Monthly Archives

June 2012

Nexus 7 – the new tablet from Google

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Just when I thought I’d decided that I was going to buy the Microsoft Surface tablet, Google (kind of expectedly) have popped out the little nugget – the Google Nexus 7, made by Asus.

What makes Google’s Nexus 7 different?

What makes it unique is that it’s cheap. Really cheap. At $200 (for the 8gb version) it’s cheap enough to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, but it’s got much better specs.

But it’s not just cheap and powerful, it’s also got Google’s latest version of it’s Android OS – 4.1 Jelly Bean, a nifty upgrade from Ice Cream Sandwich. This flavour of Android is quicker, saves on battery life, has a new camera app, better ‘actionable’ notifications and just looks a bit prettier.

And it’s got Google Now

This looks pretty cool. Google Now is s a bit creepy but using your GPS co-ordinates it provides predictive information when you need it so you can be one step ahead.

For example it can tell you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work,  your flight information, or your favourite team’s score while they’re playing. The information is all displayed on ‘Cards’ which appear throughout the day at the moment you need them. Clever stuff!

The verdict

It wasn’t what I thought I wanted – it’s got a small screen, and with a quad core processor, the downside is that the battery seems a little wimpy. But it’s so cheap. So yes, I’ve just pre-ordered. Whoop.

Full Google Nexus 7 Specs


  • 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
  • Back-lit IPS display
  • Scratch-resistant Corning glass
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera


  • 340 grams


  • 8 or 16 GB internal storage
  • 1 GB RAM


  • 4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)


  • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor


  • 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm


  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth


  • Micro USB


  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)


  • Microphone
  • NFC (Android Beam)
  • Accelerometer
  • GPS
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyroscope

1 x Wadi Adventure please

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Once upon a time (no, actually this is a true story for once) I was stuck in Dubai for about 12 hours. I was bored.

Thankfully it’s not a problem I encounter particularly often, but supposing I did, now I know where I’d go. Wadi Adventure, a one stop shop for surfing, kayaking and rafting in the middle of the desert!

It solves being bored and the bit of surfing that I make look really difficult; paddling out. You just get out and walk back to the start.


Microsoft launches Surface Tablet – a Windows 8 iPad beater?

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You can check out more flash marketing shizzle on their microsite here: 

Microsoft launches Surface tablets

For a long time Microsoft has focussed on just making the software and letting other peple make the hardware. They faired pretty well with their peripherals and struck gold with the Xbox, but have also had more than their fair share of failures with the Zune and Kin.

So their announcement that they’ll sell their own Microsoft-branded Windows 8 tablets under the Surface badge is a pretty big deal and a big change in direction.

Of course, being Microsoft, it’s not altogether simple – they’re launching not just one, but two products, both which look pretty much the same – the Surface RT, and the Surface Windows 8 Pro.

The two Surface tablets – Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro

Surface for Windows RT is pretty much a straight iPad alternative that will run Windows 8 apps, but not your full on Windows programs.  It comes in 32GB and 64GB models and is set to be priced competitively against the iPad and ARM-based Android tablets, around $300.

The Pro is a tablet and a Intel PC that will be able to run programs too. It’s available in two flavours; 64GB and 128GB models which will be priced on par with Ultrabook-class PCs – probably $800+. But this one I’m not so excited about. If I want to do some serious work, I’d prefer a laptop with all the connectivity, power and storage I need.

What makes Microsoft Surface different than an iPad?

For starters, it’s got a multi-touch keyboard and trackpad built into Touch Cover so you can type really quickly on it. It’s got a load of built in connectivity, HDMI, microSD and USB 2.0 ports so you can plug things in without needing a load of extra special Apple connectors.

And it’s got Microsoft’s Digital ink technology so drawing and writing is responsive and accurate. Sweet.

The verdict

Umm, well right now, I haven’t actually tried one. But I’ve been playing around with Microsoft’s recent releases, the Windows 8 Beta (which I’m a big fan of) and I’m pretty hooked on my Nokia Lumia 800 Windows 7 Mobile . They’re definitely heading in the right direction with their new consistent GUI across all the platforms.

Good hardware was always going to be the big challenge for Windows 8 so it’s nice to see Microsoft taking on the challenge and (like they did with Xbox) making sure things are built properly.

Ultimately though, I think it’ll come down to price. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablets are great and now at less than $200, very affordable. The question will be whether Apple fanboys will continue to pay $500 for their iPads or they’ll see a credible alternative in the Windows Surface tablets.

But yes please, I’d like a Surface.

Microsoft Surface Gallery

Full Surface tablet specs

Surface for Windows RT tablet

  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra-based ARM chip
  • Weight: 676 grams
  • Thickness: 9.3 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType HD capactive touchpanel
  • Battery: 31.5Wh
  • I/O: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows RT + Office Home & Student 2013 RT
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand
  • Capacity: 32GB / 64GB
  • Availability: “Around” the Windows 8 launch (fall 2012)
  • Pricing: To be determined

Surface for Windows 8 Pro tablet

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge)
  • Weight: 903 grams
  • Thickness: 13.5 millimeters
  • Display: 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD (1080p) capactive touchpanel
  • Battery: 42Wh
  • I/O: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MIMO antennae
  • Software: Windows 8 Pro
  • Accessories: Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case & Stand, Pen with Palm Block
  • Capacity: 64GB / 128GB
  • Availability: “Three months after” the Windows 8 launch this fall
  • Pricing: To be determined