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Acer debuts big-screen flexibility in 15″ Chrome

At its annual global press conference in New York last week, Acer introduced the industry’s first convertible Chromebook with a 15.6-inch display. The Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (CP315-1H) has a large touchscreen display with a convertible 360-degree design.

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In addition, Acer is launching a new Chromebook 15 (CB315-1H/1HT) line that pairs a large 15-inch display and long 14-hour battery life at a budget-friendly price.

“Acer has led the Chromebook market with a wide range of form factors, sizes and designs to meet the needs of our customers, and we’re expanding our line with new exciting 15-inch models today,” said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer. “Acer’s new Chromebooks with large 15-inch Full HD displays are ideal for collaborating on projects for work and school, enjoying streaming media and running the latest apps. Plus, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 is the company’s first to combine a large 15.6-inch display with a convertible design, so customers can use the device in different modes.”

Both the new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 (CP315-1H) and Chromebook 15 (CB315-1H/1HT) fully support Android apps via Google Play, joining the performance, security and simplicity of Chrome with the more than two million Android apps that consumers know and love.

Chromebook Spin 15 Provides Big Entertainment

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s large 1080p display is ideal for people who want an affordable computer that can also be used for entertainment in homes, apartments or dorm rooms. The 1920×1080 resolution delivers sharp visuals while IPS technology provides wide viewing angles for sharing streaming video. Plus, the display supports 10-finger touch for responsive website browsing and running the latest apps. The large FHD IPS display is complemented by two full-sized upward-facing speakers that deliver enhanced volume and audio range for an excellent HD entertainment experience. The large display boosts productivity with the additional screen real estate for apps and tabs. This also makes room for a comfortable full-sized keyboard and a large Corning Gorilla Glass touchpad that provides smooth navigation through sites and apps.

Flexible Design That Looks Great

The Acer Chromebook Spin 15’s 360-degree hinges allow the touchscreen display to be rotated a full 360°until it becomes completely open and ready for use as a large tablet for reading online content, enjoying video and staying in touch on social media. This convertible design means that the keyboard can be quickly manoeuvred back for use in traditional notebook mode. In addition, customers can stand it up in display mode to get closer to the screen, or use it in tent-mode for constrained spaces like airplane cabins.

The Chromebook Spin 15 has a silver cross-hairline pattern on the top cover that looks great in any setting. This unique silky texture provides a premium look that’s professional enough for the office and stylish enough for the home. The Chromebook Spin 15 can easily be moved around the home or office since it weighs only 2.1kg (4.63 pounds). 

Performance and All-Day Battery Life

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 can be used for a full day of work or school, plus streaming and fun since it delivers industry-leading battery life of up to 13 hours1. The fanless design allows it to run quietly, making it great for shared spaces such as a family room, library or coffee shop.

It provides solid everyday performance, since it’s powered by the quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor, Intel Celeron N3450 processor, or the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 processor. It comes with 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4 memory and either 32GB or 64GB of on–board eMMC storage.

Staying Connected

Fast and reliable 2×2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi keeps customers connected, while Bluetooth 4.2 provides a convenient connection to peripherals. The Acer 720p HD webcam has high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide field of view for accommodating groups in video conferences and Google Hangouts.

The new Acer Chromebook Spin 15 has two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 ports for quick transfer of data, connecting to an HD display as well as charging the device or other products. In addition, the Acer Chromebook Spin 15 includes two USB 3.0 ports and a MicroSD card reader.

New Value-Oriented Chromebook 15 Model

Acer is also introducing a new model in its popular Chromebook 15 line that delivers the same large 15.6-inch display and long 14-hour battery life at a budget-friendly price. The Chromebook 15 has a vibrant Full HD 15.6-inch display in both touch (CB315-1HT) and non-touch (CB315-1H) displays that both provide a Full HD 1920×1080 resolution ideal for enjoying Android apps and viewing multiple tabs and apps. The Chromebook 15 is powered by the quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor, the dual-core Intel Celeron N3350 processor, or quad-core Intel Celeron N3450 processor and comes with two full-sized upward-facing speakers that support high-definition audio. It can be connected to a wireless network via Intel® Wireless-AC 7265 (802.11ac 2×2 MIMO) WiFi and to other devices with its two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and two USB 3.0 ports. It will be available with up to 8MB dual-channel LPDDR4 memory and 64GB of on–board eMMC storage.

