Tech to suit your style

2013-06-03 09:40

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Glued to your Galaxy and iStuck to your iPad? Tech expert Neil Gardiner suggests the perfect gadgets for every lifestyle.

Marc Lottering, Entertainer

As funnyman Marc Lottering admits, if anyone suggested he live without his BlackBerry, he’d have to be rushed to intensive care. ‘Mark my words, one day we will be able to make pap en wors on our BlackBerrys!’ he says.

As someone who fondly remembers Walkmans blasting Kool & the Gang’s ‘Get Down On It’ in the 80s, Mark admits his friends will say he’s not very sharp when it comes to understanding new gadgets.

‘Particularly when they come with an instruction manual in 53 languages! But once somebody takes me by the hand and shows me where the “on” button is, I fall in love quite quickly.’ He says his cellphone comes in handy for jotting down ideas for future shows.

‘Much classier than the traditional greasy pub serviette!’

Macbook Pro with retina display

It’s neither the fastest nor the most powerful laptop around, but one killer feature sets it apart from all others: the retina display. The screen is startlingly sharp and a solid-state hard drive means there are no moving parts, giving you a 7-hour battery life.

From R16 499, www.apple.com/za

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

This is Apple’s main threat, to both the iPad and iPhone. Its Super AMOLED display is crystal clear, and at five inches plus, it’s big enough to work on but small enough to fit in a jacket pocket.

The 8MP camera with full HD video can snap pics while shooting.

R7 500, www.samsung.co.za

Mischa Blecher, Student

Mischa Blecher is 23 and knee-deep in his Master’s in urban and regional planning.

He has daily classes from 8am to 4pm, then it’s time for practical group projects. When he gets home, he hits the books and usually only goes to bed after midnight. ‘I haven’t been out in ages!’ he says, but adds that music keeps him sane.

‘I have an iPod and good-quality Sennheiser earphones.’ He also has a cellphone and laptop and uses a Kindle Fire HD for reading. For his studies he uses design software like Photoshop and InDesign, and ARC GIS, a specialised geographical information system program. He logs onto Facebook about three times a day and also reads emails on his phone and computer. ‘I’m not the biggest tech-head, but I’m pretty with-it.’

Livescribe Sky wi-fi Smartpen

Brainstormers, minute takers, project managers and students – pay attention. This is not just a ballpoint pen with a microphone.

It records while you write and when you place the pen on one of your doodles of genius, it’ll play back the audio recording at precisely the time at which you made the note.

It also translates and does sums. This new model features Evernote compatibility and Wi-Fi link-up to a tablet or PC.

R2 200, www.smartscribe.co.za

Sony Xperia Z

What’s the point of being a student if you’re not living close to the edge? So why not tweet, Facebook or Pinterest your experiences, and your followers can live vicariously through your witty utterings.

Your postings about the waves on the backline or the water temperature at the pool party are all the more visceral when they’re photographed and sent from the actual backline or the pool.

Enter the Xperia Z – the only 5” superphone that is IP67 certified water-resistant and shockproof. The game = changed.

R8 000, www.sony.co.za

Phindile Mdlalose, Stay-at-home mom

‘I’m by no means a techno queen but I’m on Facebook, I understand WhatsApp and I use my Galaxy tablet almost every day,’ says Table View mom Phindile Mdlalose, 30.

‘It’s perfect for using the internet – and for when I Skype my family in KwaZulu-Natal.’ She adds that she takes it with her to church too. ‘I use my Bible app so I can read particular verses while the preacher is talking.’

Like most busy parents, Phindile is also grateful to have her tablet with her when she’s waiting in the car to collect her kids from school.

‘I can catch up with emails if I need to – and when my husband, Sabelo, is away on business, I use my tablet to stay in contact with him.’

Although Phindile prefers her two children – Spheyena, eight, and O’Kuhle, six – to play outdoors, she admits that technology plays a role in their lives too.

‘They have lots of computer games, use our old Dell laptop for watching movies and also play on my tablet when they get the chance.’

Asus Eee Pad Transformer

The laptop’s not dead – yet. If anything’s going to finish it off, it’ll be this fast, slim and robust slate/notebook hybrid that acts like an Android tablet and docks with a full QWERTY keyboard.

Perfect for firing off your emails and when you’ve finished the day’s admin, browse the internet or watch a movie on the full HD display with stereo SRS premium sound.

Two USB ports and SD and Micro SD card readers make for easy sharing and storage when the kids bring home media.

From R7 000, www.asus.com

Seagate Goflex Satellite Drive

CD racks and DVD shelves are so last century. Charge the kids with the useful (and time consuming) tasks of committing them all to a hard drive like this one.

Then when the family gets home, you can wirelessly access all your movies, music, photos and documents on any Android or iOS tablet or phone.

Up to eight devices can connect at a time via the free app. At 500GB, it’s big enough for more than 100 movies and several weeks of non-stop music (remarkable, when you think how amazing a 1GB hard drive once was).

R2 300, www.seagate.com

Theo Vorster, Businessman

‘Technology makes things possible that were unthinkable 10 years ago,’ Theo says. He waxes lyrical about what technological developments have meant to the financial industry.

‘Of biggest value in my field is the fact that you can use a computer to find out exactly how a client feels about risk and then compile a tailored plan with investments that take into account the person’s profile.

Technology also opens the communication channels to and from clients.’

The first and last thing Theo does every day is read his emails on his phone.

He’s also active on Twitter and reads the latest news. He has an iPad for presentations to clients, something that would’ve needed pesky reams of paper in the past.

Besides his mobile gadgets, he also has a computer in his lounge at home, but things mostly happen on his smartphone.

HP Elitepad 900

This tablet is all business with a sturdy aluminium body, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 1.8GHz dual-core Atom processor and a generous 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory.

It trounces the iPad with removable storage capabilities and with Windows 8, all your data is synced seamlessly with your PC – if you ever use it again.

From R10 000, www.hpshop.co.za

iPHONE 5

The iPhone 5 is a longer, slimmer and faster version of the 4S – an evolution.

The stable, slick and powerful OS still features the most secure and best-stocked app store – at 800 000 and counting, there are apps for everyone.

From R8 299, www.apple.com/za

Joan Perumal, Great-grandmother

‘About two years ago, I got my first cellphone. I think it’s a Nokia. I can make and receive calls, but I can’t SMS or anything like that,’ says Durbanite Joan.

‘My daughters have tried to teach me how to text, but I just don’t get it.’

Joan, who has three adult daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, says she is much more comfortable with an old-fashioned bedside radio than she would ever be with an iPod – and has no interest in learning to use a computer.

‘I used to love reading, but I find that my eyes get very tired these days, so it’s easier for me to listen to audio books or to simply watch TV,’ the retired 74-year-old says. Joan might find a Kindle, with its adjustable font size more user-friendly than printed reading matter.

How does she feel about advances in technology? ‘I think youngsters spend too much time texting. Their language is suffering.’

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

With many e-readers around, why should you buy the most expensive dedicated reader? And with many reader apps for tablets, why would you want a dedicated device? The advantages of the simple, slick and slim Kindle are threefold.

Firstly, there’s the technophobe-proof book-buying process and Amazon’s customer service.

Then there’s the glare-free, eye-friendly monochrome e-ink with night-time backlight, and then most impressive is the battery life – a month! Another advantage is that you can also download audiobooks onto the Kindle.

From R2 200, www.dionwired.co.za

» Get your copy of iMag in City Press on Sundays.

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