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Fujifilm creates pro-level Instax pictures with Mini Link

Fujifilm’s Instax instant cameras have taken an interesting turn: Fujifilm dropped the camera and kept the printer. BRYAN TURNER reviews the latest instant printer.

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When one thinks about the Instax brand, instant cameras come to mind. While these high-quality cameras have gone from shoot-and-print devices to being able to print voice notes, one factor has been constant. The device one generally uses for pictures is a smartphone. 

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Link printer changes that. It provides Instax style printing that’s linked to a smartphone, instead of a dedicated camera. This way, users can print out photos that they’ve taken with their smartphones on an Instax print.

With smartphones having advanced features like bokeh depth effects and high colour accuracy, the images that are produced are visually stunning. Making these pictures ‘immortal’ by printing them does them the proper justice of appreciating their beauty. What’s better is that this camera prints in 12 seconds, so there’s virtually no wait time for printing.

The printer weighs around 200g and is smaller than most smartphones, while being quite a bit thicker to fit the film cartridges. It’s highly portable and can fit into a handbag or medium-to-large-sized pocket.

The app and device link fairly easily: one has to download and open the app, then turn the Instax Mini Link on and wait for it to appear in the app. Thereafter, one can select photos to print from the camera roll or using the Instax camera app function.

One of the more interesting features is motion control. Putting this printer in different positions performs different actions: flat, standing up, or holding it upside down. Moving around the printer also changes the mode within the app.

To activate Print mode, one must put the printer upright. This offers a straightforward printing experience where one can select Simple Print for picking a photo and printing it, Video Print for selecting a frame from a video to print, or Instax camera for lining up a shot within a virtual Instax print.

The Instax Camera can be controlled with motion control as well: tilting the camera forward zooms in, while tilting it backwards zooms out. Pressing the Instax button will take a picture, where a user can review the picture and optionally add filters before printing.

To activate Fun mode, one must set the printer flat. This offers a more creative printing experience. One can select Frame Print to put a sticker on photos before printing, and Collage Print which allows several frames to appear on a single print out. Match Test is one of the cooler modes, which uses a photo of two people and asks questions to see who well they match.

The user must hand the smartphone over to the other person who answers questions, and then the user is tested to see if they can get those questions right. Thereafter, a printout with a score is done with a photo of the friends together.

If several smartphones in the same area have the Mini Link app, they can use Party Mode. This mode accepts several photos from various phones and prints out a surprise collage photo at the end.

The printer takes the same Instax film cartridges as the Instax cameras, so finding replacement film won’t be difficult. It charges via micro-USB and claims to do 100 prints on a single charge. While this may be possible in a single mode, we found after printing 20 shots and using the printer as a remote for about an hour, it was down to 60% battery life. That said, it still offers great battery life for such a small device.

Overall, we were extremely impressed with this device and its brilliant quality print-outs. Even its more gimmicky features were charming and add to the memory-making experience.

Product of the Day

Acer launches two new 4K monitors

Acer has launched two monitors for higher-end consumers who use their home computers for gaming and graphically-intensive work.

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Acer has unveiled two new monitors, CB342CKC and CB282K, which form part of its high specification range of 4K monitors.

The monitors feature In-Plane Switching ZeroFrame technology, which removes the bezel to give seamless visuals. The sharp 4K UHD display is 16:9 up to 3840X2160 high resolution.

Vesa DisplayHDR creates deeper levels of black and white contrast, giving a greater immersion through realistic image recreation. Brighter scenes glimmer with detail, while in darker scenes, details typically hidden in the shadows are enhanced for greater overall luminance.

With Radeon FreeSync, a game’s frame rate is determined by the graphics card, not the fixed refresh rate of the monitor, which eliminates screen tearing and delivers very smooth gaming experiences. The Acer CB342CKC monitor also features 1ms Visual Response Boost (VRB), which results in a much clearer and less noticeable blur in fast-moving images.

The Acer CB342CKC monitor features a USB 3.1 Type-C port that can plug into smartphones, tablets or laptops. This provides the device that’s plugged in with data transfer and device charging capabilities, while it mirrors the display, with a single cable.

With a firm, stainless steel base, monitors can easily tilt, pivot and swivel to make height adjustments without a hassle. A quick-release design means the monitor can be separated from its stand so it can be VESA wall-mounted. Both Acer CB2 monitors also feature Acer Display Widget utility software. The split-screen feature is able to divide the screen into several regions. Users can quickly split the window with a hotkey or via the split-screen setting menu, making the workspace as clean as possible.

The Acer CB342CKC monitor will be available in EMEA in May starting at €549, while the CB282K monitor will be available in April starting at €399.

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Sophos launches AI-enhanced firewall

Cybersecurity provider Sophos has launched a firewall product that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and reduce security risks associated with encrypted traffic.

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Sophos has introduced a new architecture for the Sophos XG Firewall called “Xstream”, which traffic decryption capabilities for encrypted malware connections. XG Firewall now also features AI-enhanced threat analysis from SophosLabs and accelerated application performance.

Sophos says 23% of malware families uses encrypted communication for Command and Control (C2) or for installation of the malware. Three common present Trojans – Trickbot, IcedID, and Dridex – leverage TLS during the course of their attacks. Cybercriminals also use TLS to hide their exploits, payloads and stolen content and to avoid detection. In fact, 44% of prevalent information stealers use encryption to sneak hijacked data, including bank and financial account passwords and other sensitive credentials, out from under organisations’ noses.

“As SophosLabs’ research demonstrates, cybercriminals are boldly embracing encryption in an attempt to bypass security products,” says Dan Schiappa, chief product officer at Sophos. 

“Unfortunately, most firewalls lack scalable TLS crypto capabilities and are unable to inspect encrypted traffic without causing applications to break or degrade network performance. With the new Xstream architecture in XG Firewall, Sophos is providing critical visibility into an enormous blind spot while eliminating frustrating latency and compatibility issues with full support for the latest TLS 1.3 standard. Sophos’ internal benchmark tests have clocked a two-fold performance boost in the new XG TLS inspection engine as compared to previous XG versions. This is a game-changer.”

Latency too often deters IT admins from using decryption, as seen in an independent Sophos survey of 3,100 IT managers in 12 countries. The survey white paper, The Achilles Heel of Next-Gen Firewalls, reports that while 82% of respondents agreed TLS inspection is necessary, only 3.5% of organisations are decrypting their traffic to properly inspect it.
Key new features of XG Firewall include:

  • Inspection of TLS 1.3 to detect cloaked malware: New port-agnostic TLS engine doubles crypto operation performance over previous XG versions
  • Optimised critical application performance: New FastPath policy controls accelerate performance of SD-WAN applications and traffic, including Voice over IP, SaaS, and others, to up to wire speed
  • Adaptive traffic scanning: The newly enhanced Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) engine dynamically risk-assesses traffic streams and matches them to the appropriate threat scanning level, enhancing throughput by up to 33% across most network environments
  • Threat analysis with SophosLabs intelligence: Provides network administrators with the SophosLabs AI-enhanced threat analysis needed to understand and adjust defences to protect against a constantly changing threat landscape
  • Comprehensive cloud management and reporting in Sophos Central: Centralised management and reporting capabilities in Sophos Central provide customers with group firewall management and flexible cloud reporting across an entire estate without additional charge
  • Integration with Sophos Managed Threat Response (MTR) service: Customers of XG Firewall who also subscribe to the Sophos MTR Advanced service will have deeper actionable intelligence to prevent, detect and respond to threats, as a result of the integration

Sophos XG Firewall is available in the cloud-based Sophos Central platform alongside Sophos’ portfolio of cybersecurity solutions. Sophos’ Synchronized Security approach empowers these solutions to work together for real-time information sharing and threat response.

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