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Toshiba packs IR into ultra-thin business laptop

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Toshiba has announced the Tecra X40-D notebook. The laptop is designed to be thin, sturdy and at the same time offers security features like face detection and a fingerprint reader.

A new 14-inch business notebook series from Toshiba, the Tecra X40-D, now available in South Africa, includes an IR camera for secure authentication via face detection. The Tecra X40-D-110 has a RRP starting from R21 999 and the Tecra X40-D-11Q RRP starts from R23 999.

To ensure the safety of mission-critical data, the Tecra X40-D models have a wide range of security features, such as the SecurePad with fingerprint reader or an IR camera for face detection that supports Windows Hello and Intel Authenticate. A key security feature of the Toshiba Business Notebooks is the self-developed BIOS, which help prevent unauthorised access by third parties.

Toshiba provided the following information:

Both premium notebooks are characterized by an extremely slim and light design. The housing height is only 16.9 millimeters and the weight light is 1.25 kilograms. Thanks to the onyx blue chassis with light gold hinges and a hairline finish, the devices also prove to be a real eye-catcher at the customer’s office as well as in the office. The housing of the notebook is made of magnesium. This is why the 14-inch cabinets, particularly in mobile use, impress with their outstanding stability and shock resistance.

The new models have capacitive 14 inch (35.6 cm) full-HD touch displays with in-cell touch technology, which allows a particularly light weight. The difference between the two variants is the processor and the SSD and memory size. The Toshiba Tecra X40-D-10R is equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 512GB SSD and 16GB DDR4 memory. The Toshiba Tecra X40-D-10J benefits from an Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, a 256GB SSD, and an 8GB DDR4 memory. The SSDs are particularly fast PCI Express SSD (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express Solid State Disk) models. The innovative hybrid air cooling technology also ensures very low energy consumption and maximum performance. This allows the user to work for up to 11 hours without having to rely on an external power supply. The new notebooks work with Windows 10 Pro.

Both Toshiba Tecra X40-D models are equipped with many convenient interfaces. This includes two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 enabled connectors, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and a MicroSD slot. They also have an integrated SmartCard Reader. The notebooks can be connected to the Toshiba Thunderbolt 3 Dock for even more ease of use and connectivity.

For professional presentations with integrated videos, Toshiba integrates high-quality Harman/Kardon stereo speakers and DTS Sound software into the new notebooks. They deliver superior sound quality. The backlit keypad allows comfortable typing, even in low light conditions, when the light is dimmed during the presentation.

Platinum Support Service

The services within the Toshiba Platinum Support Service ensure that productivity losses are kept as low as possible. Customers will receive a next day service with the on-site service. A Toshiba-certified hardware specialist is supported by a knowledgeable telephone service, who is already trying to identify and solve the problems. For the comprehensive protection of sensitive data, the hard drive or SSD remains with the customer in the house. The Platinum Support Service is complemented by a personal account manager and an individual support portal for managing the mobile devices. In order to proactively reduce the risk of default, the status of the devices can also be recorded by remote diagnostics. The offer is available to all customers at the locations where the service is offered, regardless of where the notebook was purchased.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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