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Acer expands notebook range

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Acer has recently announced new additions to its consumer notebook range, with the addition of the convertible Aspire R 15, the new Aspire F Series with metal covers, and the Aspire E Series and Aspire ES 15.

“We have expanded our Aspire notebook line to provide stylish, and powerful options for everyday use,” said James Lin, Acer general manager for consumer notebooks and IT products business. “From casual to serious users, design-conscious to budget-conscious, there’s an Acer notebook that suits any way of life and level of productivity required.”

“We are on track to reach our goal of 1 billion devices running Windows 10,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM division. “The next wave of Windows 10 innovations will help modernise the PC, with capabilities to help people be more secure, productive and personal.”

The Acer Aspire R 15 was awarded the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016 for its blend of design and usability. The metal top cover features a hairline-brushed finish, and the bottom cover is made of 40% glass fiber and silver particles, which improves rigidity, while maintaining a thin profile. Diamond-cut edges complement the 360-degree versatility of the Aspire R 15, which can lay flat at 180-degrees. Acer’s patented soft-closing hinge design allows the device to convert between laptop, tablet, display and tent modes.

The Aspire R 15 features 6th Generation Intel Core processors, up to 12GB DDR4 memory with faster speed and lower power consumption, up to NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics and a reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port. Acer ExoAmp Antenna technology allows for improved connectivity – with an optimized antenna position, it avoids system noise and provides a faster, smooth, and stable wireless experience through its metal cover. Users also benefit from rapid connectivity with 2×2 MU-MIMO wireless and extended battery life of up to 9 hours.

It delivers innovative Windows 10 features, including Cortana with Voice & Skype for Business Certification, making it more personal and secure. The Aspire R 15 also has Continuum capabilities, enabling any screen to have the power and ability to work like a PC.

Aspire F 15 and Aspire E Series

Acer provided the following information:

Acer has introduced premium-finish metal covers to its mainstream notebook line with its new Aspire F Series. Available in five colors (Sparkly Silver, Obsidian Black, Indigo Blue, Wine Red, and Marble White), the Aspire F Series is a perfect blend of style and performance for everyday use.

The 2016 Acer Aspire E Series is refreshed with seven color options, available in Marble White, Steel Grey, Twilight Purple, Red Copper, Obsidian Black, Rococo Red and Indigo Blue, each model features a metallic horizontal hairline-brush design with a premium textile pattern.

Equipped with 6th Generation Intel Core processors, up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX950M graphics with GDDR5 VRAM, and DDR4 RAM, the Aspire F and Aspire E series provide ample power for everyday use. Wired connectivity includes a USB Type-C port in addition to other essentials, while 802.11ac MU-MIMO technology provides blazing fast wireless connectivity.

Both the Aspire F and Aspire E Series are powered by Windows 10 and feature Acer ExaColor technology, with meticulously, step-by-step tuned displays bringing out colorful and vivid details, while Acer BluelightShield technology allows people to adjust the screen’s blue-light emission for extended periods of use. Acer TrueHarmony provides immersive and pure sound for entertainment, and Skype for Business certification ensures crisp and clear communication.

Enhanced Productivity with the Aspire ES 15

Meanwhile, the Aspire ES 15 is refreshed with the latest 6th Generation Intel Core processors, and comes in three stylish colors: Midnight Black, Rosewood Red, and Cotton White. Its rounded corners, sleek highlights and modern textured pattern on the top cover and palm rest offer an attractive profile which is as eye-catching as it is fashionable.

Pricing and Availability 

The Acer Aspire R 15 will be available in South Africa with prices starting at R 8 999,99.

The Acer Aspire F Series will be available in South Africa with prices starting R 8 499,99.

The Acer Aspire E Series will be available in South Africa with prices starting at R 8 499,99.

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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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