The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 is the perfect place for tech companies to flaunt their most ambitious ideas and innovations, with some potentially game-changing reveals. From robo-companions to cooking gadgets, we’re going to take a look at the five gadgets that made a big splash at this year’s show!
Half robotic pet and half smart assistant, Samsung’s Ballie is an interesting spin on an inter-connected home device. The small ball-shaped gadget is equipped with cameras, WiFi capabilities, and smart functions. It can follow you around your home, activate any smart appliances, and even act as a fitness companion.
Hydraloop Water Recycler
The reusability of water is being an increasingly important feature of our daily lies, and the fridge-sized Hydraloop Water Recycler is set to make that process even easier, and all in the comfort of your home. Using a series of six maintenance-free filtration techniques, the Hydraloop filters and purifies grey water from baths, showers, and washing machines, and can recycle up to 85% of the water used in the home for re-use in toilets, pools, and irrigation systems.
While smartphone cameras are becoming increasingly impressive, they always fall short in one area: low light situations. In steps the Moon UltraLight, a new, ultra-portable lighting device designed to provide powerful, customisable light, with adjustable brightness and tone, allowing you to perfectly capture your special moments in those trickily-lit moments.
Whether Sony is planning to fully invest in the motor industry is unknown, but the Japanese tech company did show their own vision for an electric car, the Sony Vision-S. With a focus on safety, adaptability, and entertainment, the Vision-S is outfitted with 33 internal and external sensors, 5G connectivity, driver and passenger monitoring, assistive driving capabilities, and a huge panoramic display.
Julia is an intelligent, autonomous cooking system that makes delicious meals with minimal effort. The Julia system is comprised of a Smart Kitchen Hub that suggests meals and provides step-by-step guides to following recipes and a Smart Kitchen Appliance that takes the work out of preparing dishes with the ability to carry out a myriad of cooking tasks. With Julia, meals practically make themselves, thanks to her ability to weigh, chop, knead, mix, cook and steam in one device. All you have to do is simply select a meal from one of her many recipes, add ingredients to her bowl as she instructs and sits back while Julia takes over and does the rest.
3 New Nifty Gadgets to Keep on Your Radar
Which gadgets have our attention this month?
From snap-centric smartphones to retro-inspired cameras, 2022 has already seen some interesting releases in the tech and gadget world, and we’ve rounded up three items which should be on your radar this month:
Huawei MatePad T10s
Whether you’re looking to stay entertained with movies and series when travelling or want a larger screen to work from when you’re on the go, Huawei’s media-focused MatePad T10s is a solid contender. With an impressive 10.1-inch screen, the MatePad T10s tablet is an ideal travel companion to complete remote work and enjoy entertainment anywhere thanks to its 80.6% screen-to-body ratio and a display ratio of 16:10. Furthermore, it’s complemented by a high resolution of 1920 x 1200 and features ClariVu Display Enhancement technology to ensure users can enjoy films and TV without straining their eyes.
Of course, portability is key with any tablet, and the T10s is thankfully ultra-thin and lightweight; and is also equipped with a Harman Kardon certified 2.2cc dual-speaker, giving some great sound (something that’s often lacking on mobile devices) if you’re tired of using headphones.
The MatePad T10s comes with ample storage space (64GB) for you to download your favourite show before you head out. It also has a Micro SD card slot for up to 512GB expandable storage, meaning users need not fear running out of space when downloading the next binge-worthy season of their most-anticipated series.
Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo
Fujifilm has been introducing some interesting products in recent years, and the camera brand’s latest is worth some attention. The Instax Mini Evo is a premium hybrid camera, delivering both the ease and convenience of built-in printing, along with the ability to digitally edit photos.
Featuring a 28mm F2.0 lens and 3-inch LCD monitor, users are able to play with a range of versatile shooting effects, including ten lens effects (including Soft Focus and Light Leak) which can be combined with ten film effects (including Vivid, Monochrome or Pale), giving you 100 different shooting options.