Chrome OS Provides Speed, Simplicity and Security

Both new Acer Chromebooks are easy to use and can be easily shared between multiple users. Customers simply log into their own Google account to access their Gmail, Google Docs, apps, extensions, bookmarks and other information. Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS platform, which provides automatic updates and multiple levels of security to guard users against ever-changing online threats.

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The myths of microwaves

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We all know microwaves make cooking a breeze and it helps save those minutes, we rarely have enough of these days. However, some people do have those lingering doubts about whether microwaving food destroys nutrients or that it emits harmful radiation. However, the truth is a lot more comforting and positive.

“The microwave makes life so much easier,” says Tracy Gordon, Head of Product – Home Appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It’s human-centred technology at its most helpful. The Samsung Hotblast for example, has revolutionary functions, which are tailor-made to create fast, tasty and healthy meals in minutes.”

A recent article by Harvard Health Publishingclaims stated that “microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.” The article debunks two common myths about microwaving food.

Myth 1: Microwaving kills nutrients

Whether in a microwave or a regular oven, some nutrients, including vitamin C, do break down when exposed to heat. However, the fact is, cooking with a microwave might be better when it comes to preserving nutrients because it takes a shorter time to cook. Additionally, as far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients seep out into the cooking water,” states the report by Harvard Health Publishing. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutrient value, as food cooked in a conventional oven.

Myth 2: Microwaving food can give you cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves heat food but they do not change the chemical or molecular structure of it. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people when used appropriately, the organisation added.

With those myths well busted, it’s comforting to know one can make full use of the convenient kitchen appliance. And when the time comes to use a microwave to heat up a tasty meal in no time, one can trust the Samsung Hotblast to do the job. The HotBlast has multiple air holes blowing out powerful hot air, which reduces cooking time. Samsung claims the Slim Fry technology ensures that food is perfectly crisp on the outside and delicious and juicy on the inside. Additionally, this versatile microwave has a wider grill, making it easier to brown food fast and evenly. The turntable is wider, measuring 345mm, making it possible to prepare bigger portions of food. And with its Eco Mode power, it significantly reduces energy consumption with its low standby power. Its intelligent features and stylish design makes it very useful and as we now know – a safe, healthy way to enjoy a meal.

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New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future

The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.

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It was not meant to be a test-drive of an autonomous vehicle. But the Driving Assist button on the steering wheel of the new BMW 330i was just too tempting. And there I found myself, on Sir Lowry’s Pass near Cape Town, “driving” with my arms folded while the vehicle negotiated curves on its own.

Every 10 seconds or so, yellow or red lights flashed to alert me to put my hands back on the wheel. The yellow lights meant the car wanted me to put my hands on the wheel, just to show that I was in control. The red lights meant that I had to take over control from the artificial intelligence built into the vehicle.

With co-driver Ernest Page, we negotiated a major highway, the bends of Sir Lowry’s pass, and the passes of Hell’s Heights (Hel se Hoogte) above the Cape Winelands.

As the above video of the experience reveals, it can be nerve-racking for someone who hasn’t experienced autonomous driving, or hasn’t been dreaming of testing it for many years. For this driver, it was exhilarating. Not because the car performed so magnificently, but because it tells us just how close true autonomous driving really is.

There was one nervous moment when the autonomous – or rather, Driving Assist – mode disengaged on Hell’s Heights, but fear not. A powerful sense of responsibility prevailed, and my hands hovered over the steering wheel as it took the curve. Assist disengaged, and the car began to veer towards the other side of the road. I quickly took over, and also sobered up from the giddiness of thinking I was already in the future.

In reality, Driving Assist is part of level 2 of driving autonomy, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A presentation on the evening of the test drive, by Edward Makwana, manager of group product communications at BMW Group in South Africa, summed up the five stages as the driver having Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off, Mind off, and finally, only being a Passenger.

However, the extent to which the hands-off mode of Driving Assist mimics self-driving, and easily shows the way to eyes-off and mind-off, is astonishing.

Click here to read about the components that make the Driving Assist work.

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