Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from designer mobiles to business toys masquerading as consumer.

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By  Brid-Aine Conway and Eliot Beer Published  March 29, 2008

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from designer mobiles to business toys masquerading as consumer.

Acer Aspire 2920

It's difficult to work out if Acer is going for the consumer or the business market with this sub-notebook offering.

While the design is sleek and black on the outside, the odd off-white colour and retro look of the inside is more like a V-Tech toy than a serious piece of computing technology.

At 2kg, the notebook only just fits in to the sub-category and has a lot of multi-media features that seem to be aimed at the consumer market, such as Dolby Home Theatre Virtual Surround Sound and the Acer Arcade entertainment suite, which integrates Acer CinemaVision and ClearVision, aimed at minimsing picture distortion.

On the other hand, the notebook also has IP-based communication in the form of Acer Videoconference for voice and video over IP and a CMOS webcam at the top of the display, features that could be very useful to business users.

With 2Gbytes of RAM (which is definitely needed given that it comes with Windows Vista) and a range of hard drive sizes that goes up to 320Gbytes, there is enough storage to please business and consumer alike and the laptop is one of the few in the sub-notebook range that carries a DVD drive.

Consider as well that this machine is selling for US$1497 (320Gbyte) in the Middle East and it seems like this is a consumer vehicle after all.

However, given its more than decent specs and with the swift removal of Windows Vista Home Premium Edition for a more business friendly OS, this would make an affordable and jam-packed addition to the sub-notebook range for the business user.

Samsung Giorgio Armani

The latest in a short line of label-endorsed mobile phones, Samsung's Giorgio Armani-badged handset was unleashed last month.

Tapping into the latest trend for touch-screen devices, Samsung and Armani have produced a very compact handset, evidently designed for fashionistas who see gadgets such as the iPhone as just a bit too bulky.

Unfortunately, reports suggest that the compact size translates into a requirement for compact fingers - bulky executive man-digits may struggle. There's no argument though that the phone's interface - styled in cream and brown - does look good.

In terms of specs, the Armani phone is fairly basic - no 3G and no Wi-Fi. It does come with obligatory camera and MP3 player functions, though - for what they're worth.

The phone certainly lives up to the name in the style department, but let's hope users don't suffer from some of the other interface problems: raising your swish Armani phone to your ear, only to end the call inadvertently using your earlobe, is definitely a social faux pas.

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