Photographers can select the lens effect by twisting the lens dial or using the scroll wheel at the back for film effects. Once the perfect combination is found, the photo can be printed by pulling the print lever at the back, harking back to the film advance lever found on 35mm film cameras. Fujifilm has ensured greater print quality on the Evo, with the resolution of the exposures (638 x 318 dpi) now double compared to previous models; along with the ability to save printed pictures to a smartphone using the companion app and transfer function.
The Nokia X10 is the perfect combination of unique capabilities and practicality, with its 6.7-inch display, and 48 MP quad camera with Zeiss Optics. With 6GBs of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset you’ve got a pretty robust package. The Nokia X10 delivers crisp high-end shots, and has the capability to shoot in RAW format, with an 8 MP front-facing and 48 MP rear-facing camera. Video capabilities include Nokia’s ‘cinematic’ mode, which adds colour-grading to videos. The Nokia X10 is a photo-centric device that works perfectly for work and lifestyle functions and for that at its price-point, it’s a great option.
It’s a solid device with Nokia’s fantastic build-quality that we’ve come to know. If you’re looking for a device that prioritises its camera and cuts out some of the other less-necessary features, you’ve got yourself a winner with the X10.
Honor X Series Smartphones in South Africa: Prices, Details
We’ve got the lowdown on the Honor X7 and X8.
Honor is bringing aesthetic design with stunning colour to the affordable smartphone category with its X Series lineup launch in South Africa this May, namely the Honor X8 and Honor X7 smartphones. With flagship features and technology and sleek design, the X Series promises to offer great value for money. If you’re looking for the best deals on smartphones in South Africa, then these two newcomers may be just what you’re after.
The Honor X8 promises to offer South African consumers an all-rounded smartphone experience at a great price point. The smartphone is perfect for users who are looking for a slim and stylish smartphone with powerful entertainment capabilities while offering solid functionality and excellent performance.
The Honor X8 has an ultra-slim and lightweight body, coming in at just 7.45mm thick and weighing just 177g, alongside a 1.1mm super narrow bezel to deliver an almost all-screen display and an impressive 93.6% screen-to-body ratio. The smartphone is equipped with a 6.7-inch FullView Display, 64MP main camera, and Honor Wired SuperCharge, for quick charging on-the-go. The device’s 4,000mAh battery promises to provide a full day of battery alongside a fast-charge function that can bring up 3 hours of video playback with a quick 10-minute charge.
The X8 boasts four different camera lenses including a 64MP Rear camera, Wide Angle Camera, Macro Camera, and Depth Camera. These lenses along with Honor’s camera software with powerful modes, including the Super Night Mode feature, allow users to capture optimal images regardless of a dimly lit environment.
The Honor X8 is available in two eye-catching colours, Titanium Silver and Midnight Black.
For those looking for a more affordable, entry-level smartphone, the Honor X7 may be better suited to your needs. With a 5,000mAh battery, the entry-level X7 caters to the needs of the always-on generation, perfect for users that demand more power for work, study and entertainment. The Honor X7 is available in Midnight Black and Ocean Blue.
- Display: 6.7-inch 90Hz IPS HD Display
- Processor: Snapdragon 680 SoC built on the 6nm with 6GB RAM
- ROM: 128GB | Memory Card Slot
- Camera: Quad Rear Camera – 64MP + 5MP + 2MP + 2MP | 16MP Selfie
- Network: 4G (LTE)
- Power: 4,000mAh Battery | 22.5W Fast Charge | USB-C Connection
- SIM: Nano-SIM
- Display: 6.74-inch 90Hz IPS HD Display
- Processor: Snapdragon 680 SoC built on the 6nm with 4GB RAM
- ROM: 128GB | Memory Card Slot
- Camera: Quad Rear Camera – 48MP + 5MP + 2MP + 2MP | 8MP Selfie
- Network: 4G (LTE)
- Power: 5,000mAh Battery | 22.5W Fast Charge | USB-C Connection
- SIM: Nano-SIM
- Honor X7 (128GB) — R3,999
- Honor X8 (128GB) — R4,999
Buying an Inverter in SA: What You Need to Know
Everything you need to know about buying an inverter.
