with SyncML and Exchange ActiveSync servers. Code memo allows you to make password protected memos.

The Calendar of Sony Ericsson G502 offers monthly, weekly and daily view modes. When you enter a birth date in the phonebook, the phone prompts adding it to the calendar. You can of course set appointments but there are no presets, so you will have to customize each field.

The alarm clock application is also very nice to work with and easily customizable. Sony Ericsson G502 has 5 alarm slots and each of them can have its own name, picture and behavior in case silent mode is activated. The other configurable options include alarm tone and days of repetition.

Another useful time-management application is Tasks. It allows creating two types of tasks: simple Tasks and Phone calls. The latter also records the phone number to be called so it is at hand when needed.

There is nothing special about the Notes application. It has an interface that is somewhat similar to the SMS editor and supports the T9 predictive input. Copying and pasting text is also available and so are some special symbols and emoticons.

The Sony Ericsson G502 calculator is pretty much standard for the company non-smartphone portfolio. It has a very limited set of functions and not the best user interface around. Still it is good enough for the most common use.

The stopwatch and countdown timer are also the well known basic applications - no bangs and whistles.


There are also some additional applications on board the Sony Ericsson G502. Once again, due to the fact that our unit was a beta version, it might not have all the extras of a retail version but our guess is that differences won't be that big.

AccuWeather Lite gives you up-to-date weather information for locations of interest to you. It provides really detailed information about the current weather conditions in the selected region, as well as a 3-day forecast. You should bear in mind that it requires an internet connection and data charges may apply.

The Converter handles six different types of measures. It works with distance, volume, temperature, speed, weight and area. It also has support for five different languages.

The last featured application in our Sony Ericsson G502 is the familiar enough Google maps.

Gaming OK

There was only one game on our Sony Ericsson G502. It was the good old QuadraPop, which is to be found on most devices by this company. It is a rather amusing Tetris-like game where you have to group similar gems in order to score more points.

Final words

All in all, Sony Ericsson G502 turned out a very capable thingy. It has the performance to back up its specs and scores high enough where it really matters - the internet experience. Decked with the proper price tag, it is sure to earn a top spot in the wish list of everyone after a good internet-capable phone and not willing to pay an arm and a leg.

On the other hand, the G502 has a number of limitations, as expected in a budget phone. It has little hidden surprises, so if you are not pleased with the specs sheet as it is, you'd better look elsewhere for your next handset.

Sony Ericsson G502 has altogether good chances of becoming a market success and the price is once again going to be make-or-break. After all, talking phones in this price range, it is a fine line between triumph and fiasco.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Direct X10 Notebooks ahoy!!

What are the two most important things for first person shooters (also commonly known as FPS games)? Great game play and immersive environments. Though the former is entirely the domain of the game design team, hot-blooded gamers want, nay need, the latest hardware. After all, how else can we run these titles with mind-numbing frames per second at near-impossible resolutions.

The next generation of games are built upon the DirectX 10 platform which first appeared with the Windows Vista operating system. As you can see from the images, the difference in character detail between this and the last-generation DirectX 9 titles is nothing short of amazing.

However, immersive graphics comes at a price. For desktops, this means getting a top-of-the-line graphics card (GPU) such as the Nvidia GeForce 8000 series or ATI Radeon HD 2000 series chipset . When it comes to notebooks, things are a little simpler as most Santa Rosa portables with discrete GPUs are DirectX 10 compatible. We take a look at the latest mobile gaming rigs with high-end GPUs you'll want to get for your next frag fest.

Click here for a feature comparison table.
1. Acer Aspire 5920G (Core 2 Duo T7300 Processor 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM)

CNET Asia rating: 6.8 out of 10
The good: High-end specifications; excellent performance; brilliant screen.
The bad: Grey coloring; misplaced USB port; overall design.
The bottom line: The Aspire 5920 may not be the best looking notebook out there, but when it comes to performance this portable delivers. It's fast, feature-packed and is excellent value for money.

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT with 1GB TurboCache memory
3DMark06 score: 3,288

Review | See full specs |
2. Toshiba Qosmio G40 (Core 2 Duo T7300 Processor 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM)


Though our full review has yet to be posted, we tested the gaming performance of the Qosmio G40 and came away quite impressed. Besides being Toshiba's flagship entertainment model, its powerful Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics card is more than competent when it comes to virtual fragging.

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT with 512MB TurboCache memory
3DMark06 score: 2,945

See full specs |
3. BenQ JoyBook S41 (Core 2 Duo T7100 Processor 1.8GHz, 1GB RAM)

CNET Asia rating: 7.1 out of 10
The good: Integrated Webcam; powerful graphics performance; inexpensive.
The bad: Basic warranty coverage; no multimedia buttons; underpowered speakers.
The bottom line: As possibly the only 14.1-inch machine to hold the powerful Nvidia GeForce 8600M GS graphics card, the JoyBook S41 offers fantastic performance for a portable unit. If only it had dedicated multimedia buttons and better internal speakers.

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 8600M GS with 1GB TurboCache memory
3DMark06 score: 2,743

Review | See full specs |
4. HP Pavilion HDX (Core 2 Duo T7700 processor 2.4GHz; 4GB RAM)

First take

Enter the Dragon! With a 20 inch widescreen, HD DVD drive and HDTV tuner, HP�s Pavilion HDX has supersized the desktop replacement into a fire-breathing, multimedia beast. It's high-end ATI GPU should also make short work of most first person shooters without breaking a sweat.

Graphics card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB discrete memory
3DMark06 score: Not available

First take | See full specs |
5. ASUS G2s (Core 2 Duo T7500 Processor 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM)


As the Santa Rosa version of the ASUS G2, the faster platform coupled with a high-end Nvidia graphics chip should bring most current games to its knees. Thanks to its DirectX 10 compatibility, it should also have no problems running next-generation titles, either.

Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT with 256MB discrete memory
3DMark06 score: Not available

See full specs |

Mike Messiah's 2007 Mid-Year "Movie Round Up"

Having witnessed a slew of crappy sequels(like Spidey 3 and Pirates of Caribbeans AWE ) a movie lover would surely reminiscent the blockbusters of yesteryears.However, all is not lost. Till July this year,Hollywood has come up with some nice slew of must watch movies.They dont boast hollywood's famous or come with huge budget slapped across their faces, but they sure beats the crap out of hollywood's biggest

So here are some of the finest movies released in the past six months

Knocked Up

Knocked Up is a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, always witty script that is ably acted and directed
Katherine Heigl (GREY'S ANATOMY) and Seth Rogan star in this hilarious and touching comedy as two mismatched people brought together by a one-night-stand that results in an accidental pregnancy.

Using many of the same actors from his previous film, THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN, and his cult television series' UNDECLARED and FREAKS AND GEEKS, director Judd Apatow once again finds fresh humor in relationships and sex. Young, bright, and talented, Alison (Heigl) has everything going for her. After being promoted to an on-camera role at E! Television, Alison goes out to celebrate with her older sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann).

Not long into the evening Debbie is called home to her kids, leaving Alison in the eager company of charming slacker Ben (Rogen). In the dark of the nightclub and in the ensuing drunk hours, Ben seems like a great guy. But in the sober light of day, Alison quickly discovers the man in her bed is nothing more than an overgrown child with no job, no money, and the social habits of a teenager. Brushing him off politely as a one-time affair, Alison goes on with her life, until two months later she realizes that the unthinkable has happened.


Pixar succeeds again with Ratatouille, a stunningly animated film with fast pacing, memorable characters, and overall good humor.

A rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) lives in Paris with a dream (and the talent) to be a chef. Opting to raid the kitchens of Paris rather than the garbage cans and sewers of the city with his family, Remy is inspired by the philosophy of one of the city’s most legendary chefs, the late Gusteau (Brad Garrett). One night, Remy can’t resist practicing his skill in Gusteau’s restaurant. While his guard is down, Remy is discovered by a klutzy young man, Linguini (Lou Romano), who cleans the kitchen. Together Remi and Linguini become a culinary duo, with Remy playing puppeteer by concealing himself under Linguini’s chef’s hat. Remy pulls Linguini's hair to direct his hands, helping to bring Remy’s creations to life.

Soon Gusteau’s restaurant becomes the talk of the town--but would it still be the toast of Paris if everyone knew a rat was running the show?


Driven by Michael Moore’s sincere humanism, Sicko is a devastating, convincing, and very entertaining documentary about the state of America’s health care.

America's most incendiary filmmaker, Michael Moore, returned in 2007 with this health-care-industry exposé. SICKO tackles material as controversial as the topics explored in Moore's other films, yet does so in a way that places the focus on ordinary Americans affected by the nation's health-care crisis. After providing some historical background on how our nation's medical care system became so ravaged and unfair, Moore interviews a series of individuals and families who have had their lives all but destroyed by the denial of care in the service of profit.

While there are two sides to the gun-control debate and even a legitimate discourse for how to best wage the war on terror, it's simply impossible to justify how a baby girl can wind up dead because her mother's health insurance wasn't accepted at a nearby hospital. Moore smartly allows this and other stories to be told with little or no interference, conjuring strong feelings of empathy, rage, and deep sadness.

The Host

The Host combines scares, laughs, satire, and social dynamics into a riveting, poignant piece of film making.
The talk of the 2006 Cannes International Film Festival, THE HOST, the latest film from critically acclaimed visionary director BONG Joon-ho, has already garnered a substantial amount of international buzz. Utilizing state-of-the-art special effects courtesy of a creative partnership between Weta Workshop (King Kong, The Lord of the Rings) and The Orphanage (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Sin City), THE HOST is equal parts creature-feature thrill ride and poignant human drama.

Gang-du (SONG Kang-ho) works at a food-stand on the banks of the Han River. Dozing on the job, he is awakened by his daughter, Hyun-seo ( KO A-sung), who is angry with him for missing a teacher-parent meeting at school. As Gang-du walks out to the riverbank with a delivery, he notices that a large crowd of people has gathered, taking pictures and talking about something hanging from the Han River Bridge. The otherwise idyllic landscape turns suddenly to bedlam when a terrifying creature climbs up onto the riverbank and begins to crush and eat people. Gang-du and his daughter run for their lives but suddenly the thing grabs Hyun-seo and disappears back into the river. The government announces that the thing apparently is the Host of an unidentified virus. Having feared the worst, Gang-du receives a phone call from his daughter who is frightened, but very much alive. Gang-du makes plans to infiltrate the forbidden zone near the Han River to rescue his daughter from the clutches of the horrifying Host..

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining take on the buddy cop genre.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the finest cop London has to offer, with an arrest record 400% higher than any other officer on the force. He’s so good, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, Angel’s superiors send him to a place where his talents won’t be quite so embarrassing -- the sleepy and seemingly crime-free village of Sandford.

Once there, he is partnered with the well-meaning but overeager police officer Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). The son of amiable Police Chief Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent), Danny is a huge action movie fan and believes his new big-city partner might just be a real-life "bad boy," and his chance to experience the life of gunfights and car chases he so longs for. Angel is quick to dismiss this as childish fantasy and Danny’s puppy-like enthusiasm only adds to Angel’s growing frustration.

However, as a series of grisly accidents rocks the village, Angel is convinced that Sandford is not what it seems and as the intrigue deepens, Danny’s dreams of explosive, high-octane, car-chasing, gunfighting, all-out action seem more and more like a reality.