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Serious Hardware

Incredible’s January giants

Incredible Connection has announced its top five products for January. They range from serious mobile hardware like ultrabooks to fun hardware like audio docks for an iPod, iPad or iPhone.

Asus ZenBook UX21

Price: R11 999.95

· Ultra slim design

· Intel Core i5 processor

· Bang & Olufsen audio

Asus has joined Apple, Acer, HP and others in offering a range of super slim ultrabooks ‚ the new range of powerful, thin laptops.

The ZenBook UX21 is an 11.6‚ model that boasts a Core i5 processor in its 17mm-thick, brushed aluminium body. It also has 4GB of RAM, uses Windows 7 and incudes 128GBs of storage on an SSD. This helps it have a resume time of only 2 seconds when you open the lid.

Despite being ultra slim it still has a battery that’s capable of powering it for 5 hours, and there’s the option of an extended battery that’ll juice it for up to 7 hours.

All of the other necessities are also present: 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 ports and even Bang & Olufsen audio.

Rating: 5 stars

Belkin Play Max HD modem router

Price: R1 699.95

· Wireless ADSL router

· 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports

· Streams HD video

Wireless routers are fast becoming the weakest link in home networks. Users need a single device that’ll connect them to the Internet, via ADSL, along with providing fast wireless coverage all over their homes, to stream high-def content and access other data on the network.

Belkin’s Play Max HD is a router that provides exactly that ‚ up to ADSL2 connectivity, 2x gigabit Ethernet ports for fast wired networking, and dual-band 802.11n wireless to provide speeds of up to 300Mbits/s. That’s fast enough to stream high definition content to multiple computers.

Additionally the Play Max has two USB ports that can be used for external storage devices, essentially turning the router into a network storage device. This is handy for performing data backups wirelessly. In addition to that, the Play Max also has applications that serve media, and will even reorganise your music library.

Rating: 4 stars

JBL OnBeat Xtreme dock

Price: R4 999.95

· Dock for iPod, iPhone and iPad

· Loud, clear sound

· Bluetooth input

iPhone docks are a dime a dozen, and the real challenge is putting together a unique product that’ll differentiate itself from the also-rans. JBL’s OnBeat Xtreme is not only a regular iPod dock, but is also an iPad dock.

The dock part of the OnBeat has a swivelling arm that accommodates any of Apple’s current iDevices, and it has can be rotated to have them in an orientation that’s most useful to you. For instance, you can have an iPad in landscape mode to watch. The Xtreme also lets you output your content to a TV, using the video-out port.

Most useful of all, though, is the Bluetooth functionality. For those times you want your iPhone is in your pocket, rather than on charge, the Bluetooth streaming will give you newfound musical freedom.

Available in Megastores only: Gateway, Clearwater, The Glen, Somerset West, Canal Walk, East Rand Retail Park and Sandton

Microsoft Wireless Speed Wheel

Price: R599.95

· Wireless racing wheel

· Great range of motion for accelerator and brake

· No need for clamps

If you’re a fan of the Xbox’s premier racing simulator, Forza Motorsport 4, then you’ve probably wished you could get your hands on a steering wheel to help enhance the on-track action.

Microsoft’s latest wireless accessory for its console does just that: it brings the steering wheel to your couch, with the added bonus of not needing any clamps, unsightly racing seats or cables.

The Wireless Speed Wheel uses a gyroscope and motion sensors to detect any movement as you hold the wheel out in the air. It’s also possible to use the wheel in a number of comfortable positions, so you don’t need to tire your arms out by stretching them in front of you.

Along the back there are two triggers, similar to those on the Xbox controller. The difference here is that the WSW’s triggers have extra travel, so being precise with your accelerator and brake inputs is a lot easier ‚ just what you need to get ahead of the pack.

Rating: 4 stars

HP Envy 110 Printer

Price: R2 999.95

· Sleek, slim design

· Print, scan, copy

· Wireless connectivity

Printers aren’t exactly the first thing you’ll think of when somebody asks for a list of the ‚prettiest bits of technology‚ . They’re large, plastic behemoths with flaps and buttons and almost no aesthetic appeal.

HP wants to change that, with its metal and glass HP Envy 110 ‚ something that can easily be classified as the iPhone of the printer world. It’ll scan, copy and print like you’d expect from a modern multifunction machine, but does so while looking very good.

Finished in glass and high-gloss panels, this off-white paper-spewing beauty is fully automated. The flaps all remain hidden, and when a sheet needs to be caught in the paper tray, a mechanical arm automatically extends to keep it from hitting the floor. It’s all brought together by a touch-screen interface, wireless networking, and HP’s ever-useful ePrint technology.

Rating: 4.5 stars


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