Being without power during loadshedding can be frustrating and inconvenient. But, power outages can also cause serious problems for the electronics in your home and office. Desktop computers are particularly vulnerable to planned and unplanned power outages. If the power suddenly goes off while you are working, you can lose valuable data, or worse your computer could suffer severe damage. Of course, the power being out also means you’re losing valuable working time on your computer.
We all know that loadshedding isn’t going anywhere any time soon so you’re probably considering investing in an inverter to keep valuable electronics and your WiFi on during loadshedding. Inverters are a great help on rainy days or when Eskom chooses to turn the lights off. But, how do you go about choosing the right inverter for your needs? We’ve put together a handy buyer’s guide with everything you need to know before buying an inverter in South Africa.
An inverter vs generator
So you want to keep working during loadshedding? While your first thought might be to invest in a generator, an inverter may be a better choice for your needs. Inverters convert current from DC to AC, making it possible to use electronics or small appliances during a power outage. An inverter is ideal for electronics and will deal with keeping your PC on as well as charging smartphones and running your TV, router, and some lights quite easily. One of the main benefits of an inverter is that it’s a silent, more discreet device to a noisy generator. You can also use an inverter inside without worrying about fumes.
But, keep in mind; an inverter won’t cope very well with appliances like fridges or heaters. Anything that needs to heat or cool is going to be quite taxing for an inverter to manage and in that case, the job is best left to a traditional generator.
What size inverter do you need?
When choosing an inverter, it’s key to consider the maximum power load it will need to deal with. Inverters can have anywhere from as little as 100W capacity to 4000W — so add all the wattage of all the devices (PC, phone charger, television, WiFi router, etc) you’ll want to run at the same time and you’ll get an idea of what capacity you’ll need to look for in an inverter.
The wattage information is usually printed somewhere on electronic devices, although it may show voltage and amperage ratings instead. If you are able to find the specific wattages for your devices, you’ll want to add them together to get a bare minimum figure. This number will be the smallest inverter that could possibly suit your needs. To cover your bases, it’s a good idea to add between 10 and 20 percent safety margin on top of your basic needs calculation and then buy an inverter that size or larger. It’s important to give yourself a safety margin or margin of error, as it’s not a good idea to run your inverter right up against maximum capacity all the time.
Continuous vs. Peak Car Power Inverter Outputs
Another important factor to keep in mind when determining the necessary size of a power inverter is the difference between continuous and peak power output.
Peak output is the wattage that an inverter can supply for short periods of time when the demand spikes, while continuous output is the limit for normal operation. If your devices draw a combined total of 600 watts, then you need to buy an inverter that has a continuous output rating of 600 watts. An inverter that is rated 600 peak and 300 continuous won’t suit your needs.
Consider the number of outlets you need
It is also important to consider the number of outlets you will need on your inverter. Once you have figured out how many appliances you will need to run at once during loadshedding you will also know how many power outlets you will require. Also, make sure that the inverter you choose also has USB ports and fast-charging capabilities, this will make charging devices like smartphones easier and free up power outlets for appliances with plugs.
You may also want to take the display into consideration. Some inverters have a big display and show a lot of information like input voltage, output voltage, battery level, warning, and more. With lower budget inverters, the display size and features get decreased. Consider if this information is important to you before choosing an inverter for your home or office.
Finally, check out the safety features of the inverter you’re planning on buying. Check the specs and see if there are enough fuses on both the output and input. With fuses at every point, you will be assured that your battery, the appliances, and the inverter itself will be protected from surges or short-circuit problems.
Oppo Reno7 5G Review — A Flagship Contender to Take on the Big Boys?
We review Oppo’s flagship device.
