The Zero1 Awards signify the pinnacle of achievement for all kinds of gadgets and gizmos launched this year. Every year, Digit puts several hundreds of products through rigorous tests, and ranks and rates them in order of merit with a single-minded goal—to tell people what products they should buy, and of course, how to get the best bang for their buck...
After a rather hectic month of testing, the Digit Test Centre announces the winners of the Zero1 Awards 2011.
BenQ XL2410T is one monitor that encompasses all the good points from all the major monitors out there. This 23.6-inch monitor is an LED backlit LCD monitor with a refresh rate of 120Hz, which makes it ideal for watching 3D content and playing 3D games using Nvidia 3D Vision. It comes with a tilt and swivel mechanism, height adjustment and the ability to use it in the portrait mode, among other things. The matt finish on the screen doesn’t reflect the background. Ergonomically, it’s one of the best monitors we came across. It comes with a DVI, VGA and HDMI port. The TN-LCD panel is the one hitch which limits its viewable angles. It also suffers from minor backlight bleeding.
Sennheiser’s HD 800
It allows you to set up monitor profiles for up to two games and there’s a special First Person Shooter mode. This monitor was put through the paces by a focus group of gamers; in fact, the package has the photos of Counter-Strike world champions SpawN and HeatoN.
As for the 3D experience, the still images really do pop out. The 2D gaming response is lovely and we didn’t face any lag issues. As for 3D gaming, we were able to play 3D games and the experience really depends on how good (or bad) the state of 3D technology is.
This monitor is targeted at the hard-core gamer and it does deliver the goods apart from being ergonomically up there.Price: Rs 31,900 (with Nvidia 3D glasses kit)
The HD 800 is Sennheiser’s latest flagship headphone, replacing the good old HD 650. The HD 800 is a ticket to a stratospheric stereo experience—fairly neutral, with maybe a smidgen more emphasis on the highs than the lows. Plus, it will woo you with tonal accuracy and soundstage rather than cheap (read: boomy) thrills. The HD 800 is a performance monster and rightfully walks away with our Zero1 Award this year.
Price: Rs 79,990
HD media players
The iOmega Screenplay DX wins hands down. With 1 TB of inbuilt storage, easy-to-use user interface (UI) and excellent performance, it’s one of the best HD media players available today. But what truly makes this HD media player a winner is the Qwerty keyboard sporting a unique remote. The remote is nothing like what we have seen on a media player before. It has not only made the navigation a breeze, but also has given us an amazing Web browsing experience. The only disappointment we have had with the device was the UI which, albeit easy to use, lacks aesthetics. Price: Rs12,999
The Olympus XZ-1 is by far the best point-and-shoot camera we tested in 2011. The image quality of the XZ-1 is almost in the same league as the larger and more expensive micro 4/3rd cameras. Olympus has opted for a killer combination of a larger sensor and fast F1.8 iZuiko lens for the XZ-1, resulting in super-sharp images with lots of detail and punchy colours. The Olympus XZ-1 scored 85% in our performance test for exceptional performance in low-light shooting and its unique ability to offer very good control over depth of field, just like the DSLRs (digital single lens reflexes). While the image quality itself is sufficient enough to take it to the top spot, the rugged construction, brilliant 610K OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) screen, HD video capture, intuitive controls around the lens and excellent art filters make Olympus XZ-1 the most desirable point-and-shoot camera today. Price: Rs 25,999
Our test lab reviewed a wide range of DSLRs in 2011 and there was one DSLR we found hard to fault, the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV. This professional DSLR topped our performance charts, scoring 80%. The 1D Mark IV even managed to go past the more expensive full-frame Nikon D3x DSLR in the low-light tests. The Mark IV has a crop sensor, called APS-H by Canon, with an image size of 25.1x16.7mm. It offers the best of both worlds—good performance in low light and higher burst rates than in full-frame models. The camera is built like a tank, has great in-hand feel, tight seams, weather sealing, metal body—the works. With its high-speed shooting, and amazingly clean and detailed output quality of up to ISO 3200, the 1D Mark IV is really meant for action sports shooters or for pros looking to shoot wildlife. Price: Rs 2,59,995 (with lens kit)
The Kindle 3 we tested is now known as the Kindle Keyboard 3G. There are five Kindle devices currently available at the Amazon Kindle store. These include the Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G and a budget version at $79 (around Rs 4,060). However, considering that there’s a touch-enabled device in the offing too, we recommend against it, for now.Price: $139 (around Rs 7,145)
The BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 is the sleekest BlackBerry smartphone we’ve seen till date, and brings the dual world goodness of a touch screen plus a physical Qwerty keypad. Speaking of which, this keypad always makes us cry out with joy, for this is the very best we’ve seen in any smartphone till date, let alone a BlackBerry itself. The phone comes with the latest OS 7, and having used the OS 6 quite a lot, we can say that Research In Motion is going in the right direction with the updates—superb performance, better graphics, HD video recording and a very good touch screen.Price: Rs 33,000
The iPad 2 was built on the good work of the first-generation version, and offered more power in a slimmer package. At the same time, it kept features like the display the same as the previous one, following the adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Apple Inc. has ensured support for most iPhone apps on the tablet as well. And unlike Android, the “made for tablet” apps were available quickly, and in larger numbers. Plenty of Android tablets around, but buy this if you want the best tablet in the market.Price: Rs 36,900 (for iPad 2 3G, 16 GB)
*All prices are Indian retail prices and are subject to change.
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