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Acer expands fanless Switch 2-in-1 range

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At a global launch in New York this week, Acer announced new 2-in-1 notebooks that are compatible with Acer Active Pen and Windows Ink.

Acer has expanded its popular Switch 2-in-1 notebook line with two new models, the Switch 5 and Switch 3, featuring Windows 10, with versatile, highly-mobile designs for work, school and fun.

Launched at the Next@Acer global press conference in New York this week, both new Acer Switch 2-in-1 notebooks can be used with an Acer Active Pen on the touch screen to sketch, take notes or annotate documents or photos with Windows Ink.

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The Acer Switch 5 builds on the industry-leading innovations of its predecessor, the Acer Switch Alpha 12, providing a fanless, quiet experience through Acer LiquidLoop cooling, and performance enhanced with up to 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processors. Acer’s patented auto-retracting kickstand allows for easy one-handed adjustments to the viewing angle. It also supports Windows Hello with a fingerprint reader for fast and secure access.

The Acer Switch 3 features a 2-in-1 design that is well-balanced with a large 12.2-inch display, Intel processors and a quiet, fanless design.

“Customers have embraced the flexibility of 2-in-1 designs to help them get more done throughout the day in both notebook or tablet modes,” said James Lin, General Manger, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “Acer’s Switch line is now able to reach more customers, whether they are looking for something that provides the latest in performance and features, or if they need a more accessible option for studies, work and play.”

Fanless Switch 5 is Performance-Minded, Quiet, and Reliable

The Switch 5 is Acer’s first 2-in-1 to be offered with 7th Generation Intel Core i7 and i5 processors to deliver the top-rated performance needed for serious tasks, presentations and entertainment on the go. The built-in fingerprint reader on the power button authenticates users and provides quick access to their projects. Users can be assured their information will remain secure and private when using the fingerprint reader for logging on thanks to Windows Hello.

With Acer’s patented auto-retracting kickstand, the Switch 5’s viewing angle can be easily adjusted one-handedly, providing added convenience in any scenario. Also, the Switch 5 uses Acer’s proprietary fanless LiquidLoop cooling system to keep it running efficiently without fan noise, making it ideal for shared spaces such as meetings and open offices. Plus, the LiquidLoop Cooling System doesn’t require venting that can compromise reliability due to airflow issues and dust accumulation. The fanless design supports powerful 7th Generation Intel Core processors to deliver excellent performance and day-to-night 10.5-hour battery life.

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The Switch 5 has a vibrant 12-inch wide-view FHD+ touch display with IPS technology, an impressive 2160 x 1440 resolution and support from Intel HD Graphics 620. Customers will enjoy vivid colour and crisp detail on the display for video and fun that can be shared on wide 178-degree viewing angles. Acer TrueHarmony and Smart Amplifier provide enhanced audio performance for clarity and robust volume to complement the exceptional display.

The Switch 5 has an anodized aluminum chassis that is elegant and modern. The brushed hairline texture complements the design while enhancing the comfort of the device during transport.

The Switch 3 brings excellent usability and performance to students, families and anyone looking for an excellent all-around value. The device runs on Intel Pentium  and Celeron processors that deliver solid every day performance and up to 8 hours of battery life. The 12.2-inch display is designed to deliver incredible precision and a responsive 10-point touch experience. It has a wide 178-degree viewing angle and 1920×1200 FHD resolution with IPS technology. The front-facing speakers complement the stunning visuals with enhanced volume and quality for rich, expressive tones. The sleek metallic top cover has a distinctive yet subtle design with complementary etched edging.

The Acer Switch 3 has won a Red Dot Award: Product Design 2017, one of the most prestigious product design awards.

Versatile 2-in-1 Design is Sturdy, Comes with Attachable Keyboard

Both the Acer Switch 5 and Acer Switch 3 come with an attachable keyboard that snaps on with ultra-secure magnets and can be adjusted to an ergonomic angle for customer preference. The Switch 5’s keyboard is backlit for added convenience while working in darker environments. Measuring just 5.85 mm thin, the keyboard delivers 1.4 mm of travel to ensure comfort and productivity while typing. Plus, the keyboard protects the screen and ensures easy transport. The large trackpad supports convenient and intuitive navigation with Precision Touchpads supporting Windows 10 gestures to provide a smooth and responsive experience.

The versatile and stable U-shaped kickstand holds up the display and can be adjusted fluidly to any angle up to 165 degrees. The anti-slip design holds the display upright when customers touch or write on the display. Plus, the Switch 5 can be adjusted effortlessly with a single hand thanks to the auto-retracting kickstand. Both systems work with the Acer Active Pen, which enables accurate and detailed direct-to-screen digital ink input for a natural pen-on-paper experience that’s perfect for notetaking, sketching and capturing ideas and taking advantage of Windows Ink. The Acer Active Pen provides palm rejection and 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Both the Switch 5 and Switch 3 have front and rear cameras for videoconferencing and capturing memories. Both systems’ front webcams provide 720p Full HD video recording.

Optional USB Type-C Dock Facilitates Business Use

For commercial customers, the Acer Switch 5 can be purchased with the Acer USB Type-C Dock that transforms the device into a powerful workstation. This compact dock enables high-speed video, audio and data transfer and keeps the work area clutter-free with immediate connectivity to an additional display and other devices. It includes the ports and connections commercial customers need: DisplayPort, HDMI, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and three USB Type-A ports, as well as audio input for microphone and audio output for speakers.

Slim, Lightweight Designs; Ready to Connect

The Switch 5 and Switch 3 are available with ample storage and memory options. The Switch 5 supports a 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD and up to 8GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM. The Switch 3 supports 32GB, 64GB or 128GB eMMC memory and up to 4GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM. Both models can access additional files through the MicroSDXC slot. The devices both feature a thin and reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port for fast data transfers of up to 5Gbps from connected peripherals, to share video and also to power other devices. Both lines also have an additional USB 3.1 Type-A port and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Acer Switch 5 is thin and light, measuring just 292 (W) x 201.8 (D) x 12 (H) mm (11.5 x 7.94 x 0.47 inches) and weighing 1.27 kg (2.8 pounds) when the tablet and keyboard are connected. The Switch 5 tablet alone measures just 9.6 mm (0.38 inches) in height, and weighs 0.92 kg (2.03 pounds). The Switch 3 measures just 295 (W) x 201 (D) x 16.3 (H) mm (11.61 x 7.91 x 0.64 inches) and weighs 0.9 kg (1.98 pounds) when the tablet and keyboard are connected. The Switch 3 tablet alone measures just 9.95 mm (0.39 inches) in height, and weighs 0.9 kg (1.98 pounds).

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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