When it comes to investing in a flagship smartphone, you’re talking big money and long commitments. You either need to part with upwards of R18,000 cash for the pleasure of high-end features, or you need to commit to a lengthy contract with a local network provider and pay a pretty penny each month. But now, one smartphone brand in South Africa is making it more affordable than ever before to own a flagship device that rivals that of the big name brands.
Coming in at sub-R15,000 the Oppo Reno 7 5G has come out of the gate swinging, with plans to take on the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple with its super impressive flagship device. With highlights of the Reno7 5G including fast-charging capability (getting to 100% in under 35 minutes), a 64 MP rear camera, and some powerful hardware under the hood; this device is certain to excite local consumers who want top-notch features with a price tag that is a little easier to stomach.
I’ve spent a few weeks putting the device to the test to see if it lives up to its flagship title and if it is truly a contender to the more well-known smartphone manufacturers available in South Africa.
If the design is important to you, then you’ll be glad to know that the Oppo Reno 7 5G has all the luxury design features you have come to expect from a flagship device. The Oppo device features a new, industry-first application of Laser Direct Imaging (LDI) on its exterior, that comes in two eye-catching colour options, Startrails Blue and Starry Black. The Startrails Blue version I’ve been reviewing features a stunning light-reflective back cover that delights the eye every time you reach for it. The device is packaged with a see-through rubber cover so, you’ll never have to cover it up or hide the beauty of the sleek, visually beautiful design.
On the phone’s front, you’ll find a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with 90 Hz refresh rate and 180 Hz touch sampling rate. The screen is also SGS Eye Care Display Certified as a low-blue light screen, which can help to reduce eye strain during extended use. The Reno7 5G is Netflix HD and Amazon Prime Video Certified, ensuring a more vivid and high-quality streaming experience.
While powerful and sizable, the device is only 7.81mm thick and weighs in at just about 173g. It feels very light in your hand and the screen is bright and super responsive, with no lag. Video content and images appear crisp and bright, giving you a brilliant viewing experience on the Reno 7 5G.
When it comes to hardware, the Oppo Reno 7 5G does not disappoint. The device features 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as standard. What’s more, with Oppo-developed RAM Expansion Technology an additional 2GB, 3GB or 5GB of temporary RAM allocated from unused ROM can supplement storage space. Basically, if the phone runs out of usable RAM space, users can choose to convert part of the available ROM to virtual RAM by enabling the function when they need it.
Over the last few weeks of using the Reno 7 5G, I haven’t experienced any lag when using apps and switching between windows, while performing multiple tasks is an absolute breeze. This phone is built with power users in mind, and while I haven’t yet had to use the RAM Expansion Technology, it does give me peace of mind knowing that I have access to more power when, and if, I need it.
At the heart of Reno7 5G is an integrated MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G SoC chipset, which includes support for 5G and Wi-Fi 6. A 4,500mAh battery combines with 65W Supervooc charging to allow a full charge in about 35 minutes, while just five minutes of charging will give you enough battery for two hours of gaming or four hours of streaming.
The fast-charging feature of this phone has been an absolute game-changer for me. I charge my phone every morning before I head out the door and in a quick 15 minutes, it goes from 30% battery to fully charged. What’s more, fully charged, this device has enough juice to keep up with me all day. Whether I am on video calls, watching video content, snapping and editing images, or chatting on Whatsapp. I have yet to run out of power with the Reno 7 5G, even after a full day of using battery-hungry apps with my screen on full brightness.
The device also uses Android 11 (and is Android 12 ready) as its operating system, while ColorOS 12 is synced as an overlay to allow for a personalised experience.
Of course, these days, a smartphone’s onboard camera is arguably one of the most important features for most people. The Reno7 5G aims to tackle the high-end competitors who battle it out for the best smartphone snapper on the market. Featuring a 64MP rear camera, Sony-powered 32MP front camera, 118° Ultra Wide-Angle Camera, and 4CM Macro Camera, combined with Oppo’s AI algorithms, the device uses the latest technology to mimic the optical properties of high-end cameras.
