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First Published: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST

Updated: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST
Philips Ambilight FlatTV
What happens when an LCD gets the benefit of LED illumination? You get Philips’ Ambilight FlatTV with a future-proof Full HD screen display (1920x1080 resolution). In the crowded world of flat panels, a manufacturer that can make its product distinctive certainly has a leg up on the competition. Philips clearly
understands this, equipping its line of LCD and plasma displays with some unique features that help these displays stand out from the pack. So, what’s this ambilight thingy? Basically, a light behind each side panel casts a coloured glow around the TV set. It’s not just for the cool factor, although it does make the image seem larger and more involving. That backlight also helps reduce the strain your eyes endure when you force them to jump between light and dark images on the screen. The constant light provides an anchor so your eyes’ adjustments don’t have to be so extreme. The Philips Perfect Pixel HD Engine makes pictures sharper and more natural by first increasing the number of lines and pixels in the incoming signal. It then sharpens the quality of each pixel and alters it to better match the surrounding pixels. Finally, it scales the processed picture to match the native resolution of that particular Philips display. Also on board is a suite of other picture improvement tech including HD Natural Motion, Horizontal and Vertical Luminance Transient Improvement (LTI) and Colour Booster. There’s lots of other jargon, but suffice to say, a flat TV newbie such as me hasn’t seen anything like the Ambilight range in the recent past. Rs1,29,990, in 42 and 47 inches. Oh, and another thing, it’s bloody heavy—it took four grown men to carry it into my room.
Philips Rip-All Sound Machine
Surely, there must still be many blokes in our country with a major part of
their music stored on tapes and CDs. And surely, they would love to get all that stuff converted into MP3s? Help is at hand and it’s known as the Rip-All Sound Machine. And that’s exactly what it does: Rip music from cassettes, CDs and FM radio and convert them into MP3 files. You plug in your pen drive and start recording your cobwebbed music and then you download the stuff and play it back through any MP3 player or you plug your USB drive into a Philips system (if you have one) and press play. Sweet, simple and yours for Rs5,000.
Sony Ericsson W910i
Sony Ericsson’s (SE) latest instalment in its Walkman series is slim and streamlined (12.5mm), and lightweight (86g) to boot. The new interface is pleasingly different—an elegant PlayStation 3-style menu lets you browse through media and create playlists, just as you would using a dedicated MP3 player. The built-in 35MB of memory doesn’t
allow for too many tracks, but included in the box is a 1GB Memory Stick Micro card that can be upgraded down the track. Furthermore, the built-in FM radio tuner stands by to provide fresh tunes should you tire of your own collection. A brilliant-sounding Walkman 3.0 player, with a comprehensive set of features, including TrackID; a decent 2 megapixel (MP) camera (more serious photographers would do well to check out Sony Ericsson’s Cyber-shot phones, which rival basic stand-alone digital cameras); a fantastic 2.4-inch screen; and a Memory Stick Micro adaptor for connecting the storage card to a regular computer USB port, thus bypassing a card reader…pretty much everything you’d want in a music phone that, in spite of its stylish look, also feels pretty robust.
SE’s also bunged in numerous party tricks to up the appeal. Most hyped is the “Shake Control” feature where you can skip to the next or previous tracks or shuffle playlists by simply shaking the phone back and forth while holding down a button. You’ll try it and forget it when you figure out it’s far simpler and decidedly less odd-looking to switch tracks by simply pressing the relevant navigation key. Much more useful is the auto-rotate display function that adjusts the display according to the way you are holding the phone. The horizontal mode is particularly useful for watching movies and playing the bundled games, both of which you’ll want to get stuck into after experiencing the crisp screen. Then you have SensMe that arranges for you to pick songs and create playlists based on your moods, which should be a hit with angst-driven teens. Apart from the rather foolish placement of the headphone port (on the left), which makes the phone significantly wider in your pocket with the headset plugged in, the W910i gives you a good feeling, right from the tiny but tactile keys to the sound quality.
Gimmicks aside, for all those slider-Walkman phone kind of guys, bookmark this Rs20,000 phone right away.
Nokia 5310 XpressMusic
We don’t know whether you’ve noticed it but every time Nokia goes back to
the basics, it puts out exceedingly good phones. Such as the 5310. It doesn’t do anything fancy, like shoot 5MP pics or record great video, but it sticks brilliantly to its brief—of being a not-too-expensive yet stylish and capable music phone. Weighing about 70g and just 9.9mm thick, the 5310, which wears a trendy aluminium finish, offers up to 18 hours of music playback, memory for up to 3,000 songs on an optional 4GB microSD card and dedicated music keys. It also has a 2MP camera and a 2-inch QVGA screen (quarter video graphics array, 320 x 240 resolution) with up to 16 million colours. See, nothing fancy, but everything works truly well. Go for it if you want a simple phone that plays good music. Rs12,500.
Tell Harsh what gadgets you want reviewed at gizmoguru@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Jan 19 2008. 12 31 AM IST