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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: Let the iRobot do the work

In this week’s round-up of new products, SEAN BACHER introduces a robotic floor cleaner, the iRobot Roomba 780: Aliens: Colonial Marines: the Canon Powershot SX50 HS camera: a WiFi Smartpen from Livescribe: and the Belkin N750 DB Wi-Fi router.

iRobot Roomba 780

The iRobot Roomba 780 automatic floor cleaner offers a three-stage cleaning process and is able to clean carpets, wood, tile and linoleum floors. It features a Dirt Detect sensor that directs it to places where dust and dirt is located. Its sensors also allow it to move under furniture and into hard-to-reach places. A touchpad at the top lets you schedule a cleaning time. It also displays battery life, amount of dirt in the bag and filter statistics. Its iAdapt Technology scans the room it is cleaning more than 60 times per second, and this prevents it from cleaning one spot over and over. It also helps the iRobot to detect walls and steps and directs it back to its charging station when the room is clean.

Expect to pay: R8 600

Stockists: Visit to order one.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines was released this week for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games consoles. A PC version is also available, with a Wii U version coming later this year. The game puts players up against the Xenomorph and is the official video game continuation to one of Sci-Fi’s most renowned movie franchises. In addition to a drop-in, drop-out cooperative campaign, players are offered four competitive multiplayer modes: Escape, Team Deathmath, Survivor and Extermination.

Expect to pay: R555

Stockists: All major electronic and game outlets across South Africa.

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

The Canon Powershot SX50 HS camera uses a 50x optical zoom and a 24mm wide angle lens with Canon’s ZoomPlus technology that keeps image quality at its best, even when the zoom it being used at its maximum. The camera also offers image stabilisation technology. When combined with the 12.1 megapixel sensor, this promises clear, sharp images. Other features include a 13 frame per second burst shot, face detection, red-eye correction and it also doubles up as a video recorder.

Expect to pay: R5 400

Stockists: Contact Drive Control Corporation for a dealer in your area on 011 201 8927

Livescribe Wi-Fi Smartpen

The Livescribe Wi-Fi Smartpen is the first digital pen to integrate Wi-Fi technology and Cloud services. It digitises everything a user writes and hears, and automatically sends it to their personal Evernote account, where it is stored and readily available to search, playback, organise and share. The Wi-Fi Smartpen combines the ease of writing on paper with the ease of having everything automatically stored and available for use on most tablets or smartphones. It can be linked to new or existing Evernote accounts. It includes an additional 500MB of monthly upload capacity, which equates to about 70 hours of audio time recorded with the pen.

Expect to pay: R2300 to R3300, depending on the model chosen.

Stockists: Visit for ordering details.

Belkin N750 DB Wi-Fi

Unlike many other Wi-Fi routers, this Belkin is able to prioritise traffic thanks to its Quality of Service (QoS) technology. For instance, video and gaming data will get first priority over e-mail and web browsing, offering uninterrupted streaming to a Smart TV or game console. The router uses MultiBeam antenna technology that amplifies the Wi-Fi signal, ensuring it gets to most places in a home or office. Four gigabit ports in the rear can connect multiple computers and wired devices, and the two USB ports allow for the quick sharing of photos, files and wireless printing. Besides the standard setup software, the Belkin comes with Parental Controls that can be customised to ensure youngsters don’t visit inappropriate sites.

Expect to pay: R2 500

Stockists: Most reputable electronic retail outlets nationwide.

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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