Technology round-up

27 Mar 2010 by AndrewGough brings you the latest travel gadgets and accessories to make life on the road easier. This week: The Pentax X90, Samsung Diva, Logitech Lapdesk N700 and coming soon, the Nintendo 3DS. Also, control your own airport with our app of the week.

Pentax X90 digital camera

Pentax X90Due out this month is the X90, which Pentax rather boldly claims “does everything, except the ironing.” Ignoring this shameless exaggeration (can it cook me a killer lasagne? If only), the 12.1MP X90 does appear to be a truly all-in-one camera for those not willing to go the whole hog and shell out for a digital SLR. According to the specs, the X90 has a 26x optical zoom lens with a focal-length ranging from 26mm wide angle to 676mm telephoto. It even has a macro mode, allowing it to focus on objects just 1cm away. Equivalent to three or four separate lenses, this all-in-one proposition may even be enough to tempt some avid SLR users (myself included). Especially when you consider the X90’s impressive range of SLR-esque features, like advanced light metering and auto-focus systems, and an array of different shooting modes.

PRICE £329.99



Samsung Diva

Samsung DivaThe Samsung Diva is an obvious attempt to appeal to all the would-be fashionistas out there, but there’s no reason why the discerning business traveller can’t look good while out and about. Underneath the Diva’s striking looks, with its diamond shaped menu button, pearl white finish and an embossed back cover that bears a striking resemblance to my duvet, it is clear from the specs that this is still a normal, everyday mobile phone. It’s no smartphone, but as is the norm these days it has its own email client, Bluetooth and a 3.2MP camera. Importantly the Diva lacks the power-hungry features that most modern business travellers need, but therein lays its trump card: According to Samsung, it has a standard talk time of up to ten hours, and a standby time of, wait for it, 800 hours. That’s 33 days. If the figures are to be believed, you could have this sitting in your draw for over a month and it wouldn’t run out of battery (assuming you don’t do anything with it, of course). It’s also extremely small, measuring just 10cm in length.

PRICE Available on pay-as-you-go from O2 or the Carphone Warehouse



Logitech Lapdesk N700

Logitech Lapdesk N700Logitech, the Betterware catalogue of the computer accessories world, has a great talent for making innovative new PC and laptop gadgets, or improvements on existing technology, all at very affordable prices. The Lapdesk N700 is one such innovation. It is essentially a place to put your laptop when there isn’t a table around. Its padded bottom makes it comfortable to rest on your lap, and there’s a built-in fan to keep everything from overheating. Its main features however are the built-in speakers, and it all works via a single USB connection. It’s probably too big to take on the road, so to speak, but could be a convenient thing to have around the house.

PRICE £69.99




Nintendo 3DS

It seems 2010 will be the year of 3D, with major feature films like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and soon Clash of the Titans bringing this new medium to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Depending on who you speak to, it’s either a gimmick or the most important thing to happen to visual communication since TVs went from black and white to colour. I tend to be of the latter camp, and it seems most technology manufacturers are too, including, it seems, Nintendo, which has announced plans to release a 3D version of its hugely popular DS handheld gaming platform. Business Traveller wasn’t present at the announcement (if only), but word on the grapevine is the cleverly named 3DS will work without the need of special glasses. Speculation now abounds on how exactly they’ll work, but there is already technology out there that permits spec-less 3D screens. One popular theory, based on a DS puzzle game already doing the rounds in Japan, is that the 3DS’ camera will track the position of the user’s head and adjust the stereoscopic image accordingly. Only time will tell. A release date for the 3DS is yet to be formally announced, but it is expected to be out in Japan this year. That puts a UK release at late 2010/early 2011.


App of the week

Flight Control

Flight controlNews of the Nintendo 3DS has inspired me to feature a game as this week’s APOTW, and one which I feel is particularly “apt” (get it?) for our frequently flying readership. This week it’s the turn of Flight Control from games developer Firemint, and the good news is it won’t be an iPhone-only thing for much longer. Hugely addictive, I’m told, Flight Control pits the user against inbound plane chaos of the virtual sort. The user must direct incoming aircraft onto runways and landing strips, with multi-tasking and hand-to-eye co-ordination put to the test. Cleverly, Flight Control can use satellite imagery of real-world airports. So, ever wanted to have a go at controlling aircraft over Heathrow? Now’s your chance, sort of.

PLATFORM iPhone, Java/Windows Mobile/Android coming soon



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