This helps create bokeh light spots of different sizes, colours, and brightness according to distance and depth of field. Users can choose from 25 adjustment levels to change the virtual aperture size and the corresponding size of the bokeh light spots on the background to create stunning portrait photos.
The Reno7 Pro 5G’s suite of imaging tools also includes AI Highlight Video, Focus Tracking, Dual-View Video, Flash Snapshot and other features.
The camera setup on the Reno 7 5G is indeed impressive. I’ve been snapping everything from adventures with friends to product shots for work using the device, and it does not disappoint. Shots are clear, crisp and look super professional with almost no effort at all. I’m using my photography editing apps a whole lot less since I’ve been shooting with the Oppo Reno 7, and it has been a game-changer when I need to take pictures on the go for work. With every snap, you get an ultra-clear 108MP image, giving you the power to crop the image into whatever you need it to be while still maintaining impressive clarity and detail.
Shooting video is also ultra-smooth and easy with the Oppo Reno 7 5G. I don’t have to fiddle too much with settings to ensure I get footage that is well lit, steady and detailed. If you’re a content creator, then you can’t go wrong with investing in this device. It makes creating content incredibly easy and gives you the confidence to shoot and snap away anywhere, any time.
The Oppo Reno7 5G is available now and retails at R14,999. The price includes a pair of Enco Buds, a 65W SuperVOOC charger and Oppo care that includes one free screen repair in the first six months.
Asus Vivobook 13 Slate Review — A Hybrid Device for the Future?
Does Asus’ 2-in-1 device do the trick? Check out our review to find out.
Asus has been doing some interesting things as of late when it comes to the brand’s Vivobook range, and the latest tablet/notebook entry, the Vivobook 13 Slate, is something of a leap forward for the Frankenstein-esque nature of mobile devices which teeter the line between a daily laptop and something for more casual use.
While many of these hybrid devices seem to underwhelm as a notebook or a tablet, being somewhat underpowered or lacking the necessary functionality or portability of a pick-up-and-play tablet, the Vivobook 13 Slate doesn’t disappoint in the specs department.
This particular model (the T3300) features a 13.3-inch OLED display, an Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor, 8GBs of RAM, and Windows 11 Home, giving you all the juice you need to do just about anything (within reason).
Of course, while its specs under the hood are impressive for its class, the 2-in-1 functionality and adaptability of the Slate is what makes it unique. The fact that the device has a fully detachable keyboard (which is also done immediately and easily via a magnetic connector) allows you to use the Vivobook 13 Slate for whatever you want to do. Using it as a notebook is easy and feels like any modern notebook, which has enough power to do any day-to-day work tasks or multitasking operations; and popping the keyboard off for some media-viewing or using it with the smart pen (packaged with the device) is only 5 seconds away.
Speaking of, the Asus Pen 2.0 has been worked and improved upon to be far more precise than its predecessor, designed to capture the subtle variations and nuances of writing and drawing. It comes with four interchangeable pen tips — 2H, H, HB, and B — with different frictional properties and hardness to suit any drawing or writing style, which is a nice touch.
The display of the Vivobook 13 Slate is admittedly gorgeous, with bright and vivid colours being displayed even in bright environments, and having an OLED for this type of device is a huge game-changer, as you do feel like you’re getting a premium viewing or working experience rather than a paired-down option when you’re on-the-go.
In practice, the Vivobook 13 Slate does feel like the next logical step in everyone’s go-to computer, whether it be for work or play. With more and more services offering cloud computing and storage, you don’t need too much in the hardware itself, so having something as compact, portable, and adaptable outshines the option of having a powerful but static rig… depending on your needs, of course.
It’s hard to not gush about and recommend the Vivobook 13 Slate for someone who is working from coffee shops most of the time, doesn’t need an excess of power, and who would benefit from the smart pen and tablet functionality (we’re thinking an architect or designer).
Priced from R9,999, there are a lot of options in that price-range, but none of which will provide you with the bells, whistles, and tricks that the Vivobook 13 Slate does. If you’re in the market for something different and flexible, it’s a solid option.