New and featured gadgets of the week: Feb 23

SPEAKERS

Logitech UE Mini Boom

$129, available later this month

Logitech's latest UE Mini Boom Bluetooth speaker looks identical to its UE Mobile Boombox predecessor, but it promises to deliver even bigger sound while retaining a compact, rugged design.

With the free Mini Boom app (iOS and Android), you can link two of these speakers wirelessly to create a stereo effect. It can also act as a speaker phone when connected to a handset.

Lasting up to 10 hours on a single charge, the UE Mini Boom is a great travel companion. Its built-in rechargeable battery can be topped up via a micro-USB charger.

SPEAKERS

Creative Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 Deluxe Pack

$229

At first glance, the Creative Sound BlasterAxx AXX 200 seems like a typical speaker for personal computers. But hidden within its elegant tower design is an audio processor that uses Creative's proprietary audio technologies to enhance audio in real-time, such as increasing the clarity of dialogue in movies.

The AXX 200 can also be connected to your mobile device wirelessly via Bluetooth. Those with Near Field Communication-enabled devices can tap them to the AXX 200 to set up a Bluetooth link.

The speaker also supports music playback from microSD cards using the WMA and MP3 file formats.

PRINTER

Brother MFC-J3520 InkBenefit

$488

An affordable and versatile printer for the home and small office, the Brother MFC-J3520 InkBenefit is able to print, copy, scan and fax in both A3 and A4 formats.

At printouts of up to 22 pages per minute (black and white), Brother claims that its printer is the fastest in its class. It also prints a comparable 20 colour pages per minute. Each ink cartridge is good for 2,400 black and white or 1,200 colour pages.

Two-sided printing and an automatic document feeder add to the convenience of using this printer.

GRAPHICS CARD

PowerColor PCS+ R9 290

$638

AMD's R9 290 graphics chip provided both high-end performance and great value, but the reference design had a rather loud cooling fan.

The solution is a better cooler, like the custom version on the PowerColor PCS+ R9 290 that claims to produce 17 per cent less noise while lowering operating temperatures by 24 per cent.

The custom cooler is a large, triple-fan design that takes up more chassis space than the standard design. But it also allows the graphics card to run at higher clock speeds than usual, boosting its performance.

TABLET

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite (7.0") WiFi

$198

The 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite (7.0") joins the company's Galaxy Tab line-up, which includes 8-inch and 10.1-inch models. It weighs almost the same as the 8-inch version and has a compact design for one-hand use.

Given its more affordable price tag, the Tab 3 Lite (7.0") is packed with relatively modest hardware, like a 1,024 x 600-pixel screen and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor.

The two-megapixel rear camera is able to shoot pictures automatically when it detects a smile, while battery life, with a 3,600mAh battery, is rated at up to eight hours.

GAMING ACCESSORY

Samsung GamePad

$158

Transform your Samsung mobile device into a portable Android gaming console with the Samsung GamePad, complete with analogue sticks and a directional pad.

Simply attach Samsung Galaxy mobile devices with screen sizes between 4 and 6.3 inches to this gaming peripheral and connect to them wirelessly using Bluetooth.

It can be paired quickly using Near Field Communication technology for Galaxy devices running Android 4.3 and above. This accessory can also connect to a TV via HDMI or screen mirroring for a big-screen gaming experience.

A Play button opens a Samsung Mobile Console app, which lets you browse and buy games that support the GamePad, such as racing title Need For Speed: Most Wanted and first-person shooter Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour.

By Vincent Chang


Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.