The Chromebook market has been perceived as very consumer-focused, until the recent introduction of management tools for Chrome OS.
To complement these corporate management tools, Acer has released the Chromebook 715, aimed at the business person that works in the cloud, in South Africa.
The unit we reviewed contained an Intel Core i5-8250U, 16GB of RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage. All of this was housed in a sturdy aluminium body.
On the left side, the computer features a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, a standard USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack, while on the right it has a Kensington Lock, another USB Type-C port just for connectivity and a microSD card slot.
When open, the narrow bezelled 15.6″-inch display has a Full HD resolution for crisp lettering in documents. The wide colour gamut also ensures that colours are accurately represented on screen.
The keyboard features a first for Chromebooks: a num-pad. This is especially useful for those working with spreadsheets on Google Sheets or Excel Online, or accountants working in web apps like Xero.
The overall design of this computer shows the professional look Acer was going for with a business-facing Chromebook. It has a grey aluminium body, which looks heavy, but comes to a mere 1.8kg. It’s much lighter than it looks for an almost 16″ laptop.
The performance is great and switching between web apps is fast. This is thanks to the embedded i5 processor, which doesn’t make as much of a noise as its Windows counterparts.
The computer isn’t for the “slashie”: those who run their personal and business lives on the same device. As a result, games don’t run on the computer because it doesn’t run applications. This asserts the device’s status as a purely business-focused device.
Apart from the hardware features, the computer is handled via the lightweight Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is Google’s answer for those who only work with web apps, and don’t want their computer’s performance hindered by unnecessary apps. With the increasing power offered from web apps, the computer application as we know is likely to disappear eventually.
With Google’s Apps for Work platform, the Chromebook lends itself to the same admin management tools that exist on other platforms.
The integrated 45 Wh battery may seem small but operates for around 9 hours, thanks to the lightweight software and good battery management.
Overall, for those who want a no-nonsense approach to computing, the Acer Chromebook 715 may be their best next device. However, its pricing at R7,999 may deter those who would expect to pay less.
Fujifilm adds an ultra light X-series camera
Fujifilm has launched the X-A7 mirrorless digital camera, available in a kit that includes the popular XC15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens.
The X-A7’s compact, lightweight form factor, leading image quality and a vast array of new features, position it as an ideal and timely entry into Fujifilm’s popular family of X Series mirrorless cameras.
Weighing in at only 320g and features a new 24.2MP imaging sensor, the X-A7 has fast autofocus, face detection, and enough power to create full resolution stills at 6 FPS.
Fujifilm says it’s a great camera for content creators of various skill levels and disciplines, and also offers a 3.5 inch, 16:9 LCD flip-out articulating screen that enables users to capture images on-the-go. The new “Smart Menu” facilitates intuitive touchscreen operation, so that beginners can produce high-quality images without having to learn how the camera works.
The newly developed 24.2MP imaging sensor features 8.5 times more phase-detection pixels across its surface than the previously available sensor. The X-A7 has been engineered with industry-leading copper wiring to reduce digital noise, to ensure images and video are processed quickly, and to ensure the best possible image quality.
It offers an enhanced data readout speed which enables a smooth frame rate of 30fps when recording 4K video, minimising the rolling shutter effect which typically occurs when recording fast-moving subjects or when panning the camera quickly.
Record video in 4K 30P to get a cinematic look with bokeh and colours that Fujifilm X Series cameras are known to provide. Record, upload, and share on-the-go with features such as “Countdown Video” mode, which allows videos to be filmed at a pre-selected duration: 15, 30 or 60 seconds, for a quick upload to social media channels.
The use of Fujifilm Camera Remote (a free app for smartphones and tablet devices) and the advanced features of the X-A7 are designed to ensure dependable connectivity and stability in wireless communications. The X-A7 also supports wired communications with smartphones and tablet devices, useful when transferring large data, e.g. video, to such devices.
Availability and Pricing
The new Fujifilm X-A7 with Fujinon XC15-45mm F3.5- 5.6 OIS PZ lens kit will come in camel, dark silver, mint green, and silver.
The X-A7 kit will be available for order from Fujifilm South Africa starting 24 October at a recommended retail price of R12 000. For more information, visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/cameras/x-a7/.
Logitech releases iPad 7th gen keyboard cases
Logitech has announced two new keyboard case options for the seventh generation iPad: one with military-grade drop protection, and another with a laptop-style keyboard.
Logitech has introduced two new products for the iPad 7th generation: the Logitech Rugged Folio, a new slim keyboard for everyday on-the-go use with military-grade drop protection; and Logitech Slim Folio, the best-selling keyboard case offering laptop-like typing, for the new seventh-generation iPad.
Rugged Folio features spill and dirt resistant keys, and connects in one click via the Smart Connector of the iPad, eliminating Bluetooth pairing and external charging, in the middle of a demanding task or on the go.
Slim Folio offers multiple stand angles and goes from iPad to laptop in one click – locking the iPad in a typing position. It also features a row of iPadOS shortcut keys to make it more convenient to complete daily tasks.
“Logitech has expanded its portfolio to have the ideal keyboard case for new seventh-generation iPad based on what kind of iPad user you are,” said Michele Hermann, vice president of mobility at Logitech. “The Rugged Folio offers military-grade protection so it will easily withstand the wear and tear of daily life, whether you are using iPad on the go or with the family. The Slim Folio provides a flexible and simple solution for typing so you can work anywhere. Both cases continue our tradition of providing the best typing experience so you can work on iPad in any environment.”
Rugged Folio supports four ways to use it, including typing, viewing, sketching and reading. Adjust the kickstand in the back to adjust the viewing angle of the iPad and fold the keyboard behind so it is out of the way when not in use. Logitech proprietary shock-absorbent technology helps Rugged Folio exceed military standard drop tests for new levels of protection and to keep both iPad and keyboard protected in the most demanding environments.
Rugged Folio has a sturdy keyboard with high-performance fabric sealing the keys to keep out dust, crumbs, and spills.
Slim Folio maintains a typing angle that’s held securely in place with the iPad with magnets, allowing for typing on the desk, your lap or anything in between.
Slim Folio is light, protects the iPad from scratches, bumps and spills and has a holder for the Logitech Crayon and Apple Pencil (1st generation). With the Smart power management system and low-energy Bluetooth connection, the replaceable coin cell batteries can last up to four years.
Pricing and Availability
Logitech Rugged Folio is expected to be available in October 2019 for $139.99 and Logitech Slim Folio is expected to be available in November 2019 for $99.99 at logitech.com and apple.com for the new seventh-generation